A clean house doesn’t have to seem like such a chore. Let’s get right to it, during the holidays people tend to “pop over” either on short notice or no notice at all, and the last thing we want them to walk into is a house that looks like a tornado swept right on through. (Thanks for the holiday sugar cookies Aunt Mary! Watch out for the Lego minefield. Oh, and yes that is a pile of socks on the couch.) While I hold absolutely no qualifications related to cleaning, I have in fact been able to keep a (usually) clean home with two little guys and two large dogs tearing through it daily.
First Things First…
- Is our home always spotless? Not a chance, we have kids and dogs.
- Is our home usually pretty clean? You bet.
- Does a messy house and clutter stress me out? Most definitely.
Now that we are all on the same page. Here are a few tricks I use to keep a tidy home and my sanity.
Your entire family plays a part in making the house messy, therefore everyone gets the privilege of cleaning it up. Our oldest son knows that throughout the day he has free reign of his room to play with whatever he wants. Often times it feels like he pulls every single toy out he owns, but as long as it’s in his room, that is fine by me. However, when bedtime rolls around he also knows that it must all be picked up and put away before he heads to bed.
When it comes to our central living area, we all work together to keep it tidy. Toys flow in and out of the living room and periodically when the floor is barely visible, I ask the boys to put away the toys that they are not using. Most of the time this works, and the majority of toys find their way back to their respective places. I work on keeping the high surfaces free of clutter (i.e. mail, cups, etc.)
Clean as you go.
This can be easier said than done at times, but I have found that if you start doing this it really becomes second nature. The concept is simple, clean up before it becomes a huge mess.
If I am cooking dinner, I try to wash the dishes (or load them into the dishwasher) as I go. This prevents a heaping pile from building up in the sink. For me, a sink full of dishes seems like such a chore, but putting a couple in the dishwasher here and there is no problem at all.
Setting your hand down on the kitchen counter only to find a pile of crumbs is something that really annoys me. After each meal I wipe the kitchen counters that were used. I have found that most of my prep work is done on the island, so most of the time I only need to do a quick wipe down of our kitchen island. And BAM, no crumbs!
Kitchen appliances attract finger prints, face prints and sometimes child licks (I’m looking at you, refrigerator). I have found that by quickly wiping the oven door, dishwasher and refrigerator down, that our kitchen just feels a little cleaner. Something as simple as this can make a real difference.
I do not have a written cleaning schedule, but I do have things that get done regularly. One, I vacuum every other day. Everyone in our family knows that vacuuming is done every other day, which helps keep the floor surface free of clutter—can’t vacuum a floor covered in blocks. Two, bathrooms get cleaned each weekend. With two boys I often times find myself cleaning the bathrooms more than that some weeks (Seriously, how hard is it to hit the toilet?!) but at a minimum, once a week.
Take a deep breath, light a candle and turn on the music. Some days your house will seem like it is a total disaster from morning until night—and that is alright. Life happens. Messes happen.
If I am tackling a days’ worth of messes, I start small and work from there. I pick up the floor first, and move on up. If you tackle one task first, and it’s relatively easy, the next one doesn’t seem so bad.
Hopefully these hacks will help ensure a more tidy home for those holiday visitors. Oh, and if that doorbell rings and your house is a disaster zone, hide! Run to another room, close the blinds, turn the TV off—no one says that the door must be opened.
I would love to hear your tips for keeping a tidy home! Leave your comment below.