How to Keep on top of the Cleaning?

Introduction When you finally sit down after a busy day do you look around and find yourself surrounded by mounds of housework and don’t know where to start. Or are […]


When you finally sit down after a busy day do you look around and find yourself surrounded by mounds of housework and don’t know where to start. Or are you one of those people, which is realistically most of us, that has that one friend who always has a house that is immaculate no matter what time of day you call in to visit leaving you wondering just how they do it.


Knowing how to keep on top of the cleaning is a definite valuable life skill but this can be challenging and hard work. Especially when you are looking after the children or working all day. There always seems to be something that requires your attention and it is so easy to procrastinate and put off the housework until you have more spare time. Although that ‘spare time’ never seems to appear and when it does you’re too tired to take on that pile of ironing that has been accumulating over the previous week or tackle the oven clean that you have been putting off for months.

It is so easy to waste time planning your strategy to tackle these tasks, but while considering your master plan there are other little jobs piling up all around the house.

The ideal situation would be to know how to keep on top of the cleaning so that it becomes a manageable maintenance task rather than something that will take up most of your weekend and leave you even more tired than you were at the end of the working week. If you can achieve this state of cleaning nirvana then you should have more time to spend with your family and friends and enjoy your precious down time in a clean, and more relaxing environment.

It is not going to be easy, but if you were to follow at least some of the tips in the article you should rapidly be able to reap the benefits and see your home through new eyes, as well as always being prepared for any spontaneous visitors without having to run around the house like an Olympian athlete moving clutter from room to room and spraying a quick squirt of bleach in the toilets and plugging in the air fresheners!

Why Should I Worry About how to Keep on top of the Cleaning?

We have all sat down after a long day and know how easy it is to just kick off our shoes, put our feet up and put off the housework until tomorrow. Even more ‘tomorrow’ seems to never come and before you know it those simple tasks have become more and more time consuming. The following reasons for why you should keep your house clean may help you to see why you should put that extra effort in.

A Clean House is a Happy House

Not to say that you can’t be happy in a house that isn’t in showroom condition with barely a mote of dust in sight and everything tidied up as we all know this isn’t practical with a busy family but everybody loves to come home to a nice clean house. Your mental wellbeing will also improve as being in a clean house gives you that lovely contented feeling inside. It also means that when you want to relax, you truly can relax, rather then thinking how messy your house looks and what needs doing. 

A well-known adage is ‘mess brings stress’, so having a clean house will stop you from coming home from a long day at work and feeling more stressed about your home. If you’re finding life particularly stressful, which is totally understandable at the current time, it can be easy to let your housework slip down the priority list. But it can work wonders for your mental state by giving your home a good clean. What have you got to lose?

You will be Healthier

Your house is a breeding ground for gems and bacteria and thrive in dusty, unclean environments. All of these bacteria and germs can cause illness as well as irritate existing conditions, especially if anybody in the house has asthma or other allergy issues. A clean house is definitely a healthier house. In addition, cleaning is a physical task and everything you do involves physical exertion so not only can you save on gym fees you can have a clean house!

How to Keep on Top of the Cleaning? Lists, Lists and More Lists

There are numerous sites out there that offer solutions to common problems around the house, as well as offering ‘cleaning hacks’ that promise to change the way that you clean forever. The truth is though, if you cannot manage the time to try these tips then you end up spending more time reading about the latest miraculous oven cleaning product than you actually spend cleaning. 

The key secret to managing your cleaning is one small word – routine. If you can establish a regular cleaning routine / regime then you will soon find that this becomes as normal as that mid afternoon cup of tea or that glass of wine after work is done or the children are all bathed and finally in bed!

As boring and unspontaneous as it may seem everybody benefits from having some routine in their lives. Making a schedule of what needs doing will really help, try to identify daily, weekly and monthly tasks and create the dreaded rota or list that covers all of these. Once you have this, and get used to following it this will soon become the norm rather than the exception and you will find yourself wondering why you never did this before.

There are now numerous retailers that have created and will sell wipe down checklists that can be a great help if you are unsure as to what you should be doing each day. These range from the simplest of lists to full family matrixes with coloured magnets and room to allocate tasks to various members of the household. Failing that then a simple list that is stuck to the fridge will also do the trick. The key is to identify the tasks and get everybody into the routine as soon as possible. After doing this for a few months, or even weeks you will begin to wonder why you hadn’t done this before.

If you feel that you need to give your house a thorough clean before starting this routine, then you need to approach this routine in the opposite way. Start by working through the room based tasks and once these are achieved and your house is tidy again then you can start with the daily routine.

