If you are constantly digging through the laundry hamper for your outfit or your kid's school uniform, or if make up excuses not to have company because your house is less than presentable, a few simple changes in your routine and outlook will make your home more attractive and easier to clean -- and take the stress out of impromptu visits and home entertaining.
Invest in a stylish box or chest to help organize the living room. With a few quick tosses and a close of the lid, toys and magazines won't be a focal point of your decor anymore. Use baskets as catch-alls for mail and those little screws you keep finding.
Chores aren't just for kids. Scrub the toilet, sweep the kitchen, vacuum the hall -- do just one job, but do something every day. Factor it right into your professional and personal tasks, and you'll find you accomplish more during the day.
Do you hear your parents? They were right on the money. If you took it out, then you know where to return it. This may be the hardest habit to get into, but it makes the biggest difference in the appearance and functionality of any home.
Keep a small towel by the sink and give the faucet a quick wipe every time you wash your hands. It only takes a second to wipe down the sink and faucet, plus you'll have no spots or mineral buildup.
Give each family member two hampers, one for clean clothes and one for dirty. Fold clothes directly into the clean clothing basket and remind everyone to pick up their own clothing before bedtime. If you stay on top of it, the chore only takes a minute or two.
Is that table in the foyer a magnet for junk mail and trash? Move the offending furniture or place a large planter on top to discourage paper dumping. It doesn't matter if it was expensive or if it looks perfect there when it's clean -- if it's always covered with junk, it's just not attractive.
Experts recommend vacuuming at least three times per week, and daily if you have pets. Carpet fibers are magnets for particulates that need to be vacuumed before they become airborne. Vacuuming keeps these odor-causing particulates at bay and keeps your home smelling good.
Take a hard look at your decor, clothing and hobby equipment. If you don't need it or smile when you look at it, don't waste your time cleaning it. Dump it or donate it to reclaim the space for something you adore and will enjoy caring for.
Pat yourself on the back once you have completed a chore -- you don't have to wait until the house is 100 percent spotless. Take a bath, read a book, go to the park or do something else you find relaxing. The rest of the house will still be there, but you will feel better about the cleaning adventures that lie ahead.
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