If I had to choose between cooking or cleaning for the rest of my life, I’d gladly pick the former, no questions asked. I don’t know if it’s because all of my chores growing up consisted of some form of it, but I just do not like cleaning. What I do like, though, is having a clean house. Nothing makes me more stressed and restless than an unorganized, messy space, so I’ve had to master a few organization tips to keep my home clean with as little effort as humanly possible.
Allow me to introduce you to the organization tips I swear by. Whether you’re pressed for time, in the middle of a particularly busy week, or simply not a fan of cleaning, these easy hacks can help you stay on top of everything and keep your home spotless with minimal work. Keep scrolling to make your life easier.
1. Maintain it a little every day
“The messiest spaces are an accumulation of neglecting to clean up over time. So once your space is fully organized, focus on maintaining it, little by little, each day,” Maggie Antalek—an NYC-based mural artist known for optimizing small spaces—told me recently. Antalek’s advice has been life-changing for me. Before, I’d throw things wherever and tell myself I’d pick them up later (which never happened). Now, I put away everything I’m carrying once I walk through the door, bring dishes to the sink whenever I’m done eating, hang up discarded clothing instead of flinging it on the couch, spot-treat the bathroom daily, and so on. These small practices help keep clutter at bay and minimize the amount of cleaning I need to do, which is a win-win all around.
2. Have a designated place for everything
Having to stop and think about where to put something takes precious time out of your day and makes tidying up as you go much more difficult. This is where having a designated spot for everything comes in handy. Maintaining a clean home and staying organized aren’t insurmountable tasks when you know exactly where everything goes. Plus, with a specific storage system in place, you’ll never have to go digging around for anything again.
3. Keep go-to fashion pieces within reach
We all know how it feels to pull out every article of clothing from the closet and drawers while desperately searching for something to wear. This just creates a massive, unnecessary mess, which is why I now keep my go-to fashion pieces within reach. All of my favorites are stored on top of other clothing in their respective drawers for easy access, and in my closet, everything is lined up in order from most to least used. Keeping a few select pieces handy makes it easy for me to put together outfits without trouble. The system works so well that the days of making a giant mess while hunting for my favorite white T-shirt are no more.
4. Clean up as you’re cooking
Cooking can be messy, but tidying up as you cook—while the sauce is simmering or the entrée is in the oven—will help prevent the mess from accumulating and keep your kitchen counters free of clutter (nothing’s worse than messy countertops in the kitchen). Plus, this will prevent you from accidentally leaving things out of the fridge or freezer for too long. Then you can sit back and fully enjoy your meal because you won’t be worried about tackling a big cleanup once you’re done.
5. Prioritize cleaning in the morning
Most nights, I eat dinner between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m., and afterward, I like to watch TV and relax for a bit before getting ready for bed. It’s a system that works well for me, and throwing the task of doing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen into that would only work against me. Cleaning late at night wakes me up, so instead, I do the dishes first thing in the morning. There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to pull out a freshly washed dish at lunchtime. The same goes for laundry, too. Getting these small, important tasks out of the way early in the day lets me focus on whatever else I have going on, and it gives me the space to chill out and unwind after work and relax into the rest of the evening.
6. Make a cleaning schedule
Although tidying your house a little every day is a huge help, there are times when a good, deep clean is necessary. However, instead of dedicating a whole day to dusting, cleaning out your fridge, and polishing your floors, create a cleaning schedule to break up these larger tasks and tackle them one at a time. Clean out your fridge every Sunday before you meal prep. Give your bathroom a good clean on Friday nights after work to set yourself up nicely for the weekend. Or spend the first Saturday morning of every season sorting through your clothing and removing or storing what you no longer need. Having a schedule that spreads out chores like this will make keeping your home pristine less overwhelming and stressful.