Marie Kondo, the reigning queen of clean, seems to have tossed out her crown — for good.
The pioneer of the popular KonMari Method and star of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has, refreshingly, taken on a more lax approach to cleanliness recently. Her reason? Motherhood. After giving birth to her third child in April 2021, Kondo revealed she had decided to let go of perfectionism and didn’t feel the need to tidy up every single day.
Let’s face it: keeping a small apartment or condo neat to an exact standard is time-consuming and downright stressful for most of us — especially for all us lazy girls who are far less disciplined than Kondo.
If you’re looking to clean smarter, not harder, here are 10 couch potato-approved hacks for a spotless (OK, how about almost spotless?) small space-friendly clean that won’t tucker you out.
A spray a day keeps the dirt away
Most of us probably hop into the shower daily, so why not do double-duty and add in a simple cleaning task while you wash your body?
Rather than furiously scrubbing at your shower grout on the weekends, trying to break down layers upon layers of buildup, spray your shower daily with a no-rinse bathroom cleaner and let the water do the work for you while you shower.
You’ll still need to do a scheduled deeper clean at a later date, but a low-effort spray every day (or every couple of days) will give the dirt far less chance to accumulate and harden. You’ll have your work cut out for you when it eventually comes time to do the in-depth scrub.
For the simplest option, use one part distilled white vinegar and one part warm water to make an easy DIY spray. Let it sit on your shower walls and bathtub for a few minutes while you have the taps off, then let the water do its job while you shower. If you’re feeling crafty, you can also try these other cheap and environmentally-friendly DIY natural cleaners to give your shower that post-clean sparkle.
Become a human Swiffer
Be the clean you wish to see in the world. Literally. The popular “sock mop” hack only requires you to put on fuzzy socks and walk around your house.
For the über-lazy: bam, you are cleaning as you go by doing nothing more than walking from your couch to the fridge and back again. Any regular pair of chenille socks will help you keep floor dust at bay, but there are specially-designed mop slippers and socks available on Amazon if you’re okay looking a little silly in the comfort of your own home.
You may also like: These small rugs are perfect for tiny apartments.
Invest in your cleanliness
If you get sleepy arms when you’re trying to scrub down tiles or soiled surfaces, you’re probably a) regretting that you started the task in the first place and b) not scrubbing hard enough to properly remove dirt.
If you’re a #CleanTok fan, you’ve probably seen cleaning pros using power scrubbers to save time and arm strength expenditure. Investing in a tool like a power scrubber might seem pricey at first, but will save you many cleaning-related head (and arm) aches.
A tool’s spin speed can do a better job at scrubbing out those hard-to-reach spaces and getting surfaces to shine better than you can manually. You’ll save yourself stress and get rid of more gunk.
For a TikTok-approved option, the Ryobi 18-Volt Power Scrubber is a fan favourite.
When in doubt, throw it out.
It doesn’t have to spark joy — but it does have to be useful. If you’re in a 500 square foot apartment, you need to maximize the little space you do have.
A good rule of thumb: if an item hasn’t been used, worn or thought about in six months, it’s probably not something you truly value. Our things should be compatible with our lifestyles and many people hold on to things we don’t actually use.
Recycling or donating what you don’t need can give the illusion of a cleaner apartment simply by removing visual clutter. In a tiny apartment, throwing away 10 things could make all the difference between feeling like you’re a hoarder and getting that “ahhh” clean satisfaction sensation.
Plus, less overall stuff means less things to keep clean. Win-win.
Clean as you go
Building cleaning into pre-existing habits and routines will help you clean as you go, so there’s less daunting buildup on your deep-clean days.
Say you’re cooking dinner. What’s the next logical step while you wait for your Bella Hadid-inspired prosciutto pasta to cook? Clean the dishes that aren’t being used, of course! After your meal, quickly doing a full countertop wipe down just makes sense.
If you build a cleaning step, like dishes, into part of your cooking process, it become a natural part of your routine over time and helps you avoid letting your mess get out of hand over time.
If you are a true lazy girl, you know the pain of spending an entire day panic-cleaning before your mom comes to visit, since you didn’t keep up with your routine. If you do the bare minimum each day, you’ll save yourself the huge undertakings when you need to clean to avoid looking like a slob.
Create a cleaning playlist
Yes, I keep a “Cleaning the Bathroom” playlist on Spotify and it’s a major motivator in getting the job done. By distracting yourself from the task at hand, you’ll feel more relaxed while you clean and be able to fall into the rhythm of the work.
Something like a podcast that holds your focus is even more engaging, so you’re more likely to keep up with the task for as long as the podcast goes on.
If you have roomies, a playlist can also make a team cleaning session a fun activity between two or more people and you’ll get those chores done much quicker than you would solo.
You may also like: 10 signs it’s time to find a new roommate.
Hang it up
Any kind of over-door hook or hanging-style storage is great for a tiny apartment since they free up counter and floor space. Items such as hanging shoe organizers, shower caddies and pot racks are easy to use and get rid of a lot of the eye-level mess so your apartment has the illusion of being cleaner than it is.
It’s been proven that trying to get work done underneath a pile of clutter actually makes us less productive and more anxious.
So these storage solutions could actually help make you feel calmer.
Use products you actually like
Many of us don’t put much thought into which cleaning products we buy beyond whether they actually work or if they’re good for the planet. If you’re feeling lazy, using cleaning supplies that you enjoy the look, smell or feel of can actually increase your urge to clean more frequently.
Nice-to-look-at products like Blueland’s gorgeous colourful bottles with refreshing, light scents can incentivize you to feel happier when you clean, so it’s less of a struggle.
Set your timer
Breaking big tasks into timed increments can help you tackle the chores you dread most, like cleaning your fridge. Try short 10-minute timers for small tasks or the Pomodoro Method, which usually works in 25-minutes installments with five-minute breaks.
You might find yourself accomplishing intimidating cleaning tasks more quickly than you thought.
Keep cleaning supplies accessible
Put your cleaning supplies around the house or apartment in places that make sense. If you have a conveniently located broom, Swiffer or Lysol wipe, chances are you’ll be more likely to use them if you make a mess.
A surface spray next to your kitchen counter, toilet bowl cleaner under your bathroom sink and storage bins near areas where you throw things mindlessly can help make cleaning more of a no-brainer and less of a chore.