With a new school year in full swing and summer vacations at an end, we fall back into our routines (seasonal pun intended!). Everyone's life demands different things at different times, and this can leave our homes in a mess. It doesn't take long, either! Cleaning ends up feeling like a monumental task by the end of the week. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your weekend, your time to relax, to washing, drying and tidying. The secret to keeping a cleaner home is to complete simple tasks on a daily basis, so that clutter never gets out of control. Here are five tips on how to do it: 

An image of a mom and toddler daughter high fiving while cleaning

1) Empty Your Dishwasher Every Morning

An image of an empty dishwasher with the trays pulled forward.

If you've got one, use it! Put away the dirty dishes before bed, so that they don't have to sit on the counter or in the sink. When you wake up the next day to make your morning coffee, unload the dishwasher. You have probably already timed yourself, so you'll know which morning prep items you can squeeze it between. Honestly, not having to even look at dirty dishes makes a world of difference when it comes to cleaning.

2) Sort And Recycle As Soon As Possible

An image of a blue recycling bin held up by two arms. 

Flyers, mail, coupons, catalogues and school papers arrive on the daily. Keeping a pile of them to deal with later never actually works. The groceries we consume through the week all come in packages, be it paper or plastic, and dealing with that packaging later doesn't seem to work either. What does? Deal with it as you use it. Dedicate a corner or closet to recycling, and you'll never regret it! This area should have labelled bags or bins to separate each kind of recyclable, so that when you're dealing with expired coupons or catalogues, it's an easy toss. Just rinsed the empty strawberry container? It's an easy toss into the plastics bag. When recycling day comes around, you don't have to spend an hour or two sorting through all the household waste. You can just tie it and take it out to the curb! Place a new bag in, and you're ready to roll for the upcoming week. This tip works well for families with kids of all ages. You can draw a picture of a plastic bottle on your label for example, so that even the youngest members of the family can take on responsibility. Dads are often notorious for leaving empty granola bar boxes in the pantry, so this will help him to clean up too!

3) Use Doormats

An image of a family, but depicted by shoe size and type. All shoes are resting on a door mat.

The less outside you track inside, the less you need to clean your floors. Keeping a door mat at each exterior door will cut down on the dirt and debris. If you have a garage, placing a mat outside its exterior door will prevent even more debris from entering your home. Shake the mats outside every couple of days, or vacuum them at the end of the week.

4) Take Your Mess With You

An image of a plate of cookies on a living room end table.

Don't create work for the you of tomorrow. Tonight, when you're finished snacking on cookies or popcorn, take your empty plate and food clutter back to the kitchen. Put the dishes in the dishwasher like we walked about with our first tip, and discard any garbage or recycling. Have family members do the same with their messes. The couple minutes it takes to clean up now will make a difference once the end of the week is reached. It also teaches the kids self-awareness and self-discipline, invaluable skills to grow up with.

5) Keep A Cleaning Schedule

 An image of a person writing in an agenda / day planner.

Don't take on all the work in one day, and definitely don't take on all of the work if you live with others! Draft up a cleaning schedule that clearly states what needs to be done. This can be daily, weekly or monthly, and can be broken down by each member of the house. If you have kids, this is a great way to introduce them to age appropriate responsibilities and take an active role in helping the family. Here's a couple of blank templates you can save to your device and print out:

Blank  weekly cleaning schedule

Blank weekly and monthly cleaning schedule.

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