Deciding what to clean in your house each day can feel so daunting that you just avoid it altogether, am I right? To be completely honest with you, I’m working on changing my daily cleaning habits so I can stop feeling like I’m drowning in the mess. Once I get behind it’s as if I don’t have the energy to catch up with three little kids around.
And lets face it, if you are a mom and you don’t clean something every day, you feel behind! I’m going to show you what to clean in your house each day so that you can say goodbye to overwhelm too. And be sure to download and print my free daily cleaning checklist at the bottom!
How a dirty home can interfere with being social
I knew something needed to change when my house started to interfere with my social life. I had been planning to invite some new mom friends over the next day and couldn’t bring myself to invite them because I didn’t have the energy to spend ALL day cleaning to get my house to a place that didn’t embarrass me.
And I’m not talking about forgetting to dust that day, haha. Dusting, what’s that?!
My floors had cereal stuck to them from days ago, my bathrooms were weeks past due for a good deep clean, my husband needed clean clothes for work, and there were piles of kids crap strewn everywhere in every room. Don’t even talk to me about the kitchen!
It was a major low for me. I was exhausted thinking about it and wished I could figure out how to maintain a clean house with 3 kids under 5. My habits needed a reboot. I desperately wanted the peace that comes from walking into a clean space.
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Finding motivation to clean up the mess
While my hubby and I usually have people over so that we will clean up (a deadline does wonders!), it got to the point where I didn’t want anything hosted at my home because of how behind I was on cleaning.
When my mom came to visit me for 9 magical days and helped me catch up on some deep cleaning, my hubby and I just kept saying, “Our house is so clean!”. It inspired me to want to KEEP my home the way she left it. I mean, wow, it was sparkling. She even pulled all the stuff out of one of my corner cupboards, vacuumed it and wiped everything down with soap. (That would have been a day project for me).
If you feel overwhelmed like I did, there is hope! I highly recommend hiring a one time deep cleaner to come (often called a “move out” clean, around $100) if you just really need to get back to ground zero from the pit of despair. I don’t think I could have gotten the jump start I needed without my mom’s help.
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The hardest part about starting to clean
To me, the hardest part about starting cleaning my house is getting off the couch. I feel the overwhelm of having to do it all, and sometimes spend days dreading what would only take an hour to clean. Maybe this is you too. The best thing you can do is to pick one small thing in a room and start there.
One thing helps, always! I like to start by picking up the living room floor and tossing things into the right rooms, which can later be put away in those rooms. My kids can now help me be “runners”. If I want to go even faster, I’ll put everything in a big basket on the couch, and later put those things in their “homes”.
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Habits of people who keep a clean house
When my mom came, I noticed a few things she did differently than me each day that kept my house clean and clutter free. These are the things I’m going to share with you in a cheat sheet so that you can do a little each day. They include:
- She did dishes after each meal.
- Wiped down counters, table, and sink each meal.
- Food got put away after meal times.
- She swept the kitchen floor each day.
- Vacuumed main areas every day. My Dyson DC24 is the only vacuum I ever care to own, and it works really well on wood floors, carpet, and the kitchen so I don’t have to sweep and vacuum!
- Kid clothes went to their “home” any time they changed outfits, either closet or dirty hamper. (I’d gotten used to letting them leave it on the floor wherever).
- She taught the kids to pick up after themselves, like putting their shoes in the bin each time.
- Kids eat in the kitchen only, (something I’d been terrible about and made my house really crumbly).
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Keeping it clean vs getting way behind
I asked my friend (who has a clean house with a baby and toddler) how she does it and she told me she found a cleaning schedule that tells you what to clean in your house each day. She loved it. It sounded doable, and so I made my own and am trying it.
If you are way behind, then you can either:
- dedicate a whole day to making massive progress
- hire a one time cleaner
- do one small area/day to get caught up.
Then, follow my daily cleaning guide to protect yourself from getting slammed again.
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What to clean in your house each day
My list does not include every little nitty gritty thing to clean. If your microwave hasn’t been cleaned in months and has butter popped all over the inside, then that can be part of your “kitchen” day, or maybe that’s the only extra thing you do that day.
This is going to make a world of difference if you follow it, I promise! My problem was that I had no plan, so I wouldn’t clean until something got suuuper gross. I’d look at a white wall for weeks thinking, “I should clean all those muddy handprints off of it” but never get around to it.
The below plan keeps cleaning manageable and you know what to clean in your house that day. It makes it so I’m not embarrassed to have someone “drop in” randomly.
Here’s a simple daily cleaning schedule plus room by room checklist to get you started! Pin for later or Download to Print Here: –> Daily cleaning schedule + room by room checklist
Two things that keep my house cleaner with almost no additional effort
- Food stays in the kitchen
- Do dishes right away instead of piling them in the sink.
We recently stopped letting the kids carry food throughout the house. Now we are training them that all food stays in the kitchen. I don’t always care if they are seated at the table, that’s too structured for me.
Since doing this, I have WAY less crumbs everywhere to clean up, and the couch gets less stuck under the cushions to clean. It took about one week to train the kids and now they are really good about it. They used to love snacking while watching a show and now they have to decide if they are “so hungry” enough to turn off the show and eat it in the kitchen. It’s worked well for us!
As for dishes, I’m focusing on not just putting them in the sink (or counter if sink is full). Instead, I’m putting them straight into the dishwasher or washing them by hand. It’s barely any extra effort because I had to do it at some point anyway. Essentially their “home” all day is now the dishwasher instead of the sink. Then, the sink is always empty and the kitchen looks way better!
It took me a week or so of doing dishes after each meal, rather than racing to the next thing to make a habit.
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My favorite safe and gentle kitchen cleaner:
Mrs. Meyers Every Day Cleaner. I was curious why people rave over it, and now I also am a convert. It smells amazing, my favorite it Basil but there are tons of other scents. I also found it cleans off my counters well and gets all the fingerprints off my stainless steel appliances like a champ.
I also keep Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap in Apple in my bathroom sinks now. It smells like a jolly rancher and I love it!
Why cleaning makes you want less clutter
If you are like me, a lot of your “cleaning” is just putting stuff away… ALL. DAY. I’ve gone through a lot of purges (10 clear boxes was the biggest so far!) and I can honestly say there are times I get so frustrated picking the same crap up day after day that I either:
- Put it in a giveaway bin.
- Try and figure out a “home” for it, as often when I don’t know where something goes I just stuff it somewhere only to stuff it somewhere else the next day. Everything needs a spot. Or it has to go.
This easy read called The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up changed how I viewed my stuff.
If your kitchen cupboards never seem to close (mine were like this for a while), it’s because you have too much in them. What could you let go of? What two things have a similar purpose? Do you need all 7 wooden spoons or could you do with just 2? Do you need 3 to go mugs, or could you just wash 1 each time? (Ahem, guilty of 3 here!).
If your closet or dresser doesn’t have enough space in it so you find yourself stuffing things in, what do you NEVER wear but swear you will someday? I try to get rid of those things.
Knowing what to clean in your house is half the battle, and having less to clean and put away is the other half.
Choosing the right organizational bins
If you can’t get rid of something, but don’t have a home for it, you will thank yourself for buying some pretty organizational bins. I’m going to do this soon for my bathroom closet. It’s far from Pinterest pretty because I have no bins separating things so everything is just sprawled which makes putting things away confusing.
By getting just a few bins, a lot of things will then have spots making cleaning much, much easier!
What are some of your best tips for cleaning up? How do you decide what to clean in your house, or is it random? Let me know, I’m right there with you on my search to a more peaceful clean home!