7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

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.

Make Your Bed - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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?!

It happens.

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.

Empty the dishwasher - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

Empty the dishwasher - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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.

Wipe down kitchen counters - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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.

Do Supper Prep in the morning - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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.

Vacuum Floors - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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.

Wipe down bathroom counters - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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’.

Open Windows or Window Coverings - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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.

Disclaimer:

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.

7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean ::maximizingdaysblog.com::

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Trouble Spots: Under the Kitchen Sink

A couple weeks ago, my sister-in-law texted me a picture of Mrs. Meyers Vinegar Gel and asked me if I had used it before.  I use my Norwex rags for almost all of my cleaning, but if I use a cleaning product, it is almost exclusively Mrs. Meyers., which was why my SIL asked me about it.  I told her that I hadn’t ever seen it or used it.

She then proceeded to ask me if I ever used vinegar to clean and what I used for certain cleaning tasks.  I told her that I’ve been meaning to use vinegar for a long time, but have never actually done it.  At this point, I got lazy and didn’t want to text a list  of what I use for each task, so I decided to take a video of under my kitchen sink where my cleaning supplies are housed.

Disclaimer: This is, in no way, a professional video.  I thought that my SIL would be the only person to see it, but once it was done, I decided that I had to show it to you to prove a point.

I am very intentional about not accumulating things, not buying stuff we don’t need, getting rid of things we don’t use – and this still happens.  ALL THE TIME.  It’s a good reminder that organizing and minimizing and decluttering is an on-going project.  And that no one does it perfectly.

As you can see from the video, we don’t have a lot of cleaning products, but what we do have makes up the majority of what we keep under our kitchen sink.  I consider this space to be “unfinished” in that I would still like to do more to leverage some of the vertical space that is currently unused.  But, for now, it works for us, so I don’t have a lot of urgency in crossing that task off of my eternally long to-do list.

What do you put there?

What makes this space a trouble spot for everyone is that the plumbing makes it awkward.  It’s tall and deep, but the pipes through the middle of it and gigantic garbage disposal make it hard to leverage those two assets.  As you can see, we use this space for dishwasher pods (our dishwasher is adjacent to this cabinet), Cleaning supplies & dish rags.  The majority of what is housed in this space is used in close proximity to here.  The exception being the Mrs. Meyers Vinegar Gel.  🙂

Where do you start?

The best way to maximize this space is to locate where you have the biggest chunk(s) of open space.  In the case of our cabinet, it is between the wall & disposal and between the pipe and wall.  These are unobstructed rectangles, which is storage perfection.

I bought this two-tiered drawer organizer (similar) knowing that I’d use it in this space, but not sure what I’d put in there.  It fits perfectly between the pipe and the wall.  I couldn’t put the drawers up against the wall because I needed to be able to pull them out and the cabinet door is in the way, so it sits in an inch or two in.  Our most used supplies, dish soap, cleaning wipes and sponges, are housed in the front of the top drawer.  The back of the top drawer holds our other less-used cleaning supplies.

The bottom drawer is the perfect spot for dish rags.  One of my favorite features of this particular organizer are the adjustable dividers which allow you to use every inch of each drawer.

After putting the drawers in, I moved over to the other big chunk of space and looked to see what the next tallest item is.  At least six years ago, a friend moved out of his house and had Swiffer wet mop and dry mop refills that he wouldn’t use.  I took them thinking that I could find a use for them.  You can see how that went.  The wet mop pads are used more than the dry, so they served as a step stool for the dishwasher pods, which are accessed daily.  The dry mop refills are all the way in the back.  I don’t know why…. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking that I should just throw them.  Six years, people.  It’s been six years and one of the boxes remains unopened.

What about the pipes?

Think of maximizing this space like doing a puzzle.  Match the spaces you have with the items that need to go in there.  Originally, I had put our dish drying mat between the drawers & wall, but it was awkward reaching around the side of the drawers to pull it out and it almost always got stuck on the cabinet door hinges.  The pipe that runs almost all of the way to the bottom of the cabinet created the perfect wall on the other side of the drawers to hold the mat.  This would be otherwise wasted space, so getting that to fit made me feel like I hit the jackpot.

I put lemons in my disposal at least once a week, so I threw those in a Rubbermaid leftover container and put them at the front of the cabinet.

At this point, I took the random hodge lodge of what was left and put it in a shoebox container, which fit between the pipe & the mop pads.  The trick to this part is that the disposal is low enough that nothing tall can fit in the back of the container.  We have a plastic bag holder attached to the cabinet door that, when shut, takes up space at the front of the cabinet, so the shoebox had to sit back a little bit.  This took some maneauvering of what went where and it’s not pretty, but everything is easily accessible.  And, most importantly, what needs to be accessed most is very easily accessible.

 

I considered getting rid of one of the bottles of vinegar, but didn’t pull the trigger.  Do you clean with vinegar?  What do you clean with it?  How do you use it?

Creating a Cleaning Routine

As structured as I am, until the last couple months, I’ve never been one of those people who did certain chores on certain days.  When something looked dirty, I cleaned it – and by look dirty, I mean pink ring in the toilet bowl, ability to write a note in the dust on the shelf or visible dirt in the carpet.  Probably not the best plan, but it worked.  After my daughter was born the time gap between seeing the pink ring in the toilet and cleaning it grew dramatically longer than it had been before she was born.  I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated at my inability to keep up with housework.  I’m sure you’ve never been there.  (sarcasm…)

Once I quit my job to stay home with my daughter, I decided that that this was something that I needed to do better.  I looked at all kinds of cleaning schedules on Pinterest, but it was hard because no one person’s cleaning tasks are the same as another’s.  The more I looked at other people’s routines, the more I became convinced that the best cleaning plan is the individualized one.  We all have different homes, schedules, number of people in our homes and hobbies, so it’s very unlikely that one person’s schedule would work for the next.  Other people’s lists are a great resource, however.  Instead of using them as my list, I used them as the inspiration to create my own.

