How I Improved My Terrible Housekeeping Skills

Alright, I’ll just say it. I didn’t graduate college and immediately become the perfect homemaker I had imagined. I distinctly remember one of my college roommates telling me that, thanks to my culinary classes and degree in Hotel, Restaurant Management, I was going to make the “best wife”.

Side Note: I immediately told her I was NOT majoring in Homemaking. It was a business management degree, after all.

Yes, I can whip up a pretty decent dinner, if I do say so myself, but I’m a messy, experimental, accident prone cook and HATE doing dishes with a passion. I will clean the entire house (even the grossest parts, kitty litter and all) and leave the dishes.

Four years out of college and three years of being a working momma, I have finally – yes, it took a while, okay – started improving my housekeeping skills.

And I can tell you exactly how I did this.

After one really productive week around the house (and low stress work week, might I add because that’s an important factor), I had a revelation. It was Friday night and the house wasn’t a complete wreck. Why? Holy shit. I had done a little bit of cleaning each day.

terrible housekeeping

Monday I swept and swiffered the floors.

Tuesday I did quite a few loads of laundry throughout the day.

Wednesday I found some time to clean the bathroom.

Thursday the floors were covered in toys and I cleared off the mail and miscellaneous things that accumulate on the kitchen counters throughout the week. 

By Friday…. the house looked pretty decent.

Okay, okay. Maybe this isn’t what many of you would call a “revelation”. Many of you might actually call this “obvious” but I’m sure most of you would agree it’s also easier said than done. It’s hard to find time to clean during the week! Especially if you are busy after work with kids activities or go to the gym like we do… before you know it it is 10pm, your kid is finally asleep, you haven’t even showered and dishes are still in the sink.

Either way, this really productive week made me realize it was actually pretty easy to do what I call my Daily Maintenance.

What should your Daily Maintenance consist of? Whatever is most important to you, gets the most messy on a daily basis, and is time sensitive (aka “is it gonna smell tomorrow?”)

My Daily Maintenance entails the following:

1. picking up whatever has ended up on the floors – mostly toys and, yes, my toddler reluctantly helps

2. sweeping the floors (we have hardwood floors throughout and pets, so sweeping at least some of the floors daily is pretty much a necessity)

3. dishes, my nemesis.

4. clearing off and wiping down the counters & tabletops – because, did you know that if you do this daily the mail and random junk won’t pile up like crazy. I know, it shocked me too.

5. I will also usually do one or two of the following if needed (but not every day, I’m not that good): a quick bathroom clean up, swiffer the floors, clean out the kitty litter, and/or do some laundry

The first four chores can take less than 15 minutes if I keep it up daily. Otherwise, the mess piles up and it takes much longer than that. Hence, why I call it “maintenance”. This also allows me to tackle bigger projects (and those hidden bedrooms that go forgotten sometimes) on the weekends.

I can handle 15 minutes.

And that’s it! It’s pretty simple, but that’s how I improved my terrible housekeeping skills- by getting into a quick, do-able daily routine that keeps the house “good enough”.

And that’s good enough for me.

P.S. The Inspired Room has some really good tips on keeping the house “clean enough”. Love the idea of striving for clean and shiny sinks always (I’ve been trying that) and we’ve also tried out her cleaning frenzy idea a few times.



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