Spring is here, and around our house, that means cleaning out the house. A clean, clutter-free house just makes you feel better, and there’s no better time to flush out the house then with the renewed energy that spring gives us.
I love to throw open the windows, turn up the music and clean, clean, clean. My husband knows that when this weather starts, he will be doing lots of runs to the local donation bins because it’s out with the old!
Cleaning the house out seems like such a no-brainer, but surprisingly, many people don’t know how to do this effectively, and how to make it last! We all know the drill because we’ve all been there, we spend the day cleaning out closets, dusting, organizing, and within a week, it seems like the counter is full of papers again, and the closets are bursting at the hinges. But don’t worry, help is on its way! Here are 5 tips to make your hard work last longer, so you have more time to spend outside, which is what we all really want to be doing anyway!
I have baskets all over my house, especially in the “hot spots”. I define hot spots, as those spots in your house where things seem to gather. For us, it’s the shelf when you come in the door, the edge of the kitchen counter, and Mom and Dad’s dresser. The baskets are great because instead of piling things in these spots, we can throw those things into the basket, keeping things neat-ish, contained and seemingly in order. Once a week, I go through all the baskets and put things where they actually belong, but between the times when they are cleaned out, our “junk” doesn’t look so junky inside of a pretty little basket!
The 10 Minute Hustle –
After dinner, we like to do Mom’s 10-Minute-Hustles! There are 5 of us in this house, 4 of us who are big enough to help out, so after dinner, I set the timer on the stove for 10 minutes, and everyone races around and picks up things that aren’t put away, sweep the floor, throws dirty laundry in the basket, wipes off counters.. anything they can do to contribute to the neatness of our house! It may not be done perfectly, but it’s been attempted! And let’s face it, if 4 people are doing the 10-minute hustle, it’s like 40 minutes of cleaning by clothes steamer, and that means more time to hang out with the kids or watch Dr. Phil from the PVR!
Stick to Necessities –
The less you have, the less you need to pick up or clean up. I am a very minimal person, and I’m not advocating that for everyone, however, if you find yourself picking up things you rarely use, dusting objects you don’t enjoy anymore, working around things that serve no purpose, or if you’re not really sure what’s in the back of that closet, or why you have 5 spatulas – it’s time to evaluate what you need to have. Getting rid of some things that are just laying around and not really being used can free up storage for things you really do need to have! When you start digging, you’ll be amazed how much you have that you don’t really need.
Sometimes all we need is a little structure to keep things in order. There is no, one-size-fits-all solution to this one because we all have very different lives, and pressing things to do but getting into some sort of cleaning routine will help you stick to keeping up with everything. Some people find it easiest to focus on one room a day, others find taking one weekend day and getting the whole house cleaned is more effective for them. I’m on maternity leave right now, so I kind of incorporate a whole bunch of ideas into one. I find that first thing in the morning, I get a load of laundry in, sweep, wipe down the counters, and for the rest of the day I attempt to get at something I’ve noticed needs done. If I can get all of this done by the time nap time is over, I have the rest of the day to play!
The goal is to find something that works for your family and stick with it. If you’re both working, try sitting down and delegating things that need to be done, and stick it in the fridge! And don’t forget the kids. Give them something they can handle to do every single day. (My 5-year-old LOVES to have a “job” and the bathroom is her domain. She cleans the counter off, wipes it down, and keeps the toilet paper dispenser stocked with rolls of paper for us!)
The final Tip is to relax. We’re all in the same boat, and I know when someone shows up unannounced and you and looking around your house wondering what they MUST be thinking about you and your stay of a house, you are mortified. But chances are, they’re going home to a less than perfect house too, and we’re all hard-working adults, who are all trying to work out the delicate balance between fun time, kid time, grown-up time, and cleaning.