It might feel sometimes like everyone else has it all together and you never will. And it’s probably true. Take me, for instance. I’ve been working a long time to perfect my unique methods of home management to get my home running like the well-oiled machine it is today. After years of hard work, practice and trial-and-error, I finally feel ready to share some of my favorite tried and true habits.
It’s a short list, but perfecting just these few tricks will change your life in ways you’ve never dared to hope for. And remember, no matter how far you are from this particular brand of household perfection, don’t be hard on yourself. This takes years. Like all things, it happens one small step at a time…sometimes without even realizing it’s happening.
Without further ado, here are my top eight tips for highly effective housekeeping.
- Make sure you wipe your kitchen counters every day without moving anything off of them. One day, when you do move the excessively large juicer with the twenty-six detachable parts, you will have tangible evidence of a job well done. The crusted build-up of cake crumbs and vegetable pulp will encourage you with a fair measure of how much gross crud you’ve wiped off of the visible parts of the counter over the past three months. Well done! (see also: How-To: Damage Yourself with a Blender You’re not Using)
- Step over, around and through the breakfast mess on the kitchen floor all day. Clean it only immediately before serving lunch. Serve rice, so you’ll have plenty to step over, around and through until dinnertime.
- Effective laundering requires adequate preparation. Be sure to soak all of your laundry in air on the bathroom floor for at least 18 hours prior to washing.
- Allow your clean laundry to relax on the couch for three days before folding. Use this free time to organize your kitchen towel drawer in a rotating pattern based on color and design of each towel.
- The best way to dry laundry is to air dry. To save on electricity, switch clean laundry immediately from washer to dryer, close the dryer and move on to the next task. Allow clothes to air dry at least one full day in the closed dryer. If your clothes aren’t dry when your next load of clean laundry is ready, start the dryer at that time. Let the clean, wet laundry rest in the washing machine until it crosses your mind again at bedtime.
- Teach your husband and kids to remove their socks inside out. This way you can get the insides nice and clean without worrying about losing the mud, saw dust and peanut butter on the outsides.
- Send kids straight to the bathroom when they come in with dirty clothes and shoes. Make sure all of it gets left on the floor next to the dirty laundry basket and just leave it alone. This way, not only can the dirty laundry begin soaking in air (see above), but you also won’t have to worry about being able to see the bathroom floor. Don’t worry about having empty spaces on the floor when someone needs shoes either, because no one else can EVER find the shoes that get left in the bathroom.
- Make your bed first thing every morning so you’ll have a place to put everything you don’t want the kids getting into throughout the day (folded laundry, Halloween candy, choking hazards, toys you want to make disappear before the kids remember them). This saves you time when you have other things to tend to, and the added mess and stress of re-folding laundry, relentless candy-begging, cheap unwanted toys, and so much more. Also your husband* will always have something to shove onto the floor when he manages to get into bed before you again.
*If the roles are reversed in your home, switch the titles and pronouns in your head while you read. I don’t have time for gender offense – I think my kid might be eating a cardboard box.
So, if you think you’re struggling to keep it all together – you’re actually probably doing better than you think; but I hope you will enjoy these practices anyway, as much as I have enjoyed them and the exciting adventures of discovering new and creative ways to reach such domestic mastery. You will also soon find yourself developing your own unique ways to make every day special.
So stay calm and keep your head up, but always stare at the floor when you walk because if you’ve never stepped on a Lego, you’ll want to keep it that way.
Have you tried any of these? Did I miss something? Join the conversation in the comments below.