Hi friend! I hope you are doing amazing! If you’re looking for Tuesday Goodies, you can find it here. And, I’ll be going live on Amazon today sharing the best Daily Deals. There’s several gift ideas for Christmas if you’re knocking your shopping out early.
In a recent blog post I mentioned that my house does get messy (of course!), but tidying can usually be accomplished in about 15 minutes.
To give you a better, more in-depth look at how I keep my house clean, I’m breaking it down for you below.
If you’ve been struggling with this, I understand. Do not beat yourself up. Dealing with housework can be very overwhelming, emotional, and downright discouraging.
My hope is that by sharing these tips with you, it provides some simple solutions you can start integrating into your daily routines to give you some relief.
And never underestimate the power of a 10-15 minute tidy. Especially if every member of the house chips in!
MY TIPS FOR KEEPING A CLEAN HOUSE
I should admit at the outset that I am
probably uptight when it comes to keeping a clean house. I’m not judgmental about your house or anyone else’s, I just can’t relax the way I like to in my own messy house.
There are days when I let “good enough” be good enough because that’s all I have in me.
But, for the most part, I keep it clean because otherwise I’ll behave like a crazy person, obsessing until it’s tidied up.
I invest in a housekeeper once a week. My beloved Ana does the heavy lifting including scouring the bathrooms and kitchen appliances, dusting, washing the bed sheets and sweeping/mopping the floors. She has worked with me for many years and I’ve grown very fond of her and her family.
When I was first divorced and counting every penny, I had to let her go for a bit. I hated it. The mountain of work and adjusting to a ‘new normal’ was really hard and I ended up cutting other things from my budget so I could hire her again.
I felt her services were worth the sacrifice for the peace of mind and sanity having a clean house brought, and then I could spend more time on my business and kids. I also wasn’t as grumpy or distracted because my house was clean.
A good cleaning service is amazing and worth every penny. It helps take the load off, and in my situation, I appreciate supporting Ana’s small business.
Needless to say, Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week. 😉
Maybe you hire a housekeeper once a month, or just get your housemates to help share the load more.
THE HOUSE EXTERIOR AND PATIOS
Even with the inside help, every week or so I take my big, tall duster and sweep the outside of my house clean, blow off any dust/debris/cobwebs, wipe down the patio furniture and any obvious stains on the white house.
This week I also washed the chair covers. I usually do this on Friday after my workout, while I’m still sweaty.
I also use an eCloth to wipe my windows clean. The outside dining room windows get water spots easily from the sprinklers and I love seeing them all shiny and spot free.
I’ll also use a magic eraser weekly to clean any scuff marks off the walls.
After dinner, I always load the dishwasher and wipe the counters down. Then I light a candle. 🙂
We do homework in the kitchen and have the usual random items that make their way onto the counter. But, it’s my goal to have nothing on the counters when I go to bed because I LOVE waking up to a clean kitchen and shiny sink!
Amber Jars • Trivet • Similar Lazy Susan • Riser • Brush • Olive Plant
It’s not that difficult to tidy up because everything has a place, so it’s easy to just put things back where they go.
Whenever the dishwasher needs emptying, my son does it and my daughter puts away the silverware. You can find our entire kitchen tour and how I organize it here.
Below is how our kitchen looked on Halloween morning. We have the typical lunch stuff, a random gift bag from a birthday party, a cookbook Jordan was looking at, school paper, my computer and bag. It look probably about 5 minutes to tidy and wipe off the counters.
Bowl • Cloche • Black Vases • Vase • Tiered Copper Basket • Cast Iron Skillet
Ah, the power of a quick tidy! The caveat is that you can’t have too much ‘stuff’ or clutter in the room. It takes a lot longer to tidy up – if you even get to that part, when there’s too many things to deal with.
I do like some decor, but I try to keep it simple. Here, you’ll see some Fall decor, but soon it will be holiday decor and I can’t wait!
Tiered Copper Basket • Cast Iron Skillet • Salt and Pepper Mills • Similar Lazy Susan • Mortar and Pestle
To clean off the counters, I either put things away downstairs, or if they go upstairs, I put them in a bin at the bottom of the stairs, to be brought up next time I head upstairs. So many trips up and down each day!
THE LIVING ROOM
Since my son turned the front room into his “man cave”, my daughter moved her play table into the living room. That’s where she does bottle flipping, dice stacking, colors and plays with toys like her Pokémon cards.
At the end of the night or just periodically, we can sweep everything off of the table into a couple of bins and tuck them away in the living room cabinet shelves.
