Clean it at night

I've been reading through the blog A Slob Comes Clean. Dana invites people to read her blog from the first post. I have a lot of time to read blogs while I am nursing the baby. I love it because before Dana's blog became super successful, she was a plain old stay-at-home mom trying to keep her house clean. Just like me. Aw. It warmed my heart.

I feel like I learned a few useful things from reading.

The first was maybe not an intentional tip, but she does emphasize figuring out what works for you to keep your house livable. So it was this. I noticed when she was trying to nail down her daily routines, she would take a couple of minutes to check her bathrooms for clutter at night before bed. I also try to have a once-a-week bathroom scrubbing day and tidy it up once per day. But I would tidy my bathroom in the morning while I was working on my morning chores. Then at night the kids would have their baths and the whole bathroom would be messy again.

So I would leave the bathroom nice and tidy in the morning after my shower and by the next morning when I was ready to take my shower again there would be a big basket of dripping bath toys sitting on the floor. The rug and towel basket would be out in the hallway to avoid getting wet from the kids' bath. The kids' toothbrushes and toothpaste would be scattered across the counter. The mirror would be splattered. There would be sopping wet washcloths in the bathtub. There would be dirty towels dropped on the floor by the tub. There would be a huge puddle of water behind the toilet from someone invariably pouring water out of the tub while playing. It was discouraging. Our bathroom is small, so if you have a dirty towel crumpled on the floor and a basket of bath toys next to it, that's taking up almost all of the floor space except for the space you need to open and close the door.

I don't know why, but before I read A Slob Comes Clean it never even occurred to me to tidy up the bathroom AT NIGHT instead of in the morning. Not the brightest crayon in the box here, I guess. But now I know.

Now after the kids take their bath and get ready for bed I just pull on a pair of nitrile gloves and tidy up the bathroom. First I clean the mirror with a paper towel and glass cleaner. Then I put away all the clutter on the counter and wipe the counter and sink with Clorox wipes. Put away the bath toys under the sink. Then squeeze out the wet washcloths and toss them in the laundry basket. Use the towels on the floor to mop up the puddle and then throw them in the laundry basket. Close the shower curtain. Wipe the toilet with Clorox wipes. Empty the trash if needed. Sweep the floor, or mop it with the Swiffer if it's looking bad. Then put the rug and towel basket back in their spots. And that's it! It literally takes less than ten minutes. And even if I don't do it every night -- because the kids don't always take a bath every night -- the bathroom generally stays looking great until the next bath time.

This inadvertent "tip" improved life. Since having the baby I think I've had only one real top-to-bottom bathroom scrubbing day but if someone came over to visit and needed to go to the bathroom I wouldn't feel embarrassed at all. I've discovered it's profitable to think about what you can do with five or ten minutes. Those small pockets of time really do make a difference in keeping the house tidy.

Something else that stuck with me is she mentioned that if you struggle with being envious of other people's houses (not that I know anyone like that -- haha), cleaning your own house increases your house satisfaction exponentially. This is true. It's hard to feel unhappy about your home when your kitchen is shining clean. Even if your kitchen is not that great, this holds true. In our first apartment I had a tiny kitchen with gold-speckled vinyl countertops from the 1970s and I still remember how happy I felt to be home when the kitchen was clean. Granite or marble countertops are great if you can afford them. But neat and clean goes a long way, longer than we give it credit for.

Dana talks a lot about decluttering your home and not collecting more stuff than you can fit in the containers you have. Those are also incredibly useful principles. In my case though, I feel like I already learned them in the years of trying to fit a rapidly growing family into small apartments. Most memorably, when we moved our family of four from a 850 square foot apartment to a 650 square foot apartment in order to get out of a bad neighborhood. It was painful to downsize our stuff but worth it to be able to move to our current neighborhood That was four years ago and since then we've added two more children and moved into a larger apartment in the same building. Dana is right when she says decluttering is never done once and for all.

It took me a few weeks to read her blog up to 2016 and then I stopped because there weren't really any more blog posts that I could find, just podcasts and videos. Was this because her blog became so successful she no longer had to clean her own house? It was fun to read her story. I bet the day she had her brand new free Maytag kitchen appliances delivered in exchange for featuring them on her blog, she must have felt like she had made it big in the blogging world. And of course back when she started the blog she had no idea where it was going to go.

Anyway, tidying up the bathroom at night was such a simple but helpful change for me, I thought I'd share this just in case it's a small step someone else needs to take.

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