Housewife - I Really Can Do This!

I posted earlier this year asking for advice on how to keep our home clean and organized while still devoting time to my social life, family fun and other obligations.  I have to admit, I got some good advice and didn't really follow any of it.  We stayed with the same routine of keeping the house just looking OK and counting on the housekeeper to make it really pretty.

Once I knew I was going to be staying home for awhile (five and a half months!), I decided to really buckle down and find a system that works for me.  I spent a little more time looking into Flylady and decided to start with her system, while more or less ignoring the parts that I find annoying (like the jillion "testimonial" emails that she sends out every day).

I began with the Baby Steps, and after two weeks I can say that my house is in tip-top shape and I don't mind unannounced visitors stopping by at any time!  Until last week, I really only liked to have visitors in the few days after the housekeeper's visit.  I've taken Flylady's key themes of getting things cleaned and organized slowly (things didn't get unorganized overnight), building good daily  habits (which I know will fall to the wayside for awhile when Baby Girl rocks my schedule), and spending a bit of time every single day keeping up with what I've accomplished (to avoid my usual marathon decluttering and cleaning sessions).

Here are some of the habits I've been working on so far, all of which have really helped out:
  1. Keeping the kitchen sink clean.  I don't shine it a la Flylady style, but having a rule of "no dishes in the sink" has helped tremendously.  If there's a dish in the sink, it must be because the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, which one of us does promptly.  Otherwise, when we finish using a dish or utensil, it goes into the dishwasher.  Having an empty sink has helped in keeping the rest of the kitchen pretty immaculate.  We no longer leave snacks and grocery bags on the counter.
  2. Making the bed and getting dressed every morning.  Hopping out of bed and making it right away just starts my day off right...and I'm much less tempted to crawl back into it!  If I need a nap later, I just use a small blanket or throw and sleep on top of the made-up bed.  Flylady is also really big on getting dressed (even your shoes) every day.  I'm more motivated to get stuff done and get my day going if I get out of my PJs, even if I just throw on a pair of workout pants.  If I have errands to run, I put on "real clothes" but right now most of my clothes just aren't that comfy, so if I'm going to be mostly around the house I just war yoga or running pants.
  3. Cleaning up "hot spots" for two minutes in the morning and two minutes before bed.  Hot spots are areas of the house where clutter tends to build up.  For us, it's the table by the door piled with mail, the desk, and a certain part of the kitchen counter.  Clutter attracts clutter, so just making sure these areas are clutter-free every day keeps them nice and tidy.
  4. Choosing the worst looking room in the house and spending five minutes in the morning picking it up.  Usually this is our bedroom, so I just set a timer for five minutes (or use a TV commercial break) to pick up all the shoes, laundry, books, etc.  After a couple of days in one room, I don't really need five minutes per room anymore, so one commercial break gets me through picking up the entire house!
  5. Choosing a really bad spot and spending 15 minutes a day decluttering.  I just started this, and I'm working on getting my closet in order.  After this, I'll probably use the 15 minutes to tackle the other closets, and organize the pantry.
  6. Daily swish and swipe of the bathroom.  Spending about one minute each morning cleaning up the bathroom.  I just spray the toilet, wipe it down with a Clorox wipe, and wipe off the sink and mirror. About once a week I spray the tub with Scrubbing Bubbles and let it sit before rinsing it out.  The housekeeper does actual deep cleaning of the bathroom, but this maintenance just keeps it nice and fresh. 
Flylady also has daily missions, which are specific cleaning tasks that look to take around 5-15 minutes, focusing on a specific room each week.  I'll start incorporating those soon, but right now I'm just enjoying having a picked up house with only a few minutes of upkeep a day!  She also has a weekly home blessing hour, which is just an hour spent on cleaning.  My housekeeper "blesses" my home for a few hours a week, so I'll just ignore this part of Flylady's plan for now, too.

Do you have a routine you follow?  Any other tips or habits you find helpful?