House Cleaning Isn’t a Big Deal

House cleaning isn’t a big deal. It’s like brushing your teeth every day. Get into the habit of doing it and you won’t give it a second thought.

white bathroom interior
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Discipline and Routine

Maintaining a clean home can be made simple by consistently managing minor messes before they have a chance to gain a foothold. Discipline and routine are the keys to achieving this objective.

Keep Clutter to a Minimum

Make picking up part of your regular routine. This is the logical first step to house cleaning since it’s easier to dust and vacuum and sweep and mop spaces that are not littered with objects. Whether you choose to declutter immediately before cleaning your home or as part of an ongoing regimen is up to you.

Schedule House Cleaning

You’re the boss, so make a cleaning schedule that’ll fit into your lifestyle. Routine is very important, planning is very important. Following through is essential.

If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, it will most likely be more difficult to maintain a consistent schedule, but give it a try. Think of house cleaning as the job that it is and make a point of showing up for work.

Self discipline is extremely rewarding. You’ll feel great when it’s over. Each victory will motivate you to keep going.

Reassess as Needed

If you begin to notice that chores aren’t getting done, reassess your plan and make changes. Don’t deliberate, just do it. The longer things slide the harder it will be to get back on track.

A (Sort of) Clean House is Easy to Clean

It’s much easier to keep a house clean if it’s already in good shape. The messier and dirtier the house gets, the harder it becomes to get it back in order. Disorder can get out of control in no time and all the ground you’ve gained will be lost.

At that point it’s easy to get discouraged and give up, and then your problem becomes a motivational issue. You’ve lost your will to clean. Don’t let it get to that point. That’s my point.

Organization is Your Ally

If you have a place to put everything that comes into your space, you’ll know what to do with everything that comes into your space. If everything is put away where it belongs when you start to clean, half of your job is already done. Dusting and vacuuming will be a breeze.

Some Daily Chores are Non-Negotiable

Don’t let dirty dishes sit around. Do at least a minimal kitchen cleanup after food prep. Wipe up any food spills or crumbs and don’t let food sit around uncovered or unrefrigerated if it should be covered or refrigerated. If there’s anything that might attract bugs or start to smell, deal with it immediately. If it’s a spill that will get worse over time, deal with it. Don’t let clutter accumulate. Take out the trash regularly.

Plan a Regular Schedule

Beyond those tasks that are a matter of basic hygiene, plan on a regular cleaning schedule that will work for you. Do some every day, do it once a week or once every two weeks. If it’s just you and you’re never home, maybe once a month will work just fine. If you’ve got a house full of kids whose friends are always at your house, weekly house cleaning might be necessary with lots of day-to-day maintenance.

Continue to reassess as you go along. Do what you have to do to stay ahead of messes and grime. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did.

Your Home is Your Sanctuary

Your home is your sanctuary and it should be a place where you feel a sense of pride, not feel bad all the time because it’s such a mess. You should be glad when friends show up to visit, not embarrassed. So make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

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Tips for Cleaning and Organizing Your Closets

Most of us don’t enjoy the prospect of cleaning out closets. We often shove things we don’t use into closets to get them out of the way. The thought of pulling these objects back out means figuring out what to do with them, which seems a lot like work. These tips for cleaning and organizing your closets will make the job easier.

assorted clothes
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Think of Closet Cleaning as an Opportunity

Cleaning closets is a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you aren’t using. Oftentimes when cleaning closets, you find stuff way in the back that you forgot you had. It’s like Christmas!

However, as a general rule, if you haven’t used something in a year or more, you don’t need it. And if you clear out space in your closets, you then have room to store the stuff you actually use which you don’t have space for anywhere else.

Plus if you can donate your unused stuff to a charity group or find some way to get the stuff to someone who can use it, the situation is a win-win.

First, Make a Work Space

The first thing you want to do when cleaning a closet is clear some space for a work area. If you are cleaning a bedroom closet, lay an old sheet over the bed so you can use the space to temporarily place things.

Pulls Things Out of the Closet

Next, pull everything out of the closet, either all at once or in sections. As you remove items, quickly decide whether each object is worth keeping. Have a box ready for things that you will be giving away, or designate a separate area if you are getting rid of a lot of things.

Clean Dust and Cobwebs

As you clear out areas of the closet, or once you’ve taken everything out, remove any cobwebs and dust off shelves, rods, racks, the tops of door frames, any ridges on the inside of closet doors, etc. Also clean the floor.

Replace Stuff

After the closet is nice and clean, replace whatever stuff you’re keeping, reorganizing and cleaning as you go. Dust off any boxes or other containers before replacing them in the closet.

Introduce new boxes, bins, baskets or whatever storage containers will help with storing things so they can easily be found again. Label boxes, make lists of contents and tape them to the outside, or use clear storage containers. Don’t waste any space. Arrange articles so that taller things are behind shorter things.

