Bonjour! I'm Maria from Busy as a Bee in Paris. I'm an avid blogger here in my little countryside suburb of Paris, France where life is good, or as the French would say: "La vie est belle!" And from Paris to the countryside, I blog about life in France, my family, the things I cook and the things we eat, our multicultural experiences, our trilingual ventures, things that inspire me and a sprinkling of things I like to create. A lover of photography, nature and all things pretty, I seek for things of beauty and just try to create a little sweetness along the way!Are you one of those moms that always has a perfectly spotless, tidy home? Or are you like me and struggle to keep ahead of the mess left behind by one husband and three young children? Confession: my home is by no means worthy of a magazine cover and in spite of all my best efforts to prove the contrary, I am not a naturally tidy person. But here's a few tips and tricks that help me keep my home tidy - in spite of me!
1. Decide how high (or low) a priority good housekeeping is for you. And how clean. Spotless? Tidy? A little clutter is fine? Lived-in? Messy? What mess? If you have a clear vision of what you want it will be so much easier to achieve it. And when you do set your priorities, be willing to make sacrifices. (More on that later.)
2. Think baby steps. So often we develop an all or nothing attitude when it comes to house cleaning. "My house will never be as clean as I want it to be, so what's the point?" We let the clutter pile up and the dust collect and as it does we become even more discouraged. Why not adopt this attitude instead? "Okay, maybe my house might not be magazine worthy, but I've got a few minutes now. I'm going to clean the bathroom sink before going downstairs." Maybe one clean sink doesn't seem like much, it's certainly not going to transform your house into perfectly spotless and tidy. But it's one baby step in the right direction. If you take baby steps throughout the day, your major cleaning days will be so much lighter.
Entry/mud room: Clean as you go. Hang up coats, put away shoes, store back-packs, purses and other bags on shelves or another designated spot. Have another designated area for hats and scarves. Keep this area free of clutter as it is a transition station and will have the tendency of becoming cluttered. If you clean as you go, you won't end up with an impossible mess at the end of the day.
Living room/family room: Put remote controls in a basket or drawer. Fold blankets and put in a basket. Pick up DVD's and slide back on shelf. Pick up toys, shoes, papers, books and have their owners come claim their stuff. Clear off the coffee table and fluff the cushions.
Kitchen: Clean as you cook and tidy up after every single meal. The kitchen is used so often that if you don't clean as you go, you will have perpetual stacks of dirty dishes and a messy kitchen: so unpleasant when it's already time to prepare the next meal! As tired as you may be after meal-times, take the time to put your kitchen back in order. The next time you prepare a meal, which is often sooner than later, you will be grateful to find yourself in a clean kitchen.
Bedroom: Close closet doors, push in drawers. Stack books and slide back on bookshelf. Put trash in the wastebasket. Collect dirty clothes in a basket. Make the bed. Open the windows to aerate. Air freshner or essential oils work wonders to diffuse a pleasant fragrance.
Bathrooms: Pick up wet towels. Collect dirty clothes in a hamper. Keep a sponge by each sink that you use to quickly wipe it down with water or a drop of hand soap. Use the same sponge to spot clean the floor or other fixtures. Scrub the toilet.
3. Clock your cleaning and use the walk-thru method. Let's say you've got only a half hour. Instead of saying, "I'll never get the house clean in 30 minutes," say: "Okay, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs. That makes five rooms total. With 30 minutes that means 6 minutes per room." Then do your walk-thru: in each room quickly assess what will make the biggest difference in creating a clean and tidy room (you can use some of the ideas from above) and do as much as you can in 6 minutes. When your time is up, stop and go to the next room and repeat the same process. Even if the room is not perfectly clean, you'd be surprised at what a difference just a few minutes can make.
4. Budget your housekeeping. I mentioned setting priorities and clocking your work. Now use these factors to budget your housekeeping. Determine how clean you want your house to be and how much time you can or want to dedicate. Be regular and consistent. Even if you can only dedicate 15 minutes a day, keep at it. What you don't clean one day, you can clean the following day. If you washed the bathtub today, sweep and mop the floors tomorrow. If you folded laundry yesterday, sort and put away clothes today.
5. Eliminate clutter! You've heard it before: a place for everything and everything in its place. And if it doesn't have a place, re-evaluate if you really need it. If you don't need it, throw it away or give it away. Less clutter means a more airy, tidy, organized living space. And this is one I really struggle with!
6. Get your children to participate. Give your children age-appropriate tasks that require minimal supervision. Break up tasks for them. Instead of saying "Clean your bedroom," try: "I want you to pick up all your dolls and put them in their bed." or "Can you put all your Lego's in this box please?" or "Please pick up all the books and stack them here so I can put them back on the bookshelf."
7. Reward yourself. If, for example, you are a Pinterest lover, tell yourself: "Okay, before I sit down to drool through new pins, I'm going to clean the downstairs." Clock yourself and use the walk-thru method. And when your time is up, stop and treat yourself to some hot chocolate and some Pinterest time!
8. Have realistic expectations for your season in life. Whatever your situation: young mother, working professional, homeschool mom, busy volunteer, realize your limitations. You may not have a lot of time for housekeeping. Tell yourself, "This is a season. It will not last forever." Then embrace the season, even if it means that your house is not quite as tidy as you'd hope. Do you remember I talked about priorities in the beginning? Well now ponder this: "When priorities are in place, one can more patiently tolerate unfinished business." Source. If you know what you want out of life, a house that is not quite as clean and tidy as you'd hope doesn't have to feel like the end of the world! That said, it doesn't mean that you have to live in a messy, untidy house either. With these simple tips, you might not have the cleanest house on the block, but you will create a tidy environment that just happens to be a little lived in! In my opinion, it's called home! Home sweet home!
What a great list of tips and reminders! I am going to have to start the pinterest rewards system for myself. I hope you all check out Maria's blog Busy as a Bee in Paris and show her some love.