I get asked a lot of questions about my home– actually, my home might be the most frequented topic! One of the questions I am asked most frequently (outside of “where did you find that rug?”) is, “how do you keep your home so clean?” or “do you have tips on keeping a clean home with a kid?” I think in a world of pretty online pictures it can be hard to distinguish what is posed and what is not— if you see a picture of me, in my home, in an outfit other than jean shorts– chances are: I got dressed, knowing I might be in a picture. If you see my home and it’s spotless? Well, thats because it’s usually pretty damn clean. No certain angles or things shoved behind doors— I’m not going to tidy it up for an image— we really do keep a clean house, basically all the time.

I do have a few tips to share in how we pretty easily keep our home clean— and admittedly, the best thing you can do is be born or brought up with that *urge to clean*— I myself knew I couldn’t live with or marry a messy person– and Alex, well lucky for the both of us, he feels the same. And perfectly enough, the kiddo now too. And whether it’s nurture or nature— or both, we’re still not sure, but at any moment the girl will come up to tell me she made her bed and put her toys away. She’s also been using a spray bottle and a rag since the age of one haha :)Okay, so like most of my How To posts, this is pretty basic with a lot of common sense points— but you know, sometimes even the most basic ideas are good to be brought up again!

Less Is More, &Things That Make You Happy

The more stuff you have the more likely you are to have a mess. Pretty basic, right? I’m not saying everyone should strive to be a minimalist— but do keep in mind that it’s good to keep only things you really love or need. Everything else is sort of useless. Don’t bring items into your home unless ou absolutely can’t live without them. And I get it— there are a lot of decorative items that serve no purpose other than being aesthetically pleasing (my house is full of them!)– but even with those items it’s good to remember: love it or lose it. Alex makes fun of my “tiny collections of things” all the time. It’s true. Lots of little houses, or wooden spoons, or linens, or hell, I have a collection of sequins— but still… I love it all, and it’s not over crowding or making a mess, so it stays with us. The moment it get’s in the way, I’ll be okay with letting it go– I’m not a hoarder, just a pretty thing collector 😉Uni-taskers
This rule is typically more specific to our kitchen, but it does apply to a lot of other things too. We don’t like to bring things that don’t have a multi-purpose to our space. With the exception of art and collected things, items should be functional—and more than that, multifunctional. I said it earlier this week, on an interview on Design Mom, but you don’t need a bigger space, you just need to be smart with the space you have.

Everything Has A Place
When bringing items into your home, know where it will go— if it doesn’t fit, it’s probably not a good idea. You want to know where your things are right? Not be searching for two hours for the thing you put somewhere maybe at some point in time— organize your space accordingly and keep everything in it’s proper place. This will prevent you from counter, table, coffee table, or whereever else you’ve been storing random things clutter. This rule is especially important for children, especially small children. They’re never to young to learn, after you’re done using something, you put it back where it belongs. There’s no easy way for kids to help and understand how to clean a space if they don’t know where things should go.
Spend a Few Minutes Cleaning Each and Every Day
You don’t have to spend hours cleaning your home to have a nice home, but a quick 3 to 10 minute run through and clean up is a good idea. Save the bigger chores for a specific day, run through the little ones when you can.
Be consistent in putting things back where they belong or in daily clean up times. This again, is important for kids— kids like consistency, they aren’t going to keep up with something if you don’t. You’ll get in the habit and so will your kid.

Clean While You Work, Maybe. If Not, Clean Before Bed. 
This works for some people, not for others. Alex likes to clean as he goes— he needs to have a very organized in progress workspace. I’m one of those people where it looks like a rainbow threw up in my space— usually— okay, like right now, in front of me. I’ll be honest, it’s driving me a little bit nuts, but at the same time– I’m still working and I don’t want to clean it right now, so I won’t. But it will be picked up before tonight so I can wake up to a new clean space tomorrow. If you can clean as you go, great! If not, then make it a point to clean at the end of the project. Don’t start a new project with things you don’t need in front of you.

Challenge yourself
I’m a huge multi-tasker. I like a lot of things to work on in front of me at one time. Alex can’t clean and talk— he’s super focused while I’m a bit all over the place. We’re wired very differently in that way. While I don’t clean while I work with most projects, I do like to in the kitchen– and I like to challenge myself this way. I like to see how much I can get done before the meal is out of the oven or before the water boils– because really, are you going to sit and watch water boil? No chances are you might be on your phone though, right? Put down the phone and see how much of the dinner mess you can clean before the timer is up. Is the kitchen clean before dinner is ready? Hooray! You’ve earned a shot! Okay, or wine. Or a good ole pat on the back.

