I have found that adopting cleaning my house as something I’m always in the state of doing, as opposed to something I spend all day Sunday doing, makes it SO MUCH MORE manageable. Overall this helps me keep a house that’s tidier. If I let cleaning build up and build up it becomes this big task to overcome. If I just do little things throughout the day it really just becomes simple habits to a cleaner home and truly makes cleaning feel so much easier and less daunting. Especially as a mom. So today I’m sharing the 9 habits I’ve adopted to a cleaner home. Let’s do this.
1. Setup Little Routines for Yourself
As people we’re routine-oriented. It’s why we always remember to brush our teeth before bed. It’s something we have always done and so it became a habit.
We can do the same thing with some cleaning tasks so they become so routine it just starts to happen naturally. Here’s how to do it.
Pick some tasks and do them at the same time every day and then match them up with other things you already do every day. By tying a new habit you’re trying to form to an existing habit makes it easier.
For example, I always do a quick sweep and Swiffer of our floors after breakfast. I do it every morning so it’s just become part of our morning routine. We eat breakfast, clean the floors, and head upstairs to get dressed. By tying it to our breakfast routine it made it easier to adopt.
Also, a little bonus tip is I recently (and FINALLY) purchased a little handheld vacuum and it’s literally a game-changer. But I’ve started using it in place of a dustpan. It’s like 10000x more effective.
Some other habits I’ve adopted include a kitchen pickup right when my son’s nap starts. So the first thing I do when I come downstairs from putting my son down for a nap is, do a quick kitchen pickup. It’s just a habit that I come down the stairs and clean up the kitchen.
Another one is, dishes during breakfast. While my son has his breakfast in the morning I always empty the dishwasher from the night before. I usually have a good 10 minutes of free time while he’s eating so it’s the perfect slot of time to get the dishwasher empty and ready for the day.
And, on the note, a little mom tip, is there are some cleaning activities that our kids can totally help with. I let Miles “help” me sweep. He’s not actually sweeping; he has this old duster he uses, but he thinks he is sweeping and literally runs to the cabinet every morning to get his duster to sweep.
I will also let him help put away dishes. Which I know might make some parents nervous but I let him take the dishes out and hand them to me, so the risk of dropping and breaking things is low. For his dishes, I keep them in a basket at his level so he can put them away himself. It’s a way to get some chores done with our little ones around and they honestly love to help.
2. Having A Cleaning List By Time
One thing I’ve noticed about cleaning is we often think of cleaning as a task we fit into a dedicated space of time. We think “ok when I have a free 45 minutes I will clean the bathroom. But, in our busy lives, it might be days before we find a free 45 minutes to deep clean the bathroom. So, that’s why I love having a cleaning list by time, including a ton of small tasks I can do in dedicated periods of time. I actually have a free cleaning checklist printable that has tons of cleaning tasks you can tackle in 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes. This way, if you have some free time, even if it’s just a quick 10 minutes, you can still get something cleaned or tidied. This works great towards my ultimate goal. Like I said, always being in a state of cleaning instead of letting the cleaning tasks build up until they become a huge project to tackle.
3. Focus on Surfaces
There really is something about clear surfaces in a room that make your space feel more spacious and look cleaner. A little trick, often known as “The flat surface clutter rule“, just means to focus on keeping any flat surfaces clear of clutter and mess. I’ve gotten into the habit of just constantly decluttering my surfaces. At least 3 times a day I do a quick walk through my downstairs with the ultimate goal of removing anything from a flat surface that doesn’t need to be there. I know this sounds sort of daunting but if you actually do this a few times a day, your clutter remains very minimal and it usually only takes me 2 minutes, tops. It does help that we have a smaller house, if you have a larger house to tackle focus on the few living areas you use most such as the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. And remember the goal here is to completely clear off the surface, not just make little tidy piles and move them around. Everything needs to go AWAY where IT BELONGS. Even if you’re going to use it again later that day. I used to be in such a bad habit of leaving things out because I was “still using them” when in reality I realized it literally takes less than 30 seconds to put something away and take it back out again. So, it’s worth it to place it away and have the clear surfaces, then just get it again only when I actually need it.
