Hospitality: Creating a Welcoming Home

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

There are a lot of details that go into homemaking. It's much more nuanced that people first believe and about more than the practical. Relational homemaking is just as important as clean counters and homemade dinners. Because it can be too easy to overlook the relational aspect, but all relationships take constant work. That's why hospitality is such an important part of being a homemaker. I talked all about creating regular happy hours as a form of hospitality. And about making our home feel cozy by adding finishing touches. But those are just parts of creating a welcoming atmosphere, one that extends to guest and the home's inhabitants alike. Aside from clearing the clutter and making sure the hand soap is stocked, how can you create a feeling that says 'you are always welcome here'?

Want to be Happier? Boundaries

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Let's talk guarding your mind and mental health. In our modern society, we are consuming more content than ever. And these things we consume have a profound effect on us, whether we realize it at the time or not. Of course, we can't control other people or the type of content they put out, but we can control ourselves and monitor what we consume. It's called boundaries, and we should be making more of them. And for that matter, we should be making them offline, with the people in our lives too.

Living on One Income

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In talking about the switch from full-time, outside of the home career to full-time homemaker, I would be remiss if I brushed over the fact that we are now living on one income. John brings home the paycheck and I find ways to make our budget stretch. It's always an adjustment to live on less, but since we've always saved most of my paycheck, it hasn't been a huge change. Still, I've been finding new ways to save and thrive on a single income.

Full, Not Busy

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

As I sit here writing this post, I realize how productive I've been in the past week. I have times like that, where my energy levels ebb and flow, and this happens to be one of those times when I've been particularly adept at finishing up projects and crossing things off the to do list. I like the word 'productive.' I never want to be known as the alternative - busy. I don't want anyone else to comment on how busy I am, and I certainly never want to say the words 'I'm so busy lately.' It's a true four letter word to me.

Finishing Touches: Creating a Cozy Home

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I've always thought of my home as a place of rest and grounding. Numerology supports this, our house is a four. But as a minimalist, it wasn't feeling quite as cozy or 'finished' as I would like. Just not totally lived in, if that makes sense. I'm very particular not only about what fills a space, but how much. So I'm not ever going to load a room with wall hangings and throw pillows and oversized chairs, no matter how cozy it may appear in a photo. All that clutter would be stress to me, not quiet contentment. Instead, I needed to take my time and carefully choose a few key ways to make each room reflect that cozy, restful, peaceful vibe I was looking for. The finishing touches.

Favorite Things Lately

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I used to share three favorites every week - when something works particularly well for me, I want to tell other people about it. Since I moved away from daily posts, it just didn't make sense to keep up those posts that often. As such, I haven't posted about my recent favorites since mid-April. I figured it was time, so let's get into what I've been loving the past few months.

Bloglovin Testing

Thursday, September 3, 2020

This is a test post for Bloglovin followers. The site has caused me a lot of issues and doesn't have a support team so you may not have been getting updates to my posts since June. But I have been posting! If you are seeing this in your Bloglovin feed, then my work has been a success, let me know in the comments!

Embracing Autumn

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I've been trying to live more seasonally. Eating the season's produce, experiencing the weather changes, even switching up our indoor decor. It doesn't come as easily to me in the warm months but now that we're heading into fall, and inching closer to my favorite time of year (winter), I feel much more at home with embracing these subtle changes. I think it helps me live a slower pace of life, when I stop and not only take notice of these seasonal shifts, but celebrate them. I know September 1 isn't the start of the fall season just yet, but we're getting closer and I've experienced some of the changes already.

A Little Laughter, A Little Challenge

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Does anyone else start things on September 1 the same way they do for a new year? Despite being 10 years removed from any kind of schooling, there's something about that back to school season that has the same new year energy for me. I just started my latest round of a 101 in 1001 list in May so I'm not in the mood for a bunch of goal setting, but I am in the mood for I'm doing a fun challenge that I haven't done in awhile - the Fall Film Challenge. Movies and prizes, oh my!

How I Slow Down the Days

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I know I've mentioned slow living a lot. In my diet, my routines, even in the content I consume. So many people are disillusioned with the breakneck speed of our modern world, even more so after the various lockdowns we've had, and slow living sounds like a lovely alternative. And so I've shared the details about these sub-sects of my life, about stitching them together to create a slower life in the long-term, but that doesn't answer the question for a lot of people of 'how do I slow down today?' So I have a few tips for you on how I instantly slow down a day that's feeling just too rushed. Things you can do this very moment to take that first step of slow living.

