I worked in the restaurant business for over 15 years, and more than 10 of that as a waitress. I learned a few tricks to working efficiently that I carry over with me in my housework. These are my 25 easy tips to keep your house clean.
Clean As You Go
That should go without saying, but if you wipe off a counter in the kitchen when you are done preparing a meal, wipe out the bathroom sink right after brushing your teeth, or putting away that book or magazine as soon as you are done reading it, you’ll save a lot of time.
Find a place to file your mail, bills, receipts, etc and do that immediately. When you get a bill in the mail, consider setting up an automatic bank payment that day for the due date of the bill.
That keeps the paper clutter down to a minimum, and you will save money because you don’t forget to pay a bill on time.
Never Walk Around Empty-Handed
This is the biggest lifesaver ever. If you go from your living room to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, bring that breakfast plate with you. If you see someone left their shoes in the bathroom, have the offender put them away right away.
Grab a dust cloth on your way from the laundry room and give the flat surfaces a quick “once over”. If you have to wait for someone to get their shoes on to go out the door, empty the trash can and take it with you.
Follow a Routine
Clean the bathrooms fully on Tuesdays, vacuum on Wednesdays, wash towels on Thursdays. Following the same routine daily for your housework will help you stay on top of things without breaking your back.
Declutter in 15 Minutes
Spend only 15 minutes a day decluttering a shelf, drawer, or room. Don’t take out more than you can do in 15 minutes.
Do this as a break from cooking, working at a desk, or if you need to get the kids involved in something to distract them from arguing with each other (not that we’ve ever done that….).
This is also good if you work at home like I do and need a “brain break”. In the restaurants, we had to “deep clean” certain areas daily, and it took making sure that area didn’t have a lot of junk on, or around it first.
Keep Only What You Love or Use
This is getting to be the “in” thing…keeping only what you love, find beautiful or to be useful. There is something to be said for having less to clean up and less to take care of. Having only 1 9×13 baking pan forces you to clean it out as soon as you are done with it.
Having less clothes is less to have on the floor, or less to have to wash. In the kitchen, having only 1 set of measuring spoons or cups means less to have to wash later after baking.
Keeping what you really love means that you will use it, and most likely take better care of it. When I had more than 3 muffin pans, I didn’t really care if one or two got rusted out as I “had others”…now that I am down to only 1, I make sure that it stays clean and dry right after use.
Make the Dang Bed!
This is something I always find myself arguing about with the other members of my family.
My husband always says, “why make the bed when you’re just going to get back in it in a few hours?” This drives me crazy!
Making the bed is one of the first things I do each day. Just think about it – the bed is the focal point of the room, and if it looks messy, the rest of your room is going to look messy, too.
Simplify your bedding as much as possible – this can work wonders if you really despise making the bed.
You may want to consider getting rid of your top sheets and then just use a washable cover and duvet. Minimize the pillows you have and do whatever it takes to make sure you make that bed each and every day!
Do One Load of Laundry Each Day
If you live on a farm like me, you probably go through a lot of laundry each week – and if you don’t take the time to actually do it, you’re going to have huge heaps of clothes lying around that take hours to get through.
Get into the habit of putting one load of laundry into the washer first thing in the morning. Then, make sure you actually dry and fold it – and put it away, too. That way, you’ll be able to conquer it in just a few minutes a day rather than hours at the end of the week.
A few more laundry tips?
For one, edit your wardrobe as you go. If you try a jacket on after taking it out of the closet and find it just doesn’t fit you anymore, have a bin nearby where you can put it to donate it.
Rehang clothes immediately if they can be worn again before laundry day and keep dry-clean ready items in a separate area of your closet. Wash workout clothes immediately after you wear them so they don’t develop that sweaty funk that’s hard to get rid of.
Have a separate, dedicated hamper for every person in your home – and start a wash cycle immediately when you come in the door. Keep a hamper in your bathroom for towels and hand rags, too.
Make a Priority List
For some people, having dirty floors is what drives them nuts (like me!). For others, it’s having dishes in the sink.
Think about what messy areas of your house make you the most insane – then prioritize them. If you only have a few short minutes available, you can tackle those tasks first before you attempt to squeeze in anything else.
This can help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and will also allow you to take advantage of the limited time you have available.
Get the Entire Family Involved
The entire family is involved in making the house messy so the entire family should be involved in cleaning it up, too.
Sometimes it is easier just to do a task yourself, but if you can teach your children now how to do age-appropriate jobs, trust me – it will pay off in dividends later on.
Start simply by having them pick up after themselves. Maybe they can put their own dishes in the dishwasher or clean up their rooms. Then, you can add other chores later on.
Keep Cleaning Supplies Handy
Whether you have favorite cleaning supplies that you buy at the store or you like to make your own, make sure they are always readily accessible.
From polishing cloths to spray bottles, make sure it’s easy to find the cleaning supplies you need without having to search the entire house.
That way, it will be easier for you to clean the house quickly, in just a minute or two, without spending twenty minutes looking for that toilet brush.
Understand – and Attack – Your High Traffic Areas
When it comes to creating a cleaning strategy for the rest of your house, try to focus first on the high traffic areas. By focusing on the areas that get the most traffic during the day, you can prevent the spread of dirt and clutter throughout the rest of the house.
For most people, the high traffic areas are the entryway, kitchen, and living room. Make sure there’s a dedicated spot for shoes at the front door of your house – and put area rugs there, too. This will help prevent dirt from migrating to other areas of the home.
