Simple Tips for A Cleaner House

in House

Howdy!  How goes your Tuesday?  Mine is going very well, indeed. 

photo 1

Started things off right with a swim workout.  I did about 500 yards, which is way less than what I usually shoot for – I was pretty tired following four nighttime wake-ups (two Henrys + one pee break + one dog shake).  Didn’t want to push myself too hard! 


Afterwards – a DadHTP and Henry swim, per our new tradition.

photo 2

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what maternity fitness swimsuit I wear.  The short answer is that you don’t need to buy a special suit for pregnancy swimming – just get a bigger one. I have fitness swimsuits in three sizes to accommodate all stages of pregnancy and the post-partum period.


The long answer is that my largest swimsuit is totally shot – the straps are really worn out and loose.  So I’ve just been swimming in my “stylish” maternity bikini (it’s from ASOS; a picture of it is in this post).  It’s not the firmest suit, but it works for my current usage – plus, I really don’t want to buy another suit just for 10 more weeks of swimming!  If you didn’t want to buy a bigger suit, either, you could probably get buy in bikini bottoms + a sports bra.


Just for fun…

cleaner house

Rule #1: Don’t go upstairs (or downstairs) without taking something that needs to be relocated – I’ve started to follow this principle religiously and it has made a HUGE difference in the tidiness of my house (which, yes, is different than cleanliness). When I leave a floor (or a room), I glance around and think, “What isn’t supposed to be here?” Dishes end up coming downstairs, clean laundry goes upstairs – you get the point.  You’re already moving from one floor to the other; if you take something with you each time, it really helps maintain order overall.


Rule #2: Clean on a schedule – I’ve been following a cleaning schedule for years, and let me tell you – it’s truly life changing.  My schedule is constantly changing according to household needs/my availability, but even a loose plan helps you stay on top of tasks.  Currently, I only schedule one task (floors), which I do on Mondays and Fridays.  My ‘thing’ are the floors, and things can get really out of hand with a toddler and three pets, so doing it in a regular pattern keeps the dust bunnies at bay (and my sanity intact).


Rule #3: Organize your entry area – Wherever you enter the house (front door, side door, garage), have an organization spot for things like shoes, purses, book bags, dog leashes, etc.  I REALLY recommended getting an over-the-door shoe rack.  Not only has it corralled our shoes, but we have pockets for keys, sunglasses, dog poop bags, etc.  This really cuts down on clutter, and I love knowing *exactly* where my headphones are for once!


Rule #4: Dish towels for clean up – Okay, this tip is mostly for the parents with young kids.  I keep a box of clean dish towels next to the dining room table (where a lot of our messes occur!).  Big, absorbent dish towels are perfect for everything, including wiping messy chins, cleaning up big spills, rinsing sticky hands, and collecting crumbs at the end of the meal. And afterwards, I just pop the towel directly into the washer. 


Rule #5: Don’t bring in the junk mail – I used to sort my mail in the kitchen, but the junk mail would end up collecting on the countertop for days.  Now, I do an initial sort in the garage next to a trash can.  The junk mail doesn’t even enter the home.


Rule #6: No shoes in the house – We’re pretty strict about this rule.  No shoes allowed!  It’s amazing how much dirt and debris your shoes track in.  If you never wear them inside, you’ll definitely notice a different.


Rule #7: One rag for the whole kitchen – I use one big rag to lightly clean the whole kitchen every day.  I spray the countertops with a gentle cleanser and wipe them down; then, I wet a corner of the rag and use it to spot-clean any drips on the floor (alternatively, try making your own Swiffer pads!); and last, but not least, I scrub the inside of the sink (I alternate between a baking soda paste and Comet).  The dirty rag goes straight into the washing machine.


What’s your favorite cleaning rule?



  • kwithme September 16, 2014, 1:10 pm

    I always joke that I need to fire my housekeeper, which is me. We get overrun with stuff so I am constantly fighting a junk battle. Also, a little profile of me. I work from home part time, have 2 girls (9 and 12) and a husband. One cat.

    * Junk mail does not come in the house
    * Clean out the car at least once a week. With our myriad of after-school activities the van gets filled with shoes, snacks, water bottles, magazines, books and papers.
    * Homework/school communication is sorted as soon as it comes in the door
    * Everyone does their own laundry (yup even my kids) but I will put it through the washer/dryer if they bring it down at the beginning of the day.
    * Assign chores to my kids. They are perfectly capable of sweeping, vaccuming, dusting and cleaning the bathrooms.

  • Resh September 16, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I just clean every Sunday am (if I’m in town). That’s what my parents did, and I liked the regularity.
    On the junk mail note – download the Paper Karma app. It can take a while to stop the mail, but if you’re diligent about using the app for a couple of months, it works. I usually only get a few junk mail items a week now! Down from 10+ a day.

    • Caitlin September 16, 2014, 1:55 pm

      Awesome! thanks for the app suggestion!!

  • Katie September 16, 2014, 1:55 pm

    I fold clothes as I take them out of the dryer. You skip a step and even if they stay in the laundry room (or in the hamper folded) at least you know its clean!

