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7 Habits That Lead To a Clean House Every Day

Always Be 10 Minutes From Having a “Guest Ready” Home
A Made Bed Makes For A Clean House
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If you know me well, then you know my house is pretty much always in order. My friends who come over, know that they can come at a moment’s notice, and the house will always be tidy. I get asked often how it’s possible to keep the house like this while having 5 kids. Well, I can tell you it doesn’t happen magically!

How does it happen?

I’m the kind of person that’s always going, going, going. It will be a rare occasion when you will find me sitting down and relaxing on the couch or the bed. I love having a clean house. And by clean, I don’t mean floors and bathrooms scrubbed on a daily basis, that’s not the kind of clean I’m talking about. I’m talking about a house that is orderly.

See, when the house is in order, and everything is in its place, a good deep cleaning once a week is enough.

A Clean House = Less Stress

I know Ryan and I feel a lot less stress when the house is clean. It helps us focus on what’s important and what needs to get done.

And this is how I make it happen:

Like I said, it doesn’t just happen miraculously. I have adopted some great habits and tricks, that help me always have my home “guest ready” in approximately 10 minutes. So I, of course, have made a list of those habits I feel help me the most in keeping my home in order and I’m sharing them with you so hopefully they will help you too!

Make Your Bed

This one is pretty simple, yet most people simply don’t do it. I put it first on the list because it’s the first thing you can do every day to get you started on the right foot. This is a habit I learned from my mother. I remember every single morning her bed was perfectly made, by her, without fail.

Every. Single. Morning.

It didn’t matter what was going on that day, her bed was always made! So, luckily, I followed suit, and realized that making my bed every morning instantly made my room look clean!

A Made Bed Makes For A Clean House
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So try it, if you don’t already make your bed every day, make it a point to start doing it. Not only will it make you feel like you’ve accomplished your first task of the day but you will also feel so good at night when you walk into your room and it looks nice and clean.

Use Baskets for Shoes, Toys and Other Items

Can I tell you how much I love baskets? I love them a lot!

They make clean up so easy! Not only that, but they keep “all the things” out of sight.

Place a pretty basket under a bench for shoes, and no more ugly piles of shoes in your entryway!

Place a basket on a shelf to hold miscellaneous items, and you no longer have to see those items on the kitchen counter.

Baskets are not only decorative, but they are so functional. I have baskets for shoes, toys, magazines, crafts, etc. You name it, I have a basket for it!

Baskets To Keep A Clean House
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These baskets are from Smith & Hawken.

I have a large round basket on a built-in shelf downstairs labeled “toys”. Every time I find a toy laying around downstairs, I throw it in the basket. At the end of the day, I have my kids go through it, claim anything that’s theirs, and take it where it belongs.

Baskets make it so easy for the kids to put things where they belong. And, keeping them nicely labeled makes it even easier for the kids to know exactly where everything goes.

My older boys have gotten really good about using their baskets to keep things in their place. They now place their shoes in the basket when they get home without me having to ask. The little ones still need reminders, but they’ll get there with practice.

Now if only the big boys could use the same concept with the laundry basket! The clothes are so, so close to the basket, but never seem to make it in!

Put Things Away as Soon as You Come Home

OK, you really have to be intentional with this one. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

You know how it goes…

As soon as you walk in, there are all kinds of people needing you, your phone starts ringing, all of a sudden all things in the house are urgent, and somehow the things you’re carrying seem to find a permanent place on the kitchen island or entrance table.

I know, some days it happens to me.

For the most part, though, I really try to focus only on putting everything away as soon as I come home.

Put Things Away For A Clean House
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If I have a jacket on, it goes in the coat closet. My purse goes on a hook, my shoes go in a basket, and any trash I was carrying from the car, goes straight into the trash can. And if I’m carrying a pile of mail, well, that leads me to my next point….

Take Care of Mail Immediately

Mail. It’s a huge problem in most homes.

It usually sits, piling higher and higher, for weeks on end, as an eyesore, until you finally go through it, only to find 95% junk mail and some bills that you missed that are now probably overdue.

Sort Mail For A Clean House
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Well, this problem is easily solved, but it also takes intentionality.

When I go check the mail, and bring it inside the house, I park myself next to the trash can and sort it immediately. If it’s junk, I throw it in the recycling bin, and if it’s not I take it upstairs to be filed or taken care of.

I’ll tell you about my mail filing system in another post, but for now, let’s just say, put important bills and items in one pile, and if it’s trash, throw it out!

Also, if you use coupons, make sure to have a basket or container, where you can immediately take any coupons that are in your mail.

If It Takes Less Than a Minute to Do It, Do It Now

This one was a game changer for me. I didn’t start doing this until well into my married life. I heard someone talking about organization say this, and it stuck. It was such a simple concept, I was determined to try it.

Did it work?

