It's summer! It's far better to be outside enjoying your family than spending time indoors cleaning, right? I've discovered some easy steps that will help keep your house looking clean every day. As you throw open the doors for summer, it's nice to have a clean house without a ton of work.
1. Clean as you go. This one IS easy. If you see something where it doesn't belong, pick it up on your way to another room. Brushing your teeth? Wipe down the counter. I have multiple projects going at the same time so I corral project materials in square wicker baskets from IKEA. They're awesome for collecting newspapers, mail, random clothing, toys and pet supplies.They stack too and I sometimes stash them under the hallway console or on a bookshelf. Having a laundry basket in a hallway makes it easier to collect items for distribution to the right room.
2. Take your shoes off! Dust, dirt, grease, and everything else is left behind. So much easier than having to vacuum every day. Even my four legged boys help out by getting their feet wiped using a stack of washcloths I keep at the back door.
3. Put away dirty dishes. This might seem difficult if you don't have a dishwasher. My method is to keep a small Rubbermaid bin in the sink (www.Amazon.com). As everyone washes their hands during the day or at food prep time, water collects in the bin making it easy to add soap and rinse everything off.
4. Don't leave clothes out. Hang, fold or add what you've worn to your laundry bin. Piles of clothes are messy and your favorite sweater is probably at the bottom.
5. Make the bed. If this is the only thing you do in the bedroom, it'll make a huge difference in how clean your room looks. Whether you have a duvet or bedspread, simply smooth your sheets and spread up then stack or lean your pillows at the head. I like to use shams and put decorative pillows in front. Voila ....35 seconds. I know this may take 3X as long when you have children (because you have to do their beds!) but you can teach them to do the same thing. You will appreciate a smooth bed at night when you get back into it.
6. Wipe down your shower. This does make it easier to clean your tile in the long run. I also have a frameless glass shower door and a 30 second squeegeeing keeps it and the walls clean. For a large shower, it might take another minute but it's much better than scrubbing off hard water droplets every month.
7. End of day pick up. If you start this practice, you'll have less to do the next day. It simply means that all of the little things that are taken out during the day get put back where they belong at night. I put toys, papers, clothing, shoes, and any project materials into that hallway laundry basket or my wicker bins and put them in the right rooms.
8. Swiffer your floors. This is a must for people who have animals and children. There is still hair and dust despite not wearing shoes in the house. 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 and purchased washable replacements from Etsy.com.
9. Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters. This keeps water spots and food gunk off. I use a washcloth wetted with a premade solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and a tiny bit of my favorite essential oil. The vinegar cuts through grease and gunk and your counters will smell fabulous. You can replace the essential oil with a squirt of your favorite natural dish soap.
10. Open your doors for a few minutes to air out stale air from sleeping or odors from dinner.