  • nancy September 16, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I’m a big fan of cleaning on a schedule. For the most part, certain things happen on certain days and it keeps housework from stacking up and overwhelming your life. My kids always knew their laundry got done on Tuesdays. Monday night I would just annouce “tomorrow is Tuesday!” and their laundry baskets would appear in my room the next morning. And if something is starting to bug me I can remind myself “that’s on the schedule for tomorrow” and stop worrying about it. Keeping clutter under control with three kids and three animals is always a battle but we have two places for shoes downstairs (once they get full it’s time to move something upstairs) and a desginated place for the dog’s leash, treats, flashlight etc. And we’ve always had a backpack rack that the kids have to walk by on their way into the kitchen. They’ve used it since preschool and they are in high school and college now. They always knew exactly where their stuff was cuz it was hung up in the same place. And there was room on the backpack rack to hang sweatshirts and coats too. It really is the little things that help maintain order and keep the household humming 🙂

  • Audrina @ Mindfully Audrina September 16, 2014, 2:02 pm

    Yes, it’s so helpful to have a schedule – that way you don’t forget some parts of the house! And that’s a good point, why go upstairs or downstairs empty handed, I should take something with me since I’m already on my way! Thanks for the tips Caitlin!

  • Jill September 16, 2014, 2:24 pm

    We have two things that make keeping the house tidy much easier for us than it used to be. The first is that we moved everybody’s closets to the room next to the bathroom (which houses the washer and dryer). The room was previously the “playroom” which didn’t get played in very much. My husband built a closet for himself and one for me, and we use the shelving that was already there for my 18 month old’s stuff. Our 6 year old has taken over some of the shelves in the bathroom. It’s not for everybody, but it sure works for us. It’s so easy to take things out of the dryer and immediately fold or hang them in their correct spot. We were way too lazy to take the laundry upstairs and put it away in three rooms, so it would sit for a couple of days each time. Yes. Seriously that lazy.
    The second is something that I picked up on someone’s blog, but can’t remember where. It’s the 15-60 second idea. I hate cleaning. Can’t stand it. But I can do just about anything for under a minute. So even if it’s just taking the time to fold the blankets on the couch, or giving the living room a very quick sweep (we have a small house – it’s possible to give at least half of the room a sweep in 60 seconds), all those little things add up. We do larger tasks of course, but the little ones help the big ones seem more doable.

  • Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy September 16, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Number one is a fantastic tip! I should remember to do that from now on. Sometimes i just too tired or too lazy to do so.

  • Adrienne September 16, 2014, 4:29 pm

    PaperKarma app! It’s a total game changer when you want to get rid of all that useless mail! It doesn’t work perfectly but it has really helped. 🙂 #savethetrees

  • Mary September 16, 2014, 5:28 pm

    I’ve started doing your rule #1 just recently. I’d always lived in a bungalow growing up so it wasn’t so much of an issue but it’s amazing how much stuff gets left on the wrong floor of the house…mugs upstairs, washing downstairs… literally everytime I change floors I’m taking something with me now!

  • Joy September 16, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Cleaning on a schedule is my biggest cleaning rule. Like you, it has changed over the years, but it’s something I stick to and it makes such a difference.

  • Stacy September 16, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Wow, you are really dedicated! I admire that.

    We have a cleaning service that comes every other week, so we mostly just worry about keeping things tidy. I have a bad habit of not hanging my clothes back up, and I notice a big difference when I take 10 minutes at the end of each day to straighten up.

  • Cristina September 16, 2014, 6:02 pm

    How do you clean your wooden floors? They always seem so shiny!

  • Liza September 16, 2014, 6:58 pm

    I had to laugh at your first tip- I live in a 500 square foot studio in the West Village of NYC. There is no going anywhere that isn’t five steps from where I just was! LOL.

    • Caitlin September 16, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Hahah I guess that tip is definitely relative. One of the things that I really miss about living in a small space is how easy it is to keep clean – when you are in a bigger space, you tend to fill it with JUNK.

  • Sharon September 17, 2014, 9:52 am

    I totally sort my mail at the recycle bin. :). We have a big basket of cloth diaper rags next to the kitchen for cleaning up after our toddler – and ourselves. And, yep, one rag does it all. I’m still using the DIY swifter mop cloths I got from your blog months ago, to do the floors. They’re great!

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork September 17, 2014, 2:51 pm

    I am so all about the floors, too! Don’t know what it is, but messy floors and dirty countertops drive me crazy! Since I’m nuts about the floors we also have a no shoe rule. There’s a place right next to the door where all of our shoes get kicked off. We keep sandals for going up and down from the basement by the basement door. I’ll have to come up with a schedule. I’m sure that will help save us from marathon dusting or bathroom cleaning.

  • Kathy September 17, 2014, 9:50 pm

    Love these tips! I try to do #1 as well and I’ll also do a quick sweep and put stuff on the bottom stair so I have to go by it on my way up and will remember to grab it. We also have a monthly cleaning schedule for the big jobs: each month, 1 room gets the BIG clean (move all furniture, wipe down walls, touch up paint etc) so that in a year, each room gets done about twice. We put cleaning windows and the yard on that big list too. I find it helps so that we don’t end up overwhelmed with a “Spring” or “Fall” cleaning

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