Clean Regular: Housework Strategies the Whole Family Can Share

After my sister, Torey, and her husband, David, were married, she said she always knew precisely what he did when she had been off by following the “Trail of David” when she returned: shoes tucked beneath the coffee table, sweatshirt tossed to a chair, a glass of water on the desk, a bag of bread on the counter with a dirty plate in the sink, the toilet seat up at the bathroom.

When it comes to cleaning, Torey may be a tiny bit kind A–ish, so it is not surprising it was a major job for them to figure out how to work together well. For David the problem was simple: “It’s not that I did not have a cleaning rhythm — I did — it is just that mine was every two months, and Torey’s was daily.”

I am sure many people can relate. Here are a few tips that will help you to find your own rhythm.

A Beach Cottage

Pick together what is “clean enough.” I know I know; don’t slap your forehead. This may take a while to negotiate, however, you have to try. Establishing a dialog about how you want your house to be supplies an chance for you and your spouse to determine where you might want the same thing and what needs to shift or change so as to accomplish it.

Take it a room at a time, if necessary. “I believe our bedroom is clean enough when the bed is made and there’s nothing on the ground,” for example. It’s possible to begin with broad ideas: “I wish to do a little bit daily, so the home is never a mess” — or your feelings: “If somebody stops by suddenly, I wish to feel happy instead of panicked and ashamed.” It might be simplest to go right for your own triggers: “The living room feels clean enough when there are no dirty dishes and empty bottles on the coffee table” and work your way up out there.

This will be a continuous conversation and may be an emotional one. Based on your perspective, you could be tempted to say anything like, “I don’t know why it is so tough that you do these basic things!” Or, from the opposite side, “I don’t know why you are making such a big deal out of these basic things!”

Whatever side of the neatness spectrum you are on, it is important to listen to and try to comprehend what your spouse is saying. If you are anything like me, this could be challenging, but it is more than worth it.

Divide the Job. This doesn’t have to be 50-50 or set in stone forever, but it is a beginning. 1 friend and his wife took over about the other’s least favourite chore; she did the laundry and he did the dishes. With another couple I know, she does the cooking and he cleans up. That is where making requests will serve you. If you already perform the majority of the cleaning, then request help and be specific: “Can you please be responsible for __?” Schedule a check-in to assess how things are moving.

In our family if we don’t do what we say we’re going to do, we apologize and request forgiveness. This may seem a bit much if we’re talking about something as banal as taking out the garbage, but our personality is shown in everything, large and little. It’s finally alerting to eschew excuses and accept responsibility: “I am sorry. I said I would empty the garbage and completely forgot. Will you forgive me?”

The Decor Fix

Establish new habits and patterns. If you are the individual always picking up after other members of your family, pay attention and look for patterns. “Is everything a blueprint, Alison?” Come, grab a paper bag, breathe in it a bit and stay with me.

Let us begin at the very beginning: Are coats thrown over chairs, a pocket or handbag tossed on the table, totes and whistles dropped in the center of the ground? No mudroom? Give each member of their household a minumum of one hook and a basket, as close to the door as you can.

In our old home, our mudroom was not large at 6 ft square, and every wall had a door. I covered the little bit of wall we had with three-prong hooks and wrapped baskets for hats and gloves right on the wall, very similar to what this homeowner did.

Everyone was assigned a room and encouraged to hang coats and backpacks and stash hats and gloves in the baskets. A number people took to it easily, and others needed to be reminded … repeatedly. Focus on one habit at a time, and once that is established, proceed to another.

Colleen Brett

Hang a few pins. Try to eliminate steps for your family members who aren’t naturally organized.

Here the homeowner wrapped some hooks and set out a couple washtubs to corral kids’ stuff. In Torey’s home they enter right into the kitchen. She wrapped hooks, place a two-shelf closet organizer for shoes directly next to the door and placed a few bins in addition to a nearby cabinet.

For a number people, there’s no question about which is simpler: opening a closet door, grabbing a hanger, hanging a garment and closing the closet door versus “neatly” dropping the garment at a heap by the bed.

One friend of mine hung a row of hooks inside her bedroom as a solution for her husband, who piled his clothes. She had been surprised to find herself too. “It’s not ideal, but it keeps things in sequence, and it is easy,” she states.

Shannon Malone

Do not pick up after anyone but yourself. The exclusion being babies and actual animals — a few of whom may even be trained to pick up their toys, so be discerning there too. I know this is a difficult one for certain men and women. A number of you might have passed out just imagining how your house would look if you did not scuttle about and pick up after everyone else, but give it a go.

I purposely leave things my children will need to pick them up to care for when they return from college, only to visit my husband, Paul, scoop them up the second he comes home, because he just can’t help himself. I remind him, “If you always pick up after them … us … we will never , ever learn to do it.”

Note: A matter-of-fact reminder is not nagging. When I am pointing out messes, I try to use an upbeat and adoring tone.

Be strategic with furniture and individuals placement. In our new house, I’ve a little study off the living room. I’m a piler and often distribute a lot when I am in the middle of a project, so I put the desk off to the side of the French doors. You can catch a glimpse of my desk from the living room, but it is not the continuous view.

In our bedroom I usually spend the side of their bed away from the door. When either the drawer of my nightstand or my basket of books is erupting, I am the only one to see it. In our home it is no accident that a certain child’s hooks and baskets are tucked out of sight at the mudroom.

Minimize horizontal surfaces.
I have space in my bedroom to get a chair, but I am aware that it would turn into my clotheshorse. In our living room, I thought carefully about superfluous tables. In our wide upstairs hall, I’ve an old farm table just outside the laundry room, and next to it is a massive cabinet filled with my daughter Eden’s art equipment. Maintaining that table clean is the battle of my own life, but it is so convenient for folding laundry and also for Eden to operate at, it is well worth the attempt. For a number people, a horizontal surface is a heap magnet, so choose yours carefully and well.

Designate areas that may be messy. For the sake of peace, love and all good things, yet another friend of mine suggested her husband — who works from their home — utilize the bonus room over the garage for his office.

Others contested her giving this up massive area, which could have been an ideal playroom for the kids, but she had been happy to have her husband’s messy office from sight.

How he maintains it’s his business, and she doesn’t have to watch it.

Crystal Kitchen + Bath

Catch a basket. Granted there are times when you just have to have things picked up.

Torey instructs out of her house, and as a result of the design, the kitchen, the dining room, the upstairs hall, her daughters’ bedroom, the living area and the bathroom all have the chance of being seen by clients.

She has a couple baskets at which she can quickly stash her family’s belongings, which they can then put away in their leisure.


Hire Assist. For many this retains peace and order, and even when it moves the budget, economizing elsewhere is a little cost to pay.

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