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Organization

10 Secrets that will help you keep your house clean and organized once and for all!

10-secrets-that-will-help-you-keep-your-house-clean-once-and-for-all!
One question I often get asked is “how do you keep your house so clean and organized all of the time?”  My first response is always that it is most certainly not clean all of the time.  I have three kids and life happens in our house.  As we all know, life is messy.
messy-kitchen
We are definitely proof of that around here. :)  (Our kitchen on a typical afternoon before I’ve cleaned it.  Yes.. those are socks on the counter.) 

While my house is far from perfect, I do think that over the years I’ve learned how to keep things organized and mostly clean most of the time.  Today I’m going to spill my secrets and tell you exactly how I do it!

Secret #1 –  I have some help.  I first hired house cleaners to help me clean in my previous house years ago when I was pregnant with my second child.  I don’t mind cleaning at all and had always done all of our housework, but I was having serious back problems in my 3rd trimester and just couldn’t bend over to scrub and deep clean.  My husband was working around the clock getting his career established and couldn’t help much, so we looked at our budget and found things we could cut so that we could afford some help with the deep cleaning.  It was a sacrifice at first, but so worth it!  Together the cleaners and I could clean in hours what it would take me four days to do alone.  Ever since then I’ve loved having some help with the deep cleaning and it’s something we make sure to prioritize when we figure out our budget.  I always joke that I’d give up a lot of things before I’d give up my cleaners (date nights, Netflix, cookie dough..)  Yeah.. I love my cleaners that much.  ;)  I wish I could say that having hired help made it so that my house stayed perfectly clean all of the time, but that’s hardly the case.  In fact, a lot of times my husband will come home from work and see our messy house and say “didn’t the cleaners come today?”  Um yes babe.. but that was six hours ago..  Ha!  But it does ensure that once a week or once every other week (depending on our schedule) my house gets a good deep cleaning.

Secret #2 – I have a cleaning routine.  There are a few things I do daily and weekly so that our house never gets completely out of control.  I do most of my laundry on Mondays and Fridays.  Monday because I like to have it caught up by Tuesday (my main cleaning day) and then I do laundry again on Friday as part of my Week Ahead Prep.  Tuesday mornings I wake up at 6:00, get ready and pick up my bathroom.  Then I throw a set of sheets in my washer.  I wake my kids around 6:45 and get them ready for school and dropped off by 8:00.  Around 9:00 on most Tuesdays my cleaners come and we get to work!  They start deep cleaning in my bathroom (which is why I pick it up first thing that morning) and then for the next two hours they basically follow me through my house.  I hit each room putting things away where they go, loading and washing any dishes in the kitchen, straightening the pantry, going through papers that need to be tossed, etc.
custom-marble-tub2

{Master Bathroom Shelves/Tub}

My cleaners hit each room behind me and do the deep cleaning.. wiping, scrubbing and dusting.  I keep rotating all of our sheets in the wash and help them make the beds and then when everything is done but the mopping I leave (usually to grab some groceries or exercise quick) and my cleaners finish by mopping my wood floors.  I come back about an hour later to a very clean house (highlight of my week!).
pottery-barn-comfort-sofa

{Family room and sources}

Then I often use the next two hours before my kids are home from school to style and decorate and take pictures for my blog like this one. :)  I take random pictures all week long, but if I’m doing any full room shots I usually take them on Tuesdays during those 2 peaceful hours that the house is spotless and quiet.  Then my kids come home from school and before long my house looks like this…
messy-famiy-room stuffed-animals-on-the-couch
It drives me crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  :)

Secret #3 – I spend a set amount of time cleaning each day.  Aside from Tuesday, my main cleaning day, I spend about 45-60 minutes each day on housework.  This might be too much for some people and too little for others.  For me I’ve found that I need to spend about an hour cleaning every day to stay on top of things.  Each day the time I clean is different depending on what we have going on, but at some point I always take some time to quickly move through our main rooms and pick up.  Then if I have extra time I work on scrubbing something that needs it (like our fridge or a bathroom) or I work on decluttering/organizing spaces throughout the house.  By doing this daily our house never gets too out of control and overwhelming.
geometric-wallpaper

{Powder Bathroom and sources}

Secret #4 – When I clean I attack one room at a time and don’t lose focus.  It’s so easy for me to get sidetracked when I’m cleaning!  I’ve found that I get more accomplished if I focus on one room at at time and keep working until it’s done.  If I pick up something from the kitchen that belongs in the office and then when I get there I start tidying up my office, before long I’m all over the place starting everything and not really finishing anything.  By focusing on one room at a time I always get a least a few spaces completely clean.
my-organized-office

