Cleaning habits don’t come easily to everyone. In fact, I’d say it’s actually quite difficult for some people (like me!) We’ve put together 12 simple habits you can start developing today that will change your home life forever.
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After my kids were born, it became extra important to me to keep a clean home. But having a tidy home on a regular basis seemed almost impossible.
I tried sticking to cleaning schedules but it felt like the amount of cleaning time I put in just kept increasing each day. I knew I needed to figure out how to focus on the little things that made a big difference but I just wasn’t sure how to do that.
It wasn’t until I learned about creating simple habits for cleaning our home that it started feeling a bit more manageable.
When trying to tackle a big problem, sometimes it’s better not to jump in headfirst. Breaking the problem down into simple tasks that feel more manageable is a great way to get started without feeling overwhelmed.
If you focus your energy on creating cleaning habits for the daily tasks that have a tendency to pile up, you’ll almost naturally create a much cleaner house! You just need to create some routine habits that will keep the mess at bay.
We’ve put together a list of 12 daily habits that you can work through this year to help you get your house clean and keep it that way.
Although you can work on these habits simultaneously, we suggest focusing on only one habit each month. Once that habit is a solid part of your daily routine, move on to the next one.
These habits are meant to create a naturally cleaner home in the long run with less of your time focused on cleaning tasks. They won’t replace occasional deep cleaning but they’ll make your house feel a lot less messy and dirty on a regular basis.
1. Rinse and Wash Dishes Immediately
Having a clean kitchen gives you the space you need to work at the table or prepare meals for your family. Dirty dishes play a huge role in how clean or messy your kitchen feels.
So rather than letting the sink fill up with dirty dishes before you begrudgingly spend twenty minutes putting them in the dishwasher, just start washing them immediately.
That also means putting away clean dishes as soon as the dishwasher’s cycle ends. This way, you can rinse your next dish and add it to the dishwasher right away.
If you’re running a dish cycle and can’t load a dish, do a quick hand wash. It’ll only take a moment, and you’ll thank yourself later!
2. Do a 5-Minute Kitchen Clean up After Every Meal
Once you’ve got the dishes under control, it’s time to move on to keeping up with the rest of the kitchen.
Since the biggest messes in the kitchen come from mealtime, you should make it a point to go through a 5-minute clean-up routine after every meal.
You aren’t looking to achieve a super thorough deep clean but simply clear and wipe the table, counters, stove, and microwave. Put your dishes in the dishwasher and wipe the sink. Then do a quick sweep on the floor if needed.
Keep in mind that you will get faster as you move through the routine more often.
3. Vacuum/Mop Your Living Spaces Daily
A friend of mine gave me one of the best cleaning tips: “If you keep the floors clean, the entire house automatically looks cleaner.”
If you’ve already built the 5-minute kitchen tidy habit then you’re already taking care of the floor in that space. But there is probably at least one more space that could use a regular floor cleaning.
For me, I like to sweep or vacuum in the living room, family room, bathrooms, and hallway. I don’t mop every hard floor every day. But typically I use our steam mop to do a spot clean wherever necessary.
When setting up this routine, you may want to think about when it would make the most sense for you to complete this task. First thing in the morning? Right before bed?
Or perhaps it would make the most sense to do each room at different times. Perhaps you add the living room floor to your kitchen routine. But the family room and bathrooms get done at a different time of day.
4. Do a 10-Minute Living Space Tidy Before Bed
By this point, your house should be feeling cleaner on a pretty regular basis. But things do tend to accumulate in certain spaces throughout the day.
That’s nothing that a quick 10-minute living space tidy can’t solve. To get started on this one, you’ll want to figure out which space is your primary living space. For us, this would be our living room.
Each night after the kids have gone to bed for the night, I clean and wipe all the surfaces and pick up any toys they’ve left behind. I fold throw blanket and toss out any trash that didn’t make it to the can.
I personally like to add my floor cleaning for this space to this routine but that’s up to you!
The whole process should take between 5 and 10 minutes once you establish a good routine and having a clean house at the end of the day has a way of making your sleep just a bit more restful.
5. Pick Up Misplaced Laundry Every Time You See It
This habit doesn’t require a routine as much as a general awareness.
Every time you enter a room where laundry tends to get left lying around, do a quick scan and pick up clothing items that didn’t make it to the laundry basket.
Whether it’s a hoodie they took off at dinner time, socks they took off on the couch, or just the clothes that didn’t make it into the hamper at bath time, kids have a tendency to leave clothes everywhere.
Of course, the best-case scenario would be for everyone to clean up after themselves but for the sake of your sanity, let’s focus on the things in your immediate control for the moment.
Your goal here is simply to become very aware of misplaced laundry so that you can pick it up and put it away. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about those baskets of clean laundry you never folded. That’s a habit for another month.
But if you pulled a shirt out of your drawer and then changed your mind. Put it away.
If you find a random sock, drop it in the hamper.
6. Wash/Fold/Put Away Laundry Daily
This one is easy to put off. It’s so tempting to let the baskets of laundry go untouched for one more day, maybe even two.
I like to toss a load of laundry in the wash every single morning. I’ll be honest, unless I’m dealing with brightly colored items that may bleed, I just throw all clothes in together.
Towels, blankets, washcloths go in a separate load about once a week. To make sure my colors don’t bleed, I just use a water softener and a detergent that’s made to protect colors.
The hardest part of this routine is putting the clothes away. But putting clothes away as soon as they come out of the dryer is one of the best laundry hacks ever.
Before long, you’ll start to realize that one basket of clothes at a time isn’t all that bad. Plus, it can give you a nice little break to watch something or listen to an audiobook!
7. Do a 5-Minute Bedroom Reset Every Morning
After you’ve mastered the habits above, your main living spaces should be feeling tidier on a regular basis. Now it’s time to move on to the areas that are less visible but still affect you personally.
