Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Secret to a Clean House

Library of Congress - A farm worker's home 1941 Idaho

I have been in many homes and noticed a contrast between lovely surroundings and overwhelming messes.  I realize it is very hard to keep a home clean. I realize we are busy and tired.  Having a house full of family would seem to make it even more difficult. Some seem to take the approach of taking several hours, one day a week, to really clean a piled up mess.  Some, with small children, get a babysitter so they can do the cleaning.  What I would like to share with you today are some "secrets" to having a clean house.

Here is the most important, little known, secret:

We don't clean a house because it is messy. We clean a house so it doesn't become messy.

Here are the tips:

1.  To cut down on the spider population, you must regularly sweep and vacuum baseboards, corners and ceilings. (Daily or weekly)

2.  To keep a clean kitchen, shortly after a meal, do the dishes. Do them right away.

In my childhood days, we would sit at the dinner table after a meal. Our parents would go into the living room for coffee and to watch the news. We children (one or two of us) would then immediately do the dishes, wash the counters and table, and sweep the floor. We did not leave the kitchen, after a meal, until the kitchen was clean.

If you wait to do the dishes, everything gets hardened and it is much more difficult to clean.  It is also overwhelming and unpleasant.

3.  Make the beds each morning.  Fix the sheets, fluff the pillows, and neatly pull the blankets up over the pillows.  Make it look neat and pretty.  This creates a nice atmosphere in the bedrooms.

4.  Do the laundry at regular times. If you have to go to a laundromat, don't leave until your clothes are completely dried, folded, and placed in a basket.  Always fold them and put them away.  Make time to do this. Schedule your day around when the dryer is going to stop. This is an efficient part of keeping a nice home.

5. If there is a spill (of food, drink, or crumbs), clean it up immediately. This is a safety issue. Even restaurants, stores, and businesses have this policy of immediate care.  If left untended, it could damage your property. Or someone could accidentally step in it and track it all over the place. This makes it even more difficult and time consuming to clean.

6.  Pass the time (with small children) by cleaning together.  Most families color, paint, and do crafts with preschoolers.  There is certainly a time for artistic endeavors. But don't ignore the fun and educational opportunities in cleaning, as a game, with little ones.

For example:  If you are spending an hour taking care of a 4 year old, get a basket of laundry and each of you get a clean facecloth. Step by step (with smiles and encouragement) teach the child to fold.  You fold it over once and say, "your turn!"  Then watch as the child copies your action. Repeat until at least a few items are folded.  Next, start picking up books and saying, "let's put these on the shelf, will you help me?" Or, (to put toys away) help sort different items into little bins (perhaps by object or color).

In daily life, involve your children in the chores by happily and willingly cleaning together each day. This is how the work gets done!

The children will love spending this time with you and go along with the cleaning.  In this way, children are learning, and having fun, while important work is being accomplished.

7. Here a little and there a little. That is the secret approach to keeping the home neat.  You pick things up as you go about your day at home.  You neaten a room when you walk into it.  You do not sit and rest when things are in chaos.  You do the work - you do the duty. Then the reward is to sit in the pretty room and take a break.

Now remember the most important secret of all, because it is a pleasant and happy way to clean. And that is to clean as you go along. Clean the house in a way that prevents messes.  Make it a joyful part of your daily routine - to clean and to bless those around you by your cheerful efforts.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Don't Let this Be True - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

A Winter Drive - Time with Mister.

Some Encouragement- Why The High Cost of Food?

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Paperback, 200 pages. 


Mrs. Laura Lane said...

I'm going to try this tomorrow. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Mrs. White! Great points! Most people consider me a bit of neat freak, and there was still one on here that I'm not always on top of (dishes...oops...) Will keep that point in mind! Blessings!

Joanne Viola said...

All practical & yet very helpful tips. Maintaining a home each day rather than playing catch up makes it so much easier.

Southern Ladye said...

You are absolutely correct in this post! We don't clean because it's messy. We clean to keep it from getting messy! My house stays spotless in the summer because I am home all day, but as an elementary school teacher, the school year often sees my house slowly fall into disarray because I am not home all the time. This year, I adopted a cleaning routine that I do one room each morning before going to work. It means getting up about thirty minutes early, but it is worth it. I clean while everyone else is still asleep so no one is disrupting my work and I don't have to worry with it when I get home from work. Kitchen cleaned before bed, laundry done every day, and my house has stayed clean for the first month of school! It works!

Unknown said...

wonderful post !!!

Stephanie said...

I absolutely loved this post, dear Mrs. White. I loved what you said, "We don't clean a house because it is messy. We clean a house so it doesn't become messy." So true!

Every morning I try and stick to my routine of getting the laundry done before noon, sweeping, vacuuming, making the beds, Windexing the bathrooms, and washing the dishes in order to keep my home free of clutter. If I miss a day I notice a big difference {and not a good one!} :)

Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs!

JES said...

Yes, this is just my thinking... Plus, who could relax in messes anyways? Clean as you cook is the sister to this too. Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

Jody said...

Well, I know these things to be true. . . but doing them consistently is certainly difficult-- especially during our homeschooling year, or with a baby and toddler, and so on.

I'm also guilty of not teaching the children cheerfully. This is a good reminder. Thank you.

JES said...

Good morning, I have featured this post today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

Jennifer said...

What a great reminder. I try to do most of these things. It's encouraging to read it all laid out here.

Linda said...

I loved reading this Mrs White and can honestly say I do the same things :) I help my daughter with her children twice a week and often involves the girls with helping to fold the laundry. One in particular thinks it's a real challenge to get the towels folded perfectly. It's definitely good training for when they have their own homes one day. Blessings to you, you have such wise, practical posts ~ Linda

Deanna said...

Hello from Kansas. I have reread this post again and like it so much.