You know how it goes….you have every intention of getting some cleaning accomplished during the day, only to find that by the time the kids are in bed, your house is no cleaner than when you woke up! How does time get away from us?
Everyone always walks in my house and wonders how the heck it's always so clean. Yes, I'm anal (and so is my husband. Deadly combo) and yes, I'm a perfectionist so if it wasn't this way, I'd be out of sorts BUT there is more to it. I'm all about "systems" -AKA an organized, purposeful routine to my madness. I am the most productive and am able to maintain order best when I am consistent in how I do certain tasks.
A crucial first step in trying to get organized is you must set up your environment for success. By establishing cleaning routines and stocking rooms with the appropriate tools, you’ll be able to take advantage of those precious few minutes every day to make a nice dent in those lingering household tasks.
Here are some quick cleaning tips that I find most helpful that you can easily incorporate into their daily routine to eliminate feeling like you are becoming a slave to the chores:
1) Beat the Clock: Believe it or not, most chores only take 10 minutes. Out of 24 hours, we ALL have 10 minutes. Set the clock for 10 minutes and see how much you can accomplish in that amount of time. It will keep you focused and you'll be surprised how fast you'll actually move. Best part: you'll benefit from a quick calorie blasting little workout.
2) Rock out: When you clean for 10 or 15 minutes, as opposed to an hour or more, cleaning doesn't seem overwhelming. Turn some music on and do this a few times a day so everything gets done. Choose CD's instead of the radio to keep you on track. No commercial interruptions makes it easier to keep the beat while cleaning.
3) Multi-task: Always do two things at once. For example, while on the phone, fold laundry, fluffs pillows, picks up stray magazines and books, do dishes, sweep or dust. If you need to do laundry and clean, toss a load in before you get sidetracked. Then set a timer so you don't forget to toss them in the dryer. Throw in new loads before you move onto the next project and you'll chip away at it little by little, eliminating the pile-up.
4) Know the Hot Spots: Papers, odd toys and other things usually pile up on the dining room table or kitchen counter. Once you’ve got your table cleaned off, file papers or toss them immediately.
5) Go Corner to Corner: When you’re vacuuming, begin in the farthest corner and work toward the door, using slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence. As you look over the freshly vacuumed floor, you shouldn’t see any footprints.
6) Extend it: Save time and aggravation by connecting a long extension cord to your vacuum cleaner. You can vacuum your entire house (or one floor if you have multiple levels) without having to unplug it for each room. If the kitchen, for example, is the center of your house, use a kitchen outlet to reach all of your rooms.
7) Velcro Away Clutter: Label the bottom of each electronic game controller (Xbox, for example), and then Velcro it to the console. You’ll never waste time searching for them again.
8) Make a Lost-and-Found: Every house needs one. Use a cute vintage lunch box or lidded storage container to stash lost game pieces, stray screws and buttons, and similar small items. When you need the item, you’ll know where to look first.
9) Do Quick Rescues: Do a 5-minute sweep through each room, taking a laundry basket with you. Place in it anything that doesn’t belong in that room, then put away the stuff that does belong there.
10) Stash it: Keep a supply of cleaning products in each bathroom and in the kitchen. Store these in a bucket or basket with a handle, to make it easy to pick up and set down as you clean.
11) Top to bottom/left to right: I've said this before but it's the most effective way to clean. This method makes it difficult to miss anything.
12) Bag it: Keep a few extra trash bags in the bottom of your trash cans. When you pull out the full bag, a new bag will be waiting for you.
13) Don't skip over the hard to reach: Keep a supply of Q-tips, a toothbrush and a razor blade in your cleaning supply bucket. There is always some corner that your rag or sponge won't reach, such as that "gunk" that gets around the edge of the bathroom sink.
14) Do It Now: Put things back, rinse out that dirty dish, put shoes where they belong, and so on. When you think to yourself, "I'll do that later" you may find yourself in a panic later when you are running behind and so many things are not done.
15) No more up and down: If you have a two-story home, put a basket at the bottom of the stairs. Save yourself time consuming trips up and down by throwing the miscellaneous little things (toys, hair accessories, shoes) in the basket and bring them up one time at the end of the day and put away.