Organize & Clean

7 Ways You’re Making House Cleaning Harder Than It Has To Be

updated Jan 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Cleaning the house not on your list of favorite ways to spend your time? You might want to check and see if you’re unintentionally making things worse on yourself. From spending more time on cleaning tasks than you need to, to just not being efficient, peruse this list of seven things you could be doing that’s making it harder to keep your house clean, and see if you can eliminate one to make cleaning the house easier or faster!

1. You don’t clean as you go
You know the best time to clean your shower? After you’ve showered and everything’s already wet. The same applies to your kitchen while you’re cooking (pick up as you go and clean after you finish), your closet as you dress (re-hang stuff after you take them down) and plenty of other examples. When possible, clean as you do things or right after so you don’t leave messes that just get worse as time goes by.

2. You do activities in rooms not intended for those uses
Anytime you say, eat in the bedroom or work in the living room, you’re bringing in items that don’t belong in that room. Meaning you’ve got to bring those items back to where they belong when you’re done, or your house looks messy. It might not seem like much, but keeping items close to where they’re normally stored means it might be easier for them to find their way home again. Of course, those in small spaces might find it impossible to only do one activity per room, but it’s something to consider if your home is always just a little less picked-up than you’d like it to be.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

3. You’re not preventing dirt well enough
Do you keep your shoes on in the house? Do you leave all your windows open when there’s construction nearby? Any home that’s being lived in is going to get dirty, but you could be taking steps to keep it from getting dirtier than it has to be.

4. You don’t use the right cleaning supplies or tools (or use them correctly)
You want to stock your home with the most effective cleaning supplies and invest in sturdy, well-made tools. But you also want to use the tools and supplies that work for how you like to clean — if you know you’re more likely to sweep regularly than vacuum, don’t spend a ton of money on a vacuum you’ll never use; invest in a great broom. And you want to make sure you’re reading the directions on products as well as researching the best cleaning methods for any spots around the house that never seem clean enough — you just might not be cleaning it the best way. Tricks like dusting the blinds with dryer sheets, using coffee filters on mirrors instead of paper towels and more can cut your cleaning time down and make you more satisfied with the results, too.

5. You’re not efficient
Do you waste a lot of energy walking back and forth across your house, forgetting cleaning supplies or throwing things away? You want to tote your tools and cleaners with you, from room to room, and bring a trash bag along, too. Attack your home cleaning methodically: Start from the back of your home to the front, from the back of each room to the front of each room. From top to bottom. And tackle one room at a time. Don’t switch tasks, get distracted and start something else or repeat yourself.

6. You don’t have a schedule
You know what makes cleaning harder? Waiting so long in between cleaning that you have to spend more time just to get it back to a reasonable state of cleanliness. We’ve given you different home cleaning schedules before, find the one that works for you. And then schedule it like you would an appointment or job responsibility — something in your calendar you have to keep. This makes it a habit and more about maintaining clean, not having to scrub for hours.

7. You don’t make it fun
Indulge in some reality television while you scrub something. Put on some Madonna and dance while you shine. Or put on some podcasts and get smarter while you vacuum. If you combine your scheduled home cleaning time with catching up on “This American Life” you might actually come to look forward to it! (Maybe)

  • Precisely One Hour of House-Cleaning Music
  • House Music: A Playlist for Spring Cleaning

How are you making keeping your home clean more difficult than it has to be? And how can you change it?

Re-edited from a post originally published 7.27.2014 – cm