Cleaning your home can feel like a neverending task. And well… that’s because it IS a neverending task! Just when you’ve got your home clean and tidy, it’s time to start all over again. The smart cleaning tips below are going to help you keep things just a little bit more under control.
We can’t escape the constant need to clean, but we can make sure that we are working SMARTER, not harder! Smart cleaning is all about making the most of our time and doing little things that make it quicker and easier to clean our homes.
I’m all about quick cleaning – in fact, the most popular post on this site is my Quick Cleaning Hacks for Busy People. But these cleaning tips I’m going to share with you today, aren’t just about cleaning quicker, they will also help your home stay clean for longer and be easier to clean.
Table of Contents
Smart Cleaning Tips – Room by Room
We’re going to take a tour of the home and in each room, we’re going to discover ways smart cleaning tips can help you keep the mess and dirt under control!
The kitchen is one of the toughest rooms to keep clean, so we’re going to start here. We often make a big mess in the kitchen and some of them are really tricky to clean up (hello grease spatter… I’m talking to you!), try these smart cleaning tips to keep your kitchen just a little bit cleaner.
- Wipe down counters daily
- Minimize clutter on counters
- Time how long it takes to load/unload the dishwasher, it’s not as long as you think
- Place similar items together in the dishwasher
- Run dishwasher daily to avoid piles of dishes in the sink
- Wipe down the sink and faucet after preparing foods
- Microwave the sponges for 2 minutes to kill bacteria
- Take out the trash regularly, it only takes a few minutes!
- When you are bagging up the trash, also clean out old food from the refrigerator
Daily Wipe Down
By quickly wiping down your counters and sink every day, you will save yourself time in the long run. Once food and liquids dry, they can be really difficult to remove. By wiping the counters every day, you can save yourself scrubbing time later.
One way to make it quicker and easier to wipe down your counters is to minimize the number of items you keep on them.
Try to find homes for your utensils, small appliances, etc. so they don’t clutter up your counters. It’s much easier and quicker to wipe down a counter if you don’t have to move 20 things!
Piles of Dishes
If you are the kind of person that hates to do dishes (or load and unload the dishwasher), then I have a great tip for you.
You might feel like you don’t have time or energy to do the dishes every evening, so you leave them to pile up until you are hunting for a clean spoon and swearing that you won’t let it get that bad again.
Instead of procrastinating about the dishes, set a timer and see how long it takes you to do them. I’m guessing it’s probably under 5 minutes.
Now when you feel like you don’t have “enough time”, you can remind yourself that it only takes 5 minutes and you’ll feel so much better about having an empty sink in the morning!
While we’re on the subject of the dishwasher, let’s talk about HOW you load it.
There’s a lot of debate about the best way to load a dishwasher, but really it depends on the size/type of dishes and pans you have and also the layout of your dishwasher.
But one tip that will help you load it more efficiently (and therefore fit more in, so you don’t have to handwash as many dishes) is to put like items near each other.
For example; all the large plates next to each other, then the smaller plates, then the pans. All the glasses of a similar size in one row and the plastic containers in another and so on.
This makes it quicker to load and unload your dishwasher because you can just grab everything at once and carry it over to the cabinet. Easy!
Keep Your Sink Clean
Your sink is one of the most used parts of the kitchen… and therefore your entire house! Keeping your sink clean will make a big difference in how easy it is to keep the rest of your kitchen clean.
By getting into a habit of loading and unloading your dishwasher every day, you can avoid an ever-increasing pile of dishes in your sink.
You will also want to make sure that you wipe down the faucet and the rest of the sink after you have finished preparing foods.
We get a lot of bacteria on our hands when preparing raw foods, like chicken, and then touch the sink or faucet. By wiping it down after every meal prep, you minimize the spread of the bacteria.
Take Out The Trash
Another chore that we often avoid because we feel like we “don’t have time” is taking out the trash.
In reality, it only takes you two or three minutes to take out the trash, but (if you are anything like me) you probably avoid it and just jam more trash into the already full can instead!
Clear Out The Refrigerator
One of my favorite cleaning tips is that while you’re bagging up the trash to take it outside, you also can take a quick peek in your refrigerator and throw away any old or spoiled foods.
It’s much easier to find things (and much less frustrating) if your fridge isn’t full of last weeks take out and rotting bags of salad!
