I’m kind of a stickler about my home being clean. We live pretty formally and guests can come and go unexpectedly, but honestly I keep it clean mostly for myself. Clutter and mess make me anxious and I have a hard time enjoying my downtime if things aren’t tidy. So for my mental health, I like to keep a pretty clean home. My home is big — like, stupid big — so this isn’t an easy task, especially when I had four kids at home. I’ve picked up some habits along the way that really help, and I’m going to share them with you today!
Clean as you go
This seems like common sense but I can tell you from years of observation that it’s not. In my house, this rule applies especially to cooking and getting ready for my day. While I cook, I clean up after myself so I’m not faced with a huge mess when I’m done. I also prep my ingredients and clean that mess up before I even start cooking, so everything flows better. When I get ready for my day, I clean up as I go — hanging clothes back on hangers, putting away the makeup I’ve taken out, putting the hair dryer back with the cord wrapped, etc. I make sure to budget extra time for this so I don’t come home to a messy closet and bathroom counter.
Don’t put it down, put it away
This mantra is often repeated out loud in my house. If I have something in my arms, I put it away instead of setting it down. This could be the mail, the dog’s leashes, the little empty packet of sweetener for my coffee. If you can set it down, you might as well put it where it goes.
If you don’t live alone, don’t clean alone
If there are other able-bodied humans in your home, they should be participating. Yes, the division of labor sadly will probably not be equal (I can dream, though) but everyone should be doing their part. Kids as young as 2 or 3 can pick up their toys and often love to help. Older kids can take out the trash, be taught how to do their laundry and load the dishwasher, etc. Husbands aren’t off the hook — mine loves to drop his dirty laundry right NEXT to the basket. What even is that?
Break your home into zones
This one is KEY for me because of the size of my house but could be just as key for you if you’re busy and can’t do it all everyday. Break your house into zones that make sense. I do “wet rooms” on one particular day (laundry, bathrooms, kitchen) and bedrooms one day, living areas another, etc. Try to make it a common sense thing, example: I empty all the trash in the house the day before trash pickup. That way I don’t forget either task. And I clean out the fridges, making my list as I go, on the day I grocery shop so I’m restocking fresh, clean fridge shelves. If you keep up with the schedule, nothing will ever get too messy.
Keep things closest to where you use them
I like to keep a toilet brush behind every toilet, so there’s no need to carry one around as you clean (gross). I also like to keep the cleaners I use under the sinks in the room I need them. Buy duplicates so you can quickly grab what you need right where you are. Stock extra paper products in each bathroom along with extra towels, keep the hangers in the laundry room if that makes sense to you. Make life easier on yourself! I also have two vacuums — one upstairs and one downstairs.
If you have a two story home, invest in some stair baskets. As I find things around the house that belong upstairs, I set them into these baskets. The rule in our home is you don’t go up the steps without taking the basket with you and putting the items away. Teach the kids this too, as it’ll most likely be their stuff that needs to be carried up to their rooms.
Invest in the right tool for the job
Great quality cleaning tools and products just make things go faster and make your life easier. A one-time investment can save you so much time — like a good-quality vacuum, telescoping dusters, a multi-function mop and vacuum tool — whatever makes the most sense for your finishes and type of home. My dog hair lint brushes save my life as does my Bona mop.
Make a schedule
Just like breaking your home into zones, you need to make a cleaning calendar. Some things need to be done daily — dishes, kitchen counters/cooktops, possibly laundry. Some are weekly, monthly or even quarterly like windows inside and out. Making a calendar ensures nothing ever gets forgotten which can lead to hiring expensive professionals later. Add things like gutter cleaning, air conditioner filter replacement, smoke detector battery replacement — make it comprehensive.
When you’re cleaning a room deeply or thoroughly, start at one corner (I like a window or door for an easy marking spot) and at the ceiling. Work your way around the room in a circle, top to bottom. Because…gravity. Carry your tools in a little cleaning caddy so you don’t need to stop to go get anything. Blast your favorite music (80’s jams for me) and be methodical. Wipe down every surface, starting at the top all the way to the floors last. Keep an eye out for anything needing repair or regular maintenance and add it to your schedule.
Are there any habits you think help keep your home clean? Please share them with us in the comments below!
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