- Everything Has Its Place – Unfortunately there is no way of keeping a tidy house if there is no current home for everything! But by adding simple organising techniques and a good declutter can enable you to find a home for everything you own. For example create a easy filing system for all your paperwork so there are no more bills, post, appointment letters cluttering up your kitchen unit, dining room table or the top of your fridge. Need to find your sellotape or stapler? creating a simple stationary draw for these to live in means you always know where you can find them. But of course after you have used them you need to put them back! I know this sounds like a preschool tip but honestly it does help to keep on top of keeping a tidy home if everything has a place to live and also less things get broken or lost because they are not where they are not meant to be. I have a rule in my house, just because its a clear surface does not mean it needs filling. (This rule not only applies to the children but my husband and myself too. My desk which is situated in the living room also needs to be tidy, uncluttered and everything that I need put in its place in an organised system)
- Be Ruthless To Be Kind – Declutter, Declutter, Declutter, I can not say this enough. But decluttering does not have to be a big added chore to housework it can be fun too. I follow the 10 things rule, all you need is a large plastic box that can live in your shed or laundry room. Throughout the week collect 10 things your family don’t use any more. (These could be outgrown clothes / shoes, a toy they no longer play with,or an unwanted gift that you just did not know what to do with.) Once you have collected your 10 things donate them to charity, let everyone on freecycle know what you no longer need or sell on ebay. Once all the clutter is gone keeping a tidy house becomes a breeze.
- Pick Up On The Move – Like every mother to young children I am on the move all the time and I don’t think there is a room in my house that I don’t walk into at least 5 times in one day. Its makes life so much easier if you pick up and put away things that you see from room to room. If you do this everyday it will become a habit and it won’t even feel like you are doing housework. The things I find myself picking up throughout the day is toys that have been left out, books left on the coffee table, clothes, (I don’t know why but in my house odd socks seem to get spread around the house) the odd dirty cup, toothbrush left in bathroom window instead of being put back in its pot. You get the sort of thing I mean but by doing this results in not having to spend a good hour or so in each room tidying up when I could be doing something so much better with my time.
- A Pile Up Can Cause Unwanted Stress – The last thing any of us needs is extra stress in our lives especially if its caused by housework. One of my biggest bugbears that would trigger my stress levels to rise is seeing piles of dirty / clean dishes and piles of washing! If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, (I am not) a simple way to stop the build of dirty dishes is to load the dishwasher on the go. Once the dishwasher is full turn it on and walk away (Remember as soon as the dishwasher has finished put all the dishes away so the dishwasher is ready for the next load) . But if like myself you don’t have a dishwasher, as soon as there are enough dishes to warrant filling up your washing up bowl with water, wash the dishes and dry them straight away. There is something that happens to us all that makes us feel happy when we see a clean kitchen with no build up of dirty or draining dishes. As for clothes like in every house with 5 people living in it there is always clothes that need washing or putting away. (To be be honest I hate putting clothes away, I find it the most boring job so I completely understand why the pile builds up) My biggest tip when it comes to sorting out the massive washing pile is to just keep on top of it. When you walk past the dirty washing pile and there is enough for a load, stick it straight into the washing machine and set the washing machine off to do its job. That way the pile won’t become so much that it turns into a whole days worth of washing and nobody has anything to wear. I don’t like ironing (in fact I don’t iron) so I let nature do the hard part for me by hanging the washing out on the line as soon as my washing machine has finished, (weather depending, if not into the tumble dryer they go) then once the clothes are dried they are folded into piles for example my husbands clothes, kids clothes etc.., then I take the piles stairs and put away straight away. (Putting away a few clothes is much easier and less time consuming than putting piles and piles of clothes away) There is nothing more satisfying than having the clothes pile down to zero.
- A quick wipe saves time in the long term – In our house I have a routine that I act out everyday after I have dropped the kids off at school but this routine could be adapted into your day at any time of the day. (Its also easier to start at one end of the house and work your way through each room till you get the other side of the house) Bathroom – With a damp microfiber cloth I just give the whole bathroom a quick wipe through and then using the toilet brush just give the toilet a quick freshen up. (I fill my toilet brush holder with Dr Bronner castile soap and a some water so when I am doing a quick clean of the toilet bowl the toilet brush is ready for me) Then with a quick sweep of the bathroom floor the bathroom is ready for another day of family use. Bedrooms – I open the bedroom window and with a fresh clean damp microfiber cloth I wipe down the windowsill, and chest of draws etcc. Then pick up and put away anything that’s been left out and give the floor a quick hover. Landing, stairs and down stairs hall – Quick hover Livingroom – Pick up anything that has not been put away properly, give all the surfaces a quick wipe with my damp cloth and sweep the floor. Kitchen – Give the units a quick wipe and sweep the floor. (We have laminate flooring throughout downstairs so I sweep them in the morning and in the evening after the girls have gone to bed I hover and wash them.
- Deep Clean Routine Saves Time And Prevents Giving Up – One of the things I think I would give up on is having to clean and tidy the whole house from top to bottom on one day. So I have created a simple routine to deep clean one room a day to prevent this from happening. For example on a Monday I deep clean all the bedrooms. This includes stripping beds and washing bedding, polishing and moving furniture to hover under. Or on a Friday I deep clean the bathroom so its ready for a weekend of family use. This way every room has a deep clean at least once a week.
- A simple cleaning cupboard for a simple life – One thing I have mentioned in the past is that I use no chemical cleaners in our house only natural or homemade cleaners. So all our cleaning products fit into a reusable large plastic box under the sink in the kitchen. This makes life easy for when I am doing a deep clean. I can just carry the box to the room I am cleaning and I have everything to hand. At the moment in my box are a large selection of microfiber cloths, Dr Bronner castile oil, bicarbonate soda, beeswax, almond oil and white vinegar. If you keep your cleaning products to the minimum it makes housework so much easier.
- Children In Training – One of the biggest things I learnt from my childhood was it did me no harm to learn how to keep everything tidy and clean. So even with my 4 and 5 year old all our children are given jobs to do around the house and are expected to pick up after themselves. Of course all the jobs they are given are age appropriate. For example my girls are asked to lay / wipe the dining room table, take out the recycling to the recycling bags, pick up their toys, clean their room. Were my 16 year old is asked to hover / wash floors, clean the bathroom, keep his room tidy, take the rubbish out on bin day etc .. Not only does this give them good training for the future but they appreciate everything I do in the house to keep our home clean and tidy.
- If You See It Do It – This is such a easy simple change to make in keeping on top of everything. If you see a cobweb hanging from ceiling to curtain rail or dusty lamp shade, don’t think I will do that tomorrow as tomorrow never comes. Go and get your duster and do it straight away and then that simple job is done and saves time when you are doing a deep clean.
- Shop Consciously – My last and final tip is when you are out shopping, shop consciously. From this I mean don’t get sucked into the latest product or fashionable item. Before you get to the till ask your self Will I use it regularly? Do we have a home for it? Do we need another one? and Is this just something else I have to clean / put away? After all we don’t want to make life harder for ourselves when it comes to keeping your home clean and tidy.
Wow I think this must be the longest post I have ever written and I feel like I have just been saying stuff that everybody has already thought of but I do hope this post has helped answered the question I was asked a few weeks ago about how I manage to keep my house clean and tidy all the time.
Over to you, I would love to hear you simple living housework tips that we can all adapt into our routines to make our lives simplier.