With my kids home from school I am loving spending aimless time relaxing with them in our house. Challenge is- with 7 people, now in the house very full time, we make a lot of mess. I have to work hard to keep my house in a somewhat sane state! We recently had a photoshoot to capture our completed renovation (photo above of our completed master bedroom by the fantastic Larry Arnal) and while it truthfully doesn't look as pristine as this at all times, I do try to keep it looking as close to pristine as possible.
My motivation for this is not to show off to friends or impress my mother when she comes over (although silently I am of course thinking this!), but completely for my peace of mind and personal enjoyment. Let's face it- a clean, organized space is just so much more enjoyable than a messy one. This is why I am such a proponent of strategic, intentionally designed spaces that can help a family THRIVE. Cause who doesn't want to thrive in their own home?
Here are a couple of super quick cleaning wins that I guarantee will help reduce stress and increase your peace.
1. MAKE YOUR BED DAILY
Just do it. Do it as soon as you sleepily stumble out. Why? Aren't I just going to mess it up in a few hours anyway? I am a firm believer that quick wins lead to bigger wins, and that developing a small habit will lead to bigger habits. I am not an inherently organized person in regards to my home life- I have to work pretty hard at it and many times things fall through the cracks- but since we completed our renovation I have slowly built an arsenal of cleaning / organizing habits that have changed my life so drastically I cannot help but share. Making my bed was one of those things. I love this Lifehack article on more reasons why- but biggest reason is that you deserve to come home after a long day to a gorgeous bed!
2. CLEAN YOUR COUNTERS AFTER EVERY MEAL
I make it a goal after every meal to clear my counters completely of mess. My habit before was to leave everything until I had time to get to it- so the cereal box stayed out until lunch and the empty wine bottles would remain for days. In my life things get in the way of this goal all the time- like my infant needing to nurse or simply being late out the door to an appointment. But as much as possible I try to budget enough time to clean counters of all unnecessary items. This is so helpful as it sets you up for success for your next meal prep, and similar to the bedroom, when you come in from a day of chaos, it is so wonderful to come home to a peaceful space. It's worth the extra 10 minutes to do immediately after a meal. This is also why I think dishwashers are essential especially when you have a family- mess gets put away with such little effort compared to washing and drying by hand.
3. ELIMINATE PAPER BILLS
In our digital age I really don't see the need for paper billing. Beyond reducing space taken up by traditional paper files, going electronic saves you time as you can search for specific dates, amounts and details so quickly, compared to shuffling through a pile of paper! Paper used to CONSUME the front of my house- and I streamlined things by taking 15 minutes and requesting all our bills to be delivered electronically. This is also super helpful to me at income tax time- as details are so easy to access for my accountant.
4. CAPSULE YOUR CLOSET
I LOVE fashion and can do serious damage if allowed to run free at a mall. But I honestly wear a fraction of the clothing I actually own. This is why the concept of a capsule wardrobe is so enticing. As I talked about in a recent article in The Toronto Star, I've embraced the idea of editing my wardrobe down to what I actually wear. For me it eliminates the hunting in the morning and anything to lighten my laundry load is always welcome!
What are your quick wins for an organized home? Love to know in the comments below. For more time saving tips read my latest column over at Savvy Mom.