The Keys to Organization

The keys to organization are:

  1. Storing things you will use such that you can easily find them when you need them.
  2. Getting rid of things you don’t need that are using valuable space and inhibiting your ability to find the things you need when you need them.

Pace Yourself

Finally, don’t try to tackle every closet in your home at the same time unless it’s manageable. Set realistic goals that you can accomplish in order to stay motivated. What you don’t want to do is pull everything out of every closet in your home all at once and then run out of steam before everything is sorted and put back.

Routinely cleaning your closets is a great way to keep your home organized. Getting rid of things you aren’t using creates space for the things you do use that you don’t have space for. Set up a regular schedule, for example cleaning closets once a month, and stick to it. Chip away at it, keep after it, and always remember that home organization is all about maintenance.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips.   My books include the titles De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips, Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Commonly Overlooked Jobs When Cleaning Your Home

It can be tough to cover all the bases when it comes to house cleaning. Time is short, cleaning routines are inconsistent. Some people just don’t notice fingerprints on walls and streaks on windows. Cobwebs that are visible only when the sunlight hits them at a certain angle are easy to miss on cleaning day. There are many commonly overlooked jobs when cleaning your home.

living room with furnitures
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Professional housecleaners establish routines which ensure all areas of each home get cleaned regularly. This is why I recommend that anyone who does their own house cleaning set up similar schedules to make sure everything gets cleaned from time to time.

Areas out of Sight

Many people subscribe to the belief that if you can’t see it, it isn’t dirty. Unfortunately, areas that accumulate dust are often out of sight, and because settled dust will sooner or later get stirred up and redistributed, any large settlements of dust in your home are potential trouble spots.

For this reason it is important to dust ceiling fan blades and the top of the refrigerator and under the beds to remove these accumulations while they’re quietly resting and before they have a chance to get stirred up and re-circulated into the air. You can’t count on the “cleaning only what looks dirty” style of housekeeping to keep your home in good shape.

Cobwebs

Cobwebs are often overlooked. These nuisances form along the edge where walls and ceilings meet. They form on light fixtures. They form in corners. Cobwebs appear along the bottom edges of furniture.

The trouble with cobwebs is that they can be really hard to see, which is why it’s a good practice to periodically dust all the areas where they tend to form without regard to whether you think they’re there or not. Without fail, cobwebs will become visible the moment some VIP houseguest appears at your door.

Hidden Dust

Hidden dust has lots of hiding places. Some are tough to reach, but many are just beyond your line of sight.

Ceiling fans are a primary culprit. Think of your ceiling fan blades as dust traps. A surprising amount of dust builds up on top of these, so attend to them frequently in order to reduce the amount of dust circulating in the air in your home. A simple dusting tool or even a broom or dust mop will remove the lion’s share of buildup from your fans.

Other areas to work into your dusting rotation:

  • The top edge of window treatments and wall hangings.
  • Chair rails and baseboards.
  • Ridges on doors.
  • Lampshades.
  • Leaves on plants.
  • Under beds and other furniture.
  • On top of kitchen cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
  • Sides of furniture and along any edges or ridges.
  • Back side of televisions and other electronics.
  • On top of books.
  • On light fixtures.
  • On top of medicine cabinets.
  • Along the top edge of shower enclosures.
  • Top edges of doors and door frames.

Hand Prints

Not everyone thinks to clean up dirty finger and hand prints on walls and doors . Common areas to keep an eye on:

  • Glass doors.
  • Entry doors.
  • Cabinet doors.
  • Switch plates.
  • Hand rails and banisters.
  • Appliance handles.
  • Mirrors.
  • Glass tables.

Fingerprints can easily be eradicated with a damp cloth and application of a small amount of all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner. Sometimes they’re invisible but you’ll feel their sticky residue.

Really tough marks on walls or other areas can be removed with an eraser-type sponge but use caution as these also take the paint with the grime.

Pet Hair

Another common offense is sometimes almost completely invisible until you sit down on something covered in it wearing black pants: pet hair. If you have animals that shed, their fur is on your upholstered furniture. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not.

So be sure to vacuum your sofa, chairs, upholstered ottomans and cushions, pillows on your upholstered furniture and anything else that pet hair sticks to. And don’t forget to vacuum under the sofa cushions once in a while , too.

Nose Prints

While we’re on the topic of pets, dogs and cats sometimes leave nose and paw prints on glass doors and windows and window sills. If your dog likes to sit by your patio door and look outside, odds are he leaves residue on the glass. The same can be said for areas on windows next to which your cat perches to watch birds and squirrels frolicking outdoors.

Clean Regularly

Remember, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The best way to ensure that you’re never caught with an embarrassing mess under the dining room table in the middle of dinner is the two-pronged approach of maintaining a regular cleaning schedule that includes a rotation with attention to all areas in your home along with honing your eye for detail.

