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.

Maintenance

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 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.

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.

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.

 

What Supplies Do You Need To Clean A House?

What supplies do you need to clean a house? There are dozens of types of cleaning products for doing every house cleaning task. People purchase these products because no one likes to clean and everyone wants to find the magic bullet that’ll get the job done more quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, as often as not, it turns out that these products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The truth is, there aren’t many shortcuts where house cleaning is concerned.

The quickest way to get the job done is to use the right tools and products efficiently, and you don’t need pricey products to do it.

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Essential Cleaning Supplies

So, what do you need? The following is an overview of the essential supplies that will get your home clean (with your help):

  • Basic cleaning agents that will break down dirt and grime on glass, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, countertops, floors, and other hard surfaces.
  • Cloths, sponges, and brushes for cleaning kitchen counters and appliances, sinks, bathroom fixtures, and everything else that you need to wash or scrub. Using the correct tool speeds up the job and reduces the need for harsh chemical cleaning agents.
  • A dusting tool or cloth. The right dusting tool can save a lot of time.
  • For bare floors, something that will first pick up loose dirt and, second, something that will clean dried-on dirt and spills. Think broom and mop, or the equivalent.
  • For carpeting, a vacuum cleaner. Also handy for removing loose dirt and debris from bare floors and pet hair from upholstered furniture.

What you use for cleaning depends on what you need specific to the characteristics of your home. By streamlining your tools and supplies as much as is practical without compromising efficiency, you’ll simplify your cleaning procedures. Most importantly, you want products that you won’t dread using.

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Cleaning Agents

Natural cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda are handy and have their uses. They are best for daily cleaning; any kind of heavy buildup of grease or grime calls for stronger cleaners. This is why daily (or very frequent) cleaning is the way to go if you’re committed to cleaning using minimal chemicals.

Chemical cleaning agents are hands-down the quickest means of eliminating soap-scum buildups, mineral deposits, baked-on greasy messes, and other similarly tough jobs. This means using commercial products specifically geared toward whatever you’re trying to clean up. Don’t blow a whole paycheck, though, moderately-priced products perform just fine.

Cleaning tough messes without strong chemicals can only be accomplished with lots of elbow grease. Should you choose to go this route, use a nylon scrubber or scrub brush. A scrub brush with a handle gives you a little more leverage than a sponge scrubber, and the bristles usually get into corners and tight spots a little better.

Hand wash dish detergent is a very good multi-purpose cleaning agent. Diluted in water, it can be used for most kitchen cleanup jobs. Mixed with baking soda (one part dish detergent to three parts baking soda), it’s a great, inexpensive bathroom scrub cleanser.

Both ammonia and rubbing alcohol are also inexpensive, multi-purpose cleaning agents. You can make sudsy disinfectant cleaner using equal parts water and rubbing alcohol plus a few drops dish detergent. Ammonia (diluted in water) is a good kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, glass cleaner, and general multi-use cleaner.

Cleaning Tools

The stuff I’ve just mentioned is all you really need by way of cleaning agents. Necessary cleaning tools are equally simple. A dusting wand of some type is handy and saves time; a plain old rag dampened with water will also do the job. Your vacuum cleaner dusting brush also serves the purpose.

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, it’s totally unnecessary to spend a fortune on one. A decent-enough machine can be had for just a couple hundred dollars. Spending any more than that will get you more bells and whistles, but don’t feel like you have to go there. You don’t.

To wrap up floor care products, a simple broom, dustpan and mop are perfectly fine for cleaning your floors and will actually do a better job than some of the pricier products out there in the marketplace. A string mop gets into tight spots and wrings out quite well.

House cleaning supplies don’t have to be expensive or complicated. A few simple tried-and-true cleaning agents, rags and sponges, a mop, broom, and vacuum cleaner are all you really need to do the job right. No expensive, trendy, Earth-unfriendly products necessary. Just get back to basics and you’ll see how easy cleaning can actually 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.

