Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Spring, So Let's Talk Cleaning!

Cleaning. The word that makes us all leap for joy, no?! I do get anxious right around this time of year to spruce things up a bit around the house though. Getting rid of all the cobwebs, wool, and coziness of winter feels so refreshing, doesn't it?

Today I thought I'd share a bit about the cleaning habits that help me keep my home manageable, neat, and ready for company at a moments notice.

My overarching inspiration comes from The Flylady whom you can find over at Flylady.net. You will see some of her concepts throughout my routine.

Everyday: clean up hotspots (areas where junk accumulates: by doors, kitchen counters, around the phone, etc.) before bed. Don't go to bed with a messy house! These spots can be easily dealt with - with only one days worth of clutter accumulated...a whole week of neglect though, and the situation becomes dire. -

After Dinners: make a quick spot-sweep of the kitchen floors a part of your after dinner clean up routine.

Mondays: I dust the house with my Swiffer or feather duster (fast paced loud music helps this normally mundane chore go by much more quickly!), water house plants, change bed sheets.
Tuesdays: Vacuum the whole house and clean the bathrooms
Just implementing these few habits religiously, and of course training your family to observe the basic “when you use it, put it back” philosophy, your house can generally be kept in a presentable condition.

In order to keep laundry from accumulating, I also wash one load of laundry per day. Usually, I bring it to the mudroom even before breakfast. Then after breakfast, switch from the washer to the dryer. - I TRY (although I don't always succeed) to get a whole load taken care of (washed, dried, and put away) before lunch. You'll be surprised at how easily you can stay on top of the ever growing wash pile by just faithfully doing one load each day.

Also from Flylady: I will sometimes focus on one room or area for an entire week (Flylady's Zones) in addition to my usual routine, and do some deep cleaning little by little. For example, take the kitchen. Here is what zone cleaning the kitchen might look like:
Monday: Empty and clean out the fridge
Tuesday: Scrub down the cabinet fronts and knobs
Wednesday: dust and wipe baseboards and lighting fixtures
Thursday: Empty and re-organize silverware and junk drawers
Friday: Go through pantry and throw out expired food

I set my timer for some of these tasks, and just tackle whatever I can in a 15 or 30 minute window. Then I give myself a little reward break for 5-15 minutes: maybe a coffee break, some quick blog reading, or a brisk walk outside.

Lastly, since we were on the subject of the kitchen, a few things that I have found really help keep my fridge in decent shape is to:
*Wash and prep fruits and veggies right away, display certain items in a nice bowl or baskets inside the fridge so people can find a healthy snack quickly and with minimal effort.
*Store leftovers in small see-through containers. If you can SEE your options, you are more likely to eat them!
*Don't push things to the back of your shelves. Out of sight, out of mind...until they start to smell that is...
*Every time you plan to go grocery shopping, go through your fridge before you leave for the store. You might even find ingredients that you already had that you were going to re-buy! Throw out anything questionable, and give the inside of the fridge a quick swipe with a warm soapy dishcloth.

I hope some of these cleaning tips can help inspire you to come up with (or keep pressing on with) a cleaning routine of your own. A working routine looks different for everybody, but just having one is what will keep your house from going to the dogs!
Sorry, couldn't resist ;-). These are my two furbabies Chester and Caroline!

Do you have a cleaning routine? If so, I hope you'll share it with the class down in the comment section. We can all learn so much from each other!