If you’re just one step away from hiring a maid, back away from the phone. There are a lot of chores you can put on autopilot so you can have more free time. While these tips won’t solve all your cleaning problems, they will get rid of some of the more heinous tasks.

Don’t let your mail touch a surface

Like a lot of people, you probably have a huge stack of mail somewhere in your house that needs sorting. From now on, prevent it from piling up by using one easy rule: Don’t lay your mail down to be sorted later.

As soon as you enter your home, go over to the recycling bin or trash basket and throw in all the junk mail, magazines you don’t read and unwanted catalogs. Anything that’s left over needs to go wherever it is you put bills, wanted magazines and important letters.

Pro tip: If you haven’t already, set up all of your bills so they come to your inbox, not your mailbox. This will eliminate even more paper mess from your life.

Don’t put it down!

The same goes for dishes. Don’t let them touch anything. Don’t put them on the counter. Don’t put them in the sink. Put them directly into the dishwasher after you use them, always.

When the racks get full, start it up. This completely eliminates the weary task of loading the dishwasher.

Get a robot

I am really bad about vacuuming regularly, so I got a robot to do it for me. Robot vacuum cleaners used to cost a lot, but they’ve come down in price substantially.

Many of them can be controlled with your phone so you don’t even need to start them up manually. Here’s our list of the best vacuum bots for 2018.

OK, robot vacuums sound great, but you still have to mop, right? Nope, there are robot mops, too, like the iRobot Braava Jet. Even better, the Ozmo 930 bot mops and vacuums.

Make your toilet clean itself

Though there’s not a toilet cleaning bot, you can still make your toilet self-cleaning. All you need is a magic sponge. Here are the details, but you basically drop a magic sponge into the toilet’s tank.

The magic sponge’s cleaning agent coats the bowl every time the toilet’s flushed so the grime doesn’t stick.

Now playing: Watch this: Save time cleaning with these devices

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Line your fridge

Cleaning the fridge just takes too dang long. The best way to beat fridge cleaning day is to prevent it. Line all of the shelves and drawers with wax paper. When the paper gets dirty, toss it and reline the shelves. No scrubbing required. 

If you don’t like the waste that comes from tossing the wax paper, line the shelves with plastic place mats or shelf liner, instead. Then, on cleaning day, take the liners out of the fridge, rinse them clean and put them back. 

Here are some more tips for keeping your refrigerator squeaky clean with little effort.

Give everything a place

When everything has a place — and you put everything in its place — then clutter never has a chance to build up. Here are some ideas:

  • Have a single designated spot to put your shoes when you get home.
  • Keep a basket beside the door for your keys and sunglasses.
  • Hang a hook on the back of the door for your jacket.
  • Always put your magazines in a stack where you plan on reading them.
  • Keep a laundry basket in every room where clothes get taken off (bedrooms and bathrooms) so items can go in the basket right away.
  • If empty soda cans build up on the coffee table, keep a recycling bin stored underneath it where you can toss cans (my husband loves this solution).

Here’s how to get your bathroom clean in less than 10 minutes.

Also, here’s a 5-minute cleaning routine for the dirtiest place in your life, and, no it’s not the bathroom.

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