So you finally moved out and got your own place. Awesome. But it probably didn’t take you too long to realize that once you’re on your own, keeping up with the chores is allllll you. The problem is, between work, school, and your social life, you likely don’t have a ton of time to clean. Here are 10 tips that’ll help you keep a tidy place no matter what your schedule. When surprise visitors arrive, you’ll be ready.
1. Put Stuff Away
And do it every day! It’s the difference between taking 5-10 minutes per day or an hour once a week just to put things back in place. The bathroom vanity, the top of your dresser, the bedroom floor. Stuff piles up quickly, but if you stay on top if it, this will never cause a problem.
2. Take the Garbage Out
Do this every day, too! In a small apartment, every piece of trash makes a difference in how your place looks. If you simply can’t do this every day, do it every other day. Tie up the sack before you go to bed, and take it with you to the dumpster when you leave for work. Less than a minute per day can save you a big mess — not to mention the smell.
3. Load Dishes as You Go
Every night, make sure any clean dishes are put away and the sink is empty, so you can start fresh in the morning. Every time you use a dish, rinse it and put it straight in the dishwasher (or wash it by hand) instead of letting things pile up in the sink. You’ll save yourself the trouble of doing a big load later, and it takes mere seconds at a time to keep up on it.
4. Wipe Down Surfaces
At least once a week, take a few minutes to wipe down your kitchen counters (move stuff out of the way!), kitchen table, and bathroom vanity with an all-purpose mild cleaner (be careful what you use on wood). Make it part of your routine, and it’ll never be a big deal — except that it makes your apartment look cleaner without having to “deep clean.” Hooray!
5. Change Sheets & Towels
Pick a day every week to change your sheets and towels so they can be washed. If linens are in short supply, you can wash and dry them and put them right back up. At least they’ll be clean!
6. Stay Up on the Laundry
This laundry method involves doing one single load every day, from start to finish (wash, dry, fold, put away). While it may seem like a lot, remember that you’ll have down time during the wash and dry phase; time you can spend doing things like numbers 1-4 of this post. So really, in the time it takes one load of laundry to come out of the wash and dry, you can pretty much have everything else wrapped up. If you’re living alone and doing laundry for one, maybe you don’t need to do a daily load, but whatever you do, be consistent and you’ll never have to slay the laundry dragon.
7. Clean Out the Fridge
Once a week, evaluate your leftover situation. Anything that’s spoiled or you simply aren’t going to eat, get rid of it. The same rule applies to the freezer. Your fridge and freezer will run out of space pretty quickly if you let leftovers or last week’s takeout pile up.
8. Sweep & Vacuum
2 or 3 times a week, run the vacuum or sweeper. If you hate the way crumbs feel on the bottom of your feet, you probably can’t stand to go too long between sweeping sessions. The more often you get the crud off your floors, the less often you’ll need to mop. Try making this a habit: every time you come home from the gym, for example. Find something to relate it to so it becomes part of your routine.
9. Take a Dusting Break
Use commercials during your favorite show to break out your duster and do a quick swipe of all your furniture. Talk about efficiency!
10. Make the Bed
I know, you’re only going to get back into it in 15 hours, but nothing puts your bedroom into a funk like walking in to find an unmade bed day after day. Try making your bed every morning, right when you get up. I bet you’ll feel more productive all day.