My OCD brain loves a clean house. But lets be honest, there are actual humans living in here. So having a clean house all of the time is frankly not possible. However, there are a few tips that I have learned over the years to keep our house clean, most of the time.
These are the habits that will help you keep your house in control and tidy. Not perfect. But manageable.
My favorite habits for keeping our home tidy are…
1. Always be on the lookout to PURGE
Don’t leave purging to a once-a-year thing. Become a consistent purger. When you see things that you don’t need, don’t like, and don’t want, get rid of them. If they are garbage, throw them away (You don’t need to save every single piece of artwork that comes home from school. If you want to remember it, take a picture and put all of the pictures of artwork and crafts in an album for each school year). If they can be recycled or donated, even better. I keep a box in each of our kids closets for donated items (mostly clothes) and drop it off to a donation center every few weeks. Turning purging into a habit means that you won’t be faced with overwhelming piles of stuff to sort through once per year. It also makes you more mindful before you buy new things.
2. Make Mindful Purchasing Decisions
I have to admit, I am still working on this. But the easter bunny and santa claus no longer bring junk that I’ll just end up throwing away after a week. I am also guilty of raiding the target dollar spot when frankly I don’t need another tea towel, or Christmas themed coffee cup. Less stuff means less stuff to purge later on.
3. Everything must have a place
Once you have gone through and purged, find a PLACE for all of the things. They need a HOME within your home. Designate a drawer, basket, shelf… whatever it might be. And what is better yet, Label it!
Keep all batteries in one container. Keep all technology together (cords, chargers etc.). Keep office supplies together etc. The time you spend on finding a PLACE for everything and grouping like items together will pay you back in dividends, I promise! How much time do we waste looking for things? Well, if you first get rid of everything unwanted and next find a place to store like-items together, then you will no longer waste that time searching! (Remind me to remind my husband of this tip: he’s guilty of this in more ways then one)
4. Always Put things where they belong
Our daily lives are all busy, but trust me it will pay off to put things away, right away. When you open the mail, file or toss it. When you bring in your kids backpacks, go through them and put them where they belong. It takes just a few extra seconds versus having to put all of the thing away that you have put off at a later time. The more you do it, the more of a habit it will become. Challenge yourself to put things away Now and not Later!
5. CREATE & USE DROP ZONES
I don’t know about you, but we have a lot of stuff. From toys, to school papers, backpacks, etc. there is always stuff that needs to be sorted out. Our daily lives involve a lot of stuff. Things. Papers. Bills. Magazines. Toys. Backpacks. Lunch Kits. Etc. Figure out a way to manage that. Figure out where all the stuff can go when it comes home and needs to be dealt with… and not just heaped up on your kitchen floor and kitchen counter.
Our main drop zone is our laundry room where we have room for storing coats, backpacks and shoes until we need them again.
Our second drop zone is our pantry which we turned into a little command center where I hang papers, store important school documents and hang lunchboxes.
6. MAKE THE BEDS
This is one I swear by. Make your bed everyday. Its amazing how much more calm and tidy your house will feel with a neatly made bed. Just try it for a few days, I promise you’ll feel better!
7. Run the dishwasher
Sounds simple right? Load your dishwasher immediately. Don’t make a habit out of storing those dirty dishes in the sink, it will just be something you will have to do LATER. I find it easier to set a time of day to run the dishwasher. For example, I always run the dishwasher at night before I got to bed and then unload it every morning.
8. Stay on top of laundry
In your house this may be every day or every other day. For use, I do a load once a day, usually right after I unload the dishwasher. This way I am not overwhelmed by mountain of laundry at the end of the week. All laundry is done by Friday, and I take the weekend off. All laundry is folded right away, and put in a designated basket to be carried to the correct room.
9. Do Power clean ups
A couple of times a day, go around the house and take about 10 minutes to put away everything that is out of its place. I involve my big kids and they tackle the play room. I do it randomly throughout the day usually during nap time, and before I start the dinner routine.
10. TIDY UP BEFORE BED
It may sound silly but do a quick sweep around your home every night before you go to bed. Put things back in their places. Put the dishes in the dishwasher and run it (if it’s full). Fluff the pillows on the couch, fold the blankets, and store away all the toys (yes, I really do that every night). And just generally tidy up the place. Waking up in the morning to a tidy home will set you off on the right foot for the next day.
11. Involve YOUR KIDS
This will help you keep your sanity. My four and three year old participate in cleaning up their playroom and bedroom daily. You should not shoulder the entire burden. If it helps, create fun chore chart with stickers. When they have their chart filled up with stickers reward them with a small prize!
12. Aim for progress not Perfection
Lets be honest, perfection is not reality. The whole things is a process. Try one tip at a time and see if it helps within your own home. Start with a good purge, organization and a few new habits!
So, there you have it mama – quick and simple clean house tips to keep your home looking mostly clean, most of the time.