Keeping a home clean — or even just trying to get your place to be not too messy — can take a lot of effort.
To help you make life a little bit easier, we have rounded up these tips to help you minimize the amount of work needed, and to be able to do what has to be done as efficiently as possible.
How to minimize the need for cleaning & organizing
Keep the time you need to spend cleaning and organizing your home to a minimum by using these tips.
These ideas come from the experts at Molly Maid, Merry Maids, The Maids and Maid Brigade, as well as Jenny Botero, director of housekeeping operations for Marriott International.
1. Do you have one or two — or ten — objects that just seem to float from place to place with no designated spot to call their own? Take a moment and think through where these things should go. Common “floaters” are the broom, backpacks, lunch boxes, car keys, and incoming mail. (The Maids)
2. Create a “magic triangle” in your kitchen between the stove, refrigerator, and sink and keep frequently used kitchen items there. (Maid Brigade)
3. Clean as you cook, and don’t ever put anything down in the sink. Plates should go directly from the table to the dishwasher, and so should pots and pans. You can also wipe down countertops while you’re brewing your morning coffee, and the microwave right after you use it. (The Maids)
4. Dust will be repelled from the tops of furniture, shelves — even the refrigerator — when you dust with a fabric softener sheet. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
5. Use cheesecloth to keep dust from moving about. Open your heating/air conditioning registers and cut a piece of cheesecloth to fit under the register. The cheesecloth will trap the dust. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
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6. Invest in well-made cleaning tools to clean your home. Good quality gloves, microfiber cloths, brushes, and mops can help make cleaning easier. To lessen your trips back and forth to the cleaning cabinet, prepare a cleaner’s bucket filled with all tools, cleansers, brushes and color-coded microfiber cloths needed to do the job quickly and efficiently. Have the microfiber mop and vacuum nearby. Don’t forget to include a plastic bag for trash. (Maid Brigade)
7. In many parts of the world, shoes are routinely taken off at a home’s entrance to avoid tracking in dirt, pesticides, street residue and other outside grime. Homeowners who have a no-shoes policy experience cleaner floors, longer-lasting carpets, and quieter footsteps. (The Maids)
8. Carpet can really get dirty fast in homes where people don’t remove their shoes at the door. To prevent everyday dirt from becoming stains, use a welcome mat to capture dirt at the door and regularly vacuum those mats – and vacuum underneath them if possible. (Molly Maid)
9. Restrict your pets’ movement to as few rooms as possible, especially with regards to bedrooms. Frequently damp-wipe feeding areas and launder bedding often. (The Maids)
10. Cleaner pets mean a cleaner house. If you have pets, bathe and brush them regularly to minimize the amount of pet hair and pet dander and to help with odors. Keep a lint brush or damp sponge handy to quickly pick up loose pet hair. (Merry Maids)
12. No more mismatched sheets! Keep sheet sets together by tucking top and fitted sheets into their matching pillowcase. (Molly Maid)
13. After every shower or bath, pull the shower curtain straight. Pushing it to the side encourages mold to build in crevices that can’t dry properly. (The Maids)
14. Install a hair catcher in your drain to avoid buildup. When water doesn’t drain as it should, it leaves behind an ugly ring around the shower or bathtub. (Molly Maid)
15. Clean your fridge in an instant by lining the shelves with plastic wrap, making sure to seal the edges around each shelf. Next time someone spills a fresh glass of lemonade in the fridge, you can keep your cool. Simply remove the messy plastic wrap and replace it with new. (The Maids)
16. Handle mail (and email) only once. Take any action needed as it arrives, then file or discard. (Maid Brigade)
17. To help organize the constant stream of paperwork coming in, make an “Action” folder for all items coming in that need your attention (bills, permission slips, RSVPs, etc). Keep this folder in the same place. This way, you can take five minutes out of your day and tackle a few items at a time, knowing you aren’t forgetting something. (The Maids)
18. The next time you need to replenish towels or sheets, consider going all-white. It’s easier to get back to gleaming (either with sun and lemon or with bleach), easier to match, and easier to decorate with. (The Maids)
19. When buying furniture, choose pieces that do double duty — such as a coffee table that also serves as a storage chest — to contain items in the room where they’re most often used. (Maid Brigade)
20. Practice the “one in, one out” rule. For every new item, discard an old one. (Maid Brigade)
21. Enforce a waiting period before buying more stuff. Even if you decluttered your entire house, there will always be the tendency to want to fill it back up again.
Avoid making any additional purchases (as best you can) by adding them to a list with the date you decided you wanted it. Wait 30 days, and then see if it has earned its way into your home. (The Maids)
ALSO SEE: 18 five-minute decluttering tips to help you get organized
22. Once you declutter one room, it has a tendency to suck the clutter in from other rooms. Refuse to let it. Since an uncluttered room is a thousand times easier to clean (okay, that’s an estimate), make sure you do it as often as possible to keep your progress going in the right direction. (The Maids)
23. Reward kids for cleaning up and sharing or donating what they no longer use, to make it fun. (Maid Brigade)
24. Do one quick job each day to keep organized and minimize time on cleaning day. Organize utensils while waiting for dinner to cook, or straighten a bookshelf while chatting on the phone. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)