Nothing is ever quite as wonderful as waking up to a clean home. No dishes to be washed and the laundry all put away. Nothing says good morning better, well except maybe a good morning kiss from your love ;). Really though, we have all seen those commercials. The ones where the mom is up as the sun is rising and she has already worked out and her house is in perfect order and she just hits a button to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Don’t you want to be her. I know I always do lol. The sad reality is that it is so far from easy to have everything in perfect order. And I don’t know about you but my morning usually consists of me trying to find my other shoe and remember my lunch as a rush out the door to get to work on time. If you are like me and don’t function well in a mess, the only way to a calm and relaxing morning is cleanliness. But how do we get the house clean and keep it clean. There are so many good articles out on cleaning and organizing. I know I have taken a cue from many of them. But for me I might get my house clean…or at least half of it. But it doesn’t even take a week sometimes before it is exactly where it was to begin with. Even when we can finally get our homes clean and in order what is it that keeps it clean? Is it routine? Consistency? A schedule? Do you want to know the key to keeping your home clean? Mentality. Your mental desire to want to keep your home clean and put forth the effort to do it. The other things are vital to the survival of a clean home too don’t get me wrong, but your mentality makes the difference. Mentally determining that you are going to do what it takes to keep your home clean is the biggest battle. We all want a clean home, and we are all willing at some point to drag our lazy selves around to begrudgingly clean said home. But after the house is clean we often find ourselves saying, “Oh it’s not that messy, I’ll get to it later” or “Tomorrow I have more time I’ll just wait till then.” Mentally determining that we won’t put things off and that we will take care of our homes makes all the difference. It really is the difference in having cleaning your home be a chore verses a lifestyle. It’s like eating healthy! Having a positive attitude toward cleaning and organizing also makes the difference in a long drawn out miserable process and a joyful way to serve our family. So now that you have decided to make cleaning a positive event and not a mundane ugh moment let’s talk about some tips and tricks to making the process go faster and be less stressful!
There are many different ways to approach cleaning your home. Some people like to start by simply inputting a routine. This is great, but for me when I do something I like being able to start with a clean slate. So I like to deep clean everything and then implement a routine. No matter which you prefer the end result is the same so whatever works better for you. For this post though let’s look at a clean slate home and then implementing routine.
The easiest way for me to start clean slate is to pick a room. I typically pick the farthest room and work my way out but if you have a bigger house then pick the room you want cleaned first.
Get a laundry basket.
So the first big part of getting a room clean is getting everything that doesn’t belong in that room out. I used to simply go through stuff and put it in separate piles and then I’d have to go and find space in the room they were supposed to go in. Time consuming, double working, not a good idea. My preferred method is the laundry basket. Start in whatever room (for me it’s usually the bedroom). Bring an empty laundry basket and before anything else get all the items that don’t belong in that room (i.e. shoes, dirty clothes, kids toys or dogs toys, etc.) and put them in the basket. Don’t worry about putting it away or finding a home for it just acknowledge that it doesn’t belong in that room and put it in the basket. Once this is done (depending on how much you’ve let the place go) you will already see a drastic improvement in your area. Do this in every room but do one room at a time and finish cleaning that room before moving on to the next.
Find a place for it
Having a home for everything is vital to your sanity if you are trying to keep your home clean. You don’t have to live in a house that looks like a museum but being able to put things in their place when cleaning saves time and stress. After you’ve laundry basketed a room start cleaning that room and find a place for everything. You’re not done with the room until you are satisfied that everything has a home.
Keep important stuff somewhere special
I have two important places right now but when we move into the new house I will have three. I have my “keepsake” box that has all my special things from cards, to wedding memorabilia and general keepsake stuff. I have a box for all important papers and documentation. And when we get the house I want to get a file cabinet of some kind so I can keep taxes, bills, car titles, etc. more organized. Point is no matter how you do it find a place for important papers. This is helpful so that you aren’t having to worry about losing stuff and possibly throwing away something important. If you don’t like keep paper lying around you can always scan documents into your computer and save them there as well.
Deep clean every room means you’re going to vacuum, dust, clean the windows etc. Doing this before heading to another room means you can officially check it off your list and it will be a thousand times easier to keep clean once it is really clean.
Now that we have a clean slate let’s talk about keeping it that way.
