Get your home under control with these daily habits that help keep your home tidy — then build on them.
For some reason, your house never stays clean. You wonder why you can’t stay on top of things, and whether there’s any point in trying.
I’ll let you in on a secret: people whose homes look clean all the time have daily habits that keep it tidy. They know how to stop messes from spreading. They make a point to “reset” their homes each day. And, they understand how to squeeze in housework rather than trying to make time for it. You can, too
Daily Habits for a Clean and Tidy Home
Make a Habit to Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
Does it seem like every cleaning article or blog talks about the importance of an empty kitchen sink? There’s a reason for that. An empty kitchen sink stops clutter from spreading, along with other bad habits.
Why Is Keeping Your Sink Empty Important?
When your sink is full of dishes, the only place for more dirty dishes is your counter. Then, things you’d put on your counter wind up on your table. You can’t enjoy a nice dinner at a cluttered table, so you wind up eating in front of the TV and feeling guilty. All because the sink was full.
So, treat your kitchen sink as if its only purpose is a space to wash things. Don’t use it to hold stuff. If you have a dishwasher, put dirty tableware and glasses straight into it, not the sink. If you don’t have one, use a dish wand to clean things immediately after use, then dry them.
Once you’re in the habit of keeping the sink empty, make a point to scrub it daily, too. Dirty kitchen sinks smell awful and attract pests. Clean sinks create the impression of a cleaner kitchen and a generally tidy home. (Related: Daily Disinfecting Sink Spray.)
Get in the Habit of Tidying Your House Nightly
Kid’s toys, stuff you pulled out of cupboards, incoming mail — they all make your home look messy if you ignore them. A cluttered home is harder to clean and never looks tidy. But clutter doesn’t put itself away. The longer you let it sit in place, the more blind you become to it. Then you’ll put off cleaning because it’s such a hassle to move everything first. (Related: 9 Bad Cleaning Habits to Break ASAP.)
How to Get Your Family to Help Tidy Up
Here’s an easy way to get your whole family involved in tidying the house. If you have kids, let them push bedtime back by 15 minutes on the condition they use the time to pick up toys. (They’ll enjoy tidying messes when they feel they’re getting away with something.) While the kids take care of their messes, adults can spend those 15 minutes on the most cluttered room. After a few nights when that room’s more under control, focus on a different area. (Related: How to Get Your Family to Help Clean House.)
In time, you’ll have put away most of the long-term clutter. That’s when you start using your nightly routine to purge stuff. Open the junk drawer and toss what you don’t need. Do a nightstand drawer the next evening. It is amazing how much stuff you can clear out in 15 minutes each day.
Keep Your Home Tidy with a Shorter To-Do List
Look around. How many messes could you fix in a couple of minutes? Shoes by the front door. Coffee spills on the counter. Toothpaste splatters in the bathroom sink. None of these belong on your To-Do list. It takes almost as long to write them down as it would to do them. So do them.
Don’t Write it Down — Do it.
Wouldn’t it feel better to have a short To-Do list and a tidier home? You can, if you stop writing down small tasks and adopt the 2-minute rule. If you see a mess that takes only a couple of minutes to clean, do it right then. Don’t give future-you the burden of it. Walking through a room and see dirty dishes? Pick them up. Notice the kitchen trash reeking? Empty it. You’ll soon realize most housework comes down to puttering around and putting things right.
Start paying attention to the time it takes to do other chores and look for ways to break them down. Don’t try to carve out entire days to clean or organize. That’s almost impossible if you have kids. But finding ten minutes daily to do part of a project is simple, even if you have to wait for the kids to go to bed. After ten minutes, stop. Then — and this is important — come back to the project the next day. (Related: 7 Signs Your Are a Tidy Person.)
Keeping your house clean and tidy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Much of it comes down to small tasks that prevent big messes. For larger projects that you can’t do in a few minutes, break them down into more manageable steps. Use spare minutes to do those tasks, or set aside time daily to “putter around” at them. Once that’s a habit, keeping a clean house feels effortless. Give it a try!