Cleaning your home is necessary and rewarding, but it can be such a time suck! Enter the cleaning system. Investing a little effort now can dramatically cut the time required to keep your home sparkling.
Start by reviewing your cleaning regime with a fresh eye. Can you eliminate problem areas or make changes that will reduce the amount of cleaning required in the first place? Keeping drains clean can lower the chance you’ll need to call a St George Utah plumber, but what if gunk is building up under the dirty dishes clogging the kitchen sink because you hate hand washing them? (Not that this has ever happened to yours truly . . .) If you have a dishwasher, the easiest answer is to replace as many items as you can afford to with dishwasher-safe ones. Other ideas include placing reusable mats under pet bowls to contain crumbs, and designating certain rooms as shoe- or food-free zones.
Choose Your Tools
Make sure you’re using the appropriate cleaners for each surface — vinegar is often recommended as an all-natural cleaner, but it shouldn’t be used on granite, while the stiff brushes that help remove bathtub soap scum are too harsh for stainless steel. Store cleaning products and tools as close as possible to the areas you use them. A covered basket can hide cleaning items even if a bathroom lacks cabinets, and you’ll be surprised how much time you’ll save when you don’t have to run here and there fetching and replacing things. If you must carry items from one room to another, make sure you have a container that holds all of them so you only have to make one trip.
Not all cleaning tips work for everyone (no need to deodorize your garbage disposal if you don’t have one!), but there are some general principles you should follow:
- Pick a process: You might prefer to get all of the dusting or tub-scrubbing out of the way at once, or you might be better off tackling one room until it’s spotless. You may need to start small (“Today’s goal is to spend 15 minutes cleaning the windows.”), or you may be more successful with a marathon session followed by an all-day break. It doesn’t matter which process you choose as long as it fits with your schedule and personality, but you do need a process.
- Start at the top: You don’t want to clean the same surface multiple times, so make sure gravity isn’t working against you. Bonus: it’s quicker and easier to wipe crumbs directly onto the floor (you are cleaning the floor last, right?) than to try to contain them in a paper towel.
- Keep track of your progress: Whether you’re going task-by-task or room-by-room, first review what needs to be done and make a note of any easy-to-overlook areas. As you complete each part of your plan, take a moment to verify that you’ve finished all the steps of a task or covered every section of a space before moving on to the next job.
Establish Good Habits
Integrating small steps into your daily routine is essential to lightening your cleaning load. Before you leave a room, glance around and ask yourself “Is there anything in here now that should be in the room I’m going to?” Keep paper towels or cleaning wipes in strategic spots (beside the toilet, for example) so you can fix minor messes immediately. Commit to spending at least a few minutes every day sweeping, wiping and spot cleaning. Finally, make sure that family members and roommates are doing their fair share of both daily maintenance and heavy cleaning.
Developing a cleaning system might seem tedious, but the time it saves you is well worth the effort.