These smart habits can help you tame your messy house


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Having a messy house can be pretty bad for your wallet. It’s true. I learned this the hard way when my closet was so disorganized that I couldn’t find my eyeliner. You can read all about it and why I think organizing your life will help save you money.

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It seems there’s never enough time

With three kids and a full-time job, plus this blog, it can get a little overwhelming to keep on top of my messy house and keep the cleaning under control. The easiest way to keep my house clean would be to outsource it or even spend money on a professional organizer or fancy cleaning gadgets- unfortunately, that is really not an option financially.

So I have to figure out a way to keep on top of the cleaning and chores without outside help and to make sure your messy house is anything but messy!

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1. Leave The Room a Little Cleaner

Leave the room a little cleaner or neater than when you arrived. I know that sounds difficult and a little condescending, but it’s really not.  In fact, this is easy to do.  Put one thing away.  Move one thing. Simple. Keep on doing that, and you will see that your messy house gets a little more clean (and stays clean!) every day.

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2. Conduct general and deep cleaning every 2 weeks

Setting a schedule for deep cleaning and general cleaning will keep the dirt from piling up. It is a productive and fun way to bond as a family. It also maintains the cleanliness and hygiene of the home.  

Assign each member of the family specific tasks. General cleaning includes; sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, or any surface tasks. Assign these to the kids since they are easy ones. 

The adults do the deep cleaning, including complete rub down, especially on the hard-to-reach areas and sometimes disregarded. If you do this often, such as every two weeks, it will help keep your house in order.

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3. Spontaneous cleaning

When I notice toothpaste in the sink or crumbs on the kitchen floor, even if it’s not a scheduled time to clean, I will take care of it right away. Leaving it only makes me feel overwhelmed, and clearing time on the calendar to tackle it all is not always feasible. If I take care of it at the moment, it won’t linger as a chore that needs to get done, and the house will always feel somewhat clean.

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4. Plan Your Cleaning

Do a bit of cleaning every day. This way, you won’t end up being overwhelmed by how messy your house is. Divide your tasks into days so you will do one part of cleaning every day. 

For example, dust on Monday, vacuum, and mop on Tuesday, clean the bathroom on Wednesday, and so on. It will not take you more than 30 minutes a day, and you will feel much more organized.

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5. Set up Tasks and Subtasks

Dave Pedley, founder and editor of has a similar take on the cleaning schedule: As any parent will testify, keeping a home neat and tidy with young kids in the family is, well, just not going to happen! So I concentrate on keeping it clean – messy is OK! 

I adopted a strategy I used when I was still working as a software developer –  I look at the whole house as a project, divide it into subtasks – and tackle one task at a time. 

While the kitchen and bathroom obviously need daily attention, the rest of the house-cleaning jobs are divided into sections, and each part gets its special day in rotation. I don’t even try to keep everything under control all the time, just the essentials. And the routine stuff is handled in turn.

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6. Take advantage of empty time

For example, while the food is cooking, I rinse the dishes or do other quick cleaning tasks in the kitchen.  While chatting on the phone, I put away laundry, and when walking from one room to another, I try to grab one or two things to bring with me.

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7. Don’t Waste Movement

Want to maintain a tidy house? Make sure not to waste a movement. I can always find something that needs picked up or placed back where it goes. For example, let’s say I am taking laundry to the washing machine. 

As I begin walking from my bedroom down through the hallways, I am simultaneously picking up the random piece of trash in the hall and grabbing some toys that are on the floor.

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8. Do Laundry Every Day

If you have a big family, do a load of laundry every day. Don’t let it pile up until it is too overwhelming.  You can also follow FlyLady’s system of washing each load and then immediately drying it and putting it away (instead of having finished loads piling up).

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9. Sort Your Laundry

Use two laundry baskets or one that has dual compartments. One for white clothing one for dark clothing. If you sort them into the correct basket as you change clothes, the washing is already sorted into colors and whites for you when it is time to do laundry! 

This is a great way to save some time and since it takes so much less time to do laundry you can throw in a load on your way out the door in the morning.

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10. Pick up, then clean

First, do the simple things like picking up things and putting them back where they belong.

Straighten pillows, fold blankets, pick up stuff that doesn’t belong in each room.

Get into the habit of putting dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, hanging up, or putting back other clothes where they belong. You can’t really clean until you have picked up the clutter.

