Cleaning seems easy enough. How hard can it be to push the vacuum around? But developing a system that works for you to keep your home clean on a regular basis takes time and insight.
These are the ideas that completely changed my approach to cleaning, so that I could spend less time doing it with better results. I’ve come a long way from the teenager who had piles of clothes everywhere and couldn’t keep her room cleaned up.
Cleaning and picking up are separate jobs.
I spend about two hours a week focused on cleaning our home, but almost everything is picked up before I start. If I were to start with picking up, I would spend all my time on that and never get around to the cleaning!
Picking up toys, dishes, books, and socks is a daily habit and a family activity, because there is no possible way that I could do it all by myself. If the house looks messy, we declare “clean up time!” and for the next five minutes everyone runs around putting stuff away. We don’t just put away our own stuff, we all help to pick up after each other.
The cleaning goes much faster if things are put away and you don’t have to clean around them.
Plan a routine.
Some jobs need to be done daily, some weekly, and some are monthly or seasonal. You don’t need to clean your whole house top to bottom every time to feel like you’ve done a complete job.
Knowing your daily jobs can help you focus on the basics during times of stress. But which ones are those? It depends on your home and your family life. It might be keeping the kitchen sink clear, sweeping the floor, making the bed, and wiping the table.
Frequent is better.
Ten minutes of vacuuming once a week is more helpful than forty minutes of vacuuming once a month.
If you clean more often, it’s not so overwhelming, and it’s easier to keep things clean as you go. Your bathroom sink might just need a quick wipe instead of an all-out scrub.
Work for significant improvement.
If a mirror only has a couple of spots on it, do you spray and wipe the entire mirror, or do you just clean the dirty spots? Some people like to do the whole thing so that it feels clean to them. Or maybe someone helped you wash the dishes, but you kind of want to do it yourself so you will know they really are clean. That’s fine if you want to spend all your time cleaning everything by yourself.
Save time by just cleaning the dirty stuff. Then marvel at how much better things look.
It’s about taking care of people, not taking care of stuff.
But you already knew that.