There are two types of people in the world; those who are naturally tidy, and those who aint. And sadly, I fall into the latter of those categories. That said, I love my house being clean and tidy. Nothing sets my stress and anxiety levels soaring more than mess, so I try to keep on top of it.
But it’s a struggle. I have a three year old who loves pulling out toys, only to lose interest in a couple minutes, so goes around the house creating piles of toys as she goes. And a fiance, well.. who either is completely blind or it just doesn’t bother him. His only regular jobs are the litter tray and the main bin, the rest is left to little old me. And it’s not helped by the fact I run my businesses from home; all stock, boxes, packaging materials need homes, and they take up a lot of space!
But over the years, I have got better at keeping on top of things. I don’t find myself spending hours washing up or coming across piles of clean clothes ready to be put away. Today I wanted to share the little tips I’ve picked up to keep on top of cleaning at home.
Have regular clear-outs
I’m starting with what I deem to be the most critical, because honestly? Most people have a messy house because they have too much shit. I live with one of those people; Kane has cupboards full of things that he hasn’t even taken out and looked at in years, but still wants to keep. Which I genuinely DO NOT UNDERSTAND, but hey-ho.
I’m not saying you need to KonMari the crap out of your wardrobe, spending hours thanking every last dress, top and sock you’re waving goodbye to. Personally, I like to make sure I take at least a bag to the charity shop every month. Whether it’s full of Ada’s clothes that no longer fit, toys she doesn’t play with, homewares I’m bored of. Keep on top of it, because less stuff = less stuff to tidy up.
One of the things that drives me mental about living with a certain person (I swear I’m not going to drag him this entire blog post), is that he doesn’t spend seconds doing things, instead letting them pile up. So, for example, we have a dishwasher. It’s probably the favourite part of our kitchen renovation from last year, it’s a gamechanger. When I am finished with a cup or a plate, it will go straight into the dishwasher. Kane? It goes on the side, to pile up with everything else he’s used that day, turning it into a much bigger job. It literally takes seconds to do each time, then at the end of the day you can whack in a tablet and stick it on. Not spend fifteen minutes loading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen sides afterwards.
Create a routine
I used to follow The Organised Mum Method pretty religiously, but I’d sometimes find myself cleaning things that weren’t really quite ready yet and not having time for other jobs. Plus fifteen minutes to do a wash, put it out and away, do the dishwasher, and clean one part of a bathroom? Without a dryer, that takes me a good 45 minutes.
That said, there are parts of the methods I did take away with me. Things like loading the washing machine the night before, ready to pop on first thing in the morning. I put it on before taking Ada to nursery, so it’s usually ready to go out when I get back. After putting it on I’ll make sure the recycling has been taken out, and any bits of clutter have been put away from the night before. In the evening, I give the living room, kitchen and conservatory a quick hoover and mop, but honestly that usually depends if Kane is home to do bath time. Chores aren’t fun but giving yourself a set slot and routine to do it in somehow makes it easier.
Have a home for everything
One of my biggest bugbears is how certain drawers and spaces just become the land of all sorts of rubbish that doesn’t have a real home. The drawer in our bar in the dining room is particularly guilty of this; it keeps Ada’s medical records in, important things like passports, birth certificates. But it also holds birthday candles, spare batteries, chargers, and allen keys.
And that’s okay, because really there’s nowhere else it’d all go. But it’s just how it was organised, or rather, wasn’t. I bought little tubs and baskets to keep everything separated, and now it looks so much tidier and organised. I do this in pretty much every cupboard in our house, so nothing gets messed up and everything has a place. Big baskets are a godsend for things like kids toys, so they don’t really need organising, you can just throw it all in at the end of the day.
Get the kids involved
I first wrote about keeping on top of cleaning with a kid when Ada was 15 months old, so it was a bit early to be getting her involved. Now that she’s three, it’s time to put that girl to work! She loves helping me out with the actual cleaning, things like dusting and hoovering. It’s putting her toys away independently that she struggles with, although when I help her she does it okay. But we split the dusting, she has a little brush she uses whilst I hoover. It’s a little help and keeps her occupied at the same time.
Everyone has those days when we truly can’t be arsed doing anything round the house. Even people who like cleaning and like a tidy home. But being consistent is the key to it all. I know that if I miss a day of washing, I’ll have clothes on the floor and I’ll have to play catch-up, which can take a while in winter and clothes air-drying. Just be consistent, keep on top of little things before they turn into big things.