Rule #1. Start at the top.
This one is kind of a no brainer, I know. But don’t wash your lower cabinets before your uppers. Don’t wash the floor of the tub before you wash the sides. Don’t wash floors before you wash walls.
All the mess you cleaned from up above is going to trickle down to what is below it and then you find yourself cleaning twice.
Even if it’s just a quick wipe up of a spill, no one wants to double work for themselves. You want to move as quickly through cleaning as you can while still getting excellent results.
So always consider gravity!
Rule #2. Know how long things take to do.
You will be extremely, extremely surprised by how long it takes to do some things. I bet most things you either overestimate or underestimate.
Take the dishes for example.
I can empty my entire dishwasher in the time it takes my Keurig to warm up and produce a cup of coffee for me.
That’s like 4 minutes. FOUR MINUTES to empty the dishwasher! It feels so much longer than that because it is perhaps the most annoying cleaning duty ever.
Conversely, the bathtub probably takes longer to clean than you imagine. There is a lot of surface to cover and if you aren’t someone who keeps up with cleaning it very, very regularly, then you are going to have some scrubbing to do.
I set a timer for certain jobs to see how accurate my guess is as to how long something is going to take to do.
Here’s why I do this. Because at the end of the night, I look at the house and I can say, I could empty that dishwasher and add any random dishes to it so that I will have a clear sink in the morning and it will only take me about 6 minutes.
6 minutes feels totally doable and a clean sink in the morning is something I really love.
Rule #3. Have the right tools for every job.
When we were selling our last home we got a cleaner to come clean for us before Open Houses. I had two tiny children and there was no way I could keep up with keeping the house in “Open House” shape every week. (It turned we sold it the first weekend it was on the market anyway, so we only had the cleaner come once!).
The woman who cleaned the house said, You need to have Princess Wood Floor Cleaner (that’s not what it was called, I can’t remember for the life of me what it was she said to get it was over 10 years ago, but boy I wish I could because it was AMAZING).
She was not about to even try to wash the floors with anything else because she knew very well what worked and so why bother with anything else?
I forgot the name of the floor cleaner, but I have never forgotten the lesson.
Have a broom and dustpan that actually does a good job of sweeping and collecting dust. I love mine. They make me not hate sweeping.
Have a mop and bucket that actually does a good job of cleaning your floors. I LOVE my mop and bucket and I actually look forward to using them. I don’t care if that’s weird, I do.
And try different cleaning products to see what works best for the specific surfaces in your home.
Rule #4. Have a cleaning schedule
If you don’t follow a cleaning schedule, a couple of things will happen.
You will fall behind on cleaning daily which means you will have to spend an entire day of your weekend cleaning and you will not love that at all in any way.
Instead, if you follow a schedule of cleaning a little each day, you can save just certain jobs for the weekend or not do ANY cleaning on the weekend at all.
I still do a couple of hours of cleaning every weekend. Just whatever I can’t fit into my week, but it’s way better than a cleaning marathon on a Sunday. I promise you.
The other thing that will happen is stuff will get dirtier and harder to clean.
If you’re wiping down your counters every day, then food isn’t getting stickier and solid-er and more difficult to remove all week. I know that’s gross, but you know it’s happened!
It’s true of pretty much every surface in the house. If you swish your toilet every day, then, well, you get the picture. I don’t think I have to paint that one for you.
Rule #5. Stay stocked up on your favorite cleaning supplies.
Do you really want to have to drive to the grocery store before you are able to clean the tub? No.
Not having the cleaning supply that you need on hand is the PERFECT reason to procrastinate on cleaning.
Hm, no Scrubbing Bubbles? Well, I guess the tub will have to wait til the next time I go to the grocery store.
Even if it’s just a matter of days that passes, the tub has only gotten worse and now you’ve made the job that much harder.
Don’t do it to yourself. Stay stocked up.
Rule #6. Water is your friend.
Did you know that water is the most destructive force on earth? Even worse than fire?
You can use this to your advantage.
When I am washing floors, the first thing I do is take my spray bottle of diluted cleaning fluid and I spray the spots that I can tell are going to need a little extra love to get clean.
I do something else for a few minutes and then come back and mop the entire floor. The sticky, dried up whatever is WAY easier to get off after the watery, soapy water has had a chance to do some work.
(I DO NOT DO THIS ON HARDWOOD FLOORS! It might not make a difference, but I don’t want to risk water damage to them)
Rule #7. Decluttering is not cleaning, but it helps you with cleaning.
So, the idea here is that, decluttering is a part of organizing. Tidying, picking up, throwing things away, is in the “Decluttering” category and you shouldn’t count it as a cleaning chore.
This is only important when you are dividing up your time in your head. I spent 20 minutes cleaning the kitchen!
Or did you spend 9 minutes putting things away and moving stuff to appropriate spots and then 11 minutes cleaning?
I ask because it illustrates how much more difficult getting a room clean is if it is cluttered. There is always some element of putting things away, but the less stuff you have on your surfaces, the easier cleaning is going to be and the more likely you are to get to the deeper cleaning tasks.
Like cleaning the fridge. Which is not the same as cleaning out the fridge. (That’s decluttering. Cleaning the fridge is getting a sponge and soap and cleaning the fridge).
Cleaning should be done at specific times, decluttering (tidying up!) should be done in the moment. Did you use the syrup? Put it away. Is the Rice Krispies box empty? Throw it out. Or Recycle it.
Then at the end of dinner when you are actually cleaning the kitchen, you don’t have all of that “stuff” to contend with. Just the dirty messes.