House Looking New

How do you keep your house looking new?

Between work, errands, parenthood and the chaos of everyday life, learning how to keep a house clean can be one of the toughest lessons we learn. While it sometimes seems impossible to manage everything on your plate, there are some quick and easy tips to help you get your house (and your life) in order. Read on for everything you need to know about how to keep a house clean.

Keeping up with the daily housekeeping can be a drag, but it doesn’t have to take up all your time.  I feel that keeping a clean home is less about the time involved, and more about creating some good habits that you {eventually!} start to follow instinctively.  Yes, there are still times that things get crazy and I’m not able to always follow through with the daily cleaning, but, for the most part, I do try to follow these habits to keep a house clean and tidy.  I promise – the more you do them, the easier it gets! If the list seems overwhelming to start with, pick one or two to get started and then add in more as you are able.

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Daily Habits to Keep a House Clean and Tidy

House Looking New

Start by Making the Bed.

I know some people think that making the bed is a waste of time, but it makes a big difference in how tidy the room looks and only takes a couple of minutes.  Plus, I think it starts off the day well, and I love climbing into a made bed at the end of the day.  To make things easier, simplify your bedding as much as possible.  We ended up cutting out our top sheets {as they always just ended up in a big puddle at the end of the bed anyways} and use a duvet and washable cover.  If you love your top sheets though, you can look at minimizing the number of pillows on your bed or using a large enough comforter or duvet that you don’t need to tuck in your sheets.

Do One Load of Laundry Per Day.

Now, depending on how many loads you typically do per week, you may not need to do this every day, but, for us, we go through at least seven loads of laundry per week.  Try to get in the habit of putting in one load of laundry first thing in the morning.  If you work outside of the home and won’t have a chance to dry it before your leave, put your machine on delay {if you have this as a feature} so it will be ready to put in the dryer when you get home. Alternatively, put the load in the machine in the morning and turn it on when you get home.  Make sure you save some time somewhere in your day to complete the load – including putting it away.

Be Happy with “Clean Enough”.

As a perfectionist, this is probably the hardest one for me.  You want your house to be relatively clean and tidy, but that doesn’t mean that every little thing has to be perfect.  I always {try!} to follow the 80/20 rule – meaning that I am happy with 80% of the cleaning being done.  Getting caught up in all of the little details that make up the last 20% {like making sure every little speck is cleaned up off the floor or getting to all of those little out of the way and hard to reach places to dust} are huge time suckers and are probably details that no one would notice.  I’m not saying that they never need to be cleaned, but make them part of a deep cleaning routine rather than your regular weekly cleaning schedule.

Prioritize.

Not all cleaning is created equal.  Make a list of what you would like to get done and then prioritize what needs to be done and what can wait until the next day or two.   Given the time that you have available, write down your top 2 or 3 {realistic!} cleaning goals and stick with these before attempting to do other things.  I always used to hate writing out lists, but I find that it helps me to stay focused.

Get the Whole Family Involved.

This is one that I have tried to work on lately.  Yes, it is often actually easier to do the job yourself, but spending the time to teach your children to do age-appropriate jobs will be better in the long run for both of you.  Start by just working on having your kids pick up after themselves – putting their coat and shoes away when they come in the house, putting dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning their room, etc. – and add in other chores as able.  It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make in the overall tidiness of the house if just these simple things are done.  For the first few weeks that you do this, you will likely need to be on your kids a lot, but over time this will start to be a habit for them as well, and it should eventually be able to be done with minimal reminders.

Do a 15 Minute Nightly Clean-up.

Make it a routine to do a family 15-minute nightly clean-up.  For some reason, it doesn’t seem quite so bad to clean up when everyone else is doing the same thing.  Put on the timer and stick with the top cleaning priorities.  Kids can clean their rooms or do other small household chores while you finish up the kitchen cleaning or fold and put away laundry.  Start with the things that are making the biggest mess or creating a lot of clutter or any “must-dos” that need to be done before bed.  I always run my bObi robotic vacuum during this time – usually in our high traffic areas.

Keep Basic Cleaning Supplies Close to Where You Use Them.

I have all of our bathrooms stocked with basic cleaning supplies – microfiber cloths and a polishing cloth, and a toilet scrubs brush and a spray bottle with water and vinegar {or a multi-purpose cleaner of your choice}.  This makes it so much quicker and easier to give the toilet a quick swipe or wipe the gross toothpaste spit from the mirror instead of having to track down cleaning supplies.  Try to do these simple tasks as you see the need – most of them take only a minute or two – and it will reduce how often you need to do a top to bottom deep clean.

Never Leave an Empty Room Handed.

This is one habit that can make a huge difference in the general tidiness of your home.  As you move from one room to another {or from one floor to another}, try to do a quick scan to see if there is anything that you can take with you that belongs where you are going.  Take only what you will have time to put away – moving a pile from one room to another without actually putting anything away doesn’t help you out much.  It can be a couple of dirty dishes that you put in the dishwasher or some laundry that needs to be put away upstairs.   Always keep in mind the “one-touch rule”, meaning that you ideally only want to touch items one time before they are put away.  Every time you touch an object to move it from one place to another, you are using up precious time, and energy so makes that little extra effort to put it directly away.  Again, I think it is more about habit than not having the time.

Declutter.

This one may need to be implemented over a longer period of time, but taking the time to declutter and organize your home will drastically cut down on the amount of time needed to clean.  Having a spot for everything {that is both easily accessible and easy to put away} makes it so much easier to tidy up – for both you and the rest of your family. Fewer items out on the counters and surface tops cut down on dusting and make cleaning a lot quicker.  If you are unsure of where to start, try my 6 Week Decluttering Challenge or read this post on how to keep the clutter out.

Know Your High Traffic Areas.

