I want to talk about something we all deal with--housework. I've always wanted a clean house, but since mine has always been full of people, it hasn't happened very often.
I used to think that even if the house were really clean, just having all those bodies around makes it look cluttered. I have to say, though, that having only adults does help--a little.
flylady to the rescue
Anyway, recently I signed up with FlyLady.net and it has helped me a LOT with keeping order. The sign-up is free and then you get daily emails, lots of daily emails. I usually scan them for the interesting stuff, delete the rest, and it takes less than five minutes. I do have to warn that you might feel overwhelmed at first with all the information on the site, but don't panic! Take things one at a time, which is what she recommends anyway--baby steps.
Here's a quote from one of the emails:
"You can't organized clutter; you have to get rid of it! In order to find peace in your home the clutter has to find a new place to reside.
Release your clutter. Spend just 15 minutes a day decluttering. When you bring home something new; get rid of something old."
Another thing she says is keep your kitchen sink clean ALL THE TIME. And it's amazing what a difference this one chore makes.
Her basic mantra is that we have to have routines/habits in place. If we don't, we can spend all day cleaning then the place just gets messy again immediately. But if we've developed routines/habits that we do almost automatically, we can keep the mess at bay.
a daily schedule that works for me
Here is my daily schedule (to quote from an article I once wrote): think of it as B,B,C,D,F, which sounds like a poor report card but which stands for:
Bed: make it,
Bathroom: a quick swish and swipe while you're in there getting ready,
Clutter: quick pick-up, especially working on the "hot spots" that gather stuff to them--I do this pretty much all day),
Dishes: keeping the sink clean and empty, and
Floors: sweep daily.
There are many other chores we have to do of course (for example, she also talks about conquering Mount Washmore), but even if I do only these five things every day, I can keep the appearance of a tidy home and not panic if someone comes over unexpectedly.
I highly recommend going to that web site and/or getting her book, Sink Reflections if you're ready to do something positive in this area. Hang in there!