Want a cleaner home? One that gets cleaner easier, stays cleaner longer, and doesn't feel like the act of cleaning dominates your life? There are four habits that can be life-changers; could they change yours?
Carve out (and schedule) your cleaning chunk
We have provided you with a lot of different cleaning schedules over the years. What they've all got in common is that at some point in time you've got to carve out time where you pull out cleaning supplies and do a little scrubbing. The trick is knowing what excuses you're using (→ How to Motivate Yourself to Clean Regularly, For People Who Hate Cleaning), plan treats/fun/blackmail for yourself accordingly and then actually physically schedule your time chunk in your calendar/phone. And then you want to keep that cleaning date. It'd be great if you can make it a regular block of time you keep at the same time each day/week/month, but you've got to work with what complements your lifestyle.
Find the tools that work for you (no judgments)
Hey, if keeping an identical set of cleaning supplies in every room of the house (so you don't have to walk all.the.way.across.the.house when you want to clean a room) helps you keep your home clean, then you do you, you know? Or, if keeping those-really-expensive-but-super-handy cleaning wipes on hand helps you keep on top of things in between deep cleanings, no judgment on our part. We encourage you to try cleaning alternatives, but don't be afraid to go back to the tools and styles that work for you.
Don’t fall in love with (all) your stuff
This is pretty much the definition of "easier said than done." But think about trying on — and practicing — a home mindset of recognizing which core things really make a difference in your home - and which are just taking up space. Love your most treasured items such as your art, family heirlooms, and the items that have stories to them. But then work on cultivating a don't-give-a-flip attitude about the other small things in your home that aren't really special to you and might be better off in the outbox for donation day. Continuously working on that kind of in-or-out mindset will make it easier to make decluttering decisions in the future.
Put things back
There are a lot of variations of this idea in keeping a home clean. There's the grab-something-every-time-you-leave a room trick, ensuring that items always eventually make their way to their homes in your home. There's the act of pausing after finishing an activity like cooking and taking a minute to tidy up before sitting down to eat. The result is the same any way you want to approach the idea: Your home will not get as messy or cluttered if you fold in the simple act of putting things back where they belong immediately after using them.
Re-edited from a post originally published 7.11.15-NT