After starting this cleaning service in Columbia, SC a few years ago, I’ve gotten the privilege of seeing how thousands of families right here in the Midlands live!
Now mind you, I was not studying clients’ habitats like a specimen in a study or anything. That’d actually be pretty creepy and weird!
But my exposure to so many people and households gave me a glimpse of how modern-day people and families live.
More importantly, what I’ve learned is that if you struggle to keep your home clean, the actual problem is – take a deep breath – you.
I know that sounds harsh but let me explain — you are simply working against yourself by not doing little things along the way. With anything, you want to work smarter not harder right? Of course, you do!
That’s why I made this mega list to help you get a cleaner house with less effort. By making simple swaps, implementing quick chores and stopping certain bad habits, you’ll be amazed by how easy it is to keep a clean house!
So without further delay, let’s run through this super-duper, handy-dandy, mega list of actionable ideas you can use to get a cleaner house today!
If you’ve ever moved, then you know what it’s like to start going through your stuff and realize how much of it is actually random crap that should have been thrown away a long time ago.
Every 3-4 months, make it a point to go from room to room looking for items to give away or trash. Important areas to purge include counters, drawers, closets and kitchen cabinets.
The true spirit of minimalism is simply having only what you need. Some people have made it technical & centered it on having a specific number of items in your home which is unnatural and in theory impossible – in my opinion.
So how do you embrace the spirit of minimalism?
Rule 1: Keep or purchase things that add value & happiness to your life.
Rule 2: Eliminate the things that simply take up space or no longer serve a purpose.
Rule 3: “Minimalism” should still be a reflection of your personality so keep it fun, unique and inspired.
Think of it this way – the fewer areas you use, the less you have to keep clean.
If you have 2 dining areas, work areas or gathering places in your home, try to use one area more often and leave the other untouched.
If you bought the cheapest broom possible, you are going to not only hate sweeping even more but spend more effort cleaning the floor than if you had bought at the better quality broom.
Some of the items you shouldn’t skimp on are the vacuum cleaner, trash bags, brooms, and floor mops.
And make sure you are buying floor tools that are appropriate for your size home.
There’s nothing worse than seeing someone use a 9-inch wide Swiffer mop on a 3,000 sq. ft. home.
Let’s face it, if you keep your toothbrush in the laundry room, would you really brush your teeth twice a day? I seriously doubt it. Location is everything!
Keep cleaning supplies for a specific area in that area.
For example, store your bathroom cleaning products in the bathroom. A good place may be under the sink but don’t forget gloves and a cleaning towel so that when you get the urge to clean, there’s nothing standing in your way.
Hack your cleaning efforts by building mini cleaning routines into your day. Sure it may feel like work at first, but eventually, it will become 2nd nature and your house will thank you for the TLC.
If you have a family, this is important: every one that lives in the space cleans!
No amount of activities, homework or attitude changes this requirement.
If there are 4 people in the home and everyone spends 15 minutes cleaning, that’s literally an hour worth of cleaning done in 15 minutes!
Tip: Grab a timer and really put the pressure on for everyone to finish their task and be ready for inspection in 15 minutes!
You’ve heard this before and it’s a smart one – buy furniture that will double as hidden storage or serve another useful purpose. The key here is to do more with less. Just remember extra storage is not for junk.
Keys, mail, random papers – where do they all go – create one designated area for these items to be placed as you enter the home.
Once you get settled in, go back and sort through everything to see what needs to be shredded and what needs your attention.
Plus keeping your keys in one area will save you a ridiculous about of time in the mornings on your way to work.
After you brush your teeth, wipe out the sink – it takes 5 seconds. Just finished eating? Go ahead and wash your bowl and spoon. You get it right?
The more you clean after yourself, the less you have to do later.
Wash, fold & put away in one day – no exceptions guys. Now on the bright side, you don’t have to do all of the laundry in one sitting. If you can only handle one load, then one load it is.
You never want to leave dishes in the sink overnight. Dried, stuck on food is hard to clean, and it leaves your sink smelly.
Oh, and bugs will eventually become hip to the fact that they can always find food in your sink – so not cool.
If you’re not already doing this, what are you waiting for!?!
Even if you have small children, when they spill something, grab some paper towel and sing the cleanup song. They’ll love it and become responsible human beings at the same time.