Prioritise Daily Tasks

As we all know day to day life doesn’t fit perfectly into little boxes and even the most well planned schemes will fall foul to the little things that conspire to make our life anything but routine, Whether this is a last minute work deadline or an issue with childcare or sick children there is usually something that will knock you off schedule. If you find this is becoming an issue, then consider prioritising the daily tasks at the beginning of each day. 

If it is the scheduled time to change your bedding, then do this before you go down to breakfast rather than later in the day when something else can interrupt you. Don’t beat yourself about it if you haven’t had time to dust the windowsills if they are bottom of your priority list, things happen in life that are way out of our control so don’t worry too much about the small stuff. It works both ways and you may well find yourself with a few extra minutes the next day to get back on track.

Don’t Wait until Your House is Dirty to Clean it

This may seem like a case of stating the obvious, but many people will wait until their house gets messy before starting cleaning. The key to avoiding this is to do a little bit every day to keep your house as tidy as possible

Keep Track of Time

Once you have completed a task then make a note on the list, or on your phone, of how long this takes you. This will allow you to schedule things in so much easier when you know how much time you have. So instead of wondering what you should do be doing next and how long it will take you will have the answer at your fingertips. 

This approach is invaluable when you do get a few spare minutes, it not only means that you can identify the quick, easy wins, such as bed making or cleaning mirrors but you will not start washing the kitchen floor when you only have ten minutes free.

Try and Combine Tasks

By having a routine and knowing what needs to be done you can become more organised. If you know you are due to go and clean the upstairs bedroom then ensure that you combine this with taking up some cleaned washing, or bring a dirty load down with you. It may seem simple and obvious, but you have just saved yourself an additional couple of trips up and down the stairs.

Don’t do it all Yourself

Assuming that there is more than one of you in the house then remember that it shouldn’t always just be you doing all of the work. After all it isn’t just you that makes all of the mess. Even if it just asking the children to put their own washing away or help unloading the dishwasher then this can take some of the effort from you.

Weekend Work

In these times it is very important to retain your downtime so this should be protected and cherished. However, there are obviously some jobs that can only be done when you have more time available. Try and combine this with other things, ironing for example is a very monotonous task but if this is done on a quiet dreary weekend this can be combined with a film or a binge watch of the latest recommended box set.

Keep Time for Yourself

There are some tasks that require daily attention, making beds, washing up etc but be sure to stagger any big jobs over a longer period of time. You do not want to spend the whole weekend cleaning up. Consider this a long-term solution and don’t try to do everything in the first few weeks or you will just end up hating the housework even more.

Create Cleaning Boxes

Something that can help make your household tasks easier is to have several cleaning boxes of task cleaning specific materials. Something like a bathroom and toilet cleaning collection, or a polishing / dusting / surface cleaning boxes. This is obviously driven by the amount of storage space that you have but imagine how much time it will save you knowing that if today is the day to blitz the bathrooms you know exactly where all of the cleaning materials are found. You don’t need to root around behind the saucepans that are stored under the sink, just grab the box and go!

Change Your Daily Habits

Another way how to keep on top of the cleaning is to give yourself a few new goals. Try to make it your objective to leave each room that you enter in a better state than when you first entered in. Even if this is something so trivial as plumping cushions, tidying up a few toys or picking up newspapers and magazines from the lounge or giving the bathroom sink a quick wipe down when you’ve finished brushing your teeth. Very quickly these little things will become a habit and you will soon see the benefits in these seemingly small steps. 

Try and clean as you go when in the kitchen, wash up any cooking utensils as they are used, there is nothing worse than enjoying a lovely home cooked meal, only to be confronted by a mountain of washing up and dirty dishes when you return to the kitchen. Try and make it a house rule to also clean up the dishes after every meal and especially before sitting down after an evening meal.

Try and sort the mail every day, a pile of junk mail can soon mount up on your stairs, mat or hallway table and this is often the first thing that a visitor will see.

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place

As you walk around your house take a fresh look and you will most probably see various amounts of clutter. Be that a couple of pairs of shoes left in the hall, a bit of dirty washing on a bedroom floor, a jacket or shirt on the back of a door, children’s toys, or even pet toys all over the lounge. These seemingly small pieces of clutter can grow at an alarming pace so try to put these away as soon as possible. If there isn’t any storage currently available then look at storage baskets or similar and ensure that your household get into the habit of using these.

Set Reasonable Targets When Learning how to Keep on top of the Cleaning

It is unrealistic to expect that your house will be permanently pristine and in showroom condition because we all know that life just isn’t like that. However, this article should help you increase the overall cleanliness and tidiness. 

