How to Clean your Home when Life gets in the Way
Today I’d like to welcome Autumn from the fabulous blog, Space for Living.
Have you had a busy week (or two or three), and now your home looks disheveled beyond repair? For those times in your life when a big project or looming deadline throws you out of balance, how do you keep the chaos in your home under control?
When you are pressed for time it may be tempting to let your normal household cleaning list fall by the wayside, but a sense of calm and order can help home be a space to recharge. Taking a look at which chores matter most will allow you to be very deliberate in how you spend your time as you change up your cleaning routine to match your busy schedule. Here is a chore list to use when you are too busy for housework and feel overwhelmed or too busy to think. The list is in order of importance so do as many as is realistic for your schedule.
If you can only do one item of maintenance, do the dishes! If you put off dishes you will soon find an overwhelming mountain of plates and glasses with caked on food and grime. These dishes will take twice as long to clean than if you had worked on a little bit after each meal.
Keeping your kitchen tidy is taking care of yourself too. You will be more likely to make fresh, healthy meals at home with a clean kitchen.
2. Make your Bed
This is a small task that makes a big impact. Throw the covers up, fluff the pillows and your room will instantly look 85% cleaner and more put together.
Dirty clothes are so persistent! If you have a washer and dryer in your home, try to throw a load in a day to keep a large pile at bay. If possible, delegate the folding and putting away to another family member. Truthfully, I hate laundry so I will gladly accept any arguments against this chore if you have enough underwear and socks to tide you over. But beware, that growing pile of dirty clothes might eat you alive if you leave it alone for too long!
4. 5-Minute Pickup
You might not have enough time to do a full house pick up, but even 5 minutes can make a huge difference. Recruit others and your productivity will soar with a little team effort. Set a timer and make a race of it.
5. Bathroom Wipe
After washing your hands use a damp towel to do a quick wipe of the bathroom counters and sink. You can break out your favorite cleaners next time. For now, just keeping the sink free of crusty toothpaste is enough to keep your bathroom from looking too frightening.
Let’s set realistic expectations on ourselves and our time. If we are concentrating on the list of chores above, there are chores we are skipping. But remember your goal for those days or weeks that feel overwhelming is just to keep your house in order, not to deep clean for company.
Sweeping and mopping the floor can wait. I know this may drive some people crazy but whether you mop today or one week from now it won’t necessarily make the job take longer. If you are really busy, don’t waste your time on chores that can wait.
Along the same lines, you can skip vacuuming this week, you and your carpet will survive a little wait. Some might argue with this strong statement because when it comes to making a big impact, vacuuming can make a house seem clean. Sure those lines in the carpet might make you feel productive, but I am concentrating on maintenance mode. If you are having visitors then by all means whip out the vacuum and do a quick run over the high traffic areas to give it that freshly cleaned look.
The same goes for dusting, cleaning mirrors, and scrubbing your tub. They can all wait until your temporary time crunch passes. Do I even need to mention that filing and decluttering can wait to? This is not a permanent condition and you will be able to get back to your normal house maintenance routine soon.
Don’t forget to schedule in something physical to help relieve the extra stress built up from your hectic schedule. You could multitask by turning on some dancing tunes while folding laundry or doing a quick, (I mean run!) house pick-up. Getting your heart rate up is such an important part of combating stress.
With these 5 tasks done and some chores ignored, you can make it seem like everything is under control until you catch back up with life. When you do catch your breath, your home will be back in tip top shape in no time.
What about you? When you’re feeling overwhelmed, which chores do you let slip by the wayside? Anyone feel guilty if they can’t get to their weekly dusting or is there another chore that you can’t let go of?
Autumn shares ideas to create Space for Living on her blog. Her favorite organizing solutions emphasize practicality over perfection and joyful living over clutter.