Most people want to keep a clean home. However, with the hectic pace of life, keeping things tidy can be a challenge. Maintaining the cleanliness of your home doesn’t have to require hiring a cleaning crew. It also doesn’t take up your entire weekend. We’ve got some daily, every other day and weekly tips to help you keep each room of your home neat and clean.
- Store shoes out of sight: There’s nothing that clutters an entryway more effectively than a pile of shoes next to the front door. One solution is to put a bench next to your front door. Place two or three storage baskets under the bench and store the shoes you wear most in those baskets. They’ll stay out of sight but still be accessible.
- Pitch junk mail immediately: Many times, the entryway is the home for a pile of flyers and circular ads from the mail. When you collect the day’s mail, pull out the obvious junk first and put it in your outside trash can. Don’t even bring it in the house.
- Install a key hanger: It can be something as simple as hammering a single nail next to your door. Make sure there’s a place to hang your keys next to your entrance door so that they aren’t just tossed on the table.
- Buy a coat rack: Most entryways have enough room for a coat rack near the door. If yours does not, hang some coat hooks on the wall. A goal is just a specified place for everyone to hang jackets, hats, backpacks and gym bags so that they don’t end up on the floor.
- Fold throws and blankets: If you have blankets on the couch or chair, that’s OK. Just make sure they are folded when they’re not in use. A wrinkled blanket laying across your sofa makes the entire room look unkempt. A neatly folded blanket laying over the side of the couch looks tidy.
- Fluff the couch pillows: If you have decorative pillows on your couch, fluff them as you tidy your front room.
- Put a basket or tray on your coffee table: A small bin or a tray in the middle of your coffee table is helpful to contain small items. A deck of cards, remote controls and a magazine laying out make your table look messy. Those same items in a basket on top of your table look like they belong.
- Dust regularly: Pianos, televisions, coffee tables, trinkets, and shelves ― all of these items collect dust. Set a reminder on your phone to dust weekly.
- Keep a standing file on your desk: Filing papers horizontally creates piles of documents you can’t find. Rather, use a standing file on your desk for papers you need to deal with this month. Then, file other papers in vertical hanging file folders.
- Get a bookcase and use it: If you struggle with too many stacks, buy a bookcase. Put books on half of the shelves and use the other shelves to store things like your postal scale, printing supplies and other items that are too big to keep on your desk.
- Keep a tray on your desk: A small tray or bin in the corner of your desk is a wonderful home for random clutter. I have a tray with my stapler, a canister for push-pins, a small tube of hand lotion and a hair tie in it. My desk can still look neat and tidy with those useful items close at hand.
Kitchen and Dining Area
- Use placemats to create stations in your kitchen: My husband is a daily coffee drinker. So, in one area of the countertop, I have put a black placemat. That mat holds our electric tea kettle and the French press coffee maker. We prepare the coffee on that mat, and everything coffee-related stays in that station. We often refer to that area as the “coffee station” even though it’s just a portion of our countertop. Similarly, our blender sits atop another mat with all of its attachments and accessories. When I wash each part, it dries on that mat and is ready for the next use. Using placemats to contain necessary items for certain uses helps to keep things in their places and tidy.
- Clear off and wash your countertops every night before bed: Make it a habit to clear off your kitchen counters every night after dinner. Then, use a surface cleaner to wash them down as well. It takes just a few minutes to do this each night.
- Wash dishes after your meals and before bed: Get out of the habit of leaving dirty dishes in the sink. If you use a dishwasher, rinse your dishes after you use them and put them into the dishwasher right after you eat. If you hand-wash your dishes, after each meal, take five minutes to wash the dishes. Your kitchen will stay cleaner and neater if dirty dishes aren’t ever lying around in the sink or on the counters.
When it’s inconvenient to wash after a meal or if you have company, and you’d rather be attentive to them, at least rinse the dishes and stack them in the sink. Then, you won’t have double the work later when sauces and food particles are dried onto the dishes when you get around to washing them.
- Sweep your kitchen floor every night before bed: While you’re doing your other kitchen cleanup and, after you’ve cleared off your counters, do a quick sweep of the kitchen floor. Sweeping up daily crumbs not only makes for a tidier home, but it also makes your kitchen floor less inviting for bugs and critters who might be looking for a late-night snack.
- Clear off the outside of your refrigerator: Years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marla Cilley, the author of “CHAOS to Clean In 31 Easy Baby Steps,” about how to keep a cleaner home. One of the things she told me was so simple. She said that one way to make your kitchen look significantly tidier is to clean off all the magnets, notes and clutter from the outside of the refrigerator. I did it and, instantly, my kitchen looked neater. Now, I put magnets and notes on the side of my refrigerator instead of the front. It makes a big difference.
- Put a couple of bins on top of the refrigerator: The kitchen is an area of the home that tends to collect all sorts of odd items that can clutter up surface areas easily. I like to have some decorative storage bins on the top of my refrigerator to store such things. The goal here is to keep things off the countertops and in the storage bins instead.
- Clear off and wipe down bathroom counters every night: Put toiletries, accessories and styling tools away and clean the countertop in your bathroom before bed.
- Rinse out your sink after you brush your teeth: Make it a habit to rinse out the sink well after brushing. Wipe down the faucet while you’re at it.
