Pick a room, any room. Now when was the last time you looked around that particular room and said to yourself (or bellowed within ear shot) “Holy moly, the _________ in here is filthy!” As we know, there are endless possibilities as to what that blank may represent. We talk all the time about how to change our home, redecorate, refinish furniture, space plan, etc., but we don’t often talk about maintaining a beautiful home once it’s just the way we like it.
Spring cleaning does not have to be reserved for spring - it's good to tackle cleaning projects all year round! If you’re feeling soooo sick of a space, maybe you just need to give it a very thorough cleaning. And I do mean thorough, as if you hired a top-notch cleaning service to clean every room in your house. (Sidebar: While you’re cleaning the bedroom or living room, it can be a great time to rearrange the furniture if you are so inclined…which I almost always am. You’re already moving things to dust under them and clean the floor under them, so why not rearrange at the same time!)
I know there are those of you out there who LOVE to clean. You practically live for it. You look forward to it, and of course, you excel at it. If you’re like me, however, then you don’t particularly enjoy cleaning and therefore tend to put it off as long as possible thus creating more work for yourself in the end. Guilty. Well, I decided to change that habit and decided to harken back to my days as a Merry Maid. Yes, I was a merry Merry Maid in my early twenties. My mother couldn’t believe when I applied for the job and actually got it. If you’d seen my room as a teenager, you’d understood her reaction!
Back to the matter at hand: a more efficient and effective way to clean your home. Following are some tips and tricks used by the pros (with some tips I’ve collected along the way).
- Assess your cleaning tools:
Make sure you have plenty of clean sponges (sponge on one side and scrubby on the other), cleaning clothes (old diapers, tee-shirts cut up, bar towels, etc.), toilet brush, broom, mop, and vacuum. Another tool I can’t live without is a tool to clear away cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling and under furniture. They sell them in the cleaning supplies aisle of major home improvement stores for around ten bucks.
- Evaluate your cleaning products:
You really only need a few things, although I know most of us have countless bottles of every kind of cleaner for every surface that has ever been made. What you really need in your cleaning tote are the following products: window cleaner, furniture polish, scrubbing powder, heavy duty cleaner that cuts through grease, and a bleach cleaner (either pre-mixed or you can make it yourself with a clean spray bottle filled one-third with bleach and two-thirds water)
- Invest in a cleaning tote:
Use it for all of your supplies and cleaners in one place thus saving you all the wasted time and energy of getting upstairs to clean the bathroom and realizing the window cleaner is downstairs in the powder room under the sink!
- Dress for the occasion:
Cleaning is no different than any other home project. Make sure the clothes you wear are appropriate for cleaning. Don’t ruin a nice shirt by getting bleach on it (been there, done that). Don’t forget to wear gloves if you’re using harsh cleansers. Protect your skin, it will thank you later.
- Devise a plan of attack:
Before you start cleaning, make sure every room you’re cleaning is picked up. Cleaning goes much faster if you aren’t moving around piles of stuff on every surface you’re trying to clean. Next decide where you’re starting. For example, you may start upstairs and do all the wet work (all the bathrooms on the floor). In each room, pick a starting point and work your way around until you're back where you started. Clean everything in each spot of the room before you move to the next section of the room. Always leave your floors for last. After your wet work is complete, move to the dry (all rooms that aren’t bathrooms). Dust all surfaces, wipe down walls, light-switches, doors, etc. and leave the floors for last.
- Don’t be afraid to use both of your hands to save you time:
Spray on cleaner with one hand and wipe it off with the other while you are spraying or wiping another surface. It will surprise you how much time you save if you do this. Another time saver: If you need to let your shower soak with cleaner, spray it upon entering the room and then do something else for a few minutes while the cleaner sits to work. Clean the mirror and sink, for example, then go back and scrub the tub and shower. Helpful tip if you have shower doors: After you’ve cleaned the doors, wipe down with a cloth with lemon oil on it. This will help the water bead on the door and you’ll have less hassle the next time you clean the doors.
- Remember the uncommon tasks:
Clean inside your microwave where food splatters and makes everything smell funky, sanitize your kitchen sink with bleach cleaner, deodorize your kitchen sink drain by pouring some fresh lemon juice down it once you’ve cleaned and rinsed the sink, run the dishwasher empty for a cycle once a month using a dishwasher cleaner sold where all cleaning supplies are sold—this will help keep your dishwasher from growing mildew and getting a musty smell.
- Plan to tackle big jobs:
That means cleaning the inside of the fridge and freezer, scrubbing the oven, grill, etc. on different days as stand-alone jobs.
Whether you like to clean or don’t like to clean, implementing some of the above tricks and tips will help your cleaning routine go smoother and save you time, money, and energy!
Now, what will you do next to love where you live?