If you focus on keeping the high traffic areas clean on a daily basis, you can help to prevent the spread of dirt and dust throughout the rest of the house.  Make sure you have a dedicated spot for shoes at the entrances to your house to remind everyone to take off their shoes and to keep all of the shoe dirt contained in one spot.  Small area rugs at doors can also help to trap a lot of the incoming dirt.  For furry friends that come in and out, have an old towel by the door to quickly wipe down paws as they come in {you can see other ideas for keeping your house clean with pets here}.  Try to sweep or vacuum these areas daily.  It doesn’t need to be much – just a quick 5 minutes or so should do it.

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Clean as You Go.

This one may seem obvious, but I think it’s something that we often don’t do.  Putting things away as you go doesn’t take up much time, but it will make the difference between a tidy house and a messy house at the end of the day.  Take your clothes off by your closet and either hang them back up or put them directly in the laundry.  Load the dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of just placing them on the counter.  Put your shoes and coat away as you come in the door.  Have all the family help out cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, so you are not stuck with a messy kitchen when it’s time to go to bed. All of these little things are just habits that can be created with a little planning.  There will be times when this is not possible, but do it when you can, and you will save yourself a ton of cleaning up in the end!

Do one room at a time.

The easiest way to keep your entire house clean is to tackle one room at a time. By splitting up the cleaning by room (and by day), you can accomplish a little bit at a time instead of tackling every task at once.

Here’s how to keep a house clean by focusing on one room at a time:

Bathroom

How to keep a house clean: beautiful clean bathroom Source: Callum Mundine, LED World

From toothpaste dribbles and mirror stains to wet floors and shower grime, the bathroom will endure a variety of messes throughout the week. Because we constantly use it each day, it’s easiest to clean up after yourself instead of waiting a few weeks later for a bigger mess.

  • Areas to focus on for a clean bathroom:
  • Clean the sink
  • Scrub the shower, tub and toilet
  • Remove mirror spots
  • Mop the floors (don’t forget those corners)

Looking for a natural, easy-to-make cleaner for your home? DIY cleaners are a cost-effective way to keep your house clean.

Try this simple DIY cleaner recipe:

  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 2 tsp. dishwashing liquid
  • 3 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil

After you use the sink or step out of the shower, take your natural cleaner and spray down the surface. Run the water again to wash all the cleaner off. Voilà—you’ve prolonged your time until you have to do a deep clean in your shower! The essential oil will also keep the room smelling fresh for several days. For best results, ask everyone in your household to make this a habit.

Bedroom

The key to keeping bedrooms clean is all about storage. If you have proper places for all of your clothes and accessories, you’re more likely to keep your personal space clean.

If you’ve noticed that you don’t seem to have enough space, invest in storage containers or baskets that can fit under your bed. Having a complete change of linens under your bed also makes it easier to change them while your other set is being washed. Picking the right nightstand helps to keep your room more organized as well. Store your journals, books and magazines in the drawers. If it’s large enough, it can double as a work desk.

To keep your bedroom clean, make a habit of these steps:

  • Make your bed
  • Fold blankets and throws.
  • Put away clutter in appropriate locations.
  • Dust desks, nightstands and shelves
  • Vacuum floor and area rugs

Kitchen

Dishes tend to be the culprit in a messy kitchen. Have family members who like to let dishes “soak?” Prepare one side of your sink with water and few drops of dish detergent. Throughout the day, add dishes to the soapy side, and it will lift most of the grease and food off of the dishes. By the time you wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher, they’ll be clean.

The kitchen is a great place to apply the 20-minutes-per-day rule. Spend a few extra minutes cleaning your kitchen after each meal, and you’ll never have to deal with a huge mess in one of the most important rooms in your home.

Focus on these areas when it comes to cleaning your kitchen:

  • Put away dishes—always have an empty sink!
  • Clean countertops
  • Organize your pantry and refrigerator
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Use steel cleaner for appliances.

Living Room

The living room receives some of the most traffic in the house. If you’re not careful, it can easily become littered with an assortment of everyday items. Make sure you place your items where they belong so your living room can leave a great first impression on your family and friends.

Simple steps to regularly take for a clean living room:

  • Clear the room of any clutter (toys, games, books)
  • Fluff pillows and fold blankets/throws
  • Dust mantel, coffee tables and end tables
  • Vacuum floors and couches (especially if you have pets!)

Storage solutions like these will keep this area of your house clean:

Shoe rack. If your living room is carpeted, the constant foot traffic can wear your carpet down significantly. Make sure you have a place for your family and guests to store their shoes before they tromp dirt and grass through your clean home.

Hidden storage. If you don’t have a home for items like toys, books and games, vertical shelving can help display your things in an organized way. Storage ottomans are also perfect for minimizing clutter and storing things out of sight.

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How To Think Like a Server

  • Pay attention to your surroundings. This always means visually scanning a room before you leave it.
  • Think strategically about your movements. Where are you going and what other rooms are in that direction? What can you accomplish on the way there?
  • Don’t go anywhere just to “put something away.” Instead, develop the habit of grabbing stray objects whenever you are journeying around your house for more direct purposes.
  • Find key spots in your house to gather objects that need to be put away. For example, you might have an area near your staircase where you toss things that go upstairs. That way, the next time you happen to be going up the stairs, you can quickly grab whatever has accumulated.
  • Learn to pause before immediately acquiescing to your child or spouse’s requests. Is there anything they could do for you? Now’s the time to ask.

These are easy habits to implement that have a big impact on my happiness with my own living space. It’s a natural way to keep things tidier on an ongoing basis.

Whether you decide to clean it all one day a week, or one room a day, following a consistent schedule is one of the most important secrets to keeping a clean house. So, don’t wait for your home to look messy before you do chores. Clean your house on schedule to keep messes away. 

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