If you let your children have free reigns to your house, you will pay for it later.
Toys need to stay in a predefined toy area. Unless of course, you want your house to look like the children are in charge.
From food to diapers to lady products, trash cans are an obvious source of major odors.
Anyone that comes to your home will get a good strong whiff of whatever you’ve left brewing in your trash cans as soon as you open the front door if you’re not emptying trash cans on a daily basis. #Embarrassing
Tip 1: Keep trash bag liners in all of your trash cans, not just the one in the kitchen! Doing so will keep the actual trash can free of dirt and grime so that it looks clean as well as prevents odors from absorbing into the trash can’s surface.
Tip 2: When something spills in any of your trash cans, you must wipe it out! Especially in the kitchen. If your current trash can is too far gone, replace it with a new one but commit to keeping it clean inside and out,
I am guilty of indulging in a bowl of ice cream on the couch only to have the special moment ruined when I look down and see a big chocolate ice cream stain looking back at me. #BuzzKill
Don’t eat all over the house. If you are going to stray from the dining table, take precautions to ensure you prep the area so that accidents won’t ruin the rest of the evening.
Plus, repeatedly staining your sofas and carpets takes away from the nice clean cozy vibe you’re trying to create.
This rule is even more important if you have a family.
You’ll be stopping dirt, sand, and grime from being tracked all over the house which will shave minutes off your cleaning time.
Tip 1: Make sure the doorway does not turn into a mountain of shoes by either investing in a shoe rack or some other organization system.
Tip 2: Wear socks. This will help cut down on those oily footprints.
For an instant pick me up, set aside 20-30 minutes to vacuum your carpets and rugs.
When you see fresh carpet lines, the room immediately screams clean!
Vacuum high traffic areas daily if possible. Low traffic areas should be vacuumed weekly and unused areas of the home should be done on a monthly basis.
What really gets me going is seeing all the filth collected inside of my vacuum cleaner. I am always in disbelief at how much invisible dirt I walk over every day!
Grab a basket or a box and collect everything that is somewhere it doesn’t belong! Think of this as an intensely rapid decluttering session.
Take the pillows on your sofas and beat them together like tambourines! This will put a little life back into worn down pillows and make the sofa more inviting.
Blankets in the living room are pretty popular but they can make a room look messy if not placed properly. Either hide your blankets or fold them.
If you are not the best decorator, simply straighten objects so that they are lined up – think of a military formation. It’s pleasing to the eye.
Wherever your guest will be going are the floors you’ll want to target.
Typically the living room and guest bathroom at a minimum.
It’s super quick and easy to do yet makes a lasting impression!
Squirt some product, swish your toilet brush and you’re all done! If you have time, grab a cleaning towel and be sure to wipe off the seat and around the hinges. Now the bathroom will look better & smell a lot cleaner.
Again, this is to tackle the odors you have gone nose blind to. The hot spots will be the kitchen and guest bathroom.
Grab a laundry basket or box to temporarily store the misplaced items you find.
You’ll need a high duster for this one. You’ll be surprised at how much dust you’ll find when you look up! Once those high areas are done, you can concentrate on the furniture.
Alright, now is the time to make sure everything looks picture perfect!
Tip: If you’re not a great decorator, straight lines always work.
Collect trash from around the entire house. Do not forget to carry replacement liners.
Grab paper towel, cleaner, and a toilet bowl brush – spray that baby down from top to bottom, inside and out, and then proceed to wipe her clean!
When you clean the floors, start in the corners and along the baseboards.
Why? Because the eye is naturally drawn to those places meaning you’ll see dirt and dust there first. And because those are often the most neglected areas of the floor.
You always want to have a time limit & a plan so that you can pace yourself.
I’ve seen so many people spend the day cleaning only to realize they didn’t actually clean anything – that’s demotivating for anyone!
Tip: Set a timer for 30-minute intervals so that you push yourself to get in and out of the areas you are cleaning. Yeh, you may sweat a little but who said you were supposed to be cute while cleaning?
Because there is an endless number of tasks you can complete when cleaning, you need to make a hit list of the things you want to clean in that 3-5 hour block.
For example, decide that the two things you want to do are dust the entire house and clean all the bathrooms today.
