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Nobody strives to have a messy, dirty home, but most of us don’t have all day to devote to cleaning and tidying. You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to. Here’s how to keep your house clean and tidy without having to clean for hours every day.
Just like everybody has a different idea of what beauty is, people have differing opinions of what a clean and tidy house looks like.
I used to think clean and tidy meant my entire home needed to be thoroughly cleaned and spotless with nothing on the counters or tabletops. That meant dusting, vacuuming and mopping every other day until the vacuum lines were perfect and everything was squeaky clean.
It wasn’t unusual for me to spend part of my weekend scrubbing and mopping. I was always cleaning, but it was so tiring and it felt like a never ending hamster wheel with very short lived gratification.
I knew I needed to figure out how to keep a clean and tidy home without constantly cleaning.
Habits to Keep Your House Clean and Tidy
Here’s what I did and I’m certain it can work for you too, below are the 11 habits that help keep your house clean and tidy.
1. Get Everybody On Board
This is the most important because you can’t do it all yourself. You’re already tired of spending all your time tidying and cleaning.
These new habits pertain to everybody in your home and will be much more effective with full participation. Even smaller children can participate by picking up their toys when done playing, and placing their laundry in a basket when changing into pajamas.
Do be patient though. According to University College London, 2009 research by Phillippa Lally and colleagues showed that it takes sixty-six days to form a new habit.
The newly formed habits will be worth the wait.
2. Define Your Priorities
First and foremost, you’ll need to define your priorities. You could also call it changing your perspective. Just decide what’s more important to you.
How clean and tidy does your house really need to be on a daily basis? I changed from ‘spotless’ to ‘ready for company’. I like to keep it clean enough that anybody can stop by and it won’t send me into a stress induced panic.
What about when you have company, is it more important to scrub your floor while everybody’s in the other room playing board games and having a good time, or would you rather give it a quick sweep and go join the fun?
Scrubbing the floor can wait for it’s designated day in your weekly cleaning routine. Instead, give it a quick sweep, wipes small spills with a sponge and called it good.
3. Make Your Bed Every Day
Make your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. It sets the tone for the day and instantly makes your bedroom look cleaner.
You’ll hear me say it over and over again because it really makes a difference. Don’t believe me, I challenge you to try it for a couple weeks.
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. If it takes longer than that, it’s’ time to simplify your bedding. Get rid of the extra pillows and only use the linens you actually sleep with.
My bed’s made with a set of sheets, a down comforter, a coverlet, and a cuddly throw. I tuck the sheets, comforter, and coverlet in at the foot of the bed only. This helps keep them all in place but also allows me to peek my feet out if I get too warm.
Making the bed is literally as easy as fluffing two pillows, pulling the covers up, and arranging the throw. It takes less than five minutes.
4. Tidy As You Go
No matter what it is, as soon as you are finished using something, put it away. If you’re walking through the house and see something out of place, take a minute to tidy it up or move it where it belongs.
Once you establish a habit of tidying as you go, it will become second nature and you won’t even realize you’re doing it.
Think of the bathroom counter when you’re getting ready in the morning. You have your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and makeup all laid out on the counter. As you finish using each item, put it away instead of setting it back down on the counter.
You’ll eliminate an extra step, and won’t have to worry about anything being left out on the counter if your suddenly running late. You can even make this part of your morning routine.
5. Do a Load of Laundry Every Day as Needed
Do one load of laundry every day as needed.
Try placing a laundry basket in each bedroom and each bathroom where baths and showers are taken. Do one load of laundry as each basket fills up. It also helps to fold your laundry in the room closest to where it belongs, that way you’re likely to put it away immediately.
I don’t have a linen closet in my master bathroom, so my bath towels are in an armoire in my bedroom. I always dump my clean towels on the bed, fold them and put them straight in the armoire.
Doing one load each day breaks the dreaded laundry task down into smaller more manageable pieces, especially if you have a big family.
6. Deal With Mail Right Away
The minute you bring your mail into the house, take care of it.
Recycle the junk mail, file the bank statements, and put the bills or things you need to take care of in your to-do bin. Shred any credit offers or mail that has personal information on it.
Unattended mail not only creates clutter on your counter or table top, it’s also one of the main reasons people pay their bill late.
I keep track of my to-do mail in my command center and I have a shredder directly below it so I can do the shredding immediately.
Don’t let mail stack up and cause you stress.
Want some other command center ideas, check out my favorite command center ideas here.
7. Clean As You Go
Clean as you go pertains to anything you’re doing. If you make a mess of any kind, clean it up before it turns into a bigger mess or gets harder to clean.
Meal times can be a real challenge. If you’re anything like me, it’s impossible to make a meal without making some kind of mess.
When chopping vegetables, I can’t seem to keep them all on the counter. As soon as I finish chopping, I pick up any random bits that jumped on the floor.
Clean up an dropped food right away, and wipe up any spills as they happen. Freshly dribbled egg white is a lot easier and quicker to wipe up than dried on egg whites that require scraping and scrubbing.
Cleaning the mess immediately will save you time, frustration, and elbow grease.
8. Take Care of Dishes When You Finish Eating
You can clean some dishes while your still cooking, but do the rest as soon as you’re done eating.
Whether you just rinse them off and place them in the dishwasher or hand wash, dry, and put then away, they’ll be much easier to clean before the food all dries and gets crusty.
Dirty dishes piled on the counters and in the sink make your kitchen look messy, and can get stinky very quickly.
9. Keep Cleaning Kits in Several Rooms
Keep a kit of cleaning supplies in or near each room. At the very least, keep one in each bathroom and and one in the kitchen.
If you don’t have enough space to store all of the supplies, at least have the basics handy. My kits consist of disinfectant wipes for spills and grime, a bamboo sponge and magic eraser for tough spots, and a couple microfiber cloths and glass cleaner for smooth surfaces.
These kits make it easy to clean up small messes as they occur, and other family members might surprise you buy cleaning up their own messes because it’s so convenient.
10. Automate Floor Cleaning
Let me say that again, automate your floor cleaning. Dirty floors can make your entire home look dirty no matter how clean the rest of it is.
Buy a robot vacuum! I did and it’s hands down the best thing I could have done. It was one of the easiest things and made the biggest impact in keeping my home clean and tidy.
I set the vacuum to run daily while we’re at work, then I empty the dirt collector when I get home so it’s ready to go for the next day. The entire house is vacuumed daily and it took less than five minutes of my time.
11. Tidy Up Before Bed
Have a quick ten minute tidying session before everybody goes to bed. Make one pass through the entire house and tidy up any out of place items. You’ll be able to go to bed with a clear mind knowing your house is clean and tidy.
Keeping Your House Clean and Tidy
Stop being a slave to cleaning your home. Get everybody on board with establishing some new tidying habits so everybody can help with keeping it all up.
Define your priorities of how clean your home needs to be and how often you need to do each task so each person knows what needs to be done.
Make your bed and do at least one load of laundry every day to keep it from becoming a gigantic, day long task. Deal with mail right away and clean dishes as soon as your done eating.
Keep basic cleaning kits in your bathrooms and kitchen for quick clean ups, and automate your vacuuming. I promise you won’t regret it.
Practice tidying and cleaning as you go, and doing a quick, whole house tidy up before you go to bed. Each of these should only take five to ten minutes and are how you can keep your home clean and tidy.