Cleaning Week- Every Single Day

Okay, here is the truly important part about my cleaning routine that you have to do if it is going to work for you.  This is where most people have their downfall.  You have to clean the house so that it is completely neat and you have to do it every single day.

Cleaning before bed is the most effective, in my opinion.  I take about ten minutes before bed and I put everything back where it goes.  And yes, I mean everything.  The only exceptions are things that go in Elizabeth’s room because there is NO WAY that I am going to risk waking her up by going in there.  I put her things outside her door and put them away in the morning instead.

Since you are cleaning every day, after you do this for a little while, it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.  You should also keep cleaning in your mind during the day so that you clean and straighten at every opportunity.  It doesn’t need to be a big deal.  Just put something away when you first use it and then you won’t have to do it later. Someone mentioned in the comments earlier that you should only handle something once.  Yes, absolutely.  And I will tell you why.  If you don’t put something away when you first use it, you are doubling your work.  For example, when I stand up from the breakfast table, I put my plate (or bowl or whatever) directly into the dishwasher.  If you put it in the sink, you are creating work for yourself to do later. My rule is to not even put something down unless I am putting it where it goes.

Here’s another way to think about it.  For example, if you came over to my house and ate some Taco Bell, would you leave the wrappers on the end tables for me to clean up later?  Of course not, you’d stand up when you were finished and throw them away.  It’d take you like three seconds and you wouldn’t even really notice.  So have as much respect for yourself that you have for me in this hypothetical situation.  You’d consider it rude to expect me to clean it up later* so don’t expect yourself to clean it up later either.

When you clean up as you go, the nighttime cleaning really doesn’t take long.  I also clean up to about 98% cleanliness before leaving the house.  It’s nicer to come home to a clean house.  I spend small moments cleaning so that I don’t have to spend the big ones.

Here are exceptions for the cleaning up every night rule:

  1. You are actively vomiting.
  2. Your leg is broken and un-casted and you really ought to get to the emergency room to see someone about that.
  3. You are currently dead.

Here are things that are not excuses and you have to clean anyway:

  1. You are tired.  (I don’t care, you’ll be tired tomorrow night too and tomorrow night you’ll have a much bigger mess.)
  2. You are sick.  (Yes, I cleaned up the house every single night when I had strep a week ago.)
  3. You have company.  (Cleaning is even more important because you have more people to mess it up.)
  4. You have to get up early.  (And when you get up early, your house will look so nice and clean.)
  5. Anything else that doesn’t require an emergency room.

Honestly, it sounds hard, but if you don’t clean every single day, you end up with a slippery slope.  When something is left out, it becomes much easier to leave other things out.  When you set the mail down on an empty counter, you will sort it much faster than when you put the mail down among all the groceries and last night’s dishes.  (But you shouldn’t actually be setting the mail down at all!  Throw that junk mail away immediately and put the bills in the file on your desk.) I find this to be so true that I actually have a harder time keeping the house clean when I have holiday decorations out because they add “stuff” to the house.  The two pumpkin decorations on the counter have made it much more difficult for me to keep that counter clear this month.

Okay, here is my last random you-can-do-it statement about cleaning every day.  When I am tired or sick and don’t want to clean before bed, I tell myself this.  Cleaning up tonight only impacts the last fifteen minutes of the night.  Not cleaning up tonight will make the whole of tomorrow much harder.

And tomorrow we will have question day!  (Well, we will if anyone HAS any questions that you want me to answer.)  So tell me what you want me to answer and I will do it.  Also, people have been asking for pictures, but for pictures of what specifically?  Is there anything you’d rather have a video of?

*People who have really been to my house: Lots of times I say something like “oh, just leave the dishes, I’ll get them later, I’d rather spend the time talking to you now.”  I absolutely mean this and I don’t think you are rude.  This is a hypothetical example only.