The mirror you have on your coffee table is going to have fingerprints on it 90% of the time. Said coffee table will also have rings from sippy cups and bottles. The magazines stacked oh-so-nicely underneath will be scattered by someone trying to add his favorite books to the pile. The baby wipes will find a permanent home there as well because, to be honest, the living room is where all the diaper changes happen.
I give you Exhibit A:
We have a few simple rules that everyone in the house must live by:
1. No shoes in the house. My husband thought this was a silly rule until we tried it for one week and then I had him sweep the entire house. He was shocked at how clean the floors stayed when the shoes were left at the door.
(Most of you in Canada or on the eastern coast of the United States will be shocked to know that, here in the Valley of the Sun it is not common practice to remove your shoes when entering someone's home. I can only assume it is because it doesn't snow here or rain often so native Phoenicians never saw the need. Therefore, I feel uncomfortable enforcing this rule when we have guests. I just make sure to sweep after they leave.)
2. When you're done with it, put it away. This includes dishes to the dishwasher (or at least in the sink) and clothes in the hamper. No stray socks or cups need to be left around.
3. The house gets a nightly pick-up. As everyone in my household (myself included) is human and nowhere near perfect, there are times when Rule #2 isn't followed as strictly as it might be. So, every night we go through the house together and pick up all the toys, bring any cups to the kitchen and just generally neaten up. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a (mostly) clutter-free house.
Those three rules tend to keep the house as neat as possible. But, you ask, what about the actual cleaning?
I give you Exhibit B: