You know the story. You spend a whole day cleaning your home, but a few weeks (or days even!) later, it’s a complete mess again. The truth is, cleaning a house isn't as difficult as keeping the house clean. According to Amanda Thomas of the productivity and organization site Quick and Dirty Tips, "Keeping a clean house takes work, but often not as much work as people think. A clean house is more a matter of establishing a few habits that you repeat on a regular basis. The more often you repeat the tasks, the cleaner your house will be ongoing."
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Ask for help.
If you live with other people, agree upon shared chores. Determine which chores need to be done daily, bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly and divide those up to be placed on a chore chart. If the people you live with are your children, you might opt to teach them to make their beds first thing in the morning. This will not only give you one less thing to do, but also help them to build good habits in the future. It’s best to start them young!
You can even make cleaning up a game, so that it does not seem like work. Try giving younger children a basket, and tell them that whoever picks up the most toys gets a reward, or play make-believe with them by having a fictional cleaning company. Older children can help with more heavy duty chores, like taking out the trash or loading the dishwasher.
If you live with roommates, a chore chart will help all parties to avoid fights and misunderstandings. Have a talk beforehand so that everyone will know what is expected.
Leave more at the door.
A number of people swear by this tip by Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Ryan. He says the doorway to your home has to have 3 things:
- Doormats located just outside and inside of the front and back doors. The amount of dirt collected on the mats is proof that this method works.
- Hooks and hangers to easily put coats, hats, and umbrellas away.
- A “landing strip” which could be a table or bench to place a bowl for your odds and ends like keys and pocket change.
Having a designated place for all these will help you keep track of things, especially if you're known to frequently lose items.
Do a chore during a break.
Whether you work from home or are a stay at home parent, this is something you can easily fit in. Whenever you have a short break from work, aim to do a quick chore. Whether it’s doing a load of laundry, vacuuming a room, loading the dishwasher, or wiping up countertops, each little chore will give you a mental break from whatever you're doing, as well as making your day a tad more productive and lead to a cleaner house.
Give away what you don't need.
Each day, find something you can give away. Follow the Marie Kondo method and get rid of things that do not bring you joy.
If you have a whole day to clean, the KonMari method advises to clean by category, not by room. So, if you're getting rid of books, find all the books you don't need. The same goes for toys, clothes, and everything else.
Put everything back where they belong, immediately.
This is the easiest tip to keep your house neat, but something that can be hardest to do because you might tell yourself that you’d do that later. If you train yourself (and your housemates) to keep this habit, your house will be cleaner in no time.
It may seem like it’s difficult to keep a clean home, but the answer lies in asking for help, doing little things often and changing bad habits to good ones.