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.

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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.

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The Benefits of Daily House Cleaning

Dirt and grime come into your home every day. It’s not realistic to expect that cleaning once every six months will keep your home in tip-top shape. Keeping a clean house is all about regular maintenance. One option is doing a little bit of cleaning every day. While this approach may not be for everyone, there are many benefits of daily house cleaning.

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Establish a Routine

Establishing a regular cleaning routine is the easiest way to keep your house clean and fresh. “Regular” is a subjective term; it might mean every day, or once a week, or once every two weeks, or even once a month.

Some people do a little bit of cleaning every day and then a full sweep once every week or two. Your schedule and circumstances will determine what works best for you. Whatever you decide should be a routine that will fit into your lifestyle so that you’re able to follow through consistently.

Daily cleaning has many benefits. Cleaning every day means your home will always be in great shape and it means that you’ll never lose hours at a time cleaning on a Sunday afternoon.

If it’s important to you that your home always be in prime condition to receive company, or if you’re a very fastidious type who can’t tolerate disorder, daily cleaning may be the way to go. If you’ve never got a large enough block of time to clean your whole house at once, breaking it down into smaller increments is a good alternative.

Cleaning Daily Keeps Your Home in Tip-Top Shape

Daily housekeeping will prevent deterioration to your home. For instance, when dirt and grime aren’t allowed to sit around, grit never gets the chance to erode floor surfaces.

Soap scum won’t build up, which means never having to use damaging chemical cleaning agents to facilitate its removal or scrub it away with erosive cleansers or scrubbers. Mold and mildew will never get the opportunity to cause permanent discoloration.

Spills won’t harden into congealed messes that become nearly impossible to remove without leaving scars behind.

Cleaning Daily Saves Time in the Long Run

Daily cleaning also saves time in the long run. It’s quicker to take half an hour every day to spot clean and touch up than to spend five hours on the weekend. By quickly cleaning the kitchen after meal prep and sprucing up bathrooms every couple of days, some of the more time-consuming jobs in a house cleaning regimen are eliminated.

As an example, scrubbing a shower clean can take fifteen minutes or more. It’s much quicker to squeegee the shower walls clean after each use and then apply a mist made from a vinegar and water mixture. This approach means it’ll only need a quick five-minute cleanup with a sponge periodically. No big deal.

Keeping entryway floors continually clean means that dirt doesn’t get tracked further into the house, which saves having to vacuum, sweep, or mop as frequently or as comprehensively. The same principle applies to spilled milk on the kitchen floor: a quick clean-up immediately after the occurrence prevents it from being tracked anywhere else.

Daily Cleaning Reduces the Need to Use Chemicals

Cleaning every day means never having to use smelly, toxic chemicals to remove tough grime because it’ll never get the chance to build up. It means never getting a sore back from scrubbing your shower or floors on hands and knees. It keeps dust from building up, which in turn means there will be significantly less dust in your air and on surfaces. Never having crumbs or spills on countertops or floors significantly reduces the likelihood of attracting the attention of unwanted guests like ants.

Daily cleaning isn’t for everyone. It’s one of many possible approaches to house cleaning. Any effective house cleaning regimen is based on simple diligence and regularity.

However, daily cleaning is one of the easiest methods if you’ve got the time. Repetition and frequency work to your advantage to quickly offset the daily intrusion of dirt and grime and the damage they can cause over time to your home. For this reason, daily cleaning is the ultimate form of cleaning maintenance, ensuring that your home is always in tip-top shape.

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 Importance of House Cleaning

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Why Clean?

A clean home may not seem like a big deal. It’s something that many of us take for granted every day. And we shouldn’t. Every so often we should take time to appreciate the significance of the many little details in life that contribute to our overall well-being. A clean home is one of those details. Here are some great reasons to never underestimate the importance of house cleaning.

A Clean Home is a Healthy Environment

A clean home contributes to the good health of its occupants. Breathing clean air is infinitely better for you than breathing polluted air. Homes filled with dust, mold, or sources of bad smells are polluted. Your home should be your sanctuary, not make you sick.

A Clean Home is a Safe Environment

A clean home is a safe environment for children. In a clean environment, you can feel secure that kids will be safe doing kid things like playing on the floor and exploring.

