tiny house cleaning checklist

Spring Cleaning Sweet Pea

tiny house pantry They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but in Portland it sprinkles in and it drizzles out. Last year I didn't feel inspired to do a my Spring Cleaning of the Yurt until April. Nevertheless, this week I decided it was time for a good spring cleaning of my Home, Sweet Pea.

I’d been through a couple rough weeks, which helped me remember that stuff is Just Stuff. I realized how much I rely on the technological tools that keep me working each day. Fortunately, I now have a new phone and a new computer. And after a couple heart-wrenching conversations and a celebration of life ceremony for the person who reassured me that it really is time to build my tiny house (we'll miss you Les!), I also have a renewed appreciation for connections with the people I love and admire.

It seemed a good time to get my house, my head, and my heart in order again. Cleaning is not one of my favorite activities, which is one of the many reasons I live in a tiny house. But cleaning can be cathartic. It’s a good opportunity to blast the music and get moving again. So I cleaned the tiny house from top to bottom while listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Griffin House, Birdy, Pink Martini, Joshua Radin, and Eva Cassidy.

all packed and ready for my trip to the East Coast

As I noted in Tiny House Cleaning Checklist, it turns out that, when cleaning a tiny house, it really is best to clean top to bottom. As you strip the bed and catch any dust bunnies, cobwebs, and bits of schmootz that have gathered in the corners of the loft, you can send them downstairs so they'll get swept up by the time you get to the floors. I also reinventoried my pantry and did a bunch of laundry. And vacuumed every nook and cranny, scrubbed every surface, and reorganized every drawer.

It’s nice to be leaving Sweet Pea in good shape as I put the house and my dear Raffi into Laura Klement’s care. I’m head out to Boston tomorrow to visit with a couple friends then to Yestermorrow for a week to teach the Less is More course with Dave Cain. Stay tuned for more tiny tales!

Tiny House Cleaning Check List

In general, I've found it's easiest to clean a tiny house from top to bottom (literally!) and from back to front. So this order may not work for you, but here’s how I usually go about cleaning a tiny house when I’m doing a deep clean. Maintenance cleaning is super quick, but a tiny house deep clean usually takes me about an hour. (NB: I have two pairs of sheets – if you only have 1 set you may want to save making the bed for last along with replenishing the towels and TP!)


Here are the steps I go through when doing a tiny house deep clean:

  1. Remove and shake rugs outside
  2. Do a quick sweep of floors to not track dirt around (and dump sweepings in compost or trash)
  3. Open windows and tie back curtains
  4. Get pillows and blankets out of the way and strip the bed(s)
  5. Grab towels from bathroom and kitchen
  6. Start laundry
  7. Tidy up and put everything that has escaped its place back where it belongs
  8. Make bed(s) with fresh sheets (see my Tips for Making a Loft Bed below)
  9. Do dishes and get them air-drying
  10. Switch laundry to dryer if it’s rainy or hang laundry if it’s sunny
  11. Dust art, books, games, etc.
  12. Wipe down all flat surfaces in kitchen with spray and rag
  13. Clean shower
  14. Clean toilet and/or empty compost toilet
  15. Sweep floors thoroughly (including the dust bunnies behind furniture)
  16. Mop floors if necessary
  17. Put dirty rag into laundry bin
  18. Tie up trash bag and replace with new one
  19. Empty trash bag in garbage, recycling in recycle, compost in compost
  20. Wash hands!
  21. Put rugs back
  22. Retrieve and fold clean laundry (this may have to happen later if you’ve hung it to dry in the sun!)
  23. Refresh bath towels, hand towels, dish towels, bath mat, and toilet paper roll
  24. Settle down for a well-deserved hot or cold drink!

Tips for Making a Loft Bed:

1)   Find the corners of the fitted sheet that correspond to the top two corners of the mattress BEFORE you bring the sheet up the ladder so you don’t have to figure it out up there.

2)   Fold the flat sheet the long way and bring the top edge up the ladder, placing it in the center of the bed. Unfold the sheet at the top and then unfold as you go, working your way down the sheet as you work your way out of the loft. Repeat for any blankets.

3)   Put everything a little closer to the head of the bed than I needs to be at first so that you can smooth out the wrinkles by tugging on it.