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The secret to keeping a clean home is little tasks that you need to do every day. These daily habits will ensure your home is neat and clean all week long!

Daily habits for a clean and neat house

A clean house is important not only because it looks better, but because it’s better for our mental health.

Not only that, but our children learn what they see. While they may seem like little slobs now, when they are adults they will remember the good habits their role models taught them such as how to keep a clean and organized house, pick up after themselves and generally take care of a home.

Just like we teach our kids good manners, the right types of foods to eat and how to interact with others, we must teach them how to clean up after themselves and keep their spaces tidy.

“A study led by associate professor NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses.” – Psychology Today

There’s really no secret and no magical hacks that give you a clean house (although I do have some spring cleaning hacks that make certain tasks easier!). You really just need to get into a routine and do small daily tasks on a regular basis. It might sound daunting, but I’ve broken down the tasks for you in the easiest way.

This is exactly what I do to keep a tidy home, while working and taking care of 3 kids, so I know you can do it, too!

1. Make Your Bed Every Morning

One of the best ways to kickstart your day is to make your bed. As soon as you get up and out of bed, make the bed. It’s a small and quick task that will start your day off on the right note.

Woman making a bed.

Train your kids to do this, too. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your 3 year old to simply keep a made bed by straightening up their comforter once they get up in the morning.

Kids actually love doing these “adult” tasks and it helps them feel like contributing family members! Plus, if you get them into the habit at an early age, when they actually want to do it, you’ll have much less of a struggle when they are teenagers and will be so used to doing it that it’s second nature!

2. Unload the Dishwasher First Thing in the Morning

While your coffee is brewing, unload the dishwasher. Load items into the dishwasher after every meal and run the dishwasher after dinner or right before bed.

A clean kitchen will make a huge difference in how your entire home feels. It just takes a couple of minutes to get those dishes out of the kitchen sink and into the dishwasher!

3. Check Your Mail Every Day

File what needs your attention and throw out or recycle what you don’t need. Do not let mail build up on the counter.

Mail, bills, store flyers, catalogs, and school papers arrive into the home constantly. Simply setting them aside leads to a pile taking over the kitchen counters.

When something comes in, open it and deal with it immediately. Recycle flyers and catalogs that you don’t want, sort through mail and file what needs attention in a certain spot (I have a spot on my desk so that I remember to pay my bills) and organize school papers.

By dealing with everything as it comes in, you won’t be left with a stack of papers and envelopes that leave you feeling overwhelmed…especially when it keeps growing and growing!

4. Do One Load of Laundry Every Day

Start the wash cycle first thing in the morning so that you have time to get everything washed, dried, folded and put away.

Woman holding a load of laundry

This one has been a game-changer for me, personally. I was a notorious once-every-week laundry doer until last year, when I realized that with 3 kids, doing 4-5 loads of dirty laundry in one day was impossible.

Sure, it would all make it into the washing machine and dryer – but then it would sit (clean!) in a laundry basket for another full week until I got around to folding it and putting it away.

Washed and folded laundry on top of laundry room counter

Sometimes it would get to the point where instead of taking clean clothes out of our dressers, we were getting them out of the hamper.

That’s not a good example for me to be setting for my kids and certainly not a great way to be keeping our bedrooms free of clutter!

If you have kids home with you, this is one of those little things to have them help with. I taught my 5 year old how to fold his clothes and put them away in his drawers.

We use a modified version of the Marie Kondo vertical fold – it’s more of a roll (!!) – but my son can do it and it keeps his clothes from getting wrinkled, so it works for us!

5. Don’t Wait to Clean Up Messes

If you notice crumbs or a spill on the counter, clean it up. If food is dropped on the floor and the floor needs sweeping or a quick Swiffer, just do it.

If dirty fingers left fingerprints on the walls, grab some spray and paper towel and wipe them off.

Clean the sink while you're cooking

Don’t wait to clean up messes, get in the habit of cleaning as you go. This applies to the entire house! That way messes are dealt with immediately, and actually require less effort to clean because they haven’t dried in.

6. Keep Countertops Free of Items

This way it’s easy to wipe them down after every meal. Messy counters are a hassle to clean since you have to move everything around. The less stuff you have out, the easier it is to give a quick and thorough wipe down.

