Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Housekeeping Tips

Why do we so often look upon housekeeping as a chore (pun intended!)? I know I'm guilty of feeling this way on an almost daily basis! But what if, instead, I could look on housework/laundry/organization/etc. as a fun challenge, a way to bless my family, and a way to honor God?

That is my goal for this week and my challenge to you! Each day that I wake up, I will be resolved to enjoy the tasks of housekeeping for that day. If any negative thoughts begin to enter my mind, I will purposely remove them from my mind and place positive thoughts in their stead. And I will start out my day asking God to give me a servant's heart. A heart to bless my family. I'll let you know how it goes! 

We all have to keep our houses clean and in order. Might as well enjoy doing it! And although attitude is everything, it also helps to know some practical tips that can make your life easier when it comes to managing a household. Efficient is a key word here. To run a household effectively, you must run it efficiently. That means figuring out what works and what doesn't. What helps you go faster and what slows you down. What will produce the maximum desired results with the least amount of time and effort.

I am definitely still learning in this area, and I want to continue to improve my "times" (yes, I time myself) on my cleaning routines. But I do have a few tips that I've learned along the way...

  • Set up routines: This may be one of the biggest factors in household management. Creating simple routines that you do every day is the key to keeping your house running smoothly. For example, I have 3 routines each day...a Morning Routine, an Afternoon Routine, and an Evening Routine. Because I am most energetic in the morning, my Morning Routine is the longest. I know I will be the fastest (and therefore, the most efficient) in the morning. There's a lot I could say on this topic, so I will probably do another post just dedicated to routines; but today I'll keep it simple. Here are my routines: 
    • Morning: start a load of laundry, make the beds, unload and reload the dishwasher, quickly straighten the rooms (putting things back in their place), shower and get dressed for the day
    • Afternoon: fold the load of laundry I started in the morning and put away, do a quick straightening of the rooms before my husband gets home, and cook supper
    • Evening: load the dishwasher and start it, wipe down kitchen counters and table, get ready for bed

  • Buy quality cleaning supplies: These are your tools of the trade, so to speak, so choose wisely. Some cleaners work just as good as others, but many do not. This can also come down to personal preference, so experiment and see what works for you. I've used LOTS of different cleaners over the years, and definitely have my favorites (yes, that will be another post). :-)

  • Clean as you go: Don't let messes pile up! If you take something out, put it away when you're finished with it. Clean up after yourself as you're cooking in the kitchen. Finished with a dish? Put it in the dishwasher (if you have one) or put it in soapy water to soak. Get your kids in on this too! If they've been playing with blocks and they're ready to play with something new, have them pick the blocks up first before they go on to the next thing. It's a GREAT habit for them to get into...and it makes your life easier too! 

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter: This one may be the most difficult of all! But it's sooo necessary! Fly Lady is a huge resource for me (if you've never heard of her, you MUST check her website out!), and she says, "You can't clean clutter!" I totally agree. Think about this example. Look at your bathroom counter. Does it have a million and one things on it? Yes, I know you have to brush your teeth, style your hair, put your makeup on, etc., etc., but is there any way at all you could declutter that bathroom counter top? At one time, I would've said no. But I've learned to think outside the box on this one, and now all I have are a soap dispenser and my blow dryer (which I should totally get off there and figure another place out for it) on the counter top. It used to take me probably a good 12-15 minutes to clean my mirror, counter, sink, and toilet (and I mean make it sparkle). After decluttering? About 6 minutes tops. That's a 50% time reduction! Efficient! And I'm still looking for ways to cut that time down.

  • Use your timer: This is another great tip! If you set your timer, you're more likely to quit dawdling and go a bit faster! I definitely do. :-) Try to improve your times as much as possible. Using a timer also motivates me to get started, because I tell myself that if I can just work for say 15 minutes, then I can stop after that. It's amazing how much you can get done in just 15 minutes! See for yourself!

  • Organization: This is a fun one for me. I always love to figure out ways I can be more organized. Being organized is just another way to improve efficiency. Everything in its place and a place for everything. That way you know right where to put "it" when you're straightening things up. Also, you know right where "it" is when you need it. It can really be that simple. There's a TON of great organizational ideas on Pinterest (plus, they're all so cute!). Here's one from me: Going back to the bathroom cleaning example...I keep all my supplies for cleaning the bathroom in a bucket under the bathroom sink. This is not a huge bucket. Remember, declutter it down to the necessities. My bucket has the following: Sprayway World's Best Glass Cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner, Kaboom Foam-tastic Bathroom Cleaner (for the bathtub/shower), Scrubbing Bubbles Flushable Fresh Brush Refills (the actual brush hangs on the side of my toilet where you can't see it), and trashcan liners. So, when it's time for me to clean, I grab a paper towel, a rag and my bucket and get to cleaning. This system is so much easier than pulling each cleaner out from under the sink one at a time. And I just carry the bucket to my back bathroom when I'm done with the front. Saves so much time! 

This was under my bathroom sink BEFORE I decluttered and organized--YIKES!
This is AFTER. Wow! So much nicer. And there's my cleaning bucket right in front, ready to grab!

Next week, I will share some tips on how to make house cleaning FUN! Stay tuned...

What are your best housekeeping tips? Please share!

Linking up here! Tip Junkie handmade projects

1 comment:

  1. Great!! To the point and encouraging! Very good, easy-to-follow tips! And yeah, it really works! Also, thanks for the encouragement at the beginning. I gotta work on this, too...