Kitchens probably win the contest on which room gets the messiest, but the bathroom is probably a close second! The perfect place to use some smart cleaning tips!
Bathrooms are also somewhere that we avoid cleaning, because… well… who really wants to clean the toilet?!
These cleaning tips for the bathroom will hopefully help you clean quicker and keep it clean for longer.
- Figure out how often your bathroom really needs cleaning – daily, twice weekly, weekly?
- Clean your shower while IN the shower
- Keep disinfectant in the toilet brush caddy
- Keep counter clutter to a minimum
- Clean the grout regularly to keep it clean without spending hours scrubbing
You might think that your bathroom only needs cleaning once a week, but when you actually start cleaning, the bathroom is so gross that it takes much longer (scrubbing dried toothpaste is time-consuming and no fun!).
So be honest with yourself about how often your bathroom really needs to be cleaned. For very busy bathrooms, you might want to even do it every day – a quick 5 minute clean every day, beats having to scrub (and curse) for 45 minutes once a week.
Cleaning Your Shower
Showers need to be cleaned a lot more often than we think. After all, aren’t we already using soap and water in the shower? Why does it need cleaning as well? Well, the answer is soap scum!
Soap scum can build up over time and it becomes harder and harder to remove. By cleaning your shower regularly, you will save yourself a lot of time (and scrubbing!) in the long run.
One of my top cleaning tips is to clean your shower while you are IN it! Make it part of your routine that every Sunday morning, while you leave the conditioner in your hair to do its thing, you quickly wipe down the shower.
I personally use a dishwand (you know, the little scrubby sponge on a handle that holds dish soap) with equal parts of white vinegar, dish soap and rinse agent (like Jet Dry).
- White Vinegar – cleans and disinfects
- Dish Soap – cleans and removes grime
- Rinse Agent – makes the shower sparkle and helps keep it clean longer
I keep the dishwand in the shower, that way I can quickly scrub down the shower walls, door and floor while I’m in there. Once I’m finished scrubbing, I rinse the whole shower and ‘ping’, I have a sparkling clean shower!
It only takes a few minutes and the addition of the rinse agent helps keep the shower clean for longer.
Ready to Go Toilet Brush
In my Quick Cleaning Tips post, I recommend pouring a small amount of disinfectant cleaner into the bottom of your toilet brush caddy.
This makes it easy to quickly swish your toilet bowl, without having to find the bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. If you use a nice scented disinfectant (I love Fabuloso!) it will also make your bathroom smell nice too!
Note: don’t leave disinfectant in your toilet brush caddy, if the caddy or the brush have any metal parts, as they will rust. This tip only works for 100% plastic brushes and caddies.
Keep Counters Clear
Just like in the kitchen, you want to keep the items on your bathroom counters to a minimum. Having to move a dozen bottle and jars to wipe down your counters takes more time and means you will be more likely to procrastinate and not do it!
If you do need some items on your counter, then keep them in a nice box or basket, so you just have to move one thing when it’s time to wipe down the counter.
Keep the Grout Clean
You probably don’t enjoy cleaning the grout, but no matter how many times you wipe down your shower, if the grout is dirty, then the whole shower will still look dirty.
You don’t need to clean your grout every week, but make sure you do it regularly enough, that it doesn’t become a mammoth task once a year!
Our bedrooms should feel like a little oasis of rest and calm… but that’s not always the case! Dust, clutter, and piles of laundry can turn our mini paradise into somewhere that is far from restful! Use these smart cleaning tips to regain your oasis!
- Make your bed every day
- Wash your bedding at least once every two weeks
- Keep clutter to a minimum
- Do laundry daily if possible to avoid a laundry pile mountain
- Vacuum regularly
- Clean your mattress at least once a season
Make Your Bed
I’m beginning to think that I might be a bit of a bed-making fanatic! It seems that every article I write about cleaning, I end up mentioning the need to make your bed every day! (It’s one of the recommended daily chores in my Weekly Cleaning Routine)
But seriously, by making your bed every morning you are subconsciously showing yourself (and your home) that having a clean and tidy space is important to you. It sets your intention for the rest of the day!
A messy room will always look just a little better once the bed is made! And anyway, it only takes a minute or two!
