Stay Caught Up on Housework with These Amazing Tips!

We all lead busy lives these days – work, school, volunteer, church and family obligations pull us in every direction. If we do get a little time off, the last thing we want to do is spend it cleaning house! Yet without proper maintenance, your house can end up looking like a tornado hit it very quickly! Here are some ideas to keep it looking spiffy.

#1 -Keep an empty laundry basket on hand. If someone calls and says, “I’m coming right over!” you can quickly tidy your living room and kitchen by putting clutter in the basket and, if necessary, putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher or even the oven! Even better, don’t let clutter accumulate: If you establish a system of “every item has a place and it stays in that place” then you’ll have a clean house at all times!

#2 – Nothing makes a house seem dirtier than a dirty smell. Scented products, such as air fresheners, essential oil, scented tarts, and candles can all make your home more inviting. If there’s a problem area, such as where the cat box is kept, you may want to install an air freshener that sprays periodically. If you need to scent an area quickly, carpet sprays tend to have a light fragrance with good coverage. You can also put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and toss it into the vacuum bag or put it on top of your furnace filter for a nice fragrance.

#3 – Laundry is one of those chores that no one likes to do. Simplify it! If you can afford one of those cleaners where you drop off everything for washing and pick it up a few hours later, then do it! If you can’t, stay on top of things by washing today’s clothes immediately before you go to bed, and then put them in the dryer as soon as you get up in the morning. Put them away either before or after work. Utilize a hamper for items that must be washed separately or on the delicate cycle. Use a container to corrall stain removers, dryer sheets, and other laundry products. If your washer is in a visible area, try purchasing things like bleach and laundry soap in bulk and using them to fill small decorative bottles (store the bulk containers in a child-safe location).

#4 – Dishes are another one of “those” chores. If you have a dishwasher, get in the habit of quickly rinsing dishes (if you need to) and put them immediately in the dishwasher. If you let food dry on plates and silverware, it’s all the harder to get them clean. If you don’t, fill your sink with the hottest water from your tap and a squirt of dish soap while you cook. Don’t wait for the meal to end to start those dishes! Any spoons or pans that you use can go straight into the hot water to soak. The instant you’re done with your meal, go ahead and wash the dishes. If you have a helper to dry them, do that – if not, let them air dry and put them away in an hour or so.

#5 – Pets are wonderful, but most of them stink! Cat boxes, ferret odors, and dirty dogs can all make for a smelly home. Plus, shedding pets leave fur everywhere. Develop a habit – scoop the catbox at a certain time every day. Even small animals can have the cages scooped quickly. Have a set day and time where you actually change out the litter. Make an appointment, either with a groomer or with yourself, to give the dog a bath weekly – perhaps early in the morning of your day off. Fur can be gotten up quickly using a brush attachment, rubber gloves, or a tool made for the purpose. The key is to do so often. If you spend two minutes a day getting hair off your sofa, you won’t have to spend an hour doing so before company comes.

#6 – If you clean your refrigerator once a week, discarding old food and giving a quick wipe, you can stave off having to do a full cleaning for a long time. Take a few seconds to scribble a date on leftovers and other items that only last a few days. If you keep an inventory of your freezer items, preparing dinner and grocery shopping become much easier.

#7 – Save steps – carry the trash outside on your way to your car. Use a small box at the top and bottom of the stairs to stash items that have become misplaced and belong on the other floor. Next time you go up, take the box with you and put the items away. Clean one room at a time, and if it’s a large room, do so sectionally. Carry items with you that belong in other areas. When cleaning, use a large apron with pockets and tuck in extra cleaning rags, spray cleaners, etc. Make up your bed the instant you get up in the morning. Stash a bottle of toilet cleaner right next to the scrubber, and quickly swish the bowl each morning.

#8 – Schedule large cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming, cleaning the shower, or washing windows for a particular day. It helps to use a calendar for this, so you can pencil in monthly or yearly tasks as well. For instance, you might spend a few minutes vacuuming on Monday, cleaning the oven on Tuesday, and washing bedding on Wednesday, instead of spending a whole hour doing all three on Monday.

If you use even a few of these tips, you will save time and energy, and have a much cleaner house!

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