Mondays were reserved for doing the laundry. Tuesdays were for ironing. Wednesdays for baking. Thursdays for gardening. I don't remember what Fridays were for but..... SATURDAYS were for cleaning house. This was usually a full day of work.
Dusting. Sweeping. Shaking (or beating) the big rugs outside. Mopping the floors. Spot washing the walls, window sills and whatever. Scrubbing the bathroom. Polishing the furniture. Polishing the silverware. It's amazing I survived!
My mother must have done a good job instilling this ritual into my psyche because for the first twenty years of my married life, Saturdays were for cleaning.
Somewhere along the line, I wised up. I am an extremely organized person and my motto is "Do It Right, Do It Now." Making the transition from cleaning on Saturdays to when something was dirty became easy. It made sense. Why spend all that time making a day of it? If my house was never dirty, it would never need cleaning. Sound impossible -- not at all!
I realize that most of you don't have this problem. Your homes are orderly, clean and ready for company at any given moment. But, for the few of you who feel like pulling your hair out when you get up in the morning and face a mess......here are a few suggestions to make your life easier.
1. Put it where it belongs
This is the easiest way to maintain a clean house but one of the hardest to learn, if you aren't used to doing it. This means that if you have something in your hand and you are finished with it, you do NOT put it down where you are; it means you put it where it BELONGS. Now, this may sound trivial, but think about it. If you put everything where it belonged when you finished using it, where would it be when you needed it?
2. If it is dirty........clean it
If you are walking through your house and notice a spot on the floor, what do you do? Don't ignore it -- clean it! Every. Time.
If you are sitting at the dinner table and notice the windows have traces of dogs' noses on them, then after dinner, wipe down the windows. What did that take? Two minutes?
3. Do laundry - every day
Do at least one load of laundry every day. When the dryer buzzes, fold everything and put it away. Now.
4. Vacuum as often as necessary
With dogs, I need to vacuum every day but sometimes, I can stretch it to every other day. The best time to vacuum is first thing in the morning. Even when the kids were little, I started doing it early in the day. You have more energy in the morning and if you hate vacuuming as much as I do, it is better to get it out of the way ASAP.
5. Same goes for dusting
When the sun shines in the windows first thing in the morning, it is a great time to dust. You can SEE it. I have a lot of glass tables in my home. If you don't dust every day, you can sure see the smudges. Doing it early in the day means you don't have to look at that dust all day long.
6. Have the kids take responsibility for their toys, clothes, etc.
Before my kids could walk, I taught them to pick up their toys and put them away. If they wanted to have friends over, their room better be clean and their chores complete. Work came before play. Enforcing that rule made life easier for everyone and a lot less stress for mom.
By now you are probably thinking I have nothing better to do than take care of my home. I made it a game, it was fun for them to learn how to take care of their own things.
I AM NOT FROM ANOTHER PLANET
But this is my point exactly. I do NOT have time to clean house. If I want a clean, organized home, then I need to spend 15 - 20 minutes a day (or less) to maintain it.
How often are you looking for something and can't find it? How often do you open your closet or a drawer in disgust, wondering how everything got so messed up?
The point I am attempting to make is simple. DO IT RIGHT! DO IT NOW! and you will have lots of time to do whatever else you need to do.
I have three brick and mortar businesses that take up most of my time during the day. I also have a couple of on-line businesses and then there is blogging and social networking....well, you get the picture. It does not matter how busy you are, if you want a clean, organized home, it is easy to accomplish by not procrastinating.
Then there is cooking. I love to cook but have little time to do it. Consequently, I have to plan and make the time. When your house is organized that it starts to take care of itself (YUP, you heard right) then you can take the 30 or 45 minutes a day to plan ahead and cook great meals.
What do you think? Do you think it is possible for you? Got any secrets you want to share on how you stay organized?
Photos courtesy of easyliving.com, sparkpeople.com, the bees3.blogspot.com, itsfunny.org