Efficient House Cleaning 101: How to Improve Your Housekeeping Skills
A clean and organized house leads to a clean and organized mind . . . or it helps anyway! You don't have to love cleaning, but you can strive to be efficient at it (in order to get it over with as soon as possible)!
The biggest secret to efficient cleaning is organization. Once on a rotating schedule in your mind, it becomes a rote part of your routine. First, take a few minutes to write down what in your home needs to be done daily, weekly, and monthly.
Do you clean on a schedule, or as needed?
Things that need to be done on a day to day basis are things that make the house look (or smell) messy. This may include taking out the trash, doing dishes, wiping down counters, cleaning floors, and putting clothes in the hamper. Things that get piled around the house should be put away, and things generally straightened up. These are all things that can be done at the end of a busy workday.
A key thing to consider for your daily cleaning is to invest in some great cleaning tools! For me, the Roomba has been a life-changer. I come home from work every day to a clean floor. I also love non-toxic, good smelling cleaners.
Choose one day a week (such as Saturday) to do your weekly cleaning, and make it a habit. Things that need to be done on a weekly basis are usually laundry, dusting, kitchen, bathrooms, wiping down, and polishing. Laundry includes sheets, bathroom towels and rugs, and kitchen linens.
For the cleaning, take a top-down approach, and do all of your dry dusting before the cleaning that requires water. Start with dusting your highest surfaces and work your way down. Shake out curtains and home furnishings on your way down.
In the kitchen, alternate weekly between the refrigerator and the stove (plus toaster oven and microwave) to de-crumb and wipe down. Microwave your sponge for one minute to sanitize. Sinks and toilets need to be scrubbed. Mirrors and other surfaces including computers, phones, and remotes need wiping down.
Some key things to remember for your weekly cleaning:
- Prepare a tote/organizer with all of the supplies you need, and designate a place to keep it.
- Be consistent with your cleaning schedule. If you are, it will take up less and less of your time.
Choose one day a month (such as the first Saturday of every month) to do a more in depth cleaning. Include all of your weekly chores, plus things that don't need to be done every week.
This can include some hard to dust areas, cabinet fronts, windows, or porch/balcony cleaning. Replace the kitchen sponge. Also, choose one room to deep clean each month, and put your rooms on a rotating schedule. Clean out drawers, closets, and shelves. Wash curtains, baseboards, and ceiling corners. Get rid of things you don't need!
This is time consuming the first time that you do it, if you are going through years of stuff. After you have tackled each room once, though, it becomes easier as your entire home becomes more streamlined.
Some key things to remember for your monthly cleaning:
- As you deep clean, designate a place for everything. Label bins and organizers when necessary.
- As an incentive to deep clean, I buy something nice for each room as I finish. This could be a new rug, a vase, or an organizer of some kind.
The Benefits of a Clean House
- always prepared for company
- find things easily
- motivated to put things away
- easier to relax
- proud of home
- accumulate less stuff
- fewer allergens in the air
- safer—more sanitary
- safer—less clutter to trip on
- time to pursue other interests
As a goal-oriented person, once I had a list for my daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning and a schedule, the routine took over.
What I found was that within six months (after deep cleaning each room), my house was organized, always presentable, and took very little time to maintain. I also didn't need my “lists” anymore, as everything became automatic.
This approach to housekeeping relieves the mental burden of always thinking that you need to clean this or that, and frees you up to pursue other interests! Next challenge, the yard . . .