How to Clean your Kitchen

Kitchen cleaning can be hit or miss. Some people are meticulous about keeping their kitchen in tip-top shape day to day. In truth, most people aren’t. This is why it’s a good idea to do a thorough kitchen cleanup from time to time. In the event that you’re not quite sure how, this guide will walk you through the process of how to clean your kitchen.

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Top Down

No matter what room you’re cleaning, a thorough job always starts at the top. This ensures that dirt and dust fall downward onto areas that haven’t yet been cleaned.

So the first step in cleaning a kitchen is to use a long-handled tool of some type to dust ceiling fans and anything else up high like light fixtures and remove any cobwebs that have formed along the edge where the wall and ceiling meets.

Next, continue dusting from high to low, tackling tops of cabinets if they don’t meet the ceiling, the top of the refrigerator and other tall appliances or furniture, top edges of window treatments, wall hangings, etc.

Work around the perimeter of the room, dusting window blinds, window grates, window sills, chair rails, baseboards, baseboard heaters, and any furniture.

Clean Door Windows

Wash door windows and wipe away fingerprints on doors, door moldings, and switch plates. Dust edges on paneled doors or louvered doors.

Remove Scatter Rugs

Pick up scatter rugs or mats and shake outdoors or wash.

Kitchen Table

Wipe clean any tables, chairs, or stools. Pay attention to spindles in back, spindles connecting the legs, and any areas that collect dust. Kitchen tables and chairs often harbor hidden sticky areas, so look out for these. Use a damp cloth and/or disinfectant.

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Appliance Fronts

Move on to the appliances. Clean fronts of all appliances, and sides if applicable. Pay special attention to keypads, knobs, and handles.

Refrigerator

If you have an inset water or ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, don’t forget to clean this area, paying particular attention to the tray at the bottom. Moisture tends to get trapped under the tray, causing bacteria and mold to grow.

If necessary, spend a few minutes quickly wiping up spills or crumbs inside the refrigerator. Scan for expired items and toss them out.

Microwave

Use a damp cloth to clean inside the microwave, if necessary. To remove tough dried-on or cooked-on deposits, place a glass bowl or cup of water inside and run the microwave long enough for the water to create steam, then turn off the microwave and allow the water to steam in the microwave for a few minutes until the mess gets soft enough to wipe away.

Toaster

De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven. The majority of toasters have a crumb tray on the bottom that either slides off or swings open. The same goes for toaster ovens. Also clean the glass on the toaster oven door.

Stove Top

Wipe clean the cook top with a damp cloth dipped in a sudsy dish-detergent and water. Remove drip pans or burner grates and wash in the sink with dish detergent and water or all-purpose cleaner.

Clean glass cook tops using specialty cleaner or baking soda and water. Cooked-on spills can be gently loosened with a plastic scraper. Don’t use abrasives on glass cook tops as this will damage the surface.

Clean top of range hood if you have one. If it’s greasy, use all-purpose cleaner or dish detergent and warm water.

Counter Tops

Wash and disinfect counter tops, shifting objects on top from side to side in order to clean underneath. Also clean backspashes.

Cupboard Doors

Clean cupboard doors, drawer fronts, drawer pulls and handles. Kitchen cabinets likely have spills from cooking or other food-related mishaps. Use a cleaning agent appropriate to the surface. A very lightly dampened cloth can be used on any surface if you aren’t sure what to use.

Kitchen Sink

Clean and disinfect kitchen sink using disinfectant cleaner, sudsy scrub (if appropriate), or all-purpose cleaner.

Trash Can

Optionally, clean your garbage container outside and/or inside.

Inside Kitchen Cupboards

From time to time, check food packages for expiration dates and rotate to bring older items front and center so they get used before going bad. Toss anything suspect.

Floor

Next, sweep or vacuum the floor. Take time to thoroughly remove dirt and debris from corners. Use a crevice tool vacuum attachment to get underneath the refrigerator, stove, and any other such areas. Alternatively, use a yard stick wrapped with a rag.

