Over the years we’ve gone through countless tips and tricks concerning how to clean, declutter and take care of various items throughout the home. Some of these tips are very specialized, while others are more broad in nature. That got us to thinking, if we had to come up with a top 10 list for cleaning, what would be on it? Well, without further ado, let’s answer that question and give you the top 10 rules for a cleaner home!
Rule #10: Clean For 10 Minutes Every Day
We’re in the throes of a crazy winter storm right now. It’s cold, it’s snowy, and our house is feeling the effects of this as well. When you come into our front hall, there’s salt, dried boot prints and remnants of other dirt tracked in from the outdoors. As much as we try to contain it, it still manages to get everywhere. This has resulted in Chad and I spending a few minutes each day cleaning the entryway floors. This has been making a big difference! The takeaway here is to spend 10 minutes each day and focus on what’s most important in your house. Clean, declutter or organize the area that really needs it most. Because, if you can give even the smallest amount of time to something, it will keep your space looking cleaner and more beautiful.
Rule #9: Everything Has a Place
Everything has a place and if it doesn’t have a place it means that you probably don’t need it. If you notice that there’s something that’s homeless really consider whether you need it or not. If you do, find a home for it and make sure it stays there. If you don’t, it’s time to move on from it.
Rule #8: Make Your Bed Every Morning
The simple 90-second act of making your bed each and every day has a huge impact on the way you feel about your room, about your space, and about going to sleep each night. It is often said that not only is making your bed a great way for you to become more motivated throughout the day because you get one little task done first thing in the morning, but it also allows you to come home and feel relaxed. When you come into your bedroom after a long day you don’t feel a sense of disarray, instead, you have a sense of order and cleanliness.
Rule #7: Clean Your Bedroom Every Night
Start your day by making your bed, and end it by making sure that the bedroom is clean and tidy. This doesn’t mean a 20-minute cleaning routine, if you can spend 3 or 4 minutes picking things up off the floor, straightening up some sirfaces—just these 3 minutes will make such a big difference in your bedroom (if done daily). This way, when you wake up in the morning, you’re waking up to a (fairly) clean space. It’s a fact: your brain prefers a clean and serene space, so take that little time to make a big difference.
Rule #6: Have A Way Station
Especially with a new member of our family coming very soon, keeping our house as clutter free as possible has been an increasingly important priority. Chad and I have a way station in our home where we take anything that we don’t really need anymore. We put that item in the way station bin and we just leave it there. If we need it, we’ll go back and we’ll get it. However, in the vast majority of cases we find that we don’t need that item, so when the bin fills up we donate, recycle or throw it away. This has been such a freeing practice.
Rule #5: Clean the Kitchen After Every Meal
I consider the kitchen to be one of my MIAs or Most Important Areas, which is why keeping it clean is a priority for me. I spend so much time in here that if things start to get a little gross, I find I don’t want to cook, so I stop bringing my lunch to work or I may skip breakfast—all bad habits! With this in mind, I’ve made it a rule to clean up as much as possible after each use. Whether it’s just a few crumbs on the counter, or a full on scrub down—dishes, pots, pans, backsplash—whatever it takes, get it done.
Rule #4: Live With Less
The whole minimalist living thing has definitely been a trend over the past couple of years. And while Chad and I aren’t on the end of the scale where we have four things in each room, we have definitely managed to substantially pare things down in our house. If you have less stuff in your home, it means less clutter, less to clean, ultimately less landfill, and you can really enjoy the items that you do have. We have a great video on this which covers some of the starting points we implemented in our own home, and I can say with certainty, that we do prefer this new lifestyle.
Rule #3: Everyone Should Pitch In
Clearly, you’re not going to ask your 3-year-old to unload the dishwasher, but each family member should be participating in taking care of the home to the best of their abilities. If you haven’t had this conversation with everyone in your house yet, this is a really important conversation to have. Talking about scheduling, frequency, age-appropriate tasks, and also setting common goals so everyone can feel better about the space they live in. The responsibility cannot fall on just one person’s shoulders. If you live in the house, it’s your responsibility to take care of it too.
Rule #2: Let It Evolve
365 days is a significant time span. Our lives change (yes, we’re having a baby!), our living spaces change, and of course, seasons also change! You better believe that your cleaning routine will be constantly changing too! What makes sense to focus on in the winter, or when your kids are in school, may not make sense a few months later. Always be on the lookout for ways to change things up—whatever makes sense for your family, your situation and your current needs—change your cleaning routine accordingly. Spinning your wheels trying to stick to someone else’s cleaning routine, or a single inflexible cleaning routine, is a huge waste of time. Bottom line, let your cleaning routine change and evolve to match your life, your needs, and your unique circumstances.
Rule #1: Clean Up Messes Immediately
If I were to write a cleaning Bible the first line would be: “Mess begets mess”. If you make a mess, no matter the size, leaving it unattended only attracts more mess. So, whenever you make a mess, you want to clean it up as quickly as possible. Right away is ideal. If your space is clean, you’re more encouraged to keep it clean. Alternatively, if you have little messes everywhere, a little bit more here or there doesn’t make much of a difference. Before you know it, your space has fallen into complete disarray. Even on a smaller scale, say you drop a little dab of toothpaste in your sink, yes, you could leave it—but it’s such a small thing! Spend the 3 seconds to wipe it up and move on with your day. Take care of the little things and the bigger things will take care of themselves.