As a wife and mom, I can definitely assure you that my house is not always magazine-ready. It might look like I just sit back in my perfectly-decorated home (haha!!! As if!), but the truth is that our life is real, messy, and beautiful. We live here. It's where our story always starts. And that means my home isn't always ready for a photoshoot. But I have learned a few tips along the way, about keeping things tidy and organized. A peaceful home really brings joy to me and my family, and helps us keep clutter and chaos (mostly) at bay. Here's a few easy ways to keep up with the cleaning:
-Everything has a place: If you're struggling with your little ones picking up their toys and keeping their things nice, try a visual system. You can print out little cards with the item on it (like a doll or stuffed animals) that you can attach to pretty, practical bins. Then, your children can easily see where things go, and can tidy up on their own. They will probably even think it's a game!
-Get rid of the things you don't need: The best tip I can give is that purging belongings really helps keep things streamlined. I toss old papers, artwork that isn't sentimental or special, school assignments, and old clothes. You can donate things like older dishes, clothes in good shape, and books. I love keeping sentimental items, but it can really fill up too much space and cause me to waste time cleaning up things that don't even need to be in our home.
-Figure out a weekly system: Instead of doing a big task every day (like scrubbing bathrooms), I try to do one or two large tasks a week. For example, if I deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms once a week on a Monday, then I can just tidy things up and wipe down counters the other days of the week. It helps keep things from piling up and becoming overwhelming for our family.
-Invest in good cleaning products: I like to buy natural and organic cleaners, or use things like baking soda and vinegar to get my home clean without tons of harsh chemicals. I have also found that if I like the scent of the cleaner, it makes me feel better when I clean. I love the smell of essential oils like lavender, because they make the house feel cozy and welcoming, as well as clean. You can make your own cleaners with a tutorial like this one. I also make sure that I have a good mop, vacuum, and dustrags that are in working order and not too hard to use, because it saves time and effort.
-Get some "hiding" baskets. If you have some catch-alls that you can easily hide some of the more clutter toys and clothing in, it will make picking up in a flash, a little bit easier. You can find large, attractive baskets at places like Home Goods, and stow them in closets or by bookshelves and toss everything in them when you need to stash away belongings for company.
-Lastly, value your people. No clean house is worth stressing out, snapping at your loved ones, and creating an environment where your children are scared to touch anything! Remember that if you are truly making memories in a happy home, it's okay if it's not perfect. I've learned that sometimes there are dishes in the sink, but I get to bake cookies with my kids! And maybe every surface isn't clutter free, but there is artwork on the fridge, and fresh flowers on the counter. Treasure memories more than perfection.
Hopefully these ideas helped you realize that not everyone is perfect (even an interior designer), and that doing the best you can is more important than having a home that is not truly lived in!