If necessary, mop or steam the floor clean.

Periodically taking some time to thoroughly clean your kitchen is a wise investment of time. Since your kitchen is the place where food is stored and prepared, it’s important to keep it clean. So make a point of scheduling this important task however often is necessary based on your usage, and stick to the plan to be sure your kitchen is always up to code.

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.

Atypical House Cleaning Jobs

There are lots of tasks that fall outside the scope of a typical house cleaning routine. For this reason, it’s important to watch out for any areas that are starting to look dirty or smell funky. Sometimes when we see things every day we don’t notice the gradual changes that are right in front of us. Once in a while it’s important to tackle atypical house cleaning jobs.

photo of a kitchen sink
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Below the Kitchen Sink

One notoriously grungy and commonly overlooked area lies right below the epicenter of your kitchen: the sink. This space often holds things that are not food-related. Cleaning supplies are frequently stored here. Some people keep their garbage container in this space. Some use it as storage space for brushes, buckets, or other cleaning equipment.

It’s also a spot that sometimes ends up with moisture problems due to leaks. If for no other reason than this, keep an eye on the cupboard that lies below your kitchen sink. From time to time, make it a point to take everything out, wipe up any spills or other messes, discard anything that isn’t useful, and rearrange what’s left.

Kitchen Cupboards

Another kitchen hazard area is the pantry. Food cupboards harbor spills that can easily attract insects or rodents. They also often contain outdated products that ought to be tossed out so they’re not inadvertently served to friends or family. Making a practice of periodically removing all items from your pantry, cleaning and sorting as you go, reduces the likelihood of attracting unwanted visitors or poisoning the ones you asked in for lunch.

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The Refrigerator

Along similar lines, the refrigerator typically needs attention from time to time. Regularly get rid of anything that isn’t fresh. Any foul odor deserves your immediate attention. Every so often, wipe down the inside. Walls, shelves, the racks inside the door, as well as drawers, all need to be cleaned. Food spills, crumbs, and drips typically occur over time and won’t go away on their own.

Light Fixtures and Lampshades

Other areas of the house also need a little extra sprucing up on occasion. Light fixtures and lampshades often accumulate dust or cobwebs that we don’t notice. Dust lampshades gently with a clean paintbrush, a hair dryer, a microfiber dusting wand, or a clean, damp cloth. Alternatively, vacuum lampshades with your dusting tool attachment (use low suction). Light fixtures may be easily dusted with a dusting wand.

Glass shades that are cloudy from dust or dirt can be hand-washed with a little dish detergent in warm water. Glass prisms or shades that aren’t easily removed can be cleaned with a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water applied with a soft cloth and then buffed dry with a second, dry cloth.

Sofa Cushions

Couch and chair cushions often harbor objects, crumbs, dirt, and pet hair. Periodically vacuuming this space easily remedies this situation. It sometimes pays off, too, if there are loose coins among the paraphernalia.

Fingerprints on Walls

Fingerprints and smudges on walls, switch plates, door frames, and handrails often go unnoticed. Whatever doesn’t come clean with a damp cloth or sponge will easily be removed with an eraser-type sponge. Don’t scrub too hard or you’ll remove your paint along with the dirt.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are the number one dust draws in your home, and are quite commonly overlooked on cleaning day. Dusting ceiling fan blades on a regular basis is an excellent way to remove dust from your environment. Use these dust traps to your advantage.

These are just a few of the many jobs that should be done from time to time in order to keep your home at its best. More ideas can be found in my post Cobweb Patrol: What Are You Missing When You Clean Your Home?

Hone your eye for detail by paying attention to things like dusty blinds and fingerprints on windows. Whatever house cleaning routine you generally adhere to, there’s always more stuff that needs attention. A little extra time spent here and there ensures that your home stays in great shape everywhere.

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.

