I shouldn't be the one writing this post...honestly. But I am...because I want to share with you how I tackle cleaning my house. First off I'd suggest you not be creative in the least bit. If you are creative you'll end up with a messy house because either you're too busy being creative to clean or your creativity is the mess. I have both problems.
I've struggled forever with being neat and tidy. Ask my mom. Well, don't really....she probably doesn't want to relive that. Ask my room mates, ask my sister, ask any one - I was and still am a messy person. I do blame it on being creative...I really do. Once Zach and I moved in together, though, I realized that having a place for everything really made the difference. I'm pretty sure I've talked about this here on the blog before but being stuffed into one room growing up, one room in college, one room in a house after graduation, was the problem. I was trying to do too much stuff with one room. Now I'm happy that we have so much room in the house - not only can we fill it all with crap but we can fill it with the crap that goes in it's own space! Imagine that.
I will continue to say that if you were to come over to my house today, right now, I'd probably say give me 20 minutes and then when you arrived you wouldn't be allowed in certain rooms because I threw all the shit in there...but for the most part the house stays nice and tidy (until I have something to make).
Here's how I've adapted myself to cleaning (see what I did there?)
Divide and Conquer
Rather than run around like a crazy person and stress out each weekend when I tried to clean I decided that I really needed to break the house up into chunks. I'm sure I saw this tip somewhere, but honestly I couldn't tell you where. So I broke my house into - living room & office, kitchen & dining room, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Each section gets it's own day.
Previously, I would just spend time each day cleaning that section. That got way, way, way overwhelming especially when I had things that needed to get done like blog posts, life stuff, etc. I decided I needed to divide even more.
Each day of the week - Monday through Thursday - I clean one of these sections. But each day that the chore falls on I pick three things I need to clean. So for example, Monday is living room & office day. I will choose three things to do - vacuum/sweep, coffee table, and dust. Then the next week I will choose three more things - vacuum/sweep, bookshelf, desk. I try to vacuum and sweep each time I do a room because it's just good to do that you know. Plus we have a dog and though she doesn't shed as much as our previous dog did, she still sheds a bit.
Set a timer
After I'd assigned sections to each day I'd just clean until I thought I was done....but then I'd get discouraged and end up not cleaning the other rooms for the rest of the week because I wanted to do something else. Originally I'd set the time for an hour. I found that for me, that was too long. I'd get frustrated that I wasn't able to execute all the things I had on my mind because I spent an hour cleaning. Then I was tired. Then I still had to make dinner or something. It's annoying being an adult.
So now I lower it down to 30 min a day. Obviously this isn't a deep clean (I still need to come up with a seasonal cleaning list) but it keeps everything nice and tidy. If I do feel like something needs a deeper clean that will be my focus of the 30 min, if I can spare it. The stove is one of these things. Sometimes it just gets to where a wipe down isn't enough. Or the kitchen floors, the bathtub, the toilet, etc. Something that definitely needs more attention will get it.
But a timer ensures that I'm doing the chore and am not burned out on chores for the rest of the week. Also, it's like a little game and as stupid as I thought that reason was...it seriously does help.
Create a place for everything
This is still something I need to really focus on but for the most part there are general places for things in the house. And, if I'm cleaning an area and run into something that doesn't go there I do my best to put it back and not just set it in the area it belongs. So like if I've got a crap ton of craft stuff on the coffee table I should sort it quickly and put it away - not just dump it all in a pile on my desk. Right?
For me, this is where smaller, specific storage comes in. I know that all of this thing goes in this thing so that makes it easier to put away and less tempting to just dump it all on my desk. This also helps when you get to the next area and you are cleaning or tidying it up. If you've put the crap away then you don't need to put it away or move it around a second time. Saves you a bit when you're moving around your cleaning areas day to day.
Like I said, I'm not organizing guru I just know what's been helping me out to keep the house tidy. I've posted on this topic before and I think I've since grown but I keep incorporating the same strategies. In this post I share how to come up with the perfect cleaning list and in this post I share how I refocused my list into small, one-liner chores during our renovation.
However you do it, you've got to do something that works for you. This is a constant struggle for me but something I do like adapting. I've found myself complaining less about the state of the house but understanding myself and breaking things down into smaller parts.
How do you tackle cleaning? Have you evolved your cleaning strategies?