Today I want to share a simple house cleaning checklist that has proven to work for me time and time again. This has been the thing that has allowed me to maintain a clean home while working a full time teaching job, being a mom of three, wife, and growing a lifestyle blog on the side.
This fifteen minute cleaning checklist contains all of my quick go-to cleaning tasks that help me keep up with the day to day maintenance of cleaning up after our busy family of five.
The Problem: We Are Just So Busy
Like so many of you, our family is constantly on the go. With three kids and two working parents we have something happening five out of seven nights a week.
Many nights by the time the kids are in bed, I’m beyond the point of being able to think about what needs to get done to get a clean home. It’s all too easy to let the various house cleaning tasks fall to the side until the dishes are piled up in the sink, laundry overflowing the baskets, and clutter all over the kitchen table.
My Truth: I’m a Clean Freak
The truth about me is that I couldn’t live that way (in clutter and mess), even if I tried. By nature I am a cleaning, organizing fanatic. I thrive in order and structure. A clean home for me equals happiness.
But just because I am wired that way and others aren’t, doesn’t mean you can’t have a clean and tidy home too.
Don’t Be Fooled by Everyone’s Clean Home Instagram Photos
Before I get into the details of the fifteen minute cleaning checklist, I want to make something clear. When you see photos on Instagram or blogs of other peoples homes and they are SPOTLESS, know that it’s not real life. You can’t have a family and have a clean home 100% of the time. Nine times out of ten there is a pile of crap behind the camera that was shoved out of the frame for the perfect shot. These photos are meant to provide inspiration for you, but I realize that for a lot of you they can do something completely opposite.
So before you begin criticizing your own housekeeping abilities, I want you to decide what is realistic for you. Your house doesn’t have to be as clutter free as the next person. Think about what is doable for your family and take small steps to get there.
You can use my FREE cleaning checklist as a starting point.
Does Your Home Make You Happy?
“Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it.” -Peter Walsh
Is your home a place of refuge or the source of your stress? Are you creating space for peace and joy to abound or are you allowing clutter and stuff to take over your home and ultimately your mind?
Your home has the power to directly impact your productivity, success, and happiness. A clean home can do that.
According to Green Residential the average home has over 300,000 items in it. The amount of clutter we have collected as Americans is astounding. Clutter has a direct impact on how we live our lives.
Here is how clutter can affect you:
1. Kills your productivity –
Clutter gets in the way when you need to sit down and work on a task or project. It’s also a distraction. When there is stuff everywhere it can be hard to focus on what you are trying to accomplish.
2. Causes an Increase in Stress –
Whether you realize it or not, the more stuff you have the more stress you have. The physical task of owning and keeping track of so much stuff is stressful in and of itself.
3. It’s a Safety/Sanitary Hazard
When you have more stuff, you have to find places to store that stuff. The more stuff you have, the more likely you are to trip or fall over that stuff. In addition to being a safety issue, clutter can also become a sanitary problem as well. When you have more stuff, its difficult to get and keep areas clean. When your home does not get properly cleaned, it leaves room for bacteria and germs to grow and can eventually affect your health.
If you cannot say your home is a refuge – then it’s time. I want to help you and we can start with this simple cleaning checklist to begin making small strides towards a happier, healthier home.
The Answer: Create Habits and Consistency
The problem is that we are too busy to keep up with the day to day cleaning tasks at home. We run ourselves into the ground going and doing. Let’s face it, if you’re a mom then you’re going to be busy for the rest of your life.
That’s the cold, hard truth.
So the key is to carve out time (let’s say, fifteen minutes?) to create consistent habits that will allow us to FEEL the difference in keeping a clean home. And when I say feel the difference, I want you to do just that.
Once you’ve implemented the strategy of the fifteen minute cleaning checklist, I want you to take note of how you feel? Do you feel motivated to get another task done? Do you feel empowered? Do you feel happy?
My guess is that the answer to each of those questions is yes.
Benefits of a Clean Home
Studies have shown a direct correlation to a clean home and physical fitness. One recent study from Indiana University showed that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses.
There is a lot to unpack about how the cleanliness of our homes impact our physical and mental health, but the main point I am trying to get at here is that the benefits of a clean home clearly outweigh the risks you run of having a messy one.
WARNING! Having a Clean Home Might Result in Some Serious Side Affects:
1. Being more physically active –
The process of cleaning your home itself is a physical activity that will get you moving and keep you motivated to stay moving.
2. Eating Healthier –
When we are stressed, we tend to crave junk food. When our homes are messy, we stress. See the correlation? Studies show that working in a clean space makes you more likely to make healthier eating choices.
3. Get Better Sleep –
I know a lot of people who struggle to get a good nights sleep. When your home is clean and clutter free, there is less stuff taking up your mind space. When you get into bed at night and look around your room there is less to remind you of things you need to get done and therefore your mind can slow down enough for you to get a restful nights sleep.
4. Get Sick Less Frequently –
When you have a clean home there are less places for germs and bacteria to hide.
5. Increase in Productivity-
A less messy, cluttered house allows your mind to focus on the things that matter. When our homes are cluttered it’s a mental distraction and can bog us down with the thought of all the things we need to do.
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine the impact that having a clean and tidy home could have on your life. What kinds of things could you accomplish knowing that the household chores are not looming over you?
Allow yourself to imagine how you might feel waking up to a clean house? How would that affect your day to day productivity? If you struggle with depression, think about how changing the feel of your environment could impact your mental health.
Beyond all of that, consider how it could impact your children.
A small change can go a long way. Don’t spiral into overwhelm thinking about how much work it might take to get to that point. Just keep envisioning your future self living in a clean, clutter-free, home and what that will do for you and your family. Then make small changes along the way to get closer to that goal.
Here are five things you can start doing today to begin to have a cleaner home:
1. Do the dishes as you go.
One thing that is really simple and that can make a big impact on how clean your home feels are the dishes. Rinse and load dishes into the dishwasher or hand-wash dishes that may not fit. Make it a goal to keep the sink empty.
2. Make your bed.
There are studies that show people who make their bed everyday are more productive and successful. Making your bed is a quick task that can feel really rewarding. Plus, crawling into a made bed each night feels pretty good too!
3. Do one load of laundry a day.
Laundry can be a constant battle. If I don’t keep up, it gets out of hand. My laundry system keeps me from dealing with a laundry mountain each weekend and eliminates a lot of stress trying to find clothes for school or work in the mornings.
4. Never leave a room empty handed.
An unwritten rule that I have for myself is to never leave a room without first grabbing something that needs to go back in its place in another room. A lot of times that means I am bringing things back upstairs from the living room. But I never waste a trip by going empty handed.
5. Designate drop zones.
Designate spaces in your home where things belong. The biggest problem with clutter is when things don’t have a proper location. Give toys a basket in the living room rather than fighting the battle of constantly stepping on them. Have a place for backpacks, shoes, and school papers. Additionally, don’t let the school papers pile up. Deal with them once by going through folders each day and delegating what needs attention, what can be kept in a school papers bin and what can be recycled.