7. Clean as You Cook

While making dinner, put things in the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. By the time the food is cooked, your kitchen will be clean and the only thing to do after dinner is wash the pans, plates and cutlery.

8. Do a Quick Pick up Every Evening

Once the kids go to bed, get in the habit of doing a quick pick-up. Keeping baskets in each room for toys makes it easy to zip around, grab them and plop them into a basket.

I actually have my boys do this before they go to bed, but inevitably there’s still a few stragglers that either my husband or I have to pick up, too.

Woman picking up miscellaneous items from around the house

9. Do a Speedy Walk Through Every Morning

Before you leave for work in the morning, do a quick walk-through of each space. Fill up a basket with accumulated clutter, and leave it by the door. Put each item back in its place first thing when you get home.

This won’t take much time, but can be a total game-changer for feeling organized and like you have a handle on the mess. A picked up home gives the illusion of clean. A home could be perfectly clean and sanitized but if it’s cluttered, it’s not going to look good.

10. Rehang Clean Clothes Before Bed

If they’re not dirty, hang them right up in the closet or fold them and put them back into your dresser. Don’t forget to put dirty clothes into the laundry hamper instead of throwing them on the floor or over a chair!

11. Clear Off and Wipe Down Bathroom Counters

Once a day, I try to make sure everything that doesn’t belong on our bathroom sinks get cleared off. Then I give the counters a quick wipe-down. This is a great way to keep the room neat and clean.

I’ve found that leaving cleaning products in each bathroom makes it much more likely that I will do this task. If I have to go all the way downstairs to grab cleaning supplies, it just won’t happen (especially when I’m in a rush to get out the door).

So keep some cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth or paper towels in your bathroom or close-by. Once you’re ready for the day, put your makeup and other products back in their places, and give the countertop and sink a quick wipe down.

A bathroom with a sink and a mirror

If you find that the morning is too hectic, just do this at night after you’ve brushed your teeth.

12. Spray your Shower and Hang Towels

Give your shower a quick spray with a no-rinse cleaner as soon as you’re done. If you have a stall shower with a glass door, at the very least spray that.

In order to reuse your towels 2 – 3 times, they need to properly air dry. So don’t ball them up on the floor, straighten them out and hang them on a towel bar to dry.

13. Don’t Allow for a Drop Zone

When you come in from outside, don’t just drop things on the floor. Shoes go straight into a basket or on a dedicated shelf. Purses, backpacks and gym bags should be taken to their own dedicated spot right away.

Organized mudroom with items on hooks and shoes in a basket under a bench
Our shoes go straight into the baskets below the bench and coats and bags go on the hooks.

In our home, we each have 2 hooks in our mudroom/laundry room where our coats and bags must be hung.

Creating a mudroom has been one of the best things I ever did to eliminate so much “stuff” coming into our kitchen.

14. Use Doormats

Welcome door mat at the front door to wipe feet off before entering the house

The less soil tracked indoors, the less often you’ll need to clean your floor. Keep it out of your home with doormats at each exterior door. Vacuum or shake them outside every few days. Additional mats outside the door leading from your garage will trap even more debris. 

15. Stick to a Cleaning Routine

This can be as simple as cleaning one room a day. Make a to-do list you can follow weekly. A simple routine may look like this:

  • Monday: Main Bathroom – Clean toilet, shower and sink. Wipe down mirrors and all surfaces. Wash floors.
  • Tuesday: Kitchen – Clean oven, and stovetop. Wipe down fridge. Wipe down cabinets. Wash floors.
  • Wednesday: Living Room – Dust all surfaces, vacuum rug and under couch cushions.
  • Thursday: Powder Room/Half Bath – Clean toilet and sink. Wipe down all surfaces. Wash floor.
  • Friday – Dust dining room and bedrooms. Vacuum dining room and bedroom rugs. Wash, dry and replace bedsheets.

By sticking to a routine and dedicating a half hour to each space once a day, your home will always be clean and the cleaning will never become overwhelming or get on top of you.

How to Keep Your House Clean When You Work Full-Time

If you work full-time, you might think keeping a clean house will be more difficult, but it’s actually easier! Since you don’t have anyone at home constantly making messes, you technically have less cleaning to do.

In the morning, make sure your bed is made and room is picked up, unload the dishwasher and put dirty breakfast items in. Then run a load of laundry.

