Every year, you make the same well-intentioned promise: to keep your house clean on a regular basis.

But how do you take that lofty goal and turn it into something actionable? How do you take an expectation and transform it into a constructive behavior?

The answer is to break your goal down into a simple everyday activity. To keep your home consistently clean, employ this handy little trick: clean 20 minutes every day.

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20 Minutes a Day

Think about what you can achieve in just 20 minutes if you give all your energy and attention to one task. You can hang clothes, make your bed, put toys in baskets, throw away trash, wipe down countertops, fold blankets, fluff pillows, unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, sweep the floor…the list is endless.

With this strategy, you can either determine what needs to be done by assessing your home each day or you can set a weekly schedule: Mondays are for sweeping the kitchen floor, Tuesdays are for cleaning the showers, Wednesdays are for emptying out the pantry, and so on.

How you choose to structure your time is less important than setting the intention to clean and following through. It may feel challenging at first, but once you get started cleaning just a little bit every day, your home will always look neat and inviting, and making the same old dead-end resolutions every year will be a thing of the past.

Keep Up, Not Catch Up

Consistency is key in achieving anything, including maintaining an organized, clutter-free space. When you tackle just one project or task every day—no matter how small it may seem—messes don’t have time to build up and take over.

If you prioritize cleaning for 20 minutes every day, it’ll eventually become a habit, and then you’ll barely have to think about it at all. Just like brushing your teeth or turning on the coffee pot in the morning, cleaning will become second nature. Plus, building this positive habit helps lay a foundation for creating other positive habits like exercising or reading.

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Perpetually Motivated

Knowing you have a closet to organize, dirty clothes to wash, a fridge to empty out, a carpet that needs vacuuming, and a toilet that needs scrubbing is daunting. If your to-do list includes a mountain of unpleasant tasks, you’ll never feel motivated to get things done.

Focusing on just one thing a day—folding the clean clothes from the dryer or loading the dishwasher—is an easier, more attainable goal than blocking off an entire Saturday to conduct a massive cleanup.

Forever Flexible

You don’t have to run through the same checklist of tasks every day. Depending on your schedule, mood, and to-do list, you should—switch it up.

You can either focus on one simple task—like vacuuming the living room floor or wiping down the surfaces in your bathroom—or you can set a timer and see how many different tasks you can finish in 20 minutes. Ask yourself what makes the most sense to do every day, and then do that.

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Save Your Energy

Saving all the cleaning work for one day can leave you feeling either completely exhausted or ready to tear your hair out if you ever set eyes on another pair of mismatched socks. Maybe even both. Dividing your effort and time helps you remain productive without feeling stressed or overworked.

Always Inviting

Do you ever wish you could host a spontaneous get-together with friends or invite your family over on Sunday afternoon for a dinner that same evening? When you clean 20 minutes every day, your home stays looking tidy, fresh, and put-together on a regular basis.

This means your house is always just one quick sweep or vacuum away from receiving guests, whether it’s for a formal dinner party or a casual stop-by.

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Paige Smith