Want a cleaner house? Implement these eight habits, and see the results!
Keeping a clean house takes work, but often not as much work as people think. A clean house is more a matter of establishing a few habits that you repeat on a regular basis. The more often you repeat the tasks, the cleaner your house will be ongoing. Growing up, I was raised to clean the house on a weekly basis. This meant that every week, we dusted, vacuumed, and cleaned the bathrooms. As I’ve gotten older, my husband and I have incorporated smaller cleaning habits into our daily routines that we do instead of one big cleaning a week. I’m going to share those, and a few additional habits, with you to help you keep your home consistently clean.
1.) Make Your Bed
Studies have shown that establishing a habit of making your bed each morning leads to habits of being more productive during the day. It’s one of those habits that starts our mornings right, and inspires us to do more. Think about it: if you make your bed in the morning, you’ll probably notice that pile of laundry on the bedroom floor and be more motivated to move it to the hamper. That may lead you to noticing how much dirty laundry there is in the hamper and make you want to start a load. The chain goes on and on, and it all starts with a simple act of making the bed.
I’ll be honest, when we make our bed each morning, it’s less military, and more rushed tossing the covers up. But you know what? It still works. Simply seeing the bed straightened up leads us into the next task of the day.
2.) Keep Your Counters Clean
This is a big one in our home. Clutter quickly accumulates on counters, and the more clutter, the less likely the counter is actually going to get cleaned. It is so tempting after a long day to just leave a bunch of dirty dishes on the counter, but the quicker we can get them washed (or at least loaded into the dishwasher), the cleaner our kitchen stays. Just one night of being lazy and leaving out dirty dishes can lead into a week of having a dirty kitchen.
One strategy I use in both the kitchen and bathrooms is keeping a basket of small towels next to the sink. In my episode, How to Keep Your Bathroom Clean Without Cleaning, I talk specifically about how I use this tactic to never have to scrub my bathroom. Check that one out for some more details on other bathroom specific tips.
3.) Set a Timer
Cleaning can seem like a daunting task, especially when you get behind. To make sure that you are always on top of things around the house, the best tool I can recommend is a timer. Whether you use the one on your microwave, or you buy a cute one specifically for this job, a timer can help you create a habit of doing 10 minutes of cleaning a day. First, pick a time that you can consistently invest 10 minutes into tidying and cleaning your home. Depending on what goes on at your home, you may choose first thing in the morning, after the kids go to school, during nap time, after dinner, or before bed. Whatever time you choose, pick the time that you are most likely going to be able to take 10 minutes to clean.
Then, when that time comes each day, grab your timer, set it for 10 minutes, and clean until the timer beeps. Just make sure you stop when the timer says stop. That way, you can adjust your habits to work hard until the timer tells you to stop. If you’re going to only do ten minutes of work, that’s OK. Ten minutes of fast-paced cleaning is better than 30 minutes of lackadaisical wandering around the house. If you are extra motivated, or have extra time one day, and want to set the timer for 30 or 45 minutes, go for it, just allow yourself to stop when the timer says stop.
You can also use this tactic with others in your family. If you are the only one cleaning, you can getten minutes of cleaning done per day. If you have a spouse and two kids, you can get 40 minutes of cleaning done per day, which can make quite an impact! Reward yourself with something fun afterwards, like family game night, or a scoop of ice cream, and you’ll be amazed at how clean your home can stay!
4.) Start Small
Whenever I start cleaning, I usually start with the easiest stuff, or the stuff I like to do, first. Some may call it cheating to start with the easy stuff first, but I find that it gets me into a mood to do a little more. If I put away the dishes from the dishwasher, I’m more likely to grab a soapy rag and wipe down the greasy stovetop that I had to keep looking at. If I’m emptying the trash in the rooms, I can pick one room to go back to and dust. By starting small, and knocking one task off the list immediately, I’m able to feel a sense of accomplishment that leads me in to at least one less desirable task.
5.) Create a Schedule for Big Stuff
Let’s face it: there are some tasks around the house that you can look at every day, and never choose to do them in your ten minute time. For those tasks, we’ve found it’s best to assign a schedule to make sure they get done. Mondays are the day we swish the water around in the toilets (because that’s all it typically takes if you do it once a week), Saturdays we vacuum all the dog hair from the carpets, and twice a month we vacuum the dog hair from the sides of the furniture. All of these tasks could take less than ten minutes if we broke them down, but neither my husband nor I like to do them, so we have to create a schedule. Do this with the tasks in your home that no one likes to do. Then, for added incentive, do them as a couple or family to knock them out quicker.
6.) Clean as You Go
My husband makes fun of me when I cook because I have an amazing ability to destroy a kitchen with one meal. He has been encouraging me for years to clean the kitchen as I cook. Personally, I think this is because we have a strict, “Whoever doesn’t cook, does the cleaning,” rule and my cleaning as I go would get him out of cleaning later, but his request does have some validity. On the days when the dishwasher is already empty, I can easily load the dishes straight in. Then, we are able to run the dishwasher after dinner and the kitchen is consistently clean. This is, of course, dependent on the dishwasher being empty when I start cooking, but that’s an easy problem to solve by committing a few minutes before cooking to emptying the dishwasher. By identifying a few key habits, like unloading the dishwasher, you too can easily implement a few habits to make sure you are cleaning as you go instead of creating large messes around your home.
7.) Look for Easy Ways to Clean
I am a huge fan of making work as simple as possible. Why make things harder than they have to be? There are so many products on the market that make cleaning quick and easy, it can almost feel like you’re cheating with your housework. I’m a big fan of Swiffer dusters, which I use to quickly dust all my surfaces while simply walking around my home. I also like microfiber floor dusters, which I can easily push around the hard floors in my home and collect all the dust and dog hair. By looking for the easiest way to clean a surface, you can save time and energy, and at least create the illusion of clean around your home.
8.) Assign a Basket to Each Family Member
If you have multiple people living in your home, there’s a good chance that you can walk into any room and see items that each person has left in the room. To make tidying easier, assign a basket to each person. Then, during each person’s 10 minutes of cleaning, have them walk through each room with their basket and collect the items that belong to them. Clutter is often the biggest challenge in keeping a house clean, so if returning items to their owner’s rooms is the only thing that gets done during the 10 minutes of cleaning, it will still make a huge impact in how clean the house looks.
Just like having success in any part of your life, keeping a clean and maintained home comes down to the habits you do every day. When cleaning is done on a regular basis, through these small habits, your home will consistently be in great condition. If you are ready to have a home that you are consistently proud of, start implementing a few of these habits and see the change you can create in a small amount of time each day.
Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.