5 secrets of people who always have a clean house

If you’re among the section of the population struggling to maintain an orderly home on a consistent basis, you probably find yourself wondering how “clean” people do it – and here’s how.

They clear surfaces

Junk drawers have a habit of spilling out onto what should be an otherwise clean, empty 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.”

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 favor and load the dishwasher—and run it if it’s close to full—and wash the pots and pans before going to bed.

Find more easy ways to freshen up your kitchen.

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,” 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.”

For more expert advice, check out our secret cleaning tips from the pros.

They keep up cleaning schedules

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.” Be mindful that you’re not actually making your home dirtier.

They think ‘clean’ when they step in 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. It isn’t just your shoes. The rest of your outfit has picked up germs too; that’s why you should never sit on your bed with outside clothes on.

This story was originally published in Reader’s Digest. Read more secrets to a clean house here.