Keeping your home clean can often feel like a never-ending story. You spend hours cleaning on a Sunday, only to have things in disarray again by the end of the week, and you're probably always on the lookout for cleaning hacks that will make your life easier.
The average woman currently spends an average of 18 hours a week cleaning her home. While this is in comparison to a whopping 44 hours per week 50 years ago, it's still a pretty lofty amount when we consider that so many women now work outside the home. It breaks down to 2.6 hours a day — or, what is probably more likely — a ton of time cleaning on the weekends, when you could otherwise actually be (gasp) enjoying your free time.
Not only that, but for most of us, a dirty house is a major source of stress. In a piece for the HuffPost Healthy Living section, psychotherapist Robi Ludwig said, "we need our home environment to be the place where we can take both personal and physical refuge. It is here that we can balance ourselves and our psyches, because our home is the place where we can relax, regroup and reinforce the best part of who we are."
If you're looking for ways to keep your home clean, without breaking your back every weekend on giant deep cleans, here are nine simple ways to help.
1. Leave More At The Door
Real Simple asked their readers to send in their favorite and most useful tips for keeping their homes tidy in an article about ways to keep your home cleaner longer. One reader said she has a "leave more at the door" policy in her home, in which she leaves a mat on both the inside and outside of her front door, collecting excess dirt and encouraging people to wipe their feet. "The amount of dirt that collects on the indoor mats is proof to me that this method works wonders," she said. Not to mention it's zero extra work for you and you can buy super cute and inexpensive mats at almost any home store.
2. 10-Minute Power Clean
In the same Real Simple reader's advice piece, another reader said she makes a game in her house where she does a timed "10-minute power clean." She turns up the music, sets a timer, and she and her family put away as much as they can until the timer beeps. The 10 minute limit makes it seem super manageable even when you're busy, and tidying up a few key areas will make your space feel way cleaner.
3. Always Put Your Coats Away When You Come Home And Put Your Clothes Away Every Night
In an article at Housebeautiful.com about the habits of people who never have to clean their homes, editor Sarah Yang recommended putting your coat away in the closet as soon as you take it off, as otherwise your entryway can just become a haphazard pileup for shoes and jackets. She also said to be sure to put your clothes away each night. "It takes a couple of seconds to put them in your laundry hamper or return them to your closet," she said. "You'll be thankful that you won't have to spend extra time rounding up stray socks all over your room when it's laundry day."
4. Wipe Down Surfaces After Use
Yang also stresses to wipe down surfaces after use, especially in your kitchen, as the longer you let dirt and grime build up, the longer it will take to clean. Also, I don't know about you, but there's something about a clean, inviting kitchen that actually makes me excited to cook, meaning that I'm that much more likely to actually make something for myself after a long day of work instead of impulsively ordering in.
5. Open Your Mail In The Same Place Every Day
Lifestyle blogger and author of the book The Organically Clean Home Becky Rapinchuk said you should deal with mail on a daily basis. "Stacks of paperwork, mail, and kid papers isn’t going to make your home feel organized," she said. "Toss any flyers or unnecessary mail at the door," and, "open and file any bills that need to be paid." She also recommended investing in a paper shredder, since often times people keep mail around simply because they know it contains personal info that they're afraid to just throw out.
6. Do Your Dishes
Rapinchuk also recommended doing your dishes and wiping down the sink right after you eat as opposed to saving it for later, when you may not actually get around to it. "Get in the habit of loading the dishwasher after dinner, wiping down the kitchen table, clearing and wiping the counters, and give that sink a little scrub," she said. "When you get up the next morning you will be so glad you did!" She also recommended adding essential oils to baking soda for a great natural and effective sink scrub.
7. Take It Out, Put It Away
This is a tip that Rapinchuk strongly stressed and said of all the things you can do to keep your home clean, this is the one you should start trying to implement today. If you take something out of its usual place, like crackers from the cupboard, or nail polish supplies for an at-home manicure, put it away as soon as you're done. "I guarantee it will take you less time to put that one thing away than it will to put all the things away at the end of the day," she said.
8. Make Your Bed
In a list for staying organized on Apartment Therapy, professional organizer Jeni Aron recommended simply making your bed each day. She said it only takes two or three minutes tops, and that, "A made bed encourages me to hang up clothes and return magazines and books to shelves instead of piling them up on gathered sheets and tilted pillows." So not only does a made bed feel good, but it will help encourage you to keep up other tidy habits throughout the day.
9. Throw Things Out
Aron is also a huge advocate of letting go of things you don't really need. "When you're not using something but you're just holding onto it to 'have it' that's the beginning seeds of clutter," she said. "I just threw out three Urban Decay chubby eyeliners when I admitted to myself that I'm not a chubby eyeliner kind of girl. I freed up space in my medicine cabinet and created room for the things that do fit my life." Don't be afraid to throw out (or donate) if you just haven't used something in months or even years.
A clean home doesn't have to be the result of four hours of vigorous cleaning on a Sunday. If you work on small acts of daily maintenance, it could be as quick as a 30 minute vacuum session or just doing your laundry at the end of the week, freeing you up to do things you actually enjoy!