Time Management Tip 25: The Self Cleaning Home


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While renovating our family home, I spent many hours researching ways to make the home as “self cleaning” as possible.

7 ways to create a self cleaning home clean less; play more

Now you might not be in the middle of renovating a home so you might not be able to do all 7 of these tips right now but many of the tips you can implement even if you are not currently remodeling a home.

7 Ways To Create A Self Cleaning Home

1. Black appliances show the least amount of dirt

I think the appliance salesman was a bit shocked when the first words out of my mouth after meeting him were “I don’t like to clean, so sell me whatever shows dirt the least”. He was right, black hides a multitude of sticky finger sins.

Cleaning tip: I find it super handy to keep a bottle of all purpose cleaner on the kitchen counter  at all times to clean up the occasional smudges that do show on the black appliances while I am in the kitchen keeping an eye on dinner.

2. Purchase good quality entryway floor mats

I bought a thick channeled style floor mat for both front and back doors, that catch a lot of the dirt off  our shoes before it gets on my floors.

Cleaning tip: Here is an example of the type of mats I am talking about. I also recommend placing a smaller doormat made for aggressively wiping large amounts of mud off work boots outside your door if you have either a hubby who works outdoors or little children who love to play in the mud.

3 Have a no shoe policy

Most outside dirt is tracked in the house by shoes, if you take them off at the door you eliminate this problem.

Cleaning tip: To avoid having a pile up of shoes at the front door place a simple good quality plastic laundry bin beside the door to collect shoes. Or purchase a boot tray and teach family members to place their shoes on it.

4. Use bins without lids 

I prefer to use bins without lids to store things instead of  bins with lids or drawers as much as possible . Kids love simple and it is easier for them to toss than pull out and place things in and then shut.

Cleaning tip: I find plastic bins are the easiest to clean.These ones are some of our favorites.  Wicker baskets and material baskets with wire frames although pretty can get dusty and it is hard to get the dust out of the cracks. With plastic bins I simply empty them out, wipe them down with a damp cloth, and then wipe dry.

5.Label Everything 

Label cups, label clothes bins, label bins for sheets, just go crazy so no one can use the excuse “I didn’t know where it went”.

Cleaning tip: You can use simple dollar store labels and a pen to label things but if you really get into the labeling you might want to invest in a labeler like we did. We have an older style Dynamo labeler similar to this one that we really like.

6. Leave no room for dust

I had my husband put kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling so I wouldn’t have dust collecting on the top of my cabinets.

Cleaning tip: Obviously remodeling the kitchen just so you can avoid dust on top of the cabinets might not be an option for your family. Instead you can line the top of your cabinets with a contact shelf paper that comes in a variety of colors that you can cut just a little narrower than your cabinet tops. This is will make the area much  easier to wipe off.

7. Hard floor surfaces

It is a lot easier to wipe a spill off laminate flooring than blot it out of carpet. Badly stained  area rugs are easier to replace than  badly stained wall to wall carpeting.

Cleaning tip: In our house we use a Mr Clean wet/dry microfiber mop with a reusable head and a spray bottle of a mix of half vinegar and half water to spot mop the floor whenever we see a spot. This is a very inexpensive alternative to Swiffer wet jet.

(psst… a lot of the product links above take you to Amazon. Did you know you can use Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards doing activities you probably already do online like shopping and web searches)

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  1. Number 5 is a big one 🙂 When I worked at a childcare center, we took pictures of what went where. It didn’t always help when they were picking up, but it was handy when it came time to organize, we would bump everything out and tell them to match the photos 🙂

  2. YES YES YES to #4!! And cheapo laundry baskets make great bins for many things. Never put something alone on a shelf that you can put in a bin on that shelf. Even drawers are better than shelves with no bins…

  3. Instead of contact paper on the tops of your kitchen cabinets, use newspaper, when it gets dirty, throw it out and put down new!

  4. I hold to the “no-lid” policy, also. If I’m too lazy myself to want to pick up a lid before putting something away, then I certainly can’t expect any more of my family, lol. I have found the cheapest plastic bins to be a standard size dishpan from the kitchen section of Walmart or Target. They’re a perfect size to hold many types of things. I like your tip about keeping the all-purpose cleaner out for quick touch-ups. I’m going to start doing that! 🙂

  5. I love the tip about the contact paper! Makes so much sense. It is always impossible to get the dust cleaned from up there.

  6. Yes! I used dishpans also in my closet. My hubby likes his t-shirts, socks, undies, etc on a shelving unit in our closet. I would carefully fold and stack and he would almost NEVER take the one on top. Nooooo, take one from the middle of the stack and mess up the stack and leave it all messy… or have some of it fall to the floor, which he would pick up and shove anywhere. ARGH. So I put everything in dishpan bins, sorted out. Saved my sanity!

    • Yes! That is the exact same thing I did in my son’s closet for the same reason. It works so well. I have him go through them every few months to neaten them up and toss those items he isn’t wearing.

  7. An easier way to clean the top of cabinets or the refrigerator- instead of lining it with contact paper to wipe off, line it with some material (I had checkered fabric to match my kitchen decor). When it gets dirty, wash it in the washer and put it back on. (Or even fabric placemats would work)

  8. I would also recommend if you are painting cabinets or trim to use high gloss paint. And semi gloss on walls. Dirt wipes off so easily. 🙂

    • Thanks for adding that tip it is a good one. I agree with you we used semi gloss on our walls and I am so glad we did it really does make cleaning walls a lot easier.

    • Donna T. says:

      Fantastic idea! Thank you! Plus, it adds color.

  9. Donna T. says:

    Question: Everyone enters my house through the front door. The back door goes to a deck far above the ground level so everyone enters through the front door. I have a small entry way (4×6) that is in front of the stairs that lead to the bedrooms. If you turn left, you are in my Dining Room (former living room). If you turn right you are in my Den (former dining room). Where and/or how does anyone suggest I store shoes/slippers? My sister-in-law used to provide slippers for guests if they wanted. This sounds like a great idea if you have a mud room. ?

  10. One of the simplest and easiest ways to get dust off wicker baskets, lamp shades or other things with small, hard to get at places, use a soft painters’ brush. Choose brushes the right size for the task.

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