I once made a cross stitch pattern that had the saying “Cleaning the house while the kids are growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.” Such a true statement. These days the kids are grown but as my regular readers may remember, my husband and I take in rescue dogs and that saying is still very true. I even wrote an entire post about how we eliminate pet odors in our house. Like most women I want a clean house, but I prefer to spend my free time doing more than cleaning. So I am always thrilled to find practical cleaning tips and products that make the job so much easier.
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For starters I think you need to begin with some of the right tools. In the last few years I started wearing aprons when I cook, craft and especially clean. Our grandmothers understood the importance of protecting our clothes. For me it came down to just too many ruined shirts because I would clean something or paint and without protecting my clothes even if I consider them my “work clothes”. So the first thing would be to dress appropriately to clean which should also include rubber gloves.
Next, pick your weapons. Do you prefer spray cleaner to premoistened wipes? I use both depending on how much time I have to clean. The same goes for moping the floor. For quick cleanups I use the Swifter Wet Mop product but for deep cleaning I use my mop and special floor cleaner. For the bathrooms I also use disposable toilet wands for weekly cleanings and a brush and product for those times I can do a more thorough cleanup.
Once you decide what to wear and what tools you prefer, then you can get ready for the hard part – actually doing the cleaning!
Let’s face it, life gets busy and you can’t always do a deep clean of your ENTIRE house every week.
As women we don’t plan to have a messy house but work, soccer practices, homework, and meal preparation don’t always leave a lot of time to commit to a deep cleaning of your home. Even working from home doesn’t magically mean you have a spotless house. I thought I would have that when I started working from home or only worked part time outside the home. The truth, you are still at working either way and things still don’t get done.
In fact, I know I have grown numb to the clutter and messiness because I see it so often from my desk.
Yes, this is a real life picture of the clutter in my kitchen most days! Keeping it real for you.
The following list is some great tips I have adapted over time to use in my own home. Some of these I probably read in a magazine article at some time or a variation of it but I have learned to use what works well for me.
First great tip: Only focus on one room at a time.
I have seen suggestions that you should dust the entire house before moving to another task like vacuuming the entire house. Not to throw out that idea as bad, but for me, I like the pleasure of working on just one room and knowing that at least one room in the house is clean by the end of the day.
Knowing you have one room clean motivates you to keep at it.
Second great tip: Clean in 30 minute time frames.
I have found that if I set a timer on my phone and give myself 30 minutes to work on a single room I can get so much more done. I only focus on THAT room for the 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes you can clear clutter, dust and vacuum, clean both the shower and the toilet and wipe down all of the counter tops. Especially if you have the right products and tools.
After the first 30 minutes you can stop and work on something else or reset the timer for another 30 minutes to clean out a junk drawer or closet, or just the microwave. If you don’t finish the task in 30 minutes hit reset for another 30 minutes if needed.
When you set a timer for a task you will be amazed at how quickly you can get a room clean in 30 minutes.
Third great tip: Plan out your cleaning schedule.
Do you hate to face a mountain of laundry on Saturday mornings? Then plan to wash clothes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. You can plan the folding task for early Wednesday and Friday mornings and you don’t have to face a full week’s worth of laundry for one day.
Is cleaning the bathrooms a chore you? Especially if you have more than one to clean? Pick one morning or evening, pack up your supplies and clean ALL of the bathrooms on the same day. Only clean the bathrooms and don’t get distracted to dust a bedroom or vaccuum. That blocked time is for bathrooms only and then you can call it done.
Focusing on only one cleaning task on a scheduled day keeps you from getting overwhelmed with the entire house to clean.
When I am working from home I find that I enjoy taking a break to clean around lunch time. That way I have tackled some of my computer work tasks early, I clean while taking a mental break, and when I go back to work my mind is clear and I was active for a while.
The important thing is to find a cleaning schedule that works well for your busy life.
Fourth great tip: Clean top to bottom.
This just makes so much sense when you think about it. I have always dusted a room BEFORE vacuuming it because I figured some of the dust fell to the floor anyway. And I would definitely dust off the light fixture or chandelier before moving on the the furniture.
Top to bottom and corner to corner. The room is entirely clean when you walk out of it.
Fifth great tip: Plan special cleaning tasks around each time change at Daylight Savings Time.
What? Let’s think about that for a minute or two.
When you move your clocks forward or backwards it is a great reminder of the special cleaning tasks we never make time for. Such as flip your mattresses, change out the batteries in the smoke detector, clean the refrigerator coils, and defrost the freezer. Things you know you need to do but never take the time to do them. Every six months you get a reminder to do those special tasks that don’t take long but scheduling them is often a challenge.
Extra tip: Buy yourself a pair of headphones and listen to an audio book or podcasts while you clean.
Have you been waiting for the free time to enjoy a good book or just to learn something new? Cleaning will go by so much faster and you will get more done if you listen to books or podcasts on your phone while you work.
Try to enjoy the process.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27