Practice makes perfect. In time you’ll be quick to spot Spot’s doggie drool on the windowsill and the smudges left on the kitchen door frame by dirty little fingers. Cleaning pros notice this stuff because we’ve seen it all time and time again and because we do it every day. You can acquire the same skills, all it takes is practice.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

De-Clutter Your Home: A Guide to Hosting Your Own Garage Sale

A garage sale is the ultimate tool for de-cluttering your home. This guide to hosting your own garage sale will take you through the process step by step.

garage sale sign

Host a Garage Sale to De-clutter

If you’re finding that you have more stuff than you need and need more space than you have, hosting a garage sale might be the answer. It’s a little bit of work, but so is hauling a truckload of household items to Goodwill.

A garage sale draws people to you; all you have to do is convince everyone who shows up to take something away with them. At the end of the day, if you’re successful, all your unwanted stuff will be gone. Presto!

A Garage Sale Will Not Make You Rich

This guide will help you to get a handle on the ins and outs of hosting your own garage sale, with the goal of eliminating unwanted possessions. Be forewarned that this assumes your primary goal is getting rid of stuff you no longer use. Don’t expect to get rich. You will not be able to recoup retail prices on your possessions.

A garage sale can net you a tidy little sum if you have lots of stuff that people want. But you’ll need to be realistic about what to charge for your old high-school clarinet and the Magic Bullet juicer that’s been used once. Garage sale buyers are bargain hunters. Most objects sell for less than a tenth of their initial price, even new or next-to-new items.

Have Fun With It

If you’re going to get rid of the stuff anyway, think of your sale as an opportunity to move along your unwanted possessions to someone else who can use them. Rather than donating your stuff to a charity where it gets passed on to faceless strangers, a garage sale gives you the chance to meet the people to whom your cherished treasures are going. Have a little fun with it.

Set a Date

To prepare for your sale, the first thing you should do is pick a day. Fridays and Saturdays are prime garage sale days. If you can only do one day, that’s okay, but bear in mind that a longer duration means you’ll attract a wider clientele, which will move more merchandise.

When choosing your date, don’t pick the weekend that every school is your area is having its prom, or any other time when most people are otherwise occupied. Also think about the weather. For example, people attend garage sales in droves on the first really pleasant days of spring. If you will be setting up outside, have a rain date in mind.

Clear a Space

Next, choose your sale location. If you’ve got a big, empty garage, this is an ideal space. Most people don’t. After all, if you had a big, empty garage, you wouldn’t need to have a sale.

Outside is perfectly fine. Choose a large enough space in your driveway or yard to accommodate tables and shoppers, relatively flat and free from obstacles that people might trip over. A little bit of shade from the sun is also desirable.

Get Some Tables

You’ll want to set up some type of tables on which to display your wares, so think about whether you have folding tables or anything you can use to improvise display areas.

If you don’t have access to tables, the alternative is placing things into boxes for display. Line up boxes neatly, with items grouped according to price: for example, “all items in this box $1 each”. Organize stuff into the boxes so everything is visible. Do your best to create an attractive presentation.

Whatever you do, don’t just toss all your stuff haphazardly onto the lawn. This is a huge turnoff. If people aren’t sure whether you’re having a garage sale or a domestic dispute, they’ll drive right on by.

Assemble and Price Stuff

Figure out what you’ll be selling and start pricing items. Either price things individually with stickers that will be easy to remove (don’t put a sticker on anything that’ll be damaged by its removal) or use a color-code system of dots that correspond to prices (all red-dot items are one dollar, all blue-dot items are two dollars), or place items on tables with signs marked “$10 table” or “$5 table”, or into boxes with the price on the outside.

If you’re having a large sale, plan on spending a few hours assembling and pricing your stuff. Any items that you believe to be valuable can be researched online. Go to eBay and use the advanced search feature to determine the price for which similar items sold. This method is more accurate that merely looking at asking prices. Anyone can price anything at any value they like; the true barometer is the price that was actually paid for the item.

Pricing your items too high means you’ll have a big pile of stuff left over at the end of your sale. Remember that your objective is to get rid of the stuff, so keep a level head when it comes to pricing.

It may be tempting to leave prices off altogether and wait for people to make an offer. Don’t do it. Many potential buyers are turned off by this approach, and you will lose the sale.

Do, however, be prepared to dicker with potential buyers. Many seasoned garage sale buyers will see your price as nothing more than a starting point.

Advertise

A few days before your sale, start advertising. Put up signs around your neighborhood. Place ads in the local newspaper, on Craigslist, on your local Facebook garage sale groups, and tell your friends and family.