Try to commit to doing at LEAST one load of laundry every day. That means a complete load as in washed, dried and put away. My husband, being a mechanic and everything in between, goes through clothes like CRAZY. This means I always have laundry, even when I just finished it. For that reason I’ve always had a slight aversion to laundry just because it seems impossible to ever keep it all done. If you struggle with this as well then here is some help…understand now that laundry will never be done. Once you understand that then you feel a lot less like a failing housewife just because you have laundry in the baskets. That being said. Your life will be a lot easier if you dedicate the time to do at least one load of laundry every day. For me it isn’t so much the washing of the laundry as it is the putting away. I just hate folding and hanging up clothes. That is why making sure I do at least one load a day is so important. It prevents me from feeling like I will never be able to finishing putting the mountain of clothes away that I didn’t wash all week. Additionally, to stream line your laundry process have a separate basket for each thing. I have a basket for me, SugarBear, and towels. This makes it easier when washing and putting away because you don’t have fifty million things all mixed up together. Whether you do you laundry in the morning or evening is up to you as that all depends on your schedule and personal preference. I prefer to do my laundry at night since my mornings are so busy. For me the easiest thing to do is to put a load of laundry in the washer before bed and don’t start it. Then when I get home from work I run by the utility room and press start on my already waiting clothes. A wash cycle is usually between an hour and an hour and a half. This means I have plenty of time to make dinner, and relax a little while still knowing I am getting something done. After dinner I go switch it around and enjoy another 30min to an hour of knowing something is getting done while I relax or do something else.
Oh the kitchen! It’s like the laundry, every time you are done…someone just had to get something to drink and there is another dirty dish. The most important thing you can do to help yourself is to ALWAYS clean your kitchen before bed. I don’t care how tired you are. I don’t care if it is three in the morning. NEVER go to bed with a dirty kitchen (and no a glass or spoon in the sink doesn’t count as a dirty kitchen). I know how very very very tempting it is to just say, “I will take care of it tomorrow it isn’t that bad.” Trust me don’t fall for it. Your morning self will thank you. For me one of the most pleasant things I can wake up to is a clean kitchen. If you have a dishwasher load it up and start it before bed. Or if you were lucky enough to start it earlier that evening, empty it before bed. I don’t like waking up and having to put dishes away, but some people don’t mind. Again, find what works for you. Whether you chose to wake up in the morning and put the dishes away or have an empty dishwasher in the morning, make use of it. Don’t leave your dishes in the sink. Make a habit of putting your dishes in the dishwasher when you are done with them. Or if you plan on reusing the same cup or mug for instance rinse it out and set it to the side. The goal is to have a few dishes cluttering up everything as possible.
The rest of the house.
Living room, bedroom, hallway, doesn’t matter where! Before bed every night get that laundry basket back out and go through each room removing what doesn’t belong and as you get to the room it goes in put it away. This is a quick tidy up trick that keeps your house more or less “mother-in-law” ready as I’ve heard some people call it. If you do this every evening then not only will you wake up to a clean house it won’t take that long to do it either.
Make your bed
Making the bed makes the whole room look clean even when it is a mess! Do yourself a huge favor and make your bed every morning. If nothing else it will give you a nice bed to crawl into at the end of a busy day!
Now that we have a clean house and we are keeping it generally tidy lets focus on the actual “clean” aspect. The bathrooms, the sinks, the pantry, the vacuuming etc. I LOVE planners and schedules and to do lists and so on and so forth. And although I love making a schedule I am not a strict must keep to the schedule kind of person. This means that if things don’t go as planned I don’t spiral into a mini mental breakdown. However, when it comes to cleaning the house having a stricter cleaning schedule helps me keep everything under control. Now this will be discussed in a lot more depth next week when we talk about routines and making and keeping them but for now making a generalized schedule of weekly cleaning duties is so helpful! Here is an example of a cleaning schedule
|Kitchen||Clean the windows and window sill|
|Basket tidy up||Deep clean the sink|
|Wipe down surfaces||Run the dishwasher through a self-clean cycle|
|Sweep the kitchen||Self-clean the oven|
|Go through the fridge and wipe down the inside|
|Wash the sheets|
That’s a general example but when we talk about routines we will get more in depth on daily verses weekly verse monthly and scheduling for the best results.
The most important part of keeping a house in order is to embrace it as a positive part of your life instead of looking at it as another chore that you have to do. No one particularly likes cleaning but when you have a positive attitude then your day and your cleaning will be better.
Never forget that no matter what we do, when we are doing it for the glory of God even the most mundane chore can be a wonderful blessing. Keep your focus on the King and when you feel like you are overwhelmed and can’t handle it. Give it to God. You are not a failure just because your house isn’t picture perfect clean 24/7 or even 5/2. Step back. Breath. Pray. Then put on a smile and continue. We can’t glorify God when we are grumpy and complaining. Remember that all things we do we should do for God. Even cleaning our house.
I hope week two of the “Finding Normal Series” was helpful for you. As a busy wife I find it difficult to remember that I need to make sure my home is a pleasant place not just for me but for those I share it with. Your home is your sanctuary and when your home is clean and clutter free you will find that you have a more positive day! Though many times I simply don’t want to do it mentally determining that I will do this for me and my family is a great motivator when you really just want to not care anymore. What are some ways that you find make clean up easier to handle? Do you have a routine or schedule you try to stick to? Leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com I love hearing from each of you! Don’t forget to like my facebook page and follow me on Instagram and twitter!
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