{Office and sources}

Secret #5 – While I’m doing my daily clean-up, I’m constantly getting rid of things.  I think this is the number one secret to keeping your home clean and organized!  Less stuff in your house means less stuff you have to manage.  While I’m cleaning if I come across clothes we aren’t wearing, kitchen supplies I don’t cook with, toys my kids have out grown, decor that is outdated.. I toss it in a good will bag in the garage and don’t look back!  Aside from a few sentimental items, I seriously have NO problem getting rid of things.  I always have a few black sacks in my garage that are ongoing “take to good will bags.”  Often friends will say to me “I need you to come and organize my house!”  I always tell them they’d actually hate that because I would make them toss 80% of what they own.

My husband teases me about this all the time.  He’ll say “babe – where is that new shirt I bought?  Have you already tossed it?”  

Or..

“Have you seen my cell phone and keys?  Oh wait.. I didn’t check the black sack in the garage.”  

At least he amuses himself.  ;)

Secret #6 – I have a place for most things we keep.  I work really hard to only keep what we use and love.  Then I make sure that everything we use and love has a happy home.  I also make sure my kids and husband know where things belong so that when it’s time to clean up we all know where everything needs to go.
organizing-medicine

{Organized Medicine Cabinet}

organized craft cupboard

{Organized Craft/School Supplies}

organized-toys-sunny-side-up

{Organized Playroom}

hiding-the-living-room-toys2{Miscellaneous Toys in the Family Room}  *Quick Tip: If you find you have random items around your house that don’t have a home, corral them in a cute basket.  :)
organize-camera-equipment

{Organized Camera Drawer}

I remember the day I realized that my camera equipment was spread out throughout my house in random drawers and closets.  It took no time to consolidate it and put it all together in one drawer and what a difference that made!  LOVE having this stuff all together.  I never have to search to find something I need when it’s time to take pictures and after I’m done, everything gets put away in this drawer.  Do my organized spaces always look this perfectly perfect?  No.  But while the cameras might not be perfectly lined up, they are always corralled in this drawer where I can find them.  That’s part of the beauty of organization isn’t it?  Being able to find what you need. :)

Secret #7 – I try to not procrastinate putting things away immediately.  Really keeping your house organized is about two things: not having too much stuff, and setting good habits.  If you get in the habit of putting your things away immediately instead of procrastinating and just tossing them on the floor, counter, bed, etc. your house will stay cleaner. Our family (like most I’m sure) is a work in progress in this area, but it’s something I’m always striving for and trying to teach my kids.
organized-school-outfits

{Organizing Outfits for School}

Secret #8 – I rarely go to bed with a messy kitchen.  Regardless of how crazy my day has been or how late I’m up, I almost always make sure our kitchen is totally clean before I go to bed (I usually clean it one final time before I sit down to blog at night).  I put everything away, scrub my sinks, vacuum and spot mop my wood floors.  This isn’t always easy.  Because of constant snacks and meals sometimes I feel like I clean our kitchen 10 times a day!  But nothing beats waking up to a clean kitchen.  It just starts my day off right!  So regardless of how tired I am, I try to make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed.
kitchen-refresh-3

{Kitchen and sources}

Secret #9 – I involve my kids.  Since my kids were little I’ve worked hard to involve them in our house work and I’ve taught them how to clean.  I don’t think kids just know how to clean.  It’s something we have to show and teach them.  Sometimes we have to show and teach them thousands of times. ;)  It’s certainly easier to just do it yourself, but I try to fight the urge to do this when my kids are around and can help.  Growing up my siblings and I always had daily chores so I do the same thing with my kids.  When they were little I tried to make cleaning a game.  We’d turn on music or play “clean and freeze” or “who can pick up 10 things in this room?”  Whatever I could come up with to make it fun.  I also made Star Charts for them to give them some motivation.
star-charts-for-kids

{Star Charts}

ad-folding-towels
girls-cleaning
Some older pics of my girls cleaning.  Clearly we cleaned best in fancy dresses.  :)  (Miss those days!)

