Want a Cleaner Home? Do These 6 Things Every Single Day
Living in a messy house can be a source of constant stress and anxiety. (I should know… keeping my house clean for more than 48 hours was a physical impossibility for me until I was in my mid-30s. And it wasn’t that I am comfortable in a mess. I HATE a messy house.)
The cluttered and disorganized environment makes it difficult for me to relax and feel comfortable in my own space. I honestly believe I even sleep better when the house is clean.
Having a constantly mess house can also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration, especially when trying to find important items or entertain guests.
I’ve missed paying important bills, lost expensive items, and even let people down due to my mess and disorganization.
Not to mention, the constant visual reminders of the mess can also add to the overall stress levels, making it seem like an insurmountable task to clean and organize. The mental and emotional burden of living in a messy house really takes a toll on my quality of life, so I HAD TO learn to keep the house clean.
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as I once believed, and there are just a few things that I have to DO every single day to make sure my home stays clean.
And – you’re gonna love this – I’m not going to suggest that you make your bed every day, and I definitely don’t think you need to do a load of laundry every day.
We’re talking simple tasks here, things that address the biggest causes of mess and clutter in most homes.
6 Habits for a Cleaner Home:
A therapist told me once that people don’t change until it’s too uncomfortable for them to not change. So focus on HOW MUCH you hate the mess, and use that as motivation to inspire you to move forward with creating these new good habits.
It is possible to learn to keep a clean house, even if you have been chronically messy. Changing habits and developing new routines takes time and effort, but it can be done!
I will say, before we start, that there are two things you MUST do FIRST in order for this plan to work for you.
These are the PREREQUISITES, for these clean home habits to be able to work:
One, deal with extra clutter, and two, make sure everything in your home has a home.
(It’s FAR easier to pick something up and put it in it’s home – or expect your kids to put it in it’s home – if it HAS a home.)
1) Put your clothes (coats, hats, pjs – whatever you wear) away
I haven’t been in a messy house where I haven’t seen CLOTHES as part of the problem.
Clothes need to be put away. In their home.
Now, I’m not saying you have to fold them neatly and put them in the drawer.
And I’m DEFINITELY not saying you have to wash a load of laundry every day.
I’m saying DO NOT, under any circumstances, put your clothes on the floor.
That is not where they go.
If they are clean, then yes, away could be in the drawer.
Away can be in the hamper.
Away can be hanging on a hook on the back of the door.
Away can be folded on your pillow and waiting for bed time tonight.
Away is not in a pile on the bedroom floor, slung over the back of the couch, or on a chair in the dining room.
Just put them away, in their home.
It can be a hard habit to adjust if you’re currently in the mode where you leave your clothes on the floor after you shower, or before bed… and it’s ESPECIALLY hard if your kids take their socks off and leave them ALL OVER THE HOUSE, but start by focusing on clothes.
When my kids were really little, this one was really hard for me. I put a laundry basket in the living room, so that away could be straight into the laundry basket without having to take the clothes out of the room.
Don’t even move on to the rest of the habits on this list – just focus on clothes for the first two weeks. When you see a piece of clothing that isn’t where it should be, pick it up and put it away. (If that clothing belongs to another person, perhaps a small person, direct THAT person to put it away.)
2) Take care of the dishes daily
Dishes… dishes are as bad as (or maybe even worse than) clothes.
If you have a dishwasher, load all dirty dishes into the dishwasher IMEDIATELY when you’re done eating.
If you don’t have dishwasher, placing them by the sink is fine, but they MUST be washed before bed.
It doesn’t matter how tired I am, how late it is, I take care of my dishes before bed.
3) File the mail as soon as it comes in
I have a very simple specific system for this, with only two possible places for it to be sorted:
“Important” and “recycling”.
I know I’m not going to sit down and deal with every piece of important mail RIGHT NOW – but I also know that it’s going to be a problem if the mail just sits on the counter mixed with flyers and yearly dental check-up reminders for a week and a half.
