The Home Organization Life Cycle is an important concept to understand. Once you figure it out, you can finally end the cycle of (1) spend all day cleaning, (2) get frustrated the very next day at the messiness of your house, (3) give up the rest of the week, (4) repeat.
The good news is that you can jump into any section of the life cycle based on the state of your home this very minute. However, if you’re the type that likes to have a suggested “starting point,” I personally think that Cleaning Surfaces is a great place to start. (You can click the previous link to read about the topic in depth.)
Today, however, let’s presume your home is reasonably clean. Your counters are clear and items are picked up off the floor. Someone could knock on your door right now and you wouldn’t hesitate to invite them in.
You’ve been in this situation before and you know your clean home isn’t going to stay this way for long; but you enjoy it while you can.
Thankfully, your home CAN actually stay picked up if you and your family implement a few daily habits. With just a few minutes each day, the surfaces of your home can stay clear.
Daily habits can keep your home clean.
We have habits and routines for all kind of things. We habitually brush our teeth before bed so we can reduce tooth decay. We habitually turn on an audiobook in the car so we can learn as we drive. We habitually open up the Facebook app when we’re bored standing in the grocery line (oh, wait…that’s not a good habit).
Nevertheless, there are things we do every day that we never consciously think about. Some are easier than others. But most of the positive habits take some kind of work. Getting started on the habits that will keep your home clean may seem like work on the front end; but they actually save time in the long run.
The beauty of the two habits I’m about to recommend is that they help keep your surfaces clean on a consistent basis, thus reducing the amount of time needed to “Clear Surfaces” next time they go through the cycle.
Two Must-Do Daily Habits:
1. Five minute pick up.
The five minute pick up is a great habit to get into any time of the year, but it’s especially helpful after you’ve cleared all of your surfaces. Getting those surfaces clear was a big initiative, so you certainly don’t want those surfaces cluttered again.
The guidelines for the 5 minute pick up are fairly simple. Spend 5 minutes picking up and clearing out what doesn’t belong in each room. Depending on your circumstance, you may want to pick up one, two or even three times each day.
If you are out of the house all day, then one pick-up session at night should suffice. If you’re home most of the day (or have slightly lower energy), then you may need to add a second or third clean up session. If you have small kids at home all day or homeschool, then I would highly suggest three pickup sessions!
Speaking of kids, don’t be afraid to get them involved! It’s a great way to teach them to handle small responsibilities around the house and this is a fabulous habit for them to start while they’re young. Teaching children to pick up their messes will make your life easier in the long run.
Start with the easiest room and work your way to the messiest room. Fold blankets. Fluff pillows. Move out of place items to their proper locations. If you run out of time (or energy) you’ll have picked up a large portion of your home even if you quit before the entire house is clean.
It’s amazing what you can tackle when you’re trying to beat the clock. 5 minutes of focused effort can make a drastic improvement as you maintain your clean home.
2. Clean the kitchen every night.
This habit is a must if you cook most of your meals at home and use your kitchen often.
- Load dishes into the dishwasher (or hand wash and put them in a drying rack).
- Wipe the counters & sweep the floor. (Optional but highly recommended.)
- Unload dishwasher (or drying rack) in the morning.
- Load dishes into the dishwasher (or hand wash) as you use them throughout the day.
- Celebrate because the amount of time it takes you to clean the kitchen gets reduced the more you repeat the process!
Cleaning your dishes (or in my case, rinsing off the dishes and loading them in the dishwasher) doesn’t take as long when food hasn’t dried and gotten all gunky. But if you wait until the next day, food will most likely be stuck on the dishes. That means scraping and scrubbing, then washing and rinsing. Extra steps mean wasted time.
Starting each day with a spotless kitchen and an empty dishwasher is a huge timesaver because we (and our families) can put dirty dishes into the dishwasher immediately instead of putting them in the sink or on the counter.
If you can get in the habit of starting each day with a clean slate, life in the kitchen will be incredibly easier and cleaning up won’t take nearly as long!
There are several other daily habits that I recommend you implement over time, but the two mentioned above are awesome first steps. If you’ve gone through the life cycle more than once, then the next step would be to add these 10 Habits of a Clean Home to your daily checklist.
Repeating the “Daily Habits” section of the Home Organization Life Cycle.
You won’t always enjoy the routine. But when you fall back to your old ways, you’ll realize that the temporary daily work far outweighs the frustration of having to do all the work at one time. I know because I’ve fallen out of the routine bandwagon many times and have gotten right back up. If it happens to you, just know you can always jump right back in!
When you and your family fully invest in these few daily habits, your home CAN actually stay picked up. With just a few minutes each day, the surfaces of your home can stay clear and you would feel comfortable inviting friends over all the time.
You wouldn’t however, let them look in your closets, drawers, or …that dreaded room!
Those areas are stuffed to the brim. There’s no use even trying to organize them.
At least not yet…
Next week, we will take care of that problem as we dive deep into the next section of the Life Cycle….Simplify Your Stuff. Make sure to sign up to get the entire series delivered straight to your inbox.
Until then, implement a few daily habits and leave a comment to let me know about your progress! I’d love to hear about it!