A couple of weeks ago Jen posted a link to a list of 7 things to do to keep your house running smoothly. Here is what Jen wrote about it:
I thought this was a great list of a few very simple things you can do to keep your house running smoothly. (Although I thought #5 wasn't quite as solid as the others. If I that were easily doable for me I wouldn't need to be reading lists like that in the first place!) :)
Number 1: Make Beds Right Away
Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry
Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans
Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
Number 5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same
Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down
Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
Ah, I see why Jen's troubled by number 5. It's not quite as self-contained as the others, is it?
- if you're going to use a thing or an area again, you should make it ready for use.
- if you're not going to use it again, you should discard it (the meaning of "discard" varying with the thing, encompassing concepts of recycling, trash, putting in the laundry, and charitable giving)
- take steps in advance to reduce soiling stuff or transferring mess or dirt to more things
- clean soiled stuff as you go through a task
- include "cleaning up" as an integral part of doing any task at all, so that (for instance) you allow enough time for it
- never assume that someone else will take care of the mess you've made if you don't either do it yourself or delegate it immediately.
- Clean up after dressing and undressing. If an item is clean enough to wear again, hang it up or put it folded away immediately; if it's not, put it into the laundry stream. Commit to one or the other, don't just throw it on a chair.
- Clean up after going somewhere in the car. Take everything out of your car every time you come home, except stuff that is supposed to stay there permanently (maps, emergency kits) and stuff that's ready to go for the next car trip (which should be well corralled). Encourage habits that make this easier, like kids keeping their stuff in bags, having a trash container, etc.
- Clean up each item on your to-do list as you finish it. Paying the bills? Don't save a pile of stuff to be filed, file each item as you finish it. Doing schoolwork? Put away all the materials you used for each subject before you start a new one.
- Clean up the office, desk, schoolroom, or wherever you do your paperwork after the work session is done. Sweep up pencil shavings, clear the surfaces, ready it for the next use. Homeschoolers, get that schoolroom ready for the next day.
- Keep the kitchen surfaces clean while you're cooking. Don't put dirty spoons on the counter or balance the whisk on the edge of the pot where it will fall and spray beaten egg everywhere. Put it on a plate that can be washed, or sometimes disposable stuff like newspaper/foil/wax paper.
- Begin cooking with these seven items ready for use (not hidden away in a cabinet): (1) apron (2) empty dishwasher (3) sink full of hot-but-not-scalding soapy water (4) trash can (5) dishrag (6) clean dry towel for dishes (7) clean dry towel for your hands. You'll be able to quickly clean things, including your hands, rather than let them spread gunk all over the kitchen.
- Plan to use kitchen workstations so you move around less with messy stuff. Crack eggs within reach of the trash can, work with raw meat next to the sink, chop vegetables for sautéeing right next to the stove with the pan ready.