Christin is a simple living, frugal, DIY enthusiast who loves showing others how to live their best by embracing simplicity.
How many times have you had a hectic day and decided to just leave the housework until tomorrow? Most of us have those days and once in a while they don't really cause a problem, but when chores are put off routinely, clutter and messes get out of control.
You may not think you have time to devote to household tasks every day, but doing so will actually take less time overall than waiting until everything is a wreck to tackle it.
Do you cringe at the thought of unexpected company? Do you really wish you could come home to a nice, clean inviting home every day? It isn't just a dream or ideal, it is very possible and all it requires is some preparation, planning, and teamwork.
Everything In Its Place
There is truth behind the saying “A place for everything and everything in its place”. No, it isn't just the mantra of obsessive-compulsive housewives, it is actually the best way to keep the home under control with less work.
When you use something, resist the urge to lay it down on the counter. Put it away immediately. Once you develop this habit, you'll see that your home remains cleaner naturally, without any real added effort. It takes more time to walk around picking up tons of clutter and putting it away than it does to simply replace an item as it is used.
This is a great lifetime habit to instill in young family members. When you develop this habit at an early age it stays with you for life. At the end of each day, everything should be where it belongs. Dishes washed and put away, toys in their bins, etc.
This is a lesson we've struggled with. Growing up my family was very lax about keeping the home, probably because my mother's mother was exactly the opposite. She was truly obsessive compulsive about cleanliness, to the point it became hard to handle living with her.
As an act of rebellion, my mother was never much of a housekeeper (understandably!) so, that is a lesson I have learned the hard way over the years and one I still have to remind my children of daily - especially over the summer months!
Household Chore Lists and Organization
Sometimes it's simply a matter of not having a schedule that gets people off track. We tend to just do things whenever they need to be done or when they've been neglected for too long. Having a schedule ensures everything is done in a timely manner and nothing is neglected until it becomes a dreaded all day project.
A great example is cleaning out the refrigerator. When you do it every two weeks or once a month, it is a lot less demanding (not to mention gross) than when you do it twice a year or when you are trying to identify the mystery odor that knocks you down whenever you open the door.
You can view our chore schedule in the graphic to the right. This particular one is a good basic schedule and yours may need to be adjusted to meet your home's needs. As you sit to make your own schedule consider your homes special needs and include them. For example, I included watering the garden/plants on mine. This is an item not everyone may have, but perhaps you have tons of knickknacks on display that collect dust instead, make that one of your twice weekly or monthly tasks.
Divide your chores into time frames and place the list on the fridge and check it off as you go along. If you have other family members, assign the chores on rotations and make a chart for those so everyone can easily see what they need to do each day.
The really big jobs like windows, pulling down drapes to clean and other large projects that are yearly should be tackled one per month throughout the year. Examples would be turning mattresses, replacing smoke detector batteries, washing down the siding, cleaning out the attic etc.
DIY Housecleaning Products Save Time and Money
You don't need a ton of chemicals and nasty products that are harmful to your health. This is especially true if you are cleaning regularly on a schedule.
Invest in a few good items like a steam mop (a life saver), good dust mop, long-handled swiffer type dusting wand, and magic erasers (these do wonders on shower walls and doors!)
Throw out the chemicals and make your own cleansers. I worked as a professional housekeeper for a long time and I learned as I went along how to make homemade cleaners that work.
Household chemicals and artificial fragrances have been linked to a two-fold increased risk of breast cancer in women. Many are filled with known carcinogens that aggravate allergies and asthma. You can clean and make your home smell great naturally with the following recipes:
All Purpose Cleaner
Use this to wipe the counters and surfaces daily and whenever you need it.
In a spray bottle mix ¼ cup white vinegar, 20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract, Distilled water (doesn't spot) and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s). I love Rosemary or a blend of orange and sage. Everyone's tastes are different, find pure essential oils that you like. You can also see my list of essential oils every household needs for more ideas.
¼ cup vinegar, 1Tbsp cornstarch, Distilled Water to fill and 5-10 drops of tea tree or rosemary essential oil. Shake the bottle well before each use. The distilled water prevents spotting, the cornstarch prevents streaking and polishes glass and chrome gently, the tea tree or rosemary disinfects naturally.
