We all want a clean and tidy home. But it’s easy for our spaces to get messy and disorganized. If you have kids, it can be extra challenging to keep an organized and tidy home. When our spaces get to a point where cleaning and organizing seems overwhelming and time-consuming, it’s easy to ignore it or put it off for later. No one wants to devote a whole day to cleaning and tidying the house. Fortunately, with some simple tips and a slight change in routine, you can be well on your way to a (mostly) consistently well-kept home. We’ve rounded up 12 life hacks for a tidy home below.

Never Leave a Room Empty Handed

This one is pretty simple: every time you’re about to leave a room, take a quick look around and see if anything is out of place. Pick up the shirt off the floor and put it in the hamper. Take the empty empty glass sitting on your nightstand and put it in the dishwasher or sink. Does that toy belong there? Move it to the toy box. Once you get into this habit, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in tidiness.

The “Microwave Rule”

Tidy the kitchen while the microwave is running. This one is great because there’s so many options. You can wipe down counters, clean up dishes, put dishes away, set the table, etc. Don’t waste your time watching the clock tick down – use those minutes wisely.

The “Dishwasher Rule”

Similar to the “Microwave Rule,” the “Dishwasher Rule” has you do something passively productive while unloading the dishwasher. Our favorite is to unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning while the coffee is brewing. Another option is to steam clean your microwave while unloading the dishwasher. Here’s an easy, cheap, and nontoxic microwave cleaning recipe:

  • Fill a microwave-safe bowl or glass with 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and a drop or two of your favorite essential oils or lemon juice, if you prefer
  • Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes until you open the door and wipe down with a towel.

Timer Cleaning Sessions

Use a timer for cleaning sessions. Depending on how much time you have, you can focus on cleaning a whole room, dusting everything, or just vacuuming a bedroom. We think setting a 10 minute timer is a good place to start. Setting a timer for 10 minutes doesn’t seem daunting and you’ll be amazed at how productive you’ll feel afterwards. Setting two 10 minute timers a day makes a big impact over the course of a week.

Do One Thing Each Day

Telling yourself you have to clean the whole house is overwhelming. Yes, there are occasions when you need to set aside some time to clean the whole house. For the most part though, tasks can be segmented and spread out over the course of a week. It’s helpful to write down a list of everything you need to do and then organize it by day. If you’re able to keep a consistent schedule, great! If your schedule fluctuates each week, sit down on Saturday or Sunday and take 5 minutes to look at your week ahead. Write your plan down, and try to stick to stick to it as much as you can.

Make Your Bed Right After You Wake Up

If your bed isn’t made, the whole room looks messy. It’s easy to wake up, walk away, and go about your day. But the things we do in the morning turn into making habits that carry throughout our day. By making your bed right after you wake up, you’re starting your day off fresh and orderly.

Don’t Go to Bed with a Dirty Sink

Don’t you hate waking up to a sink full of dishes? An easy way to make sure your day starts off on a clean slate (literally) is to clean the sink each night. Don’t leave dirty dishes or excess food left to dry. Clear the sink out of all dishes and wipe it down so it’s sparkling clean.

Put Your Clothes Away

This might sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re changing clothes, put them either in the hamper or back in the closet or drawer if they’re not dirty. Some of us are guilty of having a catch-all chair or spot on the floor for clothes that aren’t fully dirty, but not freshly laundered. If you can get another wear out of your outfit, put it back where it belongs.

Don’t Leave Clothes in the Laundry Machines

Have you ever done a load of laundry, forgotten about it, and then had to rewash it? Who hasn’t? Eliminate mildew smells (leaving your clothes in the washing machine too long) and wrinkles (leaving your clothes in the dryer too long) by taking them out as soon as the cycle is finished. An easy way to not forget about your laundry is to set a timer on your phone. Fold your clothes as soon as they’re done drying and put them away immediately so that full laundry baskets aren’t contributing to an untidy home.

Do One Load of Laundry Per Day

It might sound excessive, but aim to do one load of laundry each day so that you don’t get backlogged. Depending on the size of your family and how much laundry you typically do in a week, this can be scaled back to every other day or so. But the goal is to not wait until you’re out of clean clothes to do laundry. By doing a load a day, it keeps it manageable.

Keep Your Surfaces Clear

One of the biggest contributors of clutter, is a messy and crowded surface. The primary culprits are kitchen and bathroom counters. For absolute necessities, make use of storage containers to keep surfaces organized. Obviously, there are certain things that require to be placed on surfaces and that’s fine. But it’s easy for countertops to become catch-alls and when it becomes excessive, it just looks messy. To help maintain a tidy home, keep your surfaces and countertops clear, except out of necessity or intentional decoration.

Give Everything in Your House a Home

Simply put, everything you own should have a designated place. This way, when you’re done using it, you know exactly where it goes. And when you need to use it again, you won’t be looking all over the house for it. This definitely takes some organization and even communication with family members, but most things are pretty intuitive or obvious. Doing this also helps ensure a tidy home, as things will not be haphazardly out of place.

When maintaining a tidy home, consistency is key. Doing a little bit each day, goes a long way. It can take some time and patience to get into a solid routine. Once you find a system that works and implement these life hacks, you’ll be happy you did and be able to enjoy a consistently tidy home.