Enlist Assistance

Ask a couple friends or family members to act as cashiers at your sale, at least for the first couple of hours. Or join forces and have a multi-family sale; this is always a good way to draw in more buyers. You’ll typically get a big crowd of people in the first hour or two of your sale, and having some extra sets of hands during this period will help ensure that everything flows smoothly and none of your stuff falls prey to a five-finger-discount bandit.

Last Minute Details

The day before your sale, buy or make some garage sale signs to post on your street corner and mailbox so that people can easily find you. Make sure you have some small bills in cash to make change for customers. Also have on hand a few shopping bags or small boxes. If anyone buys multiple items it’ll be nice to have something for them in which to carry their treasures home.

On Sale Day

On sale day, be prepared for early birds. Whether your sale starts at 8:00 AM, 4:00 PM or anywhere in between, a few people will inevitably show up early in hopes of scoring deals before anyone else. You can specifically state “no early birds” in your ad if you object to this. My suggestion: put ‘em to work. Anyone who shows up early can help you set up your sale while also previewing your selection of goodies.

Get your tables set up at least a couple of hours before you open for business in order to give yourself plenty of time. Arrange your sale items neatly and in a way that allows customers to see what you’ve got. Make sure items are clean and in good condition.

Put out a Free Pile

Anything that isn’t in great shape can go in a “free” pile. Putting a few free items out by the curb can draw in customers.

Items should be priced prior to set up. There will be lots to do and lots of confusion as you’re getting ready for your sale, and the process will be quicker and less stressful if you’re not deciding what to charge for items at this point.

Greet Customers

When people start arriving for your sale, be friendly. Greet people, make eye contact, let them know you’re there to help them. If you’re ready and willing to drop prices when people ask, you’ll move more merchandise. Make a counteroffer if an initial offer is too low.

People will also be more likely to buy your stuff if you make a connection with them. Don’t be pushy, do be conversational. Giving a little history about items is an excellent sales technique.

When the Day is Done

At the end of the day, if there’s anything left over, box it up and place a “free stuff” ad on craigslist or facebook. It’ll disappear overnight if it’s anything good. If not, it’s trash.

Congratulations! You just exchanged a bunch of stuff you no longer needed for a little mad money. Plus you made a bunch of new friends and got to spend the day outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Best of all, you didn’t have to haul a truckload of stuff to Goodwill; you didn’t even have to leave your street!

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

Tips and Time Savers for the House-Cleaning Challenged

Keeping your home clean can be challenging. Some folks make it seem effortless, while others struggle every day to keep even the basics under control. While it’s true that some fortunate souls have a natural ability, anyone can learn what it takes to be a cleaning whiz. These tips and time savers for the house-cleaning challenged will get you there.

brown wooden door with green plants
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Keep it Simple

House cleaning is a very straightforward process. To stay on track, don’t undermine yourself by making cleaning unnecessarily complicated or procrastinating getting started until the job looms large.

Don’t be the person who dillydallys as a mode of avoidance, so the minor mess that could have been easily converted into a gleaming space deteriorates into a minor hazmat event.

Get Busy

The best way to get yourself on the road to cleaning wizardry is to simply get busy. Dust off the vacuum cleaner, rustle up a few cleaning cloths, and get going. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Follow the trail of dirt, dust, and grime and erase it. When the dirt is gone, your job is done. My post Basic Lessons in House Cleaning might help.

Once you’ve mastered the basic process of cleaning, make it a habit. That’s really all there is to it. Do it, and do it often.

To fine-tune your cleaning skills, here are some time-saving tips and advice:

Clean Frequently

Get into a routine of cleaning up once a week or every day as you go along or whatever works for you. Cleaning often ensures that dirt never gets the opportunity to build up and settle in.

Eliminate Clutter

Cleaning is easier when surfaces are free of extraneous possessions. Furthermore, dust has less opportunity to take a foothold when there are fewer nooks and crannies for it to settle into.

Organize

Organize your stuff so you know where everything goes when it’s time to pick up.

Use a Dusting Tool

Dust with a long-handled dusting tool rather than a cloth or rag, and work swiftly, dusting everything with your tool. A tool with nubs that grab dust will work universally on all surfaces from chair rails to baseboards to lampshades to knick-knacks and books to tables and shelves.

The long handle means you won’t have to bend down to reach baseboards or strain to reach up high. Don’t move any objects that you don’t have to move in order to reach dust.

Rotate Tasks

Rotate tasks. Many chores shouldn’t have to be done every time you clean. You will soon get a feel for which ones you can do on a rotating basis. If it isn’t visibly dirty, you probably can put it off until next time or the time after.

Use the Right Stuff

Use appropriate cleaning agents. Use a cleaner that is strong enough to break down the grime you are aiming to eradicate. Don’t use a heavy-duty cleaner on a surface that isn’t particularly dirty or use more of a cleaning agent than is necessary.

