Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Keeping a Clean Home

I don't even feel like I have the right to write this post considering what my bedroom looks like right now! Let me start by saying that my house is by no means always clean nor am I a cleaning expert. Actually, I have had to work really, really hard over the years to create a habit that was so foreign to me. Several of you have asked my tips and tricks for keeping a clean and tidy home so I will share a few of them:

1) Change Your Perspective: My friend Julie wrote a blog post not too long ago where she stated that whenever she cleans she refers to it as "Blessing" her house. She mentioned where she first heard that, though it escapes me, but I found it so profound. Cleaning is a chore and unlike some of you with the tidiness gene, I just don't have it. I clean because it's part of my job, not because I love it, but when I look at it as a blessing to my home it becomes much less of a chore and much more of something I can do to benefit my family. Also, show how thankful you are for your home by keeping it clean. I often tell myself, I may not have the biggest house but I can have a clean house.

2) Get Motivated. In the few weeks before my youngest was born I made a list of all of the things I wanted to get done before his arrival. I went into each room, looked around and wrote down what needed to be done as part of a checklist. Each night, I would go into one room and mark things off of my list (along with my husband). In what seemed like no time, my house was de-cluttered, cleaned and organized.

3) Get rid of clutter. As part of my checklist I got rid of so many random things around our house. I asked myself two questions: Do I use it every day? and Do I LOVE it? If the answer to both of those was no then I got rid of it! At first I was apprehensive but thanks to my nesting hormones I followed through with the removal and the end result was so freeing. For some reason we think we need things when really they are doing us more harm than good.

4) Simplify. One of my favorite rooms in our house is our living room. We have 2 chairs, a couch, a magazine basket, a tv hutch and a tree. That's it. Why do I love it so much? Because I can clean it in 2 minutes and because there are so few things in there, it is really peaceful. I'm so guilty of having baskets of random stuff or decorative things everywhere but they take so much time to clean and make your home look disorderly. Do you really need 34324 knick knacks? I doubt it! Think of how much easier it would be to clean, dust and vacuum a room if there were only a few things in it? Go through and get rid of stuff. Sell it on Craigslist, have a yard sale or make a donation. You would be surprised at how many things you could really do without.

5) Make a Daily Routine. Here is what my weekly task list looks like in addition to my usual straightening:

Monday: Mop Kitchen, Deep Clean Bathrooms
Tuesday: Random Project (clean out closets, laundry room, etc)
Wednesday: Laundry put away
Thursday: Mop Kitchen, Deep Clean Bathrooms
Friday: Wash Sheets, Dust
Saturday: Clean out fridge and Car
Sunday: Rest

Now, these things don't always get done and some days I swap things out - that's ok. Flexibility is key. This list just helps keep me on task. I'm not naturally a super clean or neat person. I really do have to work at it and this really helps me. I do laundry daily but on Wednesday, I make sure it's all put away. I also have to wipe down my guest bathroom every day thanks to a certain 3 year old and his aim skills :)

6) Invest in efficient cleaning materials. Recognize your weaknesses and go from there. Coupons and sales make it more than easy to invest in cleaning sprays, swiffers, etc. Maybe you hate cleaning your floors (this was me!), take some money each month and set it aside to buy a steam cleaner. Do you hate doing the dishes? Try and save for a dishwasher. Use some of the money you made getting rid of clutter to aid in your fund.

7) Get Enough Sleep. How likely are you to be excited and ready to maintain a home when you are exhausted and only want to sit around and eat oreos on the couch all day?! Staying up late to clean is the worst thing you can do. Go to bed on time and try again the next day. I promise you'll be much more productive if you do.

8) Have Company Over. How much motivation do you have to clean when your family is coming to visit? A LOT! Have a friend over for coffee or dinner once every week or two weeks to keep you motivated for keeping your house clean. Not only will your house benefit but you'll be able to enjoy some fun, quality visit time with a friend.

9) Do a Cost/Benefit Analysis. In Statistics you can do something called a Cost/Benefit Analysis - with cleaning your house this simply means what is my effort worth? I've heard so many times that "there are much more important things than a clean house" and while this may be very true, there are few things more relaxing than a clean house. When my house is messy and cluttered our whole family acts out of sorts. My children are fussier, I am more snappy, we all feel a little more lazy. Why wouldn't we? A choatic environment produces chaotic behavior. When my house is clean, my children are more peaceful, I'm in a much better mood and operations flow so much more smoothly.

10) Give Yourself a Break. Life happens. I have a 3 year old and almost 1 year old so I totally get that. Stop comparing your home to so-and-so's home - be thankful for what you have and do the best you can with it. If those clothes didn't get folded today then put them on the list for first thing tomorrow. Getting defeated and giving up will only create more problems and negate your positive efforts.

Now, don't get me wrong, this list is by no means exhaustive. I have days where my house is messy, really messy, but I strive to keep a clean and orderly home and ultimately to have my house company ready in no more than 30 minutes. I want my home to be a warm, inviting place that people want to come over and visit again and again. Keeping it tidy and peaceful helps me with that goal.

What tips and tricks do you have for keeping a tidy home?

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thanks again for linking up to Tip Day Thursday at Around My Family Table.