Minimal Cleaning Hacks To Keep Your Home Tidy

Keeping your home tidy can sometimes feel like an impossible task. You're busy doing the dozen other things that require your immediate attention. Besides work, you have dinner to prepare, your child's sporting events to attend, and more. Because of this, many people push cleaning off to the side and don't worry about it until they either have company coming over or something is so dirty they have no choice but to finally clean it.

While it does make sense to hold off on cleaning your home until it's dirty, there are some quick and easy hacks you can start doing today that will help keep your home tidy. After all, a clean home contributes to your mental and physical health. The psychological benefits of a tidy home mean you're less stressed and more restful. Some people who don't have the time hire cleaning services to handle it for them, but those can get expensive. That's when these minimal cleaning hacks can help.

The 2-minute rule

How many small, mundane tasks do you let pile up? You think about them, then say, "This won't take long. I can save it for tomorrow." But the more tasks you save for later, the more you have to deal with when the time actually comes to work on them. Before you know it, you're overwhelmed with a bunch of things to do when they could've been done right away. If you relate to that, you'll greatly benefit from the two-minute rule. Productivity expert David Allen, author of "Getting Things Done," swears by this rule.

What does it mean? Basically, if a task takes you less than two minutes to do, get it done right then and there. It's as simple as that. You can apply Allen's rule to any little task, like taking out the trash, emptying or filling the dishwasher, and sorting through the mail. If you look at your to-do list, you'll notice a lot of things that can be done in two minutes or less. Make a plan to tackle them when they come up because when you bang out those little chores, you'll have more time for the larger ones.

Clean as you go

If you're the main chef in the household, chances are you know the mess you leave behind when cooking. It's natural for things to get a little out of hand when you're cooking, and that's why a great hack you can start doing is to clean as you go. You can find opportunities to clean throughout the day. Cleaning essentially becomes a part of your daily routine. Imagine yourself as a street sweeper, following behind, clearing up any little messes you make.

This doesn't mean you're going to deep clean every single day. Cleaning as you go means clearing things up during downtime. This works particularly well in the kitchen. The next time you're cooking, use the time the food is in the oven or on the stove and clean any dishes you're done with. Wash and dry any niche appliances you had to use to prepare and put them away. This will mean fewer dishes to clean after you're done eating, giving you more time to relax after your meal.

Tidy up for 10 minutes each night

The power of routines is something that's been talked about a lot in previous years. Influencers and celebrities share their morning and evening routines that change the way they begin and end their days. When building your own routines, you want to do things that will improve your quality of life. A great hack for that is tidying up for five to 10 minutes each night. If you already have an established evening routine, simply add this step to it.

A good night's sleep is one of the benefits of a clean home, and for good reason. If you take 10 minutes every night to put away laundry, clear away clutter, and remove toys or other tripping hazards off the floor, you're going to bed knowing it's done. You don't have to worry about it tomorrow, which is why you sleep more soundly. And once you implement some of the other hacks like cleaning as you go, you'll find you'll have less to tidy up each night.

Put coats and shoes away immediately

There is nothing like coming home after a long day and taking your shoes off. You then shrug off your coat and drape it over the first chair you see so you can go and change into something more comfortable. Your shoes are kicked into a corner and not thought about until the next day when you need to put them on again. Coats and shoes may not seem like the clutter you normally picture, but if they stay randomly strewn around your house, they can quickly become an eyesore. That's why a simple hack you can do is put shoes and coats away as soon as you come home.

The moment you walk through the door, open your coat closet and put them inside. If your coat closet is a bit of a mess, consider strategies for organizing it. An organized coat closet will make you more inclined to keep things in order. Once you practice putting them away immediately, it'll become second nature, and you won't ever leave shoes or coats around your house again. You can also have a dedicated spot for your bag within that closet. If you don't have a large enough coat closet, get creative with hooks, crates, or shoe racks. 

Remove excess by decluttering

Many people end up collecting more items than they need. One of the first things a professional organizer would teach you to do is declutter your home. If you want to keep a tidy house, a hack you need to start doing is decluttering. That means making some tough decisions about things. If you look at your skincare products, for example, how many do you actually use? Are there any that have expired? What about your clothes? How many black cardigans do you need?

It's not easy, especially since you become attached to things, but making decluttering a daily routine can help you eliminate it once and for all. It's important to note that decluttering doesn't mean getting rid of everything you own. It simply requires you to take your lifestyle into account and make smart decisions about certain items — if you have a pasta maker and have never once opened it, it might be time to donate it. When you begin to remove the excess from your home, you're going to find it a lot easier to keep it clean.

Do a daily wipe-down

Another amazing cleaning hack you can start doing today is to do a daily wipe-down of counters and other surfaces. No need to go crazy and break out the cleaning supplies for this task, as a rag and a touch of water will do the trick nicely. Sometimes, just wiping down surfaces each day can make a huge difference in the cleanliness of your home.