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11. Have a place for everything and keep it in its place

I know this is super cliche but it really works! Cleaning is much easier and goes much faster when your house is picked up. So get into the habit of putting things where they belong to make cleaning easier. If you have items that don’t belong anywhere, make it a point to find a place for it. If you can’t find a good spot for it then maybe it’s time to get rid of it.

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12. Mini cleaning stations

Instead of having one centralized cleaning supply center, create smaller mini cleaning stations via baskets or fabric cubbies throughout your home (bathrooms, mudroom, kitchen, upstairs/downstairs, etc.). That way, you can customize each one based on the specific needs of each space.

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13. Use Storage Baskets

Storage baskets are your friend.  There are so many fun, stylish storage baskets these days that are ideal for toys (kids and pets), books/magazines, small electronics such as a tablet, remotes, and other clutter-causing items.  

While ideally, these items should go back to their original place of storage, the reality is that doesn’t always happen.  Baskets are a quick, easy way to declutter a space so that only the items you want to be seen or visible.

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14. Always make your bed and do the dishes

I have lived by this rule for years, and it works to help my house neat. At the very least, if I don’t have time to do anything else before I leave the house, I make my bed and do the dishes.

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15. Make it Enjoyable

Use products you enjoy, and you’ll be more motivated to clean! Ex: Choose or make a daily multipurpose spray that smells great, get a high-quality dish brush and store in a pretty ceramic holder, or purchase a set of pretty reusable glass bottles.

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16. Make it Short!

When you’re struggling to feel motivated to clean, try setting a timer for an un-overwhelming amount of time, like 10-15 minutes. Then focus on the task at hand and do your best until the timer goes off. You’ll most likely find you accomplished more than you thought you could, or you may even have the momentum to do a little more!

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17. Involve the Whole Family

The best way to keep a home clean is to involve the whole family! Maintaining a clean home is a huge task for just one person to take on. If you have kids, assign age-appropriate cleaning tasks; this gives them a sense of accomplishment and teaches responsibility. 

Cleaning together is also a great and fun bonding opportunity. Create a cleaning schedule together and make it fun! Offer rewards and incentives, too, especially for the kids.

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18. Celebrate!

Celebrate the accomplishment! When the task is finished, plan to reward yourself with something you enjoy, like taking a walk, connecting with friends, a relaxing bath, or indulging in your creative hobby.

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19. Keep Your Drains Clean

You can often avoid drain clogs and fruit flies by keeping the drains clean. Pouring baking soda down the drain followed by white vinegar can keep a drain spotless! Flush the drain with hot water after about half an hour, and you’re golden. (Thanks, John the Plumber!)

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20. Don’t Vacuum Too Often

Tip: Vacuum the rug twice a month. Many people make the mistake of vacuuming every other day or week, which can damage the rug. Vacuuming it after every 15 days will make the rug even more durable. If your rug is stained, you can easily create a solution of white wine vinegar, detergent, and warm water and then rub the stained area with it. The stain will vanish away quickly, leaving a spotless rug.

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21. Clean the Toilet Regularly

Keep cleaning products in the bathroom to help make cleaning easier. Spray your shower with white vinegar until you can give it a thorough scrubbing on the weekend. Get into the habit of putting the toilet bowl cleaner in and swishing it around with a brush once daily to keep it fresh.

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22. You Must Clean Grease!

A common fire hazard that is frequently overlooked in terms of cleaning is the stove and oven. Surfaces like the burners and the floor of the oven can become covered with grease and food bits that can combust and quickly get out of hand.

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Keeping Our Homes Organized is Worth It

Keeping our homes organized is really important for ourselves: our emotional and physical well-being.  It also can save us a lot of money. A lot of frugal living tips only work if you are organized. If your life is organized, you can shop on sale and out away for next year. If your life is organized, you can meal prep for the week. 

If your life is organized, you can put up a crock-pot dinner instead of getting takeout. If your life is organized, you can shop in bulk and not have to throw lots of extra food out.

I can’t finish any post about cleaning or organizing without recommending the best cleaning and organizing book of all time. My mother bought FlyLady’s Sink Reflections book when I was a child and I still remember how life-changing it was.

Now that I have my own home I use a lot of her tips and tools to keep my own life and house organized. I really cannot stress enough how much you should read this book.

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I have to thank all the people who helped me with all the tips that you see in this post. I have included them below and I do hope you will check out their websites and blogs. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you get your life and home under control. After all, our home is our refuge, and especially now, the place where we spend a lot of time.

Thanks for all the awesome tips!

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