We’ve all been there: After a few busy weeks, the dishes have finally piled up too high, the laundry is long overdue, and there’s enough dust accumulating throughout your home that you’re fully dreading The Big Clean. But here’s a little secret: It doesn’t have to be that hard—especially not every week. Thanks to our quick-and-easy ABC rule, you won’t have to deal with an hours-long maintenance cleanup until it’s time to truly deep clean.
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Sure, the ABC means “Always Be Cleaning”—but that doesn’t mean it has to consume your life. In fact, if done correctly, you likely won’t even have to think about it at all. All you need is a quick checklist for each room in your house—then a commitment to stick to it. (Don’t be afraid to post it in each room until it becomes second nature for your partner and children, do it! The more helpers, the better.)
Clean homes don’t just miraculously tidy up themselves—neat people have some standard daily protocols in place to keep things orderly.
Are there dishes in the sink? Is the draining rack full? Are there smudges and residue all over the countertops? First, put away anything that’s been stopping you from doing the dishes in the first place, then grab the All-Purpose Cleaner and give high-traffic surfaces a quick spritz. (For smudges on the refrigerator handle, Leather Cleaner works like a charm.) Once the dishes are clean, head to the next room.
Are your shelves dusty? Are water glasses or other types of clutter accumulating? Are blankets all over the place? First, clear away anything that shouldn’t be there, then fold any blankets or throws as you prefer. Hang a feather duster in a handy spot, or keep a stack of old dish towels in a cute basket to dust the coffee and side tables as you pass by.
Is there hair all over the place? Dirty towels on the floor, or a messy vanity? Grab some toilet paper (or, if there’s one handy, a dryer sheet) and wipe away any hair on the floor or soap droplets on the sink. Throw the dirty towels—or any other clothes hanging out where they shouldn’t—in the hamper, and put your beauty products back in your makeup bag. Once everything’s clear, refill the vessels that hold your cotton balls and Q-tips if you still have a few moments to spare.
Is the bed unmade? Are there clothes all over your floor? Has paperwork overflowed to your nightstand? Again, a towel nearby will do wonders for any dust that you may notice, and here’s some good news: Now’s not the time to hang up everything on the floor. This is precisely why “the chair” exists—here’s your free reign to use it. (Just know that eventually, yes, you’ll have to hang it all back up again.) Go through your paperwork nightly and toss anything you won’t need. File the rest.
Thanks to a little concept called inertia, an object at rest—or in this case, an object that puts on blinders to the little messes around the house—stays at rest. It’s easier to keep a clean home clean, so trust us when we say this will become second nature in no time!