The multitude of tasks required to keep a home tidy can become overwhelming. There is always something to do and there never seems to be enough time. Lighten the workload by taking care of quick, simple cleaning tasks as they arise. Here are some tidying tips:
#1 Make the Bed
It is a one-minute job first thing in the morning and it makes a bedroom look much more organised. This is a good habit to develop in children, and even children who are quite young can be encouraged to make their bed when they first get up each morning.
#2 Close Cupboard Doors and Drawers
Closing a drawer or door takes only a few extra seconds, but it makes a big difference to the appearance of a room.
#3 Hang up Jackets and Put Shoes Away
Shoes and jackets should immediately be placed where they belong when removed. This saves time and reduces clutter in bedrooms and entryways.
#4 After Ironing or Folding Clothes, Take the Piles of Clothing to the Appropriate Rooms
Washing, folding and ironing clothes takes time. When the job is done it is tempting to leave the piles of clothing where they are and distribute them later. It only takes a further minute to take clothes to the bedrooms or linen cupboard. Older children can be responsible for putting away clothing, so the pile simply needs to be placed on their bed.
#5 Wipe down the Kitchen Bench
After using the kitchen, always take an extra minute to wipe down the kitchen bench. Food splatters and drips are easier to clean up while they are fresh and the next time the bench is needed it will be ready.
#6 Put Books and Magazines back on the Shelf or in the Magazine Rack.
Most people have a particular room or location in their home where they like to relax to read – on the lounge, sitting in bed, in the sunroom. Have a basket or coffee table where books that are still being read can be kept. Always return books and magazines to this spot when moving on to another task. If they are no longer required, return them to the bookshelf or magazine rack/basket.
#7 Pick Things up when Moving from One Room to Another
It takes no extra time to carry a book from the bedroom to the study than to walk between the rooms empty handed. Before leaving a room, do a quick visual check to see if there is anything out of place that can be taken to the next room.
#8 Open Mail Immediately
Letters that are left to be opened and dealt with later are often forgotten. Open them and put them in the appropriate place straight away.
#9 Soak Stained or Marked Clothes Immediately.
As soon as a potential stain is noticed, place the item in a bucket in the laundry with the appropriate temperature of water and/or detergent. Many marks are easily and quickly removed if dealt with immediately. Items left sitting on the laundry bench for days usually result in more work to achieve a less satisfactory result.
Keep a quick reference guide taped on the inside of the kitchen cupboard on how to treat basic common stains. Many detergent company websites have information regarding this and Spotless by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming (ABC Books) provides information on treating stains on a variety of surfaces including clothing, furniture, leather goods and flooring.
By following the “if it takes less than a minute, do it immediately” rule, it is possible to reduce household clutter and time spent on household chores. Keep a mental list of jobs that can be done immediately or in less than 15 minutes to ensure that ‘spare’ blocks of time are used well.