Who needs a neat and tidy home to feel true comfort in your surroundings? So many of us like to feel like everything is ‘done’ before we sit down, or before we host a BBQ or have a friend over for a cuppa - afraid to show our home in the chaos of daily life and the reality that is ‘mess’.
Who struggles to stay on top of the constant grind of housework and tidying? It never ends does it? Load after load of washing, pile after pile of folding and forever putting everything away. The same can be said for dishes, ironing, vacuuming and mopping… It’s tedious, dull and it’s never ending – we get it!
So how can we make life easier? What truly connects you to your home? What makes you happy? I know for many, that when putting our feet up on the lounge to relax, that we only truly feel a sense of relief when our environment is mostly in order. Did you notice I used the word ‘mostly’ and not ‘completely’?
This guide is not about perfection; it’s about meeting in the middle and striking a balance so that you can embrace imperfection too (embracing imperfection is good for the soul). Let’s face it, ‘life’ in all honesty – is messy! Agree? Good.
So let’s get on with our handy hints and tips so that you can both enjoy the process of caring for your home and most importantly, being able to relax in your space.
We have broken our hints and tips into five categories: groceries, kitchen, washing, cleaning and productivity.
Firstly, we’re going to start you off with an article that answers so many of your grocery planning ‘dreads’… follow this link to read: “What’s your grocery game”? It provides valuable insight into how you can find your own groove and make it work for you (it might even be fun)! https://becbraid.com/2017/05/29/whats-your-grocery-game/
Packing lunches: Why not buy in bulk and get the kids to help section out snacks into snap lock bags or containers to save you doing it every single night/morning. It’s then just a matter of adding a sandwich and some fresh fruit/veg.
Mornings are usually chaotic for most households, so limit what needs to be done to ensure your kitchen is easy to clean at this time of day. Simply load the dishwasher, pack away breakfast, wipe benches and give the sink a quick rinse. (Saves you coming home to a mess).
The kitchen turns to chaos from early afternoon with kids constantly searching for endless food to feed their growing bellies; plus the mess that comes with preparing a meal. CLEAN AS YOU GO!
Tip: whilst cooking, why not get some help to organise your pantry (when the kids are old enough). Get them to alphabetise your spices or give them some labels and let them have some fun – educational and organisation – two birds with one stone, bam!
At the end of the night, work in a circle so that you’re not traipsing back and forth. Work in a pattern to ensure your kitchen is clean and re-set for the following day (yep, sadly it will get messed up all over again – where are those cleaning fairies)??
Dishwasher tip – why not stack your knives together, your forks together etc. so that unpacking is a little more streamlined. If you have children, the daily dishwasher empty is a great chore to create a sense of teamwork and responsibility.
Cut down sorting time – have three separate baskets for whites, colours and darks. Encourage your family to turn their socks the right way in, button up pants and zip up jackets etc. to cut down on folding time.
Depending on how many people are in your home, decide on the days of the week that you will wash and stick to a routine. Also, encourage everyone to put their own clothes away once they are folded.
Now we’re talking the nitty gritty, the cleaning grind: toilets, bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping and dusting. Make life easier for yourself and depending on the size of your home, create a couple of cleaning caddy’s that are fully stocked and on hand close to where you need them. Stock them with micro fibre cloths, surface spray, disinfectant etc. You could even create a cleaning tool belt, so that everything is in reach for a swift clean - no one will want to mess with you when you are in the zone!
Create a roster and schedule particular tasks that suit your lifestyle (work times/other commitments). Think about delegation and what others can do to help (bribery works wonders, ha!) Once you create a routine, and stick to it, you will less likely become overwhelmed. Don’t do everything at once - because we all know we’ll lose our entire weekend if we don’t break our tasks down into bite sizes on different days.
Clean as you go – I once read that you shouldn’t leave a room without filling your hands with things that need to be put away or sorted. Example: you walk into the toy room to stop a fight between siblings, on your way out… grab the sippy cup, the half-chewed apple and the wet jocks from the corner of the room because your Mr Three had an accident and just grabbed a new pair because he didn’t want to tell you. (Oh and you probably want to go back and clean up that puddle too)! Yep – never ends! If you can do this from room to room, less mess will build up around your home.
Live in the moment – be present. If you are going to clean, you might as well have fun doing it. If the whole time you are vacuuming you wished you weren’t, well it’s not going to be much fun. Throw some headphones on, dance a little and work up a sweat (work out done). If you truly focus on what you are doing, the ‘work’ becomes more enjoyable. Set yourself a goal for when you want to be finished, treat yourself once you are done. Life is easier and far more enjoyable when you allow yourself to be present.
Create your cleaning path – if you’re on a mission to tidy, don’t zigzag all over the house, because if you do, your head will be spinning and your timeliness will suffer. Be methodical, create a cleaning path and work your way from start to end.
Multi-task: if the kids are in the bath, why not clean your basins and mirrors whilst you’re in there? If you’re going to spend half hour on the phone to your best friend, take advantage wireless technology… walk and tidy as you talk.
A house is not a home; a home is where your heart is. You don’t have to be a slave to your home, you are meant to enjoy it. Things don’t have to be perfect, aim for that balance, because after all a home is for living and loving, not for displaying (unless you’re on the market).