I know we’ve covered this before, but I am not a brilliant housekeeper. Despite my poor Mum’s best efforts to get me to do chores when I was growing up, it didn’t stick. I just didn’t have the clean gene. The moment I married Chris (also a terrible housekeeper*) and moved out of home, it was all over. Dishes stacked up for days, bundles of dog hair would blow around the floor for weeks at a time, the towels always smelt a little mildew-y, and the dust was basically in piles. You’re probably imagining some run-down hovel of a place, and if you are, that’s good, you’re on the right track. It’s horrific to admit, but cleaning just wasn’t on our radar. Unless people were coming over – and then we would spend hours upon hours trying to right all our wrongs at once, which never really worked out for us. There was no hiding it from our friends. Our house was gross. I’m even talking as recently as maybe 18 months ago. Shudder.
Well, I’m happy to say we have crossed that bridge! Our cleaning routines are far from perfect (if they were, this article would be entitled “Tips for Keeping a SPARKLING House”). But our house no longer resembles a pig sty. So naturally, I feel qualified enough to write a blog post of housekeeping tips. Oh, if 2014 Klara could see me now.
- Start Small If you read the piece I linked above (Chaos and Small Changes), you’ll see it was the beginning of my journey. And while it would have been nice to boldly decide that going forward, I would immediately keep everything spic’n’span, I can honestly tell you that a day or so in, I would have lost that momentum and I would have come out the other side without any long-term changes under my belt. Instead I simply chose two small change: make the bed every morning, and clean the kitchen every night. Do you know how easy it was to commit to that!? Pretty soon, those were just normal, routine things for me – and I was able to start slowly adding more tasks.
- Create a Routine Lack of a routine will let you get away with saying things like “I’ll do it later/tomorrow/next week”. Instead of saying “I will clean the kitchen every day”, say “I will clean the kitchen straight after dinner every night”. Then you know that after dinner, you get straight up and stuck into it. Instead of saying “I will wash the towels every week”, say “I will wash the towels every Monday morning”. Having a clear routine in place keeps you on track – and it makes those chores feel more normal, and less like you’re going out of your way to get them done!
- Commit, Baby! You’re probably reading this because you want a cleaner house than you currently have. So quit the excuses, take control and own this goal! As I mentioned in that piece I linked, back in February 2016 I committed to cleaning the kitchen every night. Since that day, I can count on one hand the number of nights I haven’t done it – maybe two or three times (generally due to extreme sickness). Compared to how I kept the kitchen before, that’s HUGE! The first couple of weeks were the hardest – I was very tempted to say “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow” – but I forced myself to do it anyway. And you know what? Every night that I honoured my commitment made it that much easier the next night. And I have to tell you, having a constantly clean kitchen has done all kinds of wonders for my soul. So, are you pumped? Do you want to get started? Here are my practical tips (just remember, start small and work your way up!) There are loads of resources and cleaning schedules on Pinterest, but this is what is working for me.
Pssst! Before you do anything… de-clutter: Clutter breeds dirt and looks chaotic. Make sure everything has a permanent place. Get rid of things; be brutal! Take on my #Ditch500 challenge and let those good feelings pour in!
- Make the bed: it just adds so much peace and order to your room so easily!
- Tidy: the longer something sits out where it shouldn’t, the harder it becomes to put away. True story.
- Clean the kitchen: there’s nothing like waking up in the morning to a sunny, clean kitchen and putting on the kettle for your first cup of tea!
- Sweep the floor: it will help tide you over between vacuuming
- Wash your laundry: wash clothes as soon as your basket fills, and I alternate towels and sheets week-to-week.
- Dust: confession – as I’m still a work in progress, this often still eludes me. Cringe. At least I’m honest…?
- Vacuum and mop: I hate vacuuming, until it’s done. Then I love vacuuming.
- Clean bathroom and toilet: one of those jobs that becomes quicker the more regularly you do it. What more incentive do you need!?
- Clean out the fridge: ditch the rotting fruit and veg, and the leftovers you didn’t get around to eating.
This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a start. Pick one or two items at a time to built into your regular routine, and in 6 months time, you too will have a clean(er) home!
* Sorry for outing you, honey!