Having Nathan has forced my husband and I to keep a much tidier household.  We were never dirty or messy before, but now we have to be more on top of things.  If we don't pick up after Nathan plays, the clutter quickly escalates.  We also have to run the dishwasher and do laundry more frequently.  Making sure we stay on top of everything helps to keep it from getting out of control and also makes us a lot happier- it's so hard to relax when there is clutter everywhere!  I'm still working on creating habits that will help us and I've found some helpful tips that I thought I'd share!

Photo via  Lauren Conrad

Photo via Lauren Conrad

1.) Always Put Shoes & Coats Away

We always take our shoes off as soon as we walk in the door.  We hate the idea of tracking dirt from outside all over the house.  Nathan crawls around and is constantly putting his hands in his mouth, I want to do whatever I can to make sure he isn't putting anything too nasty in there!  We definitely need to find a better system for our shoes, but when they are all neatly organized, the entry looks so much better.  Coat season is almost over, but during the winter nothing bothers me more than seeing jackets draped over chairs or on the stair railing.  It's so easy to hang them up and the house looks so much neater.

2.) Put Your Clothes Away

This is something I am terrible at!  As soon as you change outfits, you should put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.  When you take your clean laundry out of the dryer, you should fold and put in your drawers or hang them up.  It sounds simple enough, but I'm super guilty of constantly just piling up my clean clothes instead!

3.) Don't Let Dishes Pile Up

For some reason I hate putting clean dishes away.  BUT I hate seeing dirty dishes in the sink even more!!  Putting the clean dishes away whenever the dishwasher is finished running is probably the best thing you can do to keep your whole kitchen looking clean.  If the clean dishes are out, then there is room to put the dirty dishes in.  Then there is no clutter in or around the sink!  I really recommend getting into the habit of rinsing and putting your dishes into the dishwasher right after using them.

4.) Wipe Down Surfaces After Using Them

I'm going to get myself in the habit of wiping down the bathroom counter and kitchen counter when I'm finished using them.  This kind of goes hand in hand with another tip -- keep cleaning supplies easily accessible in every room.  It would be so easy to just grab a cleaning wipe from under the sink and do a quick wipe down!  This will make sure your counters and sinks are always looking good + prevent tough residue from building up!

5.) Don't Let Paper/Mail Build Up

We get a ton of junk mail, which can easily start to build up in piles on the dining table or be shoved into drawers in the kitchen.  Lately, I've been trying to sort the mail before I even get back inside with it.  I walk past the recycling bin on the way to the door, so any junk can just easily get tossed away.  For mail that isn't junk, I would like to find a wall organizer or a dedicated place where both my husband and I know will be just for important papers or mail.

6.) Make Sure Everything Has a Home

This is not something we've been able to do.  At all.  We definitely need to take the time one day and decide where certain things need to be kept.  Everything should have a dedicated spot in your home so when you're straightening up or preferably when you're finished using something, you can easily put it in it's place- out of site- but easily found again.

7.) Create a Cleaning Schedule

I haven't done this yet, but I've been researching different ideas and I think creating one could be a great idea.  This will make sure you do a little bit every day and do bigger stuff regularly, so that it doesn't build up and force you to try and tackle everything at once.  Below is sample one I put together that could work for our household.  We would still need to sort out which tasks are done on which days, but having a list would help me stay on track.

I think the key is just trying to commit to a different way of doing things, and soon enough it will be a habit!  If you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments!