So I have always been an organized person. I am detail oriented and very much a planner. But when it comes to the actual cleanliness of my house I have a tendency to struggle. And now with two hairy dogs, I've especially begun to realize the importance of actually cleaning your home. I can't relax unless everything is done off of my to do list, and this includes having the house picked up, so staying on top of it is super helpful.
My goal in this is to keep my house in a livable enough state, that if someone calls and says they are 10 minutes away, we can do a quick sweep of the house and have it be mostly presentable.
These are the steps that I try to follow to make this a possibility
1. Find a Home for Things
This one is huge. If you know that the charger goes in the top drawer of the night stand, put it there. For one, it makes it easy to find things if they are always in the same spot, and two, if they have a designated area they are supposed to be kept, then it limits the temptation to let them sit in a pile on the counter.
2. Dishes and Countertops.
Nothing makes the kitchen feel cleaner than an empty sink. Try and do them as you use them, and if you can't then at least don't let them sit in the sink overnight. It just makes everything harder to clean anyway. Wiping the counters off each day takes maybe a minute, but an empty sink and clear counters make everything seem cleaner.
3. Don't let piles form.
Whether that be mail on the counter, or a bag of stuff you need to go through, don't let it just sit there and accumulate. Go through it, trash what is junk and find the rest a home. Keeping your working space clear, from the counters to the kitchen table, allows you to use the space as it was meant to be used. And eliminates you from having to throw junk into closets when you hear people are coming.
4. Laundry, Laundry, Laundry.
Keep a hamper where all the dirty clothes go in. The goal is to have family put clothes in here and not on the floor (easier said, than done. Ahem, Aaron). Then as soon as it's full, throw it in the wash. Don't let it pile up around it. It takes too long to catch up on. Then as soon as it's done fold it and put it away. Don't let it stack up next to your dresser. (Ahem, Aaron) :D It's easier to find things quickly if it's put away, and if you do a load at a time it's not nearly so daunting.
5. Sweep and Mop the Floors Regularly
It depends on how much foot traffic you have for how often. It also depends on if you have children or animals. For me, with two dogs, I try to sweep every other day. I usually mop at least once or twice a week. And I'm talking the easy, Swifter, press one button and push type mop. It is absolutely concerning how much can accumulate on the floor in just a few days. Impressive, but concerning.
6. When the trash is full, take it out.
I know this is super basic, but how many times have we set stuff around the trash can, merely in anticipation that we will EVENTUALLY take out the trash. Take it out. It smells, and it's super embarrassing if someone comes over and it's all in a pile on the floor.
7. Make your bed.
This one I am horrible at and it is usually the chore I am frantically trying to do if we have last minute company. Does it count if I keep the spare bedroom one made? It really does make the whole room look fresh and clean, plus it gets pillows off the floor. Just a matter of getting into the habit!
8. Wipe down your bathroom every few days.
The two messiest rooms in my house are the kitchen and the bathroom. And inevitably when people come over, these are the two rooms you can guarantee they will see. Between the hair, the toothpaste, the makeup, ect. the sink and floor get gross. And while it doesn't bother you (or at least me) because it's "your dirt," trust me, other people don't want to wash their hands in a sink filled with your toothpaste.
9. Get rid of the clutter.
This means cutting down on extras. Extra toys, extra makeup, extra everything. Extra stuff just creates clutter. Keep either what you love or need, and do away with the rest. You're more likely to find and use what you actually want, if you don't have to go digging for it.
10. End of day pick up.
Throughout the day, things get moved out of place. Jackets and purses piled on counters, toys all over the floor, paperwork (read bills) everywhere. Spend five minutes at the end of the day, returning everything to it's proper spot, even if you have to go through the mail tomorrow. When you're running late in the morning headed to work, you'll be glad you moved things you could trip on off the floor.
So that's about it! The biggest thing is staying on top of it! That way you only spend maybe 15 minutes a day tidying up, as opposed to playing catch up! Putting things away and cleaning them after you use them daily, and then a few times a week on wiping down everything else, really does make you feel better about your home.
Then your surprise guests can stay what they are meant to be. A pleasant surprise!