When you live with children, it is nearly impossible to keep your house clean at all times. Clean-ish, however, is doable.
A clean house makes me happy. I enjoy being able to find things without having to move clutter around. I enjoy not tripping over things and not having to clean a space so I can make dinner, play with my kids, or take a shower. I will be the first to admit that I, myself, am not the Queen of clean, but I still covet a clean home. Over the years and my experience with two small children, I have discovered three easy, quick habits that help me keep my house clean-ish in between the deep cleans.
1. Clutter Has A Designated Place
One of the habits that has helped immensely in keeping our house clean-ish is having a designated place for clutter. Everyone has clutter that appears no matter what they do. For us, it’s mail, socks, and small toys.
For mail, we have tried several things to keep it under control. We opt for paperless billing whenever possible. I go through the mail as soon as we get it to recycle the junk and put important papers in a designated bin on our kitchen counter. It is visible enough that we can’t forget about it but organized enough that we don’t have piles of paper all over.
My husband and children have a thing about leaving their socks wherever they stand, sit, lay, or play. So, instead of spending a quarter of my day picking up everyone’s socks, I put a basket on our stairs. They now know to put socks in the basket, and when it gets full, it’s easy to dump into the laundry. (Full disclosure: this basket often collects other clothes, but the idea is that it all goes to the same place).
The basket theory applies to small toys as well. We have a basket that is in a central area, our living room, and any small toy that is hanging out where it doesn’t belong goes in the bin. It’s the first place our kids go when they are looking for a toy they’ve lost. Surprise – it’s usually in there.
2. Two Minute Wipe Down. Every Time.
When I use the bathroom or take my child to use it, I take two minutes to wipe down as much as I can. Every. Single. Time. I keep a spray bottle of cleaning solution, a microfiber towel, and antibacterial wipes under the sink. I also store extra hand towels in the drawers right in the bathroom so I can easily switch them out. This also rings true for my kitchen. If I turn on the faucet in the kitchen, I take a moment for a wipe down. This seems tedious, but it quickly becomes routine, and the little messes that make a big impact like wet counters and crumbs are remedied before they become huge messes.
3. Cordless Vacuum
We got a cordless vacuum. It makes a HUGE difference. It takes moments to clean up dried up playdough pieces, goldfish crumbs, and pet hair. I actually enjoy vacuuming now because it is so easy and makes such an impact. We have a Shark, but I have also heard good things about Dysons. I highly advise purchasing an extra battery and keeping it charged so you’re not stuck with a dead battery when you go to clean.
The biggest lesson I have learned from these three steps is that I don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to cleaning to make my home clean-ish–that is, clean enough for our needs on a daily basis.
Taking small steps, every day, is less stressful to me than dedicating large chunks of time daily for a little sanity.