These days, I have incredibly little time to clean. Between driving my son to and from school daily, driving my husband to his various doctor appointments, staying on top of the laundry, cooking the healthy (but increasingly limited variety of) meals my husband needs to keep his strength up, and just trying to catch my breath between all these things? Yeah, housework isn’t at the top of my list but due to his compromised immune system, I can’t completely let it slide, either. As you might guess, I have fairly high standards when it comes to cleaning house, but I’m learning to be a bit more realistic. Here are three things I don’t compromise on, and surprisingly they really help a lot!
The sink is only for washing things, not storing. We have a rule in our house that the person who cooks doesn’t have to do dishes. Well, with my husband feeling increasingly tired, that rule doesn’t work for us anymore. For a while, I’d clear the dinner table and let the dishes sit in the sink just so I could have a few minutes of rest before tackling them. Then, more often than not, I’d nod off on the sofa and would be too tired to deal with them before bed. Now, dishes go straight from the table to the dishwasher, period, and the dishwasher gets run after my son’s bath even if it’s only half-full. (Yes, I know that’s not financially economical, but I have to focus on saving time these days and this works for me.)
By bedtime, things go where they belong… or they go. My youngest is 12, which is more than old enough to remember where his toys, games and clothes belong. My husband and I both know where things go, but for a long time we’d get distracted by other priorities while the clutter piled up and I wanted to scream. Now we all go through the main living areas in the house and put away our things before bedtime, tossing any magazines, papers or other trash before it has a chance to pile up. Interestingly, once we started doing this at night, we all got better about putting things away right after using them. Go figure.
No one walks around empty-handed. Whether it’s taking a dish to the dishwasher, picking clumps of cat hair off the floor, or putting clothes in the hamper, we’ve all developed the habit of doing something as we go from one room to another. It’s amazing what a difference this has made, not just in terms of household clutter but in our awareness of how helpful it is when we all contribute to keeping the house neat.
Yes, I still do my daily routine for tidying the house (though, to be honest, lately I haven’t had the time or energy to do every item on it every single day). And whenever possible, I use the weekends to do my weekly cleaning routines, but thanks to these three habits, even those are going faster now than ever before.
What habits have YOU developed to keep your house clean? I sure could use your tips on this!