The Philosophy of Cleaning

We’re into that magical time of year when the holidays are in the rear-view mirror and summer fun is far away on the horizon, leaving us with this wonderful window of time to purge! Which brings me to the topic at hand: the Philosophy of Cleaning.

What is the point of cleaning, after all? The house just gets dirty again. Clutter somehow reshuffles and ends up back where it started in the middle of the kitchen counter or on the floor in the entry hall. It’s all just a thankless, endless job that takes up a lot of time.

Or is it? I’ve regularly maintained that cleaning is a means to an end. It’s the result, not the action, that’s meaningful. “Cleaning” is a verb, “clean” is an adjective, and the sparking, clutter-free surfaces are the prize.

But there is something about the act of cleaning that’s cathartic. Particularly the act of purging unnecessary objects from the space around you. It’s liberating in and of itself.

Through the act of ridding oneself of the weight of possessions, enlightenment can be attainted. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit over the top. But it’s a fundamental flaw of our society that we place far too much value on possessions. And not nearly enough value on actions.

Think about it. We as individual citizens shirk responsibility for our own actions increasingly as the state takes measures to protect ourselves from ourselves. Hard to say which came first, our inability to reason out how to cross a street on our own or the cities’ putting up signals and putting down crosswalks and making laws so that people who are busy texting while crossing the street don’t get run over.

As our actions becoming increasingly legislated and streamlined, they continue to lose importance. It’s a downward spiral. We feel the void this leaves without understanding what it is. And so we try to fill it with stuff.

The cycle goes on and on, until we have filled our homes with lots and lots of stuff that we don’t really need. It weighs us down, makes us feel heavy and even depressed. Have you ever looked around your space and wondered where to even begin? That’s the feeling I am talking about.

So here we are, with this wonderful window of opportunity: the time to purge these possessions that we don’t need. This is the time to make our action meaningful to ourselves and as baby steps toward regaining the ability to act in the wider arena of society.

Purging, or decluttering, begins in a small circle and widens as your accomplishments in that small area motivate you to continue. It can take an hour or three months, depending on your situation.

The purpose of this particular post isn’t to explain how to declutter or reorganize your closets, I’ve done many others on the subject. This is intended to inspire.

The Philosophy of Cleaning is learned through taking action to transform your space, gain control, and make a meaningful difference in your own life. Next stop: changing the world!

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 StepsClean 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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It’s Thanksgiving Pre-Game Cleanup Time!

It’s that time of year again! Yes, you guessed it: it’s time for the annual Thanksgiving pre-game house cleanup!

The holidays are looming on the horizon, beginning with the traditional turkey day kickoff, and you’re probably wondering how on earth you’ll ever get everything done. Rest easy, there’s still plenty of time to get your house in order.

Here’s a motivator to spur you into action: when you get the housework done ahead of time, that’ll leave some wiggle room to accommodate any culinary misadventures that might derail your holiday timetable.

Considering that Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday, the gastronomic Superbowl of the whole year, it’s crucial to get it right!

So, get moving!

The first step is always making a plan. Set goals. Consider what needs to be done and how you will get it all accomplished.

For example, are out-of-town guests coming to stay with you? If you answered yes, where will they sleep? Does that area need attention, from a simple spruce up to a major overhaul? This would be a logical place to begin right now, since you’re three weeks out.

If we’re talking major overhaul, start purging and organizing. See my blog posts on same for some guidance. In a nutshell, get rid of anything you’re not using and find a home for anything you use regularly.

If your guest room is also your storage room and you’ve got what seems like a huge project ahead of you, make reservations for your guests at a local B&B and close the door. Ha! Just kidding! You can fix it, and it’ll be amazing when you’re done. Truly it’s an easier job than you think.

Nine times out of ten, a big pile of stuff can very easily be re-structured into a very small space, you just have to get serious about eliminating things you don’t use. I can’t emphasize that enough. Don’t hang onto things you don’t need!

Moving on…

At this stage of the game, there’s still time to take your time (quickly) getting some deep cleaning done. This means tackling tasks that don’t routinely get done.