Invest in the Right Tools
I don’t know what kind of person I would be if I didn’t have a robotic vacuum cleaner.
Seriously! My Roomba even has a name. That’s how much I value her presence in her house (yse, she’s a she).
These sorts of tools don’t come cheap, but believe it or not, as technology becomes more advanced, they’re really not that much more expensive than regular vacuum cleaners. And the time that I save by letting her do the vacuuming for me is, in my opinion, worth every penny.
Sit down and take a look at what household chores are taking you the most time. Do you need a dishwasher? Washing machine? Robotic vacuum? Invest in the right tools to take some of these chores off your hands.
Empty the Dishwasher Every Morning
I empty my dishwasher every single morning. This makes keeping a clean house easier because you’ll never have piles of dirty dishes sitting around on your counters or sink. It just takes a few minutes to put the dishes away – you can do it while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew!
Wipe Faucets and Sinks
There’s nothing more unpleasant looking than a pile of beard hairs or toothpaste splatters in these sink.
Keep a container of wipes under your sink so that they’re right there, where you need them. Wipe the basin and faucet as soon as you finish getting ready for the day – it will give your entire bathroom a much more polished look.
You can do something similar in your shower, too. After each use, give our entire tub and shower a light mist of daily shower cleaner.
Hone in on a Kitchen Routine
After cooking and eating dinner (but before going to bed for the night), I have a “kitchen shutdown” routine I like to follow. I wipe down the counters, load the dishwasher, and hand-wash any pots and pans that my dishwasher can’t handle.
I also take out the trash, if that needs to be done, and set the coffee maker for the next day. If I have time, I also clear toys and other clutter that’s taking up space in my kitchen.
I love waking up to a fresh, tidy kitchen – and this only takes a few minutes, so it’s absolutely worth it.
Come Up With a Schedule
If you let a glob of maple syrup sit on the counter for a few days, it’s going to be a real pain to clean later on. If you mop it up right away, it only takes a few seconds. The same goes for the rest of your house, too.
Come up with some sort of schedule for yourself and try not to leave all of your cleaning to just one day. Maybe you clean the living room on Mondays, the bathrooms on Tuesdays, and the laundry room on Wednesdays.
Whatever the case may be, come up with a schedule that’s easier for you to section out – that way, you won’t find yourself staring down at unending piles of messes once your weekend cleaning frenzy arises.
Deal With Mail
I used to let mail pile up in stacks by the front door. Then, I decided I would have a bin dedicated to mail. That didn’t really work, either – the mail just sat there and I ended up having a few bills paid late as a result!
Instead, decide what you’re going to do with the mail as soon as you bring it inside. Get rid of flyers and other junk mail at the door, open and file bills that need to be paid, and decide on whatever organizational system works best for the rest of it.
Clean Counters Daily
I touched briefly on this above, but I’ll say it again – a clean counter goes a long way. Wipe off the kitchen counters after meals, and do the same in the bathroom.
Not only will wiping down the counters get them clean and stickiness-free, but it will also inspire you to put away the items that are cluttering up their surfaces.
One more pro tip? Wipe down the sink. I know it sounds silly, but taking the extra moment to wipe up the water spots in the sink goes a long way in making your kitchen look more tidy.
Keep all those large, flat surfaces clear – it will make the rest of your home look much better.
I already mentioned that you should downsize to get rid of some of the extra clutter. Another good tip is to follow the “one in, one out” rule. When you buy something new, make a plan to donate, sell, or toss an older item.
Have a Place for Everything
Everything in your home should have its own home. Perhaps that means putting keys on a peg or installing a shelf for your mail. Whatever the case may be, set up systems that work for you so you always know where things can be found.
Get Clever in Your Storage Solutions
Think outside of the box when I come to…well, the box! See if you can come up with clever storage solutions to help you contain your items.
For example, you can use over-the-door organizers for more than just shoes. These can also be used for sorting makeup, cleaning supplies, or even small toys.
Get Help if You Need It
If the thought of adding just one more cleaning task to your to-do list has you breaking out in an all-out sweat, don’t stress. Hire help if you need it.
Hiring a regular cleaner isn’t in everyone’s budget, but even if you can hire someone to do just one deep clean for you, it will give you a fresh slate so you can move forward later on.
Keep Baskets in Each Room
You should try to declutter every day. Keep a basket in each room so you can throw “homeless” items into the basket – then, at the end of the week, you can put all those items away.
Check the Fridge
It’s so easy for our refrigerators to become overfull and full of messes without us even realizing it. Whenever you take out the trash, do a quick eyeball of the contents of your refrigerator.
Leftovers gone bad? Liquefied produce? Get rid of anything that no longer is edible when you take out the trash. Then, as a side benefit, you also won’t have that yucky, rotting food stinking up your trash.
Once you clean out the fridge, take a few moments to clean up any sticky spills there, too.
Make it Fun
Finally, try to make it fun! Cleaning isn’t everyone’s favorite task – and that’s ok. Make it more enjoyable by putting on a podcast, listening to music, or listening to an audiobook while you work.
You can invest in a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones to give you freedom to move all over the house.
What is the Fastest Way to Clean a House?
The fastest way to clean a house, in my opinion, is to never let it get super dirty in the first place. By tidying up a little bit each and every day, it’s much easier to keep your space neat and organized.
Those are the things that I do to keep my house running well, and fairly clean. Yes, life happens and my house “gets trashed” at times, but with this system in place, it’s much easier to get back to where I like it.
What are some of your tips for keeping your house clean?
last update on Feb 18th 2022 by Rebekah Pierce
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.