It doesn't matter how amazing your parents were or what type of house you grew up in, there are just some lessons you have to learn the hard way when it comes to keeping house and being a grownup. There are some lessons I learned the hard way and I'm sure you have some as well. Hear my thoughts and share yours, right this way: I love my parents. Please let me say that up front. That said, although I was taught how to clean a house, the time required to perform such acts and the frequency in which they should occur seemed to pass right by me. Here are a few tips I learned along the way of having my own place and space.
1. Time Matters: Even if I knew how to tackle chores, I didn't yet understand that if I didn't do dishes today, I would have more tomorrow in addition to what was already in the sink. It seems rather obvious, but to me it just wasn't. Since I had focused on single chores here and there at home, when I had my own place it was surprising to me how long it took to accomplish things for an entire home.
2. If You Can't Take Your Vacuum Apart It Will Defeat You: I remember watching my parents fix and repair our vacuum many times over the years. It wasn't until I had to do it myself that this headache really seemed important. After paying a high price for one that would tackle dog hair, I have since spent many hours unclogging, cleaning and taking care of it. Not being afraid to do so is a skill everyone should acquire.
3. There's More Than Basic Chores: It wasn't until I had been married and moved 4 or 5 times that I really sat down and made a list of all the little things that, although don't need to be done everyday, do need to be done. Cleaning vents, the tops of ceiling fan blades, wiping down baseboards and mouldings. If I would have had a checklist from the start, these little things all make a house feel much more fresh and help motivate and inspire your cleaning routine.
4. Turn On the Music, Turn Off the TV: As a child I remember hopping up on commercials between my favorite episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation (total nerd from the start) to clean and be back in my seat before it was over. Nothing really ever got "clean clean." Instead, try turning off the tv and turn on the music which is bound to keep you moving far more than dialogue which can suck you in and leave you gawking at what's about to happen next.
5. You Will Be Unhappy if You Don't: There's this certain time of rebellion where you have your own place and you think cleaning can now happen when you want to tackle it, not when others say it needs to be done. You slack off, play video games, watch tv, go out and hang with friends, but it will take a mental strain on you at some point in time. The stain can snowball and encourage bad habits... if only I would have known sooner!
6. You Get What You Pay For: It doesn't matter if it's electronics or cookware, 9 times out of 10, you get what you pay for. Although there's something to be said for a little diy or repurposing, when it comes to major purchases, research, read reviews, and buy the best you can when you can.
7. Hot and Cold Are Your First Priority for Bills It's easy to complain about how hot or how cold it is, but had I known how much they would truly impact my budget, I would have taken extra precautions to purchase or reinforce apartments to keep those things out and clean, fresh air in.
8. Insurance is Worth the Money: Renters and homeowners insurance might seem like a necessity to some, but to others, it's only an option. Not only does it build responsible habits, but gives you extreme peace of mind if something happens. It's easier to budget for insurance than it is to replace that Blu-Ray player you worked so hard for.
Care to share the hard lessons you've picked up on that you wish you would have known sooner? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image: Flickr member Zach Klein licensed for use by Creative Commons