6 Simple Tips for Keeping a House Clean Enough

Housecleaning tips that make presentability no prob at all

Housecleaning, who needs it? Well, all of us excepting bachelors who feel comfortable living in squalor. But even if we do clean now and then and get excited about a thrice-yearly deep clean, many of us have trouble keeping things guest-level presentable day in and day out. How, we wonder, do those people who seem to have clean and organized houses – or mostly clean and organized houses – keep things so neat and nice when they work and have children and serve on the board of their volunteer organization and and and. It’s enough to make a girl feel like a slob!

Turns out, though, that it’s easy enough to give the impression of a clean house without having to do a daily deep clean by doing little things that add up. Add up to a clean enough house, that is. A house that is for all intents and purposes guest-ready without your having to put a ton of effort into it. Here are six simple housecleaning tips to get you started on the road to a clean enough house:

1. When you see something out of place, pick it up and put it back when it’s convenient. Really, how many times were you planning on walking past the sneakers in the bathroom? Or the extension cord in the kitchen? Presumably at some point you will visit your closet or the basement – if you know that’s your destination, bring the sneakers, etc. with you. No special trips necessary.

2. Create a “kitchen dump.” Or an X dump, where X is the first room you enter when you get home after a long day in the outside world. On the surface it may be a basket or an upright filer, but at its heart it’s a representation of your desire to cast off the shackles of the working man. What goes ion a kitchen dump? Your keys, the bills that came with the day’s mail, the pine cone your daughter found – anything you’re not ready to put away but want to keep.

3. Clean as you do. Cooking? Then wash a few dishes while you wait for the water to boil or wipe down the counter as soon as something splatters. Fixing a bike? Put your tools back as soon as you’re done using them. And so on. Make clean-up just another part of chores and fun activities, and you’ll be less likely to lose your tools in the backyard or have stains on your kitchen counters. Even more basic examples might include hanging up your towel after a shower or wiping down your dining room table as part of the dinner ritual.

4. Prepare for tomorrow today. Unless tomorrow is a holiday where you are – you lucky thing – you probably have THINGS that will need doing in the a.m. that you will prep for before heading off to bed. Make tidying up part of your prep – nothing complicated, just putting things in their places – and your house will never get truly dirty. And, bonus, you’ll wake up to a nice, neat abode!

5. Do a 15 minute sweep when the mood strikes. Feeling uncomfortable in your environment? Or maybe you’re just a little bored and have a quarter hour to spare. Devote those 15 minutes to doing a quick sweep. That could mean a literal sweep if you have hardwood floors, or wiping down bathroom and kitchen surfaces, folding some rogue laundry, or putting away those dang dishes. Finally.

6. Stay focused on one room, one floor, or one task. Big cleaning jobs can be intimidating, but those big spring cleaning frenzies shouldn’t be a part of a clean enough strategy. Facing rooms full of possessions out of place can be overwhelming, but one room? That’s a snap. The same goes for tasks – maybe you’re wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth. Give all the furniture on one floor a wipe. Trying to do too much is why so many people hate cleaning and breaking big tasks down is the ultimate antidote.

What are your ‘good enough’ cleaning tips? Messy people like me want to know!

6 Responses to “6 Simple Tips for Keeping a House Clean Enough”

  1. Leah July 1, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    One thing I do is vacuum every once in awhile right after exercising/running – I’m already gross, and I’m about to take a shower and taking out the vacuum and just doing a quick once over take just about 10 – 15 minutes and then I can shower and feel even *more* accomplished.

    Also, I suggest trying to get rid of stuff that you don’t use, or having a storage area for “decorating stuff” so you don’t have to have everything out at once.

  2. Jeniffer Van July 4, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Very good tips , but I myself have difficulties to keep my house “ready for guests” , so I prefer have the house work done by someone , who really knows how to do it… :)

  3. Christa Terry July 4, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    That’s one way to do it, Jeniffer! There’s a part of me that would love to hire someone to clean, then there’s the part of me who (likely wrongly) believes that no one would do it as well as I can.

  4. La Petite Acadienne July 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    My house is usually pretty presentable, and three things make a big difference:
    1. Devote myself to folding and putting away one clean load of laundry every night. That way, it never builds up to the Laundry Mountain of Doom.
    2. Keep cleaning wipes and daily shower spray in the bathroom. After my shower, I spray. And after I use one of the bathrooms, I give the sink and toilet a quick wipe. This keeps the bathrooms from ever getting unspeakably grotty.
    3. After the kidlet goes to bed, I pick up all of his toys and put them away. That step alone makes a huge difference.

    My baseboards are a fright, and please don’t look at my light fixtures, but at least those three steps (plus the ones you’ve mentioned) keep me from having to spend my entire weekend cleaning.

  5. Jeniffer Van July 5, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Hahaha, yes Christa , maybe there is no one who can do it better than you , but I am convinced there are a lot of people , who can do better than me… :))

  6. Ellen W. July 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    My suggestion is to watch a bit of “Clean House” every once-in-a-while. (Not “Hoarders” because that’s sad.) Nothing, but NOTHING, will make me vacuum & organize like 5 minutes of seeing what happens when you let the mess win.

    And Leah- I bet that keeps your heart rate up for that extra 15-20 min! Way to multitask!