I have one sister who is seven years my senior. Let’s state this right up front; she’s the one who keeps me young, not the other way around. When we were kids and my mom, who was a single, working mother, was at work, we were in charge of cleaning the living room and kitchen before she got home. Like most kids we were procrastinators when it came to cleaning, so we always ended up rushing to get things clean before Mom came home and had a fit about the mess. You probably remember this scenario from your own youth. We had a system down, and over the years jokingly called this ‘system’ Good ‘Nuf Cleaning.
As I’ve grown, I’ve stuck to the Good ‘Nuf Cleaning system, and have had a home that has been considered cluttered and messy. About two months ago, I got some crazy ‘cleaning bug’ and started de-cluttering, organizing and cleaning everything in my apartment from top to bottom. It took me two weeks to do it, and now I have tweaked the Good ‘Nuf Cleaning system to help keep it that way. It’s worked really well so far. Here are some tips for your own home.
Clean from Top to Bottom: You’ve probably heard this one, but have you ever actually used it? It’s always annoying to get crumbs all over the kitchen floor you spent an hour cleaning just because you forgot a spot on the kitchen counter. So, if you’re in the living room; dust your tables and any ceiling fans before your vacuum.
Keep your body moving and use both of your hands: This sounds a little easier than it is. But if you can master wiping the bathroom counter down with one hand, while putting items away with the other, then you will be in good shape.
Keep your head in the game: Don’t daydream while you’re cleaning. There are so many other better places to daydream. In this case, it’s better to just get it over with. Keep your mind right, and you’ll cut your cleaning time down big time.
Look for small pockets of time to clean: Are you on your way to the park with the family, but everybody still has to use the restroom and comb their hair? Well that’s 10 minutes for folding a basket of laundry or putting the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Seize that time, and use it up. You’ll love yourself for it later when you come home from the park with heatstroke, and a twisted ankle.
Enlist your family: When I’ve lost my will to clean, but only have one more thing left to do like sweep the floor or take out those last garbage bags; I call my son to do it for me. Sure, he’s only five years old, but a little work never hurt anybody. Utilize the resources that you have at your disposal.
Break up your cleaning list into small manageable chunks throughout the week: Again, it’s about seizing a moment to get a job done. Don’t think of it as ‘cleaning the bathroom’. Think more along the lines of “If I can clean the toilet today, then I can sweep tomorrow and mop the next day.” I even try to make it a game to see how many laundry loads I can get done to free up my weekend.
Keep a catch-all in each room: This way, you can throw things in it to make cleaning easier or hide stuff when guests arrive. For example, I have a big basket in the living room for all those socks, sweaters or toys that end up on my floor. When I start to clean, I can throw everything in there to get it out of my way, and up off of the floor for vacuuming. Then the household can sort their stuff out later when they have time. In my bathroom, I have a little toiletry bag on the counter for brushes, deodorant, shaving cream, etc. That way, I can throw it all in there and just toss the bag under the sink when I’m ready to wipe down the counter or when guests are coming over.
Give some of these a try, and see how they work for your home. If you have other awesome tips, feel free to contribute them in the comments! Happy cleaning!