This post was originally posted on porch.com
Life is busy enough for many people without throwing cleaning into the mix. And yet, a clean, well-organized home functions so beautifully; it can actually make our lives feel less stressful. While it can be difficult to devote part of each day to cleaning tasks, doing so will help you keep up with what might otherwise feel overwhelming. Leaving all the tasks for a Saturday not only ruins your Saturday but might be difficult to accomplish, especially if you have last-minute company or want to make other plans.
Here, we’ll provide you with a wide range of tips to cut cleaning tasks down to size. With our checklist and recommended cleaning routine, you can maintain a clean and well-organized setting so that your house is always ‘relatively’ company-ready and, assuredly, designed for your own comfort. With these tips, you won’t have to devote another Saturday to daylong cleaning tasks again!
Decluttering your home affords you many benefits. When you clear away the clutter, you’ll find it easy to get and stay organized. Too much ‘stuff’ is challenging to keep track of. Your home will function better with fewer items to contend with. For many people, less clutter results in less stress and more serenity. That said, it can be challenging to part with perfectly useful items even if you don’t use them. Here, we’ll explore a few ways to eliminate clutter to make cleaning and organizing your home easier.
Channel your inner Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo has become the poster-declutterer with her minimalist aesthetic. She has refined de-cluttering to an art form. If an item isn’t useful on a regular basis and doesn’t “spark joy,” get rid of it. Even so, her methods are known to be on the drastic side; you might find that a little Marie, when tackling closets and your pantry goes a long way.
Everything in its place
Another way to tackle your clutter is to ensure that the items you keep have a place. Storage is key, but you also don’t want to live in a warehouse filled with stored items. Be sure you have the proper space and receptacles to store items. If not, consider the item. Is it functional and worthy of the effort it will take to find a space to store it? If not, it may be time to add it to your donation pile.
Donate, recycle, or sell
As you go room by room in search of items to get rid of, you should keep these discarded items organized as well. You may have items you can sell, as well as items you can recycle or donate. Just because it’s clutter to you doesn’t mean it won’t be perfectly useful to someone else. Just don’t let your piles of stuff sit for too long; be sure you donate or sell them quickly so you can keep your household cleaning and organization on track.
Create a cleaning supply station
After eliminating the clutter from your home, you can create a cleaning supply station. Setting up this type of station will make routine cleaning easier. When all your cleaning supplies are in one place, you won’t have to search for them each time you need to perform a cleaning task. Choose a location where you’ll keep these supplies and organize them with buckets, baskets, or shelves. Although you can stock your cleaning station with commercial cleaning products, you can also create your own eco-friendly cleaners using ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar.
Design your perfect cleaning schedule
To avoid the need to spend an entire day cleaning your house, you can break up cleaning tasks into a manageable schedule. If there are other members of your household, you can even delegate tasks to them. The most simple yet effective plan is to divide chores into daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Use our cleaning schedule as a basis for your own:
Daily Cleaning Tasks
- Hang up or put away outer garments
- Make beds
- Wash and put away dishes
- Clean kitchen surfaces (counters and stovetop)
- Sweep kitchen floor (as needed)
- Clean kitchen and dining room tables
- Clean bathroom sink
Weekly Cleaning Tasks
- Clean bathrooms (sink, toilet, floor, and tub)
- Clean kitchen surfaces (floor, refrigerator, and other appliances)
- Change/launder sheets and pillowcases
Monthly Cleaning Tasks
- Launder blankets/bedspreads/washable rugs
- Clean mirrors
- Sweep out fireplace
- Tidy bookcases or shelves
- Deep clean kitchen (i.e. refrigerator, stove burners, cabinet fronts)
- Clean return air vents
- Clean your dishwasher
- Clean upholstered surfaces
- Disinfect trash bins
- Remove cobwebs
- Descale your coffee maker
- Dust ceiling fans
- Wash windows
- Clean curtains/draperies (as needed)
- Wipe down blinds
There are also cleaning tasks you may want to address on an as-needed basis, like having your carpeting and rugs professionally steam cleaned. You may notice that closets and cabinets become disorganized, so you’ll want to set aside time to address these tasks too. Cleaning your outside windows and washing walls might be a task you perform a couple of times per year. You can work these as-needed chores into your overall cleaning plan.
Depending on your own home, you may need to perform some tasks more or less frequently. Homes with pets may require a weekly vacuuming of furnishings, for instance. Homes with kids may require more emphasis on organization and decluttering.
As you become adept at cleaning your home, you’re sure to develop some of your own tried-and-true techniques for achieving an efficient clean. Until then, here are some of our helpful tips to keep in mind as you clean your house or apartment:
Choose a start and endpoint
Keep cleaning from becoming an overwhelming chore by choosing a start and endpoint. You might keep cleaning to a certain amount of time, like an hour. Or, you might limit your cleaning to a single or a certain number of tasks.
Load your supplies in a cart
A cleaning cart makes transporting your cleaning supplies from room to room easier. It’s why many professional cleaning services use carts and totes too. Be sure your cleaning station has room to stow your cart or tote.
Clean in waves
Cleaning tends to be a process, so don’t try to combine tasks together, or you might feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead, clean in waves. Set aside one cleaning session for de-cluttering and another for sanitizing surfaces. This way, you can focus on one type of chore and perform it with efficiency.
Clean in sections
Focus on one area or section at a time so that you maintain an efficient workflow. For example, dust top shelves first and work your way to the bottom of bookcases and shelving units. Similarly, you can focus on one room at a time, combine tasks like your kitchen, living room, or bathroom.
Even with great effort and the best intentions, it’s not always possible to maintain a home that’s perfectly ready for company. If you find yourself facing a countdown until your last-minute guests arrive, here are some tips to put your cleaning tasks into overdrive:
Start with the kitchen
A clean kitchen is a must when entertaining guests. Many people naturally congregate in the kitchen, and you can’t expect your guests to feel comfortable eating snacks or a meal prepped in a dirty kitchen.
Although you might be sorely tempted to dust your living room, your guests are more likely to forgive a layer of bookshelf dust than a dirty bathroom. Focus on the essentials:
- Remove toothpaste from the sink
- Sanitize the toilet
- Replace hand towels with fresh ones
- Scrub away noticeable dirt from the floor
- Scour the tub (if there’s no time, keep the shower curtain closed)
Living room / family room / dining room
Next, tackle the room where you plan to host your guests: sweep, vacuum, and dust. Often, a quick vacuuming and removal of clutter will freshen up these spaces adequately. If you have pets that shed, you may also want to ‘de-shed’ your sofa and chairs for your guests.
Entrance / foyer
Be sure to check your entrance for signs of clutter or dirt, as this area is the first your guests will see. You might want to spray room freshener and sweep the floor to make a great first impression on visitors.
With small daily efforts to clean and maintain your home’s organization, you can avoid the need to devote your weekend to cleaning, and you can achieve a home that’s ‘mostly’ company ready. You’ll find that when your home is clean, you’ll feel less stressed and more relaxed, knowing that your belongings are stowed in their place and that your environment is fresh and welcoming.