6 Bare-Minimum Summer Cleaning Tips (Because: Summer)

published Jun 15, 2022
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Credit: Sandra Regalado

Even if you’re not in school anymore (and haven’t been for decades), summertime still has that lazy-day feeling to it. And summer weekends? They’re made for watermelon, freshly squeezed lemonade, and barbecued chicken seared on the grill and shared with friends. They are most definitely not made for cleaning.

On the other hand, you can’t not clean either; it’s hard to truly relax in a dirty, messy house! In honor of being able to truly enjoy this summer (especially after a few that weren’t quite how we wanted), here are six tips that will help you clean house quickly and with minimal effort.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Have a “stash bin” in your common areas. 

Clutter is the biggest culprit in making your home feel messy. Much of this clutter is stuff you need to put away where it actually belongs — things that collect on countertops and tables. Rather than living in a disordered space or feeling like you’re constantly running around the house putting things away, designate a spot to collect the clutter until you can return everything to its rightful place. This could be a small basket or even a section in a drawer. Next time you’re catching up with someone on the phone or waiting for the microwave to beep, you can put away one or two items.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

2. Clean by time rather than by task.

A looming list of things to do sucks the joy out of summer fun. Rather than dread the freezer clean-out or restocking the pantry, assign yourself chunks of time for cleaning. Knowing you’ll be cleaning for just 15 minutes makes the job finite and more tolerable. As a bonus, completing tasks in increments probably means you’ll work harder and more efficiently. 

3. Have a plan for cleaning every day.

Having a list of what you’ll clean or where eliminates decision fatigue and makes the process even more straightforward. Knowing exactly what you have to do and being accountable often helps us do what we intend to do. Try an app like Sweepy, which tells you exactly what you need to do when. 

4. Whenever possible, have less stuff.

Having less stuff means fewer things to clean and organize. Commit to a one-in-three-out policy or something similar so you don’t become inundated with things you have to manage. Stay on top of taking back your returns, break down your delivery boxes, and digitize papers whenever possible. 

5. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Adopting a “good enough” philosophy when it comes to cleaning goes a long way in taking the pressure off. Doing the best you can with the time and energy you have is great! Maybe you didn’t get to scour the grout, but the sink is clean and the kitchen smells fresh. And that’s good enough for the summer!

Credit: Mandy Holesh

6. Don’t allow messes to multiply. 

One way to cut down on cleaning is to not allow messes to hang around. This may seem like the opposite of chilling out when it comes to cleaning in the summer, but hear us out: Messes multiply, and a big part of preventing messes is maintaining a clean space. The best example of this is trying to not leave dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter. Putting a used plate in the dishwasher or hand-washing a morning coffee mug makes it far less likely for the next person to add to the pile. Plus, you’ll prevent having a dreadful dirty stack of dishes that takes far too long to clean — especially when fun summer evenings beckon. 

How do you cut back on summer chores? Tell us in the comments below.