Has this ever happened to you? After working hard to clean your house before your guests arrive, you pause and look around with new eyes. Your home looks so lovely this way! It’s not only clean and tidy, but also calm and welcoming. Of course, there’s no way you’re going to spend every weekend scrubbing your home from top to bottom. But there’s no reason it should be so hard to keep your home company-ready. The trick is that it’s way easier to keep a space clean than it is to clean it once it’s dirty. Here’s a simple plan to treat yourself to that cozy, peaceful feeling every day.
1. Remove your shoes
Did you know that stepping foot inside you home can deposit 421,000 units of bacteria – PER SHOE?
The first thing you should do when you come home is to remove your shoes. Not only do shoes track in dirt and debris, but scientists have shown that they bring a huge number of germs into the home. One study showed that an average pair of shoes carried 421,000 units of bacteria on each shoe, and 90% of the time bacteria transferred to the floor with normal walking. If you’re wondering how bad the bacteria could be, another study found that nearly 40% of shoes they tested had Clostridium difficile spores. These spores are hard to kill with household cleaning products and can cause serious illness. You really don’t want them hanging out in your home.
The easy solution is to simply take your shoes off when you come home. Keep a bench to sit on and a handy storage area to keep your shoes. The last thing you want to do in your quest to clean up is to create a mountain of discarded shoes right where you enter your home. After all, that would work against your next goal.
2. Cut down on clutter
Getting rid of clutter has multiple benefits. The first is obvious: piles of things like papers, discarded jackets, and empty coffee cups look messy, and it’s harder to clean around clutter. But clutter also makes things harder in other ways. Living in a cluttered home makes people less effective at mental and visual processing. Basically, it’s hard to think clearly and see what’s right in front of you when you’re surrounded by clutter. It also makes people feel less comfortable and relaxed in their own home, increases stress, and even increases unhealthy eating.
A word of warning with clutter: many people try to reduce clutter with better storage. Good storage systems are invaluable (we love effective storage), but sometimes there is just too much to organize. If you keep implementing a new, better system, only to find you’re still overwhelmed by stuff, then it’s time to get rid of things. This can be hard to do, but think of it as a gift you’re giving yourself. Would you rather have all those delivery fliers, or the peace that comes with an uncluttered home?
3. Clean it up immediately
If you get into the habit of tidying up as you go, it will soon become something you don’t even think about. Keep glass wipes under the bathroom sink, and wipe away mirror splatters before you leave the room. Carry your dishes into the kitchen, and put them right in the dishwasher. Staying on top of little details is easier than going back later to deal with them. And just as clutter can cause a self-feeding cycle of overwhelmed feelings, small tidying efforts help people maintain an appreciation for their home as a clean refuge.
4. Finish the day with a tidy session
Spending a few minutes tidying before bed will help you finish your day with a feeling of accomplishment, and wake up the next morning to a more welcoming home. Better yet, get the whole family involved. Setting a timer for just 5 minutes will help kids (or reluctant adults) power through. It’s amazing how much difference you can make in 5 minutes of concentrated effort.
5. Stay on a cleaning schedule
People often feel that cleaning has to be an enormous task, so they don’t even want to start. Breaking the work into smaller parts helps keep it from seeming like it will require a herculean effort. A plan that includes just a few tasks to do daily, weekly, or for occasional deep cleaning makes it feel possible.
Keeping a clean, orderly home is not that hard if you stay one step ahead. With a little smart effort, it’s actually easier than trying to catch up with the mess. And then you can relax in a home that not only looks better but feels better too.