Today I want to share with you some simple housekeeping tips. Keeping a tidy house helps maintain my sanity. Stress levels always rise when the house looks like a bomb went off…so here are some tips I have learned over the years and maybe you’ll find something useful…
I do one major cleaning day a week.
Keeping it to one day a week helps me not always wanna pull out the vacuum when I really should be reading to someone. On cleaning days, we start in the bedrooms and bathrooms and work our way into the main family areas of the house. We try to have the bedrooms and bathrooms clean before breakfast and then after breakfast we resume with the rest of the house. On this day, we will get closets back in order, under-sink cabinets decently arranged, laundry all hung neatly and all the slowly but surely gathering clutter cleaned out.
We work each room cleaning top to bottom, left to right around the room.
Sounds elementary, but would you believe it took this college grad several years to figure this out? So if we are cleaning a bathroom, we clean mirrors first, then counter, sink, toilet, windowsill, shower/tub, cabinets, doors/doorjambs, empty trash and then finally floors. Going top to bottom makes sure that we don’t clean the floors only to wipe the dust from the counter into the floors after. It’s a simple strategy that makes it 15 minutes or less to deep clean a bathroom…but I guess that depends on the size of your bathroom!
Fridges and Pantries
We save grocery shopping for one day a week, and on that day the pantry and fridge get cleaned out while the shoppers are out buying. Fridges and pantries can be petri dishes of all kinds of grodiness. Cleaning them out before new stuff arrives helps me keep these areas in check.
Daily Tidy Times
Throughout the day, we have several “tidy times” that everyone pitches in to straighten up. After breakfast (as we transition into school-time), after lunch (as we transition into nap time), a quick one before Dad comes home/dinnertime, and another before I put everyone to bed. I could never sit down to relax with my husband if there were piles of laundry still to be done or messes throughout the house! Each of these usually takes 10 minutes or less when everybody pitches in. When I had far fewer hands to help (and it could be said “far fewer hands to make a mess”) I kept messes a bit easier to clean up by generally playing together in one room and teaching the children to put away one toy before bringing out something else.
Tidy up before we go-go…
This probably stemmed from being married to a realtor more than anything. After having had so many of my homes for sale, I naturally fell into a habit of tidying up before we leave. For years it was because someone may want to look at the house while we were out, but it became a habit I enjoyed. Now we always tidy up for about five minutes before we leave the house, and it always feels good to walk back in the door! I can not stand to walk back into the house, tired from an outing and into a mess. This one tip has always made me feel happy to come home.
I hope you have found a tip or two from my 22 years of keeping house and teaching my children to help along. No, my house is not always tidy and clean. At any given day there are messes and spills and gross bathrooms (I do have five sons, God bless ’em). But I know personally, if the mess is overwhelming, I quickly feel overwhelmed. If the clutter is out of control, I feel completely itchy and outta control. These simple strategies have helped me, and if you have any questions or tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!