Wednesday, September 14, 2011

household management (5) tidying and cleaning

Now for something a little less complicated than budgeting (although to look at my house today you wouldn't think so): keeping the house clean and tidy. With thanks to everyone who shared their ideas.

  • To keep the house tidy, 'pick up 5' whenever you get home or have a spare moment. Get into the habit of putting a few things away as you go from room to room. Don't let yourself start a 'hot spot' - a pile of junk to be put away another time - instead, when you pick something up, carry the job through to completion (an opened envelope, a school notice, a dropped toy). Tell me if you ever manage this.


  • The key to tidiness is de-cluttering: having less stuff. Go clockwise around the room and pick up 5 things to throw or give away. Repeat. Repeat again. Then take that bag to the bin or op-shop straight away. (I'm hopeless at this - a natural hoarder! - but I'm starting to discover the joy in getting rid of stuff.)


  • Make cleaning fun. Put on some music and dance your way through the jobs. Or get a headset on your phone and chat to a friend (I'm so much more productive when I'm talking to someone!). Or hand your toddler a broom and get them involved. Take a moment to bask in the cleanliness once you've done - very motivating!


  • You can give your house a basic clean in about an hour: I know, I do it most weeks (floors, bathrooms and toilets). Keep everything in one place - cleaning products, sponges etc. - and create a routine that works for you and that you can move through without thinking. For this weekly clean, you don't need to be too thorough, just do the important bits...but the rest also needs to be done, so...


  • Add 10 minutes to your weekly cleaning (or grab any spare 10 minutes you have) and do one extra job e.g. wash some windows, clean out the fridge, de-cobweb the ceilings, wipe down the walls. Keep a list of these jobs as you notice them for a spare moment when you can't think what to do next. Living in a place more than 5 years makes you realise that spring cleaning really does need to happen!


  • Get the kids involved. Use chore lists to encourage kids to do daily jobs like dishes. Set aside an hour or two on Saturday mornings when the whole family does chores around the house and yard. (I've written quite a lot about chores and kids.)


  • If you want a more thorough guide to planning chores, check out FlyLady or Motivated Moms.


  • What about you? Any ideas for keeping on top of the mess? Share them here.

    You can follow this series here.

    image is by Aunty Cookie from flickr

    2 comments:

    Deb L said...

    I think the biggest help to me has been building routines. Slowly. When I've attempted to become wonderful at housekeeping overnight, I've fallen in a heap because I can't mantain the level of energy all the time. But adding one extra thing in at a time over a long period of time has been good. I now always put on a load of washing every morning while the kids are doing the last minute scramble to get out the door to school. Done and waiting for me to hang out mid-morning. I now always wipe down the stove top after I wash the dishes. I used to leave it until it really needed doing (and long after sometimes!). Now I do it without thinking and it's not a chore because I'm used to it. I think good home managers have probably learnt to build certain tasks into habits so that it no longer feels so burdensome - it's just what they do. I have a lot more routines I need to get going though!

    Jean said...

    Very helpful, Deb, and I agree!