Disclaimer: Before you even start to read this post, I want to make it loud and clear that I do not claim to be a neat freak or a person with an impecably clean home. Though I do strive for it and prefer it and used to be that way, adding a baby to the formula pretty much nixed the ability to keep things that way. Ok, just wanted to make that clear before people start judging my home or my methods!
How many people out there struggle to keep their house clean? I bet you all raised your hands (or at least nodded your heads or something!) It's tough! It's also not always fun. I used to be really anal about the house, especially things like the kitchen sink and countertops, the linen closet, and having clean walls. (My roomate in college once walked in on me washing down the walls in my room and I don't think she ever thought of me the same ever again!)
Anyway, once I went back to work after having Eli, things fell apart. My counterspace was overtaken by bottles and pacifiers and our house was overtaken by pack n' plays, toys, bouncy seats, and high chairs. At first I kinda freaked out. But slowly over the last few months, our house has turned back to normal again again as well as our lives. To make the job of cleaning, which I normally LOVE to do, easier, we decided on doing a daily chore. It doesn't matter who does it (ok, it kinda matters when it comes to who gets to choose the channel or who has to change Eli's poopy diaper) but just that it HAS to get done and there's no getting around it. I highly suggest it to all of you out there because it may not keep the entire house clean, but it helps you keep up with the little things that get away from you so when it is time to clean the house its not a huge undertaking. This is what we do:
Monday: Kitchen counters and sink
Tuesday: Dust and vacuum
Wednesday: clean toilets and bathroom sinks
Thursday: sweep and mop the kitchen floor
Friday: pick up Eli's nursery and closet
Laundry is a weekend project, though it usually gets done daily because during the night, our laundry must get into the liquor cabinet, make bad choices, and then have litters upon litters of dirty laundry that appear by the next morning. I hate the laundry, which is why my Saint of a husband does most of it :)
Anyway, that is one thing that really helps us out. Here are some of my other tips:
1. Make it a game: I've been doing this for a long time when it comes to chores. For example, you're watching your favorite tv show but you also happen to know that the dishwasher is full of clean dishes just waiting to be put away into the cabinets. Instead of putting it off and putting it off, make a game of getting them all put away during a commercial break. It works! Trust me! I do this for all sorts of small tasks such as switching over the laundry, making the bed, cleaning the toilets, etc. It's amazing how a chore that you put off all week really only takes 90 seconds. Though I don't spend many hours in front of a tv, I watch enough to have probably 8 commercial breaks. That's 8 chores in less than an hour!
2. Invisible Glass: best window/mirror cleaning product EVER. Thank you to my Aunt and Uncle for introducing it to my dad, who shared the secret with me, which now I'm sharing with you!
3. Invest in a good vacuum. I know financially how hard it is when you are a newly wed with a baby and just starting out in your careers. So maybe an expensive Dyson isn't within your reach quite yet. When we first got married we had some hand-me-down vaccuums from family members and it was awful. I literally threw one off our front steps because it started blowing everything I had just vaccumed all over our brand new carpet. We finally decided to save up for one, and it only took a few months to save up for and now I LOVE vacuuming because I love my vacuum. Cleaning out the canister is like a mini-Christmas for me.
4. When you're mean, go clean! Sometimes, like any normal loving human being, I get mad, annoyed, frusterated, and I just want to be mean! I want to yell at my husband for leaving starbursts wrappers all over his desk or complain rudely about someone who ticked me off. So instead of doing those things, I take out my anger by cleaning. Whenever Seth and I get into an arguement and I want some space, I clean! Sometimes, I think he tries to honk me off just so I end up doing it all and he doesn't have to help!
5. Choose your battles. I work like mad to make sure I clean the rest of the house so that when it comes to my least favorite chore in the world, putting away laundry, I can guilt my husband into it by parading all the other wonderful things I did. It may seem a little low to you, but think how much you hate doing your least favorite chore, and I'll bet you'll see where I'm coming from!
6. Always have a clean kitchen sink. If the heart of your house is your kitchen, then the pacemaker (or SA node for my fellow medical friends) of the kitchen is the sink. I can have a messy house everywhere else, but if my kitchen is messy, I feel like my life is messy. And it all comes down to the sink. When your sink is clean you can rinse things off, fill things up, wash things, and actually use it. It is my #1 rule in cleaning and I don't take to it lightly! (Also a little trick I like to do for my stainless steel sink is to wipe it down with mineral oil now and then. It just helps coat it and give it that nice shine!)
7. A Boyfriend: I'm having an affair, and Seth totally knows it. Its with a beautiful bald man. That's right, its Mr. Clean, and his magic eraser is my favorite thing in the entire world. Sometimes, I welcome a big mess or stain just to test how far it goes. It gets it all. Hard water scum on your shower, rust stains, muddy paw prints on your doors, scuffs on the walls, baby food that has crusted in your grout, etc. I could go on forever. I love you Mr. Clean.
So there you have it, my little tips on how to keep a clean home. Like I said, I'm not perfect, nor is my house. But a clean home is a happy home, and helps keep the stress down, at least in my family :)