Cleaning And Errands: How To Be A Good Housekeeper

You don't have to be Suzy Homemaker to keep your home sparkling clean. Just follow a few basic tips for making it look great.

Housekeeping is not typically an exciting or rewarding duty. It's one of those things we all have to do in order to make home life comfortable.

Even if you're on a tight schedule, though, completing just minutes of housework a day can make your entire home neat and clean. Here are the basics on getting started.

1. Get organized. Buy the supplies you need to cover the basic chores. These might include a broom, dust mop, floor mop, bucket, scrub cloths, cleaning products, and any scrubbing devices you may need for the stove or sink, for example. Watch for sales and buy in volume so you don't have to run out at the last minute just when you're ready to get started. Keep everything in the same place each week so it will be there when you look for something.

2. Have a plan. Some people prefer to do all their housework at one time, say Thursday evening or Saturday morning. Others "chunk" their chores by doing certain tasks each day, like laundry on Monday, sweeping on Tuesday, mopping on Wednesday, etc. However you want to do it, set aside time on a regular basis to make sure things get done. If you wait until you "feel like it" or the work piles up to become unavoidable, you are likely to postpone things until they seem overwhelming or get completely or correctly done.

3. Pick it up. Each day do a quick sweep of the main rooms and put away the clutter that has accumulated. This might include newspapers, mail, coats, shoes, etc. Explain to family members that they can help keep the house looking and feeling great for everyone when they put their own things away each day. Include this pick-up chore on the kids' work charts, and reward or punish them accordingly. A neat-looking house is the first step toward a clean house. Just getting things out of the way will give you more room to move around and complete the cleaning process when you actually get to it.

4. Delegate. Ask whoever shares your home to share the housework, too. Even a toddler can pick up her toys or learn to make his bed. By the time a teen is ready to leave home, he or she should be able to manage an entire household, so start assigning training sessions at an early age. Encourage your spouse to choose a few regular chores as well, and give out impressive rewards, like a special meal or quality romance time.

5. Don't expect perfection. If you do, others and yourself'll only disappoint you. Try to get the house looking neat and basically clean each week, but if chores get interrupted by illness or unexpected guests, live with it. The number of compliments you can receive on a home that is tidy if not scrubbed'll surprise you. If you feel pressure to do a more comprehensive job of house cleaning, set aside a little extra time from your schedule to get caught up. Or portion some household money to buy a few hours of maid service.

Organization and preparation are two of the best starts to becoming a better housekeeper. Work on improving one step at a time, and before you know it, the entire house will look better and its residents will be impressed.

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