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13 Secrets of People Who Always Have a Clean House

A clean home won't seem so far out of reach with these simple tips.

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They know how to make space

Even if you don’t consider yourself a collector of “stuff,” that “stuff” always seems to pile up in every corner and on every countertop. “Start following the one in, one out rule going forward,” says Nancy Haworth of On Task Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina. “When you buy something new, toss, sell, or donate an older item to create space for the new item.” While you’re at it, these quick spring cleaning tasks can be done in less than one minute.

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They keep surfaces clear

Junk drawers have a habit of spilling out onto what should be an otherwise clean, clear surface. Countertops and tables are practically begging to be littered with stray mail and other odds and ends. People with clean homes tackle that problem immediately. “When you keep large, flat surfaces clear, not only are they more visually appealing, but easier to wipe down as well,” says Carrie Higgins, author of Organization Hacks and founder of the blog Making Lemonade. “Don’t store appliances on countertops or clutter on your desk.” Here are a few items you shouldn’t store on your kitchen countertop.

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They set cleaning systems in place

Clean homes don’t just miraculously clean themselves—neat people have a protocol in place to keep things maintained and orderly. “People with neat homes tend to have a cleaning schedule and routines so dirt and laundry don’t have time to pile up,” says Higgins. “For example, they set a designated day to vacuum or do laundry every Monday so those big tasks don’t get skipped.” Sometimes you may need to do something small every day.

Don’t miss these genius hacks from professional house cleaners.

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They think clean when they step into the house

Sometimes it really is the little things that lend themselves to a sparkling abode. Bailey Gaddis, a certified professional organizer and author of Feng Shui Mommy, starts with a shoes-off policy. “When shoes are left at the door you prevent toxins, soil, leaves, and other goodies that quickly dirty up floors from making their way into your home,” she says.

Here are 10 cleaning myths you need to stop believing.

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They have a place for everything

“If you have too much stuff without a place to go, the clutter and piles in your home become impossible to actually clean,” says Jennifer Snyder, owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts in Waco, Texas. So if you have a peg in the kitchen for your keys or a shelf for your mail, use them.

These organizing shows on Netflix will inspire you to declutter now!

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They clean as they go

“People whose homes always appear clean don’t wait until it looks like a bomb went off,” wrote Brittany Bergman on HuffPost. Rather, they have routines. “This might mean rearranging throw pillows and folding blankets when they’re done in the family room each night, having kids put toys back in the toy box, hanging up clothes at the end of each day, and folding the laundry right when it comes out of the dryer.” Get out of these bad cleaning habits you may not have realized you had.

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They find clever ways to store more

People with clean homes use their smarts when it comes to products that help them stay organized. “An over-the-door organizer has a variety of clear pockets where you can store jewelry and make-up, sorting by type—pencils, lipsticks, brushes, and eye shadows,” says Paloma Baillie, a DIY expert with the 5mile app. “Everything is laid out, so you have easy access and can see items more clearly.” You can do a similar thing with office supplies if you don’t have room for a desk.

Find out 18 things professional organizers never buy.

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They hire help

Not every household budget has room for a regular professional cleaning service, but those who do tend to keep up with daily maintenance for one very important reason. “It’s a good motivator to get things put away or moved along into the recycling bin when you know tomorrow is cleaning day and your house won’t get as clean if the cleaning service has to clean around all your stuff,” says Mary Gagliardi, Clorox‘s in-house cleaning and laundry expert.

Here’s how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

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They know how to delegate tasks

Unless you live alone, mess and clutter is a group effort; therefore, cleaning should be a group effort as well. “Everyone should have weekly chores (dusting, emptying trash, vacuuming, sweeping, etc) that not only build responsible adults out of kids but also makes it easier to keep the home clean—something everyone in the home should care about,” says Gagliardi.

Get to know more clever cleaning tips that actually work.

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They make cleaning feel less like a chore

If it’s not your thing, it’s hard to imagine putting a fun spin on cleaning. But there are ways to complete a task while distracting your mind. “Make cleaning enjoyable by listening to your favourite podcast,” says Tisha Morris, author of Clutter Intervention: How Your Stuff Is Keeping You Stuck. “Get wireless Bluetooth headphones to give you the freedom to move all around the house. You might even get enough steps in on your Fitbit for it to count as a workout.”

Here are more secrets professional organizers would never tell you for free.

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They make organizing look pretty

If you consider storage and organization as part of your decor, as many with clean homes do, it makes the project a feast for the eyes. “I separate my wardrobe so all my dresses are together, all my jeans are together, sweaters, tops, coats, skirts, etc. Then I colour code each category,” says Rachel Parcell, style and design expert behind Pink Peonies. “I love the way it looks and it’s easy to find things.”

Declutter every room with these clever home organizing hacks.

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They deal with dishes

If you wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes, you’re practically setting yourself up for failure. For one thing, you’ll have to do those dishes and pans first thing, which sets you back a crucial five to ten minutes, essential time on a busy morning. Worse, all that food and grease will be caked on and it will take even more time to get them clean. Do yourself a favour and load the dishwasher—and run it if it’s close to full—and wash the pots and pans before going to bed.

Find out the kitchen organizing mistakes everyone makes.

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They use everyday items to keep things clean

Don’t put off cleaning because you don’t have supplies. “You can clean windows without leaving streaks behind with the help of a coffee filter,” says Larry Patterson franchisee of the Glass Doctor in Dallas. “Coffee filters and old cotton t-shirts also work well to remove remaining lint left behind from dry cloths.” (Here are more genius uses for coffee filters all around the house.) Another pro tip? If you wiped vertically outside, make sure to wipe horizontally inside. Then, you’ll know whether the missed spot is inside or outside. Smart! Next, check out 45 clever spring cleaning tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest