cleaning

Cleaning is a hassle. But you might be making it harder on yourself than is absolutely necessary. Whether you’re tidying up your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom, banishing your bad habits can make it easier to clean — and easier to keep your place clean.

And nowhere will a truly good clean be more apparent than your living room. It’s your space for relaxing and it’s where you entertain guests. It’s where your most statement-making decor will most likely live. So it deserves some TLC. And you can deliver it with a little help.

Break these five bad living room cleaning habits and you can get your space pristinely clean. So clean, in fact, that it might just stay that way for good.

Living with piles

Look around your living room. What’s the state of your stuff? If you’ve got piles, it’s time to reconsider. That stack of magazines and that heap of throw blankets aren’t doing your aesthetic any favors. Plus, do you know what piles invite? Bigger piles.

Now, that’s not to say that your stuff might not benefit from being gathered in groups. But there’s a difference between having your kids’ toys piled loosely in the corner and neatly stored in a bin. If you can’t part with your pile because it makes sense to keep the items gathered that way, invest in a storage system for those items to keep your living room neat. As an added bonus, it can clue your family members or roommates into where that stuff should go when it’s not in use, helping them put stuff away so your living room stays tidy.

Cluttering surfaces

How often do you dust and disinfect all the surfaces in your living room? If it’s not often, you might be facing one of the most common bad living room cleaning habits: too much clutter. You’re never going to wipe down your mantel if you have to move over a dozen items off it to cross that chore off your list.

Streamline what you keep on your surfaces to make it easier to keep everything near looking and sanitized.

Not dusting first

The living room tends to accumulate dust. So when you start by vacuuming without addressing the dust on your surfaces first, you’re just moving the problem around. Instead, start by dusting. And do your highest ledges first, then work your way down. Wait to clean your floors last so you’re catching all of that dust and getting your space truly clean. Bonus: making sure all of the dust is completely gathered throughout the course of your clean will help you space stay cleaner over time.

Also, don’t forget about the items that aren’t easy to knock free of dust, like throw pillows and blankets. Launder them regularly to catch those dust mites.

A sparkling living room requires clean tools used on a regular basis. Image: FollowTheFlow/Getty Images

Using dirty tools

Cleaning your living room takes some elbow grease. Don’t waste it. One of the most common bad living room cleaning habits is starting with tools that aren’t clean themselves.

If you haven’t cleaned your vacuum filter in a while, this is the time. The same goes for your cleaning rags, sponges or whatever else you use to disinfect and dust.

And speaking of disinfecting, don’t forget this part. It’s easy to give your coffee table a quick wipedown, but don’t forget to get those frequently touched items like remotes and light switches.

Not having a place for everything (and everything in its place)

Where is that remote supposed to go? What about that throw pillow? How about that board game? If you’re not sure, odds are no one else in your house knows either. And that’s why you end up with stuff just floating around, creating visual clutter and making it hard to keep your place looking clean. It also leads to the problem of piles we discussed above.

Because living rooms are generally spaces for relaxing, it’s easy to get relaxed about how they’re maintained. But that can lead to junk accumulating. And not only does that leave your place looking messy, but it also makes your to-do list that much longer when it comes time to clean.

Collect all the stuff in your living room that doesn’t have a place. Then, find a place for it. Then, keep it in its place. Easy-peasy.

Do any of these bad living room cleaning tips sound familiar? If so, it’s time to reconfigure your space so it can better serve you. Break these habits and you can enjoy a cleaner space for longer!