Now that my kids are a bit older I use daily chore charts and lists to keep us on track.
organized-office-2
chore-charts---teaching-kids-responsibility

{Chore Charts}

messy-mudroom

El helping me give our mudroom a major clean out after the end of the school year.

closed-mudroom-lockers-2

The after! {Organized Mudroom}

Secret #10 – I make cleaning a happy event.  I really like things to be clean and orderly and while I don’t like to admit this to my husband, I actually enjoy cleaning.  Not always.  There are certainly some chores I dread and some days I’m not in the mood to clean, but for the most part I love to get lost in housework and organizing.  I make it a happy time of day for myself by turning on some good music, lighting a candle and by using cleaning products I love.  (You can still pick up a few of my favorites for free here)!  Details and my favorite cleaning products are in this post.).  It’s very therapeutic for me to just clean and let my mind wander.  I love the smell of good cleaning products, a candle burning and the sound of my dishwasher running.  I feel the most content and happy when my house is clean and because of this, I usually look forward to some time spent each day tidying up.

Quick Recap!  10 Secrets that will help you keep your house clean and organized once and for all! 

1 – If you are in a place where you can afford to, hire some help.  (If you can’t afford help or just don’t need it (we’ve been in that boat too!) I think it helps to have a main “cleaning day” once or twice a week when you deep clean all the bathrooms, wash sheets and mop/vacuum the floors.)

2 – Establish a cleaning routine that works for you and your schedule.

3 – Spend a set amount of time picking up each day to stay on top of things.

4 – When cleaning, attack one room at a time and don’t lose focus!  

5 – Constantly get rid of things!

6 – Create a place for the things you do keep.

7 – Don’t procrastinate.  Put things away where they go immediately.

8 – Clean your kitchen each evening before bed.

9 – Involve your kids in the cleaning and organizing.

10 – Make cleaning fun!  It really can be. :) 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, we live in our house and a lot of days if you stopped by to visit things wouldn’t be perfectly clean.  But over the years these 10 things have definitely helped me stay on top of my house work so that we can enjoy a mostly clean house most of the time.

I don’t know about you, but I can live with that.

:)

p.s.  The offer to get some of my favorite cleaning supplies for FREE only lasts a few more days!  Head here to sign up or here to read more about this in my post on cleaning supplies!

(affiliate links used)

xoxo, Erin
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36 thoughts on “10 Secrets that will help you keep your house clean and organized once and for all!

  1. Thank you so much for your tips! I completely agree that the less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep your house in order! My younger daughter has learned to love the “keep and give away” game! Just last night, we walked her rocking horse (that she had for 8 years) to a neighbor’s house. She loved watching our little neighbors having fun on a toy that was once hers!!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I love that Susan! You are teaching your daughter such a valuable lesson! I tell my kids that all the time when they are having a hard time parting with something. Think of how happy it will make another child to get your things! Thanks cutie! Enjoy your weekend too! xo

  2. Great, practical advice here, Erin. Thanks for sharing your secrets. All sound very doable. Well, maybe not the hiring help, to be perfectly honest, but I know you are in a place where that works in your life. You have a huge house, too. You don’t want to be married to cleaning it. I totally get that! But your tips are practical and make tons of sense. Thanks so much for sharing. Quick question…do you get emails sent to you privately? I’ve tried a few times and have not gotten a response so I wonder if they are going to the wrong place. I used the little email icon in your social media icon list up at the top of your blog. Thanks. Have an awesome weekend!! :)

    1. Jeanne there were a lot of years where hiring house cleaners would have been out of the question for us too! Totally get that, but yes.. with this house I’d be cleaning for 10 hours a day to keep it up without help. I like cleaning but not THAT much. ;) And oh my word.. I got your darling e-mail! I showed it to my girls and we want to plan a trip there! So sorry I haven’t written back yet. I have a time set aside this afternoon to catch up on e-mails because yesterday was so crazy. I was running all day and finished this post at 2:00 a.m. The circles under my eyes are lovely today. ;) But I got it and loved it! Thank you so much cutie! Hearing from you always makes my day! xo

  3. I am interested in what you ordered from the Nordstrom sale!
    I ordered the Steve Madden over the knee boots yesterday.

    1. Kathy check out the little pictures I added at the end of this post! Those are some of the things I’ve bought so far (a post is coming!). SO many cute things this year! I’ll have to check out the Steve Madden over the knee boots! xo

  4. Erin, Love, Love, Love this! I couldn’t agree more- a house cleaner was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made! Great post! Happy Friday!

