Develop these five simple habits to achieve and maintain the clean and organized home of your dreams.
We are all creatures of habit, both good and bad. Whether we realise it or not, we all have certain ways of approaching different tasks around the home that determine how clean and organized that space will be.
Just making some simple changes to the way we think about matters, and the things we do can lead to amazing results.
Read on to discover my top tips for developing five simple habits that will help you get your home in tip top shape, and keep it that way.
1. Create Routines
Work on developing simple daily cleaning routines. Daily routines can be extremely effective, but they do not have to be complicated or time-consuming.
If you do not have in place any daily routines, consider starting with an evening routine. Ticking off a few simple tasks before you wind down for the night will ensure that you get off to the best start in the morning. And waking up, knowing your home is picked up, will only serve to encourage you to be even more productive.
Get started by writing down on a piece of paper, in a planner, or on your phone, a very short list of tasks you would like to complete before bed each night. Keep it simple!
To give you an idea, this is my evening routine:
After our evening meal, we load and run the dishwasher, wash up pots and pans, dry and put away everything. We wipe down the oven and all of the kitchen surfaces. When the dishwasher programme has finished, we unload it, so it is empty and ready to start filling the next morning.
Depending on the state of the floors, I may sweep and mop.
I load the washing machine and use the delay timer setting to programme it to finish just as I get up in the morning. If there is still laundry to be put away, I fold this and put it away.
And the very last thing I do every night is wipe down and clean the upstairs bathroom.
Once you have got in the habit of following your evening routine, start working on developing a morning routine.
This is mine:
The very first thing I do each and every morning is make the bed. I pull back the covers and leave it to air whilst I get ready for the day. Then I make the bed before I even go downstairs.
When I go downstairs, I bring down all of the dirty laundry, and take that straight to the laundry sorter to divide it according to colours, whites, delicates, etc.
I hang out the laundry that was programmed the night before, and if there is anything still to be put away from the day before, I will do that too.
The kitchen is normally clean and tidy because of our evening routine, so it usually takes just a minute or two to give all the surfaces a wipe to ensure there are no crumbs and so on from breakfast.
I wipe down and clean the downstairs shower room. And if there is time, I will also go around the whole house, dusting very quickly.
The last thing I like to do as part of my morning routine is to vacuum the floors in the whole house. (If you're a Malamute owner too, you will understand that this is a daily requirement!) If necessary, I will also mop.
Every one of us has a different lifestyle and a different idea of what it means to have a clean and tidy house. The tasks I consider essential may not apply to your own living situation. Additionally, I work from home so I am able to fit in a lot more in the morning than someone who works outside the home. But these routines can be tweaked to fit your personal circumstances.
Committing to a Routine
Are you good at starting new habits, but not so great at following through? If this sounds familiar, here is how I managed to stick with these routines.
I love lists. I love to do lists, wish lists, shopping lists. If you do too, then take full advantage of this and write out a simple list of tasks you consider absolutely essential to a daily routine. What are the tasks that MUST be done every day for you to be happy with the state of your home? Once you have written down the core tasks, try adding a couple more that you would like to do, time permitting.
Personally, I began by just noting down the tasks I wanted to achieve every evening, before I went to bed. I wrote these down in my bullet journal and sketched out a tracker for each day of the month, with a grid to tick off each task, each day.
The satisfaction I felt each time I crossed off a completed task in my tracker was so motivating that I did not miss a single one that first month!
Later, I did the same for my morning routine, and again, I used a tracker grid so that I ticked off each task, every day.
After three months, I no longer needed the trackers because the habits were ingrained. They felt so natural that I didn't have to consciously remind myself to do anything; I just got on with it on autopilot, as it were.
Doing these routines consistently means that it really does not take long at all to clean the house each day, and I never have to spend hours preparing the house for visitor. I cannot recommend daily cleaning routines highly enough!
2. Tidy Up After Yourself
Whenever you take something out, put it away once you are done with it. It really is that simple.
This may seem an obvious one, but it is crucial to succeeding in keeping your home clean and tidy. Avoid leaving out half finished projects, and make sure that everything has a home and is in its place. That way, not only will your home be tidy, but you will never lose things again!
When you are cooking, put away ingredients once you are done with them. Wash up and load the dishwasher as you go. This way, when it is time to sit down to eat your meal, most of the cleaning up will already be taken care of.
Even when others around you are not doing their part (which can be extremely frustrating, I know), do not throw in the towel and stop tidying after yourself. If you want a tidy home, persevere.
Clutter and mess are not the same thing. Mess is temporary and can be put away. Clutter is excess, which has nowhere to go.
One of the biggest problems many of us face when trying to maintain a clean and organized home is that we have too much stuff.
If you are hanging onto items which do not serve a purpose, which you are not thankful to have and which do not have a place in your home, maybe it is time to declutter.
There are many different methods you can use to help you declutter. Once the clutter has been removed, it becomes so much easier to clean and tidy. From personal experience, the only method which has ever had significant, positive and permanent results for us is Japanese organiser, Marie Kondo's "KonMari Method", as explained in her book 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up'.
Decluttering your home, organizing your possessions so that similar things are grouped together and everything has a place in your home will help you regain control of your possessions and your home.
4. Think Before You Buy
If you love shopping, try to be very mindful of the items you bring into your home. The more you buy, the more clutter you will eventually end up with.
So when you are tempted to purchase an item, ask yourself some simple questions: Do you really need it? Do you already have something similar? Can you afford it? Where will you put it? And even then, try and put off making that purchase for a day or two. This is not about stopping yourself from buying things, but rather to think through purchases before you make them.
One tactic we employ before committing to a purchase is to do a lot of research on every potential purchase. We favour quality over quantity and try to make sure that every single item we bring into our home is the best quality and the best price we can find.
5. Don't Do It Alone
If you do not live alone then you should not be the only one working towards a clean and organized home. Spouses and children should all pitch in to contribute to creating the home you share. No matter how small the task, get others involved.
If you live with someone who does not currently participate in cleaning tasks, try to have a cheerful discussion with them about what you want to achieve, and how they can help you. Aim to work as a team, but be prepared to do the lion's share at first if there is a lack of enthusiasm being shown by others.
Bear in mind that there is always the possibility that your partner or child is not keen on helping because they do not actually know how to do a task properly. So lead by example and take the time to explain what you are doing as you do it. Do not be discouraged if things do not go to plan right away; take pride in your efforts, and they will hopefully come around to your way of thinking once they begin to see the results of your hard work and commitment.