Struggling to keep a clean home when you’re busy? You’re not alone. In this article, I take you through 10 proven strategies to keep a clean home despite a hectic schedule. These real-world solutions work as hard as you do, so you can maintain a tidy living space without sacrificing your sanity.
1. Simplify Your Home
The first step to keep a clean home when you’re busy is to simplify what you own. Many of us hold on to items “just in case” we might need them someday, or because they hold sentimental value. However, each item in your home is something you’ll need to clean, dust, or move when you’re tidying up.
Reducing the number of items you own isn’t just about making your space look better; it’s about making it functionally easier to maintain. This is particularly beneficial for those dealing with physical limitations, anxiety, or a hectic schedule. To effectively simplify your home, follow these steps:
- Choose a Starting Point: Begin with one room or a specific area like a closet or set of drawers.
- Empty and Evaluate: Take out all the items and evaluate them critically. Ask yourself if you’ve used each item in the last year or if it improves your life somehow.
- Identify Clutter: If the answer is no to both questions, it’s probably clutter. Donate it, sell it, or dispose of it responsibly.
- Organize What Remains: Once you’ve pared down, organize the remaining items in a way that makes them easy to clean around.
- Use Clear Storage: For items you don’t frequently use, consider clear storage bins so you can easily see what’s inside without having to open them up and rummage around.
2. Use a Clutter Basket When You’re Busy
A clutter basket acts as a catch-all for items to keep your home looking clean even when you’re busy. To use a clutter basket, simply gather up the toys, books, and other things that are out of place, and put them in the basket. Make it a family affair by getting the kids involved—they can even make a cleaning game out of it.
To keep your clutter basket from becoming a dumping ground, it’s important to:
- Keep the basket in a visible spot so you don’t forget to empty it as part of your quick morning or evening routine.
- Set rules with family members about how long they can leave things in the basket before they’re donated or disposed of, so they don’t use it as a storage space.
3. Keep Several Donation Boxes Going
Place a donation box in each closet and one in the garage. As you come across items you no longer need, toss them in. When the box is full, take it to your local charity. This system allows you to keep your home clean when you’re busy by letting you declutter in real-time, without adding a separate task to your to-do list. Plus, it’s a great lesson for kids about the importance of giving.
4. Keep Cleaning Supplies 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.
5. Have a Quick Morning & Evening Routine
Consistency is key. A quick morning and evening routine can help you maintain a clean home when you’ve got a hectic schedule. If you’re not a morning person or have physical limitations, adapt the routine to fit your lifestyle and energy levels.
Here’s an example of a quick morning cleaning routine:
- Put away clothes
- Make the bed
- Load dirty dishes in the dishwasher
- Wipe kitchen counters
- Straighten up or put things in the clutter basket
Here’s an example of a quick evening cleaning routine:
- Empty the dishwasher
- Empty the clutter basket
- Wipe countertops and tabletops
- Take out the trash
- Get set up for the next day (outfits, homework, lunches)
6. Have an Overall Cleaning Plan
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants—to maintain a clean home when you’ve got a hectic schedule. This can be a brief weekly cleaning routine, where you clean specific rooms on different days of the week. Or, it can be a list of chores that you cross off as you go. By having a plan in place, you can tackle tasks as time allows without feeling overwhelmed.
7. Use a Timer to Keep a Clean Home When You’re Busy
It’s easy to feel like there’s no time to keep a clean home when you’re busy. But here’s a secret: you don’t need hours, you just need minutes. Setting a timer for 10 minutes in the morning, another 10 before dinner, and a final 10 before bed can make a world of difference. This approach works for people with hectic schedules and also for individuals with physical limitations who may find longer cleaning sessions too taxing.
The key is to focus during those 10-minute bursts. Whether it’s wiping down kitchen surfaces, vacuuming the living room, or decluttering a drawer, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. And the best part? You can move on to your next task or relax, knowing you’ve made significant progress in maintaining a clean home even with your hectic schedule.
8. Take Advantage of Spare Minutes
Cleaning doesn’t have to be a formal effort. If you’ve got a minute, use it to clean. Whether it’s wiping down counters while your coffee brews or straightening sofa pillows while waiting for the kids, these quick one-minute tasks add up and help you keep a clean home when you’re busy. Make it more enjoyable by listening to a podcast or audiobook as you go.
9. Automate Everything You Can
Automation is a busy person’s best friend. Modern appliances and smart devices can save you time, effort, and even money. Here are some ways to put automation to work helping you keep your home clean when you’re busy:
- Time-Delay Washer Cycles: 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.
- Programmable Dryers: Use the time-delay feature to have clothes ready to fold when you arrive home.
- Time-Delay 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.
By automating these tasks, you can focus on what truly matters while still maintaining a clean home.
10. Don’t Try to Be Perfect
Striving for a spotless home can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to keep a clean home when you’re busy. The truth is, cleaning perfection is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary. What’s crucial is creating a comfortable and functional living space that aligns with your priorities and lifestyle.
Start by setting boundaries on how much time you’re willing to spend cleaning. Whether it’s 10 minutes a day or an hour on the weekend, stick to it. Then use that time to focus on the areas that matter most to you. Maybe it’s the kitchen where you prepare meals, or the living room where your family gathers. Concentrate your cleaning efforts there. Remember, the goal isn’t to achieve a picture-perfect home but to create a living space where you and your loved ones can relax and enjoy life.
Do you have tips about how to keep a clean home when you’re busy? Share in the comments and help each other out!