    1. Thank you so much Jamie! I know.. it really is such a huge help. So nice to know the house will get deep cleaned at some point! xo

  5. Could you share what you use to clean your dark hardwood floor? When you “spot” clean them do you use the same product?

    I am using quality products, but find because I clean them so much (children & dogs..ha) that they are starting to show a slight build up sheen. My husband jokes that we need industrial flooring to keep up with the amount of cleaning it gets..lol

    1. Hi Florence! That made me laugh! Totally sounds like something my husband would say. :) A lot of times I just use water to spot mop but if I need something stronger I use Bona. It’s a great wood floor cleaner I get at Target. xo

  6. This post speaks to me. I love cleaning as crazy as that might sound. It’s just therapeutic for me. These are such great tips.! I agree with you on Bona. Best product for wood floors. Also, I am loving all the cute stuff they have on sale at Nirdstroms right now. Have a great weekend. xo

  7. It was seriously like christmas morning seeing this post lol
    I don’t have a cleaner either.. but maybe I should just to get the deep cleaning done more. My house is pretty put together but the deep scrubbing showers or baseboards don’t get done as much as I would like… and while I’m rambling I hate hate my floors they are wood, dark with a sheen.. they show every crumb and footprint.lol
    Oh this was such a great post! !!

    1. Oh you are the sweetest Heidi! Thank you! So happy you liked this post. :) It’s SO hard to find time for things like baseboards and blinds and showers. That is why I love my cleaners! They get to that stuff we never have time or energy for. Enjoy your weekend cutie! Thanks again. :) xo

  8. Hi, I am brand new to your blog! Beautiful home! I have been thinking its time to hire a cleaner.. I am sure it’s actually very, very past time for this! I am pregnant with my sixth baby. My oldest is only 9 and my current youngest just had his first birthday. So, they are young and close and not the best at cleaning so I’m doing most of it single handed 😬 How don I find a cleaner? How much do you pay? Do you pay by the hour or by the job? I like the idea of having someone clean behind me. That would be so nice! I just don’t even know where to start to look for someone.

    1. Hi Karlee! You are so kind! Thank you! I’m happy you found me. :) It sounds like you could definitely use some cleaning help! Details like cost are so different depending on your area, the size of your house and who you hire. I pay a set amount each time my cleaners come, but they are usually at my house the same amount of time each week. Do you know of anyone in your area using a cleaner? The best way to find a good one is usually by word of mouth. I would start asking friends and neighbors if anyone knows of good cleaners in your area and I bet someone will know. You can also just check out cleaning services on-line that are in your area and call to get estimates. I hope you find some help! You definitely deserve it. Good luck and congrats on baby #6! (super mom!) xo

  9. I ordered from Grove late Tuesday night and my order arrived early today (Friday.) Everything smells so good.

  10. Great tips! I’m so bad about #4. More often than not I end up bouncing all over my house and having little to show for my hard work. Its drives me crazy!

    1. I’m the same way Emily! That’s why I intentionally try so hard to focus on one room at a time. It really does make a difference if you can train yourself to do it! :) xo

  11. Such a great post Erin!! I love that chart!! Need to start doing that immediately at my house!! And P.S. I wouldn’t trade my cleaning lady for anything on the world😉

  12. Hi Erin,
    Brill tips, thank you for them.

    I especially agree with just focusing on room at at time. So many times I’ve started in one room, then took something to another room, put the telly on & didn’t go back to the previous room:)

    I love it when you do posts on cleaning. I’ve cleaned people’s houses for over 20 years now & also clean in a school opposite to where I live, in-fact I went there as a child:)

    How many cleaners do you have helping you? I’ve never heard of your system for your cleaners, I personally like to do everything on my own. (I don’t mean that to be unkind in how you do your system)

    Sorry if I’ve written cleaning or cleaners too many times, you can tell that it’s one of my favourite subjects:)

    1. Thanks Julie! Sometimes 2 cleaning ladies come and sometimes there is 3. I could just leave and have them do everything but I’m kind of a control freak and like things put away where I want them so I always do the pick up before hand and help. :) So happy that you liked this post! And I love that you clean at the school you went to when you were little. So special. xo

  13. Erin, I just got my cleaning product in the mail yesterday, so EXCITED to try it! I totally love your cleaning routine and couldn’t agree more. I have ladies come once a week (I call them my wives, they help me out so much) and while sometimes it would be nice to have that money back in your pocket, it’s definitely money well spent. Do your kids cleaning routine work for them still? I need to start something new for my 8 year daughter… I need to make sure I pass on good habits to her as well and sometimes we get in a rut and just need change. PS I got my Nordstrom reminder in the mail and hope to sit down sometime this weekend to shop! Have a beautiful sunny day. ☀️💕

