While there are many lovely people out here who love to clean and find the task to be fulfilling or therapeutic, others among us need motivation. We also appreciate a good shortcut or two.

But there is the realization that some chores just can’t afford to be skipped. And there are some that make things easier in the long term if done sooner rather than later. Each household has different needs depending on one’s lifestyle and a system for handling housework.

Hopping on certain things on a daily or weekly basis will help to prevent massive pileups, weird odors, or an accumulation of dust and allergens. Which of those are most essential? Look at which areas are used the most or will affect your home the most if things are out of whack.

Here’s a list of cleaning duties that shouldn’t be neglected on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You probably know these already, but some of you may just need a gentle nudge or reminder.

  1. Washing Dishes

    With many families eating three meals a day, the dirty stack of dishes waiting for you in the evening may tempt you into abandoning it. Even if you have a dishwasher, starting a habit of washing what you used right after you’re finished can cut down on how much time you spend doing it later.

    Try not to get in the habit of letting them sit overnight or in various rooms in your house; it just breeds bacteria, caked-on mess, and odors. At the very least, rinse them so it won’t be so hard to wash them.

  2. Mail and Papers

    You know how easy it is to let piles of mail and other papers to accumulate. School flyers, magazines, junk mail, and receipts can leave you and your space drowning in paper. Go through your mail when you receive it and toss what you don’t need immediately, and file or sort the rest away. Having a mail/paperwork station in a designated place for each family member helps.

  3. Stains and Spots

    This is especially true for surfaces that are hard to clean like carpets or walls. Go after spills, splatters, and accidents before they have a chance to set or cause major damage. That definitely means wiping down surfaces where food is eaten or prepped, but also floors and furniture too.

    Baking soda, white vinegar and commercial products can be used to spot clean food stains, chocolate, crayon, wine, pet stains, and others. Check out these tips on how to fight stains.

We know that time plays a role in how much you’re able to get done in a single day or week, so splitting your housework duties among those who live with you is ideal. Your home doesn’t have to be spotless every day, but spending a few minutes a day doing these little things will make a big difference.

Which chores do you make sure not to skip? Which ones sometimes take a back seat? Do you love or hate to clean?