Certain areas tend to pick up a lot of dust and grime throughout the day. Your kitchen is one of those rooms. It is one of the most used spaces in the house, and doing a daily wipe-down of counters can help keep things neat and tidy. It's not necessary to disinfect your kitchen counters every single day — that you can do weekly — but wiping them down with a bit of water can help remove any stains or spills you may not see. Another surface you might consider wiping down each day is your television stand. Electronic devices attract a lot of dust, so giving those areas a quick wipe will keep allergens at bay.

Create a cleaning schedule

Even if you're more of the spontaneous type, you know that a certain regime to your day works. Schedules help keep things moving in a timely manner and help you determine priorities. If keeping your home tidy is a priority for you, then creating a cleaning schedule is a great hack to start. When you have a schedule, you're more likely to stick with it. And no, you don't have to clean your entire home in one day.

To create a cleaning schedule that works best for you, first write a master task list. This gives you an overview of everything so you can break them up into either daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedules. You want to spread cleaning out throughout the month or quarter so it doesn't always feel like you're cleaning. Because while it's important to keep your home tidy, you don't want to do it at the expense of your free time. So, make that master task list and decide what's the best time to do each one, then put it on your calendar and stick with it.

Make your bed every morning

It's always nice when you can start your day with a win. Whether that's through meditation, or a cup of coffee, giving yourself a little victory every morning can set your day up for success. That's why making your bed is a quick hack that will not only keep your home tidy, but it'll also give you an early-day win.

If your parents ever harped on you to make your bed, you may have rebelled. But making your bed every morning has a ton of benefits. Besides starting your day with a completed task, making your bed looks good, meaning you're less likely to throw random stuff on it. It also keeps dust from collecting underneath your sheets, which can lead to a poor night's sleep. Another major benefit is that it boosts your mood. Since it takes less than two minutes to do, it's an easy daily hack you can add to your morning routine.

Tidy your desk at the end of the day

The state of your workspace can make or break your focus and productivity. Some people might claim to work well under cluttered conditions, but the truth is they're not fully focused on the task at hand. Their minds are subconsciously thinking of that mess, which means their work performance can become hindered. Tidying your desk at the end of the day can vastly improve your focus and allow you to start work the next day with a clear mind.

Whether you work from home or in an office, this hack is easy to add to your daily routine. In fact, spending 10 minutes a day cleaning your desk can save you hours in the future. When your desk is organized, you spend less time looking for something, and you also have fewer distractions to focus on the work in front of you. Try it out by setting a timer for five to 10 minutes before your work day ends and tidy up. Put files away, clear away any clutter, and give your monitor a quick dusting. You'll feel super accomplished when you're done.

Clean the dishes after every meal

No one likes doing the dishes when the sink is piled up so high, you fear removing one item will cause the rest to collapse. But, there are many ways you can eliminate the number of dishes you have to do, and one of those hacks is cleaning the dishes after every meal. This can include rinsing them off and putting them in the dishwasher or simply washing them by hand. Doing the dishes immediately, rather than letting them sit, is healthier since it doesn't allow food particles to grow bacteria.

Have you ever left a casserole dish in the sink without rinsing it out? Going back after a few hours, or even the next day, to clean it means you'll be at it for a while. When you allow food to sit on pots, pans, and dishes, you're giving them more time to stick, which will make removing them that much harder. When you take a few minutes to wash them after meals, you're saving yourself a ton of time later on. With fewer cooking dishes to clean, it also means your sink will be less empty after serving dishes are added, and that's always a win.

Put clean clothes away immediately

It happens more often than you think: People do laundry, they fold them up, and instead of putting them away, they leave the clothes to sit in the basket for a week. Laundry may not be enjoyable, but it must be done. While you might be exhausted after folding everything, leaving clothes in the basket is only going to be an annoyance later on.

You might think you've finished the laundry once you folded everything, but laundry isn't completely done until the clothes are put away. All of them. It's the last step in the process that too many people skip. If you want to keep your home neat and tidy, it's important to follow through on this action. One way to do that is by getting your family involved. Let them put away their clothes, and offer a reward for doing so. Compromise with your partner that if you wash and fold clothes, they have to put them away.

Deep clean one appliance each month

Appliances are not cheap and they do a lot for your household. From your refrigerator to your washing machine, you use large appliances on an almost daily basis. That's why it's important to take care of them because if you do, they last longer. A simple hack you can start implementing is deep cleaning one appliance a month. This method keeps you from getting overwhelmed, especially since these appliances tend to get very messy after a short period of use.

What exactly should you check for when cleaning these appliances? Inspect wires and hoses, if applicable. You'll also want to make sure you're changing out any filters on a consistent basis. You can add "change filter" to your cleaning schedule. Note the appliance you need to change, and do it as often as the manufacturer recommends. Another way to deep clean appliances to elongate their use is clean the interior, as well as the exterior. While cleaning large appliances may take a bit longer, it will keep them running more efficiently.

Open the windows

If the air in your home is feeling particularly stale, open some windows. People underestimate the power of fresh air and the effects it can have on you and your home. Opening your windows and allowing air to circulate is a great way to help your home feel tidier. This is especially true when you clean. Having your windows open while dusting keeps the particles from staying inside. Besides swapping out stale air, opening your windows gives your home a fresh scent, and it can help you save on utility costs.