So before I even take off my coat, I file everything that’s not “important” right into the recycling bin, and everything that IS “important” goes onto my desk.
(Yes, my desk get cluttered through out the week. BUT, better my desk than the kitchen island, AND in a moment, we’re going to talk about the plan to keep the desk from becoming a PROBLEM.)
4) Never leave a room empty handed (or without “resetting” it)
Now, this absolutely goes for clothes, dishes and mail – those are MASSIVE CULPRITS of a mess… but this also goes for ANYTHING ELSE you see in the room that doesn’t belong in the room.
For us, a lot of time it’s a hairbrush in the living room. When leaving the living room, instead of just walking past the hairbrush I PICK IT UP and take it to the bathroom where I put it in it’s home.
When I started doing this, it felt clunky, and time-waste-y (I am always in a rush).
Over time, I found two things:
One, I would start peeking into the NEXT room to see what ELSE I can take to the room where the thing goes. (Going to the bathroom to put a hairbrush away? Great! I can also take this hand cream from the kitchen and this hair elastic off the floor.)
And, two, I started to find that there were LESS THINGS that had to be taken away to start with, because I got better at putting things away the second I was done with them.
If there’s nothing in the room that has to LEAVE the room, you can also think of this as never leave a room without “resetting it” to 0.
For example, I just stopped writing to use the washroom. While I was in there, I noticed there was a towel on the counter, a pair of socks on the floor, and a box of Band-Aids on the counter.
I didn’t PUT any of those things there, but before I left the room, I put all those things in their homes.
5) Do one crucial “weekly task” per day
Alright – this is the secret sauce that makes the whole thing “work”.
If you don’t do this, you’ll create problem areas in your home that CAN NOT be kept tidy.
Identify 5-7 crucial weekly tasks (things that aren’t realistic to be dealt with DAILY but MUST be dealt with on a regular basis), and set yourself a schedule for taking care of these things.
What makes it onto your list of crucial tasks will be different than mine – for example, if you don’t have kids (or are ok to just close the door on the playroom) organizing the playroom might not be that important for you to tackle weekly.
Monday – deal with the pile of mail in the “important” pile.
Tuesday – do the laundry (WASH, DRY, AND PUT AWAY).
Wednesday – organize the playroom. (My kids have to “put away” their toys when they are done with them. But if I never ORGANIZE the toys, it becomes a bit overwhelming and it all falls a part. I involve them in the organization, and I believe it helps them learn.)
Thursday – deep clean the kitchen (sinks, counter tops etc)
Friday – deep clean the bathrooms.
Saturday – vacuume + dust.
Sunday – enjoy your clean house.
Having a schedule to stay on top of these “crucial tasks” is SO IMPORTANT if you want to just do small daily tweaks to keep your house clean, or else cleaning becomes this mammoth thing you need to set aside an entire day for.
Use a cleaning planner like this to keep yourself organized:
6) Do a 15 minute walk through of the house before bed
You’re human, and not perfect, so inevitably there will be a few of the above 5 things that got missed during the day.
I like to reset my whole house (not including kids bedrooms or the playroom) to “0” before bed. (“0” being “0 mess anywhere” lol.)
It’s SO tempting to think “I’ll just get to it in the morning”… but you won’t.
The morning will come and it will be rushed and there will be places to go and things to do.
That’s why the house is messy.
So, if your kid left his hoodie on the dining room chair, your husband left his coffee cup on the end table by the couch, and you left a dirty frying pan in the sink, take care of those things before you go to bed.
It’s far easier to wake up to 0 and KEEP the house that way then to wake up to 97 and have to GET it to 0 while you’re rushing around doing your day.
These simple daily habits for a clean house can change your life
Learning to keep a clean house is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.
With patience, persistence, and the right approach, you can turn your messy house into a clean and organized space that you can be proud of.