If your goal is to make your personal space cleaner this year, you’re off to a good start! A cleaner home is one that’s often more inviting and comfortable. There’s even research showing that a clean home lowers stress and fatigue, reduces allergy and asthma symptoms, and reduces the risk of unexpected falls and other common sources of household accidents. But you’re only likely to stick to a resolution to keep your living spaces cleaner if you have a solid game plan first. Here are some suggestions to help you out.
Don’t Put Off the Small Things
The more you procrastinate with smaller tasks, the more likely it is that certain areas of your home will look cluttered or messy. In fact, a lot of the small tasks that can make your home look cleaner can be completed in less than five minutes! Some of these things include:
• Making your bed when you get up
• Running the dishwasher every night so you’re not surprised by a massive pile of dishes that need cleaned
• Wiping the table after each meal
• Cleaning your shower each time you use it so you’re not stuck with built-up mold, mildew, or soap scum – an easy way to do this is with a squeegee
• Folding and putting away your clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer instead of doing it “later”
• Cleaning up oven/stove spills as soon as your appliance cools down and quickly cleaning up countertop spills
Wipe Glass Surfaces in an ‘S’ Pattern
Some people avoid cleaning tasks because of an assumption that certain tasks are just impossible. For example, you might avoid cleaning glass surfaces because you know that no matter how hard you try, there will still be smudges, smears, or streaks. The problem may be that you’re not using the right pattern. Instead of going in a circular motion – which only spreads dust – clean glass surfaces in an S pattern.
Don’t Clean with Dirty Rags/Cloths
If you have cleaning rags of cloths you normally toss aside when you’re done cleaning, make sure you wash in hot water them before you clean with them again. Why? If you’re using dirty rags to clean, you’re just spreading more dust and germs and not really doing much cleaning.
Keep All Your Supplies Handy and All Natural
It’s easy to put off cleaning if you know you’ll have to search in different places to find what you need to get the job done. Make things easier for yourself by putting your basic supplies into a handy tote bag, box, or basket. As for your cleaning materials, consider replacing your various chemicals and sprays with homemade essential oil alternatives that can be used on multiple surfaces.
Don’t Stash Things Out of Sight
Some people prefer to “clean” by putting things under a bed, in a junk drawer, or in the back of the closet. While you may be creating the illusion of clean place by doing this, you’re just creating hidden sources of clutter – which can also be an attraction for pests. Instead, put things where they belong or toss out stuff you really don’t need or use anymore. A great way to declutter is to have a yard sale a few times a year to get rid of stuff that’s still good but not used anymore.
Start with Small Cleaning Goals
One of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is because people have big, lofty goals in mind. For instance, you may have visions of a beautiful, clean apartment or house that’s spotless from top to bottom. However, life can quickly get in the way and make it difficult to see the results you envisioned. Instead, set smaller, more specific cleaning goals you can actually achieve. For instance, you might strive to:
• Get your laundry done on the same day each week so it doesn’t pile up
• Dust one room each day
• Sort through your mail daily while standing next to the recycling bin so you can quickly throw away junk mail instead of tossing it aside
• Start putting your hair and makeup products away after each use so things don’t spill
• Regularly empty your purse or wallet so you’re not lugging around clutter
Lastly, remember that keeping your home clean isn’t something you have to do on your own. Feel free to enlist some help from your immediate family members. And for times when you have bigger tasks to complete – like a good spring cleaning or a major cleanup just before holiday guests arrive – put aside one whole day to focus on those efforts so you don’t overwhelmed. Once you get into the habit of being organized and proactive with cleaning, you might be surprised at how quickly it can become something you just do out of habit. Happy cleaning!