11 Clean Habits That Can Help You Keep a Busy Family Home Tidy

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

I’m frequently asked how I keep our cottage looking clean and tidy. I’m going to share my 11 clean habits that help me keep a clean home with a large, busy family. My habits are not groundbreaking, but they work for me. Establishing habits comes down to finding out what works best for you.


Owning fewer things

1. Own fewer things

Paring down things to what we use and love. This habit is the foundation for my other cleaning habits. Having fewer things makes your house appear more open, cleaner, and tidy. 

Making the bed

2. Find a non-negotiable cleaning chore

What does that mean? Find one thing you enjoy doing and stick to it daily no matter what. This will vary from person to person. It could be vacuuming or wiping down counters.


Find that one aspect of your home that you like to see clean and make it non-negotiable. For me, it’s making beds! Every morning I make everyone’s beds and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Listening to podcasts while cleaning

3. Make it enjoyable

When I clean things I don’t enjoy (like scrubbing toilets), I listen to podcasts on my wireless headphones. Watch a show while folding laundry or talk to a friend while cleaning your floors, for example, to make the task a little more enjoyable.

Tossing junk mail

4. Make decluttering intentional

When you come across an item to toss or donate, handle it right away, don’t just put it down. For example, immediately toss junk mail instead of letting it pile up.


If your child has outgrown an item, put it in a donation bin instead of putting it back in their drawer only to rediscover it at a later date.

Keeping surfaces clear

5. Keep horizontal surfaces clear

Tables, counters, shelves, tops of dressers, etc. are clutter magnets. It’s easy to place something down on a surface and leave it there. Make it a habit to clear off surfaces daily or weekly. Counters are made for prepping food, not for clutter.

Sweeping the floor

6. Don’t let cleaning tasks pile up

Most of the little things we need to do to tidy up aren’t difficult or time-consuming. But we tend to put things off and think we’ll just do all the cleaning at once. That becomes overwhelming.


If you have five spare minutes, tackle a cleaning task, like sweeping a floor. If you see something, do something. For example, take the dirty cup from the living room into the kitchen rather than leave it there and think that you’ll take care of it later.

Rearranging furniture

7. Rearrange furniture occasionally

Rearranging your furniture can actually help keep your space cleaner. I love the newness of a space when the furniture is rearranged because it gets me motivated to do a thorough deep cleaning.


It also encourages you to get rid of hidden dust bunnies underneath large pieces of furniture.

Shaking out the welcome mat

8. Pair new habits with old habits

Find a habit that you already do that you don’t even think about. Then pair a new cleaning habit with it. For example, if you brush your teeth before bed, maybe you can wipe down your sink and mirror. Or when you lock your door every evening, shake out the welcome mat.

Establishing a place for everything

9. Establish a place for everything

Every item in your home should have a place where it belongs or resides when it’s not in use. If it doesn’t have a home, maybe it doesn’t belong there and should be decluttered.


Nothing is more frustrating to the flow of your day than not being able to find something you need, like keys, a jacket, a missing shoe, or a phone.


This used to happen on school days with my kids. Once we established this rule, there were never any problems finding what we needed and it made everything run so much smoother. This one habit will help everyone in the house maintain their sanity.

Emptying the sink of dishes

10. Do a nightly reset

You’ll thank yourself in the morning if you take some time before bed to get things back in order rather than waking up to a chaotic space. If you wake up to a space that looks like a tornado hit it, your mind will start racing about what to do first and you aren’t even fully awake.


I know at night you may feel too exhausted to tidy up but if you can establish some of the other habits where you clean as you go throughout your day, a nightly reset should not take you long, maybe 10 to 15 minutes.


In our house, this reset involves just a few things like tidying up the couch cushions, folding blankets, and emptying the sink of dishes. When we wake up, it’s so much more peaceful and enjoyable to ease into the day rather than waking up to a mess.  

Clean habits help you enjoy your space

11. Take time to enjoy your space

We spend so much time in our homes doing busy work helping the kids, cooking and cleaning that we don’t take the time to slow down and live in our spaces. Isn’t the reason we’re doing all this cleaning in our space so we can enjoy our home?


Indulge yourself by sitting down on your couch that you’ve tidied up and reading a good book! If you wake up to a clean kitchen, just stand there and soak it all in. Drink your morning coffee while admiring what you’ve done. Take a step back and actually enjoy a clean house!


This will motivate you, even more, to adopt habits to keep a clean home.


Clean habits

I hope this encourages you to establish a cleaning system that works for you. Remember though, habits take time to form!


If you see something on my list of clean home habits that you want to incorporate into your own life, make sure to give it time to stick, and let me know which habits you think you might try!

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  • Sharon Sharon on Feb 04, 2023

    We are moving to a new home. After months of decluttering our present home, I want to start fresh as not to start new clutter in our new home. I am going to enlist your ideas. Clean as you go is the only way to stay on top on chores. If you cut up a salad, put the left over veggies away as you use them. Clean the prep space. When the salad is ready for dressing there will be no mess, just a nice salad. Don't just brush your teeth clean the sink. Don't just kick off your shoes, remove them by the closet and put them away. Thanks for encouraging A more tidy future and new habits in a new space. Sharon

  • Riz109390219 Riz109390219 on Jul 03, 2024

    I have given up. Unless everyone in the family does not pitch in , it’s impossible for one person🤐

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