My house is never completely clean.
A combination of my preferences and our family’s schedule don’t lend itself to one ‘house-cleaning day’. So, I do a little bit a few days a week; Monday is laundry & a monthly chore, Wednesday is kitchen & bathrooms, Thursday is mopping and Friday is vacuum or dust.
This system works for me, so for that reason, I like it. However, it means that there is never one time when my entire house is clean. The bathroom & kitchen surfaces are sparkly clean on Wednesday afternoons, but the floors in those rooms are nasty.
I’ve learned to be okay with it. Because our house doesn’t look dirty.
By doing a few small things each day, my house looks and feels (mostly) clean.
The best part? It takes 25 minutes – max – each day.
1 – Make the Bed
I don’t know what it is about a made bed, but it holds magical powers. Even when it’s surrounded by strewn clothes and dust bunnies, straightened blankets and propped up pillows amidst the chaos bring a sense of calm and accomplishment.
Do it as soon as you can after getting up. It will help build your momentum.
2 – Empty the Dishwasher
We have reached the stage of adulthood where we run the dishwasher once a day. I remember a time in my early 20’s and I was talking with friends (who were the age I am now) about how they ran their dishwasher every day. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. How could one family possibly dirty that many dishes in 24 hours?!
As part of our evening routine, we run the dishwasher after supper. It is finished by the time we go to bed, so we open it and pull the shelves out to let it air dry overnight.
Having an empty dishwasher makes breakfast clean up faster. More importantly, it leaves no excuse not to put that morning’s breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, which means you don’t start the day with the sink and counter piled up with dirty dishes.
I do both of these tasks before my children wake up and before the swirl of morning craziness begins. This helps me maintain my sanity.
3 – Wipe Down Kitchen Counters
After clearing the table and putting all of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down your kitchen surfaces. I don’t use a cleaner because I use my Norwex rag, but you most certainly could use a countertop cleaner if that’s what you prefer. Push all of the food and crumbs on the floor. You’ll deal with those soon.
4 – Supper Prep
(This has nothing to do with a clean house, but it doing this in the morning will pay off later in the day)
I am a huge proponent of meal planning. No matter which method you choose, just do it. Your grocery bill and evening self will thank you.
By knowing what you are making for supper that night, you can do whatever prep is necessary in the morning to make your evening go that much smoother.
More often than not, for me, this is simply pulling meat out of the freezer to thaw. Sometimes it’s pulling bread dough out to rise. It can be that simple. Or, if you prefer, you can do all of your chopping in the morning to cut down on the time it takes to get supper on the table that night.
This is one more place where my mantra – whatever can be done sooner, DO IT! – is appropriate.
5 -Vacuum Floors
We have the Dyson D8 Animal cordless vacuum, and this bad boy gets used daily. Our dark floors show everything and we have hardwood on the entire main floor, so having vacuumed floors makes a huge difference in whether our house feels clean or not.
From after breakfast until before lunch, our floors look pretty good. After lunch, the effects of a 2 and 4 year-old are visible under the kitchen counter and by the door into the house. But those crumbs and dirt can wait until tomorrow to be taken care of. So, if you want to see a clean floor, come in the morning.
6 – Wipe Down Bathroom Counters
This is a new addition to my morning routine. With four people now brushing their teeth twice a day and an accumulation of overspray from my various hair products, wiping down the counters goes a long way in making the once-a-week cleaning last. The best part about this task is that most times I delegate it to my 4 year-old and she just thinks it’s the greatest job on earth.
7 – Open Window Shades (If it’s nice outside, open windows)
When my husband and I first got married, this drove him nuts. Opening our shades and letting all of that natural light in was a natural mood booster for me. It was my way of feeling like our house was ‘open’.
Now that I’m home all day with the kids, this is a must for me. There are days when we don’t leave the house, but at least I can see the outside world. And the warmth and sunshine pour in and it warms my soul.
And our house on a cold, Minnesota day.
I follow this routine 4-5 days a week. Sometimes, I need to sleep a few more minutes, so the bed doesn’t get made and the dirty dishes accumulate into piles while they wait for their spot in the dishwasher. And some days, my kids need extra reading time, so the wiping of bathroom counters gets cut off of the list.
This is not meant to be an inventory of how good you are at keeping your house clean, but rather, a few simple tasks that when done can make a big difference in how you feel in your own home.
You be the judge of what you need most in a day, and on the days that it’s to feel like you have taken care of your home and made it calm and enjoyable place to be, use this list as a way of accomplishing that task.