I love having a clean house and, over the years I’ve learned some habits that help the house stay cleaner. These simple habits also help when it comes to more serious cleaning chores.
- Keep the dirt out – The easiest way to help keep things clean is to not let dirt in as much as possible. Start a “shoes off” policy to keep dirt from tracking in on your wood floors or carpet. Don’t leave windows open if you live in a dry environment and dirt is always swirling around outside. Last summer the county was doing roadwork and the house would have been inches deep in dirt if the windows had been open.
- Clean as you go – When I’m cooking or baking I find I have little chunks of time I’m waiting for something to cook. I’ll wash the dishes I’ve used to cook to save myself time after the meal (or when the cookies are baked). It’s the same with the bathroom. After I use the sink to apply makeup and wash my hands I’ll give it a quick cleaning while it’s wet. Ditto for the shower.
- Know your tools – I used to vacuum my kitchen floor. There’s always a setting on vacuums for hard floors and I thought vacuuming would be better (and faster) than sweeping. Now I sweep. My vacuum couldn’t get into the tight areas, like next to the refrigerator and stove that a broom can reach. I’d end up vacuuming then sweeping those areas anyway. Think about the way you clean and decide the best tools for each job.
- Carry your supplies – Get a caddy, bag, or other container for the cleaning supplies you need for each job. If you have to keep running to the kitchen or mudroom for supplies you’re wasting time and energy.
- Don’t wander off – Finish each job before starting the next. It’s easy to become distracted but you’ll end up with half-finished chores in some areas. Make a plan like starting at the back door and working to the front door. Then divide each room from back to front. You can even think of each room as a grid and clean one grid at a time.
- Only use rooms as they were meant to be used – Using the living room or bedroom to eat or allowing all the kids’ toys to be in the living room creates extra work. You’ve got to remember to take things back to the rooms they belong and then actually do it. It’s easier to keep things in their respective rooms. Eat in the kitchen or dining room. Have the kids return a toy to their bedroom before they bring out another.
- Keep it up – Don’t put off cleaning. Things only build up and the job becomes that much more difficult. Think of every single job that needs to be done on a daily, every other day, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and seasonal schedule. My Service Dog, Remy is a shedder so vacuuming is an every other day chore. The guest bathroom gets cleaned once a week. The walls in the house get washed seasonally, spring and fall. Allow yourself “cheats” if needed. Don’t fret about not cleaning the bathroom if your child needs to see the doctor.
- Enjoy yourself – I’m a big believer in playing music while cleaning. High energy tunes make the job more enjoyable and the music helps me keep moving.
A few other helpful tips I’ve picked up are:
- I only use hairspray outside. It leaves a mess in the bathroom (even on the door and walls) and the dogs and I tend to slip on the floor after it dries.
- I keep my slippers by the front door when I leave so I’m not tempted to wear my shoes in the house.
- The mail is sorted as soon as it comes through the door. Junk mail is tossed immediately.
- Stains on clothes are treated immediately. If they are allowed to set they’ll be much harder or impossible to get out.
- If you have kids close in size do their laundry separately. It may seem like a time and water waster but you’ll save yourself from trying to sort through a bunch of clothes that are nearly the same size.
- I always clean my cleaners. Dirty dusting cloths just spread dust around. A full vacuum bag or canister can’t pick up dirt. Even scrub brushes need to be cleaned.
- And one final trick I’ve learned is that rubber gloves are great for getting dog hair off the furniture. I just need to learn how to keep the dogs off altogether!