Buy Good Supplies

Invest in good equipment: a faulty or ill-performing vacuum cleaner or mop will cost you time in the long run. For more advice about what to use, check out my post What Supplies do You Need to Clean a House?

Keep Your Supplies Straight

Keep track of your cleaning supplies. On cleaning day, you should be able to readily lay your hands on everything you need without spending a half hour hunting down the mop.

Don’t Rush the Job

Don’t try to rush while you’re cleaning. It’ll only cost you time in the long run if things get overlooked, or worse broken or spilled.

Do a Good Job

Do it right the first time. Having to go back over what you’ve already done is a waste of time and energy.

Home cleaning can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. Spending a little time every day or two and a couple of hours every week keeping the situation in hand is all it takes. There are many benefits of daily cleaning. Keep it simple, don’t make work for yourself, and don’t procrastinate. Establish good habits and in no time you, too, can be a cleaning whiz.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips.   My books include the titles De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips, Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Getting Motivated to Clean Your Home

What do you do when you’ve lost your will to clean? You see the dust bunnies in the corners and toothpaste splatters on the mirrors but you just can’t work up the enthusiasm to get going. With each passing day, the job becomes bigger and in time you truly dread the thought of cleaning your house.

How do you get moving? Assuming you’re not suffering from anything more serious than a motivational issue, here are some suggestions for getting motivated to clean your home.

brown wooden center table
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Visualization

Imagine your home looking clean and beautiful. Think about how nice it would be to get ready for work tomorrow in a squeaky clean bathroom and come home to clean floors and prepare dinner in a spotless kitchen. These images might just light the spark you need to get your fire going.

Spur yourself to action by picturing your awesomely clean home and keep thinking about it as you power through the job.

Reward Yourself

If that’s not the right approach to spur you into action, try a reward system. Set some cleaning goals for yourself and promise yourself a treat when they are achieved.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight, dangle a chocolate ice cream cone out on the horizon. You can have it after you clean your house. The calories burned cleaning will equal out with the ice cream. It’s a good trade-off.

Or, if you think a hair treatment you’ve been considering is too extravagant for your budget, calculate how much it would cost to pay someone to clean your home (the going rate is probably somewhere between $25 and $45 per hour) and then reward yourself with a trip to the hairdresser after you do the job yourself.

Take Baby Steps

If that’s not doing it for you, try taking baby steps. Instead of looking at house cleaning as a great big job, think of it as a whole bunch of little jobs. Then tackle one little job, and then, later on, tackle another. Work at whatever pace you want.

Doing one little job, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all. So today you might clean the inside of the microwave and tomorrow you might clean the stove and the next day the kitchen countertops and so on. Eventually you might even begin to get motivated by all you’ve accomplished, get some momentum going, and tackle a whole room in one fell swoop.

Since house cleaning is a job that can build on itself, this is a great approach to take to kick your cleaning groove into action. It’s never essential to clean your whole house at once. Cleaning it in smaller increments works just as well. At some point, you’ll get into a routine. Then, spending fifteen minutes a day will become half an hour and before you know it your whole house will be in tip-top shape. Take some baby steps and you’ll be running in no time.

Make Cleaning a Habit

Cleaning isn’t supposed to be fun. Getting motivated can be tough. Housekeeping is a difficult job. Another suggestion I have for you with regard to getting motivated is to make house cleaning a habit. Working out a regular routine and then integrating it into your life is the best way to keep your home in shape.

Ideally, break down the large job of keeping an orderly home into many small tasks and take it in stages throughout your week. You’ll have to concentrate at first, but after a little while it’ll be part of your routine and you won’t mind doing it because you won’t give it a second thought.

If you haven’t got the time to break it down, a once weekly or every other week full house run-through will net you the same results. The same approach will work as well. Make it a priority to devote a block of time to cleaning your whole house periodically. Each time you complete the routine, it will get easier. In time, your routine will be so routine you won’t even think about it.

Whatever approach you take, it’s essential to get back into your cleaning groove ASAP. Continuing to let things slide makes the job loom larger and larger. It’s often the case that once you get started, you’ll find your enthusiasm pick up.

Just Do it

So, as a last-ditch option, just do it. Get up right now and start cleaning your kitchen. Don’t think about it, just do it. Once you get going, you might just find that your will to clean comes back with a vengeance. Ten hours later, your windows will sparkle, your garage will be immaculate, and even your sidewalks will glisten. Hey, you never know.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

The Cardinal Rules of House Cleaning

House cleaning, at its core, is very basic. The objective is the removal of dirt and grime from a home in order to promote the good health of its occupants as well as improve their quality of life. Regardless of whether you’re cleaning a two-bedroom cottage or a twenty-bedroom mansion, the cardinal rules of house cleaning will help you achieve these goals.

architectural design architecture ceiling chairs
Photo by Marc Mueller on Pexels.com

Clean Regularly

Clean regularly to keep your home in the best possible condition. Integrating regular cleaning into your schedule serves several purposes.

