Like death and taxes, cleaning is something we can only outrun for so long. This doesn’t mean, however, that we haven’t found ways to avoid these things for a little bit longer. We exercise to live longer, and we can follow easy cleaning tips to keep the big cleanup at bay. Read on for easy ways to prevent your mess from building up as long as possible.

  1. Opt for Short “Power Cleans” Between Big Cleanups
  2. Let’s admit it—cleaning isn’t always very hard. But it is time-consuming. Avoid the time suck by nipping messes in the bud. Try to build a 15-minute power-cleaning session into your daily routine to tackle problem areas without losing your entire day—check out our quick cleaning lists for the kitchen and the bathroom.

  3. Check Your Dirt at the Door
  4. three pairs of shoes sitting on a doormat outsideAre your floors perpetually dirty? Blame your shoes. A great way to keep your carpet clean and your hardwoods sparkling is to restrict shoes from moving beyond the doorway. Place welcome mats both inside and outside your doors to beef up your defense against tracked-in dirt (coarse materials like olefin remove dirt best, while woven mats work well to absorb water), and let the shoes you wear most live in a shoe rack near an entryway. You won’t miss the quality mop-and-broom time, we promise.

  5. Make Storage Where There Once Was None
  6. Do you have areas of your home that have become glorified dumping grounds for your family’s belongings, like the couch or the dining room table? Consider adding extra storage options, such as a hamper for bags or a bowl for keys. This lets you keep your home clean without breaking old habits.

  7. Spot-Clean Spot
  8. woman brushing dog's hairPet dander can build up so quickly—especially in the summer—that it feels like no amount of vacuuming will ever help you catch up. Try rubbing down your favorite furry friend with a microfiber towel every few days to reduce dander buildup; regularly brushing your animals will help too.

  9. Decorate Strategically
  10. Another easy way to avoid messes is to camouflage them. Choose decorations that hide messes and make them easy to clean. Patterned furniture hides stains better than solid colors do. In addition, cotton-blend, vinyl, and wool fabrics are more durable and less prone to staining than other fabrics. Choosing these easy-to-clean fabrics will save you time and heartache in the long run if you’re living with pets and kids. It also helps to choose machine-washable options for decorations like couch covers and drapes, taking the difficulty of your stain-removal process down a few levels.

Ultimately, we can’t hide from cleaning forever, but these easy house cleaning tips may just help you outsmart the beast and free up some time to focus on everything else in your busy life.