Specifically, your bedroom. Having a clean bedroom just makes the day feel more doable. So taking a few minutes after you get out of bed to clear and wipe your nightstands, make your bed and pick up any random items that are lying around the room is well worth it.
If you do this every morning as soon as your feet hit the floor, it will become so natural that it won’t even feel like cleaning after a while. Like most cleaning habits, it’s about being aware of the things that accumulate BEFORE they accumulate.
8. Do a 5-Minute Bathroom Tidy Every Morning
After you finish up your bedroom tidy, you’ll probably head straight to the bathroom. Most people do!
So after you’ve done your typical morning routine in there, just do a quick tidy up by wiping down the bathroom sink, giving the toilet bowl a quick scrub, wipe down the seat and the tank with a disposable cleaning wipe or a paper towel.
Trust me, having a clean bathroom every day is well worth a few short minutes of cleaning effort in the morning.
Disposable products do make this room much easier to clean, but if you’d rather stick to reusables, just be sure that you keep a large enough stack on hand that you won’t run out before you run a load through your wash.
9. Clean the Shower and Mirrors Daily (The Easy Way)
The shower and the mirrors are quick and easy to clean if you do it each day when you shower.
Just before getting out of the shower, use a dish wand filled with your preferred cleaner to give the shower a quick once over. The showerhead will easily rinse away the cleaner.
The mirrors will already be fogged up from your shower so simply run a squeegee over them for a quick clean. You can also run the squeegee over the shower walls after rinsing if you prefer a more polished look
10 Recycle Mail/Papers Immediately
Piles of paper have a way of making any house look messy. But there seems to be a constant influx of them.
Between the mail, newspapers, and schoolwork we have a lot of paper products to contend with on a daily basis. We’ve made a habit of tossing out most papers as soon as they come through the door.
With the exception of a few special school projects, we generally just recycle all schoolwork, newspapers, and advertisements.
As far as bills and other important papers, we use the HP Smart app in conjunction with our wireless printer to store these digitally.
A quick snap of a picture and you can drop the paper copy into the recycling bin as well. If you do most of your banking on your phone, then all you really need to do is take a picture and store it somewhere where it won’t get deleted.
As a side note: If you still receive paper correspondence from any of your billing companies that offer paperless options, then you may just want to take a few minutes to sign up.
11. Declutter One Surface, Drawer, or Cabinet Daily
If your home is already clutter-free, then feel free to skip this one. But most of us have a few junk drawers and messy closets that need to be dealt with.
Fortunately, decluttering doesn’t have to be a big task or take a lot of time. If you focus on small spaces rather than large spaces, you’ll likely end up making more progress overall.
Try to take a few minutes every day (or at least once per week) to declutter a space that’s become a catch-all. But when you’re thinking about spaces, try to narrow your focus to something that’s doable within fifteen minutes or less.
You’ll also want to start with the areas that are most visible or make your life more difficult. So if there’s a stand or a table or a basket that’s become a bit of an eye-sore, start there.
If your bathroom closet is always a mess and makes it difficult to find things, declutter one shelf each day this week.
12. Do a 5-Minute Fridge Tidy Every Day
The inside of your fridge may not be something your guests will see. But if it’s a mess, it can definitely make your life more difficult.
Getting in the habit of doing a quick tidy inside the fridge each day can be a real game-changer.
Find a time that makes sense for you to peek in the fridge and clear out leftovers and outdated foods. Make sure you check your vegetable bins and meat drawers because they tend to get pretty gross when foods are left over.
Personally, I like to do this while I’m cooking. At mealtimes, there’s almost always a waiting period while a pot boils or while a casserole is cooking. This is just the right amount of time to do a fridge tidy.
Tips for Successfully Building Good Cleaning Habits
Making up your mind to create a new habit is the first battle. But everyone knows that sticking to a habit is even trickier. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help yourself stay focused until you’ve solidified your new routines.
Get the Whole Family Involved
keeping a house clean is easiest if everyone who lives there gets involved with the cleaning. Even the youngest of children can start learning how to pick up after themselves, put away their laundry, and do small cleaning tasks. For example, many young kids will love spraying walls with water and wiping them down.
Older kids and teens can do so many things to help around the house. From sweeping and mopping floors to loading and unloading dishwashers, to doing their own laundry. We typically try to get our older kids involved with as many of the household tasks as possible to even out the workload, teach them responsibility, and ensure that they have the skills they’ll need when they eventually move out.
Keep Basic Cleaning Supplies Close to Where You Use Them
One of the biggest reasons that people don’t clean regularly is that the cleaning supplies aren’t easily accessible in the room where you’ll be using them. Having to go all the way downstairs to grab a cleaning spray hugely impacts your productivity.
But if you intentionally put together a cleaning caddy with the right cleaning products for each room (or at least for each level) you’ll find it’s a lot easier to get monotonous cleaning tasks done in less time.
Use a Smart Speaker to Remind You About Irregular Tasks
Not every cleaning habit is one that you need to do regularly. So if you have a bad habit of forgetting to do things that are weekly or monthly tasks, try setting up recurring reminders with your smart speaker.
These days, our smart speaker is an absolute household staple because it makes our lives so much easier and now, we rarely ever forget to take the trash to the curb on pickup day!
Grab a Habit Tracker to keep track of your success!
If you’re really serious about building habits, then tracking your progress is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Grab our free printable habit tracker and start moving the needle towards a cleaner home.
Jodi and her husband Wil live in rural Pennsylvania with their three children. A teacher by trade and a life-long learner at heart, Jodi pivoted her career to work from home when her twin boys were born. Since then, she has founded 2 websites and assisted in the development of many more.