#1: Everything In It's Place
The first rule to having a home that is always clean and organized is to assign a place for everything in your home. Start by asking yourself whether you use, need or love each item - if it doesn't fit into any of those categories, get rid of it. Everything in our home has a spot - from books, to crafting supplies, tools, and toiletries - every single cabinet, closet and drawer is organized - it makes it really easy to find anything that I need in just a few seconds, saving me a lot of time. This also saves me money, because I always know at a glance if we need more deodorant, nails, or light bulbs.
#2: Chores for Everyone
Every person in your family should have a list of chores that they are responsible for completing each day. In our home, Eben takes care of the laundry, pet duties, dishes and a few other things. The mister is responsible for making all of our meals, grocery shopping and the garage. I take care of everything else including the errands, vacuuming, dusting, organizing, cleaning the kitchen, living room and bathrooms. It makes it a lot easier to keep the home clean and organized when everyone in the home is part of the process.
#3: Clean Up as You Go
Whether I am working on a work project, recipe, or craft I clean up as I go. As soon as I am finished with an item, I put it away. When I am finished with dishes, I load them in the dishwasher. If I spill something, I clean it up immediately. I have also instilled this lesson in Eben, when he is finished playing with one thing, he puts it away before getting something else out. If he is done reading a book, it goes back on the bookshelf when he grabs another. This goes along with #1, if you put it back where it belongs immediately, you will always know where it is and everything will stay relatively clean.
#4: Clean After Use
I like to keep my green cleaning supplies where they are needed and use them often. For example, I keep a bottle of green cleaner in the shower and tub and then spritz everything down every couple of days. I keep a bottle of green glass cleaner in each bathroom and spritz down the mirrors and sinks everyday. I keep a bottle of green toilet cleaner near the toilets and spritz them down as well. It ensures that the dirtiest parts of our home are always clean and healthy. And I never have to spend a whole day or afternoon deep-cleaning our home.
#5: A Load A Day
I have Eben do a load of laundry and dishes every day or as soon as the washer is full. He is then responsibly for getting the clothes into the dryer and folding it and putting the dishes away too. We never have a laundry room stacked with dirty clothes, or a kitchen sink brimming with last night's dinner plates. We don't have a need for an insane amount of clothing, linens or dishes because everything that we own is usually either being used or clean and put away.
#6: Unpack + Put Away Immediately
We venture out to the beach or swimming pool almost every day and we always take a huge beach bag stuffed full of towels, books, snacks, hats, water bottles and other items. When we get home I always feel like leaving that bag by the front door. Instead, I carry it up and immediately unpack it. The dirty dishes and water bottles are put in the dishwasher, uneaten snacks go back in the pantry, books go back on the bookshelf and the wet towels and swimsuits go into the dryer. This has saved us from mildewy swimsuits and towels, ruined books and wasted foods. This tip is also great for backpacks and lunchboxes when school is back in session. You immediately see any permission slips or homework and you can sometimes save an uneaten snack before the lunchbox icepack completely melts.
Stay tuned -- coming up tomorrow is how I speed clean our home everyday. It takes me less than 1/2 hour but the house is super sparkling when I am done. Followed, later in the week on how I can deep clean the entire house top to bottom in 85 minutes. I do this usually about twice a month - it makes keeping up with the 6 steps above a breeze.
Do you have secrets to keeping a house clean, organized and green? I would love to hear them.
photo courtesy of Jamie Meares