Keeping the house clean can seem like an overwhelming task if you try to take it on all at once. Having a tidy home is much more manageable if you develop daily habits and a cleaning schedule to take it on a little at a time.
Rhythms and Routines to house clean
Rhythms and routines are your friend here. The easiest way to develop a habit is to append it onto a routine you are already doing. Start by making your bed each day when you climb out of it, then look at the other tasks that could be maintained a little each day.
For example, I empty the dishwasher in the morning while my Eggwich is in the microwave for breakfast, and we rinse and load the dishwasher at night after dinner. We rinse our plates after breakfast, and reuse them for lunch and dinner. This routine helps keep the dishes from piling up.
You can take a similar approach for laundry. If you put a load of laundry in the washer as part of your morning routine each day, then move it over to the dryer at some point in the middle of the day (like right before you grab lunch), your clothes will be clean and dry before your nightly Netflix and chill, which is a perfect time for folding.
Do a surface clean by clearing horizontal spaces (tables, counters) and wiping them down as you use them throughout the day. Clean working surfaces will help keep your mind clear and focused on the tasks you are trying to complete.
Add these little tasks to your existing daily routines so it doesn’t have time to pile up until you have a sink full of dirty dishes and a mound of stinky laundry.
Put the House to Bed
Another great way to maintain is to “put the house to bed” every night with no phones or distractions. Involve the whole family and make it fun with music, or make it into a game. (“Who can clean the most items up before the song is over?”) We also have our robot vacuum on an automated schedule. The kids know that the vacuum will be running each night, and their stuff needs to be picked up from the main living areas. (Let the vacuum be the bad guy so you don’t have to.)
You probably don’t want to hear it, but no amount of routines, rhythms, or organization will allow you to maintain a tidy home if you are drowning in stuff that you never use, yet somehow it always ends up all over the floor. Be a ruthless editor of what is in your home. Take an objective look at your possessions, and honestly evaluate if they bring enough value to your life to be worth the time you are spending maintaining them. Give it a home, or let it go! Make your space functional by storing items near where it is most often used. (That way it is more likely to be put away when you’re done with it.) Make it easy for you and your family to maintain. (Allie Casazza is the queen of decluttering with a family.)
When it comes to toys, kids should always be involved with the decluttering process. If you are having a hard time getting your family’s toy quantity to a manageable level, try a toy rotation. It will allow you to limit how many toys can be left out at a time, but isn’t as drastic. We use this system with sets like magnet blocks, mega bloks, food toys, etc. The key is that my kids have to have their closets/rooms clean before they can trade their set in for something else. That way we make sure we have all the pieces in the set before we trade.
Make a prioritized list of cleaning tasks that need to be done in your home, and note how frequently they need to be completed. (For cleaning task ideas, you can check out the Spring Cleaning Checklist Post.) In your planner, calendar, or whatever you use to manage your time, assign each task a time slot. (You could even set an alarm on your phone to remind you.) You can designate a cleaning day, schedule a task each day throughout the week, or something in between. Do what makes the most sense for you, your family, and your life.
The Drop Zone
If you notice there is a spot where things seem to always get dumped, create a storage solution there. It is much easier to create a system around the habits you and your family already have than to try to break and develop habits for someone else.
For example, if your family comes home and dumps their coats and backpacks as they come in the door, then add some hooks or a coat rack in that spot to give their things a home and make it easy for them to put them away.
If you find keys and wallets are always getting dumped on the counter and it feels cluttered, then that might be a good place for a key dish to corral them or a key hook on the wall.
Maybe you find that things are always being left at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for someone to take them up. Add a pretty basket in that spot to gather the items so they are contained and easy to take upstairs each night.
Wherever you see a problem-spot in your home, create a storage solution.
Hire a Cleaner
Maybe you value a clean home, but your time is better spent on other endeavors. There is nothing wrong with outsourcing! Do the jobs that you are great at, you enjoy, and that bring money or value to your family. Hire someone who is great at other tasks that don’t make sense to be on your plate. Buy your time back, and support a local business—win, win!
Keep the House Clean and a Tidy Home with Daily Habits and a Cleaning Schedule
Habits, routines, and rhythms can help you maintain a tidy home. A cleaning schedule and/or outsourcing can help you keep your house clean. What was your favorite strategy? Do you have any tips to add to my list?