A simple daily cleaning routine that focuses on easy maintenance! These are the eight things I do every day, and help answer the question of how to keep your house clean & tidy!
Oh, how I love having a clean home. But life is crazy busy, and there are always a million things to do all of the time, and it can be tricky to keep up on housework. Whether you work out of the home or in the home, to-do lists and responsibilities can be a mile long, and you might feel like you just don’t have time to do what needs to be done.
The past two years have been especially difficult, as I know have been for pretty much everyone. All my kids were home from school for nearly two school years, and during that time I was also working from home and in school full-time. It was incredibly busy, and with all of us home, the house got dirtier so much faster! But this method worked, and worked well, and my house stayed clean.
Now that my kids are back in school, it’s actually easier to keep the house clean, because it’s empty all day long! I work from home, and I’m still in school, so my time is limited during the day, but this routine is totally doable. And because no one is home to dirty it during the day, I don’t need as much time at night, or even the next day to maintain the cleanliness.
Years ago, I developed a method that really worked for me to keep my house clean, and I’ve been able to maintain it through six kids, working, staying home, and now working from home and in school full time. I’ve found that I can just maintain a clean house, the daily chores just don’t take as long, so I can fit a lot more in. There are seven things that I do on a daily basis, and those things can help you keep a clean house in just about an hour a day!
I don’t always do everything in one straight hour–most of the time it’s some in the morning and some in the evening–but the great thing about these things is that they can be done any time of the day or night, based on your personal circumstances. Except making your bed…it really makes the most sense to do that in the morning!
1. Make your bed
I make my bed every single morning, no matter what. It actually takes me less than five minutes, but you might have a lot more pillows than me. :) It completely changes the look of my room when my bed is made, and it sets the tone for the day. It’s amazing how much that one little thing will do! I love a made bed, and all my kids have to make their beds before leaving for school or having breakfast. I help the little ones, and teach them how to do it, and it’s their very first regular chore.
2. Open and file mail and school papers
Paper is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to clutter, and keeping on top of it is key to keeping a clean home. I go through the mail every day, and put it where it goes. Junk mail gets shredded, and all other mail is filed for later use. I keep a mini command center on my kitchen counter that has files for bills, school and medical items, coupons, and more. Since I do it often, it doesn’t take long just to do what I receive each day. I do the same with school papers that come home…they can really add up!
Keeping your sink and counter clean will make a world of difference for your kitchen, and will help your whole house look cleaner at the same time! To keep up on dishes, we have a “no sink” rule. Dirty dishes immediately go into the dishwasher. My kids can do that themselves, even the little ones with a little help. We run the dishwasher each night, and then they are put away in the morning. (Our kids take turns on rotation.) I take a few minutes to wash larger pots and pans by hand, but it usually doesn’t take long.
Putting them away in the morning takes less than 10 minutes–and adding them to the dishwasher throughout the day takes just seconds! Make it a habit to wipe off the counters after every meal. I use a spray and rag to make sure everything is super clean after making meals. Clean-up at each meal doesn’t take that long, and much faster than letting it add up than having to catch up. I also multi-task when I’m in the kitchen, and keep appliances like the refrigerator and stove wiped down as I use them. Just a few seconds keeps the kitchen looking clean.
4. Quick sweep
I’m going to be honest, I sweep a lot during the day. A clean kitchen floor makes a big difference, so I sweep after each meal, and then as necessary. I’ve actually timed it on several occasions—when we were living in a large home, and now that we are in temporary housing while our new house is being built. In both cases, it was literally just a couple of minutes to sweep up the floor. Even if you just do it once a day, either in the morning or at night, keeping up on it will really pay off, and it won’t take you long at all. I recently invested in a robot vacuum after looking at them forever, and I’ve loved it so far. I set it to sweep at night, and mop in the morning! But I spent years sweeping the floor on my own, and it was one of the top things I did every day to maintain a clean house in just a few minutes.