Go through your home with a tall dusting tool, getting into high corners, dusting ceilings & ceiling fans, valances, picture frames, window grates and ledges, and any horizontal surfaces you don’t routinely do. Dust lampshades, blinds, curtains.

Vacuum upholstered furniture and underneath, clean in corners, vacuum the back side of area rugs and the floor underneath, and take a good look around for other areas you don’t usually clean that could use attention now. Check my blog post on the subject for ideas. Don’t forget to give bathrooms a good scrub down.

As the big day draws closer, your cleaning field should begin to shrink. Start focusing on living areas used every day. De-clutter, organize, and generally tidy up. Get these areas into a condition such that a quick once-over just prior to Thanksgiving Day will do the trick.

The kitchen should be the last area to get a good cleaning. Leaving the kitchen until last (hopefully) ensures there won’t be enough time to for it get too messed up before Thanksgiving food prep begins. Simple clean as you go techniques such as wiping down appliances and countertops daily and cleaning up spills immediately after they happen should keep your kitchen in tip-top shape.

And there you have it. Simply tighten up this guide into a schedule that meets your specific needs and you’ll be on track to get your Thanksgiving cooking done on time, leaving you free on the big day to enjoy your friends, family, and football!

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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 StepsClean 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.

Microfiber: Miracle or Mistake?

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Microfiber has become the wonder product of our time when it comes to house cleaning supplies. Microfiber cleaning cloths, mops, and dusters are all the rage. It can’t be argued that microfiber has benefits when it comes to house cleaning. It’s got many wonderous qualities.

But I urge you to weigh the pros and cons carefully, and consider whether microfiber is a miracle or mistake when it comes to your choice of house cleaning products.

Microfiber is not Earth-Friendly

There, I said it. Regardless of the claims made by companies peddling microfiber cleaning products, these wonder rags are not Earth-friendly. Quite the contrary in fact.

Like any of the many synthetic products we consume, microfiber’s manufacture is harmful to our environment. Synthetic fabrics are petroleum-based, and the process of their creation contributes to the pollution of our planet.

Microfiber is Not Bio-Degradable

What happens to microfiber when it wears out? It becomes just more plastic waste. Microfiber can’t be composted or even safely incinerated. Those old microfiber cloths and mops and dusting tools that are no longer useful have no residual value. Their composition makes them just more waste that will live forever.

Microfibers Shed

Microfiber sheds tiny fibers each time it’s washed. These tiny fibers find their way into the Earth’s watershed. Which in turn means that microfibers are finding their way into the food chain. This amounts to nothing more or less than additional plastic pollution, only this time on a microscopic level.

Recycled Rags versus Shiny and New

Cleaning rags made out of old cotton t-shirts aren’t as glamorous as shiny, new color-coded microfibers cleaning cloths. But they give new life to materials that have outlived their original intended purpose. This is recycling at its best!

More Mistake Than Miracle

Microfiber cleaning cloths are convenient. But are they a good choice? Like the many disposable cleaning products available today, microfiber only further contributes to the massive pollution problem plaguing our planet.

In the long term, using alternative products, such as cotton rags or natural sponges, will leave less of an impact on the planet. If we care about the generations of tomorrow, these alternatives will go much further to guarantee their future health and happiness.

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.

Is Spring Cleaning Necessary?

Ah spring! Finally, it’s time to open the windows and let the fresh air inside. For many energetic individuals, it’s time to get busy sprucing up our homes. Others wonder: is spring cleaning necessary?

We all have our own cleaning style. Factors to take into account: frequency, thoroughness, and attitude. Some people tolerate more dirt and disorder than others. Some clean so thoroughly each and every week that dirt never gets the chance to take root. Others clean up every day, and their homes are at all times seemingly immaculate.

What is Spring Cleaning?

Spring cleaning can mean many different things, depending on your specific needs and desires. Any home can benefit from periodically tackling the tasks that don’t get regular attention.

That’s all spring cleaning really amounts to: putting in the time to do the jobs that don’t usually get done. These tasks will vary by individual.

Vacuuming under beds or cleaning out closets aren’t the only possibilities. Curtains or blinds or ceiling fan blades might be begging to be dusted. Look around your home with a critical eye for ideas. We often overlook things we see every day.