Vases • Craft Table • Acrylic Lazy Susan • Black Vase • Pampas Grass
Container Store Bins • Acrylic Lazy Susan
Pottery Barn Kids Table • Chairs
Our living room is kept rather minimal. I read and journal here, but if I have a stack of books, stickers, or markers, they also get tidied up and put into the built-in shelves.
Window Pane Pillow • Wooden Tray • Similar Marble Tray • Match Cloche • Couch • Coffee Table • Woven Basket Tray • Garland • Dog Bed
Window Pane Pillow • Wooden Tray • Similar Marble Tray • Match Cloche • Couch • Coffee Table • Garland • Similar Dog Bed
Window Pane Pillow • Wooden Tray • Similar Marble Tray • Match Cloche • Couch • Coffee Table • Garland • Similar Dog Bed
Window Pane Pillow • Wooden Tray • Similar Marble Tray • Match Cloche • Couch • Coffee Table • Woven Basket Tray
Luke’s toys get corralled up and put into a bin.
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As for laundry, I wash clothes and towels about twice a week- usually Saturday and one day during the week.
My trick for making laundry easier is: I wear my jeans until they smell or look dirty and same with my kids clothes. If they have clothes that look and smell clean in the laundry room, I put them right back into their rooms without washing! What I do wash, I fold and put away if it’s mine, and the kids put away theirs.
I also try to keep the laundry room tidy. I’m grateful for this large space and it does double duty as a work space for steaming clothing for try-ons and outfit photos.
My bedroom is also pretty minimal. I don’t do work in my room or keep papers and random things in there, so it usually stays neat looking.
There’s only the bed to make each day, shades to pull up, and maybe nightstands to tidy, like a cup of water that needs to be brought downstairs. My daughter sleeps with me and ‘her nightstand’ usually needs tidying too- all the books, markers, and journals go in the nightstand drawers.
Console Table • Boxes • Vase • Cherry Blossoms
I’ve stuck by a strict “clean up the bathroom after you use it” philosophy for many years now. That means, when I’m getting ready in the morning and putting on makeup and doing my hair, all the products and tools get put back in their rightful place, the cabinet doors and drawers are closed and the counter is wiped down.
It only takes a few minutes and then the bathroom looks clean for the rest of the day.
I also squeegee inside the glass shower door after every shower, and hang my wet towel back on the rack.
My son is 12 years-old and capable of cleaning up his own room, so I don’t have to help. It’s also rather minimal, so aside from sports gear and school things, it’s usually not very messy. He does have to make his bed, and this year, he opted to do away with decorative pillows so making his bed is just a matter of pulling up the sheet and straightening out the comforter.
My daughter is 6 years-old and doesn’t really play in her room much so it stays pretty clean. She prefers to play in the living room or be outside in the backyard throwing balls or in the front yard playing basketball.
If she does play in her room (usually if a friend is over) she has several bins to help her know where the toys go when she’s done playing with them. Back to that “everything has a place” mentality and functionality.
We also work on donating old toys when they’re no longer being played with or when new toys occasionally come in. All those “junky” knick knacks that make their way inside (how???) usually quickly make their way back out.
Usually on Sunday, I meal prep, so I’ll also clean out the fridge and my son will take out the trash and help me break down any recycling boxes.
I like to do a deeper clean and make sure to vacuum and mop downstairs, make sure the pantry is tidy and the counters are clean.
I also tidy the mudroom by putting shoes in their proper bins and and taking whatever doesn’t belong to its rightful place.
In the living room, I’ll fluff the couch pillows and neatly fold the blankets.
And I’ll make sure the laundry is all clean and put away before going to bed.
CLEAN AS YOU GO
As I mentioned with the bathroom, I try to “clean as I go” which means, tidy up whenever I’m doing something. It’s when you wash the dishes while the pasta water is boiling when cooking dinner, pull a few weeds when letting the dog out, or bringing up/down things as you go up/down the stairs.
Those little tasks add up to tidiness over time.
HOUSE RULES FOR KEEPING IT CLEAN
As I review my own “house rules” for keeping it clean, here’s the take away:
- Get help
- Everything has a place
- Behold the power of the 10-15 minute tidy
- Use bins to keep things tidy
- Have a day or routine for bigger cleaning projects
I love having a clean home. It brings me a lot of enjoyment and pleasure just to sit in my (clean) living room every morning and read a book, write in my journal and drink my coffee.
It’s even better if the weather is cool outside and I can open my sliding glass windows and have a candle gently flickering on the coffee table.
I feel so peaceful and content in these moments.
How does it feel in your home? Are you at peace with the level of effort and time it takes to clean up? Do you feel overwhelmed and overburdened? Do you have help that you hired or from your family members? What is the biggest struggle?
