We all have that one person in our lives who has an immaculate home. I’m talking, always clean and sparkly, like it’s straight out of a Better Homes and Garden Magazine. When you walk in, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Dang! How does it always smell so good in here?” I’ll tell ya how…they don’t have kids.
Ha! Just kidding…kind of.
In all reality, their home stays clean because they take pride in it. I’ll say it again. They take pride in keeping their home clean and organized. Part of their reasoning could be to impress their guests, but studies have shown that a clutter-free home, decreases elevated stress levels, that could lead to anxiety and restlessness. In 2010, a study published in the Scientific Journal, “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin”, used analysis software to measure the way 60 different people described the condition of their homes. The study showed that women who described their home as “messy” and “cluttered”, were more likely to suffer from depression and fatigue, versus women who described their home as “restorative, restful, and organized”. The researchers who conducted this study found that women with an unorganized living space, had higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Pretty crazy, huh?
So, if you’re serious about taking your home back and keeping it clean for good, keep reading!
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De-cluttering your home is de-cluttering your life
Decluttering is so important for your health, happiness, and mental clarity…but the process can be extremely overwhelming- don’t freak out, though! I’m here to help!
We are going to take baby steps. I want you to think of one room in your home that needs the most attention, and start with that room. If you do this, those other rooms won’t seem as scary to tackle. Real talk, y’all.
What room did you choose?
-Start with your pantry by going through your shelf items and tossing all expired items. If there are items that aren’t expired but you’re pretty positive you won’t be using it anytime soon, fill a box and donate canned goods to your local food bank or soup kitchen.
-Next, tackle the fridge. Get your trash bag ready! This is always a scary one for me, to be completely honest. Start by looking at the expiration date on all of the condiment bottles. Toss the expired ones as well as those bottles that have less than a squirt of ketchup left in it. Don’t forget to remove and wash out those old tupperware containers you were using for leftovers a few weeks ago (no worries, it happens to the best of us- I know you had good intentions!) Once the fridge is empty, and you have separated the good from the not so good, scrub all of the refrigerator shelves and drawers. If you’re not too keen on using harsh chemicals, try this: slice 2 lemons and place into a large Mason jar, then fill it up with distilled white vinegar-let jar sit for about two weeks, remove lemons, then combine equal parts lemon vinegar and water into a spray bottle.
-To maintain cleanliness of kitchen, be sure to wash dishes and wipes counters daily and mop at least once per week.
-This one might be scary, I get it. If you have both a large dirty pile and clean pile, I assure you, you’re not alone. Start with the clean pile by folding and actually putting the clothes away in their designated drawer. I know, I’m asking a lot for one day. Once you have folded and put away all clean laundry, tackle the dirty pile. I’ve literally done three loads of laundry in one day while deep cleaning my laundry room. It’s a job, but worth it! Here’s the part where you’ve got to have some discipline. As soon as that first load is dry, fold and put away. This will obviously prevent another huge “clean pile”. Something you can do to prevent these linen mountains is getting two large hampers and labeling one “clean” and one “dirty”. As soon as those hampers are full, get to washin’ and foldin’!
-Do some of your towels have a musty smell? Start a load of towels on the hottest temperature setting and add 1 cup of baking soda. When cycle is complete, repeat process but use 1 cup of white vinegar instead of baking soda. This will help remove that musty, mildew scent from linens. Another tip would be to let the towels hang dry in the sun. The sun will kill any bacteria on the towels. Before folding and putting away, towels must be thoroughly dry, to prevent bacterial growth. Wash towels with baking soda and white vinegar at least once per month.
Okay. Parent tells child to clean his/her room. Said child shoves almost all items under bed and in the closet. Parent is too busy with other household chores to notice at the time and child claims that their room is clean. Sound familiar? No?
-First of all, have your child help you deep clean their room. They’re the ones that shoved everything under their bed in the first place, am I right?
For this job you’ll need a hamper, a trash bag, and 2 boxes; one box for donating clothes (and don’t drive around with it in your trunk for 3 months) and one box for donating toys. The trash bag is for all of those annoying little McDonalds and Dollar Tree toys that literally haven’t been touched since the day your kid got them. Listen, I KNOW how difficult it can be to have your kid pick and choose which toys he is going to keep. So follow this rule, if it hasn’t been played with in the last month, toss or donate. If your child doesn’t have a toy box or toy organizer, that is a great option for keeping their room cleaner.