When I want my children to clean their rooms, I always tell them to make the bed first. It makes a big difference and encourages them to keep going.
Wash Your Bedding Regularly
This cleaning tip is probably a no-brainer, but you want to make sure you wash your bedding regularly. No one likes to sleep in stinky sheets!
A general rule of thumb is that your sheets need washing every two weeks. But exactly how often you need to wash your sheets will depend on a lot of different factors.
- How many sleep in the bed?
- Are there are children or babies (and stinky diapers) in the bed?
- How hot does it get at night (i.e. how much do you sweat)?
- Do you sleep in the nude?
Yes, I know it’s a lot of work to strip the bed, wash it and then remake the bed… is it worth it? There’s nothing quite like snuggling down into clean sheets!
Keep Dresser Tops Clear
Much like the kitchen and bathroom, if you have a lot of knickknacks or clutter on your dresser and nightstands, then it is going to make it harder to keep them clean.
Keep the clutter to a minimum (or put it in decorative boxes or baskets) to make it quicker to dust your bedroom surfaces
Tackle The Laundry Mountain
One of the most tedious chores in any home is the laundry! It truly is neverending (unless you can convince your family to go nude!).
Psychologically it can be really hard to be motivated to put away the laundry when you are faced with a massive pile of clothes. However, if it’s just a small load with a dozen or so pieces, then it’s much easier to quickly fold and put away.
The moral of the story? Do your laundry more often, so it doesn’t pile up and feel like a mountainous task. Doing a small load every day is much more manageable than 4 oversized loads once a week.
Vacuum Carpets or Rugs Regularly
Our bedrooms aren’t ‘high traffic areas’, so it’s tempting to skip vacuuming or sweeping them every week. However, our bedrooms are places that get dusty very easily.
With all the soft furnishing (think beddings, pillows, rugs, drapes, etc.) and clothing, there is a lot of tiny dust particles in the air. These not only settle on the surfaces but also on the floor.
And we won’t even talk about the skin cells and dust mites…
This dusty environment can play havoc with your sleep and make it difficult for you to get a good night’s rest. So grab the vacuum (or better yet press the button on your robot vacuum!) and keep those floors clean!
Clean Your Mattress
OK, this definitely is not a quick task or something that needs to be done regularly. But having a clean mattress (like having clean floors) will help you sleep better, feel more rested, and make it smell better too!
Check out my posts on How to Clean Your Mattress and Cleaning Mattress Stains for more help!
The Living Room
Living rooms get a lot of use and they are also the room that we generally want to look the best because it’s the one room that visitors see the most. But with busy lives, kids and pets, it can be tricky to keep it clean and tidy.
- Keep blankets and other items tidy with baskets and bins to put them in
- Spend 5 minutes at the end of each evening tidying away cups and plates, fluffing pillows, and straightening books or magazines
- Vacuum or sweep regularly
- Keep knickknacks to a minimum
A Place for Everything
One way to keep any space tidy is to make sure that everything has a ‘place’. It’s hard to tidy up or put things away if you don’t have somewhere to put them.
It’s nice to have extra cushions or blankets in the living room, but sometimes we end up with a pile of them on the floor or end of the sofa. Rather than having a messy mountain of blankets, you could put them away in a nice basket or bin.
By having a ‘place’ to put things makes it quicker and easier to clean up. Plus it makes it easier for kids to help tidy up too.
Nightime Tidy Up
One of the easiest ways to keep on top of cleaning chores is to do a little bit every day. Spending 5 minutes at the end of each day, beats having to spend 45 minutes on a Saturday morning (when you could be doing something a lot more fun!).
Before you go to bed each night, spend 5 minutes dashing around the living room and tidying away any cups, plates or other items that don’t belong. You can straighten any piles of books or magazines and fluffy the pillows on the sofa.
You can even do this quick clean up during the last few commercial breaks of your TV show!
Pay Attention to the Floors
Much like in the bedroom, our living room floors can get very dusty and dirty. If you have kids or pets, then they are even more likely to get messy!
Regularly cleaning your floors will help keep the dust bunnies away and make your space feel cleaner and more welcoming.
I often get asked what the ‘best’ vacuum cleaner is. The answer is simple… the best vacuum cleaner is the one that you will actually USE! If your vacuum cleaner is heavy, clunky and buried at the back of a closet, then you’re not likely to use it.
