Want a Clean House? Habits That Guarantee You'll Get One
Habits are useful, in fact it would be impossible to run our lives without them. They simplify our lives by automating many of our routine activities (brushing our teeth, driving our car, tying our shoelaces) and freeing up our minds to concentrate on higher level activities.
Our brains are constantly scanning for patterns in our everyday life that it can turn into habits. Unfortunately our subconscious mind does not discriminate between good and bad habits and anything that is repeated over time has the potential to become a habit. We can take control of this process by consciously choosing which thoughts, actions and behaviors we want to become habits and repeating them.
If you're a busy mom, career professional or retired person everyone's life seems over scheduled so habits that get the "must do"s" done without much thought and planning are a perfect fit for a busy life. Here are some habits that people with a clean house practice. They might be worth repeating.
Make Your Bed Every Morning
Much of our everyday routine happens in the bedroom and making your bed first thing in the morning sets your intention to be in control of your home and schedule for the day. Make your bedding easy; no extra pillows, sheets that don't fall off the corners during the night and a substantial comforter that stays in place and is easily pulled up to make the bed. Enjoy the relief and comfort of climbing into a made bed at the end of a busy day.
Put Your Clothes Away
Don't fall into the trap of believing that the clothes you lay on your bedroom chair thinking you will put them away in the morning will ever get to the closet.... they won't! You want to be able to go to your closet each day and quickly pick out a WHOLE outfit because each piece is where you expected it to be. Hallelujah! Put your clothes away when you take them off AND put each piece where you expect to find it the next time you need it.
Own No Extras
Those of us who are mini hoarders by nature have a hard time doing the work of making decisions about what is really needed. Practicing "no extras" is a great way to help with this. If you have one, don't buy or keep a second one. Give it away to your daughter or someone who needs it, donate it to the Goodwill or if you really must, toss it. Best of all don't buy it to begin with. The less you own the less you have to clean and organize.
Keep Paper Organized
Here are 3 great places to start with paper organization. First, keep a trash can and your recycling bins close to where you come in from the mailbox. Sort the bills into a "bills to pay" folder, throw away or recycle anything that is junk into the trash/recycling bin and finally sort out any mail with personally identifying information and shred it. If you have a hard time letting go of the hard copy on bills etc. you can download a great online organization tool like Evernote and use your camera phone to take a picture of paper records and file them directly into the software online for referencing later. Check Evernote out here .
Wipe Down Surfaces After Every Use
There's nothing like yucky surfaces to make a home feel dirty. Take the time to quickly wipe down the soap residue from your shower, the toothpaste from bathroom counters and the spilled coffee grounds from the kitchen counter EVERY time their used. It really only takes a minute or less to accomplish clean surfaces. This habit also encourages you to put things away as you clean the surfaces.
Wash Dishes as You Use Them
Don't let dirty dishes take up residency in your sink. Even if you only run your dishwasher every other day rinse dishes as you use them and put them in the dishwasher ready and waiting for the wash cycle.
If You Use It Consider It Yours To Put Away
Everyone in the house should be able to recite this rule. It really is respect for others in the home to put away the things you use. But someone has to first take responsibility for deciding where things should be kept. Make a conscious decision about where to place everything you own so it's easy to return things after they are used and then make it your practice to do so.
If all you have is a heavy vacuum cleaner and a broom invest in an electric sweeper that will do both the bare and carpeted floors. A small vacuum turns every day floor duty into a quick and easy job. They're light, don't require much effort or muscle, you can clean all your floor surfaces at once and they clean perfectly well for routine clean ups.
Dust a Little Every Day
I like to own more than one duster. I like to have one for each room in fact and when I see some dust I just bust it with the duster I have in that room.
"Tomorrow Is Another Day"- A Habit For the Mind
When you go to bed at night review all that you accomplished that day. Let yourself celebrate and take credit for the things you got done. Notice the extra effort you made and how it made you feel to accomplish your goals. Small steps make for big changes over time and tomorrow is another day.