4. Learn How To Let Go (Declutter)
Leading off from our last tip, a huge tip to keeping a cleaner house is to get good at letting things go. In general, stuff breeds more stuff and Clutter breeds more clutter. We hold onto things for so many reasons like “we might use it” or we need to “get to it” or “send it” or “file it” or “fix it” or whatever. This stuff clutters up our counters, tabletops, and homes. I’ve really learned to be deliberate about letting go of stuff I don’t need immediately. Here are a few examples.
Raise your hand if you open your online shopping boxes and then the boxes sit on the floor for 2-3 days before you even think to break them down.
YEA, I’ve done it. Too much.
A small shift I’ve made is the minute I open a box I break it down and put it by the back door and the next time I open the door, (which with a dog and toddler is approximately 45x every hour) I run it to the recycling (or garage if it’s bigger and has to go to the dump). It literally takes maybe 60 seconds and keeps unneeded clutter out of my house.
Another example is mail. I open, sort, and recycle all mail and envelopes I don’t need as soon as we bring it in.
It’s just the little things to think about that if you don’t NEED it then let it go now instead of later.
5. Never Go To Bed With A Dirty Kitchen Sink
This next habit is one I adopted maybe 3-4 years ago or so and it’s such a game-changer. The simple rule is never to go to bed with a dirty sink. So often at the end of the day, we’re so tired we just want to go upstairs, crawl into bed, and fall asleep. But if I agree to adopt the never go to bed with a dirty kitchen sink rule, it forces you to take a few minutes to go into the kitchen and clean up any remaining mess. The reason I call it the “never go to bed without a dirty sink rule” is that it’s a far less daunting task than never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Like if my rule was never to go to bed with a dirty kitchen every night I’d be like forget that I’m going to bed. But just cleaning the sink feels totally doable and like something I can tackle. And, truthfully I find that 99% of the time because I’m already in the kitchen I usually end up wiping down any counters that haven’t been cleaned, tidying, and in general picking up the entire space.
This habit was a little hard for me to adopt at first. Like I said, I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed and the last thing I wanted to do was think about cleaning my kitchen. But there is LITERALLY nothing worse than coming down in the morning to a dirty kitchen and there is LITERALLY nothing better than coming down in the morning to a nice tidy kitchen. It’s like a gift I give to my tomorrow’s self. Now, it’s so easy for me to muster the energy to tidy the kitchen because I know it will start my tomorrow 100x better.
6. 15 Minute Pre Bed Clean Up
Another habit I’ve adopted is the 15-minute pre-bed clean-up. Now, this doesn’t have to happen right before bed. In my house, we actually do it right after we put my son down for bed. But the idea is you take 15 minutes to just clean up. 15 minutes is a nice do-able amount of time, and you can get a good amount done. It helps you tidy from the day, prepare for tomorrow, or maybe grab something off the cleaning list by timesheet and tackle it. Again, it just becomes a little habit you do at the same time every day but it’s always a 15 minute, drop everything and pick up, period. If you have older kids you can do it when they are awake and it becomes a family thing. I plan to make it something we all do once my son is old enough to understand the concept.
7. Setup Smart Solutions in Your Home
Identify your personal biggest organizational or cleaning challenges then focus on finding a solution to those.
I’m going to list a couple of youtube videos you can watch that will show you some little organizational things that I’ve done in my home. These focus on making sure that everything has a place. When you come up with solutions for trouble areas and make sure everything has a place, it’ll be easier to stay on top of organizing.
8. Clean As You Go When Cooking
A clean kitchen helps lead to a clean house. A kitchen obviously gets the messiest while we are cooking. When I work to pick up as I go then it’s not as overwhelming to pick up a huge mess when the meal is done being cooked.
9. Give Yourself Little Treats
Give yourself positive reinforcement. As soon as I put my son down for his nap, I come down and tidy up for 10 minutes. Afterward, I reward myself with a fun coffee drink.
Think of a couple of tasks that you dread doing. Then think of a little reward that you can put at the end of them to help keep you motivated to get them done.
It’s Not About A Perfectly Clean House
Those are the 9 habits that I have adopted to help me keep my house cleaner. My house is not always perfectly clean but these habits do help me keep on top of the mess and keep my house tidier. Also, don’t forget to grab my free cleaning printables to help you stay on top of chores and help you build these habits too.