5 Ways to Keep Your House Clean Without Losing Your Mind
Life is busy. Don't spend it all cleaning.
If you're like most of us, your phone calendar details your life, reminding you of important meetings, that class at the gym you wanted to take, your child's after-school practice, and that dinner you scheduled so long ago you almost forgot about it. When you're life is about running from one thing to the next, it can be hard to figure out when exactly you're going to make sure your house is presentable, clean, and organized.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your home looking great no matter your schedule.
1. Have a plan.
Here's the deal: for your house to be clean, presentable, and organized, you have to be prepared to do a little work. In the past, I've tried to push all the work of cleaning the house to the weekend, but who wants to spend your entire weekend dusting, vacuuming and doing laundry? What's worked for me is creating a simple plan of action to follow throughout the week. I have daily chores—dishes, a load or two of laundry, wiping down the counters in the bathroom and the kitchen, and so forth—but I also designate one area of the house to focus on each night. Mondays are for dusting and quick vacuuming the bedrooms. On Tuesdays, I clean the bathrooms. Wednesdays involved cleaning the kitchen, Thursdays, the living room, and I take Fridays off. On Saturdays, I vacuum the whole house and mop. Sundays are for rest and reflection.
If I miss a day, it's not a big deal. I know that missing one room for one week won't cause my house to cave in on itself, and I rarely have to set aside to deep clean because the house never gets terribly dirty. Pinterest is full of pins about weekly, daily and monthly cleaning schedules. My advice? Find something that works for your life.
2. Deal with mail ASAP.
Mail is the problem in my house. While I get most of my bills online, there's still piles of junk mail that shows up in my mailbox. If I'm not careful, mailers, postcards, and fliers can quickly become the centerpiece on my kitchen table. What I've learned is to deal with the mail as soon as I get it. Trash or shred junk mail immediately and designate a specific place to keep important bills or mailings. Make sure you set aside a few minutes each week to deal with any bills that need to be paid, then file, shred or dispose of any paperwork you don't need to keep.
If it makes you nervous to discard of any paperwork, invest in a scanner or other method that allows you to create a digital file that takes up space on your computer, not your desk!
3. Do the daily.
We all have those tasks that when completed make us feel like our house is clean. Maybe it's making sure the sink isn't piled high with dirty dishes or that the laundry is folded. It could be simply fluffing the pillows on the couch, collecting all the discarded shoes by the back door, or wiping down the counters in the kitchen. Whatever those things are for you, do them every day. Take a few minutes before heading to bed to simply tick off those items on your list.
4. Deal with clutter head-on.
Want your house to look great all the time but don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning? Get rid of the clutter in your house. If you don't use something, donate or sell it. If knick-knacks cover every available surface of your living spaces, making dusting tedious, try to narrow down the collection to a few key items you really love and get rid of the rest. If you have a pile of magazines that you haven't read for months, it might be time to recycle. If items in your home have no purpose or you don't really like them, it's probably best to simply say good-bye!
5. Enjoy your home.
The goal of a clean house isn't impressing visitors or even making sure your inner Monica Gellar is kept at bay. It's so you can enjoy your home. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, as the old saying goes, but don't make a clean house your idol. Take care of your home, but make sure that doesn't get in the way of spending time with your family and friends in that home.