April 8


7 Cleaning Habits for Home Maintenance

By Cassie

April 8, 2024

cleaning tips, tidy home

Cleaning habits can save you tons of time, energy, and effort maintaining your home. With 5 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 businesses being run out of my house I know a thing or two about the daily struggle to keep up with it all. And I’m one of those people who can’t think straight or get anything done if my house is a mess. Through the years I’ve found that keeping up with some simple tasks makes all the difference. These 7 cleaning habits will help you keep your house comfortable and well maintained without having to dedicate a full day to the task.

1. Touch Once

One of the biggest causes of overwhelm and clutter in any home is the collection of things that are out of place. The touch once habit is the easiest and quickest cleaning habit to implement to address this. All you have to do is create the habit of putting things away immediately rather than setting them somewhere. So, if you drink from a glass, put it in the dishwasher, when you get home put your keys where they belong, etc. One of the most challenging things to tackle in the touch once habit is the never ending flow of papers coming in and out. To address this we created a mailbox system for school papers and one for actual mail and household papers. It’s simple and free to create and you can learn how here.

2. Location, Location, Location

Rather than having to go hunt for the cleaning supplies you need for each room, keep them on hand. This makes it easy to clean up messes as they appear. In addition it simplifies the process of tidying up while your in a room simply to maintain it. This cleaning habit is relatively easy to implement but may require that you add more supplies to your shopping list. I recommend picking items up while they’re on sale or simply making your own.

3. While You’re There…

Now that you have the cleaning supplies you need where you need them starting this cleaning habit will be simple. All you need to do is clean the room you’re in while you’re in it. That means scrubbing down the shower walls with a dish scrubber and squeegeeing the glass door at the end of your shower. Or even wiping down the sink and scrubbing the toilet while the kids are in the bath. In addition, it’s always best to clean up after a meal while you’re already in the kitchen. Simply having everyone put their own dishes in the dishwasher can reduce clean up time by more than you would think (this would count as both “touch once” and “while you’re there”) .

4. Daily Dishwashing

Make loading, running, and emptying the dishwasher part of your daily routines rather than a one off, as needed to-do. This cleaning habit only takes a few minutes a day but pays off big time. If the dishwasher is run each night and emptied each morning everyone in the house can load it up throughout the day. This prevents dishes from being piled in the sink or left throughout the house. And it’s also much easier to rinse and load a dish when it hasn’t been sitting so long that it becomes dry and crusty. Plus, having a tidy kitchen sets the tone for the whole house and makes cooking and food prep so much easier.

5. Laundry Lightening

Laundry was the bane of my existence! Not only do I have 5 kids but my husband has some super challenging laundry related habits (that of course he shared with them). Now, in part because of these habits he handles the laundry duties but in the 20 years I did it I found a few ways to lighten the load.

These cleaning habits related to laundry are total game changers:

  • Laundry is collected in designated spaces & I don’t do laundry that isn’t there.
  • Those designated spaces have 3 hampers (towels, darks, lights) everyone over 3 sorts their own laundry. (Alternately laundry can be collected by room it belongs in).
  • Get a laundry head start by running a load the night before and tossing it in the dryer or starting it first thing in the morning. (I like to do things I hang to dry the night before and towels in the morning because they won’t wrinkle if they sit in the dryer all day).
  • Stop folding everything! Pajamas and jeans don’t really need to be folded at all. And, rather than folding socks, place a box of socks for each person in the family in your shoe closet and toss their unmatched socks in it straight out of the dryer.
  • Everyone puts their own laundry away.
  • Most kids are able to do their own laundry by the time they are around 10 – 12 years old. It may take some time to teach them but it’s well worth it. Each person over 13 in my home had their own designated laundry day.
  • Stop folding complicated things like fitted sheets… see habit 6

6. Bed Lasagna

My youngest sister says I’m a witch because I can fold a fitted sheet into a tidy flat square. Really it’s a skill I learned in childhood, from my mom, who how shall we say… was a bit particular about how things were folded. But folding fitted sheets is no fun and a waste of time so… no need for those witchy skills here! Rather than folding your fitted sheets simply toss them back on the bed, even if you already have sheets on them! Yep, you read that right! Stop folding those sheets and taking ups space in your closet with them and just keep them on the bed. There’s no reason why you can’t have more than 1 fitted sheet on the bed. And if you have kids, there are plenty of reasons you should!

On your children’s beds it’s best to use the lasagna method. Place a mattress over on the mattress, then a fitted sheet, then another mattress cover, and another fitted sheet. Continue this process until you run out or they no longer fit. This method is a life saver for sick child care and middle of the night diaper blow outs. Rather than having to strip and remake the whole bed you simply strip off the top layer and everyone goes back to bed. If you’re feeling really ambitious, rinse or soak the sheets you removed.

And again, remember… no more folding and storing complicated stuff!

7. Tidy Time

Daily tidy time is my favorite cleaning habit for two reasons. Firstly because it reliably gets everyone involved in cleaning up. And secondly, because it gives my home an easy daily reset.

Set aside 15 minutes either in your after dinner routine or your bedtime routine to tidy up and put things back where they belong. You may even find that you have time to do a quick wipe down of the more dusty or high traffic areas as well. When my kids were younger we used to do this as a family and often created contests or games. Now I usually go room to room at the beginning of my bedtime routine and put anything out of place where it goes.

Pro-Tip: Set a timer for this task and try to beat the clock by getting as much done as you can before it goes off.

Give Yourself a Break

While these 7 habits are simple to implement the honest truth is they won’t always be able to happen. Sometimes your house will be messy, cluttered, or in need of a deep clean. It happens! When this happens I like to remind myself of what KC Davis always says, “care tasks are morally neutral”. Let go of the self-criticism and judgement and give yourself a break. You and your family deserve a well rested, cared for you who gives yourself grace more than you need or want a clean, tidy home.

To learn more about how to let go be sure to check out KC Davis’ book How to Keep House While Drowning. And to stay on track with the habits that matter most to you while maintaining flexibility (because… well, you do have a real life) be sure to check out The Routinely App.

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