A little about me: I need things to be clean and uncluttered because order helps me function. If things are dirty/cluttered/messy, it is hard for me to move forward with tasks. This personality trait is somewhere between awesome and debilitating.
The good part is that I believe a clean home makes a comfortable home and creates hygge. Encouraging the experience of hygge is very important to me, since I want our home to be haven for my family (especially the kids). And having a space to spread out without clutter, knowing where their toys are so they can find them and put them away with ease, and living in a hygienic environment that smells and looks great is all part of providing that comfortable space in my family. This also translates to me being a bit bananas. When I can’t leave the house or go to bed until everything is perfect it can cause problems, like making me late or stressed. Clay is often not amused when everyone is in the car and I’m freaking out because there is a dish in the sink.
And I don’t have a lot of time blocks to spend cleaning and organizing and I don’t particularly want to do that. But, I need it to be that way to be productive. So, I’ve integrated it into my daily routine and also take some help in getting it done. This plan is not by any means effortless, because let’s be real, it there is no easy fix. But these strategies do minimize the overall time spent.
Here they are: The 5 ways I keep my house clean/uncluttered without thinking too much.
I don’t have a lot of stuff.
This is the most crucial element. PURGE PURGE PURGE. An easy way to do this is to have a one in, one out policy. When I buy something it is to replace something else (most of the time). If I don’t want to throw away the old one, I probably don’t need the new one. I have never, not one time, regretted throwing something away. Stuff is the enemy of an uncluttered home. When we moved I got rid of about 1/3 of our stuff. Made unpacking a breeze. And I’m gonna get real here for a minute: I don’t care how many bins, shelves, and organization tools you purchase, nothing will work if you have too much stuff. Less stuff equals less work. Period.
I have a cleaning service.
This is how I take help. It is for my sanity and to promote work/life balance because it increases quality time with my family. I used to have a massive cleaning list that we went through on Sundays (poor clay). But now, most of the heavy lifting is done every other Friday at 8am. I use Naturally Clean and love them (if you use them, let them know I sent you). Its definitely a monetary expense, but I am willing to cut in other areas to fit this in the budget just for the extra time with my family. It has its own YNAB category for sure!
I never leave a room empty handed.
I’m gonna go a little Konmari here and say that all items have a home within my home. A happy place where they fit easily and can be accessed easily (no drawer or closest shoving). Since I know where things live, its easy to want them to go back to their homes (yes, I hear myself. yes, I am a little nuts). Before I leave a room (and before bed) I walk around and see if anything is out of place, then I take those things with me and put them away in their homes. BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE IN THEIR HOMES. In all seriousness, this saves me a lot of time and effort. I do not say, “I will get that later.”
I put things away immediately after I use them. If toothpaste gets on the sink I wipe it up, right then. If some toys fall behind the play kitchen, I pull them out right away. If I ever catch myself thinking, “oh, I’ll just get it later,” I stop myself and say “NO, YOU WON’T.” Because, lets be honest. I wouldn’t. If I left everything for later, I’d have a big mess later. And a big mess is much more overwhelming than wiping the kitchen counter as I’m cooking. I actually get in trouble for this sometimes because I clean things up before people are done using them. #sorrynotsorry
I have a chore and organization schedule.
The cleaning people take care of the hard core scrubbing, but there is a lot more to keeping an clean and uncluttered home. Below is my chore schedule. The daily duties are so ingrained I do them without thinking. The weekly chores I put into my planner on Monday, by day. The less frequent tasks have an recurring event on my google calendar.
So, these are my strategies to keep the house clean/uncluttered as part of my routine. Its no fun to be like, “Its Saturday! I’m not working! Let me spend 4 hours cleaning and organizing!” Even I’m not that over the top. My weekends are free because I put everything away already as I went (and the cleaning service came).
If spending a chunk of time doesn’t sound good to you either, maybe some of these ideas will work for you, too. I plan to do more specific organization posts in the future, so let me know if you have any particular areas you want to hear about, let me know!