Friday, January 8, 2016

Keeping a Clean House - the simple way, part 1

My wife read an article recently which outline a few simple things people who have clean houses do everyday, and she was happy to report we do them all. (well, she does them all mostly, but I'll step in to take a little of the credit!) And as she reviewed the list with me, I was blown away by both the simplicity of it, and by the number of people who don't do it.

We all know the difference between a clean house and a, well, not-so-clean house, right? You probably have a few friends with homes you like to visit, and a few others with homes you can't wait to leave!

Clean homes are more inviting, they're more relaxing, they're less stressful - they're just better, both in the short term (day to day living) and the long term (more home value, less maintenance repairs), so why wouldn't you keep your house clean?

Probably because it's too much work, or at least it's perceived to be, and you don't have enough time. Well, let's take a look at these habits people with clean homes have, and see how difficult they really are.

Here are the first 2 things people with clean houses do:

1.) Empty the Dishwasher in the morning

A dirty kitchen is probably one of the huge differences between homes where you want to hang out, and homes where you don't.

If you spend 3 or 4 minutes emptying the dishwasher in the morning, you'll have a perfect place to put your dirty dishes the whole rest of the day, rather than letting them pile up in the sink, or on the counter and stove.

  • The dishes will have to be put away anyway, why not in the morning?
  • Once the dishwasher is empty, it takes about the same amount of time to set a dirty plate in the dishwasher as it does to set it in the sink. (maybe there's a 4.62 second variance, but that shouldn't be enough to complain about - you're not THAT busy!)
  • If you rinse the plate off before putting it in the dishwasher, you're probably saving yourself time compared with having to scrape off that crusty food when you finally get to the dirty dishes later on in the day, or tomorrow.

The Payoff for an Empty Dishwasher: For the rest of the day (and everyday thereafter since you'll do this everyday), your kitchen will be less cluttered with dirty stuff all over the place. In addition, you won't have as many breeding grounds for bacteria to fester and grow.

2.) Make your Bed when you wake up

This doesn't seem like that big a deal at first glance. After all, you generally aren't inviting people into your bedroom on a regular basis. But the difference in overall appearance will surprise you.

  • Once your bed is made, the room looks more complete and comfortable. There's an emotional / subliminal piece (or peace - both are true) here as well - "finishing" the room can lead to lower stress levels.
  • When the bed is made, piles of stuff on the floor look much more out of place - you'll have a desire to pick these things up (or to not drop them there in the first place anymore.)
  • When the bed is made, any dust or pet dander that lands on the bed during the day will now be on the outside of your blanket, rather than inside where you sleep. This should make a for a better, and possibly less itchy, night's sleep.

The Payoff for a Made Bed: It's the primary focal point of your bedroom; when it looks clean the rest of the room tends to follow.

When you think about the rooms where you spend the most time, your kitchen and bedroom are probably the top two. These two simple habits - emptying the dishwasher in the morning and making your bed when you wake up - will cost you less than 5 minutes each morning, but they'll have a profound effect on keeping your house clean.

I'll write more about the simple ways to keep your house clean in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

If you don't already practice these habits, give them a try - I'd love to hear what you think!

- Chris Butterworth

This was part 1 of a series. Read part 2 here.