By Kathryn Weber
The key to keeping a tidier home is cultivating several daily habits, such as making the bed.
Keeping a home clean is more than regular vacuuming and swishing toilet cleaner around the bowl. It's often our interactions with our homes that draw the line between a neat home and an unruly mess. So, rather than focusing on furniture polish and vacuuming, think about changing your daily habits to keep a tidier home.
Make it a habit
Your daily habits are the single greatest determinate of the time you spend cleaning. According to one estimate, 80 percent of housekeeping is actually time spent straightening and putting things away. This is where habits matter. By adopting a few good household practices, your house will be neater and you'll find what you're looking for more easily. And when it does come time to clean, you'll spend less time straightening and more time doing real cleaning.
Begin in the bedroom and bath
The first habit that makes the difference between a messy-looking house and a neat one is making the bed. It's estimated that only about 45 percent of people make their beds daily. However, doing so instantly makes your bedroom look neater. That's a lot of clean value for less than two minutes' worth of effort -- and at night it always feels better getting into a made bed than an unmade one.
Getting dressed and undressed daily can also eliminate or create more cleaning work. Make it a routine to hang clothes up or put them into drawers after wearing. This keeps clothes less wrinkled and the room from feeling as cluttered.
The same holds true for bathroom counters. Medicine cabinets have fallen out of favor, but their utility can't be denied -- they keep bathroom countertops clear and neat. If your bathroom counters are cluttered, add baskets to corral sprays and lotions, and make it a habit to straighten the counters when you're finished dressing.
Eliminating the paper trail
Paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter in the house. A quick way to eliminate much of the paper clutter is to make a habit of handling paper on a daily basis and touching it only once. By sorting mail as soon as you come into the house, putting bills directly into a spot for payment and magazines into a magazine stand, you'll spend less time looking at stacks of paper and worry less about whether a bill came in and was paid on time.
A simple peg shelf from a crafts store can completely eliminate the need to tear your hair out looking for the car keys or a purse. Even if space is limited, a small shelf can be mounted easily close by the door to hold purses, book bags and jackets. Install cup hooks to hold keys and no one will frantically search for keys when it's time to leave. Add a basket to corral shoes, and much of the dirt (and germs) won't ever make it into the rest of the house.
Five daily habits
Straighten the kitchen daily, put away clothes and personal items, make the bed and handle mail. These five daily habits can make your home more livable and can mean the difference between dashing off quick cleaning sprints and suffering through arduous weekend cleaning marathons.
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Copyright © Kathryn Weber, Living Space. All rights reserved.