Stay on top of chores with less effort.
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With family members working from home, learning remotely, or just socializing less outside the home these days, controlling messes can be a constant battle. Dirty dishes continuously pile up, dirt and crumbs accumulate more quickly, and clutter becomes a regular fixture in most rooms. But you don't have time to spend hours each day tidying up. The key to staying on top of chores is a more efficient cleaning routine. Work basic cleaning tasks into your daily schedule, prioritize the big jobs, and get everyone on board. Here are five no-fuss strategies to keep your home cleaner with less work.

entryway with red-painted front door
Credit: Jonny Valiant

1. Control the mess.

It's easier to stop messes from happening than deal with them later. Reduce what gets dirty by leaving shoes at the door, limiting food to the kitchen and dining room, and assigning craft projects to one spot. Make sure all family members know the rules and follow them. Restricting messy activities to certain areas means you'll have fewer spots to clean later.

2. Sneak in cleaning tasks.

Spruce up as you go, making cleanup an extension of your usual activities. For example, squeegee the shower stall at the end of a shower. Wipe the faucet, sink, and countertop after you brush your teeth, and wash wastebaskets whenever you take out the trash.

Mancini home tour dining table
Credit: Melanie Acevedo

3. Enlist the whole family.

Everyone in the house can help, even young children. Make household chores as much a part of the daily family routine as meals and activities rather than a dreaded "do we have to" task. Set aside time after dinner each night for a quick spruce-up. Cleaning at the same time, even if it's in different rooms, makes it feel like a team effort.

4. Go room by room.

A room-by-room approach lets you work around schedules logically. The best time to dust and vacuum the home office, for example, might be the weekend. Scouring the kitchen requires the biggest block of time between meals.

bathroom vanity with 4 drawers in light wood
Credit: David A Land

5. Hit your cleaning goal.

You don't have to cover the complete checklist every week. Focus on the tasks that make the biggest difference (say, sweeping floors or wiping down the bathroom) and be satisfied with calling anything else a bonus. Take off the pressure to do it all in one day, and set your sights on small goals with the most impact.

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