We Asked 8 People With Spotless Apartments For Their Best Cleaning Advice

Remember how Cinderella had those magical little mice and birds to help her make sure that mansion was spotless? We think about those diligent critters every time we look around our apartments only to see piles of clothes, dirty dishes, and dust, which is to say, often. Listen, we’re well-aware that Cinderella’s living situation was far from ideal, but at the very least she had some support when it came to chores. Though apron-clad mice or head kerchief-wearing birds are hard to come by IRL, there are plenty of people out there who manage to keep their homes clean at all times — even without animal assistance — and they have tons of tips and tricks that could help us less-organized people improve our housekeeping habits.

We ask real millennials who self-identify as good cleaners to share how they keep their homes spotless. Ahead, you’ll learn how these young professionals from across the country developed their tidy home habits, what they do every day to ensure their spaces stay organized, and their best cleaning advice.

Occupation: Graduate student
Age: 23
City: New York, New York

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
I have always been able to keep a clean home. My dad is a neat freak so he passed the habit of daily cleaning down to me.

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Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
It’s as simple as making sure that everything in your home has it’s own home and being sure to put things back in their place after using them.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Break cleaning up into little chunks throughout the week. Maybe vacuum one day, clean the bathroom toilet the next, do the laundry the day after. Waiting to clean one specific day per week can make the task seem overwhelming but breaking it up throughout the week makes it more manageable.

Occupation: Doctoral candidate
Age: 29
City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
I wasn’t always so neat, especially about my bedroom space. It’s a habit I developed in college because of this “open door” policy. Keeping the door open signaled others on the hall to stop by to say hello. I would have been far too embarrassed to keep my door open if it was messy!

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
I make my bed. It’s a simple, few minute task that gets me in the mindset of tidying up the rest of the bedroom. Even if no one of going to see it, just knowing I did it helps me start the day feeling organized. Likewise, I rarely leave dirty dishes overnight. Coming into a clean kitchen to start my breakfast and tea makes it feel like a brand new day full of possibility.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
If it takes just a few minutes, do it right away. It’s easy to throw a coat down on a chair and think, ‘I’ll hang it up after I put the groceries away’ but then leave it thrown over a chair or whatever until the next time you leave the house. It takes just seconds to slip a coat onto a hanger. In those seconds, the groceries will be fine. Long term, the habit adds up to keeping things tidy.

Occupation: Stay at home mom
Age: 29
City: Cranford, New Jersey

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
“It’s definitely a habit I picked up later in life. It wasn’t until I realized how much of my stress was related to having a messy/dirty house that I started to do something about it. My energy levels are totally off if I know the house is a mess.”

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
“Clear the countertops/surfaces of clutter. I find that if you leave something that doesn’t belong on a counter, chances are you’ll keep leaving things that don’t belong on the counter. It’s a vicious cycle.”

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
“Invest in a cordless vacuum. It has completely changed my life. The price tags are pretty high on cordless vacuums, but I guarantee it’s worth every penny. I have an older model and the battery life only lasts 15 minutes. Sometimes it sucks when I run out of time, but it also means I never have to spend more than 15 minutes vacuuming the house. It’s so easy that I vacuum every day, and sometimes even look forward to it. If you have a small space, I definitely recommend it. Another tip is to keep your decor simple. If you don’t have a lot of things, you don’t have to spend time cleaning them. Less is more.”

Occupation: Fashion designer
Age: 28
City: New York, New York

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
I’ve always kept my room/ home clean, but it’s a habit I constantly have to work on.

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
A clean house is a lifestyle. I clean up as I go through my day. Breakfast dishes get washed before I start with work, shoes and jacket go into the closet when I get home, scissor goes into the drawer when I’m done cutting, etc. I’m a fashion designer, which means my work space in my small Manhattan apartment quickly becomes very cluttered unless I clean as I go.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Don’t get into the habit of leaving “stuff” sitting around, no matter how tired or busy you are. You’ll save time by putting things into their place. The only thing you should leave for the cleaning person (or cleaning day) is laundry, dusting, and deep cleaning the floor, bathrooms, and kitchen. Everything else should be cleaned when you’re done with it.

Occupation: Art director
Age: 25
City: New York, New York

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
Always! As a child, my mom would not let me go play with my friends until my room was clean. My mom also kept an insanely clean kitchen, which I now realize isn’t the case in a lot of homes.

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
To this day, I won’t leave my room if something is out of place. Even if I am running late, I’ll stay a minute to tidy up. Like hanging clothes up that were thrown on the chair. I also never leave dishes in the sink. We are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, which makes keeping the sink empty a lot easier.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Don’t wait for an event like people coming over to clean. It’ll just stress you out. Clean a little bit everyday. Especially the bathroom. Clean the toilet bowl at least once a week. Also, it’s really nice to get fresh air circulating in your room every morning. Open a window while you get ready or make breakfast. It’ll air out your sheets. But I really think to keep a tidy space, just make sure everything has a home. I don’t really believe in organized chaos.

Occupation: Publishing
Age: 28
City: Los Angeles, CA

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
Yes I was always clean, but I also got better at cleaning and staying neat as I got older.

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
I always make the bed, I put things away once I’m doing using them, I keep surfaces uncluttered, I don’t own a lot of things to start with. My partner is also very clean and that helps.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Just clean a little bit every day or put things away here and there as you go about your day, rather than waiting for a mess to pile up because that will feel much more daunting to clean.

Occupation: Marketing
Age: 25
City: Washington, D.C.

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
My mom was big on cleaning so it’s been a habit since childhood.

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
I don’t let things pile up. A little bit of effort each day saves you time and energy in the long run.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Maintain a regular cleaning schedule so you’re never overwhelmed.

Occupation: Marketing
Age: 39
City: Portland, OR

Were you always good at keeping your home clean and organized or was it a habit that developed later?
The habit definitely developed later.

Is there something you do every day to help keep your space clean and organized?
I always make my bed, and I always do the dishes.

What is your best piece of cleaning advice?
Make your bed. Seriously, no matter how messy your room is, a made bed will make it look so much cleaner.

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