How to Keep A Home Clean
My house is clean most of the time because of the habits that I’ve built to keep it that way. Notice how I said, “most?” Throw away this idea that someone’s house is always clean. I’ve never met one of those people. I’m pretty sure those people don’t really exist.
In order for someone’s house to always be clean, they would have to not live in their house. And even then the dust would still collect. So… it’s not possible.
Let go of this idea that your house needs to always be clean. It can’t be. Once you understand that I bet your house becomes cleaner, most, of the time.
Also, let go of this idea that your friend’s house is always clean. It’s not. She cleans it up before you come over and there is probably a mess behind one of those closed doors.
But she may have a clean home most of the time. It may only take her 10 minutes of tidying up, before you stop by, for her house to be presentable. She can do this because of the habits she has built for herself. Not because she has magic powers.
My point is… you can have a clean home, most of the time too. And it doesn’t mean cleaning up for hours a day. That’s just ridiculous. Don’t do that.
Instead, look at these 10 ideas and pick one or two you can start focusing on. Put them on your daily to-do list and start taking care of your house, a little bit, each day. You don’t have to be a clean freak to build good tidy habits.
1.) Have A Place For Everything and Put Them Back Right Away
You have heard this before. This is nothing earth-shattering, but do you do it?
Every single thing in your home needs a place to sleep. When you aren’t using the item it needs to be in that spot so that you can always find it. It doesn’t need to be cluttering up another spot in your home.
Along with this, you need to put things up as soon as you are done with them. Don’t leave them sitting out until you feel like putting them away.
We hardly ever feel like putting things away. There is no magic motivation for cleaning up. Just start making a conscious effort to put things away as soon as you are done with them.
I always tell myself that a job is not finished until the mess is cleaned up.
2.) Declutter When There Isn’t A Place For Everything
If you don’t have a place for everything or there are too many things in one place, then it’s time to declutter your home.
You don’t need more space, you need fewer things.
If you are constantly leaving an item out and not putting it back, ask your self why.
Is it’s home not the right location for it?
Are you constantly using your planner in the kitchen and leaving it out because it’s home is the office, but you never use it in the office?
If this is the case then make the planners home your kitchen. Find a way to display it, put it in a drawer or do what I do and put it in a basket with some pens on your countertop.
The objects home needs to make sense.
Or here is another scenario… your item has a home that makes sense but there isn’t always enough room for it. You need to make room for it.
Take everything out of that space and only put back what you really want to be there.
I recently decluttered the office closet. I took everything out and only put back what I really wanted to be in that closet. I didn’t want empty gaming boxes, extra cords, and owners manuals to be in that closet, so I took them out. I got rid of some and found a new home for the others.
If you can’t find a new home for something, ask yourself, does this item even have importance for me or other members of this household?
If you can’t find a home for it then maybe it’s not really important to you. Throw it out or donate it.
Everything needs a place and when it doesn’t have a place, declutter.
3.) Have Cleaning Routines
Cleaning routines are everything to me and have changed my housekeeping for the better.
I would say that my most important cleaning routine is my morning routine. I have a small list of tasks that I accomplish each morning. When I first started this I would make myself a list every morning.
After some time I didn’t need to make the list anymore. It’s second nature now to unload the dishwasher, clean up the kitchen, throw laundry in, and vacuum the living room before we get started with the next part of our day.
I also have a weekly routine. I have one task per day that I spend 15 to 20 minutes getting done.
For example, I dust on Wednesday. And the beauty of this is, I don’t force myself to dust the whole house. I force myself to dust as much as I can in 15 minutes.
You’ll be surprised at what you can get done in 15 minutes.
Then at the end of the day, I’ve made it a habit to make sure things are put back before we go to bed. My daughter and I pick up her toys as part of her nighttime routine. Then, I put away any stray items before getting ready for bed myself.
4.) Don’t Leave A Room Empty-Handed
If you are walking back to the bedroom and notice something that needs to be put back in the bedroom, or a room near the bedroom, pick it up and take it with you.
Your original intention may not have been to put that item away but now you killed two birds with one stone.
When it comes to toys, I handle this slightly different. If I see a toy out and about I do one of two things. I toss it in my daughter’s room, knowing we will put it back in its place before bed, or I just ignore it. I refuse to pick up toys all day long.
I have designated time for that so I just leave it be. Also, we keep playing time to her bedroom so a lot of toys don’t find their way out into the house. AND… she has minimal toys so things don’t get out of hand.
5.) Have a Laundry System
Have a system for all clothing whether they are dirty or clean.
When you take clothes off they need to go straight in the hamper or back into a drawer/closet.
I used to be horrible at this. I used to get a huge pile of clothes on the floor because I didn’t feel like they were dirty enough to wash and they were too dirty to put back.
This resulted in this large pile that I never took care of.
To get over this I just forced myself to make a decision when I changed my clothes. Most the time I throw it in the hamper. Occasionally I put them back in the drawer or hang them back up.
My next laundry tip is to do it every day. This sounds crazy but it has made such a difference to me. I do it every day during the week and then usually don’t need to on the weekends.
Smaller loads are easier to deal with then 5 large loads on a Saturday.
6.) Have a Mail and Paperwork System
Mail and other paperwork can quickly pile up and become a huge headache.
Go through your mail right away, then throw it away or put it away.
Design a mail system that works for you.
7.) Put Shoes, Coats, etc. Away Right Away
When you come in the door, don’t just dump your things. Put them away as you take them off.
If you find that your coat, shoes, etc. are always out making a mess by the door, then build a system by the door.
Hang a coat rack and put a basket by the door for everyone to put their shoes in.
8.) Chores First, Relax Later
This is something I followed when I was working outside the home. I came home and got to work cleaning up and cooking dinner. Then when things were cleaned up I sat done, relaxed and never had to get back up.
If I came home and started to relax, I was putting things off and often never got them done. This is okay occasionally because sometimes you just need a break. But I did find that I got longer breaks if I just came in and got things done before sitting down.
9.) Clean Up Right After Dinner
Dinner isn’t over until the kitchen is cleaned up. Tidy up, get the dishwasher loaded, and surfaces wiped down before you leave the kitchen.
Everyone is there at the table and everyone can help before they leave. Turn on some music and make it a family event, giving everyone a job.
Here is how I do it quickly, in this exact order:
- Put leftover food in containers and into the refrigerator
- Put ingredients back where they go
- Husband and I put all dirty dishes by the sink
- My 3-year-old wipes the table with a wet dishcloth
- Rinse all dishes and put them in the dishwasher
- Wipe down stovetop, countertops, and table
It all goes pretty quickly and then I’m done for the night.
Wiping things down and rinsing dishes right away keeps you from wasting time scrubbing stuck-on food later.
10.) Run the Dishwasher Every Night
Run the dishwasher every night, even if it’s only half full.
Then unload it in the morning.
This will make more of an impact than you know.
It leaves the kitchen clean before bedtime and makes the kitchen a more peaceful place in the morning.
Then the whole next day you can easily put dishes in the sink as they get dirty. Plus, cleaning up after dinner is so much easier with a dishwasher that isn’t already full.
If you need to start a new habit and don’t know where to start… this is where I suggest starting.