Strategies And Suggestions To Smarten Up Your Household Spruce-Up
There are some who truly savor the hours spent scrubbing, scouring, and sprucing up the household. Then, there’s the rest of us! Not sure about you, but I’m all about shortening and simplifying the process of cleaning. So, in keeping this simple as well, here are some strategies and suggestions that will help you to clean smarter not harder.
1. To Clean Or Not To Clean
Ask yourself this question first: are you looking to clean the house today or do a house clean-out? What is your goal and which would you prioritize doing first? These are actually two very different tasks requiring your full attention, and this process could take a day or more to accomplish. It’s best to choose one task at a time and do a thorough job of each rather than do a piecemeal job and never really finish.
*Personally, I prefer the pre-clean purge: less junk to have to clean around and under! Inevitably, moving anything out or around is going to stir up dust bunnies and dirt anyway so may as well clean out extraneous junk and then clean afterward. We’re going for efficiency here, right?
2. Pare Down Your Products
Simplify! In cleaning and in life, this one piece of advice – simplify – works. You can really get away with using three basic products: a combination cleaner/degreaser (buying in bulk and filling up a stockpile of inexpensive spray bottles can save you time and cash), white vinegar and a bleach-based product of your choice such as Soft Scrub. For wood furniture, if you like to use furniture polish, Old English lemon oil is highly recommended. Otherwise, vinegar and water can clean just about any surface of your home. Fill bottles to stash around your home’s “hotspots”, i.e. the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room perhaps. Caddy what you’ll be using during your cleaning session for convenience as you move from room to room. Also stock up on terry cloth or microfiber rags that will save you from wasting a lot of paper towels and wipes.
3. Take It From The Top…
Work your way to the bottom, down and out and back to front. It goes without saying that when cleaning you’re going to start from high ground and work your way down as the dust and dirt falls below. Why waste your work?
*Helpful hint: A cheap shower curtain can help curtail fallout from above. Place your curtain below the high areas you are cleaning – ceiling fans, blinds, shelving and cabinets. Also, keep a step stool or small ladder handy!
The “down and out” component of your cleaning entails taking items down from the shelves as well as out of the room, or better, outside, to stop the spread of dust and dirt to other areas. And finally, working your way from the back to the front of the room, cleaning experts say, is your best bet. Start at the windows and walls. Get into the frames and sills with your vacuum and surface clean with your vinegar and water solution. Take it one section at a time and after completing all areas, including behind and under furniture, finish with the floor, or what’s left of it!
4. Conquer Mental Battles
Clean the worst thing in the room first rather than fighting an uphill battle. Once that’s out of the way, the rest will seem like a snap!
Slice and section rooms into manageable tasks and work your way through each room one job and one slice at a time.
5. Nix The Knick-Knack Nightmare And Curb Kitchen Clutter
So there are two schools of thought here: you can keep the knick-knacks knowing you’ll have to find your own best practice to maintain them or (my pick) get rid of them! For those of you who can’t quite part with the ceramics class creations and decorative spoons, here’s help.
Minimalism goes a long way in keeping your kitchen clean. Unless you don’t mind constantly cleaning grease and food splatter off of kitchen display items, keep your counters clear!
It may take some time to find a place for everything and put everything in its place but it will be well worth it when you’ve only got a few appliances to clean behind. Reserve this new-found space for the daily essentials only. Think: knife block, blender, toaster, coffee pot – you decide.
6. Do You See A Clothes Dryer, Multi-Purpose Cleaning Tool?
Besides the fact that some people (no need to mention names) regularly “iron” my – I mean their – clothes by tossing them in for a spin, the dryer offers many other ingenious options! It works especially well as a means of quickly cleaning fabric items like throw pillows, valances, drapes and throw rugs. The dryer acts as a giant vacuum sucking up clothing lint, yes, but also dust and debris that quickly collects on soft fabric household items. Toss them in and turn ’em back out brand new!
*Be sure to use the low or no heat, throw in a dryer sheet for freshening up and run 15-20 minutes.
7. Recruit Back-Up
No need to fly solo on every mission. It’s okay – and sometimes fun – to ask for help.
- The Kid Crew: It’s often easier to clean when the kids aren’t home, but if you can wait, put them to work! Hand your kiddos a few rags and a (kids-safe) “very cool” spray bottle and show ‘em the ropes. They may not get it right away, but they’ll feel like they are being helpful and will be occupied for a while. Offer plenty of positive reinforcement (and possibly a small reward) which will help hone their motivation to help in the future. You can even make it more fun by blasting their favorite tunes or by turning chores into a game.
- Make It A Group Thang: Pour a few big girl (or boy) refreshments and set aside some time sans-children for you and your friends to get the job done group style. You can take turns tackling each other’s homes and get even the biggest jobs done in no time. Not to mention, it’s going to be a lot more fun with the bonus of social time. I’m all about doubling down – work smarter not harder, right? So go ahead and try scheduling a working playdate for an easy and fun win-win!
There you have it – all the advice you need to outmaneuver your next clean-up routine.
Be smart, simplify and spruce away!