The Simple Thing My Family Does Every Night to Keep Our Home in Order

published Apr 11, 2022
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On any given day, my house — home to seven humans and one large and lively dog — is somewhere on the spectrum between laundry-and-toy-cyclone and lived-in-but-presentable. And I’ve come to accept imperfection (really), but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep my home in reasonable order (I do!).

Over the years, I’ve learned that one simple, consistent habit is key to achieving this goal: having a finite family cleanup time every evening. It sounds almost too straightforward, but it really works for me and my family. Here’s why:

It takes the stress out of the mess.

When you know you’ll have an evening cleanup time to reset your home, you don’t see each thing that’s out of place as something that needs immediate attention. Instead, you can let it go and give your full attention to the algebra homework or the onion-chopping because you know anything that’s out of place will get addressed later. 

It makes everyone happier.

Knowing that the whole household will join in during cleanup time takes the responsibility off of you to keep everyone and everything in ship-shape perfection all the time. You become more pleasant because your interactions with your family aren’t dominated by pointing out messes or cleaning them up yourself in a passive-aggressive huff. (Ask me how I know this happens). And everyone else likes the fact that you’re more pleasant.

It’s more efficient.

Having a set time to clean up each night and a set amount of time means you use your time well. Instead of having everyone clean up until the house is clean, designating fifteen minutes, for example, and setting the expectation that the house is picked up by the end of that time, motivates everyone to put their heart into the work and really get as much done as possible. Morale stays high and at the end of the time, the house is picked up and ready for another day. 

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: We Have Family Cleanup Time Every Single Evening — Here’s Why