Windows get dirty over time. Fingerprints accumulate on switch plates. Drips and spills are almost inevitable on kitchen cabinet doors. Light fixtures get dusty and wall hangings sprout cobwebs.

At a Minimum, Clean the Kitchen

Maybe you don’t really care about aesthetics. At a minimum, don’t overlook the areas that affect your health and well-being. Kitchen countertops/food prep areas are classic examples. Food storage areas should be cleaned out from time to time. Bathrooms need cleaning at least once in a while.

Spring cleaning can be done at any time of the year; it’s not limited to spring. Is it necessary? Well, it is necessary (from time to time) to tackle the tasks that don’t always get done. How and when is a personal choice. Spring is simply a good excuse to get motivated and get busy.

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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Clean Away the Winter Blahs

When the weather outside makes you want to stay inside, it’s a perfect opportunity to clean. Staying productive and active is important for your mental health during winter months, and the byproduct is getting your home into shape. Here is some inspiration for ways to clean away the winter blahs.

Organize Closets

Organizing a closet can become a very time-consuming task, depending on various factors such as the size and shape of the closet, the nature of the contents, and the frequency with which this chore has been performed in the past.

 Take these points into consideration before undertaking the project. It’s frustrating and de-motivating when you run out of steam halfway through the endeavor with the contents of your closet strewn throughout a room. If it’s a big job, tackle it in smaller parts.

The point of cleaning out a closet is to evaluate the usefulness of stored items and eliminate any that are not of value to you. Fatigue sets in quickly if you have to make many decisions over and over again about whether to keep objects. Tackle the task in increments that you can handle.

Clean out the Pantry

This is a great time of year to systematically go through all your food cupboards. Pull everything out and get rid of items that are expired. Wipe off cupboard surfaces before replacing items, reorganizing as you go.

Organize Drawers

Sort through dresser drawers, kitchen drawers, the junk drawer in the hallway. There’s little in life quite so satisfying as opening a drawer and being able to view the contents without having to rifle around for the object you seek.

Dust Walls and Drapes

Use a rag secured over a broom to sweep away cobwebs and dust on ceilings, ceiling fans, light fixtures, walls, and drapes. Get into corners. Dust chair rails and baseboards. Remove and (hand) wash glass light shades if they need freshening up.

Vacuum Furniture

Use your upholstery tool to vacuum all surfaces on upholstered furniture. Turn over cushions. Vacuum underneath sofas and chairs while you’re at it.

Vacuum Mattresses

Vacuum and flip mattresses. Vacuum or launder bed skirts, duvet covers, pillow shams, and other bedding that doesn’t get washed regularly.

Dust Book Shelves

Thoroughly dust bookshelves: remove books and bric-a-brac, dust shelves, dust and replace books and bric-a-brac.

Look Around

Finally, take a look around to see what else needs help. Dust, dirt, cobwebs, and clutter hide under beds, in corners, and behind furniture. Sometimes they are even right in plain sight. Examine your living space with a critical eye and do what needs doing while you have the time.

The winter blahs will give way to satisfaction at a job well done, and before you know it winter will have changed to spring and your house will sparkle!

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.

Post-Holiday Cleanup

With the holidays disappearing in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to clean up the mess they left behind. Some folks get right to their post-holiday cleanup on December 26th. Others aren’t quite so motivated. If you’re in the latter group, it’s time to get busy.

Get Motivated

Cleaning up after the holidays doesn’t have to be a drag if you can get yourself into the proper frame of mind. Look at it like this: with the New Year comes opportunity for fresh beginnings. Erasing the remnants of the holidays is like a cleansing of the palate.

So get busy and it’ll be done in no time.

Get Rid of Trash

Begin by getting rid of the trash. That doesn’t mean you should throw everything out. Hang onto instructions, and packaging that might be needed if some new possession breaks within the warranty period. By all means keep gift boxes or bags that might be recycled next year.

Storing such items properly is the key to success. Keep important papers in a designated spot for easy retrieval. Store items for next year smartly in bins or labeled boxes.

Don’t keep useless items! Resist the urge to keep something that might be useful some day. If you’re not 95% positive it will be useful within a year, get rid of it.

