Many of us find ourselves with little time at the end of the day to keep up with house keeping chores. Work, school, and family obligations demand so much of our time that house work slips to the wayside until we walk in one evening and confront a near disaster. Though hiring a housekeeper would be the easy way out, not all of us can afford to go that route. There is a better way in Six Steps.
#1 Pick it up once, put it away once. One of the biggest time devourers is picking up something that is out of place, and setting it down where it does not need to go. This applies to mail, newspapers, clothing, tools, dishes, or just about anything. An example is the mail. You come shuffling in with a stack of mail, flip through it for what is meaningful and throw the rest down on the table. You just created yourself some work. Never set something down until it is where it belongs. Back up and let’s do the mail thing again. We shuffle through the stack of mail, flip through it for what is important, remove it, and walk directly to the trash with the rest and deposit it. You just saved yourself time and steps. Otherwise you would have returned to the pile of mail, looked through it again, picked it all up again, and walked to the trash. This may seem like a minor detail, but handling things two or three times eats up a lot of precious free time and makes housekeeping harder. If you pick something up, you already have it in your hand, just take the next step to put it in its proper place, and the job is done.
#2 Keep the dishes under control. First remember step #1 since half of this equation is keeping dishes in the kitchen. When you are cooking, have a sink full of hot soapy water ready. As you finish the meal put the dirty pans in the sink to presoak while supper is being served. You will find that the pans are a breeze to clean up. You can quickly scrub them clean or they will be ready for the dishwasher.
#3 Clutter is the enemy. If necessary devote a vacation day to eliminating clutter around the house. Clutter multiplies our time spent cleaning because we are constantly having to pick up, move, and replace things that are not even wanted or necessary. Spend a day gathering up anything that is not wanted or useful and donate it to the Goodwill, or throw it out. Your house will instantly look more pulled together and your cleaning time will be reduced because you can dust without picking up piles of things. The things that are cluttering up the house that you just can’t live without, store in labled plastic totes and store in the closet or garage.
#4 Own a good bag-less vacuum with a hose and attachments. Those hoses on your vacuum are a life saver. You can suck down cobwebs quickly, run along the edges of floors, pop on an upholstery attachment and quickly clean the couch and cushions. Not having to replace bags saves you time and money. The dirt catchers on these vacuums are plastic cups that you just pull out and dump in the trash. The Dirt Devil models are very affordable and extremely powerful for the low price.
#5 Work out an efficient system for doing your laundry. Have three baskets in your laundry area. One for whites, one for darks, and one for permanent press clothing. When you carry in your laundry, sort it right then and there. Install a clothing rack in your laundry room so when clothes come out of the dryer you can immediately put them on hangers and put them on the rack. Then as soon as the load is done, take the clothing to their closets.
# 6 Keep trash under control. Twice weekly make the rounds of your house with a trash bag in hand. Grab up anything that your family has left lying around (ooops! They broke rule #1, stuff happens) and toss it in the bag. Catalogs, magazines, newspapers, wrappers, and tissues all get trashed.
When it comes to housekeeping, be gentle with yourself. The kingdom won’t collapse if you take a day or two off from the battle of housework. Try to develop a routine and keep the Six Steps in mind throughout each day. Every step you take will make your housekeeping a little less time consuming, and your home will be your castle!