Let’s Chat about Fulfillment in Life, Even as a Homemaker

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I wanted to take a post to have a chat about fulfillment in life. Mainly, to dispel the notion that a person can't find fulfillment being a homemaker. Through various other posts about my schedule, I think I've answered the 'what do you do all day' question in terms of household tasks. But I think there's an underlying thought that comes with that question. People don't just mean 'what fills your hours' but 'how do you possibly find those things fulfilling? Without a career, isn't there an empty portion of your life? Are you meeting your potential?'

Adopting a Minimalist Diet

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

When I posted about our updated kitchen and the super adorable pantry containers, I wanted to share about what I've been eating and just how I make those pantry staples into meals. But I figured that would be quite a hefty post. Instead, I wanted to focus separately on slow food and a minimalist diet.

I have a lot of goals related to slowing down different aspects of my life. And my diet was definitely one of the things I wanted to makeover to be more simple and slow. That's where slow living started, after all, with the slow food movement. It was all about focusing on sustainable, local, organic, and whole foods and was a direct resistance to the opening of a McDonald's in Rome. McDonald's might not be my personal vice, but that doesn't mean I don't have plenty of my own.

Timeless and Sustainable Wardrobe on a Budget

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Even though the time frame started in May, you know I've been checking things off the 101 in 1001 list. It seems like a lot but those 1001 days go by quicker than you think! And I particularly wanted to make a game plan for some of the items that would take longer or potentially cost more money. Two that stuck out are to completely update my wardrobe and accessories. Needs change as you get older and I haven't updated my closet in years. At the same time, I don't want to go out and purchase all new items without a second thought, as it would be a waste of money and resources. I knew I needed a better game plan for choosing quality.

Because I don't want to wear things once and throw it away - I hate that I did that in my college years, what a waste those Forever 21 shirts were that fell apart after two nights out at a bar. I want quality, long lasting items. I want to be able to mix and match everything in my closet, everything should fit my daily lifestyle, and it should feel like 'me.' And every single item should bring me joy. I'm still working on acquiring everything I want to for my own closet, but at least I know what I'm looking out for. Here's my system, in case you want to build your own timeless and sustainable wardrobe on a budget:

No, Your Eyes Do Not Deceive You

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

You are in the right place. Well, I should say, if you were looking for Not Entirely Perfect, you are in the right place. After a few years (6+ but who's counting?), it was time for a change. And a name change is a pretty dramatic one, yes, but it was that or dropping blogging altogether and I don't think I'm ready to do that quite yet. Changing directions seemed the better choice. I had already changed my content, after all, so what's a little name change to match? It's just so much more fitting for the space.

Raspberry Muffins and a Kitchen Update

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I've been doing yearly home tours since we moved in in May 2016, but we haven't had any major updates since the last one, when I shared the deck. But we did recently make some changes in the kitchen that I've really been enjoying, so I thought I would share what it looks like now. And of course that should come with a recipe so I'm also sharing the raspberry muffins I love making this time of year.

The Joy in Everyday Homemaking, Even When You're Burnt Out

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I've posted a lot lately about routines and the things we need to get done every day - getting dressed, morning and evening routines, cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner every night. It can start to seem not only overwhelming, but exhaustingly reminiscent of Groundhog's Day. Because those are the daily living tasks that just don't end. Even when you finally get all the laundry done, you still have to wear clothes and there will be another load tomorrow. The dishwasher is finally empty, but you have to drink your coffee out of something. You did all the grocery shopping and cooked all the meals but an empty fridge will stare back at you again next week. It's repetitive and mundane and can easily leave you asking 'why even bother?'

I hear you. I've been there myself. Still am there, some days. Yes, the rhythm of life reminds us that we're alive. It's good to sit back and remember that we get to do all these daily tasks because we're alive. But even when I'm being grateful for that fact, there are still a few things I do to bring back the joy in homemaking, even when I'm a little burnt out.

Proper Clothing Care and Why I Care for the Things Around Me

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I like getting dressed every day. In an actual dress, like I mentioned. And though I love finding deals and living frugally, dresses aren't cheap and building a quality wardrobe still takes time and money. So once an item makes it into my closet and life, I'm going to do everything I can to care for it properly to extend it's life. Today, I'm sharing some of that clothing care knowledge with you. I know it may not seem like it 'matters', but stick with me until the end, it'll make a lot more sense. But first, clothing care tips and tricks.

