My Housework Routine / Tips!
I recently moved into my first, proper, own home with my boyfriend. Yes, I lived away from home as a student for three years, but student digs feel very different to real, adult, grown up houses/flats. I now have a home of my own that I really want to keep nice... not that I wasn't tidy as a student, but most of my digs were a bit mouldy and full of mismatched broken furniture... so I wasn't proud of them like I am of the new place!
For the first few weeks in the flat, the longing to keep it nice almost became an obsession - an unrealistic obsession with keeping it perfect and spick and span 100% of the time. A single crumb on the kitchen counter got my blood boiling, and boxer shorts landing a few inches away from the laundry basket sent me into a frenzy. I soon realised that this was silly, unsustainable and left me feeling exhausted. Yes, I want a clean and tidy home, but I also want to actually enjoy my time at home and be able to relax. After a couple of months settling in, I think I've devised a pretty good system which allows me to keep on top of the housework but enjoy my evenings and weekends too.
On the weekend, I do what I call the "big clean"... although because I keep on top of things during the week, in reality it only takes me between 30 mins and an hour. It includes a deep clean of the bathroom, hoovering the rugs and carpeted rooms, and wiping the laminate floors... plus any washing up and putting away that needs to be done. I find that if I take 10/15 minutes to give the bathroom a good clean on a Saturday, it stays pretty clean all throughout the week. I like to do it before my shower on a Saturday morning, so that I can really get in all the nooks and crannies and then have a nice, refreshing shower afterwards. I would recommend doing your big clean on a Saturday morning rather than on a Sunday. I always feel like I have more energy and pep in my step at the beginning of the weekend rather than at the end, and it's lovely to be able to have a little Sunday lie in without thinking of what chores I have to do.
To keep the size of my big weekend clean down, I do a few things every evening after work to ensure that everything is under control and kept-on-top-of. We don't have a dishwasher, so to keep our little kitchen looking tidy and clear, we make sure that we wash any dishes that have been left from the morning or the night before as soon as we get in from work. And the washing up is done again straight after tea. I'd rather get it done immediately so that I can then really relax for a few hours before bed... without having the chores hanging over me. We always make sure to put any dry dishes away before cooking as we know we'll need the draining board space afterwards, and draining board Jenga is so frustrating!! And if I'm cooking something that involves a lot of waiting around and checking the oven, I'll do the drying up and put away any clean pots and pans etc whilst I'm waiting.
We also do lots of laundry throughout the week so that we don't have the "I have no clean socks!" dilemma by the time the weekend rolls around. Laundry is something that is easy to put off, but it really is one of the easiest jobs. Well... it is in our house anyway seeing as we don't colour separate and seldom iron anything! I've never separated things by colour (unless they're brand new, like a new pair of black jeans that you just know are going to ooze out a lot of dye... ) and I've never had any issues. So we just grab armfuls from the basket, shove it into the washing machine and hope for the best! We try to hangs things on the clothes airers as neatly as we can and most of the time they dry fairly crease-free and don't need ironing. I'm lucky in the sense that I never have to wear formal clothes, so most of my garments are just t-shirts and jeans anyway. Having a living room full of drying laundry isn't the most ideal or chic of interior looks, but as long as it's hanging neatly, it doesn't bother me too much. We do actually have a spare room that we can dry clothes in, but the living room is the room that we heat up and air out the most, meaning our clothes dry fastest there.
Any little messes or spills that happen during the evening get cleaned up straight away. It's easy to ignore a greasy handprint on the coffee table, but everything builds up and causes me to have a bigger job on my hands by the end of the week (if I ignore them). I keep cleaning products like wipes and sprays on hand in the kitchen and living room so that I can sort messes out quickly - and I really do mean within 30 seconds most of the time. I also make sure to sweep the kitchen floor every evening so that a layer of crumbs doesn't form... as I have a boyfriend with a habit of eating grated cheese straight from the fridge and he always manages to drop some on the floor!
Additionally, I spend 5 mins or less right at end of the day (before retiring to bed) straightening up the kitchen and living room: sorting out the throw if it's slipped off the sofa, swilling out any mugs and giving the coffee table (which we eat our tea off 99% of the time) a quick wipe. It's lovely to wake up to a tidy home and leave for work knowing that I don't have a huge mess to come back to... of course, a couple of plates and mugs from breakfast or the night before is totally acceptable and doesn't bother me... gotta be realistic here!
Talking of being realistic... I think it's important to not put too much pressure on yourself if things aren't looking perfect all of the time. Life is busy and stressful and sometimes you just have to collapse on the sofa and watch trashy TV all evening. Honestly though, I do feel more relaxed when the house is spick and span... although I don't feel relaxed when I'm obsessing about it... but now I have a routine and it's under control, I feel much calmer - it's all about balance! At the end of the day, if I wanted everything to stay perfect, I wouldn't be able to live in the flat... I wouldn't be able to cook or have a shower - it'd be like a show home! Nothing is perfect in reality, and that's okay. :)
I hope this has been helpful!