When you return at the end of the day, put your bag and shoes away, finish the laundry and spend 20 minutes cleaning a different room every day. Finally, clean the kitchen while you’re making dinner.

Make sure that everyone in your house is doing their fair share, too. Kids can pick up their rooms and put their laundry in the washing machine. My 3 and 5 year olds put their own dirty dishes in the dishwasher and vacuum their bedrooms on the weekend.

And speaking of vacuuming – a robot vacuum is a great investment since it can be programmed to clean your floors while you’re at work. I love our robot vacuum that we purchased a few years ago. It mops as well as vacuums so my floors are always clean!

The Ultimate Secret to Keeping a Clean House?

The biggest secret to keeping your house clean is to not procrastinate. When you do these little tasks throughout the day, your house is easier to keep clean and tidy.

You don’t need any house tidying hacks, per se. These are all simple tasks that when done on a daily basis, add up to an immaculate house!

But getting into new routines takes time. I find once I’ve done everything for 1 – 2 weeks, it starts to naturally become part of my routine. In order to get to that point, I’ll leave post its on the fridge or alarms on my phone calendar to remind me what I need to do. Eventually, it all becomes second nature and just something you naturally do to keep your house in tip top shape all the time!

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  1. Kate Tesch says:

    This is a great post full of useful ideas on keeping up with a house. My only different thought would be that family members have responsibilities rather than be seen as helping with this process. Children can have their own laundry hamper and each one a different night to do their laundry start to finished and put away. Of course guidance is necessary until the process is mastered but it is amazing how quickly they learn to do it independently.
    Each person should be expected to load their items in the dishwasher after the meal also. We have one person responsible for unloading the clean dishes after it runs and another hand washing the items that don’t go in the dishwasher.
    There are many ways to accomplish the same goals and the house runs much more smoothly when everyone is contributing.

  2. Judith Galvin says:

    What about dusting ? When ? Once a week or a little each day?

    1. I actually do that once a week as a stand-alone task. I find it easier to just knock it out in one go while I have the duster out!

  3. Deborah B says:

    Thanks for your tips – I enjoy reading your blog. Random question – I just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Ireland. 💚I loved the yogurt there(hazelnut was my fave!)It’s not sugary sweet like US yogurts. Do you have any recommendations for an Irish type yogurt that I could buy here? TY

    1. Hi Deborah! Glad you had a great trip! I love hazelnut yogurt too but have yet to find replacements for many of my Irish favorites. Everything in the US just has so much sugar/preservatives/junk added to it compared to Irish food. I generally stick to non fat plain Greek yogurt and add toppings…but I haven’t come up with a hazelnut version unfortunately :-(

  4. Jenna, Please share your modified folding of clothes for your son. I have special needs daughters and need to find an easier way or new ways for them to fold their clothes. So far not much works and clothes do not look tidy, so I do pretty much all of it. I keep looking for ways and would love to see yours.

  5. Tom Greenberg says:

    Keeping your house clean is the only defense we have in this pandemic. These steps are so simple and precise. I am surely including some of the things that I don’t follow into my routine. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

      1. Thank you for this very informative, helpful, brilliantly thought-out article. I love how you’ve organized cleaning and tidying tasks into simple lists and strategies. Thank you!
        In my previous apartment, which was mostly carpeted, there was only a tiny amount of kitchen and bath to mop. So little that I could get away with just wet mopping them once weekly. Then vacuum the rest qll in one day.
        With my current place, it’s mostly concrete tile floor, woth just a little carpeting in the bedroom. That means there are many small throw rugs to spare my back while standing in the kitchen and bath, which hurt my back to pick up. This last time cleaning the floors, I had to spread it out over 5 days. So I’ve decided to just do a little of the floor each week, over 4-5 weeks.

        In my old place, my schedule was:
        Mon. – Spritz and wipe kitchen (Using the Speed Cleaning book method.)
        Tues. – Spritz and wipe bath.
        Weds. – Mop kitch and bath.
        Thurs. – Dust liv room
        Fri. – Dust bedroom
        Sat. – Vacuum liv room and bedroom
        Sun. – Spruce up patio.
        Now it’s more complicated due to the lack of carpet, but I’m inspired by your ideas and will give them a try.