First, it ensures that your house gets cleaned. Second, regular cleaning quickly becomes a habit. Third, the more often you clean, the less time it takes to complete the job. Fourth, regularly cleaning your home means you won’t get stuck spending an entire weekend playing catch-up.

Fifth, a clean home just makes you feel good, both because it smells and looks good and because you feel a sense of accomplishment at having completed the task.

Make House Cleaning a Priority

Make house cleaning a priority. This will ensure that important things get done before they get out of control, and less important things get done sooner or later as time permits. High traffic areas will get the attention they need before dirt and grime reaches toxic levels. Putting off house cleaning guarantees that it won’t get done.

Set up a Cleaning Routine

A set routine gets you into the habit of cleaning regularly, which ensures that all areas get cleaned from time to time.

Your kitchen, bathrooms, and other common areas will always be in good-enough shape. They’ll be nice and clean on the day after you clean, and by the end of the week they’ll again need attention but won’t be terrible. And some weeks the kitchen won’t demand as much of your time so you’ll get a chance to vacuum under beds or couch cushions.

A clean home is a healthy, happy environment. Plus, you’ll never be embarrassed when unexpected company shows up at your door.

Reduce Clutter

Reduce clutter to speed up the cleaning process and enhance effectiveness. Keeping clutter at bay makes cleaning quicker and easier. Dusting minimally-cluttered surfaces not only takes less time but also cuts down on dust in general because there are fewer surfaces on which dust can settle.

Having to work around or move multiple objects when vacuuming consumes time. Mopping is a nightmare when you’ve got to shift things around from space to space to even get at the floor. Plus, clutter-free spaces just look better.

Clean from Top to Bottom

Clean from top to bottom to make sure dirt always falls into areas that haven’t yet been cleaned. The first step to cleaning any space is dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures, and anything else up high. The last step is cleaning floors.

This principle should be applied continuously throughout the cleaning process so that dirt and dust fall down into areas that haven’t yet been cleaned. For instance, don’t sweep the floor before cleaning crumbs off of the kitchen countertops.

Clean in a Line

Clean in a continuous line so dirt doesn’t get tracked back into areas which have already been cleaned. Work from room to room in a continuous line as much as possible. Plot your course in a manner that will contain dirt and grime rather than spread it around. Tracking dirt back into areas you’ve just cleaned is counterproductive.

Use Tools

Use tools to maximize efficiency. For example, a good dusting wand with nubs that grab dust can be used almost universally throughout the house. A string mop gets into the corners and tight spaces that a sponge mop can’t reach. And never underestimate the usefulness of your vacuum cleaner. It’s one of the most versatile cleaning tools at your command.

Use the Right Stuff

Use appropriate cleaning agents in the correct amount. Know when to break out the tough cleaning agents. Mold, mildew, soap-scum buildup, grease, and mineral deposits are all most quickly eliminated by using chemical cleaning agents.

Conversely, don’t use stronger cleaners than are necessary. You’ll waste time rinsing away suds you didn’t need; furthermore, any residual cleaner left on a surface attracts more dirt. Sometimes less is more.

Use Entry Mats

Keep entry mats at doors to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the house. The biggest source of dirt on your floors is the feet of those who enter your home. Keep door mats at all entrances and encourage visitors to remove their shoes. Keep a towel near the door to wipe off paws, as well.

House cleaning doesn’t have to be a big deal. Taking the time to learn and understand basic tried-and-true principles will maximize outcomes while making the best use of your time and energy. Learn from those who have gone before you. These cardinal rules of house cleaning are tried and true methods of keeping your home shiny and clean.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

Tips for Cleaning Cluttered Spaces

If you’ve read any of my posts heretofore, you’ll know that The Cleaning Pro frowns upon clutter. Clutter makes cleaning difficult, breeds dust, and conceals necessary items. However, the reality is that some people are simply not organizers, and cluttered spaces still need to be dusted and vacuumed and generally spruced up. These tips for cleaning cluttered spaces will help get you there.

pile of books in shallow focus photography
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 Put Dirty Clothes in a Hamper

Don’t throw your clothes on the floor. Put them in a laundry basket or put them away if they’re not dirty. As a last resort, pile them up somewhere, and don’t let the pile get so high that it topples over. It’s impossible to vacuum or sweep floors that are buried in clothes.

Don’t Pile Things Haphazardly

Make your clutter as orderly as you can. Put papers that belong with other papers into piles: bills with bills, junk mail to sort later with other junk mail to sort later, newspapers with newspapers, magazines with magazines.

