There are tidy people and then there are you-could-eat-off-the-floor, everything-has-a-home people. You know the ones—you can drop in with five minutes notice and their apartment is sparkling clean; you pop by for a mid-week dinner party and their kitchen is neat and organized despite the multi-course meal on the go; you can quickly and easily find the litter *and* the kibble in the pantry when taking care of their pets because they’re brimming with clever organization ideas.
Some people are naturally good at taking care of their household and ensuring everything stays clean and tidy—but that doesn’t mean that their habits and routines can’t be emulated in your own home.
Below, we spoke to a handful of professional organizers and cleaners to get their secret habits that help foster a clean home at all times—and as it turns out, it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Clean as you go.
“People with clean homes always clean along as they go about their day, and don't let cleaning tasks pile up,” says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, President of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, a IICRC certified cleaning company in Chicago.
For example, if you're done cooking, clean the dishes right away before enjoying your meal. Wipe the stovetop clean once you're done eating because at this point the stovetop will have had enough time to cool down. Waiting to clean the stovetop later will be much harder to do because the grease and grime will have hardened.
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Schedule small cleaning bursts.
“Another idea is to incorporate short 5-10 minute cleaning breaks into your day to take care of tasks like laundry, dusting, etc,” says Rodriguez-Zaba. “Breaking your cleaning tasks this way makes cleaning more manageable.”
Switch up your daily chores.
“I think having schedules and timetables is a great organizing strategy,” says Alex Varela, General Manager of Dallas Maids. “Try to switch chores every day so you won’t get burned out, maybe 10 to 15 minutes for each task and 30 minutes total for each day. It’s not about effort or spending 4 hours, it’s about consistency and creating a habit.”
Make cleaning fun
Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring—in fact, Varela suggests intentionally making it a fun experience. “Play some music, if you’re decluttering with family you can set a timer, create challenges, etc. This can be useful especially for younger children.”
Don’t let clutter pile up.
“I always carry things in and out of rooms each time I get up,” says Varela. “If I had some coffee, the next time I get up I carry the empty coffee mug to the kitchen. With time you start doing this without even thinking about it.”
Keep the vacuum easily accessible.
“People with sparkling homes have a vacuum that's not a hassle to take out and use, so it's as effortless to clean your floors as it is to wipe down your kitchen counters,” explains Elyse Moody, Kitchen and Housekeeping Expert at Designer Appliances in Montclair, New Jersey. “The best cordless vacuums today make this simpler than ever because they are lightweight, attractive to keep out, and super powerful.”
Keep “cleaning kits” in each bathroom and kitchen.
“I also like to keep a mini cleaning kit in the kitchen and in each bathroom,” says Moody. “This way you can spray down mirrors and countertops as needed, on the spot, without having to collect cleaners from other parts of the house.”
Set a “clean foundations” schedule.
"Clean people set clean foundations—meaning they set schedules to keep clutter out,” says Gina Schaefer, Owner of a handful of Ace Hardware stores in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas. “So maybe bathrooms and kitchen cleanup once a week, pantry once a month, and windows and air filters every six months to a year.”
Don’t overdo it on storage.
According to Schaefer, when it comes to bins and baskets, the right size matters if you want to keep little stuff from becoming a big stuff mess. “At my Ace Hardware stores, we try to steer people to not buying too big storage items, or they'll just fill them when they could actually pare things down,” says Schaefer.