Let’s face it, cleaning your house is not a task most of us find enjoyable. There’s a lot to do in a day and house cleaning isn’t always at the top of that task list. If you have a little free time it’s more enticing to spend it relaxing than trying to get a stain out of your carpet. Even if we hate cleaning the house, the truth is it’s unavoidable.

Luckily there are some changes you can make in your daily routine to keep your house clean instead of dealing with a dirty house that’s gotten out of hand. Keeping something clean from the get-go is much easier than spending several hours cleaning up something that’s been neglected a day or two too long.

You don’t have to go to the level of carpet cleaning like the professionals to have a clean home. You can have a clean house and still find some time to binge watch a Netflix show every once in a while too. These are some easy tips you can use to keep your house clean and save you some headaches from dealing with a mess that’s out of control.

1. Protect Your Carpets

Cleaning your carpet can get to be an especially huge hassle especially if there are stains you just can’t get out. You can help prevent that kind of thing from happening a few different ways. The point is to protect your carpet so you don’t have to worry about those stains getting the chance to settle in.

First of all, you can make sure people take off their shoes as soon as they come into the house. If you want you can keep a few pairs of house friendly slippers by the door for guests, but if you use this new rule there shouldn’t be any exceptions. Anyone who comes into the house takes off their shoes.

Put an organizer or basket by the door to help remind people shoes come off right away. The holder you use can help you from losing your mind by looking at a clutter of shoes by the door every day. You can also make a rule that no one can keep more than one pair of shoes by the door and the rest go in their room.

Whatever is going to make this work for you is how you should adapt this for your home. Shoes bring in mud, grass, snow, and all kinds of other things that just aren’t carpet friendly. Stop them at the door.

You can also use area rugs or carpet runners to protect your carpeting. They’re easier to clean, they help tie a room together and make it look great, and if you have to replace it, it’s cheaper than placing carpet that’s installed wall to wall in your room. Again, it’s just another way to protect the carpeting so you don’t have to stress about a stain.

2. Use A Catch-All Bin

This tip can be a real sanity-saving habit to get into. Every home has a high traffic area that ends up with a lot of clutter. Backpacks, mail, shoes, homework, toys, you name it and it’s probably somewhere in that area you’re thinking about right now. This is the place to introduce the catch-all bin.

It might seem like a bad idea but it works in two ways. First of all, it contains everything normally being tossed on the floor and creating clutter. Second, now that the mess is contained, you can set a time every week to go through the bin and put things where they’re actually supposed to go. If you stick to that schedule you’ll find that you feel a lot more organized and sane when you’re looking at those previously cluttered areas of your home.

3. Use A Chore App

Things are a little more updated now that smartphones and other things like tablets are everywhere. A chore chart with stickers isn’t quite up to date anymore. But there are updated versions with the same basic idea right in the app store. Some cleaning apps are better than others but you’ll have plenty to choose from.

If you’re looking for one that’s family friendly and uses the same idea as a chore chart, for instance, you can try the Our Home app. The app lets you assign tasks to anyone who is logged in on their device to the same account. It also sends reminders about the chores that need to be completed, and awards points for tasks once they’re done.

The app saves you some sanity since you won’t have to nag at the kids to get things done. The app does that for you now. Awesome, right? It also lets the whole family add items to a communal grocery shopping list. That means if someone notices you’re out of ketchup they can add it to the list so it’s not forgotten about because you didn’t even know you needed it.

4. Make Baking Soda Your Cleaning Best Friend

Baking soda can be used in all kinds of cleaning situations. Yes, this tip is more about cleaning and less about keeping things clean but you can’t avoid doing a little cleaning 100% of the time. If you have some carpet stains you’ve all but given up on, try the vinegar and baking soda method.

Pour some baking soda over the stain, and follow that with some vinegar. You don’t have to drench your carpet in the vinegar but you do need enough to make sure the baking soda is bubbling nicely. Let the reaction happen and sit on the carpet for about 15 minutes, then blot any moisture up and if there’s baking soda left on the carpet you can vacuum that up too.

If the stain is being stubborn you can do the same thing, but add in the use of a warm iron. Once the mixture has soaked into your carpet, place a soft cloth or towel over the stain. Then put your warm iron on the towel and the stain should lift out of the carpet and into your towel. You might have to repeat it a few times to get the stain out entirely but this trick really does work.

You can also use baking soda to freshen up your carpets. Carpets all eventually need a good refresh, so there’s no shame in using baking soda to accomplish that task without having to use a store bought carpet freshener. Baking soda is an especially great choice if you have kids or pets that you’re worried about coming into contact with anything on your floors.

Sprinkle baking soda over the carpets in your room and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Once it’s had a chance to sit go ahead and vacuum it up like you would any other carpet powder. If you want a scented option you can mix the baking soda with some essential oils before you sprinkle it over the carpet. Once vacuumed your room and your carpets will smell great.