I must admit something. I am not a person who will ever love to clean. I can’t stand cleaning. Hate it. In fact one of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes says this:
“My second favorite household chore is ironing, the first being banging my head on the top bunk until I faint.”
Seriously. I can think of a million other things I would rather do than clean my house. In fact, I bought a book early in my marriage called Speed Cleaning 101, not to learn how to clean better. No. I wanted to learn how to clean as fast as possible, so I could get it done and go on about my business (during those days it was reading Harry Potter books and making mixed CDs from my fancy new iTunes account).
My best friends are both neat freaks. They get some kind of endorphin boost from cleaning their house. They rarely sit and relax because there is always something else to clean. (I don’t understand how we are friends – neither one of them likes to read either. Seriously.) Anyway, if I’ve learned nothing else in life, I’ve learned that if you want to become good at something, you ask the experts. So, from my speed cleaning book and my neato-freako best buds, I’ve learned how to clean even though I’m lazy.
1. Clear Countertops. The fewer things you keep on your counters, the easier they are to clean. I keep stuff off of my kitchen countertops and my bathroom countertops. No pictures. No knick-knacks. Those are working spaces, baby. Keep the pictures on the wall or on the bookshelves where they belong. By doing this, everyone in my family knows that when there are things on the countertop, they have somewhere else to go.
2. Surface Clean on the Go: Since the countertops stay cleared from clutter, it’s easy to grab a Clorox wipe or a microfiber cloth to clean off the counters and sinks real quick. I do this while I brush my teeth or when the kids are in the bath. Also, while the kids are bathing, I can quickly clean the toilet. Now, for floors? My boys think pushing around the dust mop on our floor is fun, so I let them anytime they want. I mop when I have to, but mostly, I spot clean the floors with a wet towel. Might I also suggest that you pick furniture that is easy to clean? Intricate wood etchings as well as fabric that shows dust and dirt or pet hair easily will only frustrate you.
3. Keep Toys in Kids’ Rooms: If my kids run out of room for the their toys, my kids have too many toys. Time for a purge. At the end of the day, I want it all put away, which leads to #4.
4. Pick Up Every Night: Go through the house, getting everyone to help, and pick up the toys, the socks, etc. Put it all back in place. No Legos to trip over or tea party sets to crash into. Put it all away. It doesn’t take that long. Even if you can only get it all thrown in a basket, your house will feel so much cleaner.
5. Don’t Fold Undergarments or Kids’ Clothes: We wear wrinkle-free clothing for the most part. Kids’ clothes are small anyway. I just pile them nicely in a basket, and the kids help me put them away. No worries about messing up the folding when you don’t do it in the first place. I don’t fold undergarments either. No one is going to see if they are wrinkled anyway. Also, my kids like to help with the laundry. I’m very close to only needing to fold my clothes and my husband’s clothes in the entire laundry process, which is all part of my diabolical plan for my children to take care of all household duties, so I can spend more time with world domination.
6. Establish a Mud Room: Enforce taking off shoes at the door. The dirt from outside stays around the shoes instead of tracking all through the house. You might keep some clean socks in the mudroom area, too. Then, you always can find shoes and socks where you need them. Our house is small, so we don’t have a traditional mud room, but we have a landing spot by the back door. Shoes, purses, our library bag – it all stays here. An added bonus? People think your kids are polite because they automatically take their shoes off and put them by the door when visiting.
7. Don’t Fight Something: So my husband cannot for the life of him take off his socks anywhere but in the living room. My kids are bad about shedding their socks in random places, too. I am always finding socks. Always. When we moved from our house this summer, we found piles of little boy socks under their beds. EVEN THOUGH I CLEANED UNDER THE BEDS. I
used to sometimes complain and nag and sigh and threaten to no avail. I’ve just learned to deal with it. I keep a basket in the living room for socks. They can dump them in there.
8. Priority #1: If nothing else gets finished by the end of the day, I try to make sure the dishes are done and the toys are picked up. Everything else can wait for the next day.
All of these tips sound counterintuitive; however, I’ve found that the more I can combat clutter head-on, the lazier about cleaning I can be. By keeping only a few things out in the open, I don’t have to work as hard to clean them.
Lazy Housekeeping 101.