How to Have a Clean Home (Without doing any work at all)

I’m sure you know what you need to do to keep your house clean…Clean it. Cleaning schedules will help a LOT, especially if you have the right cleaning schedule for your personality type.

But there are some things we can do WITHOUT adding extra work for ourselves! These tips won’t completely replace your cleaning schedule, but they’ll keep things running much more smoothly (and cleanly) between times when you do the actual work. Think of these tips as an insurance plan.

How to keep your house clean without any work:

1. Get rid of things you don’t use, need, or love.

“Just in case” or “because what if” aren’t reasons to welcome things into your home. Don’t let fear dictate how you use your home and your space. Don’t let worry take over.

Would you have a surgeon live with you “just in case” you needed surgery? No, you go to the hospital if you need surgery.

So maybe you don’t really need to keep that second crock pot around (the one you don’t like as much as the one you always use) “just in case.” Maybe it’s okay to let it go and give your other things a bit more room to breathe.

You’ll find it’s easier to keep things clean without trying when there isn’t as much stuff gumming up the works and getting in the way of the things you actually do use, need, and love.

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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

– William Morris

2. Put things away when you’re finished.

Just make it a rule. No exceptions. If it’s not being used, it’s in its home. This is a habit that can take a while to develop, but it’s really worth doing it. It makes a HUGE difference.

Sign up for my course on achieving goals through developing habits, My Best Year Ever.

“Keeping up is easier than catching up.”
– Gretchen Rubin

3. Throw out non-belongers.

Even if you’re trying to put things away every single time, chances are, not everyone in your house is trying as hard to develop that habit.

If something doesn’t belong in the room it’s in, just throw it outside of the room. It’ll at least be closer to its home. Then when you go into the next room, if it belongs in that room, put it away. If not, throw it another room closer. This actually works. I used this method in our open-floor-plan home in Maryland with huge success, as weird as it sounds.

Now you think I’m crazy. I’m okay with it.

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
– Voltaire

4. Make it easier to put things away than to get them out.

If you have a shoe problem at the front door, maybe a big basket or hamper is the answer to your problems. You’ll just chuck them in. No need to carefully arrange them in little cubbies, on shoe shelves, or carry them back to your bedroom. Sure, when you’re getting ready to leave for the day, you’ll take a few extra seconds to find a pair, but at least they’re put away where they belong all the time.

It’s the same with toys. I can’t stand the unit-blocks method a lot of kindergartens use, where each type of block has its own special home. The “brilliant” organizing posts I see about legos being organized into little drawers by color drive me crazy – unless it’s child-initiated and child-maintained by choice. (In that case, by all means, have at it, kiddo!)

Nope. Just chuck it into a basket, please. Blocks with blocks, legos with legos, figurines with figurines, art supplies with art supplies. You’ll find you fuss at the kids a lot less about cleaning up.

Read more about getting your kids to clean up without bribes, punishments, or threats.

“Make it easy to do right, and harder to go wrong.”
-Gretchen Rubin

5. Get rid of the furniture that drives you nuts.

The pieces with 100 little nooks and crannies for dust to settle in – WICKER FURNITURE. The glass tabletop that is perpetually smudged with fingerprints. Dark colored shelves that seem to attract dust OR light colored tables that are always smudged with obvious food, craft residue, and spills. The end table that doesn’t serve a real purpose, but acts as a clutter magnet.

I don’t know what drives you crazy, but I bet you do. How could you replace those items with ones that seem to maintain themselves a bit better (or can go longer between active maintenance) instead?

If even ONE of these methods resonates with you and helps you keep your house cleaner, I’ve done my job.

Which was your favorite tip? Did you have one to add?

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  1. I love the chuck it bins! I have one for each of my girls in the living room. When they are full they either take them to their rooms and put away or I donate whatever is in them (if they choose to not put them away). I don’t stress about picking up anymore or going up and down the stairs a million times. Although my Fitbit really liked that part 😉

  2. We put our house on the market and it was a big incentive to make it look as good as it could. So a big declutter happened and then, after a big deep clean, every task was done immediately it was needed. It meant that the house is always clean and tidy. 6 months on this is now a habit – it only takes 30 days to create a new habit.

  3. I’m gradually de-bulking my household belongings–without a big knockdown dragout sorting binge. My easy goal is to decrease my hoard by a cubic foot per week: about two plastic grocery sacks full. I keep the sacks handy on every level of the house. Whenever I’m looking for something, I stay alert for things I can cull and bag them up. When the bag is full, it goes by the back door. When I leave the house, I put it in the trunk. When I’m on the south side of town, I swing by the donation center. As easy as breathing.

  4. I like the chuck it a bit closer idea, I can actually imagine that really working as things gradually get to there home! And don’t get me started on glossy surfaces and those finger marks… I’d love to eliminate them. (in fact I thing people should be fined for making shiny furniture or kitchen appliances!)

  5. Great tips! I love #3. I keep one basket in the living room and one upstairs for collecting things that don’t belong. Then, when I feel like it ;), I just take the basket around to empty its contents, putting things back in their places.

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