Keeping A Clean House
Housekeeping has not always been my strong-suit. Actually, housekeeping was not a word in my vocabulary until I got married. As a teenager, I had a messy room full of clothes covering the floor, cups of old coffee sitting on my bedside table, and books and papers covering every square inch of my bed and dresser. I used to jokingly call it ‘art’ and say that it was my way of expressing myself. Honestly, I was just lazy and didn’t see the point of keeping my space orderly. Flash forward to the present, I am married with a two-year old daughter and baby boy on the way (any day now) and I have become a full-fledged Type A, OCD, housekeeping fanatic. I remember when it hit me that I needed to become a more tidy person. I had been married for approximately one week and I realized that the laundry had piled up substantially and that there were lots of dishes to do. I also realized that my husband and I both needed a clean space to function and live together.
A clean and tidy space makes you want to come home and helps you unwind after a long day. I know that I may be old-fashioned in this way, but I believe my husband and children deserve a clean home and it’s my job to give that to them as best as I can. Now does this mean my house is perfect? NO way! I am far from the perfect housekeeper, but I have figured out a few ways to keep a clean home and not have to deep clean everyday. My awesome husband also helps me around the house when I need him too and I am so thankful for that!
So maybe you are ‘Type A’ and already have a cleaning system or you are ‘Type B’ and you don’t have a system, but are wanting to create your own OR maybe you are in the middle and you want to sharpen your housekeeping skills. I have put together some tips and tricks that will help you keep a clean home, but won’t have you deep cleaning your house every day for hours at a time.
1.Find Your Unique Cleaning Time
I used to have a very detailed weekly cleaning schedule where I would clean a specific area of the house on its designated weekday. I would space all my cleaning out and I thought I was making my life easier when really I was majorly complicating things. This may work for you, but it did not work for me at all. So I decided to get all my major cleaning done at the beginning of the week on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. You may be a working mom, stay at home mom, single person, teenager or at a completely different stage of life. Your schedule will defer from everyone else’s depending on all the responsibilities you have. I stay home with my babies so I have to find a specific time to clean my house. I try to get all cleaning done before my husband comes home, because after the kiddos go to sleep, it is our special time to hangout. I also have my toddler ‘help’ with chores such as picking up toys, sorting clean laundry, etc. I try to get our house completely clean on Monday’s and sometimes it takes me until Tuesday to get it all done and then some weeks it takes me all week to get it all finished. HA! This includes scrubbing bathrooms, vacuuming/mopping floors, dusting, laundry, and cleaning all major areas of my house. By dedicating a day or two to fully clean my house at the beginning of the week, I can focus on other tasks the rest of the week knowing my house is clean. Find a time that works for you!
2. Daily Chores
The second biggest trick to keeping a clean house is to keep up with all the ‘daily chores’ each day. Daily chores typically include dishes, straightening up, laundry, wiping down bathroom and kitchen counters, and sweeping. Daily Chores are the tasks that have to get done or they will pile up exponentially. To keep the daily chores from piling up, I will start a load of laundry each night and then throw it in the dryer the next morning. I wipe down the kitchen counters everyday and try to wipe down the bathrooms every other day (some weeks I simply scrub the bathrooms once and am done for the week). Next, I unload the dishwasher in the morning and then add our dirty dishes from each meal to it throughout the day until its full at dinner time and can be ran while I relax. Also, I try to sweep at least once a day around the kitchen area because kids create a lot of crumbs. Lastly, I straighten up the house throughout the day as I see the need too. For example, any junk mail gets tossed, toys are picked up off the floor, and any other stray items are put in their place. These easy tricks keep your home looking super orderly and clean and you don’t have to spend hours cleaning.
3. Don’t Hold Onto ‘Stuff’
As the old saying goes, “A place for everything and everything in its place!” I decided a year ago to downsize our ‘stuff’. I had a ton of ‘stuff’ sitting around that didn’t serve a purpose. I slowly decluttered our house room by room and donated and/or tossed items that did not serve a purpose. I am not a die-hard, twenty item only minimalist, but I definitely can tell you what is in each of our closets without going to look. It was freeing to get rid of unused kitchen utensils, old notebooks full of scribbles, and too-small clothing items. It feels so good to know that the rooms in your house are not full of odds and ends, but are organized and contain items that are beneficial to you. I also try to focus on quality instead of quantity when it comes to items in our home. For example, I have very few pots and pans, but the few I have are made of high quality materials that will not wear out easily. This saves money in the long run as I am not purchasing ten cheap pans/pots a year, but have a few really nice ones that last for several years.
4. Seasonal Cleaning
Besides daily and weekly chores, you have seasonal chores that you typically take care of once or twice a year. I classify seasonal chores as washing windows (outdoor), cleaning under/behind appliances, and cleaning the harder to reach places in your home. A good time to freshen appliances, wash outdoor windows, and air out your home is in the spring… A.K.A ‘Spring Cleaning’. When it gets above 65 degrees outside, I open all the windows and let all the stale winter air out of our house. I recruit my husband to move appliances so I can vacuum behind them and make sure all is well with them. Side note: The previous home owners of the home we recently bought NEVER, EVER, vacuumed under their fridge or the fridge guard that is at the bottom of the fridge and it was HAIRY. Yes, HAIRY… I am so surprised the fridge was even functioning. Side note two: Keeping appliances clean saves you money as they don’t have to work as hard to function… so vacuum under your fridge and behind it before it grows fur. :) Other seasonal chores include organizing your garage/basement, washing curtains, washing the outdoor side of the windows, washing baseboards, and clearing out your gutters to name a few. Depending on where you live, your seasonal chores may differ from mine here in South Carolina as the weather allows in your part of the world.
5. Vehicle Maintenance
I decided to add vehicle maintenance as my last tip because it is an area I gravely could use improvement in. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to keep the car orderly when I am SO OCD about every other area of my home. What has worked for me here lately is if I take a coffee cup, water bottle, toy for my child, or any other loose item in the car I ALWAYS make sure it comes back inside with me when I get home. Another way to keep the car tidy is to keep a small grocery bag or a fancy trash collector in your car so that you immediately put all loose ends in the bag and then empty it as needed. I use a fancy Target or Walmart grocery bag because thats what I have and it’s easy. Lastly, kids and cars are a recipe for disaster… so I have specific ‘car toys’ we keep in the car and this cuts down on the backseat mess.
What are some ways you keep you house clean without spending hours a day cleaning? I would love to hear from you!