Shoes are not allowed past the front door in Danielle Lackey's Carrollton, VA, home. "I have three children who frequently play on the floor. Our shoes carry germs and dirt!" Her family knows the rule by now, and a cute wooden sign in the entryway alerts guests, so she doesn't have to.
2. They make the bed.
Before she even thinks about leaving the house for the day, Amy Bell, 41, makes the bed. "Even if the rest of the room isn't picture-perfect, a neat bed instantly makes the whole space look pulled together," the Cary, NC, mom says.
3. They squeegee the shower.
"We squeegee the shower door after every shower to prevent water spots and grime," says Deanne Goodman, 33, from Oceanside, CA. "It only takes about 20 seconds, and it keeps the glass looking clear and bright."
4. They clean the bathroom sink.
Blogger Traci Hutcherson keeps a container of wipes (baby wipes work just fine) under her sink. "Just pull out a wipe and give the sink a quick cleaning." Try it and you'll never have to look at toothpaste dribbles again!
5. They wipe down the kitchen counters.
"I wipe down our kitchen counters nightly with a homemade solution—one part vinegar, three parts water and a squirt of almond oil dish soap—that I store in a spray bottle," says blogger Camilla Fabbri. "The vinegar cuts through grease and also does a great job clearing up the smudges on our stainless appliances."
6. They clean as they go.
Blogger Chelsea Morhman never likes to go to bed with a dirty kitchen. The trick is cleaning up while she cooks. "If I have something in the oven, I wipe down counter tops and wash dishes while I wait for it to finish," she says. "I try to have almost everything cleaned up by the time dinner is ready, so that all we have to do after dinner is stick our dirty dishes in the dishwasher."
7. They Swiffer before bed.
Mary Beth Cooper, 42, from Peoria, IL, spends seven minutes (give or take) every night Swiffering her way through the downstairs rooms. A quick pass prevents dust bunnies from taking over the house.
8. They do a five-minute clean up.
Before bed, Fabbri gets everyone to pitch in for a quick tidying up session. The family of four picks up the dog toys, puts away the mail, hangs up jackets and puts items back in their place. "With everyone helping, it usually takes less than five minutes, and I feel so much better when I come downstairs in the morning and the house is organized."
9. They put their clothes away.
Almost every master bedroom has one chair that starts off empty on Monday and is covered with clothes by Friday. Unless you follow this daily tip from Debra Johnson, a home cleaning expert from Merry Maids: "Before you go to bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper or re-hang clean ones in the closet. And in the morning, fold your pajamas and store them in their proper place."
10. They open a door or two.
"I throw open the front and the back door to air out the house every day, even just for a few minutes if it's cold outside," says Sherry Petersik, who, along with her husband, wrote the upcoming book Lovable Livable Home. "It helps to fight off stale air—or any random lingering odors from dinner—and it makes the house feel fresh and breezy."
11. They close a door or two.
Another easy one! Blogger Jeanne Oliver knows that the entire house will never be clean and organized at the same time—especially three kids' rooms. "I've come to accept that and I just shut their doors," she says. "If the main floor is tidy and I can just close off the mess, I'm likely to invite people over more."
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