Set Goals to Keep Your House Cleaning Motivation High

To get to where you want to be you need to know where you want to be. This statement seems obvious, but when it comes to house cleaning, we often fail to start out with any particular direction in mind. The remedy to this is having specific goals in mind from the get-go. Setting clear house-cleaning goals is a strong motivator to clean your home from start to finish rather than ambling from task to task until you grow weary or bored, or both.

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Plan Your Job

A successful house cleaning regimen begins with planning. Setting goals ensures that your efforts are used for maximum gain. Approaching the job systematically, breaking it down, and understanding what you’re hoping to accomplish all increase the likelihood that every important task on your to-do list gets completed. Diving in without any clear plan makes for a haphazard result that may or may not get you where you want to be.

Spontaneous Cleaning

Here’s an example: suppose you wake up bright and early on Saturday morning, look around at your messy home, and decide this would be a wonderful day to clean it up. You dive right in, starting in the kitchen, but are quickly sidetracked by the mountain of laundry awaiting your attention in the adjoining laundry room.

While starting a load of wash you see that the laundry room cupboards are a disaster, so you start pulling things out to reorganize. Partway through this process, however, you take a load of trash to the garage and, on your return trip, are again sidetracked by a mess of backpacks, shoes, and other misplaced paraphernalia creating a hazard in the middle of the mud room floor.

After gathering the pile into a basket, you begin distributing items into their respective homes. In the course of this activity, you collect a large variety of dirty dishes that need to be transported to the kitchen. You return to the kitchen, where you unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher and reload it with dirty dishes.

By this point you’re feeling somewhat frazzled and can’t recall where you left off or what your original intention was. A neighbor calls and asks you if you want to go for a walk. With great relief, you accept the invitation and give up on the house cleaning job that’s become confusing and overwhelming.

Spontaneity is not your friend when it comes to house cleaning. Having a clear set of goals in mind along with a solid plan outlining how to achieve them keeps you focused.

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Planned Cleaning

Adding clear goals and solid planning to the above scenario leads to a very different outcome, played out as follows:

On Friday evening, you make a plan to clean your home the next day. With this in mind, you do some prep work by washing, drying, and folding the dirty laundry that’s piled up in the laundry room. You also put away the clean dishes in the dishwasher and restart it with the dirty dishes that you gathered up from around the house while tidying up the clutter lying around. With these side jobs out of the way, tomorrow you can get right to cleaning without distractions.

You write out a list of the tasks you hope to accomplish: clean the kitchen countertops and appliances; clean the kitchen and mud room floors; dust and vacuum the living room, dining room, and den; clean the bathrooms. You budget three hours overall to achieve these goals and break this down further by assigning time values to individual rooms to help keep yourself on schedule.

First thing the next morning, you silence your phone and get busy. Having completed the kitchen cleaning from beginning to end, you move right on to the dusting and vacuuming and finish up with the bathrooms. You complete the job on time and feel great that you’ve spent your morning productively and met your goals.

Goals Keep You on Track

Goals keep you on track. They force you to devise a strategy to get to where you want to be, and they narrow your focus to where it needs to be in order to get there. Goals motivate you to follow a job through to completion. Furthermore, the act of repeatedly achieving your goals motivates you to set new goals and follow them through to completion as well.

To get to where you want to be, you need to know where you want to be. Whether it’s cleaning a house or constructing one, the job is best achieved by setting goals and then formulating a plan to reach them. Treat house cleaning like the job it is and you’ll be on your way to knowing what you want as well as how to get 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.

Anyone Can Clean Using This Guide to Housekeeping

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The ability to clean a house is a basic skill that everyone should have, yet there are many who don’t know where to begin. If you’re a member of this unlucky group, take heart; anyone can clean using this guide to housekeeping.

Cleaning is neither complicated nor difficult. It’s a skill that improves with time and practice, so if at first it seems like cleaning is hard for you to do or you’re not doing it right, have patience. Once you get the hang of it, keeping your home clean will be a breeze.

