You know how when you come back home from being gone for several days you see your house through fresh eyes? You know what I mean – you walk in and all of a sudden you realize you have SO. MUCH. STUFF.
You walk in after what was (hopefully) a wonderful trip, and then bam! It hits you how many dusty pictures are on the walls, how many dishes you left in the sink, how many toys the kids have left out, and how much laundry you are about to have to do.
Within about 10 minutes the “fresh eyes” wear off and you get back into routine of the house.
Perhaps you don’t have to be gone for several days to realize how much clutter you have. Maybe you think about it every day when you step on Legos, balance dirty dishes in the sink like it’s an Olympic sport, and add more laundry to the small mountain in your mud room.
I want to encourage you – you CAN have a clean house again! You can absolutely gain control of the clutter and chaos that has become your life.
It may take some intentional work, but you’ve got this.
Get Rid of Excess
This is absolutely the KEY to keeping a house clean all day. It doesn’t matter how many routines and good intentions you have. If you have so much stuff that you are tripping over it everyday, your family will NOT enjoy their home.
Have you been to someone’s house that is full of clutter? How about a house that would be your DREAM? Think about how you feel being in those different environments. What stands out in your mind about them? Do you feel really stressed in a cluttery home? Do you feel peaceful in an organized home?
Think about how you would like your home to feel. Are you willing to clean out what’s necessary to make it happen?
Getting rid of the excess that you have will take a while but if you commit to one room per week you will ABSOLUTELY feel so much better in no time! Once you get rid of the excess and pair down on the clutter you will NEVER want to go back. Trust me. Former clutter collector speaking.
Have Zones in the House
This one is what I’m working on right now in my house, and let me tell you, it is SUCH a game-changer to keeping our house clean all day! We have set up “zones” in the house so that we keep our stuff where it should be. Here’s some examples:
– Food stays at the table
– Toys in the play room
– Work/Homework stays at the table while being worked on and then back into the backpack
– Put all random cords in designated drawer for cords and miscellaneous tech stuff
– Dirty laundry gets put in hamper
– Phone chargers stay in same place (don’t move them all around the house…they get lost!)
– Shoes stay outside in the garage shoe organizer
You get the gist. We just try to limit where we are moving our stuff all around the house. Just keeping food at the table is awesome. I’m not constantly having to clean little crumbs all over the living room and bedrooms.
Also we don’t wear shoes inside, they stay outside in one spot. This helps two ways – one, we aren’t tracking in all kinds of dirt and leaves in the house and two, we aren’t constantly tripping over or missing shoes. They are exactly where you left them 🙂
Do an Evening Tidy Up
Every evening I do a quick tidy up! Here’s my list of what I do right after dinner so the house stays clean and is ready for the morning.
Dishes – go into dishwasher, start at night, unload in the morning, pick the side of sink closest to dishwasher is for rinsed dishes waiting to go in
Food – all food is put up and leftovers are covered and put in fridge
Wipe Surfaces – table, kitchen counters and stove top, double check bathroom counters and coffee table
Laundry – throw dirty laundry into washer and start it, rotate in the morning and either put away clean clothes then or make a clean laundry pile to do later
Toys and Clutter – have kids help put away toys then can watch some TV before bedtime while I put up any projects that got left out
Sweep – sweep kitchen and under kitchen table (especially where 1 year old was sitting! lol)
All in all it takes me about 30-45 minutes to get it all done. Usually faster but that includes all the times my kids stop me for help or reach something for them, etc. I can ABSOLUTELY feel the difference waking up to clean start to my day rather than waking up to last night’s mess that still has to be dealt with while trying to make breakfast. It’s the difference between starting your day ahead and starting your day already behind.
Do a Moring Tidy Up
Okay, so now we have talked about the evening tidy up, here’s my morning routine!
Bed – go ahead and make up bed when you get out of it (or at LEAST after done with breakfast)
Getting ready for day – put up make-up, glasses, pajamas, etc, as soon as you are done with it. DON’T leave anything out unless it’s an unplugged curling iron cooling off and the kids and pets absolutely cannot reach it
Dishes – unload dishes after breakfast, start loading breakfast dishes and anything in the sink leftover from last night
Food – clean up from breakfast, store leftovers
Wipe surfaces – kitchen table, breakfast prep area and stove top if used
Laundry – put wet clothes in dryer and either do laundry or make a clean pile
The house is already clean but if you can just put away what you used in the morning, it will stay that way!
Obey the “One Touch Rule”
Lastly, the One Touch Rule. Have you heard of it? Well it’s GENIUS! I can’t take credit for it but it’s something we recently added to our routine. The concept is simple, when you are done with something put it up immediately. For example – the mail. As soon as you go get it, sort it and deal with it. Do not throw it on the table, move it for dinner time, open it up and leave it on the kitchen counter, move it to clean kitchen counter, put it on the entry table, then finally pile it on your desk.
Another example is your purse. You come in the house and put it on the table, move it for dinner and put it in the kitchen, then clean the kitchen and it goes back on the table, then the next morning you can’t remember where you put it because someone else moved it out of their way.
The One Touch Rule tells you that as soon as you come in, put away all your things where they go. Have a place for your purse near the door on a hanging rack, or immediately take it to the designated spot in your room, etc.
Obey this rule and you will spend WAY LESS TIME each night picking up piles of clutter and just moving them around. It’s so simple and effective and it’s the biggest secret to keeping your house clean all day! Just have to remember to do it now 🙂 lol
You can do it! Let me know in the comments below how you will overcome your biggest hurdle!
For More Reading – Boston Globe article on Clutter and Stress