My One Day and Everyday Cleaning Routine

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I know that title seems confusing - how can my cleaning routine be a one day routine but also an everyday routine? But it's actually pretty straightforward. I can either spend 4+ hours one day and deep clean everything on the list and then not touch anything again for awhile. Or I can do this routine every single day on a surface level, because if you clean every day it never piles up to require that deep clean day. And cleaning is an essential part of my homemaker life.

Slow Living Homemaker Morning and Evening Routines

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I've posted about my morning and evening routines before, but they always focused around working outside the home for 8+ hours a day. I had to accomplish certain tasks by a certain time each morning and set things up every night to ensure I was prepared for the next day. Life looks quite different now, so my routines needed to adjust. I still enjoy having some sort of plan to count on, simple as it may be, even though I now have the whole day at home during which I can get tasks done. I need something to signal to my brain when it's time to start getting things done and when it's time to relax and sleep. Making over these routines, slowing them down and simplifying them, has been a fun task to cross off my 101 in 1001 list.

I plan on posting about my cleaning routine and what a typical day in the life of a homemaker looks like, but it seemed simpler to break it up and first dedicate a post to these bookends of my day.

Producing versus Consuming: Active Slow Living

Thursday, June 11, 2020

I think we all just spent a few months experiencing slow living - a stark contrast to most of our lives before any sort of lock down order. People dealt with this in a lot of different ways. It may have started with Netflix binges and 24 hours of pajamas, but then morphed into something different. A lot of banana bread was made, that's for sure. A lot of homes decluttered. But I think that's a natural outcome of a slow living lifestyle. There's suddenly much more time in the day when you're not jamming your schedule with events, and people quickly realize that constant consumption is not all it's cracked up to be.

Because slow living doesn't mean sitting around doing absolutely nothing. When I share about this way of life, people always ask 'well what do you do all day?' Whatever I want, really, and that's the point. I may not be carefully scheduling all the hours in my day like I used to, but that 'lazy slug' feeling of three straight days of movies and take out isn't good either. I didn't drop one extreme for the other, I simply shifted my priorities so I can take the time every day to do the things I love. Life should happen for me, not to me. Or what I like to call 'active slow living.' And it's all about producing and doing instead of consuming.

Do you have a lot of unfinished projects around the house? That's often a sign of hiding behind consumption instead of taking action. I've been guilty of it too. We consume things first as an excuse, instead of becoming the person we want to be, telling ourselves that we absolutely need something in order to get started. We can't start working out without new workout clothes. We can't start decluttering and organizing without buying a bunch of new bins at the Container Store. Can't make that scrapbook without spending $200 on more supplies at the craft store. But it's pretty easy to see, in all of those excuses, that consuming things is distracting you from the life you really want to have.

We all have these projects that were started with good intentions but never finished and these things we 'don't have the time to do'. It's the trap of consuming instead of doing, and there's a lot of emotional baggage that comes with that. It's so easy to hide behind the laziness of consumption. No one likes taking responsibility for the fact that they're the only thing standing in their own way.

But why write off your joy in the present with this over attachment to more, more more? We all write off progress and the lives we're living now, thinking that we'll be a better version of ourselves once we buy this thing, but that just keeps removing ourselves from taking responsibility for actually taking action. You don't need Lululemon pants to workout. You just need to move. There's no need to keep consuming in order to become that better person.

So why would slow living help with any of that? How can I do more if I'm simultaneously slowing down?

Because what I'm really slowing down is distractions, allowing me to be pro-active. To seek out and do more of what matters, instead of just reacting to circumstances. It's a habit I've had to really learn and practice at constantly, but I find it's the best way to live in the present and enjoy each day. No more of that stressed and anxious feeling that comes with being hurried.

What does this look like, in a practical sense? Waking up early each day because I know I function best on a schedule and in the mornings. Cleaning the house daily, before it builds up and becomes incredibly dirty. Creating a budget and saving for big expenses, emergencies or vacations. Walking more and making my own meals instead of resorting to take out and fad diets. Making phone calls, mailing letters, unloading the dishwasher and completing other 5 minute tasks as I think of them instead of perpetually putting them off. Actively sorting out these tasks purposefully before they pile up to that insurmountable mountain of stress. Acting, not reacting. Doing, not just buying something to make the problems go away.