Invest Time – Big Cleaning Days, Priority Making, &Scheduling Minutes
Sure, it’s okay to skip a day from quick pick ups if you’re absolutely wiped, but just being “lazy” doesn’t make your house any cleaner. Consider the few clean up minutes part of a new routine— cut those minutes out of your tv time, your computer time, or whatever other not super important time you may have. Invest the time in your home. Eventually this becomes part of a new routine and your house stays clean. Clean up a little each day. Are you a morning person or a night person? When are you most likely to accomplish the job. Make it that time. Then have a certain day each week, where you choose to have an extra hour or two to do the bigger tasks. When you want to lose weight, you go on a diet or work out. When you to want a vacation, you save up time and money. And when you want your house clean, you clean it.

Get Everyone Involved
Whoever lives in the home should clean the home. Sure, there’s cases where one partner works out of the home and the other takes care of the home– but even then, all bodies who live and make a mess in the space should help clean the space. Dinner cleanup, making the bed, whatever it is, there no reason everyone can’t move a plate or lift a sheet. Really, it’s not that difficult.
Lead By Example
We’re not really embedded with the need to clean—- or maybe some of us are actually. I feel like I was— but some of us weren’t and we need an extra nudge. Maybe you weren’t, fine. Maybe your kid won’t be, fine. But try to be the example you want to see. On days when Marlowe doesn’t want to jump up and clean, I offer to help— by the end of it, it’s almost guaranteed she will look at me and proclaim, “look how nice my room is looking! It’s so nice!” — she knows a clean space is a happy space.
Everyone Has A Role
You know what I would happily skip every single day? Making the bed. Not because I don’t love a clean made bed— because one of my FAVORITE things is actually a nice made bed— but I just hate doing it. So, more mornings than not, Alex will do it. On the opposite end, Alex is sort of a lazy vacuum-er and I like all rugs to be completely hair free— so without really deciding it, we’ve started to pick our jobs based on how much we love or hate an activity. No, no one loves to clean a toilet— so we’re not going to be fighting over that— but for me, I’d gladly clean a toilet over doing laundry. I don’t expect Alex to sweep and vacuum the floors and he doesn’t expect me to do the laundry. I’ll help fold and what not, but I don’t mess with his wash cycles. Not uh, no way. Marlowe knows her job is to help set the table, clean her room, make the bed, and do whatever little jobs are needed. No one complains, we just handle it.
Invest In Nice Things // Have A Home You Love
These were sort of the basic rules in my “how to have a good life without spending money” post— but it applies here too. If you don’t care about your space, why would you bother to clean it? You wouldn’t. We all take care of the things we love. Love your home. No matter how old, new, expensive, or inexpensive the things you have are—- if you love the things you have, you will value them and care for them. Love and show gratitude for your space.
And from the other clean freak: “If you follow those things you should be fine” – Alex
Are you a neat freak? Or a lover of clutter? I’ve dated some clutter lovers— while they loved their clutter and I respect their love for clutter, it didn’t work out very well 😉
Have more tips? Please share.On another note: I got a lot of your questions this week! I took notes, I’m answering this weekend and posting next week 🙂 I have a lot of beautiful photos to share and a clever trick or two too. Yay!photos: hannah mayo photography


  1. I used to be a clutter lover but now I'm start to pick up cleaning habits, I try to do at least 5 to 10 minutes to vacuum floor or clean my workspace everyday, as you said a clean space is happy space and it's true! I feel more relieve when I see everything is neat and clean, I spent more time at home compare to last time. Love this post! It's truly inspiring, love to see more upcoming blogpost of yours sharing great tips of house cleaning tips or hacks!

  2. The "clean a bit every day" one? YES! Growing up my parents saved the weekend for chores, which always sucked for me. Now that I'm the grown-up and get to make the rules, we do a little bit of cleaning each and every day so that our weekends are for weekending…not tackling a huge pile of chores or errands.

    Another tip: if you're one of those people who just despises the grossness from cleaning the bathroom (or someone who prefers maximizing time/efficiency), clean the bathroom right before you shower. The majority of my bathroom-cleaning happens immediately following a workout and immediately preceding a shower. Win/win.