- Keep items in containers: Toothbrushes should be in toothbrush holders. Makeup and skin care products should be in a bag or some type of organizer. All other items should be in containers rather than sitting or laying out on the countertop.
- Clean the toilets a few times a week: We know, no one wants that job. However, it has to be done. Use a toilet brush and cleaner to give the commode a good cleaning more than once a week.
- Give your shower or tub a once-over whenever you use it: Buy or make a natural shower spray and take 20 seconds to spray down your shower after you use it. Same with the bathtub.
- Sweep out your bathroom weekly: Sweep all hair and debris out of the bathroom once a week or anytime you notice it.
- Wipe down the washer and dryer regularly: No need to sanitize it, but the laundry appliances do get a little bit of lint buildup if they aren’t regularly wiped down. Keep a package of cleaning wipes or rags in the laundry room for this task.
- Keep a small trash can in the laundry area: Tuck a wastebasket near the washer and dryer to catch dryer lint, trash from pockets and other laundry-related rubbish.
- Use shelves or baskets for each person’s clothing: If you have a good-sized laundry room, consider using a basket for each member of the family. You can hold a person’s clothes and put them directly into his or her basket when they are clean.
- Sweep out the laundry room weekly: If your laundry room isn’t on the main floor, consider keeping an extra broom in the laundry room so that you can sweep out the room weekly with ease.
- Make the bed: Once you get out of the bed, don’t leave the room until you’ve tidied the bed. Even just covering the bed loosely and arranging the pillows will make your room look and feel more put-together.
- When items can be worn again, hang them up: If you only wore a certain sweater for an hour or two, and you’d like to wear it again before washing it, hang it up. Don’t lay it on the exercise bike or drape it over the chair.
- Use your nightstand drawers, rather than the top of the nightstand: Store your little bedside items in the nightstand drawers to reduce clutter on the top of your nightstand. Books, lip balm, headphones, and personal items are still easy to access in the drawers.
- Put your clothes away: Make a habit to bring your clothes into your room and put them away right then. Don’t put clean stacks of clothes on your dresser to put away later.
- Change your sheets and pillowcases once a week: About once a week, you’ll need to change your bedclothes. While the sheets and pillowcases are off your bed, spritz the mattress lightly with a solution of white vinegar, water, and lavender essential oil to eliminate bacteria and odors. Then, make your bed with clean sheets as usual.
General Tips for All Around the Home
- Put things where they belong right after you use them. This habit will save you so much time. Imagine laying your jacket across your kitchen counter when you come home, instead of hanging it in the closet. Then, later, when you go to prepare dinner, you pick up the jacket and move it over to the arm of the sofa. After dinner, you decide to watch television. So, you finally pick up your jacket and hang it in the closet before you enjoy the show.
In the above scenario, you’ve handled the jacket three times instead of hanging it in the closet upon arriving home. Putting items away right after you use them is an excellent habit that will keep your home orderly.
- Employ bins, baskets, and trays. It’s impossible to eliminate clutter entirely. Once you’ve got tables and counters cleared off, there’s inevitably going to be someone who comes by and leaves a deck of cards or a set of keys out. Your solution: a nice looking tray to sit atop your table. When you have a tray or bin out on your counter, it’s easy to quickly grab items that don’t belong and toss them in the tray so that they aren’t strewn about. Some people might refer to this tray or bin as a “catch-all.”
It’s particularly helpful to have a tray or small basket near your television set to hold remote controls and any other media and entertainment gadgets you use regularly.
Similarly, a small bin or basket on your bathroom countertops can hold lotion, toothpaste, and other toiletries so that they aren’t just lying on the vanity. In the kitchen, a small tray is ideal for cellphones, chargers and recipe cards that would otherwise be lying on the counter.
- Store items upright instead of in stacks. Anything that you store horizontally in stacks is likely to end up buried. It will be harder to find items that are stored underneath other things. Rather, if items are stored vertically, in standing file boxes or in vertical files, they are accessed and orderly easily.
- Wear slippers indoors. Tracking dirt into your home on your shoes will not help you keep your floors clean. Remove your shoes at the door and kindly request that your guests do the same.
- Vacuum and mop your floors on a schedule. It’s easy to put off vacuuming because it’s a big job, and you’ve likely got more pressing responsibilities on your list. If you schedule in floor cleaning, you won’t be as likely to forget or put it off until tomorrow. If you have small children, pets or both, vacuum and sweep your home every day or every other day. If you have no pets and low traffic, vacuum or sweep one or two times a week.
Mopping doesn’t normally need to be done as frequently. Once a week should suffice unless you live in a very rainy area or you have lots of indoor or outdoor pets. Schedule mopping in the same way. If you can get by with mopping just once per week, then do it on the same day each week. Setting up a weekly habit will help you stay consistent and always have a nice clean floor.
Commit to Keeping a Cleaner Home
You’ll find that the above tasks are not at all difficult and will save you time if you implement them regularly. It’s exponentially more efficient to complete these small tasks each day and week, rather than neglect them until the mess is unbearable and spend a few solid days shoveling out the home. Follow our cleaning guide to keep your home neat and tidy.