It can be extremely helpful to break household tasks into 15 minute chunks, this will really help with your time management and ensure that you are making the most of those rare moments when you have a little time to spare. A suggested list of tasks that can be completed in 15 minutes or less follows:

  • Wipe down bathroom surfaces and mirrors
  • Clean a toilet
  • Dust one or two rooms
  • Gather and sort one load of washing and put on
  • Wipe down the skirting boards in a couple of rooms
  • Vacuum the high traffic areas of the house
  • Wipe down the door handles, light switches and light shades
  • Wipe down and wash out the inside bins
  • Empty all of the smaller waste bins in the house

If you can find the time to complete these daily tasks, then you will be amazed by the transformation this can make to your house.

Make all of the beds

This job is relatively simple in most houses now as its just a quick matter of shaking out a duvet and fluffing the pillows but it can have a huge impact on the overall tidiness of your home as it encourages you and the rest of your family to keep the rest of the room tidy. Additionally, you are starting the day with a positive achievement, that can make a huge difference to the appearance of the room. This should hopefully motivate you to move on to the next job on your list. It is also a very easy win as you can get it ticked off before you even leave the room!

Blitz the Bathroom

You are going to be in this room in the morning anyway so while you’re there give it a quick once over, assuming everybody else has finished using it! Open the window to let some fresh air in, and any steam and condensation out, give the sink and toilet a quick wipe, add a squirt of toilet cleaner and straighten the towels. If you have a shower, then give it a quick spray down to remove any soap or shampoo from the tiles and glass and you are done.

Clean the Kitchen

This should be a relatively simple task if you have taken the advice elsewhere and loaded the dishwasher or done the dishes before bed. Simply wipe down the worktops and empty the dishwasher, or draining rack and reload the breakfast dishes.

Sweep up Floors

If you have non carpeted floors in the kitchen and hallways giving these a quick sweep will pay dividends as these areas are the most highly used and you will be removing dirt and debris before it gets traipsed throughout the house.

Group Cleaning Tasks by Rooms

Additionally, it can be very helpful to group the tasks together by rooms. This will also give you a handy checklist of what needs doing where, and you can assign your time accordingly. This is definitely a valuable asset when figuring out how to keep on top of the cleaning in your property. A few sample lists are below, broken down by rooms within the house. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a sample to get you started.

Hallway and Main Entrance

  • Wipe down skirting boards
  • Polish door furniture 
  • Wipe down door
  • Vacuum floor
  • Put away shoes and sort any post
  • Clean any mirrors or pictures
  • Dust for cobwebs

Living Room

  • Wipe down skirting boards
  • Polish door handles 
  • Wipe down doors
  • Vacuum floor
  • Clean any mirrors or pictures
  • Dust for cobwebs
  • Clean Fireplace
  • Dust Surfaces
  • Wipe Window Ledges
  • Clean windows
  • Turn and fluff cushions on chairs and sofas
  • Dust and polish TV 

Dining Room

  • Wipe down skirting boards
  • Polish door handles 
  • Wipe down doors
  • Vacuum floor
  • Clean any mirrors or pictures
  • Dust for cobwebs
  • Clean Table and Chairs
  • Dust Surfaces
  • Wipe Window Ledges
  • Clean windows


  • Clean hob
  • Clean inside cupboards
  • Wipe down cupboard doors
  • Clean Microwave inside and out
  • Clean fridge
  • Clean oven inside and out
  • Clean sink
  • Wipe window ledges
  • Clean windows
  • Wash up any dirty crockery and cutlery
  • Wipe down worktops
  • Clean floor


  • Clean bath
  • Clean sink
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean all taps 
  • Clean shower cabinet
  • Clean floor
  • Clean all tiles and surfaces
  • Clean toilet
  • Clean windows


  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean pictures
  • Clean skirting boards
  • Dust surfaces
  • Make beds
  • Change bedding
  • Vacuum floor
  • Wipe window ledges
  • Clean windows

Stairs and landing

  • Clean bannisters
  • Vacuum carpets
  • Clean skirting boards
  • Wipe down walls


Hopefully you will now have some ideas of how to keep on top of the cleaning and can start to put these ideas into your daily life. Don’t over focus on any particular parts of this article and treat every single thing on your list as an achievement, no matter how trivial. This is not intended to be an instant fix, it would be wonderful if there was such a thing, more of a long term solution that will build momentum with every week that you complete your list.

Do not let the routine overtake your life however, this regime does not work for everybody and if you find yourself getting overly concerned about the lack of boxes that you have ticked in any one day or this method is creating more stress then it is relieving then consider looking at another method. 

There is always the option to hire a cleaner, as many people do, as many as one in three people in the UK, and there are numerous people out there willing to clean your house for you. If you can afford to do this, either as a total solution or to kick start your whole cleaning regime then this is perfectly acceptable and will relieve some of the pressure from you. If not then get ready to explore a whole new world of cleaning boxes, checklists and ultimately a clean house that you can be rightly proud of, and somewhere that can be a true sanctuary from the madness and turmoil of normal living at this present time.

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