You know that friend who seems to always have an impeccably clean house, even when you drop by unexpectedly? The one who seems to never be cleaning, but somehow miraculously keeps their home guest-ready at all times?
I have a friend like that, and I happen to know for a fact that she does not hire someone to clean for her. She just has some clever tactics that help keep her home consistently spotless. After watching her closely I think I’ve figured out how she does it. I tested the tricks out in my own apartment last week, and getting my apartment ready for my parents to come visit last weekend was a breeze. Here is what I tried:
Make the Bed | A seemingly simple method, but one that really works. If you get up and make your bed right away, you not only have a cleaner, more organized looking bedroom, but you also accomplish something before you’ve even had your coffee. It takes discipline, but it’s oh so worth it. Bonus, if your friend stops by unexpectedly, you don’t have to rush to close the bedroom door!
Wipe it Down | Finished getting ready two minutes early? Take that time to wipe down your vanity and mirror really quick. Same goes for the kitchen counters and the sink. If every few days you take the time to quickly wipe down your space with the cleaning solution of your choice, it will take so much less effort when you have time to do a deep clean. These little efforts really add up!
Set a Timer | Feeling totally overwhelmed by a mess? Set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes and devote that entire time to some kind of chore. It could be picking up and fluffing the pillows in the living room, tackling a giant pile of dishes in the sink, or doing a quick sweep and vacuum of all of your floors. My favorite thing about this trick is that usually when the timer goes off I’ve gotten one area clean and I’m motivated to finish another. And if not, I’ve only spent a short amount of time and feel exponentially better about the status of my space.
Trick Yourself Into Cleaning | When I was a kid, my mom would clean the entire house and then, when she was all finished, she would light a few candles and sit down to read. I’ve found that to this day, a lit candle can make me feel like the apartment should be clean. I’ve read about this phenomenon with fresh cut flowers, too. The point with this one is if you know there is a little task you can do that will make you want to clean the house, do it! If a vase of flowers makes you feel like the house should be clean, buy them more often. Your house will be clean AND you will have more fresh flowers (it’s a win-win).
The One Touch Rule | This one is genius, but you do have to force yourself to form the habit. I’ve found after a few weeks of reminding yourself, it does start to stick and become more automatic. Here is the tip – You are only allowed to touch something once. For example, you just got home and are taking off your coat. If you throw it over the chair in your living room, you’re going to have to touch it again to put it away. Therefore, you put it away right away, and only touch it once. Same goes for shoes, keys, your curling iron in the morning, or any ingredients you are cooking with. You’re only allowed to “touch” it once and it has to be put away as soon as you are done with it. I know this seems like common sense, but when you really start paying attention to your habits actively, it becomes very apparent why your space always feels in disarray (guilty)!
Finish the Laundry | We don’t have a washer and dryer in the unit of our current apartment. That means that in order to do laundry, we have to use the machines in our apartment’s laundry room. At first I thought that would be such a hassle (and sometimes it is), but I have also learned that all the laundry is done on one day, within a couple of hours. Washed, dried, folded. Nothing sits around in piles, nothing gets left in the washer for three days, and nothing gets folded (or not!) and never put away. When we have a washer and dryer in our future home, I would like to keep this trend going by designating a “laundry” day and just getting. it. done.
The final tip? Give Yourself Some Grace | Everyone has those days/weeks/months where life is crazy, routine goes out the window, and nothing is clean. And during those times, I say forgive yourself and move on. Life is too short to worry about your house being clean all the time. Sometimes when that friend shows up unexpectedly and your house is a mess, you just roll with the punches and share your real life with them. That’s what friends are for, right?
Any other tips to keeping a clean house? How many of these have you already tried?
As a thank you for joining me as I get this blog up and running, I’m giving away a $5 Starbucks e-gift card to the first 2 commenters on each of my posts this week. So don’t be shy… say hello!