Keeping a stress-free, clean house

By Leo Babauta

Yesterday I cleaned my house a little, tidying up, cleaning the bathroom a little, cleaning the kitchen, and generally making the place look nice.

It is simply beautiful. There is a tremendous pleasure I get in being able to relax in a clean house.

Of course, with six kids, it never lasts long, but there are things I can do to keep it generally clean and tidy.

Here are the habits I will try to maintain to keep a stress-free house:

1. Never leave dishes in the sink. Or counter. Clean up any messes in the kitchen after I’m done. Wipe the counters, keep the sink clean.

2. Tidy the bathroom as I go. After I use the bathroom, clean the sink, the toilet, spray down the shower, real quick. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the joy of a clean bathroom is unmatched.

3. Pick up as I go. There are little things the kids leave around the house. I’ll just pick them up throughout the day, or keep a basket for their stuff and just dump them in there, for them to put away later.

4. Never leave clothes out. I have a tendency not to hang my once-used but still clean clothes in my bedroom, leaving them out to clutter the place up. No more. They either go in the dirty clothes, or they get hung in the closet.

5. Take the trash out every day. It’s cleaner, and even if the trash isn’t quite full, this is a good habit.

6. Tidy up before I leave the house. It’s wonderful to come home to a clean house. Just pick up a little before I leave.

7. Make my bed in the morning. I’ll do this either before or after I shower. I love a made bed.

8. Tidy up before I go to bed. Waking up to a dirty house is stressful. Waking up to a clean house is an incredible way to start the day.

9. Don’t let clutter pile up. There’s a place in the kitchen where we pile books and papers. That needs to go. Piles are stressful. I will clear this counter daily, along with the inbox we have for all incoming papers.

10. Get rid of the papers on the fridge. I can pretty much put all of that info on our calendar. They leave a very cluttered appearance.

11. Teach the kids to put their stuff away. By far the greatest source of stress and messiness. This will also be the most difficult task, and I don’t know if it can ever be accomplished. But it’s worth a try.