Most of us have a love-hate relationship with spring cleaning, right? We love the end product: the peaceful, beautiful, spic and span home. But we hate the process: the time spent scrubbing, mopping, dusting, and sweating to get every nook and cranny cleaned.
What if we could make it easier on ourselves? What if there was something we could do to ensure that next year's spring cleaning isn't such a burdensome task we avoid until the last possible minute?
I have good news for you, friend! There is something we can do to ease the burden of spring cleaning-- we can work to keep our homes clean with some regular habits! How, you ask? Well, of course I'm going to tell you!
Don't forget to grab your printable version of the list here!
1. Clean regularly.
If you just clean when company's coming over or when spring rolls around every year, there's going to be a lot of cleaning to do at those times. And haphazard cleaning is less effective because it's so burdensome and overwhelming. When you feel pressured to clean the whole house in one fell swoop, you're going to get burned out before you can thoroughly clean everything.
However, if you divide up the tasks and stay on top of them each month or week, you'll find them more manageable, and it won't seem so hard to keep your house clean year round!
2. Decide on the frequency of each cleaning task.
Some things need to be done more often than others. Your ceiling fan blades don't need to be dusted as often as your bathroom sink needs to be wiped out. The frequency with which you complete any cleaning task will be dependent upon how you use the different spaces in your house, your family size, and what your cleaning standards are. But for some general tips, there are some helpful guidelines:
- quarterly: clean ceiling fan blades, baseboards, vent covers, windows, appliances
- monthly: scrub the tub/shower, mop the floors
- weekly: dust the furniture, sweep/vacuum the floors, clean the bathrooms & kitchen, launder sheets and towels
- daily: make the beds, wash the dishes, wipe off the counters
3. Assign regular tasks to a specific day.
It's hard to remember all the things on our to-do lists, especially if we don't write them down. Home maintenance and cleaning schedules are no different.
One trick that I've found (and heard from others) is to assign certain regular tasks to specific days. So you could make Monday laundry day, Tuesday bathroom day, Wednesday kitchen day, and so forth. That way you're consistent in your cleaning and don't have to struggle to remember what's next.
4. Combine tasks.
As I've said, we all have a lot going on and a lot to try to remember. If we continually add to our to-do lists we're just going to get burned out.
Instead of adding more separate tasks, try combining tasks. When you're done with dinner, wash the dishes, wipe down the counters, and wipe out the sink. You already have the sponge or wash cloth in your hand, and you're already in the general vicinity of the counters and table. It won't take long (less time than if you had to return later to do it), so just do it then!
5. Streamline your cleaning products.
Aside from having a relatively small space, the number one thing that has cut my cleaning time down is using fewer products because it means less switching between them.
I have Norwex antibacterial microfiber cloths that I use for cleaning everything but the toilet bowl (for that and for mopping, I use Mrs. Meyer's all purpose concentrate). I just get the rag wet and run around the house wiping down all the surfaces and decor. It's so much faster than having to use a spray and a cloth that I'll have to change out once it gets dirty. This way I can use just one big cleaning cloth and one polishing cloth for glass surfaces to clean my whole home. It's so much easier and so much faster!
6. Choose what method works best for you-- room or type.
I love that everything is adaptable so you can do what works best for you. Cleaning is no different. What works for one person might not work too well for you and vice versa. There's freedom here to do what makes the most sense to you.
I suggest one of two approaches: cleaning by room or cleaning by type.
You could tackle your house one room at a time, cleaning the bathroom on one day and the kitchen on another. On the surface, this seems like the most logical approach because you can see the progress more clearly. But it also requires cleaning a variety of surfaces, which could mean more cleaners and more time.
You could also choose to clean your house by type. What I mean by that is by surface type. You could do the dusting one day, the vacuuming another, and the sweeping on another. You would only have to get out one cleaning supply at a time that way. However, your progress might not be as easily identifiable because none of the rooms would be entirely clean; they might be dusted but not swept, for instance.
It's up to you, but make sure there's some sort of method to the madness so you get it all done in the end!
7. Have less stuff to clean in the first place.
Declutter before you clean. If you have less stuff sitting around to collect dust, coffee rings, and pencil shavings, you'll save yourself time spent cleaning.
Your space will automatically feel cleaner, too, if it's not filled to the brim with knickknacks and stuff in every single inch of space.
It's much easier to clean your bookshelves, for example, if they're not cluttered with tchotchke items that you have to pick up, clean, and clean under and around. If there are just books on the shelves, you can swipe across the vacant portion of the shelf and maybe wipe down the books if they've gathered dust. Nothing slows down the cleaning process like having to pause to clean all the stuff we've accumulated.
8. Consider the clean-ability of things when shopping.
When you're in the market for new things-- whether it's new furniture, textiles, or decor-- consider what it's going to take to keep it clean.
It might sound silly to think about how you're going to have to clean something before you even buy it, but it's an important step. If you realize at the store that something is going to be more work than it's worth, you can still walk away!
I personally have gotten rid of several things that were just too much work to maintain. I look for things that are smooth, simple, and durable. I try to avoid things that are too fragile to handle regular cleaning, have too many nooks or ridges for dust to gather in, or would have to be washed at the first sight of dirt. I just don't want to handle things that are so high-maintenance. Having things that are easier to clean means you don't have to spend as much time cleaning, which is a big plus!
9. Delegate and outsource.
One of the easiest ways to lift some of the cleaning burden is to divide the work. If you live with other people, delegate some of the cleaning tasks. You can keep them the same each week or month, or you can change them up and rotate through them.
When I lived with several other girls in college, I made a cleaning schedule that covered all the rooms in the house, and we all rotated through them. Each week, we'd have a different task than the week before, and all the tasks got done because we divided and conquered. The house was too big for any one person to clean it all, and some of the tasks were less desirable than others, so we took turns with who was assigned to what task.
Maybe that would work for you! Or maybe you would rather clean the kitchen every week and have your spouse clean the bathroom. Or perhaps there are certain cleaning chores that your kids or roommates are more skilled at than others-- or more willing to complete than others. There's always a way to make it work! And spreading the work out by involving other people makes it go so much faster!
10. Decide what your cleaning priorities are and honor them.
No matter how hard we try, we can't do it all. Choosing to focus on one thing automatically means choosing not to focus on something else. And that's okay!
In an ideal world, we would all have enough time to clean our entire homes on a regular basis. But let's face it, that's not always the case. Sometimes we have only twenty minutes before the in-laws or neighbors are going to be ringing the doorbell. What's a girl to do?
Focus on what's most important to you. Start with the areas you're most likely to spend time in when company is over or what you see most often yourself. Generally, this means the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. These areas get the most use, and therefore, get the dirtiest. If you start there, you'll see the most progress, and you'll be the least embarrassed when company is over. If your room is messy or not vacuumed, it's not going to matter, because your company probably isn't going to even see it.
Wipe down the counters and table. Sweep or vacuum the floor. Straighten up the pillows and fold the blankets. Put the shoes away and make sure your shower curtain is pulled shut. Don't worry about cleaning the ceiling fan blades or the vent covers. It's important to clean those, but not when you have only twenty minutes for a mini cleaning frenzy. When you're pressed for time, focus on the things that will make the biggest impact.
Which one of these was the most helpful for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Don't forget to grab the printable version of the list here!
And if you're looking for more help and encouragement to tackle your decluttering, organizing, or cleaning, let's chat about it!
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