10 Must-Know Tips for Keeping a Clean Home When You’re Busy

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Struggling to keep a clean home when you’re busy? You’re not alone. Some days are so nonstop that my first chance to sit down isn’t until minutes before bed. Who wants to spend that time cleaning?

I sure don’t, so here are my strategies to keep a clean home despite a hectic schedule. Try putting them to work so they can free up time for you, too.

Keep it Simple, Sweetie.

Simplify, simplify, simplify. Look at it this way: every single thing in your home is something you have to clean, dust, or move when you’re tidying up. The less you own, the less work you have to do. So if you’re struggling to find time to clean, start asking whether you really need all that stuff.

Can’t decide? Then go through every drawer, cabinet, closet and box and ask yourself this: would I pay someone to carry this for a day? Unless you’re in your forever home, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It’s easier to make good decluttering choices now than when you’re in a hurry to move.

A Catch-All is Okay!

A clutter basket acts as a catch-all for items to keep your home looking clean even when you’re busy. Stash one near your door, in your living room and kitchen, and at the bottom of the stairs. As you find stuff out of place, chuck it in the clutter basket.

To keep your clutter basket from becoming a dumping ground, make emptying it part of your daily cleaning routine. And tell your kids they need to get stuff out of the basket before bed, or it’s going into the donation box then out the door.

Make Donating a Breeze

Stash a donation box in each closet and one in the garage. As you come stuff you don’t want anymore, toss it in. When the box is full, drop it by your local charity. This is a great way to declutter in real-time without adding to your to-do list. Plus, it teaches kids about the importance of giving.

Make Cleaning Handy

Stash cleaning supplies where you’ll use them. In the bathroom, keep wipes, a toilet brush, and cleaner in a cabinet. Under the kitchen sink, have an all-purpose cleaner and rags. Store a vacuum or dust mop on each level of your home, so you don’t have to search for one. Having cleaning supplies where you’ll use them makes it easier to keep your home clean when you’re busy.

Start and End Tidy

Tidying your home sets a tone. So, when you spend a few minutes in the morning on a daily tidying routine, and do it again before bed with a nightly clean-up, you’re setting a standard for everyone in your home. You can even make the morning and evening pickup a family thing, then watch as everyone starts cleaning up after themselves.

No More Pantsing It

Don’t fly by the seat of your pants, plan your routine so you know what you’re cleaning and how much time to set aside for it. It can be a brief weekly plan to clean specific rooms on different days of the week. Or, it can be a list of chores that you cross off as you go. But leaving it to chance means the chances are you won’t do it.

Keep it Timely

Finding a half-hour to clean can be hard. But finding 10 minutes in the morning, after getting home, and before bed? Much easier. The key is putting some hustle into it during those 10-minute bursts. No TV watching, no chatting on the phone. Knees up! Moooove.

Don’t Just Stand There.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be a formal effort. If you’ve got a minute, use it to knock out a few quick tasks. Whether it’s wiping down counters while your coffee brews or straightening sofa pillows while waiting for the kids, doing a little bit when you can means not having to find time to do a whole lot.

Automation is Your Friend

Leverage those nice appliances and smart phone you have by letting them take over some of the effort.

  • Washing machines: Schedule your washing machine to finish a load just as you get up in the morning. Move it to the dryer before you leave for work.
  • Dryers: Use the time-delay feature to have clothes ready to fold when you arrive home.
  • Dishwashers: Set your dishwasher to complete its cycle before you wake up. Unload it while your coffee brews.
  • Robot vacuums and mops: Invest in robots that clean your floors. Some even mop after vacuuming.
  • Automatic shower cleaners: Install a device that sprays your shower daily to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Oven functions: Utilize the self-cleaning feature or program start/stop times for meals to be ready when you get home.

Good Enough iS Good Enough

Stop striving for a spotless home—cleaning perfection is not only unrealistic but unnecessary. No one else’s standard of clean should define how you live in your home. And if spotless is your standard of clean, then perhaps it’s time to start living for something more meaningful. It’s a home, not a piece of performance art.

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  1. Nix Steuart says:

    Thank you Katie, wonderful advice as always.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re so welcome, Nix. Glad to see you!

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