Efficient House Cleaning

Cleaning the house can be a daunting task and feel like it’s going to take a long time but I found that if you work in a specific order things move pretty quick.

First thing’s first - laundry. Pick up dirty laundry and put in the hamper or laundry baskets and move them to the laundry room. Start the first load of laundry in the washer. Collect any trail of clothes, jackets and shoes that have landed around the house and put them where they belong.  

Next is the kitchen. Collect all of the dishes from the house and start the dishwasher. Clean off the kitchen counters and wipe clean. Go ahead and brush the crumbs onto the floor - you’ll vacuum them up in a few minutes.

Collect any other items from around the house - mail, trash, toys, books, etc and put in their place. Don't let yourself get distracted with side projects though. Tasks like sorting the mail can easily lead to other tasks like paying all of the bills or organizing your files. If you let yourself get side tracked you're less likely to complete the house in record time. One strategy is to deal with each category one at a time. You’ve already collected all of the laundry so try toys next, then deal with mail or piles of papers, etc.  Another strategy when picking things up is to never have empty hands. If you pick something up in the living room and put it in it’s place in the bedroom, pick something up from the bedroom and put it where it belongs and so on and so forth. If you have children this is a good step to involve them in. Try making a game of collecting all of the lego pieces from around the house or see who can pick up the toys in their room the fastest, etc.

If there’s a room that has gotten particularly out of control don’t feel the need to make it perfect on 'Clean the House Day'. Give yourself a break and save it for it’s own day so you don’t get worn out or completely distracted from the rest of the house. If you are expecting company and something needs to be done try the first step to organization - which is sorting. If it’s your office try sorting the papers into piles that you can go through later. That way the mess is cleaned up and you’re making future organization easier - rather than more complicated. If you start hiding things by shoving them where they can’t be seen you’re only making more work for yourself later. Hiding is never the answer.

Once the countertops and floors are clear I run a duster over the surfaces around the house and then vacuum - in that order. When you dust some of the debris tends to land on the floor so it would be counterproductive to vacuum, then dust. I vacuum the entire house at once - hardwoods and carpet. We have a Dyson that moves seamlessly from one to the other. Even though it seems like a big task to vacuum the entire house it really only takes about ten minutes when I do it all at once. The trick is to have the floors free and clear by the time you vacuum so you can move quickly from one room to the next.

Bathrooms are their own beast. (See my blog: Reclaim Your Bathroom). First, I spray the tub with cleaner and let it work it’s magic while I clean the countertops, swiffer the floor and make sure the mirrors are clear. I have delegated the job of cleaning toilets to my husband.

Hang up fresh towels, rinse out the tub and put a fresh bag in the trashcan. Voila, clean bathroom.

I take out the garbage and recycling after I’ve cleaned everything. By this point my husband will have (hopefully) cleaned the toilets and mowed the lawn. Once the laundry and dishes are ready I put them away. I’m usually finished cleaning the house before the laundry is even done! (Obviously if you take on additional organizing projects while you clean the house it will take longer.)

If you stay focused and stick to the plan you’ll have a clean house before you know it!

Teresa Palaia