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This guide is for those of you who do not wish to allocate hours of your free time to cleaning your home. As the old saying goes, “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.” In this case, cleaning your home a little bit every day can make a painful chore seem like the house is cleaning itself.
Before any real work begins, you will need to do some planning. Make a list of all the tasks you think need doing in the coming weeks and then assign each task or tasks to specific days of the week. This doesn’t have to be a rigid plan. Please adapt this to suit your specific needs. The idea of this guide is to reduce the stress of cleaning, and if you feel yourself getting worked up, leave the task or tasks for another day.
Using a wall calendar, reminders on your phone or a diary will help you keep track of your progress. Reserve more difficult tasks for days when you don’t have commitments, in case you need a little extra time. The goal is to space out your home cleaning over a couple of weeks or months so that it never feels like an ordeal.
Before I provide an example list of tasks, here are a few simple tips before you get started:
1. Dealing with items coming into the home
The idea here is to set up a small area near your front door where you will put all new items you bring into the house. This area is a place to hang your coat, leave keys, wallet or change, and sort through any mail that you have received. If habitually used, this area can act as a clutter flitter for your home. Now you can continue with your plan with the knowledge that things aren’t piling up.
2. Do your dishes after every meal
Although this is one we all dread, getting the few dishes you used cleaned can save you a lot of trouble later in the week. Allowing them to pile up turns a bad dream into an absolute nightmare. If you are leaving pots uncleaned overnight, be sure to soak them so that no food waste hardens and sticks. This is to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the kitchen sink.
Doing a little bit every day will always keep things from piling up on you. This stops your laundry becoming an hour of hard work. Try to keep clean clothes folded, in baskets and ready for ironing when you get around to it.
As with any menial task, it helps to have music to motivate you. If you are a good singer or whistler, this is a great way to take some stress away from the job at hand. However, if like the rest of us you aren’t musically gifted, an mp3 player or radio is perfect for a bit of distraction while performing the mundane.
5. Set a timer
Most of the tasks below shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. However, it is easy to get distracted by emails phone calls, children etc., so it helps to have a timer set to chime when you are 5/10 minutes in to let you know how much time you have left.
Here is a list of 15 tasks which can be done one at a time, while aiming to complete 3 to 4 tasks a week:
1) Surface clean living room (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)
2) Surface clean kitchen (wash dishes, wash floor)
3) Clean linen closet, straighten towels, sheets or regular closet if not applicable
4) Clean out the refrigerator, take stock of food, organize pantry
5) Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)
6) Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)
7) Clean all interior windows (white vinegar and newspaper works great and is cheap!)
8) Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house (don't forget stairs)
9) *Deep clean bedrooms (organize drawers, check under bed, tidy closet, dust artwork, fans, lights, mop)
10) *Deep clean bathrooms (clean inside drawers, inside of trash cans, tops of mirrors, tile, mop)
11) Clean all door knobs, phones, entertainment equipment (remote controls), switch plates, banisters and other things that are repeatedly touched
12) Clean hallway, sweep porch (if you have one)
13) Clean out car (because they're often our home away from home)
14) *Deep clean kitchen (scrub appliances, wash trash cans, base boards, wipe down and straighten cabinets)
15) Clean one item you've been meaning to get to and haven't (deep clean your stove, wipe down all light fixtures, tackle a particularly unruly area)
The deep cleaning tasks marked with an * can be done on a weekly or monthly basis.
The more routine the task is, the less it feels like a chore. The ultimate goal of this guide is to form good habits, so in future cleaning your home won’t seem like such a big deal. From all of us here at Pristine Home, we wish you happy cleaning, and have a pristine day.