Stash Your Stuff

Next step, stash your stuff. If your holiday haul is still on display under the Christmas tree, put it away. Give careful consideration to the best placement of items. The key to successfully organizing your possessions is having a logical place for every single item. This way you will always know where to put things when you aren’t using them and you will know where to look for things when you need them.

If you’re finding that you don’t have room for new possessions, get rid of old possessions you no longer need in order to free up space.


The third and final step of your holiday cleanup is the actual cleaning.

Holiday dirt and debris gets embedded in carpet fibers and makes its way under throw rugs. Use your broom, dustmop, or vacuum cleaner to eliminate Christmas tree needles, confetti and paper shreds, and plain old dirt.

Be sure to get into corners and under furniture. Get rid of the dirt now so it doesn’t came back to haunt you at Easter.

Wash away the sins of the old year to make a fresh start!

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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Cleaning Maid Simple

Strangely enough, house cleaning means different things to different people. One person’s perfectly acceptable clean house is, to someone else, appallingly dirty. House cleaning doesn’t have to be a subjective experience. This step by step cleaning maid simple approach will get everyone on the same page.

Before You Clean: Declutter

Picking up and putting away or throwing away miscellaneous objects is the prerequisite to cleaning that makes dusting, vacuuming, and wiping up a quicker and easier process. Some people mistake this step as a part of the actual cleaning process. It is not. De-cluttering is like warming up before starting a workout.

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Step 1: the Kitchen

The kitchen is the room in most homes that sees the most action. This is the space that will likely be the most time-consuming part of any cleaning job. Using the “do the worst first” approach gets this big job done right off the bat.

The job itself will vary considerably from house to house. Fastidious types who clean up after each meal will have much less to do than those who don’t.

Ideally, chores such as unloading and/or loading the dishwasher, taking out trash, wiping down countertops, and cleaning the stove would not be a part of the cleaning regimen because they would be done on a daily basis. That being said, if these chores need to be done, they must be done.

Additional kitchen must-dos include cleaning appliance fronts, de-crumbing the toaster, wiping out the microwave, and spot-cleaning cupboard fronts, drawer pulls, knobs, and handles.

Finally, as will be done in all rooms of the house, the kitchen floor will need whatever attention it demands, be it from a broom or vacuum and wet mop.

Step 2: Dusting and Vacuuming Common Areas

Dusting and vacuuming common areas is as much a must-do as cleaning up the kitchen. Whatever approach to dusting you take, make a point of clearing away cobwebs in corners and dust on baseboards as well as the obvious settlements on flat surfaces.

Vacuum, sweep, or dust mop floors, and wash as needed. Don’t forget to occasionally vacuum upholstered furniture as well.

Step 3: Clean the Bathrooms

Bathroom cleanup is the third essential step to cleaning any house. Like the kitchen, the amount of work involved will depend on the degree of daily cleaning that’s done. Showers that are squeegeed every day will be far less trouble to clean and disinfect than those that aren’t. Sinks and countertops that get wiped down every day or two will likewise take less time.

Don’t forget to sweep and mop the floor to complete the job.

Step 4: Clean Bedrooms

Bedrooms are the rooms typically left for last for two reasons: people spend less time in their bedrooms than in other parts of the house and guests are less likely to notice dust and debris in these rooms.  It is necessary to clean up these rooms on a regular basis. Change bedding, dust, vacuum, and mop as needed.

Step 5: Keep it Clean

Cleaning up as you go along is by far the simplest cleaning method on the market. This means cleaning up spills as they happen and keeping a watchful eye out for messes as they crop up.

While the detail involved in house cleaning will undoubtedly differ based on the amount of effort invested day to day, the overall process should generally be the same. Cleaning involves the same steps for everyone in every situation. This straightforward step by step approach means never having to wonder if your home is as clean as it should be.

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.

House Cleaning 101 Introduction to Making Your Home Shiny and Clean

If you’re a total cleaning novice, you’re in the right place. This is House Cleaning 101, the introductory course to making your home shiny and clean. Cleaning is both simple and complicated at the same time. At its core, house cleaning is quite simply the means through which dirt and other unwanted substances are removed from your living space.

