The days of being able to devote an undisturbed chunk of time to creating a spotless house are long gone. Some days, I feel like I have to offer up a Disney movie in exchange for the luxury of unloading the dishwasher without interruption. Everything just takes so much more effort and time. Tired of feeling overwhelmed, I’ve finally put together a quick punchlist of feasible to-do’s that helps create a cleaner looking house in a jiffy. These things seem so very Duh-Common-Sense!, but there really is something helpful about having them prioritized.
When I’m feeling grrrrrrrr… about the state of my house, putting aside 30 minutes (I set a kitchen timer so I know I won’t have to clean long, believe it or not…) and focusing on these three things helps me get rid of the I-can’t-take-this-anymore feeling:
- Do the Dishes – Dirty dishes in the sink are the equal to an unmade bed in the center of the bedroom. In addition to being a complete eye sore, it packs an additionally insulting punch of often being smelly, and only becomes an increasingly unpleasant task as time passes. Get those gross dishes out of the sink, and you’ll instantly feel better.
- Clear the Counters – This sounds so much easier than it really is. We have a large amount of kitchen counter space, which basically invites mail to build towers, paperwork to sort itself into “strategic” stacks, and provides a canvas, upon which, every piece of KidArt seems to magically release its glitter, feathers, and beads. Clearing the counters doesn’t mean just dumping it all into a basket (unless you have somebody on their way over, of course…), it means sorting and organizing all the stuff. Even if you don’t have the time to file the bills and put away the kids’ toys (save that for another 30 minute cleaning session…), carry the stack of bills into the den and compile the toys into a bag that gets brought upstairs, downstairs, etc.
- Hang Coats and Put Away Shoes & Bags – Lastly, reduce the visual clutter by hanging up coats & bags and putting away all those rogue shoes. It’s amazing how your foyer will look cleaner in a matter of minutes. This moment might also help remind you, the next time you’re shopping, how much you don’t need another purse or pair of shoes, as well… I’m not suggesting that you have that problem, I’m just sayin’… As a final bonus, this is also the area that any unannounced visitors will first see when they make those awesome drop-in’s – thank goodness neighbors stop by for sugar from the kitchen and not printer paper from the den.
Remember: Stick to the punchlist tasks – Only the punchlist.
This means, no talking on the phone, checking email, etc… Although I’m a multi-tasking machine, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit how this behavior often makes the simplest of tasks complicated and slow. This is by far the hardest part for me… I’m the queen of having thirty half-completed “projects” around the house!
Not exactly rocket-science, huh? Exactly. So go ahead… Grab a glass of wine or latte, set your oven timer to 30 minutes, and get your clean-on… I promise that you’ll look around and feel better when you hear that beep.
Do you have a secret shortcut to keeping the mess in-check?