Clean Equals Happy

A clean home makes people happy. Who doesn’t like their home better right after it’s been cleaned? It smells good, looks good, and makes you feel good.

Cleaning Saves Wear and Tear

Cleaning away dirt reduces wear and tear on a home and the objects it contains. Dirt on any surface is potentially damaging. For example grit on hard floors causes friction. Keeping rugs clean extends their life. Removing dust from under the refrigerator keeps it running efficiently.

Organization Pays Off

A clean home makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Uncluttered,well-organized spaces help us keep track of things so we can find them when we need them. Having a hook or bowl for car keys right by the door saves time searching for them. Keeping a basket or bin for important pending paperwork means never having to scramble to find the car registration renewal that came in the mail last month.

Clean Homes are Never Embarrassing

Clean homes are never embarrassing when unexpected company arrives. Don’t be caught off guard. Keeping a neat and tidy domicile means always feeling comfortable inviting friends and family inside when they turn up at the door.

A Clean Home is Uplifting

Not everyone is able to clean their home. If you are able, appreciate that fact. For every one of us who finds house cleaning manageable (if a bit challenging at times) there is someone else who simply can’t keep up. Some are physically unable, some are overwhelmed, some simply don’t know how.

If you want to make someone’s day, help out an elderly or invalid friend or relative with house cleaning. Watch how happy it makes them to have things freshened up. For people who can’t do it themselves, having their home cleaned is beyond uplifting. So count your blessings, and never underestimate the importance of house cleaning.

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.

Too Much Time on Your Hands? Catch Up on Housework!

One easy remedy for the cabin-fever blahs many of us are feeling lately is to get busy with projects around the house. So if you find yourself with too much time on your hands, catch up on housework!

There are lots of jobs around the house to occupy your mind and pass the time. Getting moving is bound to improve your mood, and your sense of accomplishment when the job is done will make you feel great.

Here are some suggestions for areas around the house that always need work.

Clean Under Area Rugs

Roll back areas rugs, sweeping or vacuuming the underside as you go. At the same time, sweep or vacuum the floor underneath. If necessary, damp mop and allow to dry before replacing the rug.

Shake small scatter rugs outdoors, if possible, and let them air. Run washable rugs through the washer and hang to dry.

Wash Door Mats

Rubber-backed door mats and boot trays can be easily washed outdoors. Spray them with a little all-purpose cleaner and rinse thoroughly with water from a bucket or hose. Air-dry in the sunshine.

Medicine Cabinets

Sort through medicine cabinets and other cupboards in the bathroom. Dispose of outdated medicines, first aid items, and toiletries. Sort and re-organize as items are replaced.

Linen Closet

Remove all linens and towels from the linen closet and sort through everything. Get rid of (or convert into rags) anything that isn’t in great shape. Then replace all items, neatly sorted and folded.

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Dust Book Shelves

Remove all books from books shelves, dust the shelves and books, then re-organize and replace books. Give away any books that are no longer of interest to you.

Clean Garage Windows

Grab some window cleaner and clean the garage windows, inside and out. Pick a nice day to complete this task and enjoy the fresh air while you’re outside.

Dust Lampshades

If there is any noticeable dust on lampshades, use a clean paintbrush to gently knock the dust down onto a table or other hard surface, then wipe it up with a damp cloth.

Vacuum Upholstered Furniture

Use the upholstery tool with your vacuum cleaner to thoroughly vacuum couches and chairs, rotating cushions as you go.

Vacuum mattresses, flip them over, and vacuum the other side too.

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Sweep Porches

Sweep dirt and debris off of porches and steps to freshen them up and prevent dirt from entering your home.

These are just a few ideas to get you going. Look around for chores that haven’t been done in a while. Spending time on tasks that make your home a nicer place to live is sure to lift your spirits and make you feel productive.

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 Basics: Floor Care Tips

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Floor care is a large component of house cleaning. The majority of the dirt on your floors comes in on the feet of those who enter your home. House cleaning basics include floor care tips such as the following.

Keep Dirt at the Door

Using door mats at each entry area along with leaving shoes at the door significantly reduces the introduction of dirt into your home. Keeping a towel handy to wipe Fido’s feet also reduces the tracking in of mud and grit.

