Tips for Keeping Your Home Your Haven
Tips for Keeping Your Home Your Haven
Our homes should feel like a sanctuary we return to at the end of a long day. We should feel safe, comfortable, and content when we’re at home. Unfortunately, clutter and messes happen, especially if you don’t live by yourself. While you should be able to come home and relax, a messy or crowded house can inspire you to feel the exact opposite of relaxed.
But you’re busy. Like many other people, you probably don’t want to finish up one tiring day of work just to exhaust yourself further by cleaning before you can get any rest.
If you want to keep a clean home without having to dedicate countless hours to maintenance and organization, try the following tips designed to make cleaning a little easier.
Make Cleaning Much Less Boring
Very few people legitimately enjoy cleaning, but it’s one of life’s many chores that we need to do if we want to keep tidy, organized, comfortable homes.
To take some of the tedium out of housework, try to pair it with something you genuinely enjoy. For example, if you like true crime podcasts, listen to one while you’re sweeping. Catch up on one of your favorite shows while you’re folding laundry. If you have a hobby or interest that doesn’t occupy both of your hands, use it to add an element of entertainment to your daily chores.
To avoid having to dedicate all of your weekend free time to cleaning up a week’s worth of messes, assign yourself a few manageable daily tasks to complete. Adopting a couple of simple cleaning habits to complete each day helps make small dents in your workload throughout the week. This method is usually much easier than tackling everything you need to clean during the one or two days you should have reserved for leisure activities.
A few tasks you can take care of every day include:
- Laundry: If your home has three residents or more, try to complete one load of laundry every day, from washing to folding to putting everything away. For homes with two residents or fewer, a load of laundry every two or three days should suffice.
- Making Beds: Make your bed every morning before you start your day. That way, no matter how hectic things become, you’ll be able to come home to a clean, freshly-made bed.
- Dishes: Wash dishes every day. Letting them sit in a dry sink not only makes it harder to wash all the crusted grime off of their surfaces, but dirty dishes also produce unpleasant smells that you don’t want contaminating your home.
Schedule Your Efforts
If you want to keep your home neat and organized but you don’t have the time or energy to invest in an hour of cleaning every evening, consider scheduling your organization efforts.
For example, at the end of the day, before you start winding down for bed, spend ten to fifteen minutes completely focused on cleaning your home. Set a timer, and as soon as you start the countdown, move through your home and pick up anything that isn’t where it should be. Wipe down countertops, take out the trash, give your wood or tile surfaces a quick sweep, and look out for anything that could be done during tomorrow’s 10 to 15-minute clean-up.
This exercise can be done in the mornings as well, if that fits your schedule more effectively. If you have ten to fifteen minutes between the kids leaving for school and having to get ready for your own day, clean up the morning clutter so that when you come home, there’s far less you’ll need to do before you can relax.
The 1-Minute Rule
According to advice scattered all over the internet, well-organized people tend to make use of the “1-minute rule” to keep their homes clean and minimize the work they’ll need to do later.
The rule states that if a task takes one minute or less to complete, it should be done right away. That means putting dirty laundry in the hamper instead of on the floor, putting away boxes, cartons, or various kitchen tools after preparing food, and tucking your shoes into a bin instead of leaving them on the floor.
Quick and Easy Mess Prevention
One of the best solutions for keeping a house clean and organized involves preventing messes from being made in the first place.
- Have a Designated Place for Everything: When you have a designated space assigned for everything you own, it becomes easier to make sure your home stays organized. For one, when you know where everything is supposed to be, you’ll gradually develop the habit of putting things away as soon as you’re done using them. Instead of absent-mindedly placing your wallet, bag, or jacket on the first surface you pass when entering your home, you’ll start placing your items in their convenient, designated spaces.
- Not only does having an area assigned for everything in your home reduce the likelihood of clutter piling up, but this practice also makes finding any item you need a lot easier. You won’t have to rush around your house and risk being late because you can’t remember where you placed your keys. If you put them away, they’ll be right where you left them (if you don’t have kids who want to investigate everything, that is).
- Organize Your Drawers, Closets, and Cabinets: On top of having a place for everything you own, it’s also a good idea to keep those various places neat and organized. After all, what good is storing something in your closet when there are so many other things housed in that space that you can’t find what you’re looking for?
Use shelves, hangers, and storage bins (with labels) to collect similar items in your closets. Use vacuum-sealable bags to compress winter coats and blankets so that they take up less space. Add drawer organizers to crowded junk drawers so that you can locate the screwdriver or spool of twine you need at a glance.
For cabinets, try pull-out organizers, shelves, bins, and separators so that you don’t have to struggle to find a jar of rosemary or those cough drops you bought. With proper organization, you won’t need to pull out every item just to find empty containers that, for some reason, were shoved to the back of the cabinet instead of being thrown away.
- Don’t Work Alone:
If you live with your family and your kids are old enough to pick up after themselves, get everyone involved in straightening up the house. Teaching younger children how to clean might be a little time-consuming and frustrating at first, but doing so will provide you with extra hands when the time comes to clean up. Plus, when other residents in your household are obligated to pick up their own clutter or messes, they become less likely to make messes in the future.
- Declutter Regularly: A major component of cleaning and home organization that people tend to forget is decluttering on a regular basis. Instead of trying to find a place for things that you never use, consider getting rid of them if you can. Keep a box stowed away on a shelf or in a cabinet and when you come across items you don’t need or particularly want, put them in the box. If you don’t use any of the items in the Declutter Box for a month, donate the items once the month is over. Repeat the same process every month.
If you find or receive items that you have no use for, donating them to someone who will is not only a kind, helpful thing to do, but this process will also help you detach from an assumed need for physical items. You may find that, after you’ve been decluttering for a while, you feel lighter, and you appreciate the items you truly do need/want more than you did before.
To create a warm, homey environment, start with the entryway. Make sure that when you step foot in your home, you’re being invited inside. If you have a front porch or stoop, keep it clean so that you aren’t tripping over things on your way to the door. You’ll also want to make sure the first few steps inside are open and airy. If you have space available, add a plant or two, and maybe set up a nice wall hanging that doubles as a key or coat rack.
If and when your budget allows, add decorative elements to your home that match your unique tastes. You could try placing a few colorful throw pillows on your couch, putting down a nice rug in your living room, or installing some wall sconce lighting in your kitchen to brighten up the room.
Keeping your home clean and organized isn’t exactly fun, but fortunately, you don’t have to dedicate a full-time schedule to it. By following a few simple steps and making your cleaning routines more efficient, you can have the best of both worlds, a clean house and a relatively free schedule. Find more organization tips on our website, TheTailoredCloset.com