No time to clean? Just focus on these key places and you'll feel much better.
There are many days when keeping a house clean feels next to impossible. Especially if you work full-time and live with a partner, children, pets, or other housemates, the battle against mess and clutter is never-ending. What you can do, though, is give the impression of cleanliness by focusing on a few key spaces. While this does not replace a thorough house-cleaning, which must happen occasionally, it helps to create a more pleasant atmosphere in which to live.
Apartment Therapy published a list of "things to do if it feels like your home is never clean," and I've shared some of their ideas below, along with a few of my own suggestions.
1. The kitchen
If nothing else gets done, just make sure the kitchen is clean. It makes all the difference in the world if you can come home to the dishes done, food put away, and counters wiped. Be sure to do dishes before bed.
2. The floors
When the house feels like a total disaster, I focus on the floors. Now, I realize this goes against the wisdom that one should clean from top to bottom, but if I don't have time to start at the top, the bottom is where I go. Once the accumulated food bits, hair, and dirt are vacuumed and I've run a mop over the floor, I feel much better. Stairs are included in this, and wow, does it make a difference when they're freshly vacuumed.
3. Keep cleaning supplies in the bathroom
Having a basic cleaner and rag on hand makes it easy to do a quick wipe around the sink, toilet, or tub. As Caroline Biggs wrote for Apartment Therapy, "If your cleaning supplies are right where you need them, then you're more likely to do a speed-clean before things get out of control."
4. Minimize your knick-knacks
The less stuff that's cluttering your shelves, window ledges, mantel, and side tables, the better everything will look. It's easier and faster to clean, and there's less visual clutter.
5. Deal with the laundry
If your house is anything like mine, laundry is an endless battle. At any given time, there are multiple loads in processing, whether it's washing, hanging out to dry, piled in a basket awaiting folding, or already folded and needing to be put away. Usually this all gets done on weekends, and when it does, the entire upstairs floor feels as if the mess has lifted.
6. The foyer/mudroom
This room sets the mood for the entire house, and yet it's often a disaster zone, especially if you have kids. Five minutes spent tidying and sweeping the entranceway can go a long way, and it will create a welcoming space guaranteed to boost your mood when you get home from work later.