There are also many nuances to cleaning which make it complicated. We won’t worry about the nuances today. Our focus today will be on some basic home cleaning fundamentals.

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Cleaning is a Process

The first thing you should understand about house cleaning is that it’s a process. Done properly, cleaning isn’t something that only happens once in a while. Keeping a home shiny and clean requires commitment. Simply put: the more frequently you clean, the nicer your home will look and smell. It’s therefore necessary to establish a cleaning routine that involves cleaning your home on a regular basis.

Establish a Routine

Figure out a schedule that will easily fit into your lifestyle. Your routine could be carried out daily, weekly, every other week, or some combination thereof. Whatever the routine, the most important element is that you have one. Get into the habit of cleaning your home on a regular basis in order to ensure that it stays clean.

Doing an extensive cleaning of your home once every six months isn’t a cleaning routine; it’s damage control. When dirt and grime sit around for a long time, they begin to degrade surfaces. Furthermore, it’s much more difficult to remove long term buildups; a process that is both time consuming and potentially damaging to the surface.

Get Some Supplies

After deciding on a cleaning schedule, you’ll need to know what supplies to have on hand. The short list: a broom or vacuum cleaner, a mop for bare floors, a bucket, a toilet brush, some rags or cloths, sponges, possibly a dusting wand (makes the job go quicker), and some basic agents for cleaning glass, appliances, counter tops, bathroom fixtures, floors, and any other surfaces. My post entitled What Supplies Do You Need To Clean A House? gives more in-depth info on this topic.

Get Busy

Once you’ve got your cleaning supplies, it’s time to get busy. First de-clutter and organize your living space as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to clean surfaces that aren’t covered in stuff. Organizing and de-cluttering are the prime prerequisites to keeping a clean home. This step might take ten minutes, or a week and a half, depending on your particular state of clutter. If need be, just work around the clutter for now and plan to organize and de-clutter incrementally.

Make a Strategy

Next, take a few minutes to make a strategy for your plan of attack. Decide how much time you have available to spend on cleaning. Then take a quick walk through your home, getting an idea of what needs to be done. Refer to my House Cleaning Checklist for ideas about what specific tasks comprise the steps in cleaning a house.

Look for trouble spots as well as areas that don’t need any attention. Once you’ve got an overall picture of the job, plan how much time you’ll spend cleaning each area, keeping in mind the total overall time that you have available to spend on the job. Getting the whole house cleaned is your goal; budgeting your time and staying on schedule will help you to make that happen.

The cleaning process itself shouldn’t be too elaborate at this point. If you’re a cleaning novice, focus on the obvious. You’ll hone your skills over time. There’s a learning curve to house cleaning.

Keep it Simple

For now, keep it simple. Dust, vacuum, sweep. Clean glass surfaces and counter tops and appliance fronts. Clean your bathroom fixtures and mop your floors. Don’t concern yourself with eradicating every speck of dirt. Cleaning every single nook and cranny is time-consuming and unnecessary.

If you perform your cleaning routine on a regular schedule, everything will get cleaned eventually. For now, focus on high-traffic areas. These will need to be done every time you clean. Areas that see little or no use don’t need to be cleaned as often.

As your cleaning skills improve, you’ll get a better feel for the process. Regular cleaning  ensures that high-traffic areas are always in good shape and areas that need less attention get cleaned as needed.


The final step of house cleaning is maintenance. Getting your home into excellent shape might take a few weeks, or months, depending on the state it’s in today. Once you’ve achieved a state of excellence, your home will stay that way if you clean regularly and keep up with the control of dirt, grime, and dust.

This sometimes calls for aggressive proactive measures and sometimes can be handled with a more laid-back style. Every situation is different. If you notice that you’re losing ground, increase your vigilance. It’s much easier to maintain a state of order than to have to reclaim it after you’ve lost control.

Following the steps laid out here will get you going in the right direction. House cleaning is a hands-on endeavor. Get in there, get your hands wet, learn on the job. Before you know it, you’ll be effortlessly 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.

