And I felt so depressed because I was like... I do work hard! All day, everyday! And I can't keep my house under freaking control! It's impossible.
But I've found through a little research/observation (from the Internets/watching the habits of really clean people I know), that it's all about working smarter, not harder... hence the secrets. Okay they may not seem like miraculous secrets to you, but to me, they have made all the difference.
1. Don't let the dishes mildew.
- This sounds so stupid, but it's true, I always hated doing the dishes, but that's because I'd continually let them pile up until they had to be done. And I loathed it. So now, I load the dish washer all day after every snack/meal/etc, run it over night and unload as soon as I can in the morning. Doing this has changed my life.
2. Do a load of laundry most days.
- The more people we added to our family the crazier the laundry situation got. Laundry day was super lame and usually ended with a HUGE pile of laundry on the coffee table that would stay there for days at a time until slowly, it got used up. I try to do a load a day, this doesn't always happen, but if I do a load most days, it stays under control. This means much smaller loads, that are way easier to put away... It took me a while to be converted to this tip, because I didn't want to be constantly doing laundry, but I found out I spend way less time/energy/angst over laundry now than I did before.
3. 5 minute clean ups.
- I set my timer for 3, 5, or 10 minutes and my kids and I do a cleaning blitz. I try and do this before nap time and before bed time so the toys don't get out of control. Also another tip I learned from some article was to always take something with you when you leave a room. You see a toy or two on the floor that don't belong in the kitchen, pick them up as you walk out and throw them in the toy box... it can make a big difference.
- This is my arch nemesis, but I'm getting better, you just have to remember the less stuff you have, the easier it is to pick up/keep organized. Picking something to declutter for 15 minutes a day is also life changing. I love taking a box or sack full of weird stuff to the Goodwill, it just makes me feel lighter.
- Have a cleaning schedule for stuff you don't do as often... here's mine: Monday-vacuum, Tuesday-wipe something down (this is usually weird sticky stuff my kids get on walls/cabinets/chairs, I pick one thing and don't worry about the rest), Wednesday-mop, Thursday-Grocery day, Friday-Bathrooms, Saturday-catch up on whatever I didn't get done.
- Have a daily cleaning routine, for when you load/unload dishes and/or clothes, declutter, do your chore--like vacuum, etc. And do the cleaning as fast as you can, get it over with, and move on with your life.
So a lot of this I learned from flylady.net, but I didn't go overboard and buy all her books or even sign up for her emails.
The fly lady has a ton of awesome suggestions, that I'm sure if I followed them, my house would be immaculate, but I'm not the fly lady. Part of my routine involves exercising, writing, playing with my kids, reading scriptures/meditation time... these really are the most important things in my day... consequently I'm not going to swish my toilet bowl every morning, because I just don't care that much.
You have to pick what's important to you.
Is my house perfect?
Is it clean enough?
For me, yes.
So there you go. What other secrets have you found?