Today, I’m sharing the super simple housekeeping habits we practice every day.
Several years ago, we were completely blindsided when our pest control guy called to say he was at the gate and ready for our scheduled appointment. We live a long way from town and our property is gated so, no one shows up unannounced or uninvited – ever.
Honestly, we’ve had this same pest company for many years and have gotten to the know the technicians well. On this particular morning, however, we were SCRAMBLING to straighten up the house before our annual inspection clearly having forgotten our appointment.
When I say it was bad, it was B-A-D.
Let me just set the scene for you…my hair was soak and wet wrapped up in a towel… there pillows on the floor, glasses on the coffee table and blankets strewn about in the living room…the conversation bar was littered with mail, catalogs, an air freshener that needed to be replaced, an empty lunch box and a drill battery that was being charged…on the breakfast table was a half-finished craft project I had been working on the night before…there were breakfast dishes in the sink…crumbs and napkins and juice glasses on the dining room table (obviously no place to eat with my craft project on the breakfast table)…and none of our beds had been made. Worse, I had no idea if our toilets had even been cleaned that week.
While Virgil was sitting in his truck at the gate outside, I was inside screaming “DEFCON 1!” “MAYDAY” and “Code Blue” literally every 2 minutes until we secured the house with some sense of normalcy.
Exhausted, I slowly walked to the gate praying the whole way it would be an outside only inspection. But to my total horror, it was an inside inspection which meant every room, closet, nook and cranny would have to be checked.
I could have died.
For the next few hours, I apologized to Virgil about a million times. Finally, he said, “Don’t sweat this seriously, you have no idea the kinds of things I see. This mess is nothing.”
I appreciated him trying to be sweet and reassuring. But you guys, I was really disappointed in myself. I couldn’t believe I had let things get so bad, and our schedules so out of control that we had dropped the ball. I know some of you can definitely relate. It’s like you’re so embarrassed you just want to crawl in a cave.
The teachable moment of this situation is that we committed right then to adopting a “15-minutes away from company coming” mentality which we’ve held on to ever since.
Now, I’m not saying we don’t have client stuff piled in the entry sometimes or that our beds are made if we have the flu. What I’m saying is that we made up our minds we would never feel that embarrassed over our home ever again. We knew we were going to have to put some daily practices in place to make that happen though.
Here is a list of the housekeeping habits we practice every day…
- Review paper planner and our electronic personal and business calendar each morning.
- Make the bed every day even on the weekends.
- Unload the dishwasher every morning.
- Load the dishwasher every night.
- Wipe out the sinks after each use.
- Wipe down the kitchen countertops after every snack and meal.
- Put things away throughout the day and I try my very best to practice the OHIO rule (Only Handle It Once) when I’m working from home.
- A 15-minute clutter catcher sweep each night.
- Complete one chore per day even on Saturdays.
- Dirty clothes go directly into the laundry basket not on the floor or a chair.
- A load of laundry now entails (wash, dry, fold, put away) because it’s so easy to let it pile up in the laundry basket, right?
- Sweep and/or vacuum floors especially because we have pets that shed
- Review the following days to do list/priorities list each night.
Here’s the thing…there is not one item on this list that takes us over 15 minutes to complete…not one. In fact, most of the tasks take around 5 minutes or less.
What makes the biggest difference in how we keep our home tidy is that we’re consistent with these tasks, every single day. Even on the days we don’t really feel like it.
Is it hard sometimes? Heck yes! I would love to just hang out on Insta or watch another episode of Victoria, take a long hot bath or read another chapter in my book.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that it takes us almost twice as long to get everything back in order than it does to simply maintain every day. Are we perfect at it? No, but we are so much better now than we’ve ever been.
If this list seems like too much to commit to each day, consider trying at least one new task to see how it works for you. Most of the people I talk to about forming daily housekeeping habits find a big change when they load and run the dishwasher each night and empty the dishwasher each morning. They’ve also found success with the 15-minute clutter catcher each night.
This is a great season to try new things including forming new housekeeping habits so give it a try. It feels so good to be welcomed home by a space that is neat and tidy. Let me know if you guys have any tips we should know about. I love it when we share with each other!
See you guys back here tomorrow. I just finished a farmhouse inspired dresser for the master bedroom at Loblolly Manor that was once coastal inspired, and I’ll share the transformation with you! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.