So often people think of cleaning their living space as a thankless chore and an annoyance. Plenty of people will say they’re leaving their dishes in the sink to soak and then just put off washing them, others don’t see the point in making the bed if you just get back into it at the end of the day. But these things build up over time.

1. Do a Little Every Day

If you do little things to clean up messes as you make them, then you won’t have to go on a cleaning quest that takes the better part of your day off. For example, after you cook, go ahead and wipe down any surfaces you used, wash the dishes or stack the dishwasher and sweep up. Then, when you’re ready to deep clean your kitchen, you can focus on the bigger jobs like cleaning your fridge or mopping the floor.

2. Learn How to Clean Appliances

The twenty-first century is great. Information is at our fingertips with smart devices and friends are just a text away. But most household appliances still don’t clean themselves. Ovens are usually self-cleaning these days, and more often you can find self-cleaning litter boxes and aquariums at pet stores. But you can’t just flip a switch on your washer or dryer and expect them to clean themselves. It’s important to know how and when to clean appliances like your dishwasher and microwave to avoid letting them become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.

3. Consult a Professional When You Need to

There are certain things around a home that you just might not be able to clean on your own. Mold in air ducts and other areas is a major culprit in these situations. If you’ve ever dealt with bathroom mold, you know there are household products available to help you deal with it, but there are a few obstacles to dealing with mold in other areas. Wiping visible mold away might not take care of any microscopic spores, and you probably don’t want to go dismantling your HVAC system all on your own. For a less severe example, maybe you want to get your second-story windows cleaned, or you want to pressure wash part of your house. You might not feel comfortable getting up so high or using tools like a pressure washer. In any of these cases, you can easily find a professional service to take care of these more intense cleaning needs.

4. Make a Chore Chart

You probably have a lot of commitments you need to remember throughout your day, week or month. A chore chart or schedule can come in really handy whether you live alone, with roommates or with family. Someone living alone could just make a note on their calendar what days he or she wants to clean the living area, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and other rooms, as well as mark off days for more intensive cleaning. If you have roommates, it’s important to share the load and divide up work evenly. You could work together on the more time-consuming chores and divvy up work like dusting and vacuuming. If you have children, you can teach them responsibility by tasking them with smaller, easier chores – loading the dishwasher, setting the table or walking the dog – and rewarding them for completing their chores somehow.

5. Know How Often You Should Clean

Different areas of your home will have different cleaning requirements just because of the activities you do in them. You should at least clean up areas of your kitchen you used right after you use them. Take out the garbage and recycling when you need to, and make sure you’re aware of when your neighborhood’s garbage day is. Bathrooms should be scrubbed once a week. If you have pets with fur, it’s important to vacuum, sweep, and dust at least once a week, along with keeping your pet itself clean and healthy. If you live with someone who has a pet allergy, you might need to do these pet-related chores more often. Pets aside, if you’re mostly just using your living area as a place for people to gather and watch tv or play games, you may be able to clean this area less often and just keep it tidy.

Even though cleaning can seem like an insurmountable task, there are ways to break it down into smaller, easier to handle parts and even make it fun.

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