If it’s all in a big pile of nonsense, you can’t find anything, and bills will go unpaid, your car registration will expire, important papers will be forever lost in the abyss.

Separate Important Paperwork

On a related note, get a basket for the important paperwork that you need to sort through. When the basket is full you have reached your deadline. Deal with it.

Don’t Save Junk

Stop saving clippings, newspapers, magazines, etc. that you will never look at again. If you can’t find anything anyway, isn’t it easier to toss it out now rather than allow dust to settle onto it for the next fifteen years?

Don’t let stuff that’s just plain trash pile up. Move your recycling to the curb or the dump. Old newspapers, magazines, food wrappers, and similar items have no residual value.

Keep Fishing Gear Out of the Living Room

Tools, gardening equipment, parts for the car belong in the garage or the tool shed or the basement. You can’t pile all your fishing gear in the middle of the living room and expect to be able to clean around it (or live there). I’m sorry, but this is where a line has to be drawn.

Christmas Only Comes Once a Year

Take your Christmas tree down by the end of January at the latest. Especially if it was a live tree.

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Keep the countertops in your kitchen as free of clutter as possible so they can be wiped off periodically.

Throw out food containers. Don’t save leftovers indefinitely. Go through the fridge once a week and toss out food that’s no good.

Pay attention to your nose and if you smell a funky odor, you need to root out its source. Now.

Bathroom Clutter is a Big No-No

In the bathroom, don’t let stuff pile up on the counters. Put toiletries into drawers or cabinets. If your drawers and cabinets are full, set aside an hour to go through everything and throw out what’s no good.

Or put all that clutter into a basket when it’s time to clean. You can’t clean countertops that are covered in stuff, and all that clutter collects dust which, in humid bathrooms, turns into a crusty mess.

Minimize Clutter As Much As Possible

While some clutter is tolerable, don’t let it get out of control. Bear in mind that clutter accumulates dust and there’s no way to vacuum or sweep cluttered areas. Unchecked clutter spreads from corners outward until entire rooms disappear. So do your best to keep it to a minimum so you can move freely enough through your living space to clean (and live).

Do Your Best to Keep it Clean

On cleaning day, do what you can with what you’ve got. Dust ceilings and walls for cobwebs. Dust all flat surfaces and dust over and around any piles of stuff. Clean the kitchen and bathrooms. Follow the advice presented here and do your best. It’s not easy, but it is possible (and necessary) to clean cluttered spaces.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

Keeping a Clean House When you Have Messy Roommates

Your roommates are slobs and it’s driving you crazy because you like to keep a neat and tidy home. Besides finding new living quarters, is there a solution to this dilemma? Keeping a clean house when you have messy roommates can be tough.

pile of covered books
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Different Styles

People have many different attitudes toward house cleaning. Some can’t function in anything less than a perfectly ordered environment and therefore clean continually as a normal part of daily life. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the folks who are oblivious to piles of dirty dishes and masses of cobwebs. Most people fall somewhere in between these two extremes on the cleaning continuum.

If you’re faced with having to tell your roommate that their slovenly ways are driving you nuts, there are strategies that you can use to attempt to resolve the issue. Whatever you do, don’t resort to yelling. Coercion is never the answer.

Communicate

Step one is to assume that your roommate is simply unaware of their shortcomings in the housekeeping arena. Communication may quickly resolve the problem. Gently open a conversation in a non-accusatory manner and approach the situation as the mutual problem that it is. You might say something like: “I’m the type of person who functions optimally in an uncluttered environment, so I wonder if we could work out a system to keep our place a little more picked up than it has been.”

Hopefully this will start you talking about your different attitudes toward clutter, or dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, or dirty dishes in the sink. There are lots of people who never learned how to clean, and your unfortunate roommate may be one of them.

Make a Plan

Starting this discussion should lead you directly to step two, which involves you and your roommate setting up a cleaning plan. Getting your roommate involved in the solution both empowers them and holds them accountable.

This is the time to talk about cleaning goals. Is your beef chronic clutter or a dirty bathroom or a perpetual mess in the kitchen? Be as specific as possible about what needs to be done to bring your home up to code. It may be the case that a little bit of education will go a long way toward solving the problem. After all, most people don’t want to live in slovenly homes. So give your roommate the benefit of the doubt.

You might simply write up a list of the specific tasks that need to be done and then ask your roommate which ones they want to do. For example:

  • Wipe down kitchen counters, appliances, and clean sinks.
  • Throw out food that’s no longer any good.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Wash the kitchen floor.
  • Dust and vacuum the living area.
  • Clean the bathroom sinks, countertops, mirrors, tub, and toilet.
  • Do laundry.

Specifically spelling out what needs to be done to maintain order serves several purposes. It gives your roommate ideas in case they don’t actually know what to do. It also sets very clear goals about what needs to happen to make your living area clean. It gives you both a reference point in case tasks get lost in the shuffle of daily life. And it gives you both the ability to negotiate who does what as well as establishing accountability if things don’t get done.

