Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tips For Keeping Your House Clean Over the Holidays

The holidays are upon us, and with them usually brings company, parties, dinners, and a busy schedule in general.  Who has time to clean?  So, I've put together a few tips to help your house stay clean (or look like it is!) so that you have time to do the things you want to be doing.

1. To reduce clutter, I like to put decorative bowls all over my house.  I switch them out to keep it interesting.  My husband has a habit of leaving his wallet, watch and keys in one spot, so rather than just look at it, I put a bowl there so at least it's organized chaos.  Go around your house, and as you're picking up, take note of where you or family leaves things and put a bowl.  This also helps when you're putting things away, as you can just take the bowl to room to room and empty it.  I put a bin at the door for shoes too, so I can do the same. 

2. I love trying new cleaning products, and I find that when I get one that I love, I tend to use it more.  I like them most when they work of course, but also for the smells.  If it has a wonderful smell, it makes me feel like I've done a little extra to make my house clean.  I recently tried the Gain Mr. Clean All Purpose Cleaner, mostly in my kitchen and bathrooms and it smells wonderful, and works great.  My all time favorite, a little more expensive, but so worth it, is Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products.  Check out there website for a full list of products, and you can usually find some at Wal-Mart, Target and Hannaford.  They are all natural, so you can feel good about not putting chemicals all over your house (especially if you have pets or children) and they smell like natural things like basil, lemon, and lavender.  If you're not sure about a scent, email them and they'll send you a sample. (I have!)

3. Give everyone in your family a chore, to reduce the load of one person.  My son is 2 and he does things to help around the house, and he thinks it's fun.  One of his favorites is putting shoes in the shoe bin and books on the shelves.  His all time favorite is dusting (I had to switch to giving him a bottle of water to spray, since he was going a little overboard...), as you can see here:

                4. De-clutter and donate anything you don't want or need anymore, to clean out for the holidays.  In my house, we try to this every year.  Even it means putting it in the garage or attic until yard sale time, get it out of your house so you have less to pick up.  Put your children's toys in storage if it's things they want to keep, but don't play with a lot ( or if you're like us and saving things for future babies) and donate what they don't use.  If it's broken, get rid of it (are you really going to fix it, if you haven't already?).  Clean out closets and pantries too and donate, donate, donate!  You'll feel good about, and you're house will be more organized. 
5. In your kitchen, if you don't use it everyday, don't have it on your counters.  It will save you time not having to clean under a bunch of stuff, and make it look less cluttered.  You'll probably be baking more, but when you're finished with the mixer, put it away.  You'll be happy you did when someone stops by unexpected!
6. Once every couple of days, take a minute and wipe down every surface you walk by.  I do this almost daily in spots that get really dusty (like the television area).  It really doesn't take more than a couple minutes, and gives your house the instant "clean" feeling you're looking for.  Doing these small, quick things will greatly reduce the overall time you spend cleaning this holiday season.
7.  Go through your mail immediately when you get it from the box.  If it's trash, throw it away.  A card?  Display it with the others.  But whatever you do: DO NOT LET IT PILE UP!  Save yourself the time of going through a pile and potentially being late on a bill.
8. Reward yourself by having a small ritual for when you're house is in order and you move onto other things.  Have a cup of coffee, take a few minutes to read that magazine you've been looking forward to.  When I'm finished picking up, I like to light a yummy scented candle, making my house smell great and feel cozy and relaxing.  The Glade holiday ones are wonderful and cheap.

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