There's just something about doing each of these things by my own hand that helps me stay connected in the moment, no longer feeling like the days are disappearing too fast. And even though I do these thing slowly, I know they're still moving me forward. I fully enjoy the present while I take steps to be that slightly better version of myself that I have in mind. Always a work in progress - but not one that writes off all the progress that's already been made.

Getting Dressed Everyday (and My Current Skincare, Makeup, and Hair Routine)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

This post has been written and scheduled for awhile. I was going to put a disclaimer here about the frivolity of it but I changed my mind. I suppose this still is a disclaimer, but in a different way - this space and its content, regardless of the state of the world, has always been a place of frivolity since 2012 and that isn't going to change. That's something I need for myself as a creative, escapist outlet. I alone have the power over both the content I consume and what I create and where I choose to share any of it. And who I choose to share my feelings with, including when, and how. I understand if you don't like that stance, and see it as some sort of privilege of opting out. Maybe it is, but since you don't know anything I do or say in the rest of my life, I have no intention of debating that idea here. So you may want to read a different blog - there are plenty out there for you that are incredibly intelligent and well-written. Lord knows I have unfollowed many, many people across many platforms this weekend so there are no hard feelings if you'd like to do the same. And that's all I have to say on that.

Wow, June. I know quarantine made this year kind of a wash so I shouldn't be surprised that we're already in June but the idea that it's already summer is just crazy to me. My life is so very different than it was a mere 4, even 3 months ago. As I'm sure yours is as well. Homemaking is unlike any other job or time in my life; my days are entirely unscheduled. For one thing, I don't have to get dressed every day the same way I did in my office job. Honestly, it's been both a respite and a burden - my work clothes were pretty restricting and I'm happy to not be tied to those anymore, but staying in pajamas all day is a recipe for laziness and generally not feeling great about myself. I know, because I spent the first month of lockdown in some form of pjs.

So when I thought about proper self care, I knew getting dressed everyday would need to be top of the list. (Well, along with making dinner but we've mastered that.) It's an essential part of personal homemaking. Everyone is different so I don't think you have to get dressed every day if it doesn't appeal to you but I truly believe that it's hard to feel like the day has started without getting 'ready'. It makes me feel like it's a sick day or holiday and although being a homemaker has it's perks, there is still work to be done every single day. The home is not the same lounge space as when I worked outside of it, but that's how I was treating it in April rather than seeing it as my new work place.

Cooking Dinner ... Every Night?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Are you cooking more or less during quarantine? Unless you're already out, of course, some places are opening up. We've got until June 1, and then we'll see, but I know John and I still won't be hitting up any restaurants for the foreseeable future. And that's actually something I don't mind - we've been steadily making all our meals at home and generally enjoying the process. Most things we make are way better than the restaurant version anyway, and it undoubtedly saves us money. And quarantine or not, cooking meals at home is an essential part of homemaking and living on one income.

Investing in Myself: Is Self Care a Lost Art?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The irony is not lost on me, writing this post about self care (including a note about reclaiming your sleep schedule) midweek at 12:30 in the morning. But that's perhaps why I feel the need to put this out into the universe: I need to invest in myself. Self care is such a buzzword lately, and I'm completely on board for it, but so much of what's touted as care is actually self-soothing and self-indulgence. There's a time and place for both of those things, of course, but they shouldn't be mistaken for actually taking proper care of yourself.

My New 101 in 1001 List

Monday, April 20, 2020

I know what you're thinking - another list? Didn't the last one just start? Not exactly. But the 1001 days aren't quite up yet, so I understand the confusion. The end date for the 3rd 101 goals in 1001 days list is the end of this year but I'm about done. With the whole list. And I love having goals to work on so I decided to move up the start date of this 4th list. It might seem strange to start a new goals list in the midst of all this uncertainty but I almost think that's why I want to start. There are so many things on my list I can start working on right now that will not only improve my life and home, but will also give me something to control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation. That deeply appeals to my enneagram type 1 self.

Favorite Things Lately

Monday, April 13, 2020

Since I switched up my blog content at the end of March, I haven't shared a Three on Thursday post. I went from sharing three favorite things every week to zero. I don't plan on going back to weekly favorites, but I feel like these favorite things posts will happen every once in awhile. If I find something I really enjoy, I want to share it. So here are the things I feel like mentioning:

Silk and Sonder Planner. I know, there isn't much to plan these days. But that may be why I like this planner even more, because it's a planner and journal in one. Technically, it's a planner subscription. You can order each month or order for the whole year and they will send you a new month long planner before the start of a new month. Inside has traditional weekly layout pages, and each week also has a notes page and a weekly planner page for things like your meal plan and shopping list, as well as a habit tracker section. Besides just the weekly pages, each planner also has a coloring page, two recipes, a monthly habit tracker, a daily mood tracker and various journal pages related to that month's theme. If you want to see the inside pages, it's on my YouTube channel. I've enjoyed having something to play around with that makes me use my hands and makes me create something. I'm not great at tracking all the things all the days but I love that it's there when I need it.

