How to Organize the House and Keep it Clean Easily
How many times have you had a hectic day and decided to just leave the housework until tomorrow? Most of us have those days and once in a while they don't really cause a problem, but when chores are put off routinely, suddenly clutter and messes get out of control. You may not think you have time to devote to household tasks every day, but doing so will actually take less time overall than waiting until everything is a wreck to tackle it.
Do you cringe at the thought of unexpected company? Do you really wish you could come home to a nice, clean inviting home every day? It isn't just a dream or ideal, it is very possible and all it requires is some preparation, planning and teamwork.
Everything In Its Place
There is truth behind the saying “A place for everything and everything in it's place”. No it isn't just the mantra of obsessive compulsive housewives, it is actually the best way to keep the home organized and clean. When you use something, resist the urge to lay it down on the counter. Put it away immediately. Once you develop this habit, you'll see that your home remains cleaner naturally, without any real added effort. It takes more time to walk around picking up tons of clutter and putting it away, than it does to simply replace an item as it is used.
This is a great lifetime habit to instill in young family members. When you develop this habit at an early age it stays with you for life. At the end of each day, everything should be where it belongs. Dishes washed and put away, toys in their bins, etc.
This is a lesson we've struggled with. Growing up my family was very lax about keeping home, probably because my mother's mother was exactly the opposite. She was truly obsessive compulsive about cleanliness, to the point it became hard to handle living in her household. As an act of rebellion, my mother was never much of a housekeeper (understandably!) so, that is a lesson I have learned the hard way over the years and one I still have to remind my children of daily - especially over the summer months!
Household Chore Lists and Organization
Sometimes it's simply a matter of not having a schedule that gets people off track. We tend to just do things whenever they need to be done or when they've been neglected for too long. This causes more stress and anxiety ultimately than having a schedule of chores. Having a schedule ensures everything is done in a timely manner and nothing is neglected until it becomes a dreaded all day project.
A great example is cleaning out the refrigerator. When you do it every two weeks or once a month, it is a lot less demanding (not to mention gross) than when you do it twice a year or when you are trying to identify the mystery odor that knocks you down whenever you open the door.
You can view our chore schedule in the graphic to the right. This particular one is a good basic schedule and yours may need to be adjusted to meet your homes needs. As you sit to make your own schedule consider your homes special needs and include them. For example I included watering the garden/plants on mine. This is an item not everyone may have, but perhaps you have tons of knickknacks on display that collect dust – instead make that one of your twice weekly or monthly tasks.
Divide your chores into time frames and place the list on the fridge and check it off as you go along. If you have other family members, assign the chores on rotations and make a chart for those so everyone can easily see what they need to do each day.
The really big jobs like windows, pulling down drapes to clean and other large projects should be done one per month throughout the year. Examples would be turning mattresses, replacing smoke detector batteries, washing down the siding, cleaning out the attic etc.
DIY Housecleaning Products Save Time and Money
You don't need a ton of chemicals and nasty products that are harmful to your health. This is especially true if you are cleaning regularly on a schedule. Invest in a few good items like a steam mop (a life saver), good dust mop, long-handled swiffer type dusting wand, and magic erasers (these do wonders on shower walls and doors!)
Throw out the chemicals and make your own cleansers. I worked as a professional housekeeper for a long time and I learned as I went along how to make homemade cleaners that work. Household chemicals and artificial fragrances have been linked to a two-fold increased risk of breast cancer in women. Many are filled with known carcinogens that aggravate allergies and asthma. You can clean and make your home smell great naturally with the following recipes:
All Purpose Cleaner
Use this to wipe the counters and surfaces daily and whenever you need it.
In a spray bottle mix ¼ cup white vinegar, 20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract, Distilled water (doesn't spot) and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s). I love Rosemary or a blend of orange and sage. Everyone's tastes are different, find pure essential oils that you like. You can also see my list of essential oils every household needs for more ideas.
¼ cup vinegar, 1Tbsp cornstarch, Distilled Water to fill and 5-10 drops of tea tree or rosemary essential oil. Shake the bottle well before each use. The distilled water prevents spotting, the cornstarch prevents streaking and polishes glass and chrome gently, the tea tree or rosemary disinfects naturally.
Do You Follow a Regular Cleaning Schedule in Your Home?
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Share Your Housekeeping and Organizing Advice
Do you have some helpful advice to share that helps you manage clutter and clean faster? If so feel free to share in the comments!
© 2013 Christin Sander