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.

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.

 

Cleaning a Really Dirty Kitchen

Cleaning a really dirty kitchen from top to bottom can be a very satisfying activity when you’re done. The transformation of the room that is the heart and soul of your home will make you feel great!

So roll your sleeves up and get ready to make your kitchen sparkle.

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To Begin

Begin by removing rugs, window treatments, etc. as outlined above.

Do a thorough top-down dust and cobweb removal, starting with the ceiling, ceiling fans, walls, light fixtures, etc. Don’t forget the tops of cupboards and the top of the refrigerator.

Wash Woodwork and Windows

After you’ve removed as much dust as possible, wash woodwork, doors, cabinet doors, baseboards, window frames.

Wash the windows.

Clean Appliances and Countertops

Put some water and all-purpose cleaner or dish detergent in the sink or in a pail and, using a sponge or rag, start cleaning everything that needs cleaning, inside and out. Change your water as necessary.

Refrigerator

Clean the refrigerator outside thoroughly, then inside. Wipe down shelves, side walls, remove drawers and wash in your soapy water. Wipe gaskets. Clean door shelves. Also wipe out the freezer with a sponge moistened in warm water. Use a narrow dusting brush or yard stick with a rag tied securely around it to dust underneath.

Microwave 

Clean the microwave outside, paying special attention to fingerprints on the keypad and handle. Wipe clean the inside and remove the glass tray at the bottom to wash in the sink if it’s dirty.

If there’s any kind of dried-on-gunky situation inside the microwave, heat a glass bowl or measuring cup of water to create a steam bath. This will loosen up the gunk so you can wipe it clean. You can even place a sliced-up lemon in the water if you want your steam to deodorize at the same time.

Range Hood

Not all kitchens have these, but for those that do: clean on top of the range hood using a degreaser. Remove the vent fan filter, if possible, and wash in hot, soapy water.

Stove Top

If it’s the type of stove top with drip pans, take it apart and wash the drip pans in hot, soapy water. If the drip pans are extremely dirty with cooked-on, blackened stuff, you can buy shiny new replacements. Sometimes scrubbing with steel wool pads, scouring powder, or baking soda will get them clean. Or you can try applying a baking soda and water paste onto them and letting it sit for a while to soak up the cooked-on mess.

If you’ve got a glass or ceramic cook top, remove any cooked-on messes with a plastic scraper. Apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to any residue and allow it to loosen up the mess.

Countertops

Use specialty cleaner on countertops made of granite, marble, or other surfaces that call for special treatment. Otherwise clean backsplashes and countertops with a solution of dish soap and water, all-purpose cleaner, or a stronger degreaser if necessary.

Clean countertop appliances, and shift small appliances side to side so you can clean the countertop underneath. Use a nylon scrubber or eraser-type sponge to remove any dried-on messes. Tackle stains with either an all-purpose cleaner containing chlorine bleach or an oxygen bleach and water solution.

Dishwasher

Clean dishwasher front, especially keypad and handle. If the inside is in need of attention, wipe clean whatever you can and then sprinkle a little bit of baking soda onto the bottom and allow it to set for a while. Then run the dishwasher on a hot cycle to rinse.

Cupboards

Wipe out cupboards and drawers. Use your vacuum if there are crumbs, mouse droppings, spilled flour, oatmeal, cereal, sugar, or anything else that would vacuum up more easily than wiping with a damp sponge.

Kitchen Sink

Clean the kitchen sink with all-purpose cleaner or a little dish detergent. Scrub stains with powder cleanser.

Some additional hints in the kitchen

  • Degreaser is your friend in the kitchen. If you start wiping down cupboard doors or trying to clean the countertops and run into a sticky film of any kind, try using a strong solution of ammonia and water, dish detergent in water, or any all-purpose cleaner specifically labeled as a degreaser. Spray it onto the surface and wipe clean. If that doesn’t do the trick, try scrubbing with a nylon scrubber
  • Deodorize your garbage disposal by running a chopped-up lemon through it.
  • Clean the garbage can. If it’s really dirty, take it outside, spray with bathroom cleaner, let soak, then hose off later.
  • To clean inside the toaster oven: first unplug, then de-crumb, remove racks and wash, wipe down the inside. To clean residue on the glass door, apply a thick paste of baking soda and water and allow it to sit for half an hour, then scrub and wipe clean.
  • Pulling out the fridge and stove to clean under and behind is an optional job. The fridge might be on casters, the stove probably isn’t. Be careful not to hurt your floor or yourself. You can also use a long, narrow duster to get underneath or wrap a rag securely around a yardstick.
  • Remove the cutting wheel on an electric can opener and wash in hot, soapy water.
  • Clean coffee or spice grinders by grinding up a slice of plain white bread.

All that’s left to do now is admire your handiwork. Job well done!

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.

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.

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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 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.

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.