8 New Year's Resolution Tips for a Cleaner Home
New Year's resolutions are synonymous with taking on new diet and exercise programs.
21:34 23 January 2020
A resolution you don't hear of as often is trying to keep a cleaner home. The interesting thing is, people tend to fall off track with their resolutions pretty fast. This is usually because, after the holidays, life starts getting busy all over again. When the dishes and laundry begin piling up, it is easy to make excuses that you don't have time for taking care of yourself, because you are so busy trying to take care of your home.
Here's a secret about cleaning: the more often you do it, the less work it is. So to start off your year right, try adopting the following eight habits. After a few weeks they really will become automatic, and you will be amazed at how much free time you have for focusing on other goals, while you enjoy your perpetually clean home.
#1 Make Your Bed Every Morning
This small habit can have a huge impact on your home. It can be easy to pass this habit up if you have hectic mornings, or struggle with "What's the point?" Syndrome. Just because you have to do something over and over again does not mean you shouldn't do it, though. Life is made up of repetitions! Don't think of this task as pointless simply because you will unmake your bed at the end of the day. Think of it as a goal that you get to check off every day on your list of things to do for a better life.
#2 Reduce Clutter
You can't organize clutter. Even more importantly, you can't clean quickly or very effectively when you have to work around clutter. If your countertops are covered in appliances, think about which ones you actually use on a daily basis. Donate or store whichever ones are collecting dust. The same goes for your shelves, desks, bathroom counters, and any surfaces in your home. It is much easier to dust a shelf that doesn't have a bunch of little trinkets you need to move and then put back, or to quickly disinfect a countertop when you only have to work around a few objects. Overall, a less cluttered home just looks neater.
#3 Only Touch Mail Once
A great way to reduce a major source of clutter is to deal with your mail right when you get it. Only touching mail once means addressing whatever the piece of mail requires right when you open it. If it is a bill that needs to be paid, pay it. If it is an invitation, RSVP. Discard or recycle any junk mail. File any statements or important documents. Do this every day and get rid of that pile on your kitchen counter or desk for good. To further reduce paper clutter, sign up for electronic statements for whatever bills you can.
#4 Put Shoes and Coats Away After Use
Your home's entryway is a hot zone for messes. Since this is the first area you see when you come home after a long day, it is so important to keep it clean and organized. It is also the first area that guests see, and the condition of your foyer sets the tone for how your guests feel about the cleanliness of your whole house. Every day, when you get home, don't just throw your jacket on a chair and kick off your shoes. Hang your coat back up where it belongs, and put your shoes in their designated spot, too. Teach your kids where their items go so that they can assist you in keeping things organized. It will also make getting ready to head out the door much less stressful, because you will know exactly where everyone's stuff is.
#5 Run Machines Every Day
Dishes and laundry can pile up in the blink of an eye. I'm sure you've had those days where you go to do the dishes, only to realize you need to first empty the dishwasher, and then decide to just put things off until morning. Maybe you were motivated to get going on laundry, but realize you forgot to move a load you started a couple days ago from the washer to the dryer. Now you have to run the load again, slowing your progress, while also losing momentum.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, cleaning more often makes cleaning easier. Make it a priority to run your washer and dryer, and dishwasher, if you have one, once every day. Even if you have a dedicated laundry day (see #8, below), there is always something to wash, like bed sheets, sports uniforms, towels, and more. When you have days where your dishwasher isn't full, that is a good opportunity to wash items like coffee machine parts and hood vents that you never seem to get around to.
#6 Never Go to Bed With a Dirty Kitchen
If you don't have a dishwasher, you might already recognize the value in cleaning your kitchen, or at least doing your dishes, every night. It can be very tempting to put kitchen mess off until the morning. You likely feel exhausted after a long day, followed by cooking dinner, but going to bed with a clean kitchen sets you up for a successful tomorrow. Try to clean while you cook, to make the cleanup process less daunting. Do your dishes, wipe off the table and counter tops, and do a quick sweep to keep on top of crumbs. Once you form this habit you will find that it is actually hard to go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Cooking will become easier and more enjoyable, too, allowing you to clean up your diet!
#7 Break Cleaning Up Into 5 or 10 Minute Chunks
When my kids were little, I would always wait until they went to bed to pick up. I figured anything I cleaned up would just get destroyed immediately by my children. Sometimes I was simply too exhausted to deal with the overwhelming mess at bedtime. Then, I started doing quick five or ten minute tidy-ups throughout the day and it made a huge difference. Try doing a five minute cleanup before you head out the door, or at lunchtime. Do a ten minute cleanup before going off to bed. Set a timer and put as much stuff away in its' rightful places as you can. Let your family members help you out! Make it a game and see who can put the most items away before the timer beeps.
#8 Weekly Cleaning Schedule
One of the easiest ways to keep your home clean is to break household chores up and spread them over the course of a week, rather than doing everything on your day off. Designate a day for doing as much laundry as you can, a day for dusting, a day for bathrooms, and a day for floors. During the first week, these chores will take a little longer. Stick with it the following week, though, and you will be surprised at how much faster the tasks go. Some people even designate one day a week to performing a single deep cleaning task. This allows you to deep clean your home bit by bit, so you don't get overwhelmed and quit. There are a lot of ideas online for making your own cleaning schedule, and tips for cleaning everything, including those hard to reach places. Sit down and create a plan of attack so you can make real progress on your New Year's resolution for a clean home this year.