One of the things that I have always excelled at is making places feel like 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.
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10 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 5-10 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
- Wash, Dry or Fold a load of laundry (HINT: If you have a lot of people in the house wash in the morning, switch to dry in the middle of the day, & fold/put away at the end of the day.)
- Wipe down bathroom sink & toilet
- Take out trash
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 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
- Wipe down stove top & oven door
- Wipe down inside & out of microwave
- Wipe down tops of washing machine & dryer
- Change washcloths & hand towels in kitchen & bathroom
- Quickly dust noticeable areas around home
- Wipe door handles & light switches with disinfectant wipes
- Clean any windows that get a lot of traffic (french doors, big front glass doors, etc.)
- Clean bathroom(s): mirror, sink, & toilet
- Sweep/Vacuum (HINT: If your house has a lot of traffic, you may want to mop every week as well.)
- Do chores from “Monthly” checklist
- If you have extra time & motivation, complete a project from the “Yearly” checklist
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
- Mop bathroom floor
- Clean shower/bathtub (HINT: I love to use magic erasers to get off hard water stains)
- Wipe down outside of kitchen cabinets & bathroom vanity drawers
- Toss leftovers from fridge
- Wash bed sheets
- Check for smudges on inside of window panes
- Swiffer/Mop floors
- Wipe down fan blades
- Clean vacuum
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 identify what really needs done in your home.
- Clean out underneath all beds & furniture
- Wipe bedroom drawers down
- All windows inside & out (SPRING)
- All windows inside & out (FALL)
- Clean & organize fridge (SPRING)
- Clean & organize fridge (SUMMER)
- Clean & organize fridge (FALL)
- Clean & organize fridge (WINTER)
- Wash shower curtain
- Wash bedroom & living room curtains
- Wash trash cans
- Vacuum furniture well (especially under cushions)
- Wipe down trim around house
- Wipe down door frames
- Wipe down doors
- Clean dish rack/dishwasher
- Clean oven
- Wipe down kitchen chairs & stools
- Wipe down vents/registers
- Wash rugs (SUMMER)
- Wash rugs (WINTER)
- Wipe down/dust bed frames
- Clean washing machine (run loads of vinegar & baking soda separately)
- Clean burner racks on stove
- Clean out dryer lint trap
- Clean out coffee pot
- Dust picture frame & other wall decor
- Wash walls
- Organize & wipe down inside of kitchen cabinets
- Organize & wipe down inside of bathroom drawers
- Organize bedroom drawers
- Organize bedroom closets & give clothing away
- Wash mattress cover & air out/vacuum mattress (SPRING)
- Wash mattress cover & air out/vacuum mattress (FALL)
- Wash pillows (SPRING)
- Wash pillows (FALL)
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.