Most of us don’t know how to make our homes a place that’s not just functional, but beautiful and enjoyable too. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t start making small changes today. Everyone knows the importance of taking care of our homes and making sure they’re clean. But we sometimes forget that a clean home also benefits us in ways we might not realize. According to the CDC, regular cleaning is actually good for your health and well-being! Cleaning helps us focus and get better sleep, and it makes us happier and more productive. So let’s start taking the time to keep our homes a little cleaner with these weekly habits for a clean home.
1. Map out your routine
“Most of life is routine – dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street.” – Ben Nicholas
Perhaps the biggest reason most people find it hard to keep their house clean is they don’t have a clear and predictable game plan to stay on top of things. But if you want to clean your home regularly, you need a system. How often do you vacuum? Do you dust? Do you clean the oven? Do you do laundry? Write it all down and make sure you’re consistent with your schedule. If you want to get into the habit of cleaning more regularly, start by cleaning one room or area each day. This will help you to see that it’s doable, and will also help you remember to do it.
Your routine will never be perfect, but you want something to fall back on. Start small with the most important cleaning chores and build on it each week until you reach a really strong routine that keeps your house at your desired level of cleanliness.
Pro tip: Make cleaning a family affair to speed up the process while building your family up as a team!
2. Purge and Declutter
Once you have a routine to move towards, the next key is to remove unnecessary clutter from your home. This can be hard for us folks with hoarder tendencies! But once you experience the freedom of owning fewer objects, you’ll discover it brings your more mental space as well. It is totally worth the regular effort.
The easiest way to declutter your home is to start with the most obvious things first. Take all of your junk mail and throw it away. Then go through each room in your house and sort through your belongings, discarding anything that doesn’t serve you, your family, or your home. You may also want to set up a schedule where you’re able to go through your belongings every two months or so. Especially for those areas that are prone to clutter like closets, cabinets, and garages. Simply put, if you’re able to create a consistent routine to declutter your home, you’ll also be more likely to keep up with it long-term!
Want some more specific action items for decluttering and purging? Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has some great “rules” to follow:
- When you get up from your desk, put one thing away.
- When you’re done eating, wash your bowl.
- When you walk through a room, find one thing to put away.
- When you take off a piece of clothing, put it away.
- Keep flat surfaces clear.
- At the end of the workday, file stuff.
- Put non-essential items you want to buy on a 30-day waitlist.
- Declutter on Saturdays.
- When you bring something new in your life get rid of two other similar things.
- Limit how many things you have.
- At the end of each month, clear out computer clutter.
- Every three months, purge
3. Clean & Sanitize
Once you’ve decluttered your home, you should start to clean and sanitize it. This is an important step that can really make a difference in your home. You’ll see your energy levels rise as you begin to enjoy your home more and it begins to feel less clean and uncluttered. Cleaning your home is a simple process. Start at the top, with your windows and ceiling fans. Then move down to the floor and carpet of all primary living areas. Repeat for bedrooms and bathrooms.
Going back to the routine, it may work best for you to do the cleaning and sanitizing one room per day. Make it manageable with your current schedule and energy levels to improve the chances of you sticking with it.
Now that things are decluttered and clean, the next best practice becomes keeping it looking neat and tidy. You may not be able to get everything in one room organized, but you can still keep the rest of your home tidy. Think about where your most used items are located. Are they all in one spot? Do you have a lot of drawers or cabinets that you never use? If you have a small space, you can make a system to organize your items.
This can be as simple as a labeled box in the corner of a room, or as complex as a file cabinet with labels for each drawer. You can also organize books, games, toys, clothes, etc. by hanging them on a closet rod, or using an organizer. This is great for kids who are having trouble finding what they need.
5. Deep Clean
What about those sneaky nooks and crannies or the outside of your home? These tend to fit best on a less frequent cleaning list on your routine. Deep cleaning doesn’t mean scrubbing the whole house, only the areas you know are dirty. This can include cleaning vents, ducts, windows, light fixtures, doors, and other hard-to-reach places. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also deep clean the garage, basement, attic, and crawl space.
Then we have the outside of your house. It’s one thing to be proud of the inside of your house when you have company. It’s another for the outside to match the same level of excellence. Here are some tips for getting started:
- Use a pressure washer to clean off your siding, trim, roof, deck, fence, etc.
- Use a broom to sweep the driveway, sidewalk, and walkway.
- Use a mop to clean your windows, doorways, and any other areas you don’t want dirt to get on.
Cleaning takes time and effort, but it doesn’t have to take over your life! Figure out what your current situation is, and what you want to be different. Then map out your weekly habits for a clean home that include purging, cleaning, and organizing. This is your game plan to continually fall back on. From there, it all comes down to STARTING. Pick one task on your routine each day and start making progress. Refine each week, month, and year, and you might just be surprised by the joy and satisfaction around the corner!