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School’s Back in Session!  Already Falling Behind? 13 Habits that will Keep Your House Clean with Kids in the House

Schools in session and you may already be behind!

Your middle schooler causes mayhem. A pile of debris follows your daughter’s path from flung open front door to slammed bedroom door.

School sports, after school activities, homework explosions.  You cringe when looking around your home.  Have no fear!

By developing the following habits, the house can stay cleaner and you’ll save yourself some work.

  1. Pull the comforter to the pillows. Since the bed occupies a lot of space, it will make your room look so much cleaner—even if you don’t completely make your bed. Next level – wait until after your shower.  Studies have shown letting your bed air and dry out a bit helps reduce dust mites and other ickies.
  2. Start the day with a load of laundry. When you get out of bed, put a load of clothes in the wash. Once breakfast is over, put the clothes into the dryer. Do a load of clothes every day. Just one. We promise it will make a huge dent!  And to be honest, you really don’t even have to sort by color.
  3. Dry your sink. Just after you dry your hands, take a few seconds to dry your bathroom sink. It will remove spots and keep it looking nice. It also reduced the environment that mold and mildew likes to live in.  Make sure to hang your wash cloth to dry as well!
  4. Unload the dishwasher before breakfast. That way, when you dirty a dish, you can put it directly into the dishwasher. No dirty dishes pile up in the sink or on the counter. Turn on the dishwasher just before bed. No dishwasher?  Run a sink of soapy water after dinner, let the dishes soak and wash in the morning.
  5. Leave your shoes at the door. Shoes track in dirt, mud, grass, feces, debris, gum, leaves, and much more. If you take off your shoes by the entrance, you won’t need to clean the floors as often. Hate wearing just socks or bare feet?  Take notes from Asia.  A pair of flip flops, slides, crocs or even a cheap pair of water shoes will have you cruising around your home in no time.
  6. Tidy the living areas just before dinner.  Give your kids practice helping out in the house and, afterward, reward them with a meal. Even giving each kid a bag to put their stuff into will help.  Just make sure they take it upstairs with them after dinner.
  7. After dinner, go straight to the bath. Having a regular routine prepares the body for sleep. A warm bath or shower relaxes the muscles. After bathing, begin winding down and prepare for sleep. If you have kids, you can save time by having one parent wash the kids while the other parent washes the dishes.
  8. Prepare for the next day. Once the kids are asleep, lay out everyone’s clothes for tomorrow, prepare lunches, and do the prep work for breakfast and dinner. Pre-set the coffeemaker. Check your schedule for tomorrow. Set any items you need by the front door (or pack the car).
  9. Get rid of junk mail. If you don’t want to receive “prescreened” offers of credit or unsolicited commercial mail, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you contact the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) FREE Mail Preference Service (MPS). This will reduce up to 80% of junk mail that comes to your door.
  10. Buy fewer items with packaging. When you buy something in a package, you unpack it, sort it, recycle it or trash it, and then take it out to the garbage or recycling bin. The less packaging you buy, the fewer times you need to put it in the trash or recycle it.
  11. Go to a farmers market, use a grocery delivery service, or sign up for a CSA.  We’re lucky to live in Rochester with the Public Market, the OLDEST one in the United States!  THere’s also Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that allows you to get a box of produce (often organic) from a local farm for a low price. Here in Monroe County, it costs about $28 for a box of fruits and veggies. Some CSAs will even deliver the box to your door for a small fee.  Some programs will also deliver locally made bread, eggs, cheese, meat, poultry, pies, etc. There is so much food in these boxes; it is a real challenge to eat it all! And just think, no kids at a checkout line asking for candy!
  12. “Bless this hous” once a week. Instead of “doing chores”, we “bless our home.” We set aside one hour every week to handle things like mopping. The change in mindset can help motivate you to clean when you’re not in the mood. Bonus – turn up the iPod and jam while doing it!
  13. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to let go of today?” Put one item (or more) into a box to give away. Have your kids do the same. Put a smiley face on the box, and tell them that every item that they put in there will make someone else happy.

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