Keeping your home organized - especially when the mess is never yours - can feel like a mammoth chore that you've got as much control over as Trump's PR people do over his Twitter account. If you feel overwhelmed halfway through the week as the chaos piles up at your house, try building these quick habits into your daily routine. They'll help you keep your head above water.
These 6 steps will take only 10 minutes each day and will save you from a weekend of work:
1. Clean your surfaces.
You probably tell this to your kids all the time: put it away once you're done. That goes for you too, whether it's cooking, dining, paying bills, styling your hair, or curling up on the couch with a blanket and a book. Give yourself the 2 minutes it takes to put things away as you go and you'll save yourself an hour cleaning up each weekend.
2. Dedicate a home for mail and put it there each day.
Use baskets, stacking desk trays, or hanging wall file holders. Or try moving a small dresser or chest to the entryway and use shoe boxes inside labeled for each category of bills, magazines, school notices, etc. and drop everything there. And only there. Then you can deal with it on the weekend (magazines) or at the end of each month (bills).
3. Use catch-all bowls in entryways, bedrooms, and the laundry room.
Every member of the household should have their own bowl or basket or tray where they dump the things from their pockets, bookbags or purses each day. Make it a rule that miscellaneous stuff like change, keys, glasses, receipts, tools, phones, books and lip balms aren't allowed anywhere except in those designated spots. It will become habit soon enough.
4. Turn the dishwasher on every night (if it's full).
Make sure to do up the dishes - whether by hand or by filling the dishwasher - every night and put the clean ones away while the coffee is brewing every morning. Teach everyone at home that dirty dishes go into the dishwasher immediately after use throughout the day. Viola -no piles of dishes in the sink!
5. Put clothes in their place.
Have a laundry hamper in each bedroom and full bathroom. There are no excuses for towels and t-shirts on the floor. All dirty laundry goes in the hampers, and all clean clothing goes back to where it belongs on its hanger or folded in a drawer. If you do the laundry in your household, make it a rule that you'll clean only what's in the hampers. Anything on floors or chairs or tables goes into the donation box. Once the others realize you'll make good on your promise, they'll get used to using the hampers and putting clean clothes away!
6. Do a 5-minute sweep through at night.
Dash around the main living areas of your home before your bedtime routine and pick up anything that's laying around like toys or tools or papers or electronics. Put them away where they belong (if they're yours or if your kids are too young to pick them up themselves) and then designate a "lost & found" bin in a closet for any items that belong to others in the house. The owners can retrieve them from the bin and take them back to where they belong. You might take a look in the bin once a month, make a 'last call' and and then donate anything still in there, since it's obviously not missed!
These six quick organizational tricks should really only take you about 10 mintues a day. Getting and staying organized doesn't have to be that difficult when you have your environment and systems set up to make it simpler. Enjoy your extra free time this weekend!