A Clean House Made Simple

Written by Posted On Friday, 27 December 2019 15:02

Maintaining a clean home can be a struggle all year long, but issues are often highlighted during the holidays as you prepare to throw parties or host visitors from out of town. It can seem overwhelming but if you take it room by room you can keep up.

Common Areas

Keeping living and dining rooms tidy may require starting with a purge—the fewer items you have, the easier it is to keep them all where they belong. Be honest with yourself about what you really use on a regular basis, and which decorative items truly make you smile. Once you have pared down the number of items that belong in these areas, insist that all family members keep their personal belongings in their bedrooms. 

Stairs and hallways should be free of clutter at all times, for safety reasons as well as aesthetics. Set aside five minutes each night for a room sweep and insist that any strays—socks, shoes, jackets, books and the like—be put away by their rightful owner. Reward cooperation with occasional small gifts: small children may appreciate a toy or book, teens and preteens might enjoy a practical yet stylish pack of fun socks, or the whole family can indulge in a trip to the movies.

Bedrooms

Start each day by making the bed. This one habit can lead to improved productivity and decreased procrastination throughout the day. Adults who regularly make their beds report greater financial stability; this may be merely a coincidence but why not devote a minute each day to find out if it works for you? If nothing else, getting into a neatly made bed at night has shown to encourage better sleep. Teach young children to pick up their toys when playtime is over and put dirty clothes in the hamper after a bath. 

As children get older you may find it easier to close the door and let some clutter slide, especially if school, activities and part-time work leave little time for cleaning. Insisting on perfection may result in power struggles and excess stress. However, keep in mind that neat spaces are good for mental well-being so it is in their best interests to keep their rooms relatively tidy. At the very least, insist that bedrooms smell fresh; room sprays are okay in a pinch but make a habit of opening windows for at least an hour each day, and ban food and drinks from bedrooms.

Bathrooms

Keep counters clear and place a microfiber cloth handy to wipe off drips and splatters—fasten a hook inside a cabinet door and hang the cloth to dry after each use. Sterilizing wipes help prevent the spread of germs and keep the bathroom smelling fresh. Store toothbrushes inside drawers or cabinets to protect them from germs. Closed toilet lids create a neater appearance and ensure dropped items will not find their way into the bowl. Not all bathrooms are designed with efficiency and multiple users in mind so you may want to add storage. Well-placed towel hooks, shelves and cabinets are invaluable to daily cleaning efforts.

Kitchen

The kitchen is often the busiest, messiest room in the house, but a few helpful habits go a long way. Clean as you cook, and have everyone put their dishes straight into the dishwasher after each meal. Wipe crumbs and grease from counters, shelves, cooktops and table a few times a day. Here again, keep sterilizing wipes handy to prevent cross-contamination of surfaces. You will find it much easier to wipe down an empty counter than a crowded one so minimize clutter. 

Small appliances that you use every day should be accessible but they don’t necessarily need to be visible at all times. Your coffee maker may have earned a spot on the counter but your toaster, pressure cooker and air fryer should be stored in a cabinet. Control food odors and avoid attracting unwanted critters by ending each day with a spotless kitchen and sparkling sink.

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Carol Evenson

Carol is a home renovation specialist with a background in organization and sales. She assists realtors with business management and growth.

https://twitter.com/cmill_com

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