Easy Steps to a Clean Home

Just in time to host guests for the holidays, get your home neat and tidy with these simple tips.

Cleaning house is a moving target for me. Between my kids’ stuff in every nook and cranny, the never-ending cooking, and the dog hair, it’s a wonder my house is ever clean. But every Wednesday, by some small miracle, my house sparkles. Here’s what you need to know to create your own small miracle.

Photo: Adrienne Robideaux

Mark it on your calendar.

This is the toughest part. Treat your housecleaning time as you would a meeting or a class at the gym. Identify a solid block of time and mark it out on your calendar. It helps to mark out the same day and time for at least a month straight so that you can develop a rhythm. I block out two hours, but I think the time you need depends on how much time you have (maybe you block out an hour on two different days), how much house you have, and how clean you want your house to be (toothbrush-in-the-grout clean versus it’s-rinsed-so-it’s-clean-enough).

Clean, don’t straighten.

Think of cleaning your own house as if you’re actually cleaning someone else’s house. You wouldn’t stop to reorganize someone else’s drawers or paperwork or toy closet if you were cleaning their house, so don’t do those things during your own housecleaning time. Make a stack and move on. If I am tempted to start a new task during my designated cleaning time, I start a list so that I will remember the task after I finish cleaning.  

Enlist your kids.

You don’t need to clean every room of your house, and you don’t need to pick up every item your kids leave behind. On your scheduled clean-up day, ask your kids to do their part by picking up their own clutter before leaving for school, making sure their laundry is put away, or cleaning their own rooms. Enlisting your kids is a great way for you to save time and teach your kids some basic housekeeping skills.

Create a routine.

Knowing where you want to start and what needs to be clean for you to feel like you’ve accomplished something is important. Identify which rooms you want to clean and at what level of clean you want them to be.    

Photo: Adrienne Robideaux

You probably won’t clean your baseboards or windows every week, but you can pick a week to do those tasks and schedule that, too. I clean from the back to the front of the house, working from top to bottom. I sweep and vacuum floors as I go, finishing with cleaning the bathroom and mopping every room.

​Turn electronics off (except the radio!).

Be prepared to turn the ringer off of your phone, block Instagram if you have to, and go for the entire scheduled time with no interruptions. Remember, this is a meeting with yourself. Would you answer the phone during a meeting or a dentist appointment? Turn on some loud music and get moving.  

Photo: Adrienne Robideaux

Time yourself.

Turn on your kitchen timer for the duration of your blocked out time. This will serve as a reminder and a motivation to clean rather than de-clutter.

Let it go.

When that timer goes off, stop cleaning. Whatever isn’t finished can wait. Remember, the house is going to get dirty again as soon as your kids come home, so it really doesn’t need to be perfect. Look around. Look at what you did clean. Doesn’t that feel good?  


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