How do I really keep my house clean?

  • If it takes less than two minutes, do it now: If you walk by a sock or a piece of paper on the floor, just pick it up. If something spills, wipe it up. If you notice a small random chore needs done, just do it. When I went to do the dishes the other morning, I opened up the dishwasher and realized the door was filthy. I took the two minutes to wipe it down right then. If a chore will honestly take more than two minutes, then you can put it off…but not for long.

  • Finish up before a break: I don’t know about you, but once I’ve left a chore, I don’t really want to come back to it again for awhile. I don’t want to spend 10 minutes “blitz cleaning” and then take a break, done or not. I just want to finish up what I’m doing, and then take a break. So, if I’m starving and I really want to go eat my breakfast, I’ll push myself an extra five minutes to finish up morning chores first. If I’m tired and want to go to bed, I’ll make myself load the last few dishes into the dishwasher first. Then when I’m done, I’m done, and it’s not weighing on my mind that there are few little things left….

  • Clean as you go: Everyone knows that, right? Well, really do it. Rinse a bowl and put it in the dishwasher as soon as you have the muffins in the oven. Once you’ve poured the milk into the glass, put it back in the fridge. Just do it immediately so the mess doesn’t pile up. The onlyexception to this rule is if you are going to use it again in two minutes. If I use milk for a batch of muffins and I’m going to pour myself a drink a few minutes later, the milk doesn’t go away until I’m done with it. But if, for example, I go out for awhile in the morning and I am planning to go out again several hours later, I still put my shoes and coat away when I come in the first time.

  • Everything back it its place: If you use it, put it away. Maybe that’s back where you found it, or in the trash or the laundry pile. Regardless, when you are done with something, it must have a place to go and it must go there.

  • See the details: I would leave a bottle or two on the counter because they were “out of the way” and figure it wasn’t that big a deal that they were there since everything else was done. …until that piled up. See the small details that are out of place and fix them. The mess is in the details.

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