10 SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD ROUTINES TO KEEP YOUR HOME CLEAN AND CLUTTER-FREE
Keeping your home clear and tidy doesn’t have to be complicated or use up all your precious time and energy. Here are 10 simple household routines to keep your home clean and clutter-free, the simple and stress-free way.
HOUSEHOLD ROUTINES TO SAVE YOU TIME AND ENERGY
So often our homes can drain our energy and our time. We spend time cleaning, tidying and looking after them and it can seem like a never-ending cycle, especially when you have a busy family and busy life.
Yet, there are ways to make looking after your home so much easier with just a little bit of planning and some helpful routines and habits in place. This is what we’ll talk about in this article and hopefully, the ideas I’ll share will help you create some simple household routines to keep your home clean and clutter-free!
I’m a great fan of breaking big projects down into little ones and managing the home certainly can fall into the big project category if you don’t do a little bit regularly to keep it clean, tidy and clutter-free.
As I was going around my own home, thinking about my own cleaning and household routines, I came up with a few ways to save myself time and energy. That’s time and energy I could be freeing up for much more fun things than washing, dusting and tidying away!
So, here are my top 10 simple household routines to keep your home clean and clutter-free. They’ll also help save you time, energy and maybe even some stress.
As you read through them, think whether they could help you manage your own home that little bit easier.
10 SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD ROUTINES TO KEEP YOUR HOME CLEAN AND CLUTTER-FREE
Here are my top 10 simple household routines to keep your home clean and clutter-free. Simple habits to manage your home, with minimal effort.
1. Wash the dishes after you’ve used them
Get into the habit of washing the dishes, glasses and cutlery straightaway after eating.
It will take just a few minutes instead of piling it all up in the sink throughout the day for you to wash and put away in the evening. There are plenty of better ways you can be spending your evenings!
If you have a dishwasher then perhaps do what I do. Load it all up during the day after every meal. Switch it on to run after your last meal of the day so it’s finished by bedtime and unload it first thing in the morning.
Not only will it save you time but your kitchen will look much tidier without dirty plates in the sink!
2. Tidy up before each mealtime
Don’t let the toys build up on the floor or general stuff invade every room and stay there!
After the kids have played with the toys and before they move onto something else, make sure all the toys are put away. Same goes for you and anything you’ve been using too!
The easiest way to do this can be to grab a laundry basket before every meal time and walk around room to room.
Put everything in the basket that doesn’t belong in each particular room and return the items to where they should go. Straighten the rugs, plump up the cushions and take any dirty dishes etc into the kitchen whilst you’re at it.
If you do this regularly before meal (and maybe snack) times throughout the day, then your home won’t really get the chance to be messy. It’s a good example of how doing a little bit of something often can make a big task seem more manageable.
Of course, tidying up is also easier if you have a less cluttered home and less stuff, especially when it comes to toys and craft supplies!
Further reading: 11 ways children benefit from having fewer toys
3. Clean up during and after every snack and meal
Here I don’t mean just doing the dishes after every meal! Take a few extra minutes to tidy away too, including:
- Wipe down the kitchen surfaces whilst you’re cooking
- Clean the table after you’ve eaten
- Sweep or hoover under the table after each mealtime.
A few minutes spent like this can save you a lot of work later on!
One tactic I like to use in my own home is that the kids aren’t allowed to eat anywhere but at the dining table. I let them take water bottles around the home but snacks and cups or glasses of juice have to be eaten or drunk at the table. It means everything can be put straight in the dishwasher easily and there aren’t crumbs or leftover food finding their way throughout the house. I don’t know how long this rule will carry on as my children get older, but it’s been a helpful strategy whilst they’re young!
Further reading: How to declutter kitchen counters and keep them clutter-free
4. Do a little bit of housework each day
I prefer to do housework little and often, instead of a single long deep-clean session.
This is my plan:
- I’ve worked out how many rooms are in my home, what needs to be cleaned in each of them and how often
- I’ve made a rota to ensure each bit is cleaned as often as is necessary – daily, weekly, monthly, 6-monthly etc
- I tackle a little bit each day, maybe 20 minutes or so (sometimes less!)
This means that my home never really gets the chance to become dirty. I’m not overwhelmed at the prospect of a day’s housework just to cut through the dust and grime. Visitors can arrive unannounced and I’m not embarrassed by how dirty my home is.
Better still, if I miss a day because I didn’t have time, wasn’t well enough or just had something more exciting to do, it doesn’t matter because the general level of cleanliness is good enough.
Further reading: Minimalist cleaning routines – How to spend less time cleaning
5. Delegate chores
Everyone in your home, including your kids, can do their bit to help you around the home.
This will save you time and energy and it’s a good set of skills for your kids to learn and get used to helping with. It will encourage them to take ownership of their belongings and space, look after them and foster some independence. I also find that my own kids respond well to a clutter-free and tidy home just like us adults. They’re more inclined to keep their spaces clear and tidy if there isn’t clutter everywhere!
Just make sure that the chores are age-appropriate and you’re willing to relinquish some control! Let them sort and fold their own clean clothes, for example, and put them away in the drawers. The folding might not be as perfect as yours, but they’ve got to start somewhere and it will get better with practice!
Further reading: Kids and chores – why and how to encourage your kids to help at home
6. Check the bathroom whenever you walk past it!
Get into the habit of checking the bathroom regularly. It’s amazing how dirty the bathroom can get, particularly when there are little ones in the home! You can be sure there’ll be some drip or smear where there shouldn’t be one!
