I’m a mess. I will shout that from the rooftops. I have accepted that as a fact and now I’m trying to figure out how to work through it. I’m not great at keeping our home clean, even after staying home with our daughter. I thought that by having more time at home, I’d have more time to clean. In theory, that’s true, but hanging out with our daughter, doing crafts and activities with her, working on the blog, taking time for self-care, etc., is more important to me. Because of this, I have figured out 5 simple things I can do to have a tidier home without spending hours cleaning it. (I sound like a slob, but really I’m not. We just have clutter….and an 18-month-old. I do my best.)
Minimize Your “Stuff”
Are you holding onto things that you don’t need or use? Do you have magazines stacked up in a basket? (We do…dealing with them right now!) Does your child need 12 light-up, music toys, or will one do the trick? How many items in your closet can you get rid of? They say, whoever they are, that you shouldn’t keep clothing items you haven’t worn in the last year. Think about how often you wear that floral maxi dress that you bought for your friend’s wedding three years ago. Can you purge that item?
By holding onto things you no longer need, you are taking up space for items that you actually use and making it harder to keep your house clean. The more toys kiddos have, the messier their play spaces get. The same is true for adults. The more items of clothing you have, the more challenging it is to dress each day. It gives your brain too many options, so making a decision becomes challenging.
I’ve recently taken a lot of our daughter’s toys to the basement because she rarely played with them and they just became things to trip over. She hasn’t noticed and actually plays with her toys more often. She was overwhelmed with the choices, so wouldn’t even play with things.
Once you have minimized your belongings, you can begin to organize your home. Everything that you have kept should have a designated location, so it isn’t just floating around your house, taking up space. By creating a spot for everything, you know exactly where it needs to go when cleaning up. This saves time and headaches.
Organizing a child’s room is important, but you may want to ask them to help you organize so they have some ownership over their space. Take suggestions from them on where books should be stored or what shelf the blocks should be placed on. By having them help, they 1) learn where the items are supposed to go for easier clean-up in the future, 2) feel proud to have made decisions about their belongings, and 3) may keep their spaces cleaner because they are proud of their organizing systems.
Have a Weekly Cleaning Schedule
By creating a schedule for cleaning, you know what to expect each day and what tasks you “should” complete. I say “should” because I am terrible at following my own cleaning schedule. There are weeks where I do great and there are weeks where I don’t. Like I have said, I’m a mess and I can only do my best. I may not have the cleanest house, but our daughter is happy. I’ve written a post about home management and cleaning, that goes through my thought-process, so you can create your own schedule. You can even get a printable version of my cleaning checklist by subscribing.
Deal with Paper Clutter Immediately
Raise your hand if you have a mail pile on your kitchen counter. I’m raising mine way up to the ceiling. If I had just dealt with the mail when it came into the house, I wouldn’t have this stack of papers taking up counter space. If you have kiddos in school, I’m sure you’ve got those papers laying somewhere, too. My tip for this is to just deal with it when you bring it into the house.
Throw away junk mail. Open up the other mail and file what you need to keep, shred what you don’t, and pay whatever bills have been received. You can also create a filing system for bills, so they have a place to go if you pay bills on one day each week. Create a storage box for school work and have your kiddos help decide if the papers they bring home should be kept or can be looked over once and then tossed. By dealing with it as soon as it hits the door, you don’t give it the chance to become a pile on the counter that has to be dealt with in a few weeks. You’ll feel good about having the extra counter space, too.
Do a 10 Minute Quick Clean
I LOVE 10 minute quick cleans. You crank up some music (I listen to three songs on our Alexa) and quickly clean up. If everything has a designated spot, it shouldn’t take a ton of time and you can get your house looking tidier super fast. A quick clean, typically, isn’t a deep clean. I mostly pick up clutter and get things more organized. We do this a lot right before we have guests over. Get your kiddos involved, too. By playing music and telling them this is a fast clean-up, they enjoy it more. It becomes a game or a race to see if you can get everything put away nicely before three songs are over.
It’s amazing the amount of space you can cover in 10 minutes, too, if you have a place for everything. You can likely cover the kitchen, main living space, and a bedroom or two in that amount of time, depending on the messiness. I like to do a quick clean right after dinner and before we sit down to relax for the night. I feel better about relaxing if I have a picked up house. A quick clean right before bed is perfect for families with kids.
Ahhh…A Tidier Home!
I hope that my tips are helpful to you and your family. It is perfectly acceptable to be a mess, but using strategies like these will help to combat your struggle with messiness. I always feel a little better when I have a tidier home. I think you will, too. Please share your successes and challenges in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
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