I expect that for the rest of my life, I will be always learning how to better care for my house, and keep it a peaceful and somewhat-ordered place. Right now, with only one child, I probably have more available time than I will in the future (hard to believe sometimes!), so my time to learn some of the "tricks of the trade" is really right now. Thus far, I've made the fortunate discovery of certain little "tricks" that require minimum effort but maximum effect. These little tasks that are very easy to do every day, but that make SUCH a huge difference to making my house feel ordered, and making ME feel minimally stressed when I glance around it! I like to think of these almost as "cheats," because they are such easy things to do, but bring about dramatic results. Here are some examples of what I mean.
Making the bed every day. This takes about 20 seconds. I don't have to tuck anything in, since Tom and I both hate sleeping with top sheets. I just put the pillows where they belong, and spread the comforter over the top. The bedroom looks 100% nicer because of it.
Keeping the shower curtain closed - all the clutter inside is hidden from view, and the colors of the curtain pick up the colors in the other (minimal) bathroom decor.
Putting the throw pillows back to the corners of the couches, and keeping the coffee table empty of clutter.
-I've started to change my dish rag, that hangs over the kitchen faucet, each morning. So nice to have a fresh clean one every day!
-Washing dishes often during the day, to keep the sink mostly empty at all times (especially before bed)
-Wiping down the stovetop and counter right after cooking.
-Keeping the kitchen table empty of clutter.
I think the kitchen tends to be the biggest mess-attractor. Which is why I have to do more things in there to keep it feeling tidy.
If anyone else uses any similar daily cheats to keep their homes looking ordered - tell me about them!