Every time you walk past the bathroom, give it a quick once-over. Wipe the surfaces with a baby wipe, fold the towels neatly and make sure the room smells nice! This way the bathroom will always be presentable, without smears of toothpaste, soap and worse, should a guest arrive by surprise!
Other ways to keep the bathroom clean and clutter-free are to make sure your counters are as clear as possible. Give your bathroom a regular declutter, make best use of storage space and keep it clear and functional.
Further reading: How to declutter your bathroom
Work out how often you need to do a load of laundry and get into a routine of doing this as regularly as your household requires.
I tend to put a wash on every couple of days. I also make sure that the basket of clean clothes is folded, ironed if necessary, and put away before I go to bed that night.
This way everyone has a fresh supply of clean clothes and the dirty laundry doesn’t build up.
Another incentive to stay on top of the laundry is by having less clothes. You’ll need to turn the laundry around quicker if you all have a few less items to wear so that you don’t run out of clean clothes. But, this will help avoid the laundry piles building up which adds to the clutter in our home and rising stress levels as we put off having to sort through it all!
Decluttering your clothes has some other great benefits too. You’ll find it quicker and easier, even more enjoyable, to get dressed in those busy mornings. Everything in your closet will be something you enjoy wearing, fits and suits your life right now.
Further reading: How to declutter clothes
8. Be vigilant for clutter
Clutter can creep into even the most simplified and minimalist home if you don’t remain on guard for it and do something about it! Don’t forget that clutter isn’t always obvious. It could be junk mail landing on your door mat, plastic wrapped around your food, sticks and stones your kids bring in from the garden.
Keep an eye out for clutter in your home and don’t hesitate to get rid of it if you don’t want it in your living space. Keep a box handy and put stuff in it that you want to declutter. As you move through your home, make a mental note of what you use and what seldom sees the light of day. If you don’t use something, it doesn’t serve a purpose, add value or you don’t appreciate it in some way, then perhaps it’s time to put it in the box and give it away!
Further reading: 20 daily habits for a clutter-free home
9. Make your bed every day
Everyone in our home makes their bed each morning. As it’s part of their normal daily routine, even the kids don’t even grumble about it!
It did take a while to get them into the routine of doing so and I can’t recall how many times I said ‘put the four corners of your duvet to the four corners of your bed’. Yet, the persistence paid off and they do it every day!
I always make my bed as it’s just part of the process of getting myself physically and mentally ready for the day.
It’s also surprising what a difference it can make to your bedroom if your bed, at least, is neat and tidy!
Further reading: How to declutter your bedroom – making your bedroom a sanctuary and why it matters
10. Develop structured morning and evening routines
What you do first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening can really set the tone for your day and night. This includes what you do for yourself, but also what you do for your home.
These two routines will book-end your day. No matter how crazy and busy your day gets, you know that your mornings and evenings will give you what you need to stay centred and calm.
What you find most helpful to do with your mornings and evenings is entirely your choice but if you’d like some ideas then check out the following posts:
Further reading: Morning Routine Planner – a powerful workbook to help you plan a consistent, flexible morning routine that supports you for the day ahead.
A NOTE ON KEEPING IT SIMPLE
These simple household routines will definitely save you time and energy whilst at the same time, keeping your home relatively clean and tidy.
However, although these routines are effective in themselves, there are two other points that I think it’s important to bear in mind…
1. HAVE LESS CLUTTER
A clean and tidy home is easier if you have less stuff in it. It might be stating the obvious, but a clutter-free home has less stuff to move, clear away and tidy up. Everything in your home requires you to manage or look after it in some way. It might need cleaning, washing, tidying up, dusting around, sorting through.
Ask yourself whether you’re prepared to spend time and energy looking after your stuff or whether you’d rather have the time and energy back instead of managing that stuff?
A good way to think of it is to consider the ‘Silent To Do list’. This concept came from Fumio Sasaki’s book ‘Goodbye, Things’. The stuff in our home might not be listed on our normal To Do lists but this stuff still requires maintenance and managing and something to do to it.
There are many things we want to keep in our homes, but considering what those things require of you might be a good filter for deciding whether you really want to keep them!
Further reading: 20 reasons to own less stuff
2. AIM FOR PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION
Your home is not a show home. It’s the hub of your family life and it’s a space that works hard for you. The only way it will ever be perfectly clean, is for you to either not live in it, or to spend your entire life cleaning. There’s so much more to life so clean enough will do!
You might like this article on 15 ways to simplify your space for more quick tips to make your home easier to manage.
Routines are easy once you get into the swing of them, but they can be difficult to put in place at first. We forget, procrastinate and make excuses!
One way to build regular routines and habits is by habit-stacking. As James Clear writes, “One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behaviour on top.”
So, for example:
- After you’ve got out of bed in the morning, make your bed straightaway.
- After you’ve dried the dirty laundry, put it away in the closets and drawers, not in a pile to sort later.
- After you’ve eaten dinner, load the dishes straight into the dishwasher.
- After you’ve walked in the front door, put your coat and shoes away before you do anything else.
Read this article from James Clear about habit-stacking and how and why our brains respond well to habit-stacking!
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I’d love to hear if you have any routines in place for your home. What works well for you and did you struggle to keep up with those routines? Do you have any tips or ideas to share. Leave a comment at the end of the post!
A FREE WORKBOOK!
If you think your home could benefit from creating some simple routines to stay clean and clutter-free, with minimal hassle and stress, then I have something which might help!
Pop your details in the box below to receive a free workbook on Setting Up Routines for your home. I hope it will help you brainstorm and create household routines that will work for you.