Letting the Pages Turn. Because I Get To, I Don't Have To.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The emotional ups and downs of this time are crazy, aren't they? On the one hand, I've learned how much I freaking love staying away from people. Seriously, we should all be glad I love animals too much to be a serial killer, because according to all the true crime shows, I've got all the other hallmarks. I thought maybe I was doing okay because I still had John at home but now I'm all on my own at my parents' house (they're in Florida) while he's at the firehouse and nope, still doing fine. I text people (only 4 with any regularity), call my parents every couple of days, and did one facetime happy hour with two friends. And it's been more than enough human interaction for me. Don't judge.

On the other hand, there's still been things to grieve. We're not leaving for our Florida vacation tomorrow, as intended. A silly thing to grieve, but it's still there. Canceled some fun plans with friends in May because it's pretty unlikely that anything will be normal by then. Again, silly, but real. We also have traditions surrounding March Madness and Easter and draft day and the Derby that just aren't going to happen. And there's an underlying anxious feeling over John and my dad's health. John because he's in the line of fire and has what I like to call 'the immune system of a carnival goldfish.' And my dad because he's 80 and has other health issues. He's been good about staying inside but they want to come back here to Chicago at some point, so I worry about them traveling (next month or later).

The anxiousness isn't going to go away, not with so many unknowns still out there. I have ways to not dwell on that so much (but not ignore it either.) But the sadness over cancelled plans and traditions is something to emotionally work through, rather than just digging my heels in and insisting it'll be 'back to normal soon.' There will be good things and many more bad things to come out of this, but life will not be the same when this is over. It will not be 'back to normal soon.'

And I'm letting that page turn.

What is Homemaking?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I'm switching gears today off the topic of slow living and onto the other topic I feel like I suddenly have a lot to say about - homemaking.

Microwave Culture, the Myth of Balance, and the Peace of a Slowed Down Life

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Slow living. This concept that I'm basing more than just my blog posts around. It sounds pretty, peaceful even, but what is it? I've hinted at it, talked about it in passing on some of my other posts this year, but we haven't exactly defined what it is. And while the details might vary by person, the concept is the same - it's about decelerating modern life, by being mindful of our time and making sure every day is full of things that matter to us. Not the things that we think matter or that society tells us should matter, but the things at our core - our real needs and values. It's slowing down in order to quit stress and foster peace in its place.

Everything That's Been Hard Lately

Monday, March 23, 2020

An ominous title for a post, I know. I do, in general, want to keep this space a spot of calmness and simplicity in a chaotic world. But before I can really do that and explain why and how I live slow and simple, I need to go back and explain all the things that were hard. This post is the only one that's a bit negative, it'll be getting more positive from here. So, here are the things that happened in 2019 (and last week) that were mentally and emotionally taxing:

Things Look Different

Friday, March 20, 2020

Things look different around here. Maybe you noticed when you opened this post, and maybe it didn't hit you until I told you to look around, but it is different. Maybe you picked up on the fact that the post title isn't just about a blog layout.

Simple Clean Home Habits

Monday, February 3, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links.

I try to make sure our house is always clean.  Not deep clean like everything is freshly scrubbed and sanitized, but clean in that everything is always in it's place and there's no mess that couldn't be straightened up in two minutes.  I like that people could stop by on a whim and I don't feel like I have to do power cleaning in the few minutes before they arrive - that kind of life is too stressful for me.  In order to keep a simple and clean home, all the time, I've adopted a few habits that keep everything in line with ease:

Remove the excess.  It's much harder to clean if the things you own don't fit in the space you have them.  Everything needs room to breathe, and putting items away shouldn't be like playing tetris.  I started years ago with major decluttering but now I just keep an eye out and remove things that shouldn't be in a particular room or shouldn't be in the home at all because they aren't being used and loved.

