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Episode #014: Nightly Cleaning Routine

Nightly cleaning routines set you up for a better tomorrow. If you are currently waking up feeling exhausted and stressed by the time you make your morning coffee then you will benefit from an evening cleaning routine.

This routine doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be consistent. Adding a few carefully chosen cleaning chores to your nightly routine will enable you to go to bed feeling calm and prepared for what’s to come the next day. 

You don’t have to wake up to a visual to-do list of dirty dishes, crumbs, and clutter. Add one of the suggested tasks below to your current evening routine this week and see how you feel after seven days. If you feel good, then add another!  

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Nightly Cleaning Routine Ideas

Not sure where to start when it comes to creating a nightly cleaning routine? Here are some suggestions based on what has always worked well in our household. 

Clear the Clutter

I don’t know about you, but I can’t clean anything until the clutter is out of sight. It’s difficult to scrub and wipe surfaces that are covered in misplaced “stuff.” Plus, I personally have a very hard time focusing on any task (cleaning or otherwise) until the clutter is gone.

If you can, enlist the help of your family or other household members. You choose the time of day (either before or right after dinner is my recommendation), then assign categories, rooms, or areas of your home to each family member. 

Most of the daily clutter in our house is toy-related. I try my best to include my little boys in the cleanup process. Before their bath, we sing the “clean up song” and put their toys away. Visual labels (think photos or icons) on baskets and bins can help guide kids (and husbands!) to put toys where they belong.  

With all of that said, if you’re super low on energy at the end of the day then grab a giant basket, hamper, or bag. Put the clutter in your basket and set it aside until the next day. Hopefully by then you’ll have more energy (and/or helpers) to get the items back where they belong. 

Clean the Kitchen

If there is only one area that I have the energy to clean at the end of the day, it’s our kitchen. Our mornings are busy and can easily become stressful. Cooking breakfast and packing lunches amidst messy countertops and dirty dishes from last night’s dinner only adds to the stress. 

My husband and I typically take turns doing bedtime for our kids while the other cleans the kitchen. Once our kids are older we’ll start to include them in this process.

Here is what we do every night:

  • Wash dishes and load the dishwasher.
  • Run the dishwasher – we run ours every night even if it isn’t 100% full to ensure clean dishes by the next morning.
  • Clean and polish the dining table and kitchen counters.
  • Change the dish towel.
  • Microwave the sponge (if you use one).
  • Take out the garbage if necessary.

Clean the Floors

After wiping counters and tables clean, it’s likely that you will be left with some messy floors. You don’t have to clean the floors in your entire house, just spot cleaning where it’s needed can make a HUGE difference. 

Here are a few of my favorite floor cleaning tools that make the job easier:

  • Robot vacuum and mop combo – We invested in a robot vacuum and mop last year and it has been absolutely game changing. I run it 3-4 times a week while I’m washing dishes. My floors have never been cleaner.
  • Cordless vacuum – I love using a cordless vacuum for spot cleaning after snacks, meals, and in our kids playroom area. It’s lightweight and easy to use for quick jobs.
  • Bissell Sweeper – This is how small kids can legitimately help clean floors. It’s a sweeper so no battery or cords are required. Simply push it along the floor and it sweeps crumbs away.
  • Cuban mop – After sweeping or vacuuming you might want to do a quick mop to finish the job. The Cuban mop is my favorite, but here are more fantastic mops to consider as well.

Finish the Laundry

As part of my morning routine, it’s my goal to wash and dry one load of laundry every single day. The thing is, I don’t usually get around to folding and putting away the clean load of laundry until the end of the day. This is when I try to get that done, usually while watching a favorite TV show.

If I’m on my A-game then I’ll fold, put away, then set aside the next day’s load of laundry to start in the morning. Some washers have a delay start function so you can actually set the washer to start an hour or so before you wake up in the morning. Then all you have to do is switch the laundry to the dryer when you wake up and you’re done!

You may also like: Create your own personalized laundry schedule

Review Your Schedule

Review your schedule for the next day. This takes 5 minutes and serves as a good reminder for what’s coming and how you need to prepare.

Set out anything you might need for the next day. Choose your outfit, help pack your kids school bag, set out shopping bags if you’ll be running errands, etc.

Tend to Your Bathroom

As you get yourself ready for bed, take an extra minute or two to wipe everything down. You can do this during your morning routine or your evening routine depending on when you tend to have more energy.

If you shower at night, clean your shower while you’re in the shower!

While you brush your teeth, declutter your countertop then spray and wipe everything down. Don’t forget to wipe away water marks off of your mirror and faucet!

After you go to the bathroom, give the toilet bowl a quick clean. All you need is a splash of dish soap and a toilet bowl brush. Once clean, prop the brush between the toilet bowl and the toilet seat to dry overnight.

Bonus Tips

To set yourself up for success, consider these bonus tips.

Set Timers

Timers are helpful for two important reasons.

First, timers help keep us focused. When I am not timing myself, it’s way too easy for me to get distracted by other tasks within the same room. 

For instance, as I’m cleaning the kitchen I’ll take a misplaced item to its proper home in the other room. On my way there, I’ll notice a scuff on the wall so I’ll grab a rag and rub it clean. Then I’ll notice that we are low on clean rags so I’ll start a laundry cycle to wash our cloths. While I’m in the laundry room I’ll notice the floors are dirty so I’ll grab our vacuum and clean it up… you get the idea.

Second, timers can provide a realistic measure of how long a given cleaning task takes. Sometimes I build up cleaning tasks in my mind to be much more involved than they actually are. 

Clean One Extra Thing

 If you have the energy for it, challenge yourself to clean one extra thing. Here are some ideas:

Make it Fun

Find ways to make cleaning more fun for yourself. Listening to a favorite podcast or audiobook can make cleaning feel more like “me time” if I can do it while uninterrupted.

Sometimes I’ll take it even further and do a beauty treatment like a face mask while listening to a podcast and cleaning the kitchen. I set a timer for 20 minutes or so and try to get the kitchen clean by the time I need to wash away the face mask. How’s that for passively multitasking?

A few favorite podcasts of the moment:

And there you have it! Hopefully you were able to take away a few ideas for your own nightly cleaning routine. Set yourself up for an easier morning and give a nightly cleaning routine a try.