Are you tired of spending hours and hours each week cleaning your home? These eleven tips below will help you make your home as self-cleaning as possible, trimming the time you need to clean your house so you can spend more time with those you love.
Much of this list is made up of things I did while renovating our home to ensure that it was as simple to keep clean as I could make it, but many of the steps can be implemented in your home even if you have no plans of renovating.
11 Ways To Create A Self-Cleaning Home: Clean Less, Live More
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1. Choose Items And Colors Wisely
I think the appliance salesman we worked with when renovating our home 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 told me black and he was right; our black appliances do hide a multitude of sticky finger sins.
This “hides dirt” tip can be applied to many other areas of your home, from rugs to furniture to grout color and more. Each time you pick out an item that will be in a high traffic area of your home, think long and hard about what colors not only look good, but don’t show every little fingerprint, hair, or speck of dust.
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. Here is an environmentally friendly brand we use and like.
2. Purchase Good Quality Entryway Floor Mats
I bought a thick channeled style floor mat for both our 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 shoes 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
Shoes are the number one culprit for tracking dirt onto your floors. 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, we have a good quality plastic laundry bin beside the door to collect shoes. Our family uses a laundry bin because they are durable and easy to clean, unlike many shoe racks on the market. If you have fewer shoes than our family, you could purchase a plastic 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. You might be thinking that this leads to exposed clutter, and it does somewhat. But I find that the extra step of removing a lid or opening and closing a drawer prevents certain lazier members of the family from putting things away. However, those same lazy individuals have no trouble at all tossing things in an open bin.
Cleaning tip: I find plastic bins are the easiest to clean. Wicker and material baskets are harder to clean once dust and dirt settles into their nooks and crannies. With plastic bins I empty them, wipe them down with a damp cloth, and then wipe them dry.
Plastic bins have really become a lot more stylish than they use to be. I purchased plastic basket weave bins similar to these for our living room and have been very happy with them (you can use the spray nozzle on your kitchen faucet to get the cracks clean). However, my favorites are still dishpans like these (I prefer the 12qt size). They are inexpensive and easy to replace or get more to match if need be.
5. Give Everything A Home And Make Sure The Whole Family Knows Where It Is
After everything has a home in your home, go around and label as many of those homes as you can. This will eliminate one more excuse not to put things away.
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 as we did. We have this labeler, and we have been happy with it.
6. Eliminate Dust Traps
I had my husband install our kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling so I wouldn’t have dust collecting on the top of my cabinets. I don’t keep “pretties” in my home unless I love them enough to dust them regularly.
Cleaning tip: Obviously, remodeling the kitchen so that 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 Con-Tact shelf paper that comes in various colors that you can cut just a little narrower than your cabinet tops. This will make the area much easier to wipe off.
7. Invest In Hard Floor Surfaces
It is a lot easier to wipe up a spill on laminate or tile flooring than to blot it out of the carpet. Badly stained area rugs are easier to replace than badly stained wall-to-wall carpeting (did you know there are area rugs you can put in your washer?).
Cleaning tip: In our house, we use a wet and dry microfiber mop similar to this one 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 compared to using disposable options and it is just as quick and easy.
8. Continually Toss What You Don’t Use
The less you own, the less you have to clean or move so you can clean under it. Keep a box in a spot that you frequently pass just for items that have become clutter. Things such as clothes that you no longer wear, toys the kids outgrew, a decor item you are bored with can be quickly tossed in this box and when it fills up, put it in your car and drop it off at the nearest thrift store.
Cleaning tip: If you want something more than a cardboard box sitting out in the open to collect your items, how about one of these storage ottomans placed where people take their shoes on and off. That way it serves two purposes while looking good. When it gets full, you can empty the items into a box and place it in your vehicle.
9. Assign Everyone A Color
I was excellent about doing this when the kids were little, but fell out of the habit a few years ago. When we did do this, my laundry piles and dirty dishes pile shrunk dramatically. Each person had three towels in one color; one to use, one for the wash, and one to spare. All five of us also had a certain style of cup we used all day and therefore avoided grabbing a new cup each time we wanted a drink (this could be colored too).
Another way to use this color or style tip is for socks and underwear if you have several members who wear the same size. I am sure there are even more ways to apply this rule in ways that will reduce cleaning and home upkeep.
Cleaning tip: Reduce the chances of having to clean up a full glass of spilled liquid or shards of glass by giving everyone an insulated stainless steel cup with a lid, regardless of their age (here is a brand with good reviews and plenty of colors to choose from).
10. Eat Only In Designated Places
When our kids were little, we were strict about everyone eating only at the kitchen table except for rare occasions like family movie night. They are all eighteen years or older now and no longer walking crumb factories so we have lifted this rule, but when they were little, this rule reduced the spread of crumbs significantly.
11. Make This A Life-Long Habit
Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day going from room to room. Get everyone who is home involved. If you followed the other 10 points on this list and have several people helping during this daily tidy, there really won’t be much need to spend too much additional time on house cleaning.
Cleaning tip: Give each person helping a bottle of all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber rag so they can not only put things back in their place, but also clean up any spots of dirt and grime that might be in their assigned room.
3 Related Posts You Are Going To Want To Read
- How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed
- 3 Secrets To Keeping A Home Clean In Less Time
- How To Get Your Home Clean For The Holidays -Before The Christmas Rush
This Post Is Part Of My 31 Time Saving Tips For The Work-At-Home Mom Series
Follow these links to read the time management tips I have learned over my 25+ years as a work-at-home mom who also spent over 20 years homeschooling her three children. Plus, I made time to train and run several marathons, write a book, and renovate several homes with my husband. Find out how I fit all those things into my day and still find time for self-care.
Introduction: 31 Time Saving Tips For The Work-At-Home Mom
- Day One: Perform a Time Audit
- Day Two: Night Owl Or Morning Bird?
- Day Three: Where are Your Largest Windows?
- Day Four: Making the Most of Small Windows
- Day Five: Daily To-Do Lists
- Day Six: Maximizing The To-Do List
- Day Seven: Say No
- Day Eight: Eliminate Poor Yes Choices
- Day Nine: Put Your Time Offenders On a Budget
- Day Ten: Combine Joy
- Day Eleven: Making Effective Use of Waiting Time
- Day Twelve: Making Use of Travel Time
- Day Thirteen: Making The Most of Mom Taxi in Waiting Time
- Day Fourteen: Take Time to Rest a Few Moments Each Day
- Day Fifteen: Tag-Team
- Day Sixteen: Involve the Kids
- Day Seventeen: Mechanical Slaves
- Day Eighteen: Outside Help
- Day Nineteen: Timer Magic
- Day Twenty: Take a Rest Day
- Day Twenty One: Less Stuff, Less Mess, More Time
- Day Twenty-Two: Hold A Family Work Bee
- Day Twenty-Three: Keep Gatherings Simple
- Day Twenty-Four: Saving Time in The Kitchen
- Day Twenty-Five: The Self Cleaning Home (you are here)
- Day Twenty-Six: Streamlining Your Homeschooling Day
- Day Twenty Seven: Create an I Did It List
- Day Twenty-Eight: Create a Simple Cleaning Routine
- Day Twenty Nine: Create To Go Bags
- Day Thirty: Making Minimum Standards
- Day Thirty-One: Treat Life Like a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Tired of living a chaotic life? I recommend taking Make Over Your Mornings and/or Make Over Your Evenings. These are 15 day, video-driven courses that come with a workbook for you to complete. Each day’s lesson consists of a five minute video, five minutes of reading, and a five minute workbook activity. These courses will help you streamline your day, taking you from frazzled to calm.
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