Are you having a hard time keeping your home clean? Sometimes it just seems like no matter what you do, the house is always a mess. But why? Where are you going wrong? There are probably a few things you're doing (or not doing) which are hindering rather than helping your progress, and that's what I'm here to help you with today.
While I can't honestly say I LOVE cleaning, I do enjoy living in a clean house. A lot of mess makes me feel stressed and anxious, so even if I really don't feel like cleaning, I suck it up and do it anyway and I always feel great afterwards. In that way, it's just like working out - it can be hard to motivate yourself to start, but once it's over with you feel amazingly accomplished and a little bit smug.
Here are my top six habits for keeping a clean home so you'll never feel overwhelmed...and won't have to resort to hiring a professional cleaner.
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1. Minimise your possessions
Minimalism is a passion of mine so this will always be my number 1 tip for keeping a clean house. Your home will never look tidy if you have too many things and nowhere to put them - clutter begets clutter and before you know it you'll be overrun with STUFF. Before you start trying to clean and tidy up, go through your house and get rid of anything you don't use or love. This might take a while, depending on how much excess stuff you have, but it will ultimately be worth the effort because your cleaning time will be drastically reduced.
There are many methods you can use when decluttering, including:
- The KonMari Method in which you declutter by category (rather than by room) and hold each item in your hands, asking yourself whether it 'sparks joy'. If the answer is no, get rid of it.
- The Minimalists' packing party where you box up all of your possessions (yes, every single one of them) as if you were moving house, and only take out items as you need them. After a set number of days, anything left in the boxes you haven't used or needed can go. The Minimalists also have other methods such as the 90/90 rule, the 20/20 rule and the Thirty Day Minimalism Game so you'll probably find at least one of these helpful - experiment with different ways and see which works best for you.
2. Clean as you go
If you allow things to pile up for ages before tackling them, you're only making it harder for yourself in the long run. Keeping on top of things and cleaning up after yourself is one of the most important ways to keep your living space clean and tidy. Here are a few suggestions:
- Wash up your dishes (or put them in the dishwasher) as soon as you've finished eating so you don't have a sink full of plates, cutlery and pans with stuck-on food to deal with and nothing clean left to eat from.
- Try to do a load of laundry every day so you don't end up with a mountain of clothes you have to spend an entire day washing and drying. As soon as the clothes have finished washing, put them straight in the dryer or on the line, and as soon as they're dry, for the love of God just fold them and put them away.
- As soon as you walk in the front door, hang up your coat and put your shoes away. Also designate a place for your keys, like a hook or a bowl by the door, and put them there every single time you come home so you'll know exactly where they are when it's time to leave again.
3. Create (and stick to) a cleaning routine
I never used to have a cleaning routine and would just clean things when they got dirty. However, this doesn't really work because something will always be dirty and you'll constantly be cleaning. I now set aside a few hours one day a week to get the majority of my cleaning done - this way things never actually get very dirty and I rarely have to scrub anything.
If you don't have a whole day to devote to cleaning, your routine could involve cleaning different parts of the house on certain days - for example, Monday could be bedrooms, Tuesday the bathroom, Wednesday the living room, etc. Whatever you feel is manageable and you'll be able to stick to is going to be the best thing for you.
Don't be the only one in the household trying to keep everything spotless while other people are making a mess. Assign each family member or housemate a certain task or chore to do every day or week. You can encourage younger children to help out by using a sticker chart - they receive a sticker every time they complete a chore, and when they have a set number of stickers on their chart (say five or ten) they get a reward. Older children could be given pocket money for doing jobs around the house.
5. Have a place for everything
You may have heard the saying, "A place for everything, and everything in its place". If items don't have a home to go to, they'll just hang out anywhere and make the house look messy. Finding or creating a designated home for every single item you own and putting it back in its home once you've finished with it will help to combat clutter and make it easier to clean your house come cleaning day, because you'll actually be able to see your surfaces.
6. Own few but quality cleaning products
If you've just decided to get your house in order and are feeling really motivated, you might be tempted to go out and buy ALL THE CLEANING PRODUCTS. However, you should always favour quality over quantity. Owning just a few, natural products will help you to be more efficient and get more cleaning done in less time than having loads of supplies that all do different jobs. A good all-purpose cleaner (I use and recommend Method) and some microfibre cloths are all you really need to get started.
You can also make your own natural products - white vinegar, lemons and bicarbonate of soda (AKA baking soda) are all easily obtained, inexpensive products that are completely natural and clean just as well as store bought, heavy duty products which often contain chemicals you don't really want to be spraying around your house, especially if you have young children or pets.
In conclusion, try to keep your cleaning routine as natural and minimal as possible. Get into the habit of cleaning as you go and don't give yourself any unnecessary extra work, and your house will be clean all the time (in theory)!
Do you love or loathe cleaning? What is your favourite tip for keeping a tidy house? Let me know in the comments.
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