Cleaning Gone Wild: Keeping Camp Clean

cleanskyLots of people get away from the nonstop busyness of everyday life by retiring to the woods for a few days. While going off the grid is relaxing, there’s no maid service in the wild. Keeping camp clean can be tricky; these cleaning gone wild tips will keep you on track.

Cleaning is Necessary, Even at Camp

Cleaning a camp, or even a tent, is necessary. Life is messy, no matter where we are. In the woods it’s especially important to clean up leftover food or anything that might attract insects or bears or other undesirable visitors.

Keep a Lid on Food

Store food in locking, airtight containers to keep out wildlife and insects as well as ensure the food’s freshness.

Keep Food Cool

Keep items that normally require refrigeration on ice.

Clean Up Leftovers

Never leave leftover food sitting around unattended. Seal it up in airtight containers or Ziplocs.

Don’t Leave Trash Lying Around

Corn cobs and dirty paper plates have the potential to attract unwanted attention. Keep them under wraps or in a locking trash can.

Bring Plenty of Water

If camp doesn’t have a supply of fresh water, be sure to bring plenty to use for cleaning up.

Wash Your Dishes

Dirty dishes don’t belong at camp any more than leftovers or open food. Pack a couple of plastic tubs specifically for dishwashing. If there’s no hot water, heat some up on a cookstove or over a fire (use a fire-proof pan).

Don’t Forget a Broom

Sand and dirt and pine needles are tracked inside all day long at camp. Plan to sweep at least once a day.

If There’s Power, Bring a Small Shop Vac

If camp has a power source, a small shop vac is useful for all kinds of jobs from cleaning up sand on the floor to removing cobwebs to vacuuming cushions or other furniture and cleaning up mouse leavings. Use your imagination.

About Cobwebs

The cobwebs at camp aren’t the same as the cobwebs at home. At camp, think of cobwebs as nature’s insect traps. Eliminate some, if you must, but leave a few cobwebs around to reduce the number of gnats and mosquitos.

Cleaning Wipes

This is the only time the Cleaning Pro will advocate the use of disposable cleaning wipes, with the caveat that they be disposed of properly. Nature’s call must be answered, and if the facilities lack running water, cleaning wipes may be the simplest choice to ensure a sanitary toileting experience.

It’s Camp, It’s Supposed to be (a little) Dirty

Finally, don’t try to eliminate every speck of dust at camp. This is the time to let it be. Keep up what’s necessary to promote safety and good health, and let the rest go. Relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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.

House Cleaning Checklist: How a Pro Cleans

Who out there wonders what everyone else does when they clean their homes? Do you secretly worry that you’re not doing everything you should to keep your house in order? Do you want to know the process a professional house cleaner uses when cleaning a home? If so, you’re in the right place. This house cleaning checklist will explain how a pro cleans.

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To help you achieve the best results from your cleaning routines, I’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist breaking down the tasks which make up a typical house cleaning job. Completing every item on the list each time you clean isn’t necessary, so don’t be intimidated.

The trick is in establishing a rotation that’ll ensure all items are done on an as-needed basis. And “as-needed” is a pretty loose timeframe. Some things might have to be done every six months and some every week. Each home is different. Customize your cleaning routine to fit your situation and keep it as simple as possible.

Tasks that are done in all rooms:

  • Working from high to low, eliminate cobwebs or dust along the edge where the walls and ceilings meet, on the ceiling itself, and in corners.
  • Dust ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, and anything else up high.
  • Dust the top edges of curtains and valances or other window treatments, window blinds, window sills, window grates, shutters inside windows.
  • Dust the edges of picture frames and wall-hangings.
  • Dust ridges on multi-panel doors, louvered doors, tops of door frames and doors, chair rails, air-vent covers.
  • Dust free-standing floor lamps, lampshades, finials, light bulbs, floor lamp bases.
  • Dust baseboards, baseboard heaters.
  • Spot clean fingerprints and other marks on walls, switch plates, doors and door frames.
  • Clean doorknobs, handrails, banisters.
  • Clean exterior glass doors and spot-clean insides of windows if necessary.

