When my sisters and I were younger, our mom had us clean the whole house. We’d sit down and pick what rooms we wanted to do and divide up the whole house between us. My mom wasn’t a clean freak, but she did like a neat house. She also expected us to do a good job when we cleaned. I remember numerous occasions of her having me re-clean something, because I didn’t do a great job the first time.
When I was about 16 year old, I started cleaning houses professionally. It paid way better than all my friend’s part time jobs, and I got to schedule them when it was convenient for me. I also got alone time which as an introvert, I loved. I cleaned houses professionally all the way until this last fall (I’m 31 years old now) when I got pregnant with #3. I was just too sick to keep working so I finally had to let my last client go.
I am one of those kind of weird people who actually likes cleaning house. Granted, if I could afford a professional cleaner each week, I’d totally go for it. But cleaning is something I don’t mind doing myself. I love the instant gratification of a clean house, and I love having everything neat, orderly, and picked up.
After cleaning professionally for 15 years, I’ve picked up a few secrets. I’ve cleaned hoarder’s houses (truly), and I’ve cleaned neat freak’s houses. And I’ve cleaned everyone in between. There are definitely some keys to keeping your house clean and low maintenance. Since I’ve never met someone who doesn’t like a clean house, even if they don’t like cleaning it themselves, here are some secrets that I think everyone can benefit from. They are simple and quick, but they can make a big difference for how easily or how difficult it is to keep your house clean.
10 Secrets to Keeping a Clean House
1 | Minimize
For my clients that consistently had messy houses, this was their biggest downfall. They had way too much stuff in too small of a space. Getting rid of things on a continual basis is key for a clean house! The less stuff you have, the less there is to clean. This goes for furniture (most people could do with 1/3 less than they have) to decorations to just plain “stuff.” You can clean so much faster if you are able to minimize what’s in your home.
2 | Keep indoor pets on beds
If you don’t have indoor pets, cheers to you! Indoor pets in general make a house harder to clean and add on 15-30 minutes of cleaning time. The hair is the worst. It gets on furniture, and it makes vacuuming more time consuming. We have always had one dog that was allowed inside. He’s a 90 pound lab and sheds a lot! I do brush him regularly, but if he lays down on a freshly mopped floor, as soon as he gets up there are thousands of black dog hairs that he leaves behind. So annoying. About 5 years ago, I trained him so that if he’s inside, he has only 2 places he can lie down. He can be on his dog bed, or he can be on the rug by the front door. This keeps all this dog hair in one spot and makes cleaning so much easier! So if you have indoor dogs, I highly suggest limiting their access to all parts of the house. If you can keep them on a dog bed, great. If they are inside almost 100% of the time, you probably don’t want to do that, but keeping them out of bedrooms and office areas will help a lot too.
3 | Make kids clean up after themselves
Some of the messiest houses I’ve cleaned have been with children who were not required to clean up after themselves. Candy wrappers, toys, dirty diapers, etc. were all over the place. Taking the time to teach and require your children to clean up after themselves will most definitely pay you back in cleaning time. Small things from pushing their chair in at the table to making their beds in the mornings, go a long way to saving you time when it comes to cleaning.
4 | Clear your surfaces
This is HUGE. Get stuff off counter tops. Seriously. It will save you so much time. I cannot tell you how much time I save by keeping my counters clear. In my kitchen, the only things on the counter are knives (which I plan on putting in a drawer soon), a kettle on the stovetop, and a drying mat. That is it. I can clean my counters in less than 1 minute. Counters that are cluttered not only take longer to clean, but the appliances often get dirty and have to be wiped down as well. Same goes for your bathroom. Keep things off the counter! You shouldn’t have so much stuff that it can’t fit in your drawers. If you do, get rid of things! The only things on your bathroom counter should be soap and maybe a toothbrush holder (we keep ours in the shelves behind our mirror).
5 | Pick up at the end of each day
Again, this saves time on cleaning day. If you aren’t having to pick up the whole house before you clean it, you are saving a lot of time. I take 5 minutes at the end of each day to make sure everything is put up where it belongs. I have my kids pick up their stuff before bed, and then I do one last house sweep to make sure nothing was missed before I go to bed.
6 | Clean 1x/week
Cleaning once a week makes a huge difference. I can clean my 1,500 square foot home in about 1-1.5 hours as long as I clean it once a week. If I wait 2-3 weeks to clean it, it takes MUCH longer! There is so much more build-up all over that it is so much more time consuming. Dusting, cleaning bathrooms, and wiping down counters is a breeze if I do it once a week… it becomes a chore if I wait longer.
7 | Follow a cleaning routine
Do the same routine each week. You’ll get in the groove and be able to clean more quickly. I usually start with picking everything up which doesn’t take long since I do it daily already. Then I start with bedrooms then bathrooms then living room and lastly the kitchen. Once everything is done, I do all the floors at once. I’m quick and efficient, because I have a set order and routine for how I do things. It also helps to start at one end of the house. If the kids are in quiet time (1 hour each morning and 1 hour each afternoon), I can usually at least get one end of the house done. Then at the 2nd quiet time later in the day, I can finish the other end of the house.
8 | Put everything up where it belongs
Train yourself and your family to put things up. This goes along with picking up at the end of the day, but you can have your family do it all day long. Before they move on from markers to playing cars, they need to clean up the markers. Don’t do it for them. Everyone needs to learn to clean up their own stuff! Put laundry in the hamper, dishes in the dishwasher, and toys in the closet. When stuff is up where it belongs, it makes cleaning day go so much more quickly!
9 | Deep clean as you go
I don’t usually do “spring cleaning.” I deep clean as I go. Because I clean once a week already, my house never gets truly nasty. Also, if I see something that needs to be done, I’ll do it. If I notice that my bedroom fan is really dusty, I’ll take care of it that week on my cleaning day. Or I might wipe down baseboards in the living room when I notice they are a bit dusty. I don’t spring clean all at once. But each week, if I notice 1-2 things that need to be done (things that I wouldn’t normally do on a weekly basis), I’ll clean them that week. It usually takes an extra 3-10 minutes, but it makes it so that I don’t ever have to take an entire weekend to deep clean my house. It’s consistently deep cleaned.
10 | What you can skip
I don’t always have time to clean my entire house each week. If I’m not able to do every single thing, there are some things I skip. I won’t mop. I’ll vacuum all surfaces, but I won’t necessarily mop the tile and laminate floors. Skipping one week won’t kill them. Bathrooms are a must. I do them every week no matter what. But dusting can happen every other week, and it’s fine. If you are in a rush one week, don’t stress about skipping a few things here and there. Find what needs to be done the most, and do those things! For me, it’s vacuuming, straightening up, and bathrooms.
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