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Keep a Broom Handy

If incomers aren’t so careful about wiping their feet, your floors will probably need more maintenance. In this case, you would be wise to keep a broom or stick vacuum handy and clean high traffic areas every few days. It also wouldn’t hurt to damp mop bare floors near the door frequently. Your objective is to keep dirt from being tracked all through the house.

Vacuuming

On cleaning day, floor care will probably be one of the most time-consuming parts of your routine. If you’ve got wall-to-wall carpeting throughout your house, you’ll be doing a lot of vacuuming. For best results, use the correct height adjustment for your vacuum carpet brush. It’s better for your carpeting and the machine will do the most optimal job if the height is adjusted correctly.

Carpet Care Tips

More carpet care tips:

~Always check your vacuum bag or collection chamber before you start. A full bag or chamber will not have good suction.

~High traffic areas warrant more attention than corners. Make a few passes over the sections that see a lot of action.

~ If no one walks there, don’t bother to vacuum it every time. Areas under furniture or in corners should be vacuumed periodically, but these are areas you can skip sometimes.

~Spot clean high traffic areas as needed with a good quality spot cleaner that’s safe to use on your type of carpet.

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Mix of Bare Floors and Rugs

Areas with a mix of bare floors and area rugs are usually most quickly cleaned with a canister vacuum cleaner. If the rugs are all smaller, it might be easier to pick them up and shake them clean outdoors. However, if the rugs aren’t especially dirty, you can quickly go over them with your vacuum floor brush. Hold one side of the rug in place with your foot as you pass the floor brush over it.

Alternatively, if the floors are dusty rather than dirty, using a dust mop on the bare areas and vacuuming large rugs may be quicker. If you don’t have a canister vacuum, this would also be the best approach. Use whatever method will most expedite the process in your particular situation.

Use the rotating brush head on carpeting only, never on bare floors. The rotation of the brush can scratch the floor so use the floor brush attachment on bare floors. Also use the floor brush on oriental rugs, antique rugs or any rugs that are delicate, like silk rugs.

Bare Floors

Bare floors can be swept, vacuumed, or dust mopped and then damp mopped or steamed clean if necessary. There’s no need to wash a floor on your hands and knees. Use a mop that’ll get into corners and under the edges of appliances and such. Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself.

Wood Floors

Wood floors shouldn’t be washed unless they are dirty. Wash wood floors with a mop very lightly dampened in plain water or with a microfiber mop and wood floor spray cleaner. Use as little liquid as possible. Water is bad for wood and can ruin a wood floor if it is used in excess. Never leave standing water on a floor, and especially not on a wood floor.

Vinyl Floors

Vinyl and similar sealed floors can be cleaned with just a little all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, ammonia, or commercial floor cleaner diluted in water. Don’t overdo it with cleaning agents in your mop water as too much will leave a film that looks cloudy and attracts dirt. Less is more.

Stone Floors

Stone floors shouldn’t be cleaned with anything other than mild soap (like a few drops of castile soap) or plain water. Using vinegar or ammonia on a stone floor can damage the surface.

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Ceramic Floors

Ceramic and other shiny tile looks better if it’s dried with a cloth after washing. This eliminates water spots from forming as water evaporates off the floor. To dry a wet floor quickly, use a couple of old towels and swish them around on the floor with your feet. Be careful not to slip and fall down while you’re doing this.

Whatever method you use to wash flooring, if your mop water, mop head, or cloth is filthy after one use, you aren’t cleaning your floors often enough.

Keeping your floors clean is one important means of protecting the investment you’ve made in your home. Floors will wear out more quickly if they aren’t maintained. Loose dirt and dried-on debris can destroy the finish on your flooring and ruin your carpeting. And like every other area of house cleaning, the more frequently you clean your floors, the easier the job will be each time you do it.

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 a Home with Toddlers

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When you live with small children who are on the move, house cleaning has special challenges. Since toddlers put their hands on everything, and put everything into their mouths, your house cleaning routine should include steps above and beyond the typical basics. The following are tips for cleaning a home with toddlers.

Tackle Everything Down Low

When cleaning a home with toddlers look at everything from their perspective: floor level. Think about which objects might be handled or touched by tiny hands and potentially be a source of germs or bacteria.

Don’t skimp on this step. Look into corners and under the edges of furniture. Toddlers can venture into tiny spaces, so take care to cover all the bases.

