Hey, welcome back to the final post in this clutter series! Glad you stuck around! Check here for "part one," here for "'part two," and "part three" if you missed it.
Once you have your home clean and clutter free, you will want to keep it clean. Now is the fun part (o.k., probably not really....but it's all about the attitude, lol!). Now you need to keep it that way. Seriously, good luck with that and thanks for stopping by! See you later. Please come again! Love ya!
O.k., I will tackle the subject but I do apologize if I don't do it well! Maintaining the home is something lots of us struggle with. It can be tough to get in the pickup habit and stay in it. Deep cleaning will keep your home down-to-the-bone-clean. But it's the maintenance (the surface cleaning and daily to-do's) that will make it look and stay that way.
It's the maintenance that will keep the home running smoothly. Your family may not notice if your floors or bathrooms miss a week of cleaning, but they will notice if they have no clean clothes, clean dishes, or food to eat.
Our floors may be eat-off-the-floor-clean (seriously, who does that?), and the tables may be spit-shined (eeewwww...now there's a concept), but if they are littered with toys or papers and stuff, they will not look clean. I'm not saying that you should only do surface cleaning, however. We really need to do both. I am saying that surface cleaning will make your deep cleaning last a long longer.
When I first started trying to get my home under control, I set up a schedule. I had one big cleaning day on Friday, and a friend watched my kids. On Thursdays she cleaned and I watched her kids. That worked, and then suddenly, it didn't. So I needed to figure out a new schedule that worked for me.
Find a schedule, a routine, that works for you. Some people like to just veg-out during the week and clean, clean, clean on the weekend. Some people would sooner die than clean on the weekend, so they will space it out during the week. Find what works for you.
I recommend starting with a cleaning schedule. To do this, make a list of all the cleaning jobs that you think need to be done around your home. Then put down how often you think each of these need to be done....daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly (or even bi-monthly or seasonally).
Decide how many days a week you want to designate as cleaning days. A little every day, two days a week, three? For jobs that need to be done once a week: spread them throughout the week on those days. Monthly jobs will be spread throughout the month.
I recently wrote a post on my "weekly schedule:"
Monday: Laundry, wash kitchen windows (inside only), 15 min. work on a project
Tuesday: Straighten pantry and cupboard underneath the sink, water plants, 15 minute project
Wed.: Windex mirrors/glass, clean microwave and stovehood, clean out fridge, 15 minute project
Thurs: Laundry, price book, school and/or menu planning, 15 minute project
Friday: Mop floors, change sheets, 15 minute project
Saturday: Bathrooms, Special Projects, sweep hardwoods, 15 minute project
These are just things I try to do every week to keep my home flowing smoothly (I also have a monthly schedule). Some weeks I may not get to it (such as straightening up the pantry), but I know that eventually I will get to it and things will stop falling on my head. You will note that some chores, such as dusting and vacuuming, are not on there. That is because my children do them.
Another great thing to do is to set up a daily schedule. Mine is "here." My cleaning schedule is not broken up into specific time slots, my homeschool schedule is. To do that, you will want to list things you do every day and the times (roughly ) that you do them. List the time you wake up, the time you have your meals, kid's nap times, soccer practice, bathtime, bedtimes, etc. Everything you have a time for. Figure out how much time you should allow for each event. Then you work from there and fit your "daily" schedule around those times. Start at bedtime and work back, that will tell you the time you need to get up in the morning.
When the kids were little we had three pickup times a day...before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. I also had a standing 4:00 p.m. room-check time in which I checked that their rooms were neat and orderly (this was the before dinner toy pickup time). We also established 7:00 p.m. as the time in which we did a pickup of the entire house (that was the final toy pickup).
I would suggest that you establish some "rules" for your home. These are just some examples to give you an idea:
1. Never leave a room empty-handed (always grab something out of place and take it with you).
2. Always put away your grooming supplies (brushes, combs, makeup) when done with them. Hang up your towels. This will keep the bathroom neat.
3. Always hung up your clothes when you're finished wearing them (or put them in the hamper).
4. Always put the toilet lid down (just like a bed that's made can make the whole room look neater, a closed toilet lid can make the bathroom look neater). I can hear you laughing but try it, and let me know what you think!
5. Make your bed every day (would it please you to know that my bed is not made today? Hey, like I said, these are ideas to get you started...right? You may not get them all done every day.)
6. Always close cupboard doors, drawers, closet doors. Straighten up sofa pillows. Put away newspapers and unwashed dishes.
7. Before you go to bed at night, straighten the last room that you are in.
8. Do not set something down "just for now" unless it really is just for now.
9. When making a meal, clean as you go. Always put the supplies and ingredients away before sitting down to eat.
10. Clean the kitchen after every meal. Wipe the counters, sweep the floor, run the dishwasher and go enjoy your evening. It is always such a blessing to come into a clean kitchen every morning.
Basically, develop the pickup habit. Teach it to your kids. Learn to pick up after yourself, and do it all day long. By the time bed comes, you will look around and notice that your house is clean, with barely little effort because you have developed the habit. Stop before you drop!
Here are a couple of websites you may enjoy. "The Organized Home." Also, "Flylady" and "shesintouch."