Keeping a tidy home is the dream for many, but so often it feels out of reach — after all, who feels like scrubbing floors after work or spending their time off chasing dust bunnies from under the sofa?
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According to Pam Clyde, the president and professional organizer at BritLin Cleaning LLC, the secret to turning dreams of a spotless home into a reality may be as easy as creating (and keeping) an official cleaning schedule. Here’s how she says to make it happen.
The number of people (and pets) living in your house can really make a difference when it comes to when and how often you should be cleaning, according to Clyde. If you’re living alone, you may have to clean less often than someone who is living with three small kids and a dog (that’s me). Think about how many people and pets you’ll need to account for before planning your cleaning routines.
Consider your activities.
Pay attention to the things you do every day that contribute to household messes. “For example, a family that cooks daily will need to wipe the stove top, kitchen counters, wash dishes, and vacuum the kitchen floor daily. But someone who mostly orders take out will not.” That’s bad news for all your home chefs out there, but good news for those who mainly rely on GrubHub and leftovers.
Don’t let dishes pile up.
You’ll likely benefit from some form of daily cleaning no matter how many people you have in your home, especially when it comes to dishes. Make a habit out of loading and unloading the dishwasher each day, putting away anything that has been hand-washed, and keeping dirty dishes from piling up in the sink.
“The danger of setting one item in the sink is that the next person thinks, ‘Oh, the dishwasher must be full, so I’ll just set my dish in the sink as well,’” Clyde says. “Before long, you have a sink full of dishes, and that can be overwhelming!”
Tackle your high-touch areas daily.
Some kitchens will need more frequent cleanings than others, but Clyde says almost all bathrooms need a daily touch up. “Getting some antibacterial wipes to do a quick wipe down of countertops and faucets will keep your bathroom looking great,” she says. “Shake out bathroom rugs gently and sweep or vacuum the bathroom floor to remove that annoying hair that we tend to lose daily.”
Keep pet hair under control.
If you have pets, a quick vacuum of the walkways can help keep floors from collecting hair tumbleweeds, according to Clyde. So besides regular brushing and baths for your furry friends, you should make frequent passes with the vacuum through common areas.
All of those daily items will help make your weekly deep-clean a little bit easier. “Weekly is my favorite interval for the deeper cleaning chores: showers, toilets, sinks, countertops, floors, and dusting,” she says, adding that you can also tackle these tasks bi-weekly if it works better for your schedule and messes. “Monthly deeper cleanings are only appropriate for a neat-and-tidy couple with no pets,” she says, adding that almost everyone else will have set a more frequent reminder for deep cleaning.
Knowing when to clean your home is only half the battle. Oftentimes people (myself included) can push these tasks off when life is busy. Clyde says there are a few easy hacks to ensure that you keep up with your new routine once you set it.
“Make it fun and involve the entire family,” she says. “Create a star chart for kiddos to earn for helping with daily chores. Heck, if adding star stickers to a chart motivates you as well, make one for everyone in the family.” You can even have competitions to see who earns the most stars in a week, and then come up with an award or treat to give out!
“If you are a list maker, add the tasks to your weekly planner so they can be checked off,” Clyde continues. “Having a checklist on the refrigerator or bulletin board can be super motivational, because it is right there staring at you every time you walk by.”