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Do a Germ Patrol

Pay special attention to surfaces that could potentially harbor germs and use your due diligence to reduce the spread of these pathogens. Use common sense; every surface doesn’t need to be disinfected. But if little Henry’s nose is running from a cold and he’s wiping it with his hands, pay attention to areas that he subsequently touches.

Scope Out Fingerprints

It shouldn’t be difficult to deduce which surfaces your toddler favors for tactile stimulation: the fingerprint trail will tell the tale. Keeping this evidence cleaned up reduces the spread of germs and keeps areas looking fresh and clean.

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Cleaning Agents

Use appropriate cleaning agents when cleaning surfaces with which toddlers will come in contact. Read labels to be sure whatever you’re using is safe for your toddler, safe for the surface being cleaned, and doesn’t pollute your indoor air quality.

Keep Cleaners Close at Hand

Keep track of your supplies when using cleaning agents around toddlers. Accidents take only seconds. Wear an apron with pockets or clean at naptime and don’t allow yourself to become distracted so something toxic gets left where it shouldn’t be.

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Wash Floors Often

Toddlers need safe spaces in which to explore. Keep carpets vacuumed and floors mopped. Spot-clean soiled areas ASAP.

Pick Up Toys

Don’t allow toys to accumulate on the floor. When not in use, keep them picked up, both to make floor cleaning easier and to reduce the transfer of dirt and pathogens to the objects with which your child plays.

Cleaning homes with small children is challenging, but it’s important to make the effort. Beyond just having a home that looks clean; small children need a safe, clean environment in which to live and grow. You owe it to them to do all you can to provide them with one.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page on Amazon.   My books include the titles 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.

Don’t Make House Cleaning Difficult

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When it comes to house cleaning, the best approach is to keep it simple. Use straightforward methods and basic supplies. Think about your techniques, streamline procedures, become an efficiency expert. Aim for getting maximum results for your efforts. Don’t make house cleaning difficult.

Clean Habitually

No one should have to spend hours upon hours cleaning house. Integrating elementary cleaning habits into your daily routines will keep your home in great shape every day of the week. Allowing messes to build up and spills to harden into congealed globules of goo means you’ll spend your weekend scrubbing the kitchen instead of doing something a little more fun and interesting.

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Clean As You Go

The simplest approach to keeping a nice home is the clean-as-you-go method. This system takes a little bit of time each day and calls for cleaning messes as they occur and doing little bits of whatever else needs to be done as the spirit moves you.

Using this technique, you would clean your kitchen after cooking and wipe up the bathroom every couple of days. A broom or stick vacuum by the door makes it easy to give the entryway floor the attention it needs so that dirt doesn’t get tracked any further into the house. Dusting and vacuuming get done when you notice that it needs to be done, wherever it needs to be done.

Allowing dirt to accumulate, greasy messes to linger, and soap scum to thicken makes house cleaning difficult and time-consuming. Throw away the notion that a house needs to be cleaned top to bottom every other week. In the span of two weeks, lots of tasks that would have taken a mere five minutes to clean up at their outset compound into labor-intensive, back-breaking chores.

Cleaning as you go also makes it easy to use simple cleaning products. Basic cleaning agents like vinegar, ammonia, baking soda or scrubbing powder, and dish detergent can easily constitute your entire housekeeping arsenal if messes are never allowed to reach a point that requires tough chemical interventions.

See a Mess, Clean It

House cleaning is very simple: see a mess, clean it. Repeat. It’s a continuous process that’s never done. Life is messy every day.

The thing about dirt is that it grows roots and digs itself in when you leave it to its own devices. It’s much quicker and easier to get rid of it immediately on its appearance using straightforward methods, and then move on.

The longer dirt and grime linger, the longer it takes to eliminate them. House cleaning can be quite simple; don’t make it difficult.

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.

How to Get Everyone in Your Home to Help With House Cleaning

Keeping a home clean is a big job which gets bigger based on many factors, including the number of occupants in a household as well as the cleaning habits of each member. It’s only fair that all inhabitants participate in cleaning at least to the degree that they contribute to the mess. This post will give advice about how to get everyone in your home to help with house cleaning.

The willing and able-ness of all occupants weighs heavily into their level of participation. Some people are natural-born cleaners, some not so much. Some may be too young or physically unable. And sometimes it’s just easier to take on the job without the group for any number of reasons.

