I understand we all fall into the challenges of keeping a clean home.
There are so many reasons that we do not clean the house:
- Lack of Time
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Low to No Motivation to Clean
But despite the reasons and excuses that we create to avoid house chores we must push past these. There are countless books and studies and of course the TV show Hoarding Buried Alive showing the psychological effects that clutter can have on our Mental Health. I know from my own experiences of battling depression (along with being alienated in my house from physical disabilities) that when the house is cluttered and dirty my emotional wellbeing dwindles.
The Seven Deadly Sins of a Dirty House
So here is a list of Seven Habits that can destroy the sanctity of your clean home and how to change them…
1. Having Items without a Home
Everything needs to have a place. Imagine tidying your home, picking up items, standing in a room with your arms full of stuff, but then have no idea where it belongs. A house is tidy when everything has a place and is in its place. It
2. Not Enlisting Family Members to Help
I learned in college that the person who “breaks first” or to be the first person to begin cleaning is the person with the lowest tolerance for mess. That was me, is me, and will probably always be me. I cannot stand a dirty house and I always used to feel as though my family members were constantly adding to the chaos in stead of aiding in the fight for a clean home.
It is ridiculous to think that you are solely responsible for taking care of a home that you share with other people.
If you also have a low tolerance for a dirty home and seem to be the only person who cares at all what it looks like. You’re not. You’re not alone (unless you do live alone, then this doesn’t apply to you). Your family does care.
Try one of these three tricks to get capable but non motivated family members to help you clean.
Make Cleaning a Game
This trick works best for younger helpers and was something my mom would do to help my sister and I become more motivated to help her clean, plus we were super competitive so it worked out well. We had different challenges, but my favorite was dusting. My sister and I were each given a duster and the person to return with the dirtiest duster “won the game.” Both of us would get a prize or treat because we each helped dust, but between my sister and I the competition was fierce.
You can also try games such as sweeping the floor with a broom and collecting it in a designated spot. Use painters tape to create a shape that the dirt has to collect in, the smaller the spot the more challenging the game will be.
Have a Sit Down Meeting
I used to feel like I was drowning in my home. I would work so hard to clean during the day and when my family would return home it was devastating. Dropping dirty dishes into the sink, leaving bags on the dining room table, throwing mail and keys on the counter, shoes are taken off but left on the ground, and to top it all off everyone was too tired to even notice that I cleaned at all. This continued for too long.
I could not take it any longer. I felt alone and unappreciated. Finally, it was time to have a sit down conversation about my feelings and chat about the things that needed to change. For the first time in a long time we all spoke about the things that bothered us about the house, about cleaning, about our habits, etc. There was compromise and understanding. Although the thought of that pow wow was daunting, the outcome was so worth it. I think it is easy to allow frustration to lead to anger and arguments; however, move past those feelings and work together.
At the end of the meeting be sure everyone has a task to be in charge of and be sure to hold each other accountable, kindly with reason and not frustration.
Make Them Appreciate Your Work
This is a bit of a petty last resort tactic that can be effective but may come at the cost of your sanity, so be warned.
Don’t clean. Simply stop cleaning. No dusting. No tidying up. You can even stop doing laundry, the dishes, cooking (order in, or don’t and then act as surprised as everyone else when dinner doesn’t magically come out of the oven). Just sit back enjoying all of the free time you will now have since you will not be cleaning. Try not to look around though because if you’re the only one cleaning, this is going to be ugly.
Now I’m going to share a small family secret and tell you that when my sister and I were in our selfish teenage years my mom did this. It didn’t last long before dad started sulking out of his man cave politely asking what was for dinner (since it was no longer being served to him) or for my sister to finally run out of clean clothes and realize that mom wasn’t going to do the laundry for her. I too became motivated to get to work and apologized to mom for not stepping up. It was a rough lesson, but it worked.
3. Allowing Mail to Pile Up
Paper clutter can be a slippery slope that leads to the downfall of your home. Clutter is the enemy of a clean house. Get rid of it at all costs. Now ideally it would be great to open all of the mail every day instantly pay bills etc. However, paying bills everyday as they arrive can be a bit daunting, instead stick to sorting the mail first. Instantly open your mail, throw away junk mail, shred things while you go, get rid of those shopping magazines (you don’t need more stuff), place bills in a designated location (not thrown on the counter or a table), keep cards and letters, etc.
Keep the paper clutter to a minimum.
4. Leaving a Room with Empty Hands
You have stuff. That stuff seems to follow you into different rooms but doesn’t always find its way back to where it belongs. Never leave a room with empty hands because there is almost always something that is out of place and needs to be moved to where it belongs.
If you are just starting to clear a mass of clutter then you may want to use something more efficient than your hands. Sometimes I use a laundry basket or a reusable grocery bag to help move things from one place to another.
Tidying up in this way may also help you get in your steps in for the day. Sometimes when I am creating a new product for Etsy and finish my day I have accumulated a collection of stuff that doesn’t belong in my craft office, so I fill up a basket and start moving. Take the camera back to the den, cleaning wipes back into the bathroom. I’m in the bathroom and see a necklace that needs to go to my bedroom, I grab it and take it with me since I was headed there to return a photo prop. You get the picture.
It doesn’t have to be as extreme as a full workout carrying endless items around, but you may be surprised at how clean a house can look by just moving a few items at a time.
5. Leaving Dishes in the Sink
No. No. No. Dirty dishes in the sink are an eye sore. They can lead to foul odors and bugs. Bugs. You could have bugs in your house. In the summer time we always seem to get gnats in the house that find their way to my indoor plants and love standing water. Gnats are gross. Do the dishes.
Plus doing a few dishes at a time is no big deal. Eat a meal and you will have plates and silverware, maybe a pot or pan if you cooked an actual meal. It is so stress reducing to wash a few plates at a time verses having them pile up to the ceiling and having to stand at the sink for an hour doing dishes. That’s no way to live.
6. Not Making the Bed
Start off your day with being neat and tidy. Every day you make the bed you are getting into the mindset of cleanliness.
Also, just imagine coming home from a long day and seeing that gloriously well made bed with fluffy pillows and a cuddly comforter that is just waiting for you, welcoming you home with a congratulatory nap. It’s a beautiful moment.
7. Procrastinating Laundry
I usually do my laundry once a week, but sometimes I wait and wait until I need some clean undies (tmi?). Usually it is okay to put off my laundry but not always.
There are those tines when everyone in the house needs to do their laundry on the same day and those days are overwhelming. Usually by luck they also happen on busy days. You do not want to be doing laundry while trying to do other things during the day like gardening or squeezing in running errands around town.
Clothes that sit in the washer for too many hours can start to smell funky. Clothes that sit in the dryer for too long will become wrinkled. Then, clothes that get out of the dryer in time but are then tossed in a basket to fold “later” become even more wrinkled.
Wrinkled clothes are like a dark reflection of your dirty chaotic home that follows you everywhere. You don’t need to wave your dirty laundry out for everyone to see… literally.
Also, we all know those baskets of laundry linger around the house until the next laundry day. Baskets of folded clothes are left in bedrooms. Baskets of clothes that need to be folded linger in the living room or den. Clothes that need to hang dry can hang around for too long.
Having more frequent laundry days can cut down on the overwhelming amount of clothes to wash, fold, and put away. Also, when laundry is done make the effort to did and put away your clean clothes the same day to cut down on the clutter.
So there you have it, the seven deadly sins to a dirty house. What are some of the cleaning challenges that you face? Comment below and thank you for reading.