Publishing a post on keeping a clean house makes me giggle a bit, especially if you could actually see what my house looks like at the exact moment I'm drafting this. Best of intentions here, people, best of intentions. I will try really hard to follow my own advice on this one. :-)
1. Just say no to clutter. The fewer things you have, the less you have to clean/work around. Simplify. Take a look at what you have out. Do you really want to move/clean this stuff on a regular basis? Related to that . . .
2. Make the best use of space. One thing I love about our current house is the plethora of potential storage areas. (Especially after coming from Italy, where apparently they have a thing against closets.) If you don't use it all the time, don't leave it out. Another popular version of this is "a place for everything and everything in its place." This works, too. Sort of. I find this to be a never-ending project.
3. Clean every day. Yes, every. single. day. Even if it's just your must do list (see #10). I also try to spend 5-10 minutes each evening walking from room to room looking for obvious issues (e.g., snack bowls in the play room, rugs out of place, books knocked off shelves, hand towels that need replaced).
4. Enlist the kids' help. Capitalize on the fact that young children love to "help" with everything. Give them a dust rag and tell them to go at it. Teach them how to fold laundry or empty non-breakables from the dishwasher. Have them clean the bathtub. Worried about exposure to chemicals? Well then . . .
5. Use green cleaners. Truthfully, I'm more likely to clean now that I'm using vinegar and water almost exclusively and I'm not as worried about what I'm spraying around the Agents.
6. Have a plan . . . or not. For some things I like having a set time to do them (e.g., run the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen after dinner). Other cleaning jobs might be done on the same day each week. (I realize some folks might find the idea of scheduling cleaning insane.)
7. Work toward a deadline. I always have an idea in the back of my mind of when I'd like to have something "done." Usually it involves a date I know Hubby is coming home. Not that I'm cleaning to impress him, per se. He knows the real us. :-) It's just more of a goal-setting technique.
8. Clean a clean house. This one is so obvious, yet hard for me to grasp. The only way your house is going to stay clean is if you clean it on a regular basis whether it "needs" it or not. I find this especially true concerning the kitchen and bathrooms. Just do it. Don't wait until it's a complete disaster and you begin to think it would be easier to just move. (Not that I speak from experience. But I speak from experience.)
9. Know what you can let go. Personally, dust on shelves doesn't bother me. Changing the sheets can almost always wait a few more days. If the play room isn't picked up, eh. Concentrate on what matters to you. Which leads me to . . .
10. Pick your daily battles. For me, it's dishes, laundry, and vacuuming. I aim to have these three things under control each day. Someone not at home during the day might not create as many dishes. A home without pets and small children might be able to get by with vacuuming less frequently. But for us, this is our "thing."