Do you ever stop in at your friends house in the middle of the day, and are in shock that it seems to be clean and tidy? She has the same amount of kids, and the same size home, but somehow your home is covered in sticky walls, toys in the halls, shoes covering the entryway, and takes two hours of shoving things into closets just to even make it presentable for visitors? Want to know a few secrets to get you on the road to less of that and more of whatever she’s got?
These are the steps for you:
- Set yourself up for success
- Become a constant cleaner
- Make Collection Zones
- Start your day right…in the bedroom
- Do it now, not later
Set yourself up for success: Get rid of stuff you don’t use! From kitchen gadgets, to crafts, to clothes, to décor, and on and on and on, you have too much stuff. We collect so many things we never use, or used once and think “someday I might need that” The problem is, that even when the “someday” comes we can’t remember where we put it and end up going without, or worse, buying it again and now we have two of those random things taking up space in our lives. In order to successfully keep your house looking the way you want it to look, you must toss the excess. It may require a change of mindset, but when you remove what is crowding your life and not bringing you joy, you will feel loads lighter in so many ways! (I highly recommend “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up” by Marie Kondo.)
Become a constant cleaner: Whenever you walk by a counter, a hall, the mudroom, make a conscious effort to pick up as you go. Are you leaving the bathroom? Put that brush away in the drawer, wipe that smudge of toothpaste off the counter with a washcloth and toss it in the hamper. Make a habit of leaving every space a bit cleaner than it was when you came in to it. Other people in your family will see you do this, and may even follow suit. I’ve noticed my spouse now does this as well, without me even saying a word. But you can always ask as well.
Make Collection Zones: Sometimes it truly is out of the way to go all the way upstairs to put away that one sock you found floating around the kitchen (I have never figured out how it’s always only one sock, acres away from where they remove their shoes!) So this is where a basket at the end of the stairs or by a door can really help out. Load up the basket while you’re cleaning on one floor, and then on your way upstairs at night gather the items and put them away.
Start your day right…in the bedroom: Make a habit of making your bed first thing in the morning, and teach your kids to do the same. To make it easy you can even have your style be folding the blanket in half and tossing it over the end of the bed and straightening the pillows. Not only is this an easy style to keep up, but it also allows your sheets to breathe and it’s ready to crawl back into when the day is done. It’s also time to get rid of extra furniture in this space! As people we tend to think we need to load up rooms with furniture, from desks to bookcases and dressers. The truth is those things just provide more surfaces to pile up with stuff, and in a room meant to help calm you and give you rest all that stuff around you can keep you from truly relaxing. You may find that after you have begun to get rid of the things you don’t use, that you really don’t need that extra furniture for storage anyway! Make it simple and keep just your bed, a nightstand, and a chair or ottoman for dressing.
Do it now, not later: Load the dishwasher instead of sticking that bowl in the sink, put the shoes away in the closet when you come through the door, hang that dress back up instead of tossing it over the chair. While it may feel easier to wait until the end of the day to pick up everything, it takes less time to just do it now! Plus, if it’s done, maybe you will have time at the end of the night to finally read that book, or watch that show you’ve been wanting to see.
Hopefully you will see, like I have, that even in a house full of kids and chaos you can keep a home tidy and presentable. By getting rid of all the stuff clogging up your closets, and drawers, and by becoming a constant cleaner instead of an end of day all a once tidier you may find that impromptu company means you just have to do a quick sweep, and clean the bathrooms.
Good luck and happy cleaning!