A clean, organized home might seem like it only exists on the pages of a glossy magazine. You might feel as though you are constantly trying to achieve it – de-clutter your current possessions, organize what's left, and still you find that a truly streamlined home is just outside your reach. There's no such thing as a perfect home, it's true, but there is a way to stay on top of your to-do list without losing your mind. The secret of truly organized families? They operate like a business. And as most of us know, every good business starts with a meeting.
The weekly meeting
The most effective way to keep people working together toward a common goal is to discuss it, and to do so frequently. Hold a family meeting each week, and go over what each person has going on. Detail everyone's needs to do to help out. Meet with your spouse afterward and go over bills, family finances, long-term goals and work or social commitments.
Write it all down
Staying on top of household chores is tough because there are so many things to do (and so little time to do them). A good way to handle this? Create few lists. One should cover daily chores, one weekly chores and one monthly chores. Rank each item by importance; unloading the dishwasher, for example, is generally more important than dusting the mantel. After you have a strong set of lists, assign each task to a family member. Maybe your daughter cleans the bathrooms every Saturday and your son is responsible for putting the family sports gear back into the garage wall cabinets. Even if you never make it all the way through a to-do list (and you probably won't), you'll have accomplished the important things.
Break it into bite-sized pieces
The fear of starting is potent in most aspects of life, and staying organized is no exception. The smaller, shorter and more manageable the tasks on your lists are, the less intimidating they seem. Instead of saying that you'll clean the kitchen every Saturday, say you'll wipe down the counters after dinner every night. At the very least, it will weigh less heavily on you each day and leave more time for fun.
Give everything a home
The most effective way to keep things clean in an effortless way is to give everything a home. Some are obvious – keys go on the hook in the mudroom, skateboards get mounted on the garage wall, and important bills and documents are filed away in the family den. But even more obscure things, such as a special shelf on the refrigerator just for juice boxes, will help.
Don't stress about it
Keeping a spotless, streamlined house isn't possible 100 percent of the time, so try not to let it become the most important thing in your life – or your day. Chores need to get done, but many a Saturday has been ruined by an ominous to-do list. Life should be fun! If that means that you've got a few dirty dishes in the sink or a stray basketball rolling around in the driveway, that's OK.