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My home is not perfect. I will never be known for my amazing house cleaning skills. However, I don’t cringe when people drop by unannounced (although I do make a mad dash for the bathroom so I can quickly scrub the toilet and wipe down the sinks so that it is guest ready).
Truthfully, on most days my home is within an hour of being what I would consider guest ready as long as I keep up with the best 3 house cleaning secrets I have discovered.
3 Secrets to Keeping a House Clean in Less Time
1. Never move from one room to the next with empty hands
If I am going from the bedroom upstairs to the laundry room in the basement to change the laundry, I look for dishes that I might be able to drop on the kitchen counter on my way to the basement or dirty clothes I could take the laundry room with me.
This can work for any house no matter what the size. If you are getting up to leave the room, take a second to scan the room and see what you could bring with you and place closer to its actual home. Leaving the family room to go to the bathroom? Could you pick up the glass you just emptied and drop it on the kitchen counter on the way? Leaving the bedroom for the kitchen? Could you pick up yesterday’s clothes and drop them in the hamper on the way? NEVER LEAVE A ROOM EMPTY HANDED!
2. Use the little windows of time to clean
It took me a while to really get this tip. You see I used to be a “must to have time to complete the whole task or I am not going to attempt it at all!” type of person. Since having 3 children, however, I have had an almost 90% recovery in this area and now know that every little minute counts when it comes to keeping the house clean because my chances of finding a large block of time to attack it are slim.
Are you all ready to leave for the gym and still have 5 minutes to spare? Clean the kitchen counters. Hamburger browning on the stove? keep an eye on it while you clean the fridge one shelf at a time. Helping a child with school work? set them up in your bedroom to work so you can answer questions as you put away your clean clothes, make your bed and declutter the pile on your dresser.
3. Set aside at least two 10 to 15 minute time periods each day to put stuff away
I find this tip to be the most crucial in keeping on top of the housework in our home. I usually have the children help too. I tend to do this once around noon and again around 5 or 6.
On days that I am really tired and don’t feel like tidying up, I find setting the timer helps. I call the troops, assign them a room or a task, set the timer for 10 to 15 minutes, and we all work together getting the house picked up until the timer goes off.
Here is a secret: if I am really tired or if the mess is really bad, I close my eyes for a moment and imagine that someone just called saying they were going to drop by in 10 minutes. Then I set the timer for 10 minutes and run around like a mad woman tossing clutter in a garbage bag, recycling in a box, dirty socks in a laundry bin and dishes in a dish bin. I carry the bins and bags from room to room working my magic and then when the timer goes off, I give one child the dirty dishes to load in the dishwasher, another the laundry to take to the laundry room, and the 3rd gets the garbage bag to take to the alley while I put the recycling away (Crazy–yes, but it works).
These 3 tips keep me caught up on the day to day messes and that really is what makes up the bulk of housekeeping. If I keep up with these 3 tips, I rarely have to assign more than an hour or two each week exclusively to housecleaning since I have three older children who help with the dishes, floors, and folding of laundry.
Tired of living a chaotic life? I recommend taking Make Over Your Mornings and/or Make Over Your Evenings. These are 15 day, video driven courses that come with a workbook for you to complete. Each day’s lesson consists of a five minute video, five minutes of reading and a five minute workbook activity. These courses will help you streamline your day taking you from frazzled to calm.
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