Neat People Reveal the Cleaning Tool They Won’t Live Without

updated Aug 3, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Folks who enjoy uncluttered rooms and a home not taken over by dust bunnies are often called “neat freaks.” In fact, that was originally the title I was going to give this post. “Secrets of Neat Freaks.” But these people aren’t “freaks.” They are people to be admired. Respected. Mined for their wisdom and secrets to keeping their home so clean. And their suggestions for the cleaning tool they can’t live without might leave you floored.

One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written was about the secrets of people who always seem to have a very neat home. I think its popularity is due to the fact that many of us struggle with keeping our homes as tidy as we would like to. Those whose homes are always orderly and organized have almost certainly found a cleaning system that works for them—but are special products or tools a part of their cleaning secret weapons, as well?

I asked four people (some who are self-proclaimed “neat freaks” and some who just obviously master the art of keeping neat) to share some of their cleaning wisdom. Below, they reveal the one cleaning tool they can’t live without. I was surprised to see the tool choices all shared something in common—and I was delighted to know that you don’t have to be a millionaire to have a clean home; the tools suggested below range from affordable to splurge-worthy.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Ascher Smith, a landscape designer whose Australian home makes me yearn for more outdoor space of my own, does consider herself a “neat freak,” and from the stunning interiors of the home she shares with her family, it’s clear she’s got cleaning down. When asked about the cleaning tool she couldn’t live without, she shared the investment-worthy benefits of “Trevor”:

“Our robotic vacuum cleaner is the Roomba (though we actually renamed him Trevor…not sure why). With a landscaping business, two dogs and a toddler, LIFE WOULDN’T BE WORTH LIVING WITHOUT THIS LITTLE GUY!! I am simply amazed at the amount of dust, sand and hair that he will pick up every day without fail. He even gets to all the tough places like under beds and cupboards that you never do when vacuuming. Then he goes back to his station…recharges…and gets straight back to it. Totally worth every cent (now I just need one for upstairs too!)”

Living and sharing a small space with someone comes with its own set of cleaning challenges, but Jessica—who shares 325 square feet with her partner Milo and a cat—has clearly figured out how to make sure her small space stays clean on the regular. The indispensable cleaning tool she doesn’t want to live without also sucks:

“Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum. We have all wood floors, but if you use this vacuum on the carpet setting, it’s perfect! We leave it on the charger all day, so it’s always ready to go.”

Brittany Purlee is a contributor at Apartment Therapy, and we saw inside her Wicker Park shared home in a house tour a few years ago. She actually reveals several tools she uses often to stay clean. Her secret to a neat house: combine regular maintenance with occasional deep clean.

“I love clean floors more than most people, so the dry swiffer is hard to beat, though I do have environmental concerns. (Alternative suggestions welcome!) However, it’s so convenient and easy to use that my floors are consistently clean, minimizing build-up and the ensuing environmental impact of frequent deep cleanings. I’m all about regular maintenance, but when it comes time for a deeper clean, I use the Eureka steamer [no longer sold; shop a similar one here]. I don’t think it’s available anymore, but finding a similar one will be a godsend for mopping and disinfecting your floors sans harsh chemicals. For other surfaces, a microfiber duster and a big sponge are helpful.”

Sarah currently lives in an orderly one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Georgetown. Though we haven’t toured her full home yet, we did get a peek at her style in her house call. Her favorite cleaning tool recommendation follows suit with the advice above; and she hints at why all of these products might have to do with the same surface.

“I definitely get a TON of use out of my vacuum, the ridiculously affordable (only $20!) Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Vacuum. Mine certainly isn’t anything fancy, but it works! I swear my whole apartment feels cleaner from top to bottom after a quick vacuum of each room.”

Want more advice for keeping clean? It is spring cleaning time, after all! How about 200 suggestions?

This post was originally published on March 31, 2017, and was last updated on May 2, 2019, to reflect current offerings and prices.