I was never very good at housekeeping. My parents did not teach good values under this topic and I am not proud of what my first couple of places as a newly married woman looked like. But I got a few tough lessons from a loving mother-in-law and even worked for a cleaning company for a while. It’s still hard for me at times, especially on days when I know I can’t get everything done that I need. But I finally have something that is company ready that I can be proud of even at a weak moment. These tips and ideas helped me along the journey, so maybe they can help you too:
- I cannot stress how important this is. Clean as you go. I know you’ve heard it before, but seriously, once you grasp this concept you will be better off for it. Our Out of Sync Life had a post before the school year started about how she always tries to keep her home at the most fifteen minutes away from company ready. I, much like her, see it as a way to ready myself and my day for whatever the Lord has in store. One of the things that helps me is to never leave a room empty-handed. I do the same thing with our master bathroom. When I finish brushing my teeth or hair, I make sure I didn’t leave a trail of water, hair or clutter. With two young children in the house, it is easy for things to get scattered and out of order, but when I make it a point to clean as I see it, it becomes easier and smoother. When it is instilled as a habit, it becomes less noticeable and more of a habit.
- On the topic of bathrooms: If you have a glass door on your shower, always wipe it down with a towel when you are done. This is a good rule anyway so you don’t harbor mold spores or anything, but essential when you have glass. The water spots require a very tedious and difficult process, but the fresh water comes right off!
- Having a tough time getting started somewhere? Pick a room a day to really focus on without neglecting your daily work. See My Weekly Cleaning Zones to give you an idea and feel free to adapt it to your own needs. I found this very useful for the things that do get dirty, but do not need daily attention. A little tip to get you started: Always go counter-clockwise (or right to left) and up to down. The counter-clockwise works well for visual perception. You are less likely to miss a spot going the opposite direction that your brain would normally process it (i.e. we read from left to right). The top to bottom is because of gravity. you don’t want all the stuff from the microwave falling down on your newly-cleaned stove (how many times have I done this one).
- Keep up appearances and atmosphere. It is a standing goal of mine to keep the home a place that my husband and children always long to be- a place of sanctuary, refuge, and shelter from the dark and deceptive world that we live in. That is easier said than done. If my children can’t concentrate on school work because their toys are laying out everywhere, or if my husband can’t find his favorite shirt for work just before he has to leave, I am not doing my job as an adequate homemaker. With this in mind, I have a dirty little secret to share with you: If you are in a rush to just set the mood for your family before the hubby leaves or if you need to hurry up and clean because someone is unexpectedly arriving,my advice would be: STUFF THE STUFF! Your guests are not likely to go through your closets or check your laundry room for all those unpaired socks that you will find time to fold. They will see the general areas of your home are clutter-free and that everything seems in working order. I can’t tell you how many times I have grabbed clothes up off the kid’s bathroom floor and placed them on the washer behind a closed door. I don’t recommend this as a habit, but more as a last-stitch attempt.
- Also under keeping up atmospheres and appearances, my children are not allowed to have toys in the living room. It is our school room, our reading room, and our learning-game room; it is not a toy room. I think it is good to have a prioritized home especially if you home school, but even if you don’t. Children need to know where their boundaries are. If I am not going to want cars all over the living room floor when guests arrive, I don’t want them on the floor now. This way, the rules are clear and it also sets the type of learning environment I’m trying to encourage. If it isn’t a rule yet, it can be. My three year old took about a week before he knew and obeyed this rule.
- The vacuum is your friend! If you can, choose a vacuum with a lot of hose attachments and strong suction. It also helps to have one that you can easily change the hose to floor settings. Mine has all plastic components so I don’t have to worry about picking up foods. I generally only vacuum as needed and when applicable to the weekly cleaning zones. When I do vacuum, I make certain that I can get the most out of that time. I generally have a hose in one hand and the handle in the other so that I can go back and forth between the two. Use your vacuum everywhere. Use it in the bathroom around the toilet, use it for window sills, ceiling fans, and even for the dirt on your patio, door steps, or lanai. It isn’t just a vacuum cleaner, it’s a duster, too. If Raspberry Bug spills cereal all over a spot on the floor, you bet I’m going to vacuum the bookshelf sitting right by it!
- The kitchen sink can get dirty fast. Try every time you walk past the sink to just clean it out and off. Actually, this is the starting point for a lot of bloggers when it comes to keeping a clean house. There is something refreshing and satisfying about not just doing the dishes, but making the sink, faucet, and surrounding areas sparkle and shine. I don’t even wash my hand in the kitchen any more without drying off the faucet too. Take time after meals and whenever you notice build-up in or on your sink, and your kitchen’s first impression just may be a good one.
- Disinfectant wipes are a must! They allow you to quickly and efficiently go over almost any surface with ease. And it is essential with a little potty trainer in the house. =)
- Teach the kids to clean up after themselves. I’ve been slowly implementing cleaning into the kid’s schedules since they were born. Blueberry Ball is learning right now how to clean up a mess he makes at the bathroom sink and where his clothes go when he is done wearing them. He often helps me with laundry and putting the dishes away.Sometimes I feel like it is more trouble than it is worth to try to do it now. Sometimes it takes longer to have him “help” than it does to do it myself. But then I remind myself that he is only going to enjoy these types of chores for so much longer before it will be even harder to change. The time is now and I will see results. (hopefully soon, I’m starting to get a little tired of laundry).
Hope you enjoyed! What would you write in number ten?