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Today, I want to share with you the five things I do every night for a clean house. I have already told you about the morning cleaning routine that works for me, so now I want to show you how doing a few quick and easy cleaning tasks every night will keep your house running like a well oiled machine.
Here are the five cleaning habits I do every night:
- Tidy the kitchen: dishes and counter tops
- Deal with the day’s mail
- Take out the trash
- Set up your launch pad: a space to put everything you need for tomorrow morning
- Tidy the main living space for five minutes
The Biggest Obstacle to Night Time Cleaning
There is one obstacle that might get in your way when it comes to cleaning at night: your energy level. It’s easy to clean first thing in the morning when we’ve all just had a good night’s sleep and a morning cup of coffee. But, at the end of a long day of work, care giving, or just general adulting, who has the energy to do anything, let alone clean?
When I’m exhausted and need to get some cleaning done, my kitchen timer is my best buddy. None of these tasks need to be done perfectly. They just need to be done good enough. Good enough cleaning is still making things cleaner than they were before. I set my timer for the number of minutes I feel up to working (sometimes that’s as little as three minutes!) and I work on each task until the timer goes off.
Small changes to your cleaning routine work!
Like I’ve said before, we all want to go big when it comes to creating change in our lives. Go big or go home, right? Wrong! That kind of mindset probably hasn’t worked for you in the past. It might even be holding you back from getting started. (For example, “I’m not going to start cleaning out the garage until I have time to do everything perfectly.”)
Instead, let’s focus on taking small steps to reach our clean house goals. Sure, it will take us longer to see results, but those results will be long lasting because we built our cleaning habits a little bit at a time.
Let’s get started.
Night Clean House Task #1: Tidy the kitchen
The kitchen is the most used room in my house. If I had to guess, I would say your kitchen is probably the heart of your home too. In my kitchen at any given time, someone is cooking a meal, cleaning up after a meal, or eating a meal. My kitchen table and counter tops are the workspace for chopping veggies, doing homework, rolling out biscuit dough, and a toddler’s finger painting project. That’s a lot for one space!
Every night, I try to bring the kitchen back to a clean space before I go to bed. This is a time when I try to bring the whole family in to help. We all used the kitchen all day, so every night, we all clean it up together.
We make sure all of the dishes are washed. If you have a dishwasher, load it up and turn it on. Hand washing bigger items like pots and pans goes quickly when you wash them nightly and don’t let them pile up. In the morning, you can put the clean dishes away. If you hand wash your dishes, set up an assembly line with someone washing and someone drying and putting the dishes away.
We take ten minutes to clear the flat surfaces in the kitchen like the counter tops and kitchen table. Clear away the day’s clutter and then give the surfaces a quick spray of cleaner and wipe down.
I take a microfiber cloth and some all-purpose cleaner, and I wipe down my appliances and stove. These are areas that if left for too long can gather lots of grease. It’s really not fun to have to scrub a month’s layer of grease off your microwave! Just giving it a quick wipe every night will prevent having to do the hard work later.
Lastly, I get out my broom and quickly sweep the floor. Now is not the time for deep cleaning and mopping your kitchen tile floor. For our nightly cleaning habit, we want to quickly remove the dirt and crumbs that have been dropped on our floor. Big floor cleaning jobs like mopping or scrubbing grout can be scheduled for later when you aren’t trying to move speedily.
I love waking up every morning to a clean and tidy kitchen. It starts my whole day off on the right foot. Before I did this routine every night, I woke up to a sink full of dishes and yesterday’s clutter on the counters and it stressed me out! Don’t start your day stressed. Here’s a great article on the blog about speed cleaning your kitchen.
Night Clean House Task #2: Deal With The Mail
The mail we receive every day is one of those little things that can steadily become a clutter problem if we don’t have a plan for dealing with it consistently. It’s so easy to pick up the stack of letters, bills, and catalogs from our mail boxes, carry them inside, place them down on the first flat surface we see in the house, and walk away.
I used to let the mail pile up on my coffee table to the point that I forgot what color my coffee table was! It was just covered with stacks of mail.
