How much time do you spend cleaning house on a weekly basis? Do you share my dream that you could snap your fingers and the house would be perfectly clean and tidy? For most of us, cleaning house is one of those necessary evils. A clean house is essential to keep our homes safe and healthy. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework. So it would make sense that if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning, you should reduce the amount of clutter in your house. It’s important to distinguish between cleaning and de-cluttering. To clean is to remove the dirt, grime and germs. To de-clutter is to remove the items that are no longer used or simply to return items to their designated ‘homes’. Below are 10 tips to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning house.
1) The less you have, the quicker cleaning will be. Keep only the things that you love.
2) De-clutter daily. Have all family members pitch in. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or create a basket for each family member for their “clutter” that must me returned to its home before watching TV or eating a snack.
3) Delegate household cleaning tasks. Kids can make their beds, empty trash, load and unload dishwasher, vacuum and dust their bedroom and clean their bathroom.
4) Keep cleaning supplies under each bathroom sink for easy access.
5) Use multi-use/all purpose products. Fewer products to purchase and store.
6) Listen to music, a podcast or talk on the phone to pass time while cleaning.
7) Clean the house on the same day each week. Establish the same routine with kids cleaning their room. Maybe Saturday mornings work for your family.
8) Host a book club or dinner club. Having people over regularly is great motivation to get your house in order.
9) Be comfortable while cleaning. Dress in comfy washable clothing.
10) Let go of perfection. Settle for “Good Enough”.
What time-saving tips do you have to keep your home clean? Please comment below.
1. The first step to organizing your holidays is to compose a mission statement or an inspiration statement that summarizes your vision of the holidays. This will help you stay focused on what is most important to you throughout the holiday season. You may want to post it in an obvious place in your home as a frequent reminder. Throughout the holidays, do only those things that fit your statement and your vision.
2. Decor - Decide now how long you want to spend on decorating your home inside and out. Don’t let the amount of decorations you own dictate how long it takes you. Take control of your time. Determine how much time you realistically have and how much time you want to spend. If you enjoy decorating, then you may want to spend more time. Do you want to spend two hours or 10? Do you want to spread the process out over a period of days? Whatever you decide, put this on the calendar now and stick with it. Don’t fret over the decorations that don’t get displayed and consider donating them.
3. Budget - Look at your finances now and decide how much you want to spend on gifts, entertaining, decorations, party clothes, etc. Using the same concept as above, take control of your money. Don’t let guilt and expectations determine how much you spend. Over-spending will create stress well beyond the holidays. Consider gifts that don’t cause clutter for recipients such as savings bonds, gift certificates for a pedicure/manicure, movie theater gift cards or homemade treats.
4. Shopping - Limit your shopping expeditions to THREE! Put these dates on the calendar. This will help you avoid the crowds and the frantic, last minute shopping. Knowing that you have limited shopping time may keep you from endlessly looking for that “perfect” gift. Having a deadline is a good way to get anything done so have your shopping completed by December 15th.
5. Plan your menu - Cook ahead and freeze what you can. Cookie dough, cheese balls, appetizers and egg casseroles, just to name a few, can be prepared and frozen. I was surprised how many websites I found dedicated to “Holiday Freezer Meals”. Even if you enjoy cooking, having part of it complete can really ease stress. Each week prepare one dish to be frozen. Add the ingredients to your weekly grocery shopping list and schedule a portion of time in the kitchen to prepare it. Instead of being in the kitchen all day cooking, you’ll be enjoying time with friends and family!
Most of us can use better time management skills. Time gets away from us. We have so many things pulling us in so many directions. This is especially true for our kids. Our kids are busy and have full schedules. Life is very different from when we were kids. Today, there is more to learn in school, countless after school activities and greater pressure to be accepted into a good college. Below, I discuss three time management tools/techniques that should be incorporated in all homes with students. Again, I refer to Donna Goldberg, author of “The Organized Student”.
ANALOG CLOCK - Digital clocks are everywhere. Cell phones, alarm clocks, kitchen appliances and automobiles all have digital clocks. We tend to have more digital clocks than analog. Consequently, kids don’t “feel” the passing of time when they look at digital clocks. They see numbers changing but don’t get a good sense of time going by. It’s difficult to accurately estimate how long a task will take to complete if you don’t have a good sense of what a half hour “feels” like. It’s important that even young children see an analog clock or watch to learn how time moves. Have several analog clocks in your home but especially have one in the area that your student does his homework.
PLANNER WITH A GRID - This should not be just a to-do list of their homework for the night. Students need to use a planner for all of their activities. They should be writing their after school activities in the planner and block out the time with lines or a large X so they can see the “chunk” of time being spent on a particular activity. They also need to write in time to do homework. This is when it’s important that they have the skill to estimate how long their homework will take. Also, have them plan out their time to work on big projects and long-term assignments. Teach them to pace themselves and break a large project into smaller segments. Be sure to schedule these sessions in the planner.
TIMER - Kids are easily distracted by texting, iPods and Facebook. Allow kids to take a five minute break from homework every 30-60 minutes depending on their age and attention span. During this short break, the student can reward themselves with time to text friends, check social media, or grab a quick snack. The key here is to set the timer for five minutes. It’s easy to loose track of time and that short break can become a very long distraction. Set the timer again for study/homework time so the student isn’t distracted by frequently checking the clock anticipating the next break.