With memorial day just around the corner, it's time to get your house ready to throw your windows and doors open for summer. We all want to keep our home fresh and clean without having to work too hard. Check out these 10 tips that can help.
1. Clean as you go. This one is easy and becomes a habit. If you see something where it doesn't belong, pick it up on your way to another room. Children's toys are usually an issue, but if you have a place for them, put them there and encourage your children to do the same. I have lots of projects going all the time so, I corral the project materials in a laundry or wicker baskets. Wicker baskets are especially nice because I tuck them under consoles, into bookcases, and next to the sofa. The square ones from IKEA stack up so I can always have a neat space while I'm completing a multi-day project.
2. Take your shoes off. Less dust, dirt, petrochemical grease, and everything else is left behind when you take your shoes off. No more tracking mud and water indoors. My three boys – four-legged – get their feet wiped at the back door every day following their long walks.
3. Put away dirty dishes. This might seem difficult if you don't have a dishwasher. My method is to keep a small Rubbermaid (www.Amazon.com) bin in the sink. As I wash my hands during the day or at food prep time, all of the water goes into the bin. After dinner or weekend breakfasts, all of the dishes are placed inside. Then it's easier to add soap and rinse off.
4. Don't leave clothes out in your bedroom. Hang, fold or add them to your laundry bin. The piles create clutter, and that favorite sweater is probably at the bottom.
5. Make the bed. I timed doing this. If you have a duvet, or bedspread, simply smooth your sheets up and straight, stack your pillows neatly at the head. I love to use shams and add my decorative pillows in front; voila ....35 seconds. I know this may take three times as long when you have children (because you have to do their beds) unless you teach them to do the same. You will appreciate a smooth clean bed at night when you get back into it. It's nice that casual bedding is popular and readily available, because pretty duvets make this job quite easy.
6. Wipe down your shower. This does make it easier to clean your tile long-term. I also have a frameless glass shower door (and while it is protected with a water repellent) so a 30 second squeegeeing keeps the walls clean too For a large shower, it might take one minute?!
7. End of day pick up. If you start this practice, you'll wake up feeling refreshed about having a neat house. That means all the little things that are taken out daily get put back where they belong at the day's end. That's where your laundry or wicker basket helps most. They corral things so you can carry and deposit them as you walk from room to room.
8. Swiffer your wood floors. This is a must for people who live with animals and children. There is so much hair and dust despite not using shoes in the house, that this becomes the only way to keep the dust from becoming "sticky" and impossible to vacuum. I don't use disposable swiffer pads since they are wasteful; I purchase washable replacements from Etsy.com.
9. Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters. This is especially key when you have children. I use a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water and a tiny bit of my favorite essential oil. The vinegar cuts through grease and gunk and your counters smell fabulous. You can replace the essential oil with a squirt of your favorite natural dish soap. In busy bathrooms, wipe down the sink too.
10. Open the door or a window for a few minutes to air out the stale air after sleeping, or random odors from dinner.