If there is one thing moms can't stand more than anything it is a dirty, cluttered home.
I mean, being a mom is overwhelming enough as it is with taking care of the children, especially if your homeschooling. Now add a cluttered house to the picture, and things can get downright scary.
And this reason is simple: clutter is a form of visual chaos.
It is sort of a signal of whether you are in control of your house. Mom's have a calling to be great manager's of their home, but when things get out of control, and the house is in disorder at the end of the day, it leaves you with the feeling of failure as a homemaker.
The thing I find common among most homemakers, is that they get caught in this vicious cycle where their house is clean one moment, immaculate even, and then in the next, things are spiraling out of control. There's no happy medium for so many moms.
Wouldn't you like to keep a home that is always guest-ready? A home that you can feel proud of? A home that helps your family, instead of always hindering?
If you find yourself constantly battling the clutter, I have a solution for you. It involves adopting a few key habits:
1. Overcome the resistance.
The first thing you have to understand is that you can do this - your family needs you to do this, and you need to do this for yourself.
Your mind will tell you that you can't, but that's the very thing that is keeping you from keeping a clean home. You worry that all your hard work will go unnoticed, that despite your best efforts, the house will remain cluttered.
To overcome the resistance, that little voice in your head that says you can't do this, you have to simply step out despite the fears and anxiety you have and create an action plan. Taking action is always the best solution.
2. Focus on one thing at a time.
The problem most mom's have is they put too much on their plate. Wouldn't you rather get to the end of the day and realize you accomplished a few key things, rather than a lot of little things left half-done?
This habit is called the habit of focus. Do less, in order to do more. Instead of looking at all those tasks needing done as one huge, overwhelming to-do list, look at them as a set of flexible blocks of time that you can allocate.
3. Create a plan to maintain the mess.
Note: this is done after you have completed a whole-house purge, which is where you literally go room to room, top to bottom, and get rid of all the clutter that’s not being used. Now you follow this simple system to maintain the cleanliness.
This is how it works: you have your Daily and Weekly To-Do items, and you simply look at what steps you need to take at certain times of the day, and you then give a burst of energy towards completing those specific items. These should take under 10-15 minutes. You’ll also have other specific tasks (the bigger to-do items, such as cleaning the kitchen floor) on specific days in the week, other even bigger tasks that need done on a monthly basis.
The idea here is to be disciplined throughout the day, so that you don't have to push things to the weekend. Those days should be entirely focused on family. By breaking the huge tasks down into smaller daily tasks, you avoid letting your house spiral out of control.
You've probably heard this corny saying, but it's so true: "If you fail to plan, then you plan on failing."
4. Pre-plan your days.
I know several moms who do this with great success. Basically, the night before or first thing in the morning, plan out 3-4 crucial things you need to accomplish for the day ahead. Focus solely on those things, and don't let other things get in the way. That means shut off your computer, step away from social media (facebook, twitter, google+), and work the plan.
A pre-plan can include things such as: what you're going to make for dinner, do you need to go grocery shopping, any important errands/issues needing addressed immediately, or usually one of the "bigger-cleaning-tasks" from your plan. She tries to keep it as simple as possible, and doesn't set herself up for failure by adding additional things to this list.
To help with this, you can simply use a writing pad, or consider downloading David Seah's Emergent Task Planner pdf. It's free! It's basically a daily planning sheet that "provides a way for you to structure your day in the face of uncertainty. By helping you visualize the time you have, you can get a sense of just how much work you can get done done."
5. Practice O.H.I.O.
O.H.I.O = Only Handle It Once method to keeping a clean house. It's a simple, but very effective habit to instill in your children as well.
Here's an example: If you come inside with the mail, don’t just put it anywhere. Make a place for your clutter to go and make a habit of putting that stuff there.
There is a phenomenon called “churning” that describes the process of hoarding. You pick up an item, but then when you can’t decide what to do with it, you put it back down in a different pile. Things never get put away, only moved around.
While most of us aren’t clinically diagnosed as hoarders, using the OHIO method can help the process of staying organized and keeping the house maintained.
For those things you are not sure where they go, consider making a “not sure” box to put those things in. Everything should have a place to go. Period.
Now to brag a little. Through following these highly effective habits, we no longer have to do damage-control week after week. Things don't spiral out of control as they once did. We are able to maintain a clean, peaceful home. And the great benefit is simply this: we have more time to focus on what is truly important - spending time with each other and more time spent on that thing that brings you joy.
Question: what are some habits that you have to keep your home clean and guest ready? Please share below.
*Written by Donald McAllister
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