One of the things that I have always excelled at is making places feel relaxing, clean & homey. Even as a kid, my brothers referred to my side of the bedroom as the “Taj Mahal”. But before you get the impression that I was a spoiled brat, you must know that my parents housed me in a musty basement decked out with spiders, two smelly brothers, & a forest green carpet. I’ve always had a knack for these things, but some of us don’t…and that’s okay!
Life is busy & messy, but everyone has the ability to have a clean house. If I could make a cozy fortress in a stanky basement, we can all make our homes into somewhere others want to be. I know…I get it…it seems like the second you clean, you turn around and there’s another mess. It may seem like a never ending cycle & most of us just give up. But wouldn’t you love the be able to knock the socks off of everyone who walks through your front door?
- You must have practical expectations. We are all in different stages in life. If you are fifty years old with hip problems, your house is going to look a lot different than a young mom with five kids running around. But practical expectations are different than average expectations. You can expect more from yourself than what you have been doing! Trust me: you are capable.
- Be patient with yourself. Routines take time to form. It won’t happen right away that you will have this amazing, spotless house. If you’ve been living in a hoarder’s heaven for twenty years it’s going to take much longer to change your lifestyle than if you just moved into a new house and have some boxes to go through. Recognize where you are at & be happy with each new step towards progress that you make.
- Be as consistent as you can be. Take little steps, but when you pick a little step: make it important. Make it a priority. If your first step is to do a load of laundry every day, DO IT! The more consistent you make these steps, the sooner they will become habitual. And remember: If you clean up the messes as you go, you won’t be stuck with a giant mess to deal with later! It’s so worth it.
15 Min – Start your journey with some daily chores! Pick the most ideal time of day for you to accomplish these. For some, that’s first thing in the morning after eating some breakfast. For others, that may be after work in the late afternoon. If you’re a mother, this might be while the kids take a nap in the afternoon. Figure out when it works out best for you & do it! Depending on your laundry situation, this list truly only takes 10-15 minutes.
- Take a walk through the house + put things back where they belong
- Do the dishes + rinse out the sink
- Wipe down kitchen countertops
- Sweep kitchen + entryway floors
- Do some laundry (if you do some every day it will be a lot simpler later!)
- Wipe down bathroom sink + toilet if needed
- Take out trash if needed
- Start a wax melt, candle or essential oil diffuser to get your house smelling fresh
1 Hour – Dedicate one day a week to really focus on deeper cleaning. There are some weeks you won’t get to it, and that’s okay! If you have kids, have them help you. Depending on the size of your house, how dirty it gets in a week & how speedy you are, this should take anywhere from 30 min-1.5 hours. Try your best to get to the “Monthly” chores. If you can’t get them done, save them for the next week!
- Wipe down kitchen countertops with disinfectant spray/wipes
- Wipe down inside + outside of microwave
- Wipe down stove top + oven door
- Clean any large windows with noticeable smudges
- Clean bathroom:
- Toilet (bowl + all surfaces)
- Shake rug
- Put fresh hand towels in bathroom + kitchen
- Wipe down tops of washer + dryer
- Pick one monthly/yearly project to do (or have a separate day of the week for these projects)
15-30 min – These projects don’t take much time at all! If you can’t get to them all one week, save it for the next week. I’ve even had months where I did all the projects on one day! If you try to get everything done at least once a month it really helps keep things looking nice.
- Wash bed sheets
- Clean out coffee pot
- Check fridge for expired food
- Clean shower/bathtub (HINT: I love to use magic erasers to get off hard water stains)
- Wash bath mat
- Wash bed sheets
- Use disinfectant wipe to clean: door handles + light switches + phones + remotes + wallets + any other areas that get a lot of hand traffic
- Clean vacuum
- Wash common area throw blankets
- Check furniture for stains/crumbs
Complete Checklist Throughout The Year – This list is very extensive & includes every possible thing you could clean in your entire house. Some of these may change according to what kind of lifestyle you live. If you’ve got kids, you may have to put “vacuum furniture” on your monthly list. If you’re single & don’t cook very often…you may only need to clean your oven once every five years. Rework this list to fit your needs & current time capabilities. This list should help you ident)
- All windows inside + out (SPRING/FALL)
- Wash living room pillow covers
- Clean + organize fridge (SPRING/SUMMER/FALL/WINTER)
- Wash shower curtain
- Wash bedroom + living area curtains
- Thoroughly wash + wipe out trash cans
- Vacuum furniture well (move cushions)
- Clean out underneath all beds & furniture
- Wipe bedroom drawers down
- Wipe down inside + outside of kitchen cabinets
- Wipe down inside + outside of bathroom vanity
- Organize bedroom closets/drawers + give away clothes that aren’t used
- Wipe down trim around house
- Wipe down doors + door frames
- Deep clean inside of oven (SUMMER/WINTER)
- Wipe down kitchen chairs + stools
- Wipe down vents/registers
- Wash rugs (SUMMER/WINTER)
- Wipe down/dust bed frames
- Clean washing machine
- Dust up high in places you don’t normally dust
- Wash walls
- Wash mattress + pillow covers (SPRING/FALL)
- Wash bedroom pillows (SUMMER/WINTER)
- Clean toothbrush holder + replace toothbrushes (SPRING/SUMMER/FALL/WINTER)
- Wipe inside of laundry baskets
- Clean fan blades (SUMMER/WINTER)
- Flip mattresses (SPRING/FALL)
- Dust blinds
- Wash diaper bags/backpacks/purses
- Organize kitchen cabinets
- Organize bathroom vanity/cabinets
It takes motivation, patience & a vision to accomplish a beautiful home, but it is so worth it to have a place that makes others feel relaxed, comfortable & at home. My goal has always been to have a home that brings a smile to my face when I walk it, not a place that raises my anxiety levels.
Figure out what home means to you. Decide what you want your home to be for others & what kind of feel you want your home to have. Write down ideas for future decorations & organization that you would love to see happen, and then do those things one by one until you have the feel you desire. All the work will be worth it when you feel comfortable & happy with the place you call HOME.