Here are the steps to think through to come up with the routine that will be the most successful for you:

STEP ONE: Identify all of the tasks by writing them down
Start at one end of your house and think through everything that needs to be done in that room/area to make it spotless.  Do this for each room/area.  Do not get overwhelmed.  Writing them on the list does NOT mean that you have to go do all of them right now – or even anytime soon.  It simply acknowledges the task.  I was pleasantly surprised by how short (translation: manageable) my list was.

STEP TWO: Assign the frequency for each task (Daily, Bi-Weekly, Weekly, Bi-Monthly, Monthly, Seasonally, Annually).
There are two ways to look at this.  If you’re the type of person that likes to stay on top of things and doesn’t easily get overwhelmed, schedule them more than they actually need to get done (for example, I have vacuum floors as a daily task, when in reality, it should be done 4-5 times a week) and just skip it when it’s not absolutely necessary.  However, if you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed by long lists of to-do’s, schedule your tasks less than they need to get done and you’re more likely to do the things on your list.

STEP THREE:  Identify the blocks of time you have (or need to make) for cleaning
Make this work for you.  If you’re the type of person who likes to do a little bit at a time, then think through your day and set aside one block of time each day for cleaning.  If you would rather get it all done in one fell swoop, then figure out when that time is.  When I was working full time, I had my lunch hour, a half hour in the evening (while my husband did the bedtime routine with our daughter) and Saturday mornings.  Now that I’m home most days, I break it up between Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  As our family schedule changes, so will my cleaning routine.

STEP FOUR: Match up the chores with your cleaning times
I mentioned earlier that I was pleasantly surprised by how short and manageable my cleaning list was.  I was even more pleasantly surprised after I assigned the tasks to days.  When I realized that in order to have my house clean all the time (which it never is, but, if I stuck to this routine, realistically could be), I had to spend an average of an hour a day cleaning, I couldn’t believe it.  I thought, for sure, that it would take a LOT longer than that.  And I certainly didn’t think that I’d be able to stay on top of things by having days when I didn’t do anything but my daily chores.

I’m not sure if this would be true for everyone, but after a couple months of this new routine, the best part, for me, has been the freedom from feeling bad about not doing things.  Because my old “system” – or lack thereof – was reactionary, if I saw something that needed to be done and procrastinated it, I just saw it get worse and felt bad.  Now, if it’s mopping day and it doesn’t get done, I don’t feel bad because I know that I just did it last week and I will do it next week.

Try this out and let me know what works well for you.  Do you have other hurdles when trying to stay on top of this?

And, because I said that other people’s routines can be a good resource, here is my list:

cleaning routine sample

Staying on Top of Laundry

I have tried all kinds of methods to stay on top of laundry.  I do about six loads of laundry a week and what works best for us is to do it all at once, usually on Saturday mornings.  Occasionally, I’ll get a head start and do a couple loads on Friday night.  With doing it in one big chunk, the biggest factor in getting it done in one day – or, ideally, in one morning – is to change out loads as soon as they’re finished.  

So, when I start a load, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket and set a timer.  If I wait to walk into the kitchen to set a timer there, I forget almost every time, and three hours later, the clothes in the washer are starting to smell musty and the clothes in the dryer are beyond wrinkled.  Ugh.  (learn from my mistakes…..).  The other nice thing about using my phone is that I almost always have it with me, so no matter where I am when the timer goes off, I hear it.  

Doing this is the difference between getting all six loads of laundry done in less than five hours and spreading the process out over the course of the next two days.  And the nerd in me can’t get enough of that sense of satisfaction that it’s 1PM on Saturday and all our clothes are clean (and sometimes even folded and put away!)

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your timer sing a great song to you when the load is finished.  If we’re going to do laundry and have things beeping at us, you might as well make it fun, right?

Laundry Load How To’s

I am one of those people that follow clothes label instructions.  Not to the letter for each, individual garment, but generally speaking, I group my loads of laundry by washing instructions.  For instance, we have a number of items that shouldn’t be washed with fabric softener, including our performance wear, my husband’s socks and my Norwex cleaning clothes.  I call it the “Under Armour” load, because the majority of it is our Under Armour apparel.  Truthfully, it’s the “No Fabric Softener” load.  But who wants to yell down the stairs, “I’m putting the ‘No Fabric Softener’ load in the wash.  Do you have anything else that needs to be added to it?” Me either.  So ‘Under Armour’ it is. And there are about six more loads with similar stories.  (Side note:  This post is NOT sponsored by Under Armour, but you’d never guess that by the number of times their name appears.  Free marketing for them, I guess.)  

It got to the point where I could barely remember the variables for each load.  In our house, laundry is mostly my responsibility, but my husband will often graciously pitch in and check a few loads off of my to-do list.  He told me once that there have been many times when he would think to start a load of laundry, but couldn’t remember washing and drying instructions.  

I went straight from that conversation to our computer and created a spreadsheet with washing and drying instructions for each load.  As many times as I’ve done our laundry, I am amazed at how often I reference this sheet – hanging above our washer – for instructions.  

Laundry How To - maximizingdaysblog.com

Laundry How To - maximizingdaysblog.com

*These are not Pinterest-approved photos.  Those who are more creative and decoratively-inclined than I am would put it in a cute frame and hang other cuteness on the wall.  I recognize that there’s nothing cute about this.  It’s all about purpose.

Remembering each load’s specifications is one less thing I have to commit to memory.  And, my amazing husband uses it frequently as well! Get the printable here  and let me know how it’s helpful to you.