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Step One: Clutter Control

House cleaning begins by putting away clutter, also known as organizing. Getting organized is a simple process of finding a home for all objects and then making sure to put each object away when it’s not in use.

In order to minimize clutter, it’s also important to purge objects that are no longer needed. Every so often, closets and cupboards should be reorganized in order to make room for new objects in need of a home.

Organizing and putting stuff away is the first step in cleaning because it’s easier to vacuum, dust, and wipe down areas that are as clear as possible. Dust also has fewer places to settle in environments that aren’t littered with clutter.

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Start Cleaning From the Top Down

After getting organized, the next step in the cleaning process is getting rid of cobwebs and dust. Anything up high is done first, including ceiling fans, wall hangings, tops of cabinets and cupboards, etc.

Continuing to work from the top of the room downward, dust window treatments, window sills, chair rails, ridges on doors, lamp shades, furniture, baseboards, and baseboard heaters.

In the living room, den, family room, etc. vacuum upholstered furniture. Flip cushions and fluff pillows.

In bedrooms, change bedding as needed and periodically flip mattresses and sweep or vacuum under beds.

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The Kitchen

In the kitchen, wipe down countertops and backsplashes, stovetop, and inside the microwave. Spot clean table and chairs and cabinet fronts. Clean keypads and fronts of appliances like the dishwasher and refrigerator. Scour the sink.

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The Bathroom

In the bathroom, clean mirrors, sink and vanity, tub and/or shower, and the toilet. Tiled walls should also periodically be cleaned. Clean the bathroom often so that soap scum and other grime doesn’t build up.

Finally, in all rooms, vacuum, dust mop or sweep floors and damp mop, if necessary.

Laundry

Laundry can be a big job that’s often easier by spreading it out over time. Rather than letting it accumulate, doing laundry as soon as you’ve got a full load makes it more manageable than facing the daunting task of doing six loads in one day. Plus, you never run out of clean towels using this method.

Cleaning Styles

Different lifestyles call for different cleaning styles. House cleaning can be done every day, once every week or two, or whenever you have time. The key element is doing it. A house that’s never cleaned isn’t a pleasant place to live.

This is a basic overview of house cleaning. The process is made up of many more details, which you can learn about from other blog posts here. Don’t let cleaning intimidate you, it’s not difficult. Just get up, start doing it, and before you know it, you’ll be a cleaning master.

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 up Your Home in a Hurry

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It can happen to the best of us: the house is a disaster and your mother-in-law just called to say she’s on her way over. You’ve got thirty minutes to get the mess under control (at least enough to pass this surprise inspection). Get busy and make the best use of your time with the following tips for cleaning up your home in a hurry.

Pick Up Clutter

Grab a laundry basket and quickly pick up clutter on countertops, tables, and wherever else it’s accumulated. Don’t worry about sorting things or putting anything away. Fill your basket and stash it in a closet. Just be sure to go back and deal with it later on.

Focus on Areas that Visitors Will See First

Focus your attention on whatever spaces visitors will see first on entering your home. Clean window glass on the front door to immediately give the impression that you keep a spic-and-span home. Clear clutter from entryways and make sure the floor is free of mud and footprints.

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Use Your Vacuum Cleaner

Quickly vacuum floors, furniture, and whatever else is dirty. Your vacuum cleaner is a versatile tool that not only cleans floors but will quickly remove pet hair from furniture and baseboards, suck up dust bunnies and loose debris, and eliminate cobwebs.

Wash the Floor Fast with an Old Towel

Use a dampened towel to quickly clean hard floor surfaces. Swish it around with a mop, then toss it into the washing machine.

Close Doors

If bedrooms are a mess, shut the doors. Put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign to ward off curious wandering guests.

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Dim the Lights

Use your dimmer switch to make it tougher to see cobwebs, dust bunnies, and other telltale signs of less-than-fastidious housekeeping.