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Create a Team

Cajoling those who are able but not overly enthusiastic about cleaning can sometimes be accomplished through shame or bribery. Offering a reward (beyond the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from a job well done) or encouraging participation through praise might spur the loafers to action.

Alternatively, educate them: home care is the duty of all household members and the failure to participate indicates a lack of respect for others as well as self. As a last resort, present a bill for your time to anyone who willfully subjugates you to the role of live-in maid. The going rate for professional house cleaners ranges between $25 and $45 per hour.

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Team Cleaning Plan

If you’ve managed to corral a willing and able team, the next step is formulating a plan. Creating an effective team cleaning plan promotes a successful cleaning experience for all team members. Breaking the job down by tasks or by areas in your home is one means of accomplishing this. Refer to this house cleaning checklist for a comprehensive list of common house cleaning tasks. Additional assignable jobs include dish washing and laundry as well as changing bed linens and bathroom towels.

Decide whether your team will clean all at once or as time permits. This decision will be based as much on the availability of various team members as the preferred cleaning methods of the household. Some break the job down over time, some tackle a portion every day, and some complete the entire job in one fell swoop every week or two.

Make Lists or Charts

Lists or charts outlining who is responsible for what are excellent organizational tools that serve several purposes. They make it clear to all parties what their jobs are. They also make it easy to identify who is pulling their weight and who isn’t. They give all team members a good idea of the overall makeup of a house cleaning regimen, which is valuable knowledge for young people to have exposure to. Lists also help the group facilitator keep track of what’s been done and what hasn’t.

Assign a Leader

Which brings us to the next point: your team needs a leader. This can be a fixed individual or team members can take turns as leader. Either way, someone has to assign tasks and make sure each team member is completing their chores. Taking turns at being the team leader is a great way to expose all team members to the overall picture. Cleaning a home is a big job that’s comprised of many smaller tasks. Everyone on your team should understand its wide-reaching importance.

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A clean home is a happy, healthy home. It’s the responsibility of all occupants to keep their environment in shape. House cleaning chores are basic life skills that all children need to learn, and all adults should practice. Cleaning as a team might take a little time and practice to master, but in the long run this approach will pay off, both as a shared experience and as a valuable tool for teaching and productivity. Best of all, team cleaning makes the big job of cleaning a house manageable for all household members.

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 Tips To Maximize Efficiency

No one wants to spend hours upon hours cleaning their home. The key to keeping a house cleaning regimen short and sweet is simple: maximize efficiency. By making the most of your time and efforts, your house cleaning routine will be streamlined, leaving you plenty of time to do more interesting things. The following are some house cleaning tips to maximize efficiency.

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Begin With a Walk-Through

Before starting to clean, take a quick lap through your home with a laundry basket and large trash bag. Gather up loose items that should be put away and deposit them in the basket. Empty trash containers into the trash bag and pick up debris as you go.

Pay attention to what tasks need to be done, what areas might require extra attention, and what spaces are in good shape and therefore don’t need any sprucing up. Mentally calculate how much time you’ll need for each area, keeping in mind how much time you have overall to spend cleaning.

Starting off knowing that there’s dog hair all over the sofa in the family room and the upstairs bathroom is a disaster makes it easy to allocate enough time to these areas. This way you will know from the start that you don’t have time to vacuum under beds today.

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Minimize Clutter

Set aside the basket of lost items that you collected on your walk-through and deal with it later. Picking up and organizing are not part of house cleaning; they are prerequisites. Clutter control should be an ongoing process. Spending an hour picking up and putting away miscellanea before you can start cleaning means you’ll potentially run out of steam before the housework is done.

Working around, or worse, having to shift and replace, clutter while cleaning eats up time as well. Clear surfaces and spaces make cleaning quick and easy. Cluttered surfaces and piles of paraphernalia collect dust and complicate cleaning.

Have What You Need On Hand

Keep your cleaning closet stocked with whatever you need. Penalize household members who make off with the vacuum cleaner or the broom and don’t return it. Having to spend twenty minutes tracking down the mop is an inefficient use of time.

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Wear an Apron or Tool Belt

Keep what you need readily at hand as you work so you don’t have to repeatedly stop to fetch supplies. Wear an apron with lots of pockets, or a tool belt, or carry a caddy with you. Reducing steps reduces time and maximizes efficiency.

