The biggest enemy you have in cleaning your home and keeping it tidy is…..Guilt! That’s right. If you work on your home every day you feel guilty that you have not spent enough time with your children or spouse. If you spend the time you want to with them, you don’t get your house work done to your satisfaction. The key is to develop some routines that you follow each day that will make your work go faster, easier and more efficiently.
These are my routines to get you started and motivated on developing your own. The main point of a routine is that it sets a standard for you to follow. There is no question of what to do next, it’s in the routine. And it is the same every day, so you become proficient at it and it gets easier each time you do it. You can even set a timer and give yourself a certain amount of time to complete a task.
It all starts the NIGHT BEFORE! Yes, I start my routine each night before I go to bed. Begin with the kitchen. Make sure it is clean, orderly, dishes done. If you have a dishwasher, run it every night before bed. If you are like me, NOT a morning person, then set out dishes and anything that you can for tomorrow’s breakfast. (things like cold cereal, etc)
A clean kitchen cures a whole set of other problems. The dirty kitchen seems to just spill over into the rest of the house. So, starting the day with a clean kitchen puts you ahead of the game in the day of cleaning.
Next morning…..empty out the dishwasher first thing so you will have a place to put dirty dishes. Run a sink of hot soapy water. This is for rinsing out dirty dishes that go in the dishwasher or for washing the dishes as you use them. This is a very important part of my day because it keeps my kitchen from looking and feeling cluttered.
Get a clean dish rag and cloth each day. Wipe down the sink area as you go while cooking and cleaning. Keep the back of the sink and splash board area dry with your dish towel.
Keep your broom handy and a dust pan. Keep everything swept up as much as possible as soon as the floor gets messy. Keep a spray bottle of whatever cleaner you like to use handy, and spray and clean as you go.
Put a piece of paper on the frig and attach a pen or pencil for making your grocery list. Each time you see that you need an item you can go and add it immediately. Keep another list for the “To Do” items that occur to you each day.
Make a Meal Plan!
….. Plan your menus one week in advance-at least. Here’s how I do it. I choose several of my cookbooks for inspiration and get a spiral notebook and pen. I sit down with a cup of hot tea and begin to list the days of the week.
The first thing I do is decide what to have for Sunday Dinner. I write it down under “Sunday”. I add any bread, dessert or salad that I want to prepare for the meal. Then what items I don’t have on hand to prepare the meal I add to my shopping list. I do each day like this and then I think about lunches and breakfasts.
When I have all my menu plans done and my grocery shopping list completed, I add non-food items to the list. I have been shopping for quite a few years now and I have my list written down in the order of where they are in the grocery store. You don’t have to do that, but it is handy to at least have the list written in an orderly fashion, with all the vegetables in one area of the paper, meats in another, etc.
If you use your kitchen table for school or other projects, set a time each day that it absolutely has to be cleared off and cleaned. This saves a lot of trouble later in the day when you are trying to get it cleared and prepare dinner at the same time. Also, it saves you from the habit of eating in front of the T.V.
Cleaning the Living Room
The living room should be kept picked up all through the day. Get the family members in the habit of picking up after each other. This will help alot in the area of clutter. Make sure no one takes off their shoes in the living room, I don’t even allow my family to wear their shoes in the living room unless we have company, what’s the point? They take off their shoes at the door and take them to their bedrooms.Throw away as many newspapers each day as you can. At my house I have to wait a day or two before throwing them away so everyone who wants to read them has time. But I keep them stacked up by a chair. I found a cheap fireside-type basket at a flea market to keep them in and it looks very nice. Keep all magazines picked up and stacked up out of the way.
Weird but True…..
In the Living Room and in other rooms, if you will keep the couch cushions straightened and the rug fringe straight, you will have a pretty good looking room! The rug fringe gives the illusion of a straight room when it is in order, when it is out of order, even a clean room can look cluttered!
At the end of the day, whenever your hour for having the living room clean comes, give a last call to everyone to come get their belongings. Then, take a box or basket in the living room and fill it up with whatever is left over. Decide yourself what to do with it. You may have to implement a bit of discipline by confiscating some of the items until your children learn to pick up.
Allow your children to help you as much as possible. Give them certain jobs to be responsible for each day. And give them a time of day to have these jobs started and completed.