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I know it’s happened to you. Your house is a wreck and your phone dings. Someone is coming to your house at the last minute. You jump up and start yelling, running around, and barking orders at your family like a crazy madwoman. Everyone in the family goes from just relaxed and hanging out to rushing around, bumping into each other within 15 seconds flat. What if you just implement a handful of things that you did daily to make your house look cleaner, so you rarely had to do that again?
Yep, it’s possible. You can do a handful of things daily and make your house look presentable for guests 24/7. Imma geek out for a minute here. It’s all about something called return on investment. Finding the thing with the highest ROI (return on investment) is about doing the thing that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
Let’s walk through this just a second. You can pick between clearing the clothes off your bedroom floor or loading the dishwasher. What gives you the biggest return? The dishwasher. NOT the clothes. Now, I don’t really want clothes all over my bedroom floor, but I am only in my bedroom to sleep. I am in my kitchen more often. So, it would make sense to do the dishes if I am short on time. THAT gives me the biggest return, NOT the clothes on the bedroom floor.
So that’s what this list is. It’s the tasks with the biggest bang for your buck. So, when you only have a little time, you don’t waste it on things you don’t see, like the pile of clothes on your bedroom floor.
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No one thinks “YES!!!” or “Whoohoo!!!” when they walk into the kitchen and see a pile full of dishes. Better yet, no one feels compelled to actually put the dish into the dishwasher when the sink is already full. They think it will just blend in and no one notices (which they don’t). Dishes give the appearance that your kitchen is dirty. They also leave the presumption that they take a long time to clean.
So, when your dishes are always in the dishwasher, you don’t have to walk into your kitchen dreading a sink full of dishes.
Get into a habit of making sure the dishwasher is always ready for dirty dishes. Meaning, when they are clean, get them out. Don’t let clean dishes sit for 10 years. Just let them dry and put them away. The dishwasher needs to always be ready for dirty dishes. This is the key to keeping dishes out of the sink.
My family knows I would not be happy if I come into the kitchen and there are dishes in the sink. It’s a well-known fact in my household that you ALWAYS put your dishes into the dishwasher.
Nobody looks at a pile full of trash and thinks, “Oh, now that looks fresh and clean”. Nope. Taking out the trash takes like 5 seconds. To make it easier on everyone, just leave a few trash bags in the bottom of the can to make it even easier for people to change out.
Everyone knows that toilets are gross. So, don’t make them even nastier by letting people open the lid to a dirty toilet bowl. It takes 5 seconds to clean. Keep a toilet brush and cleaner right near the toilet to make cleaning easier.
4. Pick-up living areas
This might take a minute the first time, but if you make it part of your normal routine, it won’t take long at all. You can clean up in around 20 minutes or so if you pick up regularly. This doesn’t count my kids’ rooms. They have to clean them up on their own. This is for the common living areas.
5. Guest bathroom
Make sure the guest bathroom is clean. It’s where your guests go, and you don't want them coming into a bunch of soap scum. Just make sure the toilet and sink are cleaned and it won't take long. If your kids use this bathroom, get a hamper, or make them take their clothes out of the bathroom. Don't let dirty stinky clothes live in the bathroom. They stink and aren't very welcoming.
6. Fresh scents
I use wax melts from Scentsy and oil diffusers to make my home always smell fresh. I have a strong sense of smell and I can’t stand smelling food 30 minutes after dinner, trash, dirty laundry, etc. It makes me feel like the whole house is filthy. I only use essential oils for the diffuser, so I just buy the cheaper ones off Amazon.
7. Make beds
This isn’t something your guests see, but you’re living there 24/7. Walking into a bedroom with a bed that’s made makes the room appear so much cleaner even if there are toys scattered all over the floor.
These 7 quick things can make a big impact on your home. It can make your house look so much cleaner. Think about it. When the house is clean and someone doesn’t put something away, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Your family is more likely to keep it clean if it already looks that way. If your house looks dirty, you don’t feel as inclined to put the dishes into the dishwasher immediately vs leaving them in the sink.
When you keep your house clean(ish), you don’t have to worry about people coming over or embarrassed if you have to do a video call from home for work. I say cleanish because we aren’t expecting Martha Stewart. We just want a cleanish looking home. It doesn’t have to be spick and span.
This is for all of my fellow perfectionists out there: your family isn't expecting Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker. They aren't expecting perfection. You are the one putting that on yourself, so just learn to relax a little.
You don’t have to keep a perfectly cleaned house and you don’t have to let it look like a total crap show either. You can keep it cleanish and it helps more than you know. You don’t walk into piles of stuff everywhere. You feel like you can be productive.
You feel like you can actually cook dinner without spending 30 minutes cleaning up the kitchen just so you can cook.
Again, you don’t have to be perfect. Just take some time each day to do these things and your house will look so much cleaner and fresher.