Unless you can afford a live-in maid, keeping a clean house isn't always an easy task.
When it comes to tidying up, some of us don't have the time, the energy, or the motivation to get going.
Whatever the reason, if you're desperate to get dirt and clutter under control, you've come to the right place.
We turned to three experts to tell us their habits for keeping a perpetually tidy home.
- Make a new habit. "The easiest way to implement a new habit is to incorporate it RIGHT AFTER you do something you always do," says Donna Smallin, organizing and cleaning expert and author of The One-Minute Cleaner. For example, do the dishes as soon as you're done eating, or make the bed right after you get dressed in the morning.
- Don't procrastinate. Lorie Marrero, author of "The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life", explains that being decisive is important when it comes to staying organized. "Saying 'I'll put it here for now' is a danger phrase and an invitation for pile creation," Marrero says.
Smallin advises to clean up a mess immediately after it happens. Drips and spills are more difficult to remove after they've had time to dry and harden.
- Focus on one room at a time. "Cleaning in manageable chunks makes it easier and less overwhelming," says Nicole Sforza, Senior Home Editor of Real Simple.
Even so, for those of us with busy schedules, young children, and pets, finding the time to clean is even more challenging.
"If you're really overloaded, with, say, laundry — consider giving yourself a break one week and pay a laundry wash-and-fold place to handle it for you," Sforza advises.
- Make baskets your friend. "Grab an empty basket and toss everything that doesn't belong in that room in the basket. When you're done cleaning the room, walk around the house distributing the stuff where it belongs."
Sforza says don't be afraid to toss items in the trash, either.
- Motivate yourself. Sforza suggests giving yourself a set time limit. "You'll be more motivated because you'll know there's an end in sight."
She also recommends blasting your favorite playlist while doing your chores or inviting some friends over when you are done. "That really gets me to clean, knowing that someone will be literally eyeing all my dirty laundry!"
Smallin also gets motivated by using cleaning products she loves - espeically ones that smell good!
- Have a morning and evening routine. "Routines contribute to the organizing systems in your house," says Marrero. If you empty the dishwasher in the morning, you'll have a place to put the dirty dishes after dinner. If you ready the things you need for the next day, the night before (i.e., packing a lunch or choosing an outfit), you will have made it as simple as possible for yourself to get out the door in the morning.
- Hide specific cleaning supplies in each room. While you should have a main cleaning caddy under the kitchen sink, Sforza likes to keep rooms fresh in between thorough cleanings, by hiding specific cleaning supplies in each room. For example, in the living room, keep wood cleaning wipes in the box that holds the remote controls.