Forget about cleaning your house all day when you could be spending your time doing other things you would prefer to do with the family! Here’s how to get a clean house and keep things clean, so you don’t need to live with clutter or spend all your time cleaning.
Since I often share pictures of our home to highlight our DIY projects, they probably give a false impression that our house is always pristine, perfect, and clean.
You may even think that I love to spend hours dusting, organizing, and folding laundry. But, I’ll tell you all a little secret—I hate cleaning just as much as most of you do!
Benefits Of Having A Clean House
Sure, there’s something strangely satisfying about a clean house. However, there are a hundred things I’d rather do than spend my free time sweeping or mopping or anything else.
Yet, Scott and I both need a clean house to function. Neither of us has the time to dig through piles of laundry to find a pair of wrinkled pants. Nor do we want to spend hours loading and unloading the dishwasher.
There are general benefits that come with having a clean home, such as:
- Increased productivity
- Lower stress levels
- Improved organization
- More relaxation
In addition to these benefits, we want to have a welcoming, open home for our friends and family, too. So, it’s important for us to keep things put away as much as possible.
I know it sounds a tad dramatic, but we feel lighter, enjoy our home more, and we aren’t constantly stressed. In other words, we have personally experienced the benefits of having a clean house.
6 Simple Tips To Have A Clean House Forever
We’ve worked hard to develop new habits that have changed our lives!
And we’ve developed a simple system to help us keep the house clean, so we spend less time devoted to cleaning.
NOTE: I’m not a cleaning or organization expert. Instead, I’m just a normal girl who got tired of spending every Saturday in addition to other random hours of panicked cleaning. And honestly, I got tired of searching through stuff and having stacks and piles everywhere.
So, I figure that if these tips can help us turn our life around, they may help you too!
I know cleaning is exhausting, so I am sharing what has worked for me. I can happily say that this system has made a world of difference in our lives!
Here’s a little tough love that’s as harsh with you as I was with myself: if you want to be FREE, you have to get serious.
Here are the six simple ways that FINALLY helped us get (and keep!) a clean house forever. Ready or not, here we go!
1. Work Smarter, Not Harder
I know that’s kind of cliché these days, but hey, clichés exist because they’re true!
When it comes to having a clean house, gather supplies ahead of time. Beyond that, use supplies that will do double duty (or that you enjoy using). Here are a few of my favorites:
- Roomba – This little guy vacuums our house, so we don’t have to. We have it set up on a schedule, and every day while we are at work, he cleans our house. Then, he docks himself back on his charging station. It’s magic – no wonder it’s the best cleaning item I own…it gives me the gift of time!
- Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner – I love that I can use one spray to clean all my surfaces. And since it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, it’s good for the environment, you, your kids, and your fur babies too! My favorite scent is lavender.
- Viva Paper Towels – These are the BEST paper towels. They are the strongest ones I’ve ever used, which means we use fewer of them at once and save time and money. Win/Win!
- Trash Bags – I can’t stand cheap trash bags because they always manage to rip open and spill nastiness out everywhere. So gross. Well-made trash bags are worth the splurge.
- Cleaning Gloves – I don’t like touching gross stuff. So I use gloves. 😉
- Disposable Toilet Wands – I know this is a weird favorite supply, but I love these Clorox toilet wands. You simply toss the disposable end when you are done by clicking a button on the handle. No touching anything or keeping anything that’s been in the toilet.
2. Get Rid Of Things You Don’t Need
One effective way to solve the messy house problem is to have fewer possessions that cause clutter.
I know you’ve probably heard it before, but I will tell you from personal experience—it is pretty much impossible to have a clean, organized home when you have piles everywhere.
I know it’s hard to get rid of things, and some people will say to put them in a box and stick it away for a season. But I say, just get rid of it. Hold a giant yard sale and use the proceeds to tackle a dream home makeover or toss those things into the trash or a giveaway box.
Whatever you do, just get those things out of your house!
How To Deal With Doubt And Guilt
If you have doubt about getting rid of certain objects, chances are that you don’t need them. Especially if they are things you can buy down the road if you really need them.
I used to give myself all this false guilt and say, “As soon as you get rid of that (mango pitter/wicker basket/tray/whatever), you’ll need it again. And then you will have to spend money to re-buy it, which is a total waste of money!”
But, I’ve become a lot more cut-throat with my decluttering. And do you know how many times I’ve really needed that thing I was so scared to get rid of? Zero. Zip. Zilch.