Use Minimal Supplies

Use as few cleaning agents and tools as you can; the less stuff to have to tote around and keep track of, the better.

Clean With a Buddy

If chatting with a buddy while you work isn’t a distraction, clean your homes simultaneously and cheer each other on. Exchange cleaning tips. If it keeps you motivated, go for it.

Pay Attention to What You’re Doing

On a related note, don’t allow your mind to wander off while you work. Pay attention to the job at hand. An efficient cleaner cleans only what is dirty, which requires mindfulness.

Think Ahead

Anticipate what’s next as you perform each task and work in such a way as to minimize unnecessary steps.

Don’t Get Sidetracked

Stay focused. If you’re easily distracted by side jobs, keep a small notepad in your apron pocket and make a to-list as you work. If you notice that the fridge needs to be wiped out or the kids’ closets are a mess, plan to tackle these extra chores as soon as your schedule permits, but don’t stop doing what you’re doing now. Completing one job from beginning to end is satisfying and motivating. Starting three jobs and not finishing any of them is frustrating.

Work in a Straight Line

Clean either room by room or in zones, and work in straight lines. Don’t backtrack.

Work Continuously

Don’t sit down. Keep working until the job is done. If you must take a break, time it. When your ten minutes is up, so are you.

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Focus on What Shows

Clean what’s dirty, focusing on areas that stand out. When there’s time, clean the dusty bookshelf in the corner. When there isn’t time because the sofa has to be vacuumed free of dog hair, leave it. The dust will be there next time.

Treat Cleaning Your House like a Job

Cleaning your home is a job, treat it as such. Make a schedule, stick to it, see the job through to the end.

Use an Eraser-Type Sponge

Eraser sponges have many uses throughout the home. Soap scum removal, tough kitchen cleanups, scuffs on floors, and fingerprints on walls are just a few. These sponges save time and effort, both of which maximize efficiency.

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Dust Your Ceiling Fans

Make it a point to regularly dust areas that accumulate dust such as ceiling fan blades, under beds, on top of the refrigerator, tops of cupboards and wardrobes, and any other places that are not part of your regular dusting regimen. Removing as much dust as possible from surfaces means there’s less dust to end up re-circulating in the air.

Use a Dusting Tool

Forget dusting with a cloth; the quickest means of removing dust from surfaces is to use a tool, preferably a microfiber wand with nubs, because this will grab and lock down dust. Don’t belabor the task; working from the top of the room downward, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, wall hangings, window treatments, window sills and grates, chair rails, baseboards and baseboard heaters. Then tackle furniture and lamps. Work swiftly, don’t backtrack, and make every movement count.

Keep a Spray Bottle of Water on Hand

A damp cloth cleans a variety of surfaces, from wall smudges to water glass rings to fingerprints on switch plates and sticky doorknobs. Avoid having to hunt down a cloth and find a faucet; keep a supply of cleaning cloths and a spray bottle of water on hand as you work.

Work Out a Routine

A regular, consistent cleaning routine works to your advantage in several ways. First, repeating the same tasks over and over increases speed and efficiency (the learning curve). Second, a regular routine gives you the chance to clean everything in your home on a rotating basis. From week to week some tasks can be deferred until next time, and others can get the attention they need right now. Third, working out a system forces your focus onto efficiency; over time your routine will inevitably become more streamlined as you work out the bugs. Finally, by making home cleaning a habit and a priority, it will get done. Period.

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Stay Motivated

Stay motivated by finishing what you start. Each time you successfully complete your cleaning routine, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Take a little time to admire your handiwork. This feeling of pride in a job well done will inspire you to take up your broom next week and clean on.

Use the Right Cleaning Supplies and Equipment

Use whatever cleaning agents and equipment make you happy. If you use scented cleaners, be sure the scents make you feel good. Likewise, cleaning agents should do the jobs for which they’re intended; leaving you feeling satisfied that you’ve accomplished something by using them. Your equipment should be easy to use, not frustrating.

Spending a little more money on good cleaning supplies that you’ll look forward to using (or at least not mind using) is well worth the investment. Your cleaning tools should be easy for you to use, perform well, and make you feel glad to use them.

