A year ago, I think I would have just said, “My house is a mess. Oh well.” Now, I actually strive for a house that is clean. Sometimes those hard fought battles are the ones we learn from the most, right? If you are someone who just naturally can keep a very clean home, this post isn’t for you. But if you are someone who doesn’t even know where to start in cleaning, you might glean a bit from this “reformed messy”.
There was a time that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have kept up if I tried, but then I got stuck in survival mode. No more. Now I’m very intentional about keeping our home cleaned and work on being much more organized.
What are some of the little things that make a big difference:
- My morning routine is a necessity every single day. The cleaning part of my morning routine involves unloading and loading the dishwasher as well as cleaning up anything not already cleaned up in the kitchen. I’m sure that there are people mortified that I leave some mess in my kitchen when I go to bed, but it doesn’t always get done the night before since I’m usually falling over tired by then. First thing in the morning, I get done whatever is waiting for me and usually have a nice, clean kitchen to start the rest of my day.
- I know some families have a DEAR (drop everything and read) time, but in this family we have to put down the books to have a “drop everything and clean” time. This is anytime the house is getting beyond the “less than 15 minutes away from wanting someone to see it” stage.
- I spent more than a week getting rid of clutter, and I still attack clutter spots almost every day. I think the kids are tired of me saying “when in doubt, throw it out,” but a lack of stuff certainly makes for a cleaner and more easily managed home.
- Part of the de-cluttering week was making sure (again) that everything had a place in the house. It’s so much easier to clean if you know what to do with it.
- My children really can clean and are an active part of keeping up with the housework. This is a constant learning process, but they really have started to reap the benefits of helping and having clean, open space.
- I enjoy having someone else tell me of tasks to clean. I completed Crystal Paine’s 4 Weeks to a more organized home challenge. Besides the odd cleaning tasks I had to complete with this challenge, I really enjoyed the “get rid of 7 things a day” part of the challenge. I need to get rid of 7 things every day.
- After completing the organized home challenge, I decided to work off of the Motivated Moms chore planner. I actually would love to try the Motivated Moms app since I often need to switch around what days I complete what tasks. You can check out Motivated Moms here. I just enjoy being able to use a 20 or 30 minute window of cleaning time to actually accomplish something instead of spending all of that time thinking of a job to do. I will take the weekly tasks, highlight the ones I really want to get done and spend time with the kids attacking as many as possible in the shortest time possible. In fact, in a few minutes I’ll take a break from writing this and we’ll spend a half hour attacking this week’s list.
- I do at least 1 load of laundry a day and try to fold it and put it away before doing any more laundry. Washing and drying clothing has never been a problem for me, but actually folding and putting it away is where I would get hung up.
- I try to do something else useful while also doing housework. This often means I combine quizzing my children on their memory work with a mundane task like sweeping and mopping the kitchen or folding the laundry.
- When I get into a “snacky-I-want-to-eat” mode, I make myself go clean something instead. (A bonus to healthier living as well!)
- On some cleaning tasks I tended to put off, I started timing myself. Now I know I can wipe down all 3 bathrooms (sinks, toilets, tubs) in about 15 minutes. I also know that those stone trays I would put off cleaning in the kitchen take about 1 1/2 minutes to wash and put away. Why in the world did I ever put off that task?
I asked my kids what rules they’ve learned about cleaning. Here is what they said:
- Play with something; put it away. When you are done using something, put it away right away.
- Clean the edges otherwise they creep out into the middle of the room.
- Don’t think “That’s a little mess. I’ll just leave it.”
We all love having a cleaner, less cluttered home. I can just feel weight lifting off my shoulders as the house gets cleaner and more organized.