As much as I want to say that keeping a clean tidy home is a number one priority in my life, it isn’t.
So far, this is the hardest post I’ve had to write. I feel pretty confident sharing about frugal living and how to eat healthier, but I am still very much stumbling along on this house keeping journey.
The truth is that I’ve never been the tidiest person. I always feel like I have more important things to be doing rather than mopping a floor or putting away the laundry or cleaning underneath the fridge. (no one looks under there anyway, right?!)
I’m not afraid of hard work. When something is important I will spend hours to figure it out and finish the task. When something isn’t important, I have a hard time finding the motivation to even start. I’m constantly trying to find ways that help me to keep up with my housework without feeling as though that’s all I do all day.
Once I asked my daughter what I things like to do: She said cleaning. 😕
This made me both sad and frustrated. Obviously my daughter had heard many times that I have to finish cleaning something before I can come play, read, etc. I don’t love cleaning and my home did not reflect any sort of love of cleaning.My efforts weren’t achieving results. However, instead of cleaning more, I much rather be spending more time with my kids and doing things that bring joy.
I needed my housework to be more effective.
Where to begin
I’ve begun to realize that half of the battle to a cleaner home lies in the amount of clutter that is lying around. The more stuff I have to put away, the more time it takes before I get to the actual cleaning of my house.
So, I’ve been on a journey to have less stuff.
Purge, Purge, Purge
If I want to spend less time cleaning then I probably should have less stuff to clean and put away.
When the living room floor is covered in toys, laundry and other items, vacuuming is impossible. It takes more time to remove all of those things than the simple task of vacuuming.
Clutter happens, but less stuff = less clutter problems.
Last year I did a 30 bag challenge for lent. The basic idea is to clean and declutter 30 small areas in your home for 30 days and get rid of 30 bags of stuff.
This was a great way to be intense for a set amount of time and tackle the mess a bit at a time.
I didn’t complete 30 areas.
I didn’t do 30 consecutive days.
I didn’t clean my entire home.
However, I did get rid of MORE than 30 bags of stuff. And I count that as a WIN!!
My home felt better.
That’s what it’s about. Right?! Better. Not perfect.
I realized that my drawers and cupboards did not need to be full. In fact, it was perfectly OK for there to be an empty space in my house. The point of storage is to hold what you use, not to hold as much as possible.
Owning less helps me to spend less time cleaning it and putting it away. (or dealing with the mess that it creates)
Once there is less stuff, I can get on to actually cleaning my house.
Start with the Kitchen
Sometimes I know I need to clean. I end up wandering around making a to-do list in my head that keeps getting longer and I never start on the actual work. When these moments happen I stop and clean the kitchen.
There’s a lot of messy work that happens in the kitchen.
The perpetual mess also provides an easy cleaning win. Load the dishwasher, wipe a counter and sweep the floor. Done.
Keeping on top of the kitchen also really helps to provide the space to make dinner quickly. If I make dinner at home, I will use up the food already purchase for making healthy meals and I will be less likely to eat junk or go order pizza. More food will be eaten and less food will be thrown away.
Cleaning up after dinner also helps to reset for the morning. If the leftover food is put away, and the dishwasher filled, I know the morning will be better.
Clean as you go
If I want to be lazy later on, cleaning as I’m cooking, baking or crafting helps to keep the mess under control. When there isn’t a daunting cleanup to do, it makes for a much happier me.
Use Simple Cleaning Tools and Products.
When I’m cleaning, I generally use two cloths and a spray bottle filled with my DIY Vinegar Spray. I use one damp cloth with the spray to do the initial cleaning and dry and shine with the other dry cloth.
My cleaning cloths are all old towels and cloths that I keep in a box in the laundry room to be used exclusively for cleaning. This prevents me from washing my face with a cloth used to clean the toilet. (important!)
Speaking of the toilet, cleaning the bathroom has gotten somewhat lazier for me since my oldest daughter and son have been learning to clean.
Everyone in the household cleans
Most of the time it feels more difficult and takes more time to bring a child alongside while I clean rather than to do it by myself.
However, that investment is starting to pay off. My daughter can clean a toilet and sink perfectly fine and my son can go to town with the spray bottle in hopes of cleaning the floor. (maybe)
Mr LF is also no stranger to house work. Enough said. (bless his drain clogging skills)
When everyone gets together and works hard, the task is easier and more importantly, done sooner.
Have Company Over
This may be one of the best and most effective tips! At our house, there’s nothing better to motivate us to clean and tidy up than an impending guest.
I swear that I can clean ten times faster and more efficiently when I know someone is coming over. (I don’t want them to know I’m a slob!)
So, the next time I invite you over, know that it may not just be for your company. 😉
Knowing that I need all the help I can get, and I’m sure there’s others out there like me too, here’s a resource I find helpful and encouraging:
A Slob Comes Clean – Dana is as real as it comes to working through the challenges of keeping a home under control and getting better at being a slob. She has a sweet and funny personality and her podcast is a great listen while doing some of your own tidying up.
How do you keep your house under control? What do you find most difficult?
Other parts to the Lazy Ways series: