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5 Daily Habits For A Clean & Tidy Home

I think I keep a pretty clean and tidy home. It might not pass a white glove test, and we will always have our junk drawers and piles of stuff; but overall, on any given day, if company stopped by unexpectedly, it would be okay. The reason for this is not that we spend hours cleaning every day. In fact, I feel like we spend very little time cleaning. However, over the years, my husband and I have developed several habits that keep our home feeling clean and tidy.

small, tidy looking blue house

Our Environment

Now, you might wonder if it really matters if our house is clean or not? Does our environment actually affect our wellness? You know the answer already. Of course it matters.

First of all, our home is our sanctuary, our safe space. It should be our respite from stress; the place we feel most comfortable, happy, and relaxed. However, even if you think messy spaces don't bother you, they do. Study after study shows that clutter and mess increase our baseline stress levels. Whether it's because you see it as a silent to-do list calling for your attention or simply because you can't find something when you need it, a messy space stresses us out.

Second, a clean space can keep us healthier. When you sweep and dust you remove allergens from your house. When you wipe down your kitchen counters you remove possible food contaminates. Cleaning your bathroom sink and faucet removes cold & flu pathogens.

Want to learn a little more about it? Check out this article - 7 Benefits of a Clean Home.

Starting With A Bonus

I want to start off with a bonus tip because this is indeed a very important component of having a home that is easy to maintain. If you haven't already, consider spending some time decluttering your home. Too much stuff makes your home feel messy and more difficult to clean. If you struggle to keep your home clean and tidy, you likely have too much stuff! In case you missed it, watch this video I recently posted about tips to declutter your home.

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My Top 5 Favorite Daily Habits

5. Make your bed every morning. This is a standard homemaking tip for a reason. When your bed is made, your bedroom automatically looks cleaner. While you're at it, pick up any dirty clothes off the floor and put them in the hamper/laundry basket.

4. Make dishes and kitchen clean-up part of every meal. Don't let dishes stack up all day (and definitely not over several days!). In our house, we have a rule that every meal includes food prep, eating, and clean up.

What does "clean-up" mean? It means any leftovers are packaged and put away. All dishes are either in the dishwasher or washed and drying in the drainer. It means the counters have been wiped down and if it was a messy prep, the stove has also been wiped up. If it was an exceptionally messy prep, it might also include a quick sweep of the floor.

3. Schedule a couple of "resets" into the day.

  • We typically run the dishwasher overnight, so we start the day with a 5-minute dishwasher reset in the morning. The first person downstairs unloads the dishwasher and empties the dish-drainer. It really does only take 5 minutes.

  • Before bed, do a quick reset of your area. We are usually watching TV on the couch before bed, so before we head upstairs at the end of the night, any dishes we were using get put in the dishwasher, remotes get tossed back in their basket, throw blankets get neatened, and anything else laying out gets put away.

  • Don't forget transition time resets. Whether it's the kids coming home from school, you coming home from work or your spouse returning from grocery shopping; transition times can easily disrupt the state of your home. When returning home, avoid the urge to dump your stuff and get on with something else. Take the time, right then, to put everything away. It only takes a few minutes...really.

2. Don't set anything down unless that is where it belongs. In my mind, this is what I would call an immediate 'reset'. It can be so easy to set something on the counter instead of opening the cabinet to put it away. Or maybe it belongs in the other room so you just set it down here with plans to take care of it later. Doing this just a few times can leave you with clutter all over. Most things you can take care of in just 30 seconds, so just do it now.

1. Clean on the fly. You do not need to set aside 30 minutes to clean the bathroom. In fact, you don't have to clean the whole bathroom all at once. I will often clean my shower while I'm in it. Then, on another day, I might notice the toilet looks grungy, so I spend 1 minute cleaning it. Then maybe before bed one night, while brushing my teeth, I notice the sink is gross, so I clean the sink. This means you are spending the majority of your cleaning time only on noticeably dirty things. And, the majority of your cleaning time is just a minute here, and 5 minutes there.

I believe cleaning on the fly is the number 1 habit that keeps my house looking good. It means cleaning the noticeable stuff whenever you have a few minutes rather than leaving it until you have a huge block of time to do it all at once.

What are some more examples of what this looks like?

  • dusting only my coffee table and end tables when noticeably dusty and ignoring the bookshelves in the corners because they don't look dusty from a distance.

  • never leaving a room without looking for something that needs to be taken to another room.

  • wiping down my white kitchen cupboards when I see they are dirty, but not worrying if the floor is mopped because it doesn't show the dirt.

  • cleaning during wait-time. This could mean cleaning the bathroom while your kid is bathing or washing mixing bowls while dinner is baking.

Another Bonus

Figure out your system for laundry. I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all plan for laundry. Some people prefer to do a full week of laundry all in one day. Other people find that overwhelming and choose to do 1 load a day. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Because there are only 2 of us, we typically do a load of laundry every couple of days, whenever we feel we have created enough dirty laundry to fill the washer. We wash both our clothes together. We rarely sort. Towels get their own day, as do sheets.

However, whether you do a load a day or a whole week's worth at once, I do recommend you invoke habit number 2 above. Don't set it down, put it away. Wash, dry, fold/hang, and put away. Clean laundry should not sit around like decor.

Parting Thoughts

Full disclosure, my husband and I are empty nesters and we don't work outside of the home. However, before you start to use this to justify why these habits can't work for you, keep in mind that these habits have been part of our way of life for years, even when my daughter was young and lived at home and when my husband and I both worked 50 hours a week in an office. In fact, they were probably even more important then. I just want to be clear that these habits can help anyone.

However, that being said, our brains don't always work the same, and our lifestyles are bound to have some differences. Therefore, while I believe these habits can help anyone, you might have to make modifications for them to work in your home, and that's okay. Modify and experiment until you get the desired outcome!

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pinterest graphic showing a clean and tidy living space



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