Light a Candle

Use aromatherapy to create the impression of a clean home. Scents like tropical fruit, vanilla, or lemon make your home smell fresh.

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Spot Clean the Kitchen

Clean fingerprints off of appliance fronts, wipe up countertops, load the dishwasher with dirty dishes, and look around for any other areas that might benefit from a quick wipe down.

Eliminate the Source of Bad Smells

Take out smelly garbage. Grind up lemons in the garbage disposal. Check the potato drawer and fruit bowl for less-than-fresh foodstuffs that might be emitting bad smells.

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Tidy Up the Guest Bath

Clean the sink, countertop, and toilet in the guest bath. Put out fresh hand towels and soap.

Establish Good Habits

Finally, prevent this situation from happening again by getting into the habit of keeping your home clean. Minimize clutter and maintain a regular cleaning routine that fits into your lifestyle. It’s a little bit of effort, but the payoff is enormous. And you’ll never be embarrassed when unexpected company arrives at your door.

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 to Keep Your Home Clean

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Did you ever wonder how people keep such clean homes? You know the ones: those friends who never hesitate to invite you in when you show up unexpectedly at their door. Those folks whose kitchen counters are never buried in groceries that haven’t been put away, whose kitchen sinks are never overflowing with dirty dishes, whose floors are never desperately in need of an appointment with the dust mop. These tips to keep your home clean will solve the puzzle.

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Clean Often

The secrets to keeping an unvaryingly clean home are simple: frequency and habituation. Tidying up and wiping down on a regular basis ensures that your home never reaches a disaster state. Plus, integrating a regular cleaning routine into your lifestyle means that in time, cleaning will become so automatic that you won’t give it a second thought.

Frequency is your friend where house cleaning is concerned. Spending twenty minutes every day or two on upkeep is an investment in your free time this weekend. And it actually saves time in the long run because clutter and spills are tough to clean up after they’ve been ignored.

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Clutter Spreads

Unchecked clutter breeds when you’re not looking. It’s a scientific fact. One little pile of mishmash becomes an overspread mountain virtually overnight. For this reason, it’s quicker and easier to deal with it as you go along. Toss out junk mail immediately, file paperwork, and put things away.

Spot Clean to Save Time

The same principle applies to cleaning up dirty messes. Spot cleaning the kitchen every day or two takes ten minutes. Leaving it all until Saturday night at 9:30 guarantees it’ll take at least an hour and a half. Juice spills and crumbs congeal into something roughly resembling textured cement.

Stovetop messes that would have taken 30 seconds to wipe clean when they first made an appearance dry up and cook on, meaning it will be a fifteen minute job scrubbing them clean.

This holds true in every room of the house. A strange inverse reaction takes place with dirt and grime. The longer it sits, the tougher it becomes to remove. It’s like it grows roots.

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The Learning Curve

Frequency also works in your favor due to the cleaning learning curve. Simply put, the repetition of any action increases your speed and ability to perform the action. So the more frequently you clean, the better you get at it, which means your speed increases.

The universal truth of cleaning is that the more frequently you clean your home, the less time it takes each time you do it. Getting into the habit of cleaning regularly not only ensures that you’re never caught off guard with a messy house, it saves you time in the long run. Your home will never get to the point of being such a disaster that you have to blow your entire Saturday cleaning.

Work Out a Routine

It’ll take a little thought to work out a routine that fits into your schedule. For example, spot clean every other day and then dust, vacuum, and mop on the weekend. Or do one room every day. Or whatever what will work with your schedule. Then stick to the plan. Within a very short time, cleaning will be another routine part of your life.

Frequency and habituation. That’s all it takes. House cleaning is maintenance, like getting your hair cut or your oil changed. Take the time to establish routines, follow through, and before you know it cleaning will be just another item that gets crossed off your to-do list every day. No thought required. Then you’ll be one of those people who are never embarrassed to invite unexpected company inside your home.

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.