Set five minutes on the timer. Sort through the day’s mail. Create a special place for mail that requires attention – the electricity bill, that letter that needs a response. Find a secure place to store mail that needs to be kept – important tax papers, medical records, ect. Toss what is left in the recycling bin. This whole process shouldn’t take longer than five minutes, and you just avoided the clutter build up.
Night Clean House Task #3: Take Out The Trash
This task doesn’t need much explanation, but sometimes, it gets put off for lots of different reasons. Maybe you told your teenage son to take it out, he still hasn’t done it, and by golly, you aren’t going to take the trash out because it’s his job. (Hypothetically speaking, of course!) Maybe your kitchen trash can isn’t filled completely with trash, and you feel guilty throwing away a half empty trash bag because it feels wasteful.
I take the trash out every night even when the bag isn’t completely full. Here’s why – trash sitting in the house overnight creates unpleasant smells and attracts bugs. I live in the South where bugs are an issue year round. Taking the trash out every night helps keep my home bug free. Need more convincing? Check out our post about the dirtiest places in your kitchen (hint: the trash can is one!)
Night Clean House Task #4: Set Up Your Launch Pad
What is a launch pad? A launch pad is an area in your home where you are going to store everything you need for the next day. You are going to prepare everything you need for the next day ahead of time, and being able to grab what you need will launch you into your day!
What goes into your launch pad? I lay out my clothes for the next day. Next, I pack my work bag with everything I need – my computer, phone charger, a snack, my wallet, car keys, ect. Also, I help my kids pack their backpacks for school the next morning, and anyone that needs a water bottle or lunch should prepare that too. Everything gets placed in the launch pad area and is ready for the next day.
Where should you put your launch pad? Anywhere that makes the most sense for you. I have two launch pads. One is a corner of my closet in my bedroom where I lay out my clothes and have my work bag ready. The other is near my front door and is where my family keeps school and work bags, shoes, ect.
Avoiding the scramble to find missing homework or panic about deciding what to wear in the morning sets me off to a good start. It’s nice to avoid tearing up the house looking for a missing shoe or school book.
Night Clean House Task #5: Tidy The Main Living Space
This is the cleaning task that will make all other cleaning tasks easier! If you start each day with a tidy living room or den, it’s like starting your cleaning to do list on second base. It makes it really easy to go into that room and do other necessary cleaning tasks like dusting with your Swiffer duster or vacuuming.
Set your timer for five minutes, and clean up the clutter as fast as you can. The main living spaces of our homes get the most use, and because of that, get cluttered the quickest. I put away anything that doesn’t belong in the space. Toys get brought back to my kids’ playroom. Board game pieces get put back into the drawers of the cabinet were they are kept. I fluff pillows on the couch and fold the throw blanket that I keep on my favorite armchair. Sticking with a five minute tidy every day consistently will definitely help keep clutter at bay.
Party of my tidying routine is to gather up a load of laundry to be washed the next day. I place it in my washing machine even though I don’t start the cycle yet. Just having it waiting in there for the next day makes getting laundry done so much easier.
One last tidy task is to give the main bathroom a quick once over. I keep a cleaning caddy in the bathroom for these quick jobs so that everything I need is right there, and I don’t have to go looking for it when I’m ready to go. I keep all-purpose cleaner, white vinegar, bleach (just never mix this with the vinegar! It becomes toxic.), baking soda, and dish soap.
I squirt a small amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl and quickly give it a scrub. I then add a little bleach to the toilet water. Next, I use the all-purpose cleaner to spray down the sink and toilet seat. Toilet paper is all I need to wipe both down quickly and flush. Done!
Developing a morning cleaning routine and an evening cleaning routine will not only result in a clean house, but it will keep you from having to spend the entire weekend scrubbing the house when you could be out enjoying your free time!
This checklist of five things I do every night keep my house clean and reduce the stress I feel over the never ending list of housework we all have to tackle. Be consistent with these tasks, and I know you will see a difference in your home, too!