Everyone is different, so think about where you can store the vacuum, if you need to carry it up and down stairs or if you need it to fit under furniture.
I recently got rid of my big bulky upright vacuum and now I use a cordless Dyson instead. That little guy has more suction than my old upright, much lighter to carry upstairs, and it’s so easy to quickly grab it and clean up the floors (bonus – my kids think it’s fun to ‘play’ with it and clean the floors too!).
I’m also a MASSIVE fan of robot vacuum cleaners. Not only do they clean the floors for you, but they can also fit under furniture that you would normally have to move to clean underneath.
Keep Your Surfaces Clear
I think I’ve said the same thing about every room… but keeping knickknacks to a minimum does make it sooo much easier to clean your flat surfaces.
I know it’s nice to have a few items on display, but are they worth spending longer cleaning? If you just can’t bear to part with your trinkets then consider housing them behind glass doors or under a glass dome. It helps keep the dust off them, so you won’t need to clean them as often.
The Kids’ Rooms
Whether it’s a bedroom, playroom or just a corner of the living room, keeping kids’ toys tidy can seem like an unwinnable battle! But there are a few cleaning tips you can use to keep them tidy and organized so you can spend more time playing and less time tidying.
- Make sure everything has a place to be put away
- Keep books in bins, rather than on shelves
- Teach kids how to tidy up
- Regularly sort through toys and sell or donate the ones they don’t play with anymore
Give the Toys a Home
Just like in the living room, if something doesn’t have a ‘home’ then it can’t ever be put away!
You want your kids to be able to tidy their toys away, so that means there has to be SOMEWHERE for the toys to go! You can use fabric bins, cardboard boxes, storage cubes, hampers (these work great for stuffed animals), shelves etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be the right size/shape for the toy, so get creative!
Books, books and more books!
Books are great for kids to have around (I’m a big advocate for reading to your kids) but can cause a lot of clutter and mess.
I’ve always had a small bookshelf for my kids’ books, but they were great at pulling the books out but not at putting them back! I realized that it’s actually very tricky for younger children to slide books back onto a shelf (especially if it’s full).
So I switched out the shelf for fabric bins instead. You can organize the books by age, subject, child… whatever you want. So much easier for your child to flip through books in a bin to find the one they want and also put it away again after they are finished.
Teach Them How
Humans are pretty amazing beings. Without being taught, we are naturally driven to do a lot of things. One thing that is not programmed into our DNA though, is how to fold a fitted sheet or clean a toilet. If you want your kids to start helping with chores, then you are going to need to teach them how!
When you first assign chores to your kids, they might not know how to do them. They also might be resistant to suddenly having to do more chores by themselves. Rather than fight them on this, I suggest that you work together. Over time you can slowly wean them off of needing your help and they will be able to complete the tasks independently.
When it’s time for my daughter to tidy her room, her first question is always “will you do it with me?” I thought this was just an excuse to get me to do it for them. But I soon realized that it’s not (OK, sometimes it is!).
There are times when a task just seems too overwhelming to them. This is especially true of some big task, like tidying a messy bedroom! They literally have no idea where to start! In fact… a lot of grown-ups feel like that too! So work together and tackle one type of toy at a time (for example, pick up trash first, then dirty clothes, followed by books and then building blocks) and pass on your own cleaning tips to your child.
Bonus: In this busy world we don’t often get one-on-one time with our children (especially if you have multiple children), so cleaning a bedroom together might not be fun, but it is time spent together and an opportunity to chat about life, the universe, and everything!
Sort, Keep & Donate
Sometimes the biggest problem with kids’ toys is just the sheer volume of them! I swear that lego bricks seem to breed!
So one way to keep it under control is to regularly sort through the toys and find ones that can be sold or donated.
When kids are little, they will find it very difficult to part with their toys, even if it’s something they don’t play with. So you might want to do it while they are at preschool, Grandma’s or a friend’s house.
However, you can slowly start to teach them about the joy of donating toys to those in need, especially around Christmas time.
Clean Smarter, Not Harder
It’s a popular saying in the workplace – “Work smarter, not harder” – and the same can be said for our homes.
As you can see from these cleaning tips there are plenty of things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of your cleaning time. So stop working so hard and starting cleaning smarter!