10 General Rules of House Cleaning

House cleaning is one of those things that never seems to end, particularly if you have a young family.

When you’re busy, things pile up, and before you know it the mess in your house has gotten out of control. Then comes a house cleaning marathon which you hate every second, and this cycle repeats until the end of time. Sounds familiar?

Most people want to clean their house as infrequently as possible. But treating cleaning as this big chore you dread only makes it harder to keep your home clean and tidy on a daily basis. We’re not talking about a big spring clean, just about keeping the house in order.

So, what is the secret to keeping on top of your house cleaning?

white and blue modern scandi lounge room

Here are 10 tips for shifting your mindset so you can conquer your house cleaning once and for all.

Clean little and often

If your whole house is a mess, stop and breathe. Think what you can do about it right now. Deep cleaning the whole house from top to bottom? Unrealistic. Doing the dishes and wiping down the surfaces in your kitchen? That’s more doable.

Many people swear by the 20/10 rule. Set a timer for 20 minutes, maybe put some good music on, and clean until the timer goes off. Then stop what you’re doing and take a 10-minute break to do something else. When you feel ready, start the timer for another 20 minutes and go again.

Prioritise your housecleaning tasks

There are only so many hours in a day. Prioritise which cleaning tasks need to be done today by following this simple, three-step process:

  1. Think about how much time you have available. Be realistic. If it’s only 5 minutes then that’s what you’re working with today and you can adapt your expectations.
  2. Decide on the top 2 or 3 things that need doing. Some people find it helpful to write them down in a list so they can have the satisfaction of physically checking them off.
  3. Finish your list before moving on. Perhaps cleaning one thing on your list reveals something else you’ll have to deal with. For now, leave it. Stay focused on the cleaning goals for that day.
a cat wiping its brow after cleaning

Clean as you go

Getting into the habit of doing little cleaning tasks throughout the day makes keeping on top of your housecleaning easier in the long run. Keep cleaning supplies close to where you use them so you don’t have to go looking for them every time you need to quickly wipe down a surface.

Top tip: Make your bed as soon as you get out of it in the morning. It only takes a few seconds but instantly makes your room look cleaner and tidier. Plus, you’ll be less tempted to get back in it.

Make a housecleaning schedule

It may not sound like the most exciting thing, but stay with us. Breaking your household tasks into daily, weekly or even monthly tasks is a good place to start when building a new routine. Focus not only on what needs doing, but also on when it needs to be done.

Your housecleaning schedule could start out looking something like this:

  • Daily: wash dishes, make beds, clean counters
  • Weekly: vacuum and sweep all floors, clean bathroom, change sheets
  • Monthly: deep clean fridge, clean windows and sills, declutter

Have the right tools for the job

You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy expensive cleaning products, but those that let you clean efficiently can save you both time and frustration. For example, a good multi-purpose cleaner and a microfibre cloth can solve your dusting problems. An extendable brush can help you tackle hard to reach areas so you can give your house a thorough clean from top to bottom.

A dog lying on a shaggy rug thinking "I'm not moving"

Don’t put things down; put them away

We’ve all been there, where instead of tidying something away you just put it down and keep on moving it to different places around the room. Getting into the habit of putting something away, and not down, creates less mess for you to deal with later.

When the mail comes in, throw the junk into the recycling, open all the letters and figure what needs to be saved. Throw everything else into the recycling bin and put the letters in your action pile.

Don’t hang on to things you don’t need

Decluttering your home will do wonders for your organisation. Make sure everything, whether it’s kitchen utensils or kids’ toys or shoes, has its own storage space. The fewer items you have on the floor or on countertops, the quicker it will be to keep these areas clean.

Keep decluttering simple. Next time you feel the need to have a clear out, separate your possessions into four categories:

  • Keep. Keep the item exactly where it is.
  • Relocate. Keep the item, but move it somewhere else in your home.
  • Donate. Anything of good quality that you no longer need, donate to a good cause.
  • Toss. Anything that isn’t quite good enough to donate, dispose of responsibly.

There are many other decluttering methods out there, so try them to see what works for you.

Don’t take any risks with your safety

If you’ve got a tough cleaning job on your hands, it might be tempting to use as many products as you can think of to shift the dirt. But be careful. Although cleaning products are generally safe to be used on their own, cleaning products should never be mixed. Always read the label!

A dog on its back surrounded by pillow stuffing with a crazy look on its face and a caption sorry not sorry

Don’t feel you have to do it all yourself

If you have a partner, roommate, or children also living in your home, they can and should be doing their fair share. Why don’t you see if you can get the whole family involved in cleaning the house? This might be easier said than done at the start, but building good habits of cleaning up after yourself makes staying on top of housecleaning easier over time.

Don’t compare your cleaning with others

When it comes to housecleaning, you can only do what is realistic for you. For your own peace of mind, try to be happy with ‘clean enough’ and not get too caught up in the little details which can be tackled with a deep clean at a later date.

Bonus – Don’t let house cleaning take over your life

You don’t have to wait until your house is already messy to make a start on your housecleaning. Instead, build small habits into your daily routine to take a lot of the stress out of keeping your house clean and tidy all year round. If you are finding it hard to balance your daily life and keep your house clean, you may want to consider speaking to a professional home cleaner.

Modern grey fold out lounge with Perth Home Cleaners in a picture frame above and a bronze lamp