I receive these neat "Organizing Tip of the Day" emails from Martha Stewart. (Well, I'm sure they're from someone who works for Martha Stewart, but you know what I mean.) These tips arrive in my inbox every morning.
Well, yesterday's tip was a checklist of "6 Things to Do Every Day" ~ daily habits that promise to keep one's household "chaos" at bay. I found the checklist quite interesting and it inspired me to think about my own daily housekeeping habits. And once I did that, I found myself wondering what other people find helpful and/or necessary to do in a given day ...
But before I get to all that, here are Martha's 6 Things to Do Every Day. (The blue text is Martha's - the brown notes are mine.)
1. Make the Bed: Tidiness begets tidiness. A crisply made bed makes the whole room seem more orderly, which makes it less likely you'll let other things - such as paper and clothes - pile up around it.
This sentiment is very true! Though a challenge to maintain. And I think the same can be said for the sink. I find if the sink is clean (including the surrounding counter area) I feel motivated to keep things clean. Also, I feel motivated to cook!
As for the bed, I like to air it out for a while each morning (this is a tip from Home Comforts). But after a bit I get it all buttoned up: sheet, comforter, fleecy blanket, pillows and shams. :)
(As for the rest of the bedroom, well - bed made or not - bureau tops are real "hot spots" for me, as are clean laundry baskets. I have a tendency to let clean laundry - i.e. needs-to-be -folded laundry - pile up. And this is because A. we have too many clothes and B. our drawers and closets are not well organized ... but that is a post for another day!)
2. Manage Clutter: Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.
Well, this is a good idea in theory, but in my household this would be like shoveling during a snowstorm! I do have a "tidy time" each day - roundabouts 4 p.m. (And another "mini tidy" around 7:30, just after EB goes to bed and right before we sit down to watch TV with the older boys.) But, as a homeschooling family, clutter is something we constantly struggle with. I say "we" meaning Bill and I ~ the boys don't seem to have the same need for order that we do, lol.
3. Sort the Mail: Take a few minutes to open, read and sort mail as soon as you bring it inside. Keep a trash bin near your sorting area for junk mail. Drop other mail into one of four in-boxes: personal correspondence, bills, catalogs and filing.
This is such a standard tip - you read it all the time - and it does make perfect sense. Our mail arrives in the afternoon, and I place it on top of the day's papers at the end of the kitchen island. That pile is for Bill to look through when he gets home. I do take out my own things - letters, magazines, catalogs, etc. I leave all the rest - bills and junk mail, etc. for him to look at.
We keep a recycling "center" by our front door - a basket for paper, a bag for broken down boxes and cardboard, and a bag for plastic and glass. So any junk mail goes directly into the paper basket. Bill also has his own "inbox" on the counter by the stove for things he's not quite ready to "process" yet.
4. Clean as you Cook: Instead of filling the sink with pots and dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal.
Both my grandmother and mother lived by this rule - clean as you go - but I often have five other things going on as I cook, so I struggle with this. I think a key to this habit is having an empty (or mostly empty) dishwasher! To that end, I like to have the boys unload the dishwasher early in the day so I can keep the sink and counters clear.
(In a perfect world, I have the dishwasher filled after supper and it runs in the evening - ready to be unloaded in the morning. This is not always how it plays out, though.)
5. Wipe Up Spills While They're Fresh: Whether it's tomato sauce on the cooktop or makeup on the bathroom counter, almost anything is faster and easier to remove if you attend to it immediately.
Well, spills are fairly common around here - but a lot of them happen when I'm not looking, lol! I have trained the boys, though, to grab a dish towel (or rag) as soon as a spill happens and wipe things up. They're pretty good about it.
I do find myself wiping down the kitchen island and counters every day with a wet, warm dish rag. (Once a week I use a gentle cleaning spray.) The island gets very 'smudgey' with pencil, newsprint and ink (this is where the older boys do their seatwork), while the counters are plagued by beverage spills (the boys) and coffee rings (me).
6. Sweep the Kitchen Floor: Every evening, once you've finished washing up after dinner, sweep the floor. This will keep tough-to-clean dirt and grime from building up, which will make the weekly mopping much quicker.
But seriously, this is something I do almost everyday - though I do it in the afternoon rather than the evening. You see, there's a certain time of day when natural light floods the kitchen side of the house and I can very clearly see where all the dust and criminy has collected. This reminds me it's time to get out that broom and sweep!
(And I usually heed that reminder, but not always.)
Well my friends, I hope this checklist from Martha was as interesting to you as it was to me! And before I go, I'd love to ask ~ What are your daily must do's? And how do you remind yourself of them? Do you have a checklist for handy reference or do you just find these habits ingrained?
And ... on top of (or in place of) these proposed "6 things" would there be other tasks you'd add to the daily checklist? What keeps your "household chaos" at bay?
Have a great Tuesday, everyone ... and thanks for stopping by! I will see you again very soon ... in fact, I hope you''ll join me again later today, for our weekly Wintertime Tea!