7 Steps to help you keep a clean home

Has this situation ever happened to you?  The door bell rings; drop in guests have arrived.  Your heart pounds as you look around to see cereal bowls still on the breakfast table, Legos all over the living room floor and a pile of clean (well at least you hope it's clean) laundry on the couch.  As the door bell rings for the second time, your cheeks are burning with embarrassment at the thought of inviting someone into your mess.

Would you believe me if I told you that there is a way to keep your house clean most of the time, with less than an hour of work a day? Sounds impossible, right? It's very possible and I can prove it because I've been doing it for years.

7 Steps to a Consistently Clean Home

Use these 7 steps to keep your home consistently clean in only an hour a day

We are all busy.  No one has time to clean for 3-5 hours a day.  I know I don't, nor do I have any desire to!  I want to get the most things done that I can in the amount of time I have. That requires working smarter, not harder!  Working smarter means developing systems to get the most bang for your cleaning buck!  I use:

7 strategies that help me to keep my home clean {almost} all the time.   

1.  Develop a system for keeping up with the basics.
There are chores that have to do every day like dishes, general pick ups, sweeping etc.  If you develop a system it will become automatic.  But in order for the routine to work, each family member must be involved.   Examples:
Dishes- We do not leave dishes in our sink.  Everyone in our house knows to rinse their dishes and put them right into the dishwasher.  I run the dishwasher every night before bed and empty it in the morning.  That way it's empty to receive dishes from breakfast to dinner before it's run again.  Our dishes do not sit in the sick all day and get stinky.  I don't have to dread coming back later to deal with gross dishes.
General Pick up:  I have asked my entire family to clean up with themselves.  With reminders, they do pretty well.  But I still do a quick pick up tour around the house every morning and evening.  I pile everything I find for each family member in a designated area for them to deal with when they get home.  It takes about 10 minutes.
Sweep:  We sweep the kitchen every night after dinner.

Getting started into a new routine isn't easy, especially if its completely different that what you've done before.  You are going to have to ask for the cooperation of everyone and be patient as you make reminders over and over again. It's so worth it though!

Keep track of cleaning schedule in planner

2.  Use a cleaning schedule
With a cleaning schedule, I know when all of the rooms in the house are going to be thoroughly cleaned.  I don't spend time trying to figure out what needs to be cleaned the most.  I know it will all get done through out the week. See ideas for a cleaning schedule here.

3.  Do something every day.
This is in addition to the basics in number 1.  Using my cleaning schedule, I cleaning for an hour or less and it is built into my schedule every single day.  I either clean a bathroom, clean out the fridge, vacuum, or dust, etc.  I also do a load of laundry almost every day as well. I like to keep it at a manageable level!

4.  Identify trouble spots in your home and deal with them.
2 spots in my home that were always a mess were shoes/backpacks and random papers all over the place.  With 3 school age kids in our house, shoes and backpacks are really important to keep track of.  I made a landing area for shoes and hooks for backpacks near our back door.  Having a clipboard command center helps keep all of those important papers organized. 

5.  Touch things once.
When you get the mail, sort and throw the junk in the recycle bin.  Have a spot for bills to be paid.  File things immediately.  When you pick up something, put it right away instead of sitting it down and having to come back later to put it away.

6.  Keep cleaning products handy in every room.
One of the best ways to keep a clean house is to make sure there are cleaning products everywhere.  Each of our bathrooms have disinfecting wipes, toilet cleaner and a toilet brush.  I keep microfiber cloths in our linen closet upstairs and with our kitchen towels down stairs.  Keeping cleaning products available in each room, makes it more likely they will be used.

7.  Use a chore chart.
Everyone in the family needs to pitch in.  Many hands make light work.  I made a list of everything that needed to be done over the week and made a chore chart.  These are things to be done daily, in addition to the basics (1) and the weekly chores on the cleaning schedule (3) My kids do SO much better with chores if  they can read on the chart what their chore for the day is, and don't have to listen to me nag on them.

With a few simple habits you can keep your home clean most of the time. I say most because we're not aiming for perfection, here!  But at least the next time your door bell rings, you can proudly throw your door open and invite guests in to your home!

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