5. House pick-up
This one is key—and one that I do religiously. This is a job for the whole family, and when you work together, it gets done in no time. Don’t do this alone–it takes more than one person to mess it up, and it should take more than person to clean it up. Something that’s worked for me is to have a buddy system for my kids–they are each assigned an area of the house to pick up (we rotate through the areas–family room, living room, playroom, etc.). Each night before dinner, everyone cleans up their area, and in ten minutes or less, the house is picked up.
I’m also very strict on them picking up after themselves throughout the day–no shoes, coats, papers or backpacks left out–so it’s usually just toys or random household items. I also do this during the day, and consistently pick up and put things away where they go. It’s worth the few seconds it takes, because it will save much more than that later. I make sure countertops and other surfaces are cleaned off–and since I do this throughout the day it doesn’t take very long. My kids also pick up their room each night, placing dirty clothes in the hamper, and picking up any toys and books. Having baskets and places for storage will make this go even faster, because it will so much easier to know where things go.
6. Load of laundry
I realize some of you may prefer to have a “laundry day” and do all the laundry in one day. That’s totally okay–whatever works best for you! I just can’t do that–I have to do some every day, because if I don’t, I feel like I am drowning in laundry. There just isn’t one day of the week that I have time to spend all day doing laundry, even on the weekend. With six kids, I do A LOT of laundry, so I like to spread it out during the week. I do at least one load a day, and for me, it’s usually two or three. (I have a whole laundry system, but that’s another post for another day. :) ) I don’t count the time it takes to throw it in the washing machine and dryer, because that’s just seconds. It’s the darn folding that takes time, and I can fold one load in about ten minutes.
7. 30-second bathrooms wipe-down
I keep Clorox wipes in each bathroom, and every day I do a 30-second quick wipe down. That’s it–30 seconds, but it makes ALL the difference! I use one on the sink and bathroom counter, and another on the toilet. If I notice something in the shower, I’ll quickly wipe that down too. When I’m ready to scrub the bathrooms for the week, it goes so fast, because they’ve been wiped down every day.
8. Extra chore
This is the wild card. It helps you keep up on what needs to be done during the week to really keep your house clean. For example:
- mopping the floor
- vacuuming the house
- cleaning a bathroom
- wiping down the kitchen cabinets
- cleaning out the fridge or freezer
- organizing the pantry
- wiping off fingerprints from light switches and doorknobs
- cleaning baseboards
- taking out the trash
- organizing the laundry room, etc.
Make a list of the extra chores that need to be done during the week, and then cross one off each day. Ten minutes is all you need for most chores. Sometimes even less, especially if you are maintaining the basics.
These eight things are great for during the week, and then on the weekend you can delve into anything else that needs to be done. But I promise, if every day you’re sweeping, and wiping counters off and keeping up on the dishes, filing all the papers, and all the other things you listed, your Saturday and weekly cleaning schedule will be a piece of cake! You won’t be scrubbing up a week’s worth of dirt and grime, you won’t be filing a stack of papers, and you won’t be digging yourself out from a pile of laundry. It really does make life so much easier, and happier too.
TIP: You’ll need to start this method from a clean home, since it’s based on maintaining. Spend the time to clean it from top to bottom, and then you’ll be able to spend much less time keeping that way!
I find that our home runs more smoothly, I’m SO much happier, and our whole family is happier when our house is clean, and it provides a calming influence that we really need to keep order and the chaos to a minimum. It’s also easier for me to organize the rest of my life, when the space around me is clean and organized. It just makes such a difference in that way, as well as teaching my kids to take care of their space and to be responsible and self-reliant.
My kids all have chores, and they help contribute to keeping a clean house. You can read all about why they have chores, what they are, and check out the age-appropriate chores guideline I have and follow. This also helps them to understand how we all need to work together to keep our home clean, and that we are each responsible for not only contributing to the mess, but cleaning it up too!
Happy cleaning! You’ve totally got this!