We have all had that moment when there are dishes piled on the counter, a basket (or two) of unfolded laundry is on the floor, toys are spread from one end of the house to the other, kids are whining at your feet, and someone is knocking on the door looking in. Here are some ways to avoid feeling the humiliation of someone seeing you at your worst.
Get rid of as much stuff as you possibly can. I know – it seems too simple. I used to think that if I bought enough containers and organized everything, the house would magically stay clean. However, organized clutter is still that: clutter. I recently went through my bedroom and did a major decluttering session. I sorted through all of my clothes and got rid of anything that either didn’t fit or I didn’t like. I also downsized my jewelry, lotions, shoes, etc. The results have been amazing. My bedroom hasn’t been messy in over a month. I can find outfits easily because everything fits. It only takes me minutes to pick up since everything has a place. Removing the clutter has transformed my bedroom into a peaceful retreat. I can’t wait to tackle another room in the house. Getting rid of stuff is the number one way to keep a clean house. It will be effortless once you remove the excess.
Quit buying stuff. I have been guilty of buying stuff just because I’m bored or because it catches my eye in the store. Take a minute to truly think about the item before you toss it in your cart. Where will you put it? What purpose will it serve? Do you really need it? If you do need it, what can you get rid of to make room for it? Once you quit bringing unnecessary items into your home, keeping it clean will be much easier.
Keep it simple. This is true especially for kids. Keep like items together. We organize everything this way. All toy animals are in one basket, tractors and trucks in another. I label baskets with a picture of what belongs inside. The same goes with their clothes. All socks are in one drawer, pants in another. These are also labeled. It makes it so much easier for kids to put things away if they know where they belong. Having a spot for everything will reduce cleaning time dramatically. Divide their toys in half and rotate them every few weeks. They will be excited to play with toys they haven’t seen in a while, and you will have less to pick up.
Set the timer. One of the easiest ways to get the house picked up is to set a timer. I will set the timer for 5 minutes and the kids and I will race around trying to get as much done as we can. Its fun to see how much we can get accomplished before the timer goes off, and it’s amazing what we can get done. I do this throughout the day, and the house stays clean without spending hours.
Be prepared. Take some time the night before to pick out clothes, pack bags, and gather items for the next day. Waiting until the next morning makes everything too rushed, and you will often leave the house in a big mess as you are trying to get out the door on time. Preparing things the night before will give you a few extra minutes in the morning to pick up after yourself so you don’t have to come home to a disaster.
Pick up before bed. For me, this is tough to do. Once I finally get the kids in bed, I am exhausted. I just want to curl up on the couch and veg out to mindless television shows. I have to force myself to take ten minutes and pick up the house. Once I get started on it, I get a second wind and it doesn’t take long at all to finish up. Especially when I know the couch is waiting when I am done. It really is nice to walk into a clean kitchen when I wake up in the morning.
You will definitely have days where your house still ends up turned inside out. It’s impossible not to when kids are around. However, having a plan and following these tips will cause it to happen less and less. Don’t stress over a mess. Our children grow up so fast, and soon all of those toys will be gone, and we will be yearning for these days again.