Back in the day, I found keeping house to be very overwhelming. Now that I’ve learned some tips and tricks I find it more manageable (but hardly something I enjoy). No matter how you feel about keeping your house clean, it needs to get done. One of my secrets to keeping the cleaning down to a minimum is to develop (and maintain) really good habits!
Start a Basket System
Do you find yourself constantly looking for things, or do you have family members asking you where their things have gone? This was a constant battle in our house, so we implemented a basket system—there’s a Melissa basket and a Chad basket. Anytime the other one is around the house and finds something that belongs to the other person, we put it in that person’s basket. This way they know where to find things that they may have misplaced. Setup a basket for each person in your house, then have a centralized location for them. Then, it’s incumbent upon the individual to empty out their own basket on a regular basis.
Dust One Thing Every Day
If you don’t have a lot of time but still want to keep dust at bay, simply pick one thing every day and dust it. You don’t have to spend hours and hours cleaning, or even half an hour! All you need is a few minutes. Do this during a commercial break or while you’re waiting for that water to boil. Get yourself a microfiber cloth and some water (or a little bit of all-purpose cleaner) and dust that one item. Just this simple habit will help ensure that your surfaces are dust free and your home is ultimately just that little bit cleaner.
This is one of those habits that I learned many years ago when I was working as a waitress and it has stayed with me ever since. If your hands were empty the restaurant manager would give you the stink eye, which basically told you, “I better go do something”. There was always a little task that could be done. When it comes to cleaning and keeping the house organized the same rule applies. I always make sure I have something in my hands when I leave a room. For example, if you’re in the family room and see an empty glass, on your way out grab it, take it to the kitchen, and pop it in the dishwasher. This really helps to keep the mess at bay.
Eliminate Junk Drawers
If your house is feeling overrun with drawers filled with random stuff there are two things you should do. First of all, you’ve got to empty out those drawers. Sort through the items and get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Secondly, you’ve got to eliminate the concept of a junk drawer or whatever you call it in your house. You should have a purposeful place for everything in your home. You can designate a drawer as a utility drawer, which is what we have done—items like scissors, wine openers, lighters, etc. go in that drawer. But, if you don’t know where something should go then that’s when you ask yourself if you really need that item.
Dump the Duplicates
In our house, for whatever reason, we have at least four flathead screwdrivers. I don’t know why we have them all over the house, but we do. We obviously don’t need that many and ultimately they’re just taking up space. If you have multiples of one item, gather them up as you come across them. Then pick the best one, find a place for it and get rid of the others. That way, you’re getting any extra clutter out of your home, and you always know where that one item can be found.
Clean for 10 Minutes a Day
The idea of cleaning your entire house can feel overwhelming. I get it, I’m right there with you! But hopefully, we can all spare 10 minutes a day. As long as you’re doing something each and every day, your house is going to be in a much better state. Even if you start in one room and give that room 10 minutes, it’s going to look that much better. Motivate yourself by setting a timer and just fire up as much cleaning as you can in that 10 minutes. Or you can play two to three of your favorite songs, listen to a podcast—whatever you do to get you going, that’s all that counts.
Implementing these small little habitual changes will add up over time and can help you have a cleaner house. I know they’ve made a difference for Chad and I, and I know they will for you too. I’d like to know, what is the one cleaning habit that saves your skin each day? Let me know in the comments down below. I’m always looking for new habits that I can implement!
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Great ideas Melissa! Any suggestions on how to remove the smells from the silicone ring on my Instant Pot?
Thank you! Try soaking it in vinegar and hot water overnight.
Good tips! I make sure the kitchen sink is empty and clean before I go to bed no matter how tired I am. I hate starting the day with a sink full of dirty dishes. Makes me cranky! And it feels like I’m behind all day.
I found an app called Chore Checklist which suggests cleaning tasks and frequencies, and then reminds me to do them every day. It took some tweaking to get the tasks right for my household, but it wasn’t difficult, and now I am ahead of my cleaning, instead of feeling guilty and wondering why I left it so long when things got really dirty. Most of the time my jobs take me about 15 minutes or less every day.
Great ideas. I have a morning routine, which, even if I do nothing else all day, ensures the basics are covered. I make my bed as soon as I get up, swipe around the bathroom and toilet and give it a quick tidy, put a load of laundry in and fold yesterdays, clean up the kitchen and sweep the floor and then have a quick run around the teens room to tidy up. On a good day this only takes me 30 minutes.
Want that permanent check list.
As always , I learn stuff when I watch your videos! I like to cleanup the counter top surfaces of the kitchen as a last thing daily before heading to bed. i.e. setup coffee pot etc, then lastly wipe down the counters.
That’s great to hear Thomas!!
Hi Melissa! I just discovered your web site in a Wiki how clip.
What I do to keep it going is this: I started an index box years ago with regular daily chores, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” Alternate weeks, and special monthly/bi-monthly/every six months items on those cards, and a special Holiday section. Even a card for birthdays so I know when to get a card in the mail. Each day, I pull a card and do what’s on it, then file it to the appropriate slot. Cards include desk days, days out with friends for lunch and running errands, and a day off for me to do whatever! My steno pad is a constant list tracking companion.
One of my daily things is to wash a load of laundry ( in at night, dry in the a.m. and put away.)Laundry stays pretty much done without dedicating a day to it. Finally, I do a light pick up/ put away before bedtime so I don’t feel overwhelmed upon rising in the morning to clutter. Also, get ready for the day, (make up, etc.) first thing in case a grand opportunity pops up! This system has worked for me for 45 years with some modifications. When I was raising children, some things were delegated to them. (I raised boys and I didn’t want them to feel they needed to marry to have a well-run house. You are right! I forget who said it, but “never have anything your home that isn’t beautiful and doesn’t bring you joy” is the best way to live.
My motto is “always leave a room more beautiful than when you entered it.”
Great advice, Mary! Thank you for sharing 🙂
I have A/C permanent filters that need thorough cleaning. What can I use for that? Thanks for all your helpful postings.
For a removable permanent filter, you can try scrubbing it with a little diluted dish detergent and a cleaning toothbrush. You should be able to cut the grime easily. Then, you can wipe the whole thing down with a wet cloth and put it back in place. Hope that helps!!
Thank you for these tips! Very doable everyday tasks which make cleaning less daunting.
I do something similar to the basket tip. I don’t do individual baskets for family member (Cause let’s face it, it would never get put away haha!) But I grab a box or laundry basket (As I have 5 of them lol!), go through each room and anything that doesn’t belong in that room goes into the box/basket. I set it aside for later that day/week/whenever I have time and then sort out the box to where things should be.
Also, while my kids are having a bath (Or shower), as they are old enough now to entertain themselves I will often fold and put away washing (Only in the rooms I can still see them from) or clean down my bathroom/toilet instead of sitting down watching them. I get so much done in that time and feel so much better that I haven’t “wasted time”.
While waiting for the jug to boil or toast to pop, I try to find something to do quickly like load as much of the dishwasher that I can in the time frame, clean down a bench or put a few things away
The best way though I find keeping on top of things is to have a checklist. I have a permanent list on my kitchen wall that I printed off and put in a photo frame. The glass acts like a clear white board so I cross off each thing everyday and can rub it off at the end of the week 🙂 (Or end of day for my daily jobs) Anything extra I need to do I write in a book and leave it on my kitchen counter, as I find time I will go through that list and try do something. Sometimes it takes me just a few days, sometimes it takes me a few months haha!
Love the checklist strategy!
Rachel, I would be very curious to know what is on your permanent checklist! Could you share ? Thx, 🙂
More good ideas! Thank you!
Thanks for watching!