Do not start cleaning out the closets – that is not on the task list for today. You’re supposed to be dusting.
Do not jump back and forth from cleaning bathrooms to dusting and back to cleaning bathrooms. Either dust all the rooms or clean all the bathrooms first.
The completion of one task in its entirety will be a huge morale booster and help push you along to your next task.
Music. Bet you weren’t expecting that were you?
Seriously, a little music will supercharge your cleaning session so that the time literally flies by and you’ll be done cleaning before you know it.
You’ll be dusting and twisting and dipping and before you know it, you’re all done – it works like magic. Trust me!
I’d recommend wireless headphones or a Bluetooth speaker for this one. The wired headphones become a nuisance after a while and may slow you down.
Now you won’t believe this but you don’t actually have to make the bed if you don’t want to.
Just straighten the blanket and top sheet out a bit and then fold them back towards the end of the bed. Smooth out the fitted sheet, fluff the pillows and be on your way.
But if I’m not mistaken, making your bed is one the habits of highly successful people so let’s get to it!
The night-stand has a tendency to turn into the upside-down if we don’t keep it clean. Remove trash, take dishes to the kitchen and straighten the other items on the night-stand surface.
If you didn’t plan your outfit the night before, that’s ok. Once you find your winning outfit, be sure to gather all of the clothing that didn’t make the cut and neatly place them in one area.
If you have time to hang them up or put them away, do so, but if not, you know what you’ll need to do when you return home.
Coming home to wet towels on the floor is not very welcoming. Hang them up in the morning after your shower so that they can dry properly and keep the floor clutter-free.
Don’t huff – it has to be done at some point. While you’re making coffee, start unloading the dishwasher. When you come home in the evening, you’ll be so glad you have one less thing to do!
This one hack will save you so much time!
When something finishes cooking, go ahead and move it from the pot into some glassware or plasticware – then wash the pot!
As each item you’re cooking finishes, repeat the process. Oh and if you didn’t empty the dishwasher this morning, now’s the time to do it.
Ok so how often should you really vacuum? To answer that question, I have to ask you another question.
How many people are in the house?
Whatever that number is tells you how many times per week you should vacuum high traffic areas. So if you have 4 people in your home, the high traffic areas should be vacuumed 4 times a week.
Easy peasy right?!
And of course for low traffic areas, once per week should be just fine.
It is very easy to forget to start the dishwasher so make it a point to always start the dishwasher at the same time every day.
Make sure you are not putting dishes with food on them in the dishwasher! That’s a one-way ticket to a clog and Stinkville!
Ok, this is a tip you’ve heard but it’s a powerful one a lot of people don’t make use of for some reason.
Planning in the evening gives you the early morning win you need to coast throughout the day.
Not only that, now you don’t have to worry about clothes being everywhere and you have time to focus on other important tasks – like making the perfect cup of coffee!
But even if you don’t have time to plan your outfits, at least do the following: scrub your schedule to see what’s on the agenda for tomorrow, meal prep, locate your purse, car keys and any other items you’ll need when you head off in the morning.
I know you’re tired after a long day at work but when you take off your work clothes, put them in the appropriate place – not the floor.
Once it’s time to shut the house down for the evening, let’s take the trash out so that we can start fresh in the morning.
Something must be cleaned in the bathroom each day in order to keep it from going to sugar honey iced tea…
No more towels left on the floors or on the sinks. If it needs to be washed, place it in a hamper, otherwise, hang it up.
A lot goes on in this spot – it only takes 10 seconds to scrub away any evidence you were ever there.
If it’s in the shower, you can easily spray and wipe down surfaces when you hop in!
If you don’t clean the shower even with the shower cleaner in the shower, you might be a lost cause. I’m sorry.
Hair is like a gift and a curse! And while we’d all prefer to keep our hair on our heads, unfortunately, quite a bit can be found on the bathroom floor graveyard.
Keep a small vacuum cleaner close by to remove hair but here’s a mega tip – vacuum the hair before you get into the shower or get the floor wet. Wet hair is almost impossible to clean up!
Shake them out regularly, vacuum them if possible and replace them when needed.
You’ll free up so much space by getting rid of old and expired products.
Plus you get a chance to take inventory of what you have and I’ll be you have some great anti-wrinkle creams that have been waiting to kiss your face!
