Cleaning Checklist: How to Beautify Your Home

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It's not the 50s anymore. More and more women are out in the workforce, more men are staying home, and children are less involved in housework than they were 50+ years ago. Some of us just leaving the nest need a little help and direction these days in learning how to clean. That's okay. A quick search for 'Cleaning Checklist' and you find yourself here. Good news! We're here to help.

Top to Bottom

Have you ever seen someone sweeping before they clean counter tops and doing dishes? Probably not. In fact, you may have never even thought about it. When you begin cleaning, start at the top. Things fall down, so you wage a fruitless battle if you put 'Clean floors' at the top of your cleaning checklist. Don't do that. This one goes at the bottom. I mention it first because it's overlooked quite frequently, and it's a pain to clean the floor twice.

Chunk It Out

Multiple books have been published on cleaning techniques. One book I read just recently emphasized a sort of ADD cleaning checklist, where multiple things are done at once. While some things are okay to do concurrently, stick with a plan and have a clear idea of what your goal is. It's okay to start laundry right before you begin the dishes, just don't start the dishes and then decide you need to fold laundry when the dryer timer goes off. A little bit of organized multitasking is fine; but please, please, please do not divide time between kitchen cleaning and toilet cleaning -that's just gross. When you chunk out your time for specific tasks, it makes things seem less overwhelming.

Biggest to Smallest...Sometimes

This doesn't apply to all things at all times. When I say biggest to smallest, I'm basically saying to take care of tasks with bigger surface area rather than the minute details. It's about the bigger picture. Assess the bigger picture. If you are in a bedroom with a messy bed and clothes are all over the floor, where do you begin? Well, refer back to number 1 on our cleaning checklist and you have your answer. Make the bed. No, it's not bigger than the floor (I heard that!), but there may be dirty clothes and other scary things in there you will have to pick off the floor when you are done. I'm really just saying, don't worry about the coffee table over there by the bed that has a coffee stain on it that needs removed. That's small. Do that later. If you start with the smallest most complicated tasks first, you're going to get bored...very, very bored. Trust me. I've done it. With laundry, do the towels first...then the socks. If you start with the socks it's like torture -especially if you have ankle biters.

Step Out

When you are in a room for a significant amount of time, eventually it is hard to see what has been forgotten. It's like that humming noise that you didn't hear until someone pointed it out because you'd been listening to it for hours. Go outside for a minute and take a breather. Call a friend. Play a Facebook game. Whatever you do, just take ten or fifteen minutes -if you have it- and then go back into the room to see if you missed anything. It helps to see things through fresh eyes. Very important on your cleaning checklist is to try and see the room through a different lens; we don't all see things the same. Taking a breather is one of the best ways to do that. You might even ask yourself, "What would my mom say about this room?" Or better yet, the dreaded, "What would my mother-in-law think?" That should motivate you.

Simplify and Organize

One of the best ways to keep a clean house is to get rid of the excess. It's harder to clean around things, knick-knacks, mail, magazines, etc., than it is to clean a bare surface. Plus it just feels better to not have clutter. An uncluttered home automatically feels cleaner. Invest in storage containers to keep things you don't need and don't use on a regular basis.

Keep At It

Part of cleaning is constant maintenance. Houses do not stay clean unless no one lives in them -even then they get dusty. This is the frustrating part, but eventually it becomes habit. Very important on our cleaning checklist is to keep at it. It is easier to stay on top of things than it is to catch up when you fall behind. Good luck, and happy cleaning.

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