Keeping windows open can cool down or warm up your home, depending on the season. When you let fresh air inside, it not only helps remove allergens and dust, but it's an instant mood-booster. There's nothing more calming than feeling a cool breeze coming in through the window. So, make it a habit to open a window every single day, no matter the temperature. Even if it's for just an hour, you'll notice the change in the air and you'll be grateful for it.

Have a home for everything

There's a common phrase in the professional organizing industry that goes, "a place for everything, and everything in its place." This concept teaches people that by giving items in your home a dedicated space, or home, you're more likely to find them faster when needed. How many times have you misplaced your keys or wallet? If they have a home you put them in each day, you'll always know where they are.

This method helps keep items and rooms tidy, but organizing your home can be tricky. You want to make sure the spots you dedicate are easily accessible. This is especially important for items you use on a daily basis; after all, the last thing you want to do is have to move a ton of stuff to get to your keys. Take it slow and focus first on giving your daily essentials a home. Then, do the same thing for everything else. This simple hack, when taken seriously, helps eliminate clutter, and also gets your home tidy and keeps it that way.

Spot mop stains

When you spot mop, the main goal is to focus on cleaning any stains, spills, or particularly dirty or grimy spots without mopping the whole floor. Spot mopping works well in areas with more daily traffic or spaces where your pets and kids spend a lot of time and have unpredictable but frequent messes and spills. Instead of ignoring these spots or leaving them until the designated mopping day, spot mopping lets you immediately get them off the floor. It's a time-saving and practical technique that ensures your floors stay clean. You save time and effort by focusing your cleaning efforts on where they are most needed.

To spot mop, you'll fill a spray bottle with your diluted floor cleaner of choice and keep a microfiber cloth or mop within reach. This lets you act quickly when you see dirty spots on your floor. Spray the cleaner right onto the spot and mop or wipe it with a cloth. This cleaning tactic has several benefits, including saving cleaning solution and water. It also reduces wear on your floor, which can happen with repeated, frequent cleaning, and also decreases your time doing chores.

Freshen with essential oils

Freshening up your home by using essential oils is a great way to keep it smelling nice, and it breaks away from using chemical-based air fresheners. This technique harnesses the power of essential oils that come from plants, enhancing your air quality and purifying it simultaneously. There is a huge range of fragrances to pick from, and they have mood-enhancing and antimicrobial properties, too. By picking essential oils, you're getting an eco-friendly solution to freshen your space. Additionally, you can use the oils to create a customized aromatic ambiance that relaxes you, uplifts your spirits, and invigorates your household.

To use essential oils to deodorize your space, pick oils that align with your goals. This could mean you want lavender's calming effects, or the bright notes citrus offers. Whatever the case, apply three to five drops of your chosen oil to a cotton ball and set them around your home. Or, you can fill a spray bottle with distilled water and add several drops of essential oil, and then spritz around the room. The cotton balls in closets will help freshen clothing. They can also go in garbage cans to fight odors or in living areas for a continuous pleasant smell. As a bonus, you can adjust your choice of oils as your mood or the season changes. They'll neutralize odors at the source to prevent them from returning without using harmful chemicals.

Routinely check and organize the fridge

Making it a point to organize your refrigerator at least once a week helps keep the space clean, optimizes food preservation, minimizes how much you toss out, and ensures you find what you're looking for without having to dig. This is important because even though your refrigerator is essential, it's easy to skip cleaning it, and your food can expire before you use it, allowing odors to build up.

Set up a weekly cleaning schedule that matches your grocery shopping trips to get on a routine. Before adding new items, scan your fridge for expired products, crumbs, or spills. Get a clean cloth and a gentle kitchen cleaner, and wipe down the drawers and shelves, paying close attention to door seals, handles, and other high-touch spots. Next, organize the contents. This could mean grouping similar items, using clear containers for leftovers, or putting items that expire soonest in the front. This ensures everything is visible and easy to grab, reducing the chances of food spoiling or expiring. Along with minimizing food waste and odors, this tip allows your refrigerator to run more efficiently because it can better circulate the air to keep your food fresher.

Refresh or clean the mattress while you wash the bedding

Cleaning your mattress when you wash your bedding ensures your sleeping space stays comfortable and free of allergen. Washing your bedding once every week is good practice, but many people skip cleaning the mattress. This allows dead skin cells, dust, and other allergens to build up, which can negatively impact your health and sleep. Setting aside time to refresh the mattress every time you wash your bedding and cleaning it thoroughly every six months will help your mattress last longer.

When you strip the bedding to wash it, vacuum your entire mattress' surface with the upholstery attachment. This will help eliminate mites, dust, and other loose particles that can cause allergies to flair. After you vacuum, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress to help neutralize any odors, let it sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum it up. If you have visible stains, get a mild detergent and gently dab at it with a damp cloth to lift the stain, and then allow the surface to dry. Once every six months, deep clean the mattress with targeted stain treatment, and if it's possible, lay it out in the sun to dry. This biannual practice complements your routine cleanings by addressing deeper issues and ensuring the mattress remains in optimal condition.