The 10 Easy Habits You Should Steal from Impossibly Clean People

published Aug 7, 2019
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Credit: Mackenzie Schieck

When you want to get better at housekeeping, you might decide to focus on an area that gives you trouble and look for ways to make that specific task quicker and more painless. Or maybe you tend to swing the other direction, searching for big-picture solutions like cleaning schedules and whole-home decluttering plans that promise to whip your home into shape and keep it that way.

Those are both great ways to care for your home. But in addition to the small tweaks and the gargantuan efforts, there are also a few “Goldilocks” cleaning habits you might not have seen before—not too hard, not too easy, just right. These 10 guidelines can apply to any area you want to tackle, and will make every cleaning endeavor go just a little bit more smoothly.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

1. Gather your supplies first

Nothing puts a wrench in your cleaning like having to go back to the cabinet for another rag, and then the wood cleaner you can’t find. Before you start on a room or cleaning project, get all your tools and products together so you can get in that cleaning groove and stay there.

Read more: Mise en Place is A Super Smart Cleaning Technique You Can Borrow from French Chefs

2. Follow the wall

This is just a fancy way of saying to start in one section of the room and then work your way around. I sometimes also think of it as “cleaning clockwise.” If you jump around from area to area while you’re cleaning a room, you could feel like you’re working hard without much to show for it. But when you follow the wall, the totally clean section you create motivates you to keep going.

Credit: Rikki Snyder

3. Clean top to bottom

This advice prevents you from sabotaging your own cleaning efforts. When you’re cleaning something that’s high up in the room, dust drops to lower surfaces and the floor. When you start at the top, you’re sure to address that dislodged dust and dirt when you get to the lower portions of the room. For instance, dust ceiling fans before you vacuum.

4. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good

Just because you don’t have time to be completely immaculate in your cleaning endeavors doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel. Do the best you can with what you have at the time and your house will be cleaner than if you strive for perfection and end up with nothing.

Credit: Rikki Snyder

5. Use the right tools for the job

Save your elbow grease by using the best tools for the job. For instance, use a small cleaning brush to scrub the mineral buildup around the bathroom faucet rather than trying to fit your rag in there and rub.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Pick up clutter before you clean

There’s no sense in cleaning around stuff that needs to be put away. It’s nerve-wracking, it causes you to miss spots, and when you’re done, your room still doesn’t look clean.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

7. Don’t despise “old-fashioned” cleaning methods and tools

To achieve your best clean, sometimes the oldies are the goodies. For instance, hanging laundry out to dry in the sun can help get your whites bright and using a broom in the kitchen before you vacuum allows you to get to all the debris hanging out against the toe kicks.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Disinfect only when necessary

Some times and some places call for some disinfecting. The toilet and your kitchen sink should be disinfected regularly, and if someone in the house is sick, you might want to swipe door handles and light switches with a disinfecting wipe. Otherwise, regular cleaning takes care of dirt and germs.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Dry, then wet

Do your dry cleaning before you hit surfaces with a damp rag. Otherwise, you will end up swirling around dust and that’s no fun. Run a microfiber duster over surfaces and then vacuum before you wipe surfaces or mop floors.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Make it fun

Life’s too short to wallow in drudgery. Why not make the most of chores we might not love? Whether it’s enlisting a buddy to clean with you or cranking up the tunes, makes you happy while you’re being dutiful.