If you have sentimental items you are holding onto, assess if it’s something you want to keep. One option I like is to take a picture of many sentimental items and put the photo into a book of special memories. Then I get rid of the item and don’t feel an ounce of guilt.
There are, of course, certain personal mementos that I would never ever get rid of, like letters from Scott or old journals. Do I keep them? YES. Because they’re worth it and 100% irreplaceable. I keep those kinds of things instead of a stack of 1990s DVDs all day, every day.
In other words: make room for what matters and get rid of what doesn’t. Then, you’ll have less to tidy in order to keep a clean house.
3. Change Your Mindset
Here’s the mindset I want you to adopt: treat your house like you’re a guest.
Well, sort of. Treat it as your home in that you come home and take off your make-up and put on sweats and relax. But when it comes to picking up after yourself—act like a guest.
For example, I used to come home every day, chat with Scott, and then head straight into the bedroom. Then, I’d peel off my workout or work clothes and leave them in a pile on the floor. I thought, “Eh, I’ll get to them later.”
Guess what? I usually didn’t. I just kicked them in the corner and made a bigger pile of all my clothes.
We did the same thing with the dishes. After having dinner, we’d think, “we deserve to relax,” and just leave pots, cutting boards, etc., covering the countertops.
This habit would lead to a massive pile of dirty, crusty dishes that we’d be forced to do 2-3 loads of at the end of the week. I would never, ever go to someone else’s house and act that way!
I was always raised to believe that when you are a guest in someone’s home, it’s a treat. You respect them by keeping your area spotless and leaving the home better than when you found it.
Dishes are immediately washed and put away, the bed is made every morning. And absolutely no piles of shoes or clothes are left on the floor. And as a result, our home is always cleaner!
Lesson learned: give your own home the respect you would someone else’s!
4. Leaving Little Messes Creates Bigger Ones
Cleaning basics 101: if you make a mess, clean it up.
Duh, right? But not for me. I would do my makeup in the morning and rush out of the house without the “time” to put everything away. I’d leave out all the brushes and eyeshadows I used. Not only is that kind of gross, but it’s also silly.
I can take 60 extra seconds to put away something if I make a mess. If you spill food on your counter or splatter grease on the stove, take time to wipe it up. Every time you use your bathroom or kitchen sink, take 30 seconds to wipe it down.
What’s the alternative? Leaving all these little messes adds up. That means that instead of doing minor normal household tasks like vacuuming up the dirt and cleaning the floors, you have to spend extra time picking up rooms, washing items, and putting things away.
Doing a simple task like cleaning up small messes over the course of a week takes almost no effort and pays off in dividends as far as time saved (and gained down the road).
5. Get Up 15 Minutes Earlier
Really, get up hours earlier if you can! (I’m still working on this one.) You will be surprised by the difference that 15 extra minutes can make every morning to give you a clean house.
That’s enough time to empty the dishwasher so dishes can be immediately rinsed and put in to wash after dinner instead of piling in the sink. That’s enough time to fold and put away a load of laundry. Or, wipe down your countertops and cabinets and whatever else you need to do.
I am actively working on trying to become a morning person. To motivate myself, I put on some fun music while I do my 15 minutes of cleaning. Then, I am so grateful I don’t have to come home and do it after work. 😁
6. Do The Task You Hate Most First
I know…some of you might think this is the worst idea ever. I used to think that too. But I’ve found ways to make cleaning more enjoyable, or at least not as horrible.
This tip may be the last on this list, but it’s a top tip for me when it comes to cleaning our house: start with the chore you hate the most.
Do whatever you need to do to make that the easiest chore you have, and do it first. My least favorite chore (and sadly, also Scott’s least favorite chore) is laundry. We hate it.
We hate loading it and moving it to the dryer. And we super, super hate having to put it all away when it’s done. So we used to just avoid it like the plague, only do laundry when it reached emergency-level. Then, we’d leave clothes in piles on the guest bed or dresser top.
That’s no way to keep a clean house!
However, we finally decided it was just making it worse to have a giant, wrinkly pile of clothes. So, we started taking turns every day doing a load of laundry and putting it away immediately when the dryer stopped.
We like to pile it all on a wood counter in our kitchen and fold, sort, and hang it right away. It takes 15 minutes. It’s totally a horrible, boring 15 minutes, but then it’s DONE. I like to listen to music or a podcast while I do it to help pass the time.
Also, laundry is easier now that we’ve gotten rid of a ton of clothes we didn’t like! (See tip #2)
Check out these answers to common questions I see readers ask!