Carry Out Your Plan

This takes you to step three: implementation of your plan. Once you’ve ironed out a solid contract, you and your roommate have to each carry out your parts. If you’ve both agreed to keep your individual clutter confined to particular areas and take care of certain chores, you must each follow through. Failure to do so violates your contract.

As a Last Result

Consistently failing to respect your agreement (on either end) might signify a more serious problem with your relationship. At the end of the day, the place where you live is your respite from the world. It should be a place where you can relax and unwind, not a constant source of irritation. If you’ve made an earnest attempt to resolve your issues and are unable to do so, then it might be time to consider rethinking your choice of roommates.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

Tips for Finding the Best Mop for Keeping Your Floors Clean

Floor care is one of the most time-consuming aspects of a home cleaning regimen. Removing dirt from bare floors is one of the biggest challenges in this area. These tips for finding the best mop for keeping your floors clean will help you meet this challenge.

brown wooden floor
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Why Cleaning Your Floors Is So Important

It’s important to keep your bare floors clean for several reasons. First of all, floors last longer if they’re well-maintained. Second, dirt on floors doesn’t stay put; it transfers onto the feet of anyone passing through and gets tracked all around. Third, food spills have the potential to attract bugs or other unwanted visitors. Finally, clean floors feel great on your bare feet (and keep your bare feet clean).

Getting your decks clean doesn’t require scrubbing on your hands and knees, so get up off the floor. There’s no need for you to use the same method your Grandma did.

Types of Mops

Mops these days are much more effective, and easier to use, than the mops of yesteryear. In fact there are many excellent choices available, including sponge mops, string mops, flat head mops, steam mops, and robot mops. The trick is selecting the best type for your situation.

A sponge mop has a sponge head with some kind of ringer to squeeze out excess water. The problem is, these don’t always wring out fully, which can leave excess water on the floor. Another drawback is that they aren’t very maneuverable so it’s hard to get into corners and under the edges of things.

String mops or strip mops come in lots of different types and are typically made from cotton, rayon or microfiber. The ends of the strings or strips may be cut or looped, and the heads wring out in various ways such as hand wringing, or using a twister to pull the head up, which forces the water out. Some come with a wringer that attaches to your mop bucket.

A good string mop will wring out well so you don’t end up with a lot of water on your floor. String mops are also very maneuverable, so you can get into corners and under the edges of things with them. Many also have washable heads that will last and last.

Flat head mops usually have a microfiber pad or head that can be removed and washed then re-used. Some types use disposable pads instead.

Some types have a reservoir tank that holds cleaning solution and a sprayer that attaches to the handle so you can spray your cleaning solution into the path of the mop as you work. With others you use a hand-held spray bottle to spray solution into the path of the mop as you work. Some flat head mops are both a dry dust mop and a wet mop and some have exchangeable heads that serve different functions.

Steam mops use steam to clean the floor along with a pad of some type that attaches to the base. Some types of floors should not be cleaned with a steam mop, so make sure it’s safe to use on your flooring if you go that route.

Robot mops wash and dry the floor while you do something more interesting. You’ll spend some dough for the convenience, these aren’t cheap.

What type of mop is best for you?

If you’ve got wood floors, a flat head microfiber mop is your best friend. Get one with changeable wet and dry heads. It can be used for spot cleaning as well as total-floor cleaning, if necessary. These are good to use on wood floors because they don’t leave much water behind and they are very soft.

If your floors see a lot of use and need frequent mopping, a good microfiber string mop will be a sure bet. Microfiber wrings out excess water more efficiently than other materials and picks up most common floor messes effectively. A string mop is versatile, durable, and washable, so you can use it over and over and over again.

Steam mops are handy for cleaning small areas, for disinfecting, and for cleaning grouted floors. If these situations apply to you, a steam mop will fit the bill. However, if your floors tend to be very dirty, you’ll need to change the cleaning pad several times as you work. In this case it might be easier to use a string mop and bucket of water instead.

If you want to splurge, try a robot mop. It works on the same principles as a robot vacuum cleaner. You might want to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t try anything funny, though.

Sponge mops are okay in a pinch but are handier for jobs like washing walls or cleaning showers. As floor care tools, they come in low on the list because they’re not very maneuverable. They have their applications, just not on floors.

Keeping floors clean can be pretty simple if you keep up with it as often as necessary. Your situation will dictate how often your floors need cleaning. By not allowing dirt and grime to build up on floors, you make cleaning easy and protect the life of your flooring.

Get a decent mop and be sure to use it often enough that dirt never gets a chance to take root. That’s all you have to do to make sure you never have to scrub a floor on your hands and knees.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.