When living by myself, my house (or rather room in a share house) was mostly quite tidy, clean and organised. I didn’t really have a lot of belongings and it was just easy to stay on top of things. This all changed when I moved in with my now husband. It declined even more with the move into our own three bedroom house and the arrival of our baby daughter. I love having a clean house. Nothing annoys me more than clutter and untidy corners. It blocks my creative thinking and actually stresses me out.
When I grew up the Saturday morning in my parent’s house was the cleaning day. My parents both worked full-time. So they had this really strict routine of cleaning every Saturday morning, which I had taken over into my adult life until I met my husband. He couldn’t stand the thought of having to spend half of his weekend cleaning and tidying. Besides he enjoyed sleeping in (that was before our daughter arrived).
So over the years we developed a few routines which help us to stay on top of cleaning without having the traditional Saturday morning cleaning session.
- Clean every day of the week in small sprints
Instead of doing one, exhausting and big cleaning morning, we tidy up one thing on each day of the week. Below is an example list which we change as required.
- Monday – clean bathroom
- Tuesday – hoover the whole house
- Wednesday – clean and mop toilets and bathroom
- Thursday – clean kitchen
- Friday – hoover and mop whole house
- Saturday & Sunday – project clean or have fun
Instead of doing one big block of cleaning, it is spread into small blocks across the week. This also had the advantage that if you fall behind by one day your whole house won’t look like a total mess. You just catch up the next week. If you skip the popular Saturday morning clean, your house will be a disaster by the time the following weekend comes along.
2. Share the work
If your kids are old enough get them to help out. Pay them for bigger chores. Your partner should be helping you anyway unless he/she is sick or unable to be at home due to work commitments. No excuses!
3. Educate you family
Your family members might not always know what expectation you have on cleaning. Even if you tell them, they might forget or only listen half. Put up friendly notes around the house as a reminder to keep things tidy. Make sure you keep it fun or you might loose them along the way with your nagging.
For example living in humid Queensland means that your shower is really difficult to keep clean and mold settles easily. The magic solution is to use a squeegee, a scraping device that scrapes off the water drops, straight after you had a shower. My husband thought it was the most boring thing ever. A couple of years of leaving reminders and a very squeegee enthusiastic daughter, I think that I have finally convinced him. He now can’t stand a shower with water drops 🙂
This is not a quick solution but works long-term to establish good habits. Just keep reminding and educating them…
4. Keep surfaces empty and clean them daily (or very regularly)
It happens so quickly. The kitchen bench is full of stuff again that doesn’t seem to have a home. It’s one of our unwritten house rules to keep all surfaces clutter free and clean (except a few dedicated areas where my daughter is allowed to pile up her art work). We try to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces every day:
- Tidy kitchen surfaces after cleaning up from cooking lunch or dinner. The cloth is wet and in your hand anyway, so you may as well take a few more minutes to wipe everything down. It’s amazing how simple and effective this is.
- Tidy the bathroom surfaces when your kids are brushing their teeth or sitting in the bathtub. It’s nice to have a clean bathroom at least at the first view.
5. Dispose of garbage every day
It is a good habit to dispose of your garbage on a daily basis. Besides that living in the subtropics attracts a few unwanted crawlers, it helps to eliminate smells. On purpose we have a very small general waste bin and a small cardboard box for recycling. It fills up really quickly and therefore, needs to be emptied every day.
6. Get a domestic helper
If my husband and I are really busy or towards the end of the year just before Xmas or holidays, we do get a domestic helper occasionally. It is a nice treat which I resisted for a long time as I felt that I wanted to keep everything under control. But sometimes you just have to live and the bliss you get from coming into a cleaned house…worth a million!