When it comes to decluttering your home, get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or isn’t useful.
Think about throwing away things like:
Stained or torn clothing that you don’t use
Carry out menus
The biggest reason, I think, is that we all tend to have too much stuff. It’s much harder to keep a house clean when it’s full of stuff.
Also, I think motivation plays a large part. If you really want a certain outcome (like a clean house), you’re more likely to do what it takes to make it happen.
Turn Your Home Into A Clean House
I hope these tips were helpful for you! Some of them take some work to implement and turn into new habits. Believe me, I know! But it’s 100% worth it.
I’d much rather do this than spend my entire weekend cleaning and shoving piles of stuff into closets. 😂
I still have lots to learn, so I want to hear from you all! What about you guys? What are your best cleaning tips? Share!
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This message is very timely. We just moved into a new home 1 month ago. For the most part, our house has been unpacked except for my sewing room…b/c I’ve had a hard time letting things go. Thanks for the motivation to donate/sell my clutter. 🙂
There are a couple of things that I have found that makes keeping me house “picked up” much easier. Notice I said, “picked up,” not clean. Having a 2 year old and 4 year old in the house rarely results in a “clean” house. =P These are habits that make my life so much easier on a daily basis.
* Vacuum every day. There, I said it. It’s not fun, it’s not glamorous, but it works. I spend 10 minutes each morning after breakfast vacuuming all our living areas — bathrooms, laundry room / mud room / entry way, kitchen, dining area, and living room. I do this for a couple of reasons. Because I do it every day, I do not stress about getting into every little nook and cranny. A quick pass through on the traffic patterns catches 95% of the dirt and crumbs and stuff that accumulates in our house. Once a week I’ll pull out the chairs and vacuum around smaller end tables, and I’ll run through the bedrooms, but that’s it. Plus, vacuuming first thing in the morning gives me the best chance of being able to SEE the floor before it is covered in toys!
* Do a load of laundry every day. Yeah, I know, the dreaded laundry monster. Just wait until you have little ones Tania! =) I’ve found for our family of four, my large laundry basket is about 75% full from the day before. Then I’ve got room for a random towel, rug, set of sheets, or stack of cleaning cloths as needed. No, the washer isn’t totally full each time, but it makes each load manageable and takes about 10 minutes to deal with at the end and put away. I usually start it first thing in the morning, move to the dryer after breakfast, and then put everything away before lunch. (Yes, I am a SAHM, but this could easily be adapted in the evenings for working individuals). Because I do laundry every day, it doesn’t build up. It doesn’t become overwhelming. And I don’t dread it — it’s just part of the morning routine.
* Lastly, I HATE a dirty kitchen. I find it so much harder to prepare a meal in a kitchen that is dirty or has dishes in the sink. Since my husband works from home, I prepare three meals a day. Do I live in the kitchen? Sometimes it sure feels like it! Wasn’t I JUST here? (FYI, we eat at 9am, 12pm, and 6pm.) Working with limited counter space in a galley style kitchen, I’ve learned to maximize the space I have … which means I totally clean up after each meal. Dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher, pots and pans washed and drip drying in the left side of the sink, ingredients put away, and counters wiped off. Every. Single. Meal. I have just enough dishes to get through a day, so I run the dishwasher after dinner each night and unload in the morning while breakfast is cooking.
I know it sounds like a lot, and it does take some time. But I’ve found, for ME, it is easier to do the annoying little things immediately, that take 5-10 minutes each, rather than let them all sit and then spend 30+ dealing with it later.
Oh? And least favorite chore? Definitely mopping. But again — because I vacuum every day, mopping can wait a day or twelve. =P
Thanks for the encouragement Tania!
ahh all good ideas!!!!! I hate a mess too, but we are good at making one in our kitchen and bedroom closet!!! I was just telling Colby last night we need to come up with a system to be cleaner 🙂 This will help us get started, so thank you!
rebecca @ older and wisor
My husband and I laugh to think that for the first 6 months of our marriage we didn’t even own a vacuum cleaner. We were never really home = things never really got that messy. Fast forward 19 years, things aren’t *quite* the same. I’m soooo with you on the laundry thing. If I don’t do 3 loads a day, I’m behind. And given that I usually only do two on a good day…well…I’ll let you do that math 😉 Great tips!!!
I love this!! I have to admit, my husband and I are way too laid back about the state of our house. I’m trying to change that though, and these are great tips. I love the one about being a guest; I’m always so polite and neat in other peoples houses, and SO not that way in my own. It’s a good way of thinking about it!
Tania and Scott both make a clean and a healthy living space all around. Probably many care less for their tidy and clean houses but you both carry it of well right from your laundries!!
It’s really interesting post and something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, we’re kinda over following in clothes and I hate giving them away because I think we might need them but truth be told there just cause a mess which is not handy when you’ve got a toddler trying his hardest to create a bigger mess
Great tips, I should pin them … to my head. I go through periods of having a really clean and tidy home, then ridiculously messy. My worst chore is scrubbing the toilet, I really hate it. I work from home, so I feel like it’s my duty to have a clean house and hate it when we have visitors and the place is a mess, as if they are looking at me to say you’ve been home all day and the place is a mess.
Great tips! I’m working hard to implement a “no excuses” policy for myself. It is way too easy to give myself a break because I’ve had a busy week, or I’m feeling stressed out, etc. There is always some excuse, but rarely a true reason. So far I’m doing a lousy job, but I’m still working on it!
i love love love getting rid of clutter and keeping to the essentials. i’m a big believer that ‘if you don’t use it or absolutely love it- toss it.’ not enough room to have mediocre feeling about things in your house. but also, love your bit about treating your home like you’re a guest 🙂
This is great advice to live by. I really subscribe to the de-cluttering, de-junking theory. Less stuff makes rooms look bigger and neater.
Megan @ Never Finished
I love these tips. So true! I love the idea of treating my house as if I’m a guest. I am always such a stickler about making sure everything is clean and tidy if I’m at someone else’s house, so it’s a good mentality to have in my own home.
Waking up earlier has seriously changed my life, so don’t underestimate the power of it (not just for cleaning purposes)! Thanks for the great tips!
These days all media is geared toward breeding consumers. We need this and that and ooh! a new one of those… Meanwhile our homes are becoming overrun and we spend so much of our precious time cleaning and stressing about it. We have just begun the purging process in our home. There are good and bad days, but the best thing to do when it gets overwhelming for me is to step back and ask, “Would I rather spend time cleaning/looking for/putting away this thing, or spend extra time with my family?”
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Great tips. I can’t function to my fullest with clutter around so I’ve been getting rid of stuff left and right. And you’re right, once I got rid of stuff I was holding onto thinking I would need again I never needed again. LOL
My parents kept EVERYTHING (growing up during the depression, so I’ve heard) and they made us feel guilty every time we tried to get rid of anything – after years of moving “stuff” I’ve decided it’s TIME and I started to purge – and not feel guilty:). Our kids are out of the house and they know what they want to keep – I no longer have to be “the keeper of all things important” – what a free feeling and the more I get rid of, the better I feel.
Hi. I just joined your mailing list today and read your ideas on a clean house. And I am so thankful for this! I always knew I had to get rid of stuff but I dread it so bad that I never get started. I absolutely hate cleaning. But I have decided that it is time to start. And like you guys, I don’t want to spend my weekend cleaning up stuff I don’t need.
One thing I do already is clean my bathroom Sunday morning as soon as I get out of the shower band usually that is the he only room that gets cleaned weekly. So now I can take your advice and get my entire house cleaned and keep it that way.
Tania @ Run To Radiance
Thank you so much for joining the mailing list Levieta! 🙂 So happy to have you. I am not a fan of cleaning either, but it’s a necessary evil. My whole goal is to minimize the pain. And I’m impressed you do your bathroom every sunday morning, that’s a great start! 🙂
Lou Lou Girls
This is so awesome! Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for sharing this at our party! I always love your amazing creations. I hope to see you next Monday because we love to party with you! Happy Tuesday! Lou Lou Girls
This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Showcase Your Talent Thursday.
I just found your post! Loved it! I hate cleaning the shower! I have arthritis and cleaning is hard sometimes! What really helps me is Monday morning before I get out of the shower I use a little wand that I keep in my shower that is half vinegar and half Dawn dish washing liquid and clean my shower walls and flower before I get out of the shower! The warm water helps me stay limber! I hope this helps someone else!
I am a blogger and I have owned a large commercial janitorial company for 10 years. I love a neat house and hate to clean on my days off from cleaning for a living! Best tip ever: Clorox cleaning wipes. One in the kitchen and one in the bathroom . 2 seconds and the counter is clean and germ free. Same for your toilet. Then toss. It helps so much because it’s fast so you don’t mind doing it.
Now if they would just make something to do laundry that quick!
I was searching for some cheap baby room ideas.
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