How to Keep Your House Clean in 20 Minutes A Day

When I first started my How To Totally Organise Your Life in 19 Days series one of the main things that everyone asked for was a quick guide to keeping their house tidy in 20 minutes a day. This is totally do-able. You don’t need to clean your floors to the point that you can eat dinner off them but being able to actually see them is a good start.

How to Keep Your House Clean in 20 Minutes A Day

Clean as you go

If you use a hair product in the bathroom, put it away after you’ve used it. Same with a pantry item in your kitchen. If you’re finished using it, put it away.

Own your mess

If you don’t make your bed in the morning ‘because you’re just going to get back in it again the next night… so what’s the point?‘ then you need to start rethinking your attitude. Keeping a tidy house is a habit that you have the ability to create but the first step is being truly honest about what constitutes as mess. A pile of underwear on your couch is a mess. A stack of shoes on your lounge room floor is a mess. An unmade bed is a mess. The truth will set you free my petals. 

Have a positive attitude

Pop on some tunes and spend 20 minutes improving your home. If you grumble about it, it will only make it worse. Think of it as time to unwind and let your thoughts wander. Cleaning can be very therapeutic. 

Start with a major clean

20 minutes a day won’t help much if you haven’t vacuumed in months. Try reading How to Throw Things Away Like A God Damn Grown UpHow to Manage Your Floordrobe and How To Conquer That Horrible Pile of Paperwork You’ve Been Ignoring to get you started. Once your house is at a base level of clean the 20 Minute Daily Clean will be a piece of cake.



Here’s a little infographic I made that you can print out and stick to your fridge so you have a little guide to help keep you on track with your cleaning. Morning, afternoon and evening tasks should only take a few minutes each and just set a timer for 15 minutes for your daily task like cleaning the bathroom. Vacuuming and mopping will probably take longer but chalk it up to some extra calorie burning and just get on with it! 

20MIN DAILY CLEANHere’s a link to a larger printable version so you can stick it to your fridge to remind you of your daily tasks. Obviously this is a very basic outline of generic daily tasks so add in extra washing days etc if you need to. I also get that not everyone has a dishwasher or grocery shops everyday so again, make adjustments to suit your own schedule.  If you have a particularly large house or family you may need to set a 25 or 30 minute timer but make sure you limit your time somehow. It’s the key to quick and effective cleaning. Try searching the internet for other daily cleaning schedules and you’ll probably find others that suit you too.

So tell me… how do you go about your cleaning? Do you do it all in one day? Or little bits and pieces through out the week?

P.S Jonathon The Organisation Crustacean was drawn by my mate Arran McKenna and he has classes in Canberra if you want to learn to Draw Fun Stuff.

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Tahlia Meredith 2 years ago

    Definitely have to make the bed every day, and also like to wash up before bed (whereas Manfriend is happy to leave dishes til the next day) and put away clean dishes before work. I do a general buzz around every couple of days to put things back in their spots and tend to clean on Saturday mornings, but we have a pretty small apartment and it doesn’t take long.

    Great tips, as always 🙂

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I do not understand people who don’t make the bed. Mr Smaggle is well trained in this department because he gets up after me. I LOVE getting into a made bed at the end of the day. Nothing going to take that away from me.

  2. Emma 2 years ago

    I am LOVING this series. I have a toddler who requires about 54897 changes of clothes a day, and the amount of washing used to drive me insane. Once I made peace with the fact that I need to do a load of washing every single day and slotted it into my routine, it got waaaay less stressful.
    In the same token, I find that just accepting that some things are never going to happen (organised bathroom drawers, consistent meal planning, any sort of ironing ever) makes it way easier to cope with all the other random things that need doing.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      That’s the thing with washing. I think people get in a place where the feel like they have to do it all in one day but I find that a slow trickle through the week works better. Only draw back is that I constantly have clothes on a rack on my balcony. GRRRR!

  3. Nicole 2 years ago

    I know it probably docks a bunch of my adult points, but I have a few legitimate reasons why I don’t make the bed. 1) we don’t ever have visitors, so we’re the only ones seeing it, 2a) My husband and I can’t share linen. I’m someone who is almost always moving while sleeping and in the past when we’ve tried to share, he ends up cold and me a blanket burrito. 2b) completely different body temperatures. He uses a thin blanket and I use one of those same thin blankets with a really fat, smooshy doona. and 3)I have a non-24 hour circadian sleep disorder. That basically means, completely out of my control, my sleep cycle is constantly rotating. So there are many weeks at a time where his entire night of sleep is after I’ve woken up. Can’t really make the bed with him in it.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Wow that’s totally true! I actually never make the bed because I’m always up before Mr Smags but he’s very good at making it!

  4. Nessbow 2 years ago

    When I started living on my own, I instituted a strict “cleaning time” after dinner each night. I pop on a CD and have at it for about 20 minutes. And my place always looks gorgeous.

    Another thing I found really helpful was this Ever-so-reasonable cleaning checklist. It’s a free printable that breaks down your cleaning and is easy to customize. This printable saved my sanity. Here’s a link:

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Oh it’s amazing! I’m totally printing it out!

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