  3. What a great post! And it's so true. I like to keep a very tidy house too, which is a very tough challenge when you have a preschooler at home. I find, like you said, routine cleaning is the best way to do it. I also set aside an afternoon to clean more deeply (ie the bathrooms) and I make sure to do a load of laundry a day so I can stay on top of it!

  4. I'm working on the whole cleaning a little bit everyday thing. I can't stand a messy house but I just don't do it. But your post has inspired me so hopefully I can keep at it 🙂

  5. What a useful post! I'm a very messy person and on the other hand my boyfriend is obsessed (well, I think he's obsessed, others would say he's normal) with making everything cleand and tidy and organized. Anyway, I'm keeping your good advice, thanks!
    I have the dumbest trick but that works for me: having a trash bin always near to me, in every room of the house. 🙂

  6. A lovely positive inspiring post. I like the house to be clean and clutter free as well, otherwise it's all a bit stressful. I can't relax until everything is neat and tidy. CJ xx

  7. I am so not a neat freak, so these tips weren't exactly intrinsic for me. Thanks for sharing. The hardest time seems to be the holidays- people (very kindly) give lots of gifts and nick nacks that I honestly have no use or space for. That is probably how I accrue 90% of my crap.

  8. I've always said, "you can't be sad in a clean house". (Which technically I realize is not true….) I can remember being home sick from school when I was little and feeling like I really just needed to have my room spotless before I could feel comfortable just resting in bed all day. And I still feel that way now.

    I get so frustrated though when people visit my home and think I've gone "all out" deep cleaning just for them. My MIL always says things like, "what, did you just throw everything out before we got here?" or "You must have a lot of free time on your hands". Which are both NOT the case at all, I just keep a clean house.

  9. This is lovely! I try to pick things up at the end of the day, but I've learned to set aside Sunday mornings for the bigger stuff. During the week it's just picking up clutter, and wiping down tables. Still, there are days when my house looks like a toy store threw up in our living room. 🙁 Lately, I've been getting the itch to start doing away with the things we don't use anymore. Clothes, furniture, and toys. All of it needs to go, so I'm hoping that will help. 🙂

  10. Ok, this is weird. But I do enjoy cleaning the toilet. Wait! Not bare-handed. I grab my thick rubber cleaning gloves (the ones that go up to my elbows), squirt some Honest Co. toilet cleaner in there and get to work with an old sponge. Afterward it's sparkling clean and smells wonderful. I wouldn't stick my head in there, but a clean toilet does make me (unreasonably) happy.

  11. Ok, this is weird. But I do enjoy cleaning the toilet. Wait! Not bare-handed. I grab my thick rubber cleaning gloves (the ones that go up to my elbows), squirt some Honest Co. toilet cleaner in there and get to work with an old sponge. Afterward it's sparkling clean and smells wonderful. I wouldn't stick my head in there, but a clean toilet does make me (unreasonably) happy.

  12. I love this, all too often I feel like clean homes get a bad rap! But you are right, it's about owning less. I usually give up after dinner ~ so most of the work gets done in the morning instead (and I'll admit we do slack a bit more these days…). Now that we have decluttered so fully, I actually find that mess bothers me quite less. I love how you pick chores based on what bothers you the most, great tip for family harmony.

  13. GREAT post. We are the same way. I do have some random junk drawers that I need to sort through, and a few corners that still need furniture/function. but having just moved, I've tried to give myself some time to get things exactly how we want them. it's an ever-evolving process 🙂

  14. YUS! Ha ha okay just secretly… I've been waiting for you to do a post on this topic for years! You've got some great tips and advice there. Your house always looks absolutely beautiful, I love how it's clean but still has so much character. My husband and I were always collectors and hoarders (of beautiful things, not rubbish) and he used to tease me about the fact that I couldn't leave a single corner or bit of floor space unoccupied. And then we had a baby and everything changed! Suddenly I all this STUFF made me feel claustrophobic and made it so much harder to keep a clean house. So I've gradually been decluttering and it's almost at a point now where I feel like I can breath again! Anyway thanks again for the tips… and you're lucky to have a husband who's equally tidy, I'm still working on mine ;). xx

  15. Living in a dorm room, absolutely EVERYTHING must be multifunctional!! That milk crate? It's dish storage. And a drying rack. And it holds my dorm open. There's just not enough room for junk in such a small space!
    ~ Samantha