If you lead a busy lifestyle, you know the drill. You start off the week with a mostly clean and tidy house (depending on how many chores you accomplished over the weekend). By midweek, though, you realise that you haven’t put away your dry-cleaning and haven’t folded your laundry. There’s a growing stack of mail in the hallway, a used gym bag by the door, a pile of fresh laundry on the bed, dirty dishes in the sink (and clean ones in the dishwasher, which didn’t just finish its cycle).

If you don’t consider yourself a “clean” person, it can be easy to feel resigned to the idea that you’re either clean or you’re not. But, fun fact: Cleanliness is not a quality people are born with. Though keeping a house clean might seem borderline magical to some people, it really boils down to serious self-discipline, the desire to stay clean, and a bit of resourcefulness and creativity. Here are the tips that will help you, too, become a “clean” person.

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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 definitely 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 just 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.

Home Improvement Ideas

Deal with dishes

If you wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes, you’re practically setting yourself up for failure. For one thing, you’ll have to do those dishes and pans first thing, which sets you back a crucial five to ten minutes, essential time on a busy morning. Worse, all that food and grease will be caked on, and it will take even more time to get them clean (these products will clean your house, stat). Do yourself a favour and load the dishwasher—and run it if it’s close to full—and wash the pots and pans before going to bed. Just be sure that while you’re tackling your dirty kitchen, you aren’t making one of these cleaning mistakes that are actually making your home dirtier.

Put everything away after use.

This might seem like an obvious tip, but failing to put away your belongings is the main culprit of untidiness. As you move from one room to another, do a quick scan to see if there’s anything that you can take with you. Go out of your way to make sure that anything you wear, use or move ends up where it belongs. It’s easy to leave a pair of shoes near the front door, a few shirts on your bed and some dishes in the sink until tomorrow. Remember, those tiny piles can quickly turn into big messes.

If you lack space, consider some DIY closet organisation ideas like tension rods and shower curtain hooks. Use over-the-door organisers to extend existing spaces in your bedrooms, bathrooms and hall closets. Corral your smaller belongings with decorative baskets and organise your paper items with a mail sorter. And remember: it takes much less time to put away your belongings each time than to frantically run around looking for them when you need them again!

Prioritise.

Not all cleaning is created equal. Make a list of what you would like to get done and then prioritise 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.

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Spend a set amount of time cleaning each day.  

Aside from Tuesday, my main cleaning day, I spend about 45-60 minutes each day on housework. This might be too much for some people and too little for others. For me, I’ve found that I need to spend about an hour cleaning every day to stay on top of things. Each day the time I clean is different depending on what we have going on, but at some point, I always take some time to move through our main rooms and pick up quickly. Then if I have extra time I work on scrubbing something that needs it (like our fridge or a bathroom), or I work on decluttering/organising spaces throughout the house. By doing this daily, our house never gets too out of control and overwhelming.

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 just 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.

I rarely go to bed with a messy kitchen. Regardless of how crazy my day has been or how late I’m up, I almost always make sure our kitchen is totally clean before I go to bed (I usually clean it one final time before I sit down to blog at night). I put everything away, scrub my sinks, vacuum and spot mop my wood floors. This isn’t always easy. Because of constant snacks and meals, sometimes I feel like I clean our kitchen 10 times a day! But nothing beats waking up to a clean kitchen. It just starts my day off right! So regardless of how tired I am, I try to make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed.

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.

One room at a time and don’t lose focus.  

It’s so easy for me to get sidetracked when I’m cleaning! I’ve found that I get more accomplished if I focus on one room at a time and keep working until it’s done. If I pick up something from the kitchen that belongs in the office and then when I get there I start tidying up my office, before long I’m all over the place starting everything and not finishing anything. By focusing on one room at a time, I always get at least a few spaces completely 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.

While I’m doing my daily clean-up, I’m constantly getting rid of things. I think this is the number one secret to keeping your home clean and organised! Less stuff in your house means less stuff you have to manage. While I’m cleaning if I come across clothes we aren’t wearing, kitchen supplies I don’t cook with, toys my kids have outgrown, outdated decor. I toss it in a goodwill bag in the garage and don’t look back! Aside from a few sentimental items, I seriously have NO problem getting rid of things. I always have a few black sacks in my garage that are ongoing “take to goodwill bags.” Often friends will say to me “I need you to come and organise my house!” I always tell them they’d actually hate that because I would make them toss 80% of what they own.

Declutter.

This one may need to be implemented over a longer period of time, but taking the time to declutter and organise 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. 

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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.

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 really 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 really 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!

Get the Whole Family Involved.

This is one that I have really tried to work on lately. Yes, it is often actually easier to just 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.

How to Keep a House Clean Weekly

Never underestimate the power of a weekly cleaning! No matter how successful you are with the small daily tasks, you’ll still have a few 20-minute tasks to complete once a week.

While a weekly cleaning schedule isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s an easy way to carve out one room at a time. As long as you follow a routine that permits you to focus on one major section of your home each day, you’ll never feel overwhelmed. Cleaning your home will practically take care of itself!

Example weekly cleaning schedule:

  • Monday: Laundry and dusting
  • Tuesday: Bathrooms and vacuuming
  • Wednesday: Living room and mopping
  • Thursday: Bedrooms
  • Friday: Kitchen
  • Saturday: Organisational and miscellaneous tasks

Aside from consistent daily and weekly cleanings, it would help if you also kept monthly and quarterly cleanings in mind. This could include mattresses, lint lines, air filters, blinds and more. By starting with your smaller tasks, you can fill in the gaps with these larger, less frequent tasks.

Think you’ve mastered how to keep a house clean?

Figuring out how to keep a house clean may seem like one of life’s many mysteries. With a little time and effort, you can easily create great cleaning habits to keep your nest tidy year-round.

How do you keep your house clean? What are some of your most useful tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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