As most of you know, Lee and I are selling our townhome and building another home on contingency. I have learned so much about real estate, houses, interest rates, mortgages, equity, and contingency contracts, but more importantly I have learned a lot about better home management practices and patience (which is something I always feel that the Lord is working on instilling in me).
Things I Have Noticed that Have Helped in Home Management:
De-clutter: I have never been a person that is big on clutter, but I realized through cleaning out our townhome and storing about half of our "important" belongings for over 3 months, that we don't need (or even want) as much stuff as we have. Luke has been living on a few bins of toys (about 1/4 to 1/3 of what he is used to having, not to mention big things like his train table and basketball hoop). I do have to say it has made me realized what stuff I really desire to have (my books, my scrapbooking supplies, and my elliptical machine). At least we are going to have twice the space when we move, but I am definitely going to re-think all of the stuff in storage.
If you get something out, put it back: It sounds really simple that you shouldn't leave stuff out, but how easy is it to not put all the dishes away (or even wash them in a timely manner, but that's another point) or just leave shoes and bags by the door? I know before my house was on the market and things had to be immaculate I would leave stuff until the next day or meal. It is so nice to have things cleaned up and put away. I have been unloading the dishwasher so that dishes don't pile up which is proving to save me a lot of time and energy, plus it just looks a lot nicer. I have been putting the laundry away right out of the dryer, which saves time and frustration over wrinkles. It is really nice.
Make the beds first thing in the morning: I used to do this every day, but I had gotten a little slack before we put the house on the market, but now we have to do it. It looks nicer and makes the bed feel better at night. Luke has been working on doing his as well. I think this is definitely a habit I would like to keep.
Swish and swipe bathrooms and kitchen everyday: Before we leave the house for the day I have been wiping down the bathrooms and kitchen (I do the kitchen after each meal and snack as well). It just makes it so nice and clean feeling.
Vacuum every other day (or at least twice a week): It sounds really hard, but this really keeps the floors looking great. I even use the hose to do the kitchen and bathrooms.
Turn on ceiling fans and open the blinds in the morning: It brings light and fresh air to each room. I never did this before, but it makes a major difference in the feel of our home. I really like it.
Take out the trash every day (or at least every other day): This keeps it from overflowing and/or smelling. I love having an empty (or at least not full) bin when I go to put stuff in it. It keeps things running smoothly.
Do 1 load of laundry to completion every day: It keeps it from piling up and keeps you from having to re-wash or iron clothes since you wash, dry, and put them away promptly. This is another habit I am planning to keep.I know these things sound a little wacky, but since I have been implementing them, I have not once had to freak out when I have a showing or think I might have a showing. The house looks immaculate and smells clean. I love it. I also have not had to do any deep cleaning since things don't ever get really dirty. I am really going to try to keep up with these things when I move into my new house.
A lot of the ideas presented here are also available through a highly recommended system called FLYLADY (www.flylady.net). If any of you have any other ideas on how to keep a house running smoothly, please let me know.