If you use bar soap, you’re making your life harder than it has to be! If you wonder where the thick film in your shower is coming from, that’s the main culprit.
Ditch the bar for liquid ASAP! You’ll thank me later.
Just another handy tool to make cleanup a lot quicker and easier.
No matter how clean you are, mold and mildew do not discriminate – it loves warm, wet places and unfortunately, your shower is the perfect escape!
To stop it, buy a mold inhibitor and treat your shower regularly. Another alternative: if you have a few seconds to spare, wipe surfaces dry in the shower.
Yes, I know you will be rushing in the morning, but if you can take just 5 seconds, grab a paper towel and wipe out excess toothpaste. Doing this on a daily basis will help keep your sink from turning into a bowl of grossness.
If your counters have lots of loose items, there’s a strong possibility that things can get a little unsightly from time to time. Plus, it can make cleanup difficult.
The solution: get a basket and throw that junk in there. You can then store the basket on the counter if there’s space or under the sink.
Remember from earlier, we no longer leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight – right? Come on, stick with me.
Unless you’re in a college frat house, you should not be leaving food and dirty dishes in the sink overnight. It’s unsightly, it leads to odors, critters, and extra elbow grease when you finally do decide to clean the dishes.
The contents of your fridge are like an expression of your life. If you look inside and realize it’s a mess, you’ve got some work to do my friend!
Keeping your fridge clean will reduce random odors, help you stay on your food plan and make you feel good in general.
Do not leave dirty dish towels or sponges filled with food and grease balled up on your sink.
Rinse them out so that they are clean, fold them and hang them on the sink to dry – or just place in the hamper if they are too far gone.
Another major source of odor is the garbage disposal. Sometimes food will just be sitting in there so be sure to actually run the disposal every day to clear out food.
When you clean dishes off in the sink, give the entire area a good rinsing to ensure food does not have the chance to become hardened and difficult to clean.
Tip: Keep a scour sponge close by to easily scrub the area clean.
Carpeted surfaces in a kitchen hold on to everything from grease to odors. The best way to clean them is to wash them regularly.
But most of us don’t have time to do that so let’s just swap the carpeted mats for a rubber mat that can easily be wiped clean.
So much happens the kitchen! Just look at the floor – every time someone goes in the kitchen, a crumb is left to commemorate the experience!
You should sweep the kitchen floor every day and mop it weekly at a minimum.
There is so much crap on the kitchen floor so by not cleaning it regularly, you’re just spreading the crumbs & gunk throughout the entire house.
And making more work for yourself.
One of my secrets to keeping a clean oven is a pumice stone.
When I need to do a light cleaning, I just use that stone and in 1-2 minutes, the oven is perfectly clean without the use of heavy fumes or lots of scrubbing.
Whether you’re going to do all of the laundry on Saturdays or dedicate Tuesdays & Thursdays to this task, having a routine will definitely keep your laundry under control.
Towels are bulky so they take up a lot of space in the hamper!
Keep a separate hamper just for towels because even though they take up a lot of space, they are super easy to wash, fold and put away compared to clothing.
Let’s have a moment of truth here – have you ever smelled your workout clothes? Do it once and you’ll never wait to wash your gym clothes again.
Wash workout clothing or sports uniforms as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the stronger they’ll smell.
Dryer sheets, the lint from the lint trap and all the other weird little things you find in the laundry room need to be placed in the trash can.
If it’s normal to have powder spilled everywhere in your laundry room, you have a few choices: live with powder spilled everywhere or you can switch to pods which are 100% mess free.
And of course, liquid detergent works but you have to be sure to keep the outside of the bottle clean.
When you clean the kitchen, take a detour to the laundry room and wipe off your appliances from time to time.
When you take time to actually look at the doors of your washer and dryer, you’ll probably be shocked at how dirty they really are.
Very few people take time to make sure the laundry room floor is cleaned and maintained but do not forget this area.
Often, people do not think to clean this area until the home is listed for sale.
But after years and years of neglect, it’s often so difficult to clean that sellers have to make concessions for it.
This is the biggest list of genius tips you’ll find to help you keep your home clean so if you found this list useful, I’d love it if you share this with your friends! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links so I want you to know I only link to products I use personally or professionally. Your support is most appreciated!