-To maintain the cleanliness of your child’s room (ha!) make a chore chart and hang it on the back of their door.
-Go through any cabinets and properly dispose of expired medicine and old products that aren’t being used anymore.
-To maintain cleanliness of bathroom, bleach/scrub toilet at least once per week. Be sure to spray shower down with cleaner and mop floor once a week, or as needed. Wipe sink/counter every other day or as needed.
-Take trash out often to prevent odors in the home. Consider purchasing canisters for things such as cotton swabs, Q-Tips, bobby pins, etc. This makeup organizer is great for supplies and brushes. It will help keep everything neat, at your fingertips, and is easy to clean!
– If you’re anything like me, your closet is kind of like an extra storage room. To organize your closet, start by making two separate piles of clothing: Keep and Donate. If you haven’t worn it in a few months or doesn’t fit, donate! If you have been organizing a yard sale, this is a good time to start marking each item with a sale price and get that yard sale in motion!
-To keep your closet organized, get an over-the-door shoe organizer. You can also put accessories in this organizer like scarves, hats, gloves, etc.
-Using storage bins and baskets are a great way to keep your closet neat and organized. For any out-of-season clothing items that you intend to keep, store in a plastic tote.
Common culprits of foul odors and how to get rid of them for good
Trash: Make sure to take out your trash as soon as the bag is full, do not let a full trash can sit overnight in the house. I like to deep clean my plastic trash bin with bleach and Dawn dish soap at least 2 times a month, to remove any foul odors.
Carpet: If you have carpet, you know how important it is to keep it clean, especially if you own pets! You can rent a Bissell carpet cleaner from Walmart for $29.99 a day. I’d suggest doing this at least every 6 months to keep your family healthy and to prevent any foul odors that your carpet may be causing. If you have a pet, it is important to keep them bathed so that they aren’t shedding any odor onto your carpet. Check out this Papaya and Honey deodorizing spray for your dogs- it keeps them and your house smelling so good!
Sink/Garbage Disposal: After I wash the dishes, I love giving the sink a good scrub down. If you have a garbage disposal, be sure to clean it often! This could be a big culprit as to why your house is smelling…eh, lets just say, not the cleanest. You can use a sliced lemon to freshen up your disposal!
Other ways to keep your house smelling amazing 24/7
- Light a candle
- Use a plug-in air freshener- we use Air Wick plug-ins at our house!
- Keep an essential oil diffuser running- not only does this keep your house smelling clean, but it may be beneficial to your family’s health, as many essential oils contain healing properties and may improve cognitive function, mental clarity and reduce stress levels. Be sure to purchase from a reputable essential oil company! This SpaRoom DebonAir Diffuser is a wireless diffuser, so you can put it anywhere in your home!
4. Is your shoe rack by the front door? If there are any smelly shoes, that’s the first thing your guests will smell when they come in. Make a DIY shoe deodorizer by combing baking soda and 12-15 drops of essential oil, into a 4 oz Mason jar. The baking soda will absorb the foul odor and the oil will add that extra oomph! Eucalyptus or lemongrass are great options for this shoe deodorizer!
5. Add a few drops of essential oil onto your AC filter
6. Use linen spray, like Febreze, to freshen up your furniture. This is a big one for all of you who have kids and pets!
7. Your fridge may be a huge culprit of a stuffy smelling house. Clean it often and place an opened box of baking soda in there! Be sure to replace your baking soda once per month.
Chore Schedule to Maintain Cleanliness of Home:
· Dishes- because we all know too well what happens when we neglect the dishes for ONE day.
· Wipe counters and table- because crumbs.
· Wash/dry/fold 1 load of laundry- because that massive pile of dirty clothes will only get bigger the longer you ignore it.
Every other day:
· Sweep and vacuum
· Tidy up bathrooms- especially if you have boys in your home who don’t quite have that whole aim thing down yet.
· Choose one room to deep clean every Saturday- this includes the cobwebs lurking in the corner
· Wash windows- nobody likes to look at spaghetti fingerprints
· Dust all surfaces
· Clean under the couch- just trust me on this one.
That’s a wrap! I hope these tips help you in some way. How do you keep your home smelling fresh?