Daily cleaning habits for a tidier home – 7 practices to perfect your chore schedule

Stop chores from feeling like chores with these seven daily cleaning habits

A light wood kitchen with white countertops and large kitchen island
(Image credit: Bakes & Kropp)

It is easy for household chores to get on top of us from time to time, leading us to feel overwhelmed and bogged down in never-ending to-do lists.

If this sounds like you, you might have ended up with some bad cleaning habits that are making your home messier – and are far from productive.

Luckily, there are some quick daily cleaning habits for a tidier home you can implement now to start working on your chore backlog and clean without feeling overwhelmed.

Daily cleaning habits for a tidier home

Habits can be difficult to develop and stick to, so you need to pick small things to change that you can start to implement quickly and easily without having a profound impact on your existing daily routine, suggests Stephanie Y. Deininger, pro organizer and Founder of The Organized Flamingo.

‘In order for a daily habit to stick, it needs to be small enough that if you are not able to do it for a day or two, you won't be overwhelmed when you pick it up again,’ she explains. With that in mind, consider starting in one or two of these nine places:

1. Clear counters every night

Kitchen with white units, white walls, grey and white marbled worktop and wooden floor.

(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

One of the easiest habits to start for a tidier home is clearing countertops at the end of each day so that you have a fresh start the next morning, begins Stephanie Y. Deininger, pro organizer.

There are plenty of things to do daily to keep kitchen counters clear, from tidying up as your dinner cooks to spending five minutes before bed putting leftovers and dishes back in cabinets and fridges and wiping down counters with a disinfectant to keep your home hygienic. None of these will tire you out or cause overwhelm when done regularly, but they aren't high enough that your kitchen will be unmanageable if you leave dirty dishes on the side for one night when you’re tired.

2. Make your bed daily

Cream bedroom with mirror and wood side table

(Image credit: Alice Lane Interior Design / Nicole Gerulat Photography)

Another super simple cleaning habit for a tidier home is making your bed daily. Not only does it put you in the right frame of mind to keep the rest of your home tidy, but it makes your room look instantly cleaner – and with very little effort, says Amy Berryhill, professional home organizer and Founder of Spiffy Chicks.

‘This two-minute task makes your room look tidier than any other chore,’ she assures

3. Deal with mail daily

light and bright entryway with a pale blue front door and bench seat

(Image credit: BHDM Design / Photography Reid Rolls)

Another small area that can make your home look untidy quickly is your entryway. A catch-all for clutter, these passing spots are home to piles of mail and personal belongings that we drop and forget when we come home. To start building more positive, tidy habits, Francesca Verri, certified holistic lifestyle and minimalist coach, and Founder of Verii Organized, recommends organizing mail as soon as you get it, preventing post-build-up and making this stressful space just a little more organized:

‘Because paper is a huge source of clutter, one tip I recommend daily is handling the mail. That means if you are going to get the mail, you must immediately take all the necessary steps to manage it—daily. Otherwise, it piles up and creates visual clutter that will cause unnecessary overwhelm.

‘When you get the mail, don’t put it down – put it away. Putting it away means putting the junk mail in the recycle bin and the bills in your bill-paying center (you aren’t paying the bills now; you are simply putting them in their home, where you will pay them). If something needs your immediate attention and it will take a few minutes to do – do it then. Putting it off for “later” often equals clutter.’

4. Complete one laundry load per day

Miele washing machine in a chic farmhouse style laundry room with striped wallpaper and flowers in the sink

(Image credit: Miele)

One of the biggest laundry mistakes people make is letting laundry piles build up until they are overwhelming. Amy Berryhill, professional home organizer, suggests building this into your daily routine to manage loads while they are small and stains are fresh, saving you time and energy in the long run:

‘Just doing one load of laundry per day can keep things manageable. I put a load in right when I wake up (or if your washer has the setting, you can even program it the night before), get it into the dryer at some point during the day, and then put it away (or at least get it into my clean laundry bin) before I go to bed at night. It’s funny how this little routine makes me feel like I’m quietly crushing it.’

Of course, if you are in a small household where you don’t amass enough laundry to do a daily load, designate one set time in the week to do laundry. You can make this an event in your calendar so that you get a reminder and you don't put it off further.

5. Work on a timer

Timer and clock

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If working on one area at a time doesn't work for you, you can instead make it a habit to work to a timer daily to deal with as many problem areas as you can. This can be a helpful approach if your home is overwhelming and you need to make steady, continuous progress, recommends Francesca Verri, certified home organizer:

‘Set a timer and put on a good audiobook, podcast, or music. When I’m not in the mood to clean up (yes, even professional organizers don’t always like to clean), I’ll make a game of it by setting a 15-minute timer and see how much I can accomplish. It’s always surprising how much I can get done if I limit distractions and put on some good music.

‘If you can get others in the home to do the same, you can get even more done and celebrate with a special snack or relaxing time together. A+ if you can make this a daily routine.’

When starting out, you can begin with a 5-minute cleaning challenge to get used to it, and add time to the timer as you get better at it.

6. Work through food storage systematically


(Image credit: Future)

C.Lee Cawley, certified professional organizer and Founder of The Clarity Connection organizing membership, recommends creating a designated spot to place food that needs to be used up soon, so you can gravitate towards that first when cooking and stay more organized.

‘This prime location should be easily visible and accessible, making it the first stop for grabbing a snack or planning a meal. By keeping leftovers front and center, you'll be more likely to use them before they spoil, saving money at home and minimizing food waste.’

With this habit built, you can then apply similar organizing practices to the rest of your home, such as creating a catch-all spot that you have to organize or declutter before you buy anything new.

7. Start somewhere simple and build up

neutral spring bedroom with blue floral blind and rattan furniture decor accents

(Image credit: Ryann Swan Design / Photography Read McKendree)

One of the best organizing and decluttering tips you can use when trying to build habits for a tidier home is to start small every day and build up to the more major tasks. You probably shouldn't dive straight into deep cleaning all of your carpets without dusting, or tidying up the floor first, for instance.

‘If you're feeling a little down about your space or not motivated to clean or organize, I always recommend a quick bedroom jumpstart,’ adds Cori McDougald, professional home organizer and founder of Meat and Potatoes Organizing. ‘This jumpstart includes changing your sheets (washing them), picking up everything off your floor and putting it away, and giving the floor a good vacuum or sweep! This little tuneup is like magic - it will make you feel comfortable and peaceful in your space again and maybe inspire you to tackle other areas of your home. Give it a try.’

Habit Tracker $2.45 at Etsy

Habit Tracker $2.45 at Etsy
Stay on top of your new habits and build better routines with this handy customizable habit tracker.

When building new habits it is important to remember that it can take weeks, if not months for them to feel easy and mindless. When first starting off, take it a day at a time and remember to reward yourself for every success and not be too hard on yourself if you miss a day.

It is also a good idea to only try to incorporate one or two new habits at a time, and only add new habits when you are confident that the other ones have stuck so as not to overwhelm yourself. This is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.