Keeping a spotlessly clean house isn't as difficult as it looks. How to do it has been the best kept secret of Susie Homemaker for years.
How to keep a clean house and free yourself from the chains of drudgery will give you the know how, skills and confidence to achieve a spotlessly clean house and a clear conscience.
Even in our modern day with both partners working women get the lions share of the work as well as the guilt. Women spend about 3 hours a day doing house work compared to an hour and a half for men. Two out of five men don't do laundry while only one out of twelve women don't do laundry. Society demands that homes be clean, tidy and organized and yet economics requires women to work out side of the home. The old stereotypes persist and women get stuck, emotionally and physically, with all the work. Yet if anyone is working 3 hours a day on housework they're doing it wrong.
The Four Unbreakable Rules
Never, ever, break these rules!
1. Everything has a home.
2. Use it or lose it.
3. Never ignore or pass anything that needs to find it's home.
4. Use "little minutes" every chance you get.
Time to talk
You will have to have a talk with your better half and let him know what you are trying to accomplish. He will have to be a part of it and support you in this. He'll have to pitch in as well. Let him know that this system will be easy to follow with clear direction and will result in a very satisfying feeling. It will make you happy and his goal should be to help you be happy.
I'm so buried I can't find the shovel to dig my way out!
A messy house has emotional and physical costs. It makes you feel tired, hopeless, out of control, depressed, frustrated and over stressed. It can lead to resentment and loss of self-esteem. If you can't find something, over and over, you can't relax because you worry about all the things you need to do. It can lower your immunity and resistance to illness. It's an energy drain and a time drain. Clutter eats up your time. Everything needs taking care of; even if you're finding it impossible to take care of it all you still know it needs taken care of. If you have 50 cups you need to take care of 50 cups. If you have 20 cups you only need to take care of 20 cups. By cutting the amount of things you have you can cut the time you need to take care of them, and worry about it, by more than half.
But, have hope! All is not lost. All you need is a plan. Stop beating yourself up, sit down, take a deep breath, and read on.
How to get started when it all feels so hopeless.
Don't start with a shovel. Start with a spoon. Or actually three boxes and one corner.
Now you can do one small corner can't you? Of course you can!
A good place to start is the living room and a good corner to start at is one of your two end tables.
Grab three boxes and label them with a marker or crayon. You'll find the crayons over in the sock drawer. How they got there no one knows. If they're not there try the silverware drawer. But if you can't find one within 3 minutes give it up and go buy one. You'll be able to find anything you need once you're done with your plan.
Now label them:
box 1 - Keep
box 2 - Toss
box 3 - Donate
For heaven's sake, don't get all boggled down with what box to use or delay because you haven't collected the boxes yet. Any containers will work. Laundry baskets, plastic bags, anything. It doesn't have to be perfect or done exact. If you think it does then you're a perfectionist and that very fact is holding you back. More on personality types later.
Take your three boxes to one corner of your house. Start picking things up and placing them in the correct boxes. Garbage goes in the TOSS box, things you don't want but wish to give away put in the DONATE box and things that need to go somewhere else in the house in the KEEP box.
You don't have to think much on this. Don't make any big decisions. Just toss things into the different boxes as fast as you can toss.
Work for 15 minutes then stop.
I said STOP! Do not work for more than 15 minutes.
Trust me on this one
Now take the garbage stuff to the garbage immediately and put the donate box in the trunk of your car so you can drop the items off at the Goodwill box today. Don't delay doing this or your trunk will fill up and be another clutter place. Take all the things that belong somewhere else to where ever they belong. Don't worry about where to put them. Just toss them. You'll get to that room later.
Stand back and look at your clean corner. Wow! You did it! This one small corner is where it will all start. Not only will the cleanliness start here but so will your habits and it's those habits that will help you keep control of your housework.
Now refer to the FOUR UNBREAKABLE RULES above and do not put anything in that corner that does not belong in that corner. If you walk past it and something is there that doesn't belong, move it. Use little minutes to dust it and keep it tidy. Never mess up what you've cleaned up. You've won the battle in one corner and soon you'll win the entire war!
Make the FOUR UNBREAKABLE RULES your habits. Say them over and over as you do them. When you pick up a toy and move it to where it belongs say to yourself "Everything has a home". When you pick up a magazine someone put on the end table say "Use it or lose it" and toss it away. When you're waiting for the coffee to drip grab a dust rag and head to your corner saying "Use little minutes". After a while you won't think it, you'll just do it.
Great items to help you get organized.
The Most Popular Purchase
The list above is random and pulled by Amazon and they're all great products but week after week, month after month "Organizing from the Inside Out" has been the most sought after and popular book.
Every Day Cleaning & Deep Cleaning
Now you're feeling pretty good about getting something done. It's not a very big win but it's a win. You can't win the war in just one battle. No one can. But you can, and will, if you build your win's one by one.
But now isn't the time to rest. Now you need two lists. The first list are things that need to be done every day just to keep things tidy. This includes washing dishes, picking up the stray jackets and papers, and taking the glasses back to the kitchen. The second list goes room by room and details all the small things that need to be cleaned to really clean the room.
Your first list will look a lot like this:
Wash off dinner table
Wipe stove and counter
Pick up & put away
Wipe bathroom sink & mirror.
Your second list will look a lot like this:
Clean out cupboard
Wipe off cupboard doors
Clean stove hood
Clean out refrigerator.
Wipe down walls
Wipe off light switches
Broom out cob webs
Wipe off mop boards
Dust & wash pictures
Clear out end tables
Dust & wash end tables & coffee table
Throw out newspapers & magazines
Wipe out cobwebs
Dust ceiling fan
Wipe off mop boards
And so on for every room in your house. Make sure you don't forget anything no mater how small. Everyone's house is different so your individual items may be just a little different.
Work an hour a day
That's all. Just an hour. And even that amount of time may shorten depending on how many people you have in your house. If you have a raft of kids there's not much anyone can do. They're messy and you will need the full hour just to keep even. But they'll grow up eventually and your nest, empty as it may be, will be spotless from the system you've followed.