    1. Hi Amy! I”m so happy you got your products already! I hope you love them all! I agree.. money well spent on the cleaners for sure. Your “wives” comment made me laugh! Ha! My kids’ cleaning routine is a little different now for summer. I just write a quick list for them each morning because it’s different each day depending on what needs to be done. And I agree.. mixing it up is always a good thing! Happy shopping this weekend! They have CUTE stuff on sale right now! xo

  14. Thank you for the “behind the scenes” advice on how to keep the home clean and organized. Homemaking is an art and a discipline and you have mastered both. I’m struggling with the discipline of it right now. It seems almost impossible to maintain everything with three kids (6, 3, and 1). Thank you for proudly admitting that you have some cleaning help, but that takes nothing away from how much you do every day! We have found having cleaning help to be immensely helpful, too. Currently, we’ve only budgeted for once a month, but if we didn’t live in the crazy expensive Bay Area, I would budget for at least twice a month. I do the same as you staying one step ahead of the cleaners putting away clutter, doing dishes and laundry, etc. It makes me work hard that day, too, because I want to make the most of the time the cleaners are here. I told my husband that getting our house clean and straightened from top to bottom takes at least six-eight hours of woman power on cleaning day. (Two cleaners and me for about two-three hours!) I never have that much time when I’m not caring for the children to tackle it all at once. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t use that blessed day to clean. haha! Thank you for some inspiration. I definitely need to schedule some time to purge things we are no longer using.

    1. Amanda you are so right! It takes so much work to get the house clean from top to bottom! I hope this post was helpful. It’s always an uphill battle keeping the house clean (especially with small kids at home!). I totally get where you’re coming from. The Bay area is SO expensive.. (but beautiful!). I’m just like you and want to make the most of the time my cleaners are here so I work hard on that cleaning day! I usually leave my house sweating.. ha! Husbands don’t get it! ;) Purging feels so good. It’s the one thing that has helped me the most with staying on top of things. I just have to get rid of a lot so we aren’t drowning in stuff! Hang in there! And thanks for your sweet comment! I struggle with discipline in lots of other areas so I’m with you. Time to put the cookie dough away now… ;) xo

  15. Hello. Non- cleaning related question–what color are the walls in your master bathroom?
    It looks like some kind of gray color. We are going to paint our bathroom walls soon and after seeing the color of your bathroom above, that is the color we’d like to paint it. Thanks.:)

  16. Such a fun post! I just love reading about have other people clean and organize. Not because I don’t know how but just because I’m nosey, lol. I’ve never hired a cleaning lady before but certainly it has crossed my mind. I’m pretty tidy it by nature and my pet peeve is people don’t put things away when they’re done with them. That drives me crazy.

    I just spent the week deep cleaning my entire house except for the living room. Just got the dusting done there and I’ll have to finish the zone cleaning this week. I have a cleaning notebook and have a list for every room in the house (both for deep cleaning and regular cleaning). Yes, it might be overkill, but it works for me. I totally agree about waking up to a clean kitchen. As for laundry, I do a few loads every day. It’s much easier that way. My son is special needs so I always have at least two loads a day. For myself, I find that I get very stressed out if I start getting behind in my chores. It’s much easier to keep up on everything than to have a lot to do at any one time. I find floors to be the one to ask that I don’t care to do. I’m always tempted to hire somebody to do them but then I’d want them to do it my way, lol. I am thinking about getting a Roomba or a Bobi though. I would be thrilled with anybody chipping in to help with the housework including electronic devices like that. Although my son is not paralyzed, he cannot move it all on his own so I really don’t have any help. I really enjoy watching YouTube cleaning videos however when I am tired and don’t feel like doing much cleaning. It always inspires me and then I get up and get things done.

    1. Sue you crack me up! I think we’re all nosy from time to time. ;) I’m the same way.. I get a little stressed when I get behind on house work! So amazed at all you do. Super mom times 10!! xo

  17. Erin, I finally picked up my package from Grove after missing the UPS guy last week. Took your suggestion about getting the Caldrea pear blossom scent. I’m hooked. My house smells so good, and I think I just enjoyed doing the dishes for once.

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