Share Your Housekeeping and Organizing Advice
Do you have some helpful advice to share that helps you manage clutter and clean faster? If so feel free to share in the comments!
© 2013 Christin Sander
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on June 19, 2016:
Glad you found it helpful Carol - thanks for the read and comment.
Carol Morris on June 19, 2016:
Very helpful stuff here. I am a really bad housekeeper, I'm trying everything to improve.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on June 24, 2015:
Thanks Chin, home renovations do make it more difficult for sure. I definitely think kids benefit from helping at home while young. They can go out into the world someday and know how to care for their own homes, do laundry etc. A lot of kids here are so spoiled they grow up and don't have any idea how a household runs and it makes the adjustment difficult. Good luck with everything and thanks for the read and comment.
Chin chin from Philippines on June 24, 2015:
Very nice article, ChristinS. I must admit I'm going insane keeping the house clean and organized. I still have yet to fully implement that saying “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Hopefully, after we can get our home renovation done. I really like the chore schedule you provided. It would be easy for me to assign the kids to doing some.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on June 21, 2015:
Thanks so much for the read and awesome feedback Tamara - steam mops are amazing tools especially if you have kids and pets :) I have both and so it's pretty much a necessity. I do believe too much clutter can indeed impact us in other ways. I find if I am in a cluttery area, my thoughts will also turn chaotic, so definitely I try to stay on top of being at least somewhat organized.
Tamara14 on June 21, 2015:
Excellent article Christin, I'm glad to be here. I'm also glad to see I'm not exactly crazy (yet) for being neat and practicing pretty much all the points you're mentioning here :) I've never been able to function in any kind of mess around me so in my house I use to say that mess is not an option and my family accepts it as my diagnose :) Thanks for featuring this great looking steam mop as well, I'm seriously tempted now.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on April 12, 2015:
Thanks Char for the read and comment. I love and use vinegar a lot :)
Char on April 12, 2015:
It's pretty much just me doing cleaning in my house. No kids, the husband helps when he's home but he's traveling a lot for work now, and the dog and cat don't clean much. I used to have a chore chart for myself and it helped quite a bit, seeing this today inspired me to get off my butt and make a new one for our new home. I also clean a lot with vinegar, it's great for getting pet smells out of furniture and carpets!
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on September 06, 2013:
One thing I do pride myself on is organization and a clean house, but I am interestedin the DIY cleansers. The chemicals have such a harsh, overpowering smell. Thanks for posting this. Voted up!
MSGolden51 on September 02, 2013:
Getting your kids to clean up after themselves is hard, when you didn't teach them when they were young. young mothers teach your young children to clean up when they are young and when they enjoy doing it.
Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on August 31, 2013:
I've never been a good housekeeper partly because I tell myself I'm too tired after I get home from my job away from home. A little at a time would help keep me on track. These are good tips.
Mary from Cronulla NSW on July 07, 2013:
This is a helpful & useful organizational plan Christin..all your tips are great..I must say I've never heard of Grapefruit seed extract?? Worth a try if it works though..cheers
Christine P Ann from Australia on May 31, 2013:
The chore list is a great idea, however I bet I am the only one to use it lol Some good ideas in this hub :) voted up
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on May 31, 2013:
These are wonderful ideas, if only I could get the cooperation I need! I am one who likes to put things away just as soon as I have finished with them. However, my husband is just the opposite. He cannot seem to remember to take care of anything! Additionally, he is a packrat and a clutter bug. It would be such a relief to have a clean, uncluttered nicely decorated home for a change ;) Pearl
Voted your great ideas Up++
RealityTalk from Planet Earth on May 31, 2013:
I like your ideas. I have tried to impress on my family that everything has a place and if put there more than not, the house will stay clean. I am ignored, however.
HelloMichael75 from New York, NY on May 30, 2013:
Having a set housekeeping schedule is a really effective idea. I've tried to arrange similar schedules before but sticking to it, and especially rallying other people to get involved, can be pretty daunting! I like your family's chore list though, I might steal it as a template!