Organize what you have.  There's no point in organizing clutter, but once I'm down to the things that I know I'm keeping, I make sure to organize them.  I keep like items together so I know how much I have and where it is and I always make sure that every item has a place to be returned to.  It's much easier to keep a space clean when you know where to put everything away.

If it takes one minute, just do it.  I don't let small tasks pile up.  If something is going to take just a minute or two, I get it done.  Sorting the mail, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash - if I let all of those things pile up all week, I would spend all of Sunday trying to get it cleaned up, and at that point the house is a disaster.  By getting small projects done as I see them, I spend far less time overall on completing them.

Make the bed.  A classic for a reason.  Making the bed makes the entire room look more clean and put together, regardless of what else is going on in there in terms of clutter.  There are some days it just doesn't happen and some days that Hawkeye completely unmakes it right after I finish, but I at least try to do it daily because it makes a real difference in our bedroom.  Which is right off the kitchen so it's always highly visible.

Open windows.  Opening windows purifies the air and instantly freshens a space.  Everything in the home just seems like it has new life when I open the windows.

Hang clothes and coats, and put shoes away.  I don't know about you, but I do not wash everything I wear after only one time of wearing it.  I work a desk job in an office, my clothing is not dirty.  Rather than just put everything in the hamper or piled on a chair in the bedroom, I take the extra second to properly hang anything I plan on wearing again before washing.  We do the same with coats.  The area where coats and shoes get left is obviously the first area people see when they come in the house.  Instead of tossing coats over chairs or couches, just hang them up.  Likewise, get a tray or rack stationed right by the door so it's super easy to put the shoes away when you take them off.

Take shoes off at the door.  Shoes track dirt and shoe prints all over the house.  Your cleaning routine will be instantly made easier by just stopping the problem before it even starts by removing shoes at the door.  I really don't enforce this with guests because some people are more comfortable with leaving their shoes on, which is fine - I'd rather my guest be comfortable and I can clean later.  But for me and John, the rule is shoes off at the door.

Keep the sink clear.  Keeping the sink clear is the kitchen version of 'make the bed.'  Whatever else you do, the kitchen will look better if you have an empty and clean sink.  I make sure to do this once in the morning after we make breakfast and once in the evening after dinner.  Waking up to a clean sink is worth it's weight in gold.

Focus on clear surfaces.  Our eyes go straight to surface clutter so if you can make sure that counter and table tops stay clear, it goes a long way towards making the whole house seem clean.  Clutter also attracts more clutter so if you set one thing down, 10 more will come join it.  It's the law, I think.

Keep the necessary tools close at hand.  I have a cleaning caddy in the laundry room that houses most things, but since that's in the basement, it would be too annoying to grab the tools out to wipe down the main level bathroom every day.  Instead, I keep a few microfiber cloths and the cleaning spray in the bathroom itself, under the sink.  Since it's always close at hand, it takes me no more than 30 seconds to wipe down the bathroom counter and mirror everyday, which helps the dirt not to pile up and create a huge weekend project for me.

Get a stick vacuum.  We have a long stick vacuum but a small handheld would have the same effect - in a pinch or with a small mess, it's too big of a pain to lug out the full size vacuum.  Get something that's small and cordless for those moments when things just need a quick clean.

Clean as you go during cooking.  I cannot tell you what a time saver this is.  Start with an empty dishwasher, and just load it up as you're cooking.  This stops the pile of dishes in the sink.  If you make any messes while cooking, clean them immediately.  It's so much easier to wipe up a fresh mess than it is to come back to it when it's dried and caked on.

Do it right the first time.  Put the stain remover on.  Rinse the dish and put it in the dishwasher.  Hang the coat instead of draping it on the chair.  If you don't do it right the first time, you're only making twice as much work for yourself because you have to come back and do it again anyway.

Don't leave rooms empty handed.  I always check to see what I can take with me when I leave a room that doesn't belong in there.  I return pens to the office area and mugs to the dishwasher and clothing to the laundry room.  I never leave a room empty handed because otherwise I'd just have to come back and clean it later.  Again, do it right the first time.

Tidy at the end of every evening.  If you do a quick 5 or 10 minute tidy of the house before bed, you won't need to spend hours doing it on the weekend.  Just quickly sweep through the main living spaces and put things away and straighten up blankets, chairs, pillows, etc.

Make it a team effort.  If you're not the only one making the mess, you shouldn't be the only one cleaning it.  Delegate responsibilities and make sure people are responsible for their own messes.

What habits do you stick to to make sure your home remains clean most of the time?