Clean Living

How developing a few simple habits can help you keep a clean house with less stress!
©istock.com/SeventyFour

Back when I was growing up (never mind exactly when, but it’s been more than a few years ago by now!), “cleaning house” took place on one day of the week, and it took most of the day. Every week. And on top of that, there was spring cleaning and fall cleaning: two times every year where absolutely everything from top to bottom got a good, deep cleaning.

As a young wife and mom, that’s how I did it. Then I became a homeschooling mom and everything changed!

If you’ve been homeschooling for more than a week or two, you’ve already found out that a whole day every week just to clean doesn’t usually happen. So what can a busy family do to make sure the home is reasonably clean and orderly—a haven in which to learn, love, play, relax, entertain, and thrive in?

Two things: develop a few new habits, and focus on clean living!

We came to realize that it was easier to “live clean” than it was to clean a dirty house. So we adopted some new habits which kept our actual cleaning time to a minimum, the house looked presentable, and we didn’t have a mad dash before company came over!

Start by thinking about the areas of your home where things quickly get the messiest or dirtiest. Then think about one or two things you and your family can do in the course of your daily living to avoid letting the dirt or mess happen.

Here are examples of some habits we developed:

We came to realize that it was easier to “live clean” than it was to clean a dirty house. So we adopted some new habits which kept our actual cleaning time to a minimum, the house looked presentable, and we didn’t have a mad dash before company came over!

Kari Lewis
  • We had specific times to straighten up. Toys, counters, clothes, papers, etc., got put away before lunch, after school, before supper, and before bed. That way there was never a huge mess, so it didn’t take very long! (Spending five minutes a few times during the day to keep the mess in check is far easier than one big clean-up at night when everyone’s tired out!)

  • We taught our kids (and ourselves) not to touch the windows or the glass in picture frames—so we didn’t have to wash off fingerprints or nose prints.

  • We tried not to splatter water on the bathroom counter or mirror when we washed our hands or brushed our teeth, and we dried any splatters up right away when they happened.

  • Use odd moments here and there to clean or straighten up. It’s amazing how many dishes you can put away while the microwave is heating something up!

We learned that if you whittle away at cleaning by doing little jobs frequently, each job can be quick because not much “yuck” gets a chance to build up.

If things feel out of control in the cleaning department around your house, give some of these cleaning hacks a try.

  • Wipe up as you go—if you make a mess, wipe it up while it’s still fresh!

  • Clear the table and counters after each meal. If you are not going to do the dishes or load the dish washer immediately, put the dishes in the sink and make sure there is some water in all the dishes. That way, nothing gets stuck on. When it is time to wash the dishes or rinse and load the dishwasher, it’s a breeze!

  • If this rule is not already in place in your house, consider making it a new rule today: Doing the dishes isn’t done until the microwave, stovetop, and counters are cleaned up and washed! This way there is only one meal’s accumulation of crumbs, grease, etc. And, a huge plus is that you never have to straighten up before you can begin using the kitchen next time!

  • Assign an area of the shower or bathtub to each family member and have them give it a quick swipe down as part of their showering routine. They are already in there, they are wet—so it’s faster than trying to clean the whole tub or shower from the outside while trying to keep your clothes and the floor dry! (Cheap shampoo works great for cleaning the shower—no need to use harsh chemicals!)

  • Use static dusters frequently—if you give your furniture a quick whisk frequently, you will hit some areas today and other areas next time. Nothing has much time to gather dust, so everything looks fine all the time!

  • When you wash your hands, do a quick soapy swipe around the inside of the sink, then finish washing your hands. The sink always looks great!

  • Have a time slot in your schedule for a bit of deeper cleaning, and focus on a different part of the house each week. This lets you whittle away at those spring and fall cleaning jobs without having to block out a large amount of time all at once!

Above all, remember it is your home and your family, so set the standards of cleanliness and orderliness that fits your family and your schedule!


Kari Lewis

Kari Lewis is a retired homeschooling mom of two graduated sons and is enjoying watching her sons and their wives homeschool the next generation (7—soon to be 8 of the cutest, smartest, sweetest, etc. etc. etc. kids on the planet, by the way!)  Organization and systematization has been a part of her from the beginning.  She enjoys helping other homeschool moms learn how they can do more in less time and with less work!


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