By Maggie Winterfeldt
Find yourself feigning excuses for why your friend can't pop up to your place to use the bathroom before the movie? Ever turn beet red with embarrassment when unexpected guests enter your home? It sounds like you have a messy house.
Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be if you were one of those perpetually tidy people whose homes could be company-ready with 15 minutes notice. We wanted to turn our clean fantasies into a reality, so we researched the daily habits of people with clean houses — note the word "habits." What we learned is that it takes more than a few deep cleanings to achieve this status of cleaning goddess. It takes daily work and preparation to keep your house in a constant state of near perfection.
Read on to discover the nine habits people with clean houses do every day, and how you can adopt them to get out of the disaster zone you've been living in.
· Make Their Bed
Before you leave the house in the morning (or better yet, before you leave the bedroom), make your bed. If you're in a rush, pull the comforter up to the pillows, and smooth it out to create the semblance of a made bed. This simple act creates a sense of order in your bedroom and sets your day off on a productive note that's likely to carry through.
· Empty the Dishwasher in the Morning
Get the dishwasher emptied and ready to go for the day. Doing this in the morning lays the groundwork for an easy dinner cleanup at night and keeps dishes from stacking up in the sink throughout the day.
· Do a Load of Laundry Every Day
Washing clothes on a regular schedule keeps the dirty pile from becoming overwhelming (not to mention, ensures that you'll never run out of clean underpants). Those with big families prefer doing it every morning, but if you live alone, doing laundry a couple of predetermined days a week should suffice.
· Use Baskets to Organize Things
When there's a place for everything to go, it's easier to keep everything in its place. Scatter cute baskets throughout the house to corral your things, and add shelves to hold the big pieces.
· Don't Procrastinate
When a box is delivered, unpack the goodies inside, and discard the packaging immediately. The same goes for dealing with spills or messes. The longer you wait, the harder they become to deal with.
· Put Away Their Clothes From the Day
As tempting as it is to drop your clothes on the floor after a long day's work before slipping into your sweats, tidy people take the time to fold, hang, or place them in the hamper, as necessary. Do this, and your clothes and floor will both look better for it.
· Clean as They Go
You can dramatically minimize your mess by cleaning as you go. If you rinse the cutting board while the pasta is boiling or start loading the dishwasher while the chicken is baking, the bulk of the work will be done by the time you serve dinner.
· Never Go to Bed With a Dirty Kitchen
Resist the urge to climb directly into bed after a big meal. Take care of any and all kitchen cleanup that night — clean pots and pans, wipe down counters, etc. Not only will the mess harden and be smellier in the next day (read: more challenging to clean), but waiting means that you'll have to spend your morning backtracking to make up for what you neglected the night before, instead of getting a head start on the day ahead.
· Plan Ahead
Whether it's picking out your outfit the night before or reviewing what cleaning products you need to restock before tackling the bathrooms that weekend, you can give yourself a jump on the day by planning ahead.