I like to think that, for someone in their mid-20’s, I keep a pretty clean and organized home. Granted, I don’t have children and I know that changes a lot. But over the years, I’ve worked out a system for keeping my home clean with only a minimal time investment on my part.
The most important part of keeping a clean and organized home is creating a routine and sticking to it. You’ll never keep your home clean if you don’t work at it. Luckily, if you regularly follow a set of easy rules, “cleaning house” becomes no more a chore than putting your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.
This blog is still a newbie, so what better way to kick things off than embarking on a giant cleaning project, just in time for spring (or, “spring” if you’re from Michigan … what does warm feel like?)? I thought I’d share my system for keeping things in order, with the hopes that it helps you think of cleaning with less trepidation and perhaps a bit more zen. I’ll divide this post up a bit, so let’s start at the beginning:
List, divide and conquer
First things first: make a list of all the chores and tasks you do around the house to keep things clean. This list includes everything from making the bed in the morning to cleaning the garage every year. Try to be as comprehensive as possible but don’t let the list overwhelm you; seeing it all written down is the only way to recognize all that needs to be done. Coming to terms with your house, and what it needs to be healthy and happy, is the first step to getting there.
Second, divide those tasks into the following categories: daily, weekly/bi-weekly, monthly/bi-monthly, seasonally and annually. You won’t be cleaning the basement every week, but you will need to make the bed every day. Depending on the size of your family, laundry may be a weekly or bi-weekly (maybe daily!) event for you. Every family, and every home, is different.
How do you know what needs to be cleaned when? First, consider your own habits. For those cleaning routines out of the ordinary, a simple Google search reveals dozens of cleaning experts out there, eager to let you know when your carpets need to be cleaned, to how often you should clean your washing machine.
Still, it’s important with both these steps to be honest while still idealistic. You’re not creating a cleaning routine so that you can maintain the status quo – you want to have a cleaner, more organized home. If your methods aren’t working, you have to change something. And if you’ve never cleaned your refrigerator before, but you’re kinda grossed out every time you reach for the milk, then maybe it’s time to get straight with yourself: it’s time to clean the damn fridge. If you have animals and you aren’t vacuuming your highly-trafficked areas on a weekly basis, your guests have probably noticed that your house feels like an animal lives there. Let’s work on changing things for the better.
But yet, be realistic. Don’t say that you’re going to deep-clean your home every week because, let’s face it, that’s not happening. Like I said above, consider your habits. How much time can you devote to cleaning every week? If you don’t have time to clean your entire house every week, that’s OK. Neither do I. That’s why I split things up: I make time for a few weekly chores, and then split up the actual grunt work that goes into cleaning a room over an entire month. So, do you have time to clean one room of your house every week? Great. That’s all you need.
Plus, everyone is going to have different needs. Here at Casa Laura, my “outdoor” space is limited to a postage stamp-sized patio and a shared yard in my townhouse complex, and a front stoop. Garages … do not exist. I do have a basement, however. I also only have one bathroom. I also own two animals.
To get you started, here’s a breakdown of my cleaning routines, organized by how often they pop upon my schedule. I’ll go into more detail on each section in later posts. I may or may not have forgotten a few things:
- Make the bed
- Wash the dishes/run the dishwasher
- Feed the cats
- Pick up clothes/shoes/stuff around the house, put it where it belongs
- Make sure the kitchen counters are wiped clean
- Take care of the plants
- Vacuume our living room and dining room
- Mop the kitchen floor (when I’m not cleaning it)
- Wipe down the bathroom (when I’m not cleaning it)
- Switch out the kitchen towels and washcloth
- *Clean ONE-TWO rooms in my house*
- Clean the bathroom and wash the bath towels
- Clean the kitchen
- Clean the basement
- Clean up outdoors
- Wash our walls
- Steam clean the carpets