Winter can be a fun and festive season, but it also brings shorter and colder days. With more time typically being spent indoors, coats and shoes tend to pile up along with tracks of snow and mud. To prevent messes and ensure a clean and orderly house, follow these five tips to keep your home clean this winter.

Designate a Spot for Jackets and Shoes

Whether it’s in your main entry way or a mud room, having a spot to keep your family’s jackets and shoes will help contain any messes that come home with them. Consider adding a thick welcome mat outside the door to kick off any excess snow or mud before entering. Keep a large plastic tray nearby for shoes to be placed on for further drying. Allowing winter jackets to hang on hooks out in the open will help them to air dry faster than if they were shoved in a closet. To make this transition easier and to encourage this behavior, leave slippers and warm socks nearby for family members to slip on instead.

Add a Rug

If you aren’t able to catch all the mud and dirt at the door, another easy way to cut down on winter cleaning is to add area rugs in places where your home experiences high traffic. This tip is especially great for those who have wood or tile floors because it adds an extra element of warmth as well. When it comes to cleaning the rugs off, you can simply shake them off outside. For a deeper clean, opt for a wet dry vacuum. They specialize in cleaning, rinsing, and drying floors all at once and are ideal for stubborn stains or large areas that need cleaning.

Clean As You Go

Winter is synonymous with homemade soups, Christmas cookies, and other holiday treats. While cooking and baking can be a fun family tradition, it can also lead to piles of dishes, overflowing trash bins, and spills. Find time in between tasks to wipe down surfaces and reorganize your kitchen. If you have kids, this tip becomes even easier. Put away ingredients you no longer need while your little helpers place cookie dough on the cookie sheet, and wash any extra dishes while for your waiting for your treats to bake through. Lastly, be sure to check your trash can before beginning any big projects to keep it from spilling over.

Towel off Pets

Taking pets outside during winter can be a challenge. A nice new snow fall can be temping for some, and they don’t always go out of their way to avoid mud puddles. To prevent pets from tracking in messes, keep a towel nearby and wipe them down either outside or in a small confined area like a mud room before they venture further into the house. Rubbing down their coats, and especially their paws, will not only remove any access snow or mud, but it will also help warm them up.

Clean Your Furnace

This tip may seem a bit strange, but it’s very important. Dust and dirt have a powerful impact on the effectiveness of your furnace, and they can prevent it from functioning at its best. The filter should be changed at the beginning of the heating season, and checked once a month to ensure there is minimal build up. In the long run this will not only save you money and energy, but it will also result in better air quality, and less pollutants being circulated around your house.

Keeping a clean house in the winter doesn’t have to be a headache. These tricks are easy to follow and are great for all families. Once implemented, you’ll be able to spend more time with friends and family instead of worrying about the state of your home.