5-minute clean fixes

Getting a house clean and keeping it that way usually comes down to one issue: organization, otherwise known as the art of having a place for everything. Think about most of the clutter that accumulates on the counter, the floor, or anywhere else. It probably either doesn’t have a place to which it belongs, or its place isn’t being used to its maximum potential.
 
Create a landing strip. We carry loads of clutter into our houses—magazines, mail, shopping bags. And depending on what it is, it goes on the countertop. Straight to the floor. The coffee table. The kitchen table. Instead, have a shelf or table set up by wherever you come into the house. As soon as you come in, give yourself five minutes. Put the mail on the shelf or desk and stand near it, quickly going through it to figure out what you don’t need, what you need to keep, and what you need to throw. Leave the important things on the landing strip to deal with soon enough, then throw out the trash.
 
Take things from room to room. Whenever you walk from room to room, glance around to see if there’s anything you could take with you that belongs in the room you’re heading toward. If you need to go to the kitchen to check dinner in the oven, for example, take a glass that was on the coffee table and bring it with you.
 
Put things away immediately. That glass you just grabbed from the coffee table? Don’t set it in the sink or on the counter, where you or someone else will have to deal with it. Put it right in the dishwasher. You can apply that principle all over the house. When you ditch your blazer in favor of a t-shirt after work, don’t toss the blazer over the back of a chair or across the bed. Hang it up! Teach your kids, too—when they’re done playing with one set of toys and want to move onto something else, make it contingent on them putting their toys away. Putting things away as soon as you’re done will make every cleaning task monumentally simpler.
 
Make the bed. Simple, yes. But if you don’t already, making the bed every morning will make your bedroom feel cleaner and larger. It’ll take just a second!
 
Have a place for everything. Are there toys all over the living room floor that never budge? You may need a toy basket for the living room. Does your mail get scattered all over the house? Designate one specific spot for it, like the above landing strip, where you can take care of it all in just a few minutes. Do you want to save your magazines, but they all end up in an unruly pile? Invest in a few inexpensive magazine holders for your bookshelf. Having a place for everything makes it much easier to put away, especially if it’s in arm’s reach.
 
Wipe countertops. Before you go to bed each night, time yourself for five minutes. Grab a clean rag or paper towel and quickly wipe down the countertops and sinks in the kitchen and the bathroom. A quick wipe can do wonders for those surfaces, and can give you a blank slate from which to start in the morning.
 
If you have a place for everything and get into the habit of putting things away immediately, you’ll notice a huge difference in your home. For more ideas about clutter-cutting, click here and here.

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