Of course, it did, and to this day, this is one of the things that I feel is most important in helping me keep things in their place.

Basically, it goes like this:

If you have something to do, and it will take less than a minute, do it now.

Clock On Nightstand
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Don’t set it aside for later, just do it. If you have a paper to file, and going to your filing cabinet or system will take less than a minute, then just get it done. If there’s an email or text that needs a response, and it will take you less than a minute to do it, then answer right then and there.

If you keep setting aside little things to get done later, you will find yourself with a huge pile of little things that need tending to.

So try this one. Ask yourself, “can I get this done in under a minute?” If the answer is yes, then do it now!

Do the Dishes

No brainer, right?

Then, why is this one so difficult?

I must admit, doing the dishes was one of the biggest issues in my home, until recently. Every night there was a huge pile of dishes, I certainly didn’t want to look at, let alone wash! So for a few months, we have been using Dana White’s method from “How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind”. She already did wonders for my laundry routine (you can read about that here), so we figured we’d try the dishes as well.

What’s her secret?

It’s simple. Do the dishes. Haha!

Clean Sink Clean House
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No, there will be no fairies coming into your home to do them for you.

The key is doing the dishes as soon as there’s a dish in the sink, and not waiting until there’s a huge pile of dishes sitting in there. You need to start the dishwasher every night, and the sink needs to be empty every night. In the morning, as you fix breakfast, you need to unload the dishwasher and start the process all over again.

If you’d like to read more in detail about this, I highly recommend Dana’s book. Her methods are simple and they work!

Declutter and Get Rid of Stuff

So this is a bonus one. This isn’t something you do on a daily basis. It’s so important though.

Here’s something to think about:

The more stuff you have, the more time you’ll spend keeping it clean! Simple huh?

Yet, we all allow our homes to get full of unnecessary things that we don’t even care for or use. So set aside some time to declutter and get rid of things. You can throw away, donate, or even sell any items you get rid of.

Simplify By Decluttering
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Simplify your life, and get rid of things you don’t need. It will make cleaning your home a whole lot easier!

Now It’s Your Turn

I don’t want you to think that my house is perfect or always in 100% complete order. That only happens in magazines. But my home does remain tidy, and I always feel proud of it when someone stops by for a visit, or when I take a look around myself.

Remember, you have to intentionally do these things for them to work. If you have trouble keeping your home in order, try these tips for a few weeks, until they become a habit. You will not regret it and you will hopefully see a difference in your home.

Do you have any other tips for keeping your home in order? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Also, make sure to check out these other great posts to help you keep your home clean and stay productive:

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  • Carolina says:

    I’m traveling, but couldn’t wait to read this post. It is full of great advice!! Mail is my biggest problem, as well as shoes and toys. I will try your basket system. Hopefully, it will work for me too. Thanks OHH!!

    • Valerie Cooper says:

      Thank you Carolina! I’m so glad to hear you’ll try some of the habits! Let me know how it goes!!

  • Annie Cheviron says:

    Maybe I have some of your same ‘kind of genes’, I Love neatness, and have learned over the years to do so many of your good habits. It feels wonderful to make my bed as soon as I get out of it! Starts the day off right! My children have been grown for years, so my life is different, but I do a lot of things the way you do, and I can testify they Work! I learned from an early age, from my Dad, to ‘wash dishes as I cook!’ It makes me feel good to not have to work around dirty dishes. Now this is different for me than you, as I live in a small camper, have no dishwasher. But I do use a disinfecting spray I make, to thoroughly spray each item, let it sit a minute or so, then finish washing it with hot water and a brush. Never use a sponge!
    I really want to Thank you for all your helpful advice that makes my life easier and more satisfying. ( I have had an Instant Pot over a year now, but you have even helped me on it!) I am not a person to follow a lot of blogs, as I find most too time-consuming, and not all that helpful, but yours is the top of the best I have ever encountered! Again, I Thank you and please, stay at it!

    • Valerie Cooper says:

      Thank you so much for your very kind words Annie!! I’m so glad that you enjoy my blog and I’m happy that it’s helpful to you! ? Sounds like we both have the same habits! They really do work! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • W W Kestenbaum says:

    VK, Wow!! You are such a great role model, it makes me so proud of you and your entire team of kids and Daddy, every one is being successful in whatever they do. Happy Mothers Day!

  • W. W Kestenbaum says:

    VK. your system is perfect! I love to add that any member of the family has to always put back in its usual place any thing in the house that you use! Love, W W

  • Kate says:

    Love the one minute rule! Just get it done! I use this same system with paperwork. Only touch it one time. Fill it out immediately, and you will be so happy you did. Thanks for the lovely post.

    • Valerie Cooper says:

      Thank you so much, Kate! I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Love the one touch rule! Paper seems to be the hardest thing to control! Thanks for stopping by!

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