How to Keep a Clean House

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The secret to keeping a clean house is doing these simple tasks daily, so messes and clutter never get out of control.

Modern, clean living room

10 Tips to Keep a Clean House

If you’re tired of spending Saturdays cleaning, only to find on Monday that your home looks like you did nothing, here’s help. From what you should tidy first thing in the morning to a 2-minute task to do before bed, these tips to keep a clean house will have your place looking tidy all week.

1. Make Your Bed

As the most visible surface in the bedroom, an unmade bed makes the whole room look messy. If tucking in sheets isn’t your thing, switch to a duvet with a removable cover that you can launder each week — you have to pull it up and, boom, your bed’s tidy. Need more of an incentive? Find out how making your bed can change your life.

2. Empty the Dishwasher Every Morning

Emptying the dishwasher makes keeping a clean house easier because dirty dishes won’t have to sit in the sink or on your counters. If you’ve ever timed yourself doing this, you know it only takes 5 minutes. Do it while the coffee brews, or while you wait for the kids to get ready for school.

3. Clean Up Every Time You Cook

Dirty countertops attract household pests and make your kitchen look awful. Since you already emptied your dishwasher, you can quickly load dishes after meals or snacks and then wipe your counters. This task doesn’t involve moving everything. Put any food away, then spray and clean around the rest.

4. Do a Load of Laundry Daily

A daily laundry habit is life-changing. Pop a load in before heading to work. Or, if your washing machine has a delayed start cycle, set it to run right before you get home. Transfer damp clothes to the dryer after dinner, then fold them while during commercial breaks on TV. Putting away one load of laundry takes almost no time. Do it on your way to bed. Can’t decide what to wash? Use a laundry sorting hamper and grab the one that has the most clothes. (Here’s the one I use.*)

5. Wipe Sinks and Faucets

Toothpaste splatters and hairs in the bathroom sink look nasty. Keep a container of disinfecting wipes under your sink, so they’re handy. Wipe the sink basin and faucet after you’re done getting ready for the day. Hate the thought of spending money using so many wipes? Here’s how to make your own how to make disinfecting wipes with an old t-shirt or paper towels.

6. Sort and Recycle Paper ASAP

Mail, bills, store flyers, catalogs, and school papers arrive constantly. Setting them aside leads to a pile taking over the dining table or kitchen counter. Then we look at that stack and feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, so it continues to grow. Deal with the mail daily when you bring it into your house. Having a shredder in the kitchen or somewhere equally accessible makes handling junk mail simple. Put bills in a sorter where you can grab them on payday, and toss the flyers into your recycle bin. Job done.

7. Use Doormats

The less soil tracked indoors, the less often you’ll need to clean your floor. Keep it out of your home with doormats at each exterior door. Vacuum or shake them outside every few days. Additional mats outside the door leading from your garage will trap even more debris.

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8. Take Your Mess With You

Don’t leave yourself extra work to do with the next day. After an evening of Netflix and snacks, straighten the throw blankets on the sofa. Take your popcorn bowl and empty glass to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher, not the sink. Have family members do the same with their things. Two minutes spent resetting your family room gets it ready for you to enjoy the next day.

9. Have a Kitchen Shutdown Routine

Straightening up the kitchen at the end of the day leads to a more pleasant start the following day. Set up your coffee maker, put away food and clutter on the counters, and take out the kitchen trash. Doing these things helps prevent household pests, too. Need a reminder? Print this Nightly Kitchen Routine and hang it on your fridge.

10. Keep a House Cleaning Schedule

Imagine how hard it is to clean up a spilled cup of coffee on the kitchen floor if you’ve let it sit there all night. Mopping it up right away, on the other hand, only a few seconds. The same thing goes for the rest of your house. Whether you decide to clean it all one day a week, or one room a day, following a consistent schedule is one of the most important secrets to keeping a clean house. So, don’t wait for your home to look messy before you do chores.

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  1. It seems like the common theme throughout these tips is to not procrastinate cleanup. That’s something that is so hard for me to avoid! I get home from work and am tired, but still have to make dinner and get my baby in bed. At that point, I’m usually just ready to sit down with a good book and relax. I guess I need to make some changes in my routine, though, so that I can keep a cleaner house. I’m liking the idea of hiring someone to take care of it for me, though!

    1. Yes, that’s the common theme with most housework, it seems. But if you make a point of taking just 10 minutes first thing in the morning and again before bed it can make a dramatic difference in your home.