Eat Right, Exercise, Get Some Sleep

Cleaning is hard work! Give your body what it needs to do the job. If you feel sluggish and run down, you’re not going to feel overly enthusiastic about mopping and vacuuming and making beds. When you feel good and are energized, cleaning is a breeze.

Delegate

Make house cleaning a team effort. Many sets of hands get the job done quicker. Make a chart, assign chores, do whatever gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

Make a List

If you’re the type of person who is motivated by crossing items off your list, write up a list of chores before you start cleaning. Staying on task is very important to cleaning efficiently, so if writing it down helps achieve this goal, go for it.

Don’t be a Perfectionist

It’s a waste of time to try to remove 100% of the dirt from your home. Perfectionism will turn a three-hour job into a six-hour job. The difference between 95% efficiency and 100% isn’t worth three hours of your time.

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Set Realistic Goals

There’s only so much any one person can accomplish within a few hours. Don’t set the bar too high. Set realistic goals that you’ll be able to achieve. Accomplishing goals is motivating. Failing to achieve goals is not.

Don’t Make a Big Production Out of It

House cleaning is labor intensive but not overly difficult. Don’t make it harder than it is. Don’t’ clean what isn’t dirty. Don’t perform elaborate cleaning rituals that make no sense just because your grandma did it that way. Simplify your procedures and get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, leaving you free to spend the rest of your day on play.

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 Keeping a Clean House when You have Pets

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Pets enrich our lives with unconditional love and companionship. They capture our hearts, so we bring them into our homes without a thought about the additional work they’ll create. It’s only later on, as we’re scrubbing the carpet stains, that the reality of living with pets hits us smack in the face.

Pets are animals. Their standards of cleanliness differ from ours. They don’t care about clean floors. We, however, do care about the mud that Fido tracks in each time he comes inside after digging in the flower beds. In fact, it gets pretty darn annoying.

Pets create a lot of extra work when it comes to house cleaning. The messes can be minimized to some degree by taking measures to reduce the tracking in of dirt, shedding of hair, and other culprits. Here are some strategies:

Wipe Fido’s Feet

Keep old towels by the door to clean Fido’s muddy paws before he gets the chance to track mud all over the clean floors. Also use towels to dry him off on rainy days so he doesn’t leave wet puddles behind.

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Brush Dogs and Cats to Minimize Shedding

Regularly brushing dogs and cats, especially the long-haired breeds, reduces the quantity of hair that ends up on your clothes, furniture, carpeting, and in the air.

Buy Pet Beds

Giving dogs and cats their own beds makes us feel less guilty about insisting they stay off ours. Isn’t it enough that we provide them with a roof and meal plan? There’s absolutely no need for dogs and cats to nap wherever they please. Teach them to use their own beds in order to avoid shedding (and leaving that doggy smell) on furniture.

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Train Your Dogs

Diligence at house-breaking time pays off exponentially later on. Train Fido not to makes messes on the floor, and always make sure he has ample opportunity to do his business outdoors. He can’t hold it indefinitely!

Keep Litter Boxes Clean

Cats prefer a clean environment in which to conduct their business. If their litter boxes become offensively dirty, cats may seek out alternative areas. Encourage and reinforce desirable behavior by keeping litter boxes clean.

Maintain Good Pet Health

If your dog or cat suddenly starts urinating in areas they shouldn’t, have them evaluated by your vet for health issues. This can be a sign of a health problem.

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Keep Messes at Bay

Pets almost inevitably shed fur on furniture and leave drool on windows. Keep messes at bay by frequently cleaning up after them so little messes don’t become big ones.

  • Vacuum pet hair off upholstered furniture often.
  • Sweep up litter box areas daily to avoid having litter tracked all through the house.
  • Regularly clean nose prints, saliva, or other deposits from window surfaces.
  • Spot clean walls, ledges, corners, or edges that pets rub against or jump on. Use vinegar, all-purpose cleaner, or ammonia.
  • Use an enzyme spot cleaner specifically targeting urine stains to remove accidents on carpeting. All traces have to be eradicated in order to ward off repeat offenses.
  • Vacuum or sweep floors regularly to remove dirt tracked in from outside as well as pet hair.

Reduce the hassle of cleaning up after pets so that the benefits of having Fido or FiFi as a roommate outweigh the drawbacks. And don’t we owe them a clean environment in return for their unwavering affection?

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.