plant on tidy mantle

A little bit of tidying every day not only saves you from those day-long cleaning sprees — it also prepares you for company at a moment's notice.


Hint: They don’t spend hours scrubbing their homes. And if you follow these tips, you won’t either.

We all know someone with an immaculately kept house. No matter when you drop in, everything is always in its place, looking and smelling as though they just spent the entire afternoon with a dust rag in hand.

But the truth is, tidy people don’t have to start from square one when it comes time to scour. Their daily habits make it easier to keep up with the cleaning.

Here are the cleaning tips we learned from those who are habitually tidy — put them to use from the first day you move in to that home for sale in Sarasota, FL, and it’ll always be as pristine as it was on move-in day.

1. They buy baby wipes

Moms already know this, but wipes have many uses beyond a baby’s bottom. Grab one to quickly wipe up spills, remove stains from upholstery, and wipe down surfaces daily.

2. They touch paper once

Instead of making piles of mail or school/work forms to deal with later, handle each piece of paper as soon as you see it. That means toss it (if it’s junk mail), file it in the proper place (e.g., in your “bills” folder), or display it (your 5-year-old’s latest masterpiece). Ditto for packages you receive.

Tammy Siu Kim, a mom in Seattle, has an ingenious use for those myriad catalogs she receives in the mail. “As soon as they arrive, I take the staples out and put them in a basket near my dining table. Then I use them to line the floor around my toddler’s chair when he’s eating. He can drop as much food as he wants, and I just wrap it up and put it in the compost pile or trash.”

3. They have help

If it’s in your budget, hiring a housecleaner — even if it’s just every other week — goes a long way toward keeping your house tidy. If you have someone tackling the big stuff — like scrubbing your shower or washing your hardwood floors — it frees you up to do the everyday organizing and maintaining. Another option is to sign up for a free newsletter like the one from FlyLady.net, says Brenda Iaquessa of Clinton, CT. Each one is full of little tasks and tips that can help you stay organized — and sane.

4. They do a lot of hosting

Nothing motivates you to keep a clean home like having guests, especially if they’re spending the night.

5. Theyre masters of the speed clean

Keep spray bottles of a mix of white vinegar and water and rags hidden in high traffic or messy areas of your home and use them to quickly wipe down smudges, fingerprints, or any other visible dirt, suggests Jeana Kraft of Wausau, WI. Another idea: Set a timer for 30 minutes every day and tackle as many cleaning tasks as you can. The daily upkeep will make arduous deep cleans less necessary.

6. They don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight

No matter how tired you are at the end of the day, clean up your kitchen before you go to bed. You aren’t going to be any more motivated to deal with it in the morning, and walking into a clean kitchen is a much more positive start to your day, especially if it starts at 6 a.m.

7. They make their beds daily

Nothing says messy like an unmade bed. And since it takes under five minutes to make it, there’s no reason you can’t. While you’re at it, hang up the clothes you threw on the floor when you got into bed last night.

What cleaning hack have you found most effective? Share in the comments!

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