Is your home somewhere you can relax and unwind, somewhere you feel secure and at peace? Or is it a place that stresses you and causes you to feel tense, somewhere you feel you need to escape from rather than escaping to?
Personally, I’m very sensitive to the state of my home. If it’s messy, ditry, disorganized, or generally out of sorts, I feel very anxious and restless. I’m more irritable and more easily set off by minor annoyances (of which there are many with a two year old…).
Can you relate?
Since I know that about myself, I try to be diligent about staying on top of my home so that it is a restorative place I enjoy being.
Today, I’m sharing a few habits I consider critical to keeping your house under control so that the stressful messes don’t happen so often. I want your home to feel like a sanctuary!
Your Role as a Homemaker
Homemaking isn’t just cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
A homemaker is a steward of her family’s daily life.
The homemaker sets the tone for the day, curates activities and experiences both in and out of the home, and is generally responsible for her family’s well-being.
Housekeeping, while one of the most obvious responsibilities, is only one facet of homemaking. Yet, housekeeping plays a huge role in creating the environment in which your family spends most of its time.
How you keep up with the household tasks largely determines your own emotional and mental status, the flow of daily routines and homelife, the way your children learn to accomplish tasks and manage time, as well as many other things.
Housekeeping is a critical part of our job as homemakers.
You essentially create and sustain the atmosphere of the micro-planet that is your home, in which your family lives and your children grow up.
For the most part, you dictate whether that atmosphere is nurturing, peaceful, restorative, and secure, or toxic, disorganized, chaotic, and stressful.
The way you treat your role as a homemaker is a significant part of the way your children will remember you, and how you manage your home sets the example for them.
5 Daily Habits to Keep Your Home Tidy and Relaxing
As a homemaker, habits are your best friend. While I don’t think you have to have a rigid daily routine or schedule, there are a few things you can do on a daily basis to keep your home manageable and enjoyable.
By keeping up with these simple things each day, you ensure that your housework never gets out of hand or becomes overwhelming. Even if you don’t get any other chores done that day, you will still have accomplished a great much just by completing these habitual tasks.
Related: Genius strategies to clean faster
#1. Go to bed with a clean kitchen
I consider this the most important habit of your daily routine.
The kitchen is an area we all use every day. There’s a reason it’s called the heart of the home.
And because it gets so much use, it can get out of hand and become overwhelming very quickly.
Optimally, you’ll stay on top of your kitchen throughout the day, loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher periodically, keeping surfaces clear, etc.
But when you’re busy with kids, or if you work outside the home, that’s not always possible.
By the end of the day, I know how daunting a messy kitchen can seem, and how easy it is to think, “Oh, I’ll just do it in the morning. I’m too tired tonight!”
And then in the morning, I either find more excuses to avoid it, or I have to waste some of the best time of the day cleaning something I could have dealt with the night before.
Hear me loud and clear: If you want a tidy, smoothly-running house, go to bed with a clean kitchen!
Then, follow up and as soon as you can the next morning, put away clean dishes and tidy up any breakfast messies.
It makes a HUGE impact.
#2. Prioritize impact zones
Think about which areas of the house have the biggest impact on you internally.
For me, the top three areas are my living room, my kitchen, and my bedroom.
Maybe for you, it’s the bathroom, or the family room in your basement. Maybe it’s even your kids’ rooms.
Personally, as much as I value a clean kitchen, the living room is really my top zone. It’s the most visible room in the house, but it’s also small, so even minor messes feel significant and cause stress for me. But, it’s quick to tidy up, so by simply investing a quick five minutes, I have at least one little haven that’s clean and clear of clutter where I can relax and breathe.
Once you identify the most impactful zones of your house, prioritize those zones every single day with a speed-clean routine.
That way, even if some other parts of your home start to get away from you a little bit (as is a natural part of life!), you can still seek refuge in the areas that mean the most to you.
#3. Observe the one-touch rule
Have you heard this one before?
Basically, the one-touch rule prevents you from shuffling the same items all around your house twenty times before FINALLY putting them away where they belong.
For example, when you get home from errands, put your purse away right then. That’s your one touch.
If you drop it on the island in your kitchen, you’ll have to move it onto your kitchen table in order to make dinner that evening. Then when you go to eat, you’ll get it out of the way by tossing it to the couch. After dinner, you’ll have to move it AGAIN to keep from sitting on it, and so on. It’s very inefficient! It may never even get put away before you need it again the next day.
Apply this rule throughout your house as you go about your day.
Simply take the extra five or ten seconds to actually put things where they belong in the moment.
#4. Clear clutter throughout the day
On a similar note, tidying things up usually takes WAY less time than you think it will.
If you commit even 60 seconds to clearing off one surface, chances are, you’ll be done before the timer goes off.
To avoid lots of back-and-forth, you can clear everything off the surface all at once into a basket, and then deliver everything to their proper homes.
If you have a LOT of stuff on one surface, you might even use multiple baskets to try and sort things by destination.
Whenever you have an extra minute or two throughout the day, simply pick one small area and tidy as much as you can. You can knock out a lot in such a short amount of time, and all of the little efforts throughout your day really add up.
Keeping surfaces clear goes a long way toward reducing my stress about my home. I’m quite sensitive to visual disorder, so clean sightlines are huge for me!
#5. Tidy after the kids are in bed
Most of the day, you’re just doing damage control.
As you’re cleaning one mess, your Tasmanian devils are making another. (But you should still tidy to keep things under control!)
You can give yourself a great gift, though, by doing one last quick tidy-up once the kids are in bed– as much or as little as you feel like.
The next day, you’ll get a huge boost from waking up to a clean home!
BONUS: Make yourself presentable
While this may seem completely unrelated at first glance, simply making yourself presentable can go a long way toward keeping your home under control.
For one thing, it will boost your productivity to ditch the loungewear and get ready for the day.
For another, feeling better about yourself will relieve some of your tension and help you feel more at ease about your home.
Some cleaning gurus, like Flylady, even make a habit of putting on shoes at the start of the day! The act of making yourself presentable really does make a difference.
Now I’d love to hear from YOU!
How does your home make you feel? How do you WANT it to make you feel?
If you’re serious about getting your home in order, make sure to check out these posts as well: