Tired of cleaning your home only for it to get messy again? Learn how to clean your home and actually keep it clean with these practical tips.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself the same question so many others have:
“How do I keep my home clean?”
Forget those Pinterest photos—I’m just happy enough to vacuum my carpet.
Each time I wipe my stove clean, another spot seems to mess it up right away.
And it doesn’t help that others seem to have the knack for it while you don’t.
How to clean your home (and keep it clean)
Even though I shouldn’t compare myself to others, I learned I can maintain an organized home, even with kids. And yes, even every day.
Make it easy.
Picture this: You organized your front door area. You swept the floor, moved all the jackets into the closet and put your keys and mail where they belong. But in a few days, you’re back to throwing coats and keys on the floor.
Your cleaning lasted only a few days.
The problem isn’t because you don’t know to keep your front area clean. Rather, you’re making it hard on yourself to keep it clean. You need to build a system so the organization is sustainable.
What do I mean by that? Organize your home so that it’s easy for you to put things where they belong:
- Put a coat rack on the front door. Right now, your only choices may be to toss your coat on the floor or walk all the way to your bedroom to hang it. Make it easy to keep your home clean by putting a coat rack right by your front door. That way, you can keep your floor clear without having to walk all the way to the bedroom.
- Place a hamper in the kitchen to toss dirty bibs and napkins. It’s tempting to clutter your kitchen with dirty cloths when your only option is to walk to the hamper. Put a hamper near where your dirty bibs and cloths go to make it easier on yourself.
- Organize books in a book cubby by your kids’ reading area. Instead of tossing books everywhere, place a book cubby near common reading areas. After you’re done reading, you’re more likely to place the books back in a box than leaving it lying around.
These are a few examples of how we need to make it easy and convenient for ourselves to maintain a clean home. Build systems around your home so the everyday messes become easier to avoid.
Hide little items in storage areas.
If you have kids, your home is probably filled with little knick knacks. Dinky plastic toys, the random superhero toy, or the slinky your child found in a goody bag. Your kids like them too much to throw away, but they’re an eye sore and are never in the same place.
The best trick? Buy storage containers and choose areas for them. Fill shelves with cubbies or plastic containers to house random items. Toy boxes hold toy trains or little figurines. Even stuffed animals can go in a mesh bag to keep them together.
Not only do storage areas keep eye sores away, they also help your child learn which toys belong where. They know to put crayons in the box while the building blocks go in the cubby.
Print chore lists.
Accountability goes a long way, even for us adults. I’m a huge fan of lists, including those for chores. Hanging a visual to-do list of your chores is an easy way to know what you need to do and by when. Instead of cleaning aimlessly, you’ll know which parts you still haven’t cleaned.
Your chore list can be super simple. Each home is different, so we all have different chores to do. An easy way to make a chore list is to write weekly or bi-weekly chores you want you and your partner to do. Cross them off once you’re done, then switch chores so you take turns.
Declutter items regularly.
Piles of paper. Outgrown clothes. Wires to electronics you don’t even use. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. I described a few of the items strewn around my home. Left unattended, these things can clutter living space and make it more difficult to clean your home. They’re an eye sore with no purpose.
Every few months, go through your home and declutter things you no longer use. You can either:
- Throw away
Start with one area, such as your closet. And even within your closet, focus on one part, such as shoes. If you haven’t used the shoes in a year, more than likely, you can part ways with it.
Continue with other areas of your home, even hidden ones. You might have a box of paperwork from your maternity leave or hospital stay. Sort through those and decide whether you still need to store them in your home.
Just do it.
I’ll be washing my hands and notice a disgusting grime lining the sink. Or I’ll see dried maple syrup on the dining table. Or a gross black thing that probably shouldn’t be on a windowsill.
If anything in your home grosses you out, tell yourself to clean it already. Stop whatever you’re doing, grab a spray and rag, and get to it.
We can wait til later, at which point the grime gets only worse or the maple syrup even more impossible to wipe. Or we can take 20 seconds to grab our materials and get rid of it once and for all.
Okay, maybe not once and for all, since more than likely it’ll come back. But at least it won’t get worse, and you’ll have one less thing to gross you out.
You won’t find my home in any magazines, and I’ll tell you why. My desk is littered with little paper “books” my six-year-old made. My bed sheets don’t match, and I have a box of items to donate sitting by my desk. It’s not what you’d call Pinterest-worthy.
But it’s a home well-lived in that still somehow manages to look organized and neat. Not perfect, but not an eye sore, either. My kids can find their toys and have a place to learn and explore. My kitchen sink isn’t always piled with dishes. And we finally got a hold of our entryway by putting shoe and coat racks.
These little hacks help you clean your home and keep it clean. We’ve built systems to make it easy for us to organize our home. We declutter and know which chores we need to do. And we get it done and keep our home clean, knowing it takes only 20 seconds to do. You can keep your home clean without feeling like it’s a never-ending battle with your mess.
Get more tips about how to keep your home clean:
- 6 Not-So-Obvious Reasons You Can’t Keep Up with Cleaning Your Home
- How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up After Themselves
- How to Stay Organized
- Why I Don’t Bother with Messy House Guilt
- How to Get Things Done with a Baby
Tell me in the comments: What are your best tips on how to clean your home? Which parts of your home are your biggest challenges to keep clean?
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