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Have a fantastic day friend!
I think that your choice to cut other expenses to have housekkeper is a really ood investment!!!
During the pandemic, a lot of families let their housekeepers go. Which is unfortunate because housekeepers are essentially small female-owned businesses and needed, just like all small business owners, the income. I’d rather support my housekeeper than, say, buy an overpriced coffee from a corporation every day. I support small, local, and woman-owned whenever I can. Obviously finances and how one spends money is always a personal choice!
You said it perfectly Lisa!
Very well said. I can’t believe that initial comment.
I feel better when my house is tidy also. I’ve come to tide as we go as well and it just is easier when comes time to clean. I get really anxious if there is too much clutter. As I get older I am trying to establish the less is more with “stuff”, for my whole family! I love that you budgeted for your cleaner knowing that it makes you happy! Beautiful home!
I’m with you on the clutter. I prefer to keep less things on the counter, etc. just makes me feel more relaxed!
I have also had a housekeeper come biweekly for over 15 years. Well worth budgeting for in my opinion, if that’s a priority for you. It allows me to be a more present wife, mom and business owner. Of course there is still tidying, light cleaning, laundry, cooking and dishes to do, so it’s not like abdicating all household responsibilities to have some help. It just gives some of us breathing room! Thanks for these tips Megan!
Oh and let’s send some prayers and good vibes to our beloved Astros 🙏🙃
Yes, that’s very true! There is still so much to do and I’m working on getting my kids to help more as they are able to. But, with extra curricular activities and homework, the majority still falls on me. Go ASTROS!!
You inspired me so much! Life has been overwhelming lately and sometimes when that happens I freeze. I woke up early and read your post. Instead of laying in bed scrolling, I got up and challenged myself to tidy the downstairs in 30 minutes. It ended up being 35 but I switched laundry, cleaned all the piles of paper off the dining table and island, wiped down the kitchen, and now I’m sitting in a very peaceful family room with a cup of coffee and soft music in the background. Ready to start my day! Thank you!
Go girl! I bet that felt so good Lee Ann! I really love my quiet mornings in a clean space. Music playing in the background is the icing on the cake!
I get antsy if my house gets too cluttery! I’m trying to decide if I need a break between fall and Christmas decor. I love creating “white space” in my home. Great post, thanks!
I did that- created the ‘white space’ after my Fall decor, but it was in the last half of October since I start decorating for Christmas now. I’m realizing that this new house is so different from my last house, so the decor is different and there’s actually less spaces to decorate so it will be even more minimal than it was last year.
I used to have a housekeeper and I really miss it. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford one-even with cutting expenses, so I just feel like all I do is clean and cook. But my kids are gone, so not as many to clean up after.
Great post! My son (only child) is the same age as your daughter, and I just started working fulltime again for the first time since he was born. I’m about ready to find a housecleaner! This mama (and now elementary school librarian) is not keeping up 😂
I just talked to someone in a similar situation. Just hiring the person to help clean made her feel like her burden was lightened, and the person hadn’t even started yet! 🙂
I needed this post today and I thank you for sharing the messy photos as well. I have quite a small house and my husband and child are both hoarders and whilst I am not a hoarder I am also not a minimalist so there is quite a lot of “stuff” in our home. I am trying to get rid but I have to do it stealthily!! I have been ill recently and then had visitors staying over and I just feel I haven’t got back on top of things. Reading this post last night gave me some motivation so I got up early this morning and am nearly on top of my laundry and started decluttering my desk. Little and often and hopefully by next week, I will be back on top and I can try to get back to just doing 20 minutes or so every day and then once a month doing a big deep clean of something 🙂 Your house is lovely BTW.
House guests are lovely, but take a lot out of you! I’ve learned the hard way never to get rid of something of my kids’ without their permission. I love how you got motivated to get up early and tackle the laundry and start decluttering your desk. I bet that feels so good! You’re on the right track! Thank you for being here Aileen!
LOVE this post!
I’m so happy to hear that Jill! Thank you for letting me know!
I’m actually commenting on your Sunday, Nov. 6 post on this post (Nov. 2) because I can’t figure out how to leave a comment after the Nov. 6 post. Anyway, you mentioned going out with a new fellow. I’m being nosy and forgive me if I missed your explanation in one of your posts, but I’m curious what happened to Brian (I hope I’m getting his name correct)? Please disregard my question if I’m being too personal.
Hi Rhonda, no problem. Brian and I broke up over the summer. I talked about it in a post and on my Stories, sorry you missed it.
This is really helpful with organizing my day to fit all of the cleaning and organizing my home.