The Millennial's Quick Start Guide to Cleaning
Are you one of those super-organized people who relaxes while alphabetizing their DVD’s? And not by title or genre, but by some obscure organizing scheme that suits your purpose, for instance by Director? I’m not one of those people. I don’t enjoy cleaning or constant organizing. And I’m not going to sit here trying to convince you that you should enjoy it.
What I do love, is having a clean home. One that requires as little deep cleaning as possible. I prefer small maintenance chores over large cleaning projects. A cluttered home just adds stress. Everything takes longer to do and nothing really leads to instant relaxation.
Set up a Cleaning Schedule
The absolute best way to ensure your home stays clean with as little work as possible is to set up a cleaning schedule. Because let’s face it, having a clean, de-cluttered space is extremely important when it comes to your mental as well as physical health. But you are busy living your busy life. This means you can't commit solid hours towards cleaning. Nor do you want to!
So here is the easiest and most effective way to clean your home. Download the FREE PDF: The Easiest and Most Effective Cleaning Schedule. Also for your convenience, I've made a blank one so you can fill it in to fit your needs, here.
These are mostly maintenance chores. You want to make it a habit to do these everyday, it will keep the clutter to a minimum and make it easy to see what actually does need to be cleaned. For example, making the bed, doing the dishes, wiping the counters, vacuum as needed, and laundry. You actually save time when you reset your space.
I usually vacuum and do a load of laundry, at least once a day. You may not need to do these everyday as maintenance chores. When you are thinking about what falls into this category, ask yourself what makes you take extra steps during your day?
Does it take you an extra ten minutes to get started cooking breakfast because you have to clean the space? Is your knife sitting dirty in your sink? Does the coffee maker still have the grounds from yesterday morning sitting in there? Reset the space and you'll find it much easier to get the right tasks started.
Waking up to a clean kitchen, and having counter space to work will make a world of difference in your morning routine. You will feel better because it will improve your mental clarity and reduces stress. I find that it often leads me to make much better choices for breakfast. Instead of grabbing something fast, easy, and often not too healthy, I'll make a bowl of oatmeal instead.
This is where the bulk of the cleaning takes place. But the best part is, you are not deep cleaning an entire room, so it doesn't take too long. Choose a weekly schedule around your lifestyle, and focus on a couple cleaning tasks.
So for example, Monday (on my cleaning schedule) it says bathrooms. I will clean the sinks, wipe the counters and mirrors, as well as clean the toilets. It takes very little time when I'm just focusing on these tasks. If I have the time and the energy I will take it further, but this is the bare minimum. On Tuesday, I will move to the kitchen and dining room. I wipe the counters, tables, chairs, and the appliances.
Most of these tasks will take just 15 minutes, since you don't need to focus on de-cluttering or organizing first. And by following your weekly cleaning schedule, you are regularly cleaning these areas. Meaning they do not have a lot of time to accumulate a lot of grime that requires a lot of elbow grease.
The first time you tackle your weekly cleaning routine may take you longer than 15 minutes. It depends on your space, but as you continue this schedule it should take less and less time. Also if you need to reset your space first it will add time to your cleaning schedule. But stick with it and as you turn resetting your space into a habit, you'll save more and more time.
Again, this list is customizable. Every other week make sure to include these chores. This list is more of a reminder so you don't forget to do these chores once every other week. Some cleaning tasks do not need to be done weekly. If you designate a time to do them, and you follow through twice a month, you'll save a ton of time.
For example, I wash the sheets every other week. I will do that on a Thursday because I have designated Thursday in my weekly schedule for the day I clean the bedrooms. That will be my cleaning task for every other Thursday.
These are items to clean once a month. They don't take long because you are not doing them all on one day. You can customize this list to fit your lifestyle.
For example, I choose one day a month to do each of these chores. One day I will vacuum the vents. On another day I will wipe the baseboards. Another day I'll clean the washer and dryer. I'm focusing on one thing to clean, it would take much longer if I did all of these on the same day.
About every six months or so do these chores. Some of these items will be a little more time and labor intensive than the others.
For example, descaling the coffee maker is much easier than cleaning the range hood. When I find myself having trouble with getting items off this list done, I like to separate them into two lists. One that takes more effort and one that takes less effort.
I pick a day to get one item off either list done. If I'm feeling energetic and have the time to tackle a bigger project I will either clean the oven or the range hood. If I am dragging and feel rushed, I will wash pillows or the shower curtain liner. Either way I'm still making my way through the list.
This list is for chores that only need to happen once a year. For example, deep cleaning the windows. It only needs to happen once a year. It'll be much easier to do if it isn't boiling hot or freezing cold. Choose a day that has nice weather so you don't have to associate feeling horrible while getting it done.
Some items to clean annually would be the gutters, the carpet, the upholstery, the fireplace, or the water heater.
This cleaning schedule is to help you see what chores you can do a little at a time spread out over the year. It's easy and effective because it breaks down what you need to do into small manageable parts. If you can clean a little everyday, and know what you need to do everyday, it'll be super fast to get done.
The best way to stay motivated and productive is to have a good maintenance routine. It may seem like a good idea to leave an unfinished project out so you can jump right back in the next day. But the truth is, you are actually harming your productivity by doing this. So take the time to put things away. Reset your space. You can focus on what needs cleaning and do it efficiently in no time.