    2. I use to be the same (still often am when work gets crazy). I have found incorporating 2-5min cleaning into existing tasks is the only way I manage. For example: the first thing I have always done every morning is open the blinds & turn on news- now I open dishwasher as soon as I get up so by the time I unload while waiting for coffee to boil some is already dry enough to go straight away. The rest gets stacked on rack to put away in evening when I’m starting the new load (which is already in there from cleaning as I cook dinner).
      Getting a cleaner once a fortnight or month just to do main “big” clean is also great to make the daily stuff manageable. I can’t justify the cost now I’m mostly working from home though.

  2. My mother and grandmother are excellent at housekeeping. They taught me much of the points you outline above. I just purchased a kitchen sweeper recently also. Grandma always has this handy and uses it after each meal. The one thing that they taught me that has made the biggest difference is making your bed every morning. It starts your day off on the right foot and makes the room instantly look tidy. Thanks mom and grandma, turns out your tips are ageless…

  3. Those are great tips! Especially if you have kids. Kids do as they see and will mirror what their parents do. Great habits to get into. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lol. I have been doing dishes since my arms could stretch over the kitchen sink and, after 50+ years consider myself pretty good at it. Our mother taught us many of the same points. Doing the dinner dishes was not complete without wiping down the counters and sink, taking out the trash, and sweeping the floor. The kitchen was spotless and closed for the evening.

    2. That’s wonderful, Sally. Many people did not grow up with mothers who taught them such habits, and I think people our age often forget that. 🙂

  4. I own a cleaning company, so you would think that my home is spotless all the time. But its funny how my skills always seem to lack and come up short in my own home! Come home from the day and all of a sudden, my house is just as messy as the one’s I just cleaned. These are great tips to post on your fridge, kitchen window, or to set timed alarms on your phone calendar to help remind and create good habits around the house… even if you’re a professional cleaner. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

    1. There’s an old story about the shoe maker’s kids going barefoot because, after a long day of making shoes for other people, he didn’t have the time or energy to make or fix shoes for his own family. Sounds like you’re going through the same thing! I completely understand: sometimes I get so busy working on this blog or writing one of my books that my own house starts falling apart. That’s when I head back to my printable cleaning routines to whip it back into shape.

  5. In my country Dom. Rep. there 4 things people take pride on: to keep the kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedrooms organaized. Is a habit to make your bed the moment you finish brushing your teeth. Go to the kitichen make your coffee and wash the cups. No body leave a messy kitchen over night, it is like a sin. Immediayely look around and head to the bath bathroom and remove any mess. Than after go for the livingroom.. after that the girls plan the meals. Everybody help, especially the girls.

  6. Hey loving the conversation,
    I recently got a puppy 8weeks old, who is still busy potty training, so the floors are very clean at the moment, we have to wash the floors (tiled) about 3-6 times a day – luckily its not a big kitchen, passage and lounge. We hop to clean when puppy messes, but the rest of the house (ouch) The clothes are all put away now because puppy likes to find and chew, so all cords and clothes and kids toys have dissappeared to their rightfull place. But puppy cannot force the dishes to be washed on time -sorry and not to mention the beds.

  7. I like to empty the dishwasher in the morning. It only takes as long as the pot of coffee brews – or less. Also a tip of putting away 5 things before bed nightly has helped. – or straighten 5 things in the Living Room works too.

    1. It really does get the day off to a good start having an empty dishwasher, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    1. Hi David,

      There are 10 tips here. The one that you’ve mentioned absolutely can work for someone living alone, too. Maybe you just need it set out a bit more specifically. For instance, this laundry schedule works well for someone living alone:

      Mondays: Dark clothing
      Tuesdays: Light clothing
      Wednesdays: Sheets
      Thursdays: Socks and underwear
      Fridays: Towels
      Saturdays: Miscellaneous (duvets or comforters, pillows, blankets, curtains, slipcovers, bathroom rugs, etc.)
      Sundays: Relax

      Keep in mind that laundry from a particular category will accumulate all week, resulting in a fairly full load. Also, washers allow the user to set a lower water level for smaller loads, so take advantage of that.

  8. One thing that we have decided in my household is that no matter how bushed we are, we must do one cleaning chore daily. This includes cleaning on the move. For instance, I have found that undressing close to the closet ensures that outfits go to their rightful place. Never leaving a room empty-handed also helps a lot.

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