Your Spring cleaning is done, and wouldn’t it be nice if your home stayed neat and clean like that until next Spring? Of course, you know it won’t, and in fact, it likely won’t stay spic and span for very many days. Some of the potential dust and disorganization is just part of normal living, but some of it is due to not following good habits for maintaining a clean home. Depending on how many adults, children, and pets reside in your home will make a big difference in how fast your hard-won cleaning efforts are lost to renewed chaos and need for cleaning. However, with a concentrated, effective maintenance program, your home can stay reasonably clean and tidy. Here are some tips for maintaining a clean home:
- Before going into a detailed cleaning schedule, it is helpful to draw a map of the floorplan of your home. Label each room, who are its principal inhabitants, and how often each day or night is the room generally used. Also, list what each room is used for. As an example, a child’s room may be used for play, eating, and sleeping or a guest bedroom just for sleeping when there are guests. Depending on how, how much, and what usage a room has will determine the amount of maintenance that room requires.
- Once you have identified each area needing cleaning, take a page in a notebook and title it with a room. Under the title, break the page into three sections, every day, once a week, and whenever it needs doing. Then list under each section for each room, what you think should be done. For example, dust, vacuum, wipe door handles and frame, make beds, wash curtains, clean fridge, and so on. While this seems a task, it will be well worth doing in the long run.
- Decide who in the household should be responsible for what tasks. Give each a list of what is expected of them on a daily and weekly basis. Show, especially children, how to do each task and where necessary items to do the task are kept. Children like charts with stars, check marks, etc. and a reward at certain intervals, the reward, and intervals determined by age. Even adults enjoy rewards and can plan a special event if chores are done regularly and on time
- Make sure all cleaning supplies necessary for on-going maintenance are kept available and easily accessible. For example, no one likes to find there are no clean sheets when it is time to change them, or the vacuum is hidden away in a hard to reach place.
- No day, home, or schedule is perfect, so when slip-ups are made, unless the problem persists, it’s best to remind the person responsible, forgive, and move on.
- Unless you are a single adult living alone, it is a good idea to have a weekly meeting of all who live in the home. Let each share how he or she feels the maintenance schedule is working. Changes can always be made when needed. This is a good time to give out rewards and encouragements for jobs well done. Meetings don’t need to be long but should be at a time when those involved are not in a hurry to be somewhere else. Setting a time limit of say, 15 minutes, helps those attending to know their time is valuable and keeps a meeting from dragging on.
Maintaining a home is an on-going job that requires some thought and scheduling. If all in the household participate as their age allows, and if all are encouraged to enjoy their home, then, the job of maintaining a home becomes a habit. Remind all that a clean home is more relaxing and eye appealing as well as allows for better health. Allergens, infections, and air-borne diseases are all more likely to be present in a home that needs cleaning. In the next four parts of this series, we will look at individual areas in the home that need maintaining as well as tips on how to make cleaning easier when there are pets in the home.