Let’s face it–nobody actually likes housework (at least nobody I’ve ever met). Like it or not, though, it has to be done. Too often, housework either gets in the way of time with family and friends, or maybe we let time with family and friends get in the way of housework, which just makes the job of cleaning the house that much tougher when we do get around to it. In reality, keeping the house clean doesn’t have to be a weekend-eating chore if we view it as an ongoing, do-a-little-everyday process instead of something to be done all at once. Doing your best to clean as you go means your house stays tidier, safer, and less likely to be the bane of your precious days off.
The first step to keeping your house cleaner is to make sure that it’s reasonably well tidied up each night. Teach kids to straighten up their rooms before going to bed. Make an effort to do the same in the living room, kitchen, and other common areas. Not only does taking a few minutes each evening to tidy up save time on cleaning day, but it also means that you’ll wake up to a neater house, which can do wonders for your mood. Another advantage to de-cluttering every evening is that the clutter won’t get so bad that you have a hard time finding things when you need them. It also means the kids are a little less likely to “lose” everything from backpacks to teddy bears to school shoes, which can save time and stress. Less stuff lying around also means fewer things to trip or slip on.
As far as the kitchen goes, keeping things clean is the best way to prevent infestations and those odd kitchen smells we all dread. Make it a habit to wash all the dishes before bed and wipe down counters and the stove. It only takes a few minutes a night and can keep messes from getting compounded and harder to clean in addition to making your kitchen less attractive to various critters.
When it comes to the bathroom, getting everyone in the habit of rinsing the sink or tub after use is a great way to minimize soap scum buildup. If the kids are too young to help, a quick run through their bathroom and yours before bed can keep the bathrooms cleaner during the week, making it quicker to do deeper disinfecting cleaning once a week.
In addition to adopting these clean-as-you-go habits, consider trying to tackle one bigger job each weeknight. For instance, plan on dusting one evening, vacuuming and mopping on another, “big” bathroom cleaning on a third, wiping down kitchen cabinets and appliances on a fourth, and anything still left to do on the fifth evening. If you’re lucky enough to only have to do laundry once a week, make it an evening job instead of a weekend one. If your family is big enough that laundry is never ending, you’ve probably already figured out that a load or two a day is your best bet. If you can combine daily tidy-up work with one-per-day bigger jobs, you could find that you have way more free time on the weekends in addition to a house that’s never a mess.
In addition to saving yourself time and stress, having a house that’s at least mostly clean before you go to bed also means you won’t have to go into scramble mode if your mom (or mother-in-law) calls and says she’s in the neighborhood and wants to pop in for a visit.
Given how little time we seem to have these days, keeping the house clean rather than having to spend the better part of a day cleaning it is a great way to get some of our time back, not only time we’d spend cleaning everything at once, but also the time we’d spend looking for things when so many things aren’t where they belong and time spent moving those misplaced things around so mom’s actually got a place to sit when she stops by.