Tasks in the living room, family room, foyer, den, dining room, bedrooms, similar rooms:

  • Dust tables, shelves, stands, curios, dressers, chests, and other similar furniture, as well as the stuff on top, such as bric-a-brac, electronics, books, clocks, lamps, pictures.
  • Dust the sides, legs and feet of furniture. Eliminate any cobwebs along bottom edges.
  • Spot clean glass doors on things like china cabinets.
  • Spot clean mirrors.
  • Dust (or vacuum with a dusting brush) fireplace hearths.
  • Wipe down or dust leather furniture.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture as needed.
  • Clean the floors: vacuum, sweep or dust mop bare floors & damp mop as needed.

Cleaning interior stairways:

  • On uncarpeted stairs, use a damp cloth or small broom and, starting at the top, brush dirt and dust down each stair using a dustpan to collect the dirt as you go.
  • Dust around spindles, the spindles themselves if necessary, and any moldings.
  • Use your vacuum cleaner stair brush attachment to clean carpeted areas on stairs, and use the dusting tool or a cloth to clean and dust uncarpeted edges and any moldings.
  • When cleaning stairways, don’t forget to wipe the handrails clean.

Kitchen cleaning tasks:

  • As in any other room, dust ceilings, blinds, furniture, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to dust off the top of the fridge and the tops of cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
  • Wipe down table and chairs or stools.
  • Clean appliance fronts: microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, trash compacter, stove, oven(s). Look out for fingerprints and sticky areas on keypads, knobs and handles.
  • If you have an inset water or ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, don’t forget to clean this area.
  • Clean inside the microwave, if necessary.
  • Clean cook top.
  • Clean top of range hood if you have one.
  • Wipe off the countertops and backsplashes, and wash the outsides of appliances on the counters as well as any other paraphernalia and anything mounted to the underside of upper cupboards. Shift appliances from side to side so you can clean the counter underneath.
  • De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
  • Optionally, clean your garbage container outside and/or inside.
  • Clean the sink
  • Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.

Laundry room tasks:

  • Dust from the ceiling down, as in all rooms.
  • Dust all flat surfaces, walls, ridges on cupboard doors, whatever areas you can reach behind your washer and dryer, baseboards.
  • Spot clean the outsides of washer, dryer and any other appliances, and clean dispensers for laundry soap, fabric softener, as well as door gasket.
  • Vacuum the dryer lint trap.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and wipe off any countertops.
  • Clean utility sink, if applicable.
  • Clean floor. Clean behind and under laundry baskets, hampers, etc.


  • Dust the bathroom as you would in any other room. Don’t forget the edges of towel racks, the lip along the top of partially tiled walls, the ridges around the top of shower walls, the top edge of shower curtains or shower doors, blinds and window grates, knick-knack shelves, and the edge along the top side of medicine cabinets or other cupboards.
  • Dust the covers on any ceiling vents.
  • Dust light fixtures.
  • If walls are tiled, clean with a damp cloth and buff dry, or spot clean.
  • Clean sink and vanity.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Clean tub/shower.
  • Clean the toilet inside and out.
  • Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.

Maintain a Routine

The most important element to keeping a home in the best possible shape is maintaining a regular cleaning routine. This ensures that every part of the house gets cleaned periodically, meaning that everything gets dusted, floors get cleaned, the kitchen gets a thorough wipe-down, and bathrooms get sanitized.

The Basics are Simple

While the list might seem long, the basics of cleaning are limited to dusting, vacuuming or floor cleanup, rudimentary kitchen cleanup like keeping counters clean, and bathroom maintenance. Both kitchen and bathroom cleaning is most efficient if it’s done on a daily basis, but do what you can when you can. Just know that more often is better in those two rooms, if nowhere else.

Keep it Quick and Easy

Cleaning your home every week or two doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive experience. Keeping up with the basics is quick and easy if you do it often, focusing on controlling the accumulation of dust and whatever debris gets tracked in on the feet of all who enter your home.

Add in the kitchen and bathrooms tasks that are part of good hygiene practices, and you’ve got yourself a simple routine that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Then just rotate in whatever other chores need to be done as you notice the need arise. All those other chores are nothing more than gravy. At its core, house cleaning is really quite simple. The real secret is keeping it that way.

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.