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The Stress-Free Way to Clean Your Home

Updated on June 3, 2017
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Sadie teaches speaking and leadership skills to women who want to have a better relationship with others and with themselves.

Find out how to make cleaning your home a breeze! Plus, watch some of the best online video tips for making your home feel and smell fresh and clean!

The clever cleaning tricks can save you time and money.

Time is precious! Save time and money on your housecleaning chores with some simple tips and tricks.
Time is precious! Save time and money on your housecleaning chores with some simple tips and tricks.

What is your least favorite cleaning job?

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Most people would rather lie on a tropical beach than spend the day cleaning.
Most people would rather lie on a tropical beach than spend the day cleaning. | Source
I love the way my kitchen smells when I clean with fresh lemon juice.
I love the way my kitchen smells when I clean with fresh lemon juice.

Before you begin your cleaning routine, always tidy up first. Take dirty dishes to the kitchen. Pick up stray toys. Collect newspapers and magazines and take them out to the recycling bin. Empty the trash before you start cleaning so that as your cleaning job gets underway, you aren’t piling more garbage on top of a stuffed trash bin. Having to stop and empty the trash bin in the middle of your cleaning routine takes up unnecessary time.

Here are some more quick tips for reining in the mess and staying on top of household clutter.

When it’s time to clean, put distractions on hold. Switch your phone to vibrate and turn off the ringer when you are cleaning. Unless you are expecting urgent news, callers can leave a message. Having to stop and take a call in the middle of your housecleaning routine eats into your schedule and interrupts your energy flow. If you want to get your household chores done quickly, stay focused and put away the smartphone.

Clear off your kitchen counters. Less stuff on your kitchen counters will make wiping up messes, scrubbing counter tops and cleaning back splashes easier. The less things you have to move out of the way in order to clean under or behind them, the easier it will be to freshen up your kitchen. Keeping appliances and other objects off kitchen counters and in the cupboards will keep those objects from getting splashed with oil, gravy, sauces and or other cooking liquids.

Think of your cleaning routine as part of your exercise routine. Scrubbing the floor is good exercise. So is vacuuming. Walking up and down the stairs to fetch the laundry increases your step count. There are many different cleaning tasks that you do each day that are actually very good forms of exercise. If you change the way you think about cleaning, and recognize that it can actually improve your health in some ways, then you might not dread doing those must-do tasks around the house!

Take it one day at a time. If you focused on one cleaning task for every day of the week, you could have your house whipped into shape in no time. Spending 30 minutes a day, each day of the week will add up to 3.5 hours of house cleaning per week.

But where will you find an extra 30 minutes a day to clean, you may ask. Here’s one idea: Get up ½ hour earlier each morning. You don’t have to clean in that early morning half-hour. As long as you are doing anything that is part of your normal everyday routine, you’ll be freeing up ½ to spend later on in the day tackling a cleaning job.

Enjoy a good book while you clean. Download an audiobook onto your MP3 player and listen to some classic stories while you clean your castle. You can get free audiobooks from the library in either CD format or as a download from your library’s website. Most audiobooks are a few hours long, so if you used the ½ hour a day cleaning tip above, you’ll finish one book per week. That’s over 52 books in one year!

Don't walk away from a messy home. Before you leave the house, even for a quick trip, do one thing to make your house noticeably cleaner. Make the bed. Take out the trash. Fluff the throw pillows. Straighten out a rug. Tidy your computer desk. You’d be surprised at what a difference doing these little tasks can make. As you walk through the door, you'll be glad to be back home. You won't have to face a pile of laundry that needs to be folded (or worse, a smelly waste bin that hits you right in the nose!)

Are home cleaning products too costly? Cut back on the cost of cleaning supplies and go green. Lemons, vinegar, and baking soda are just a few of the natural cleaning ingredients you can count on when you want to make your home sparkle and save money.Go online or check out a book at the library to learn more about using natural ingredients to clean your home.

Invest in high-efficiency cleaning appliances. A high-quality, reliable vacuum is worth the extra price, especially if it cuts down your cleaning time and gets the job done right, the first time.Keep your vacuum well-maintained so that it doesn't lose suction or blow debris out a hole in a hose or vacuum bag.

Be mindful of taking too many shortcuts when you clean. While we all want to cut down on the amount of time and energy we spend cleaning, the fact of the matter is that we can’t take shortcuts forever and not expect dirt to accumulate over the long run. Sometimes you do have to knuckle down and do a heavy-duty clean. Map out a long-term cleaning schedule that includes cleaning tasks often left out of daily cleaning and tidying (i.e.; appliance interiors, carpets, drapes, high shelves, beams and ledges). Your cleaning map will ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?

— Phyllis Diller

If you are having people over on short notice, whether as house guests or visitors, and don't have time to do a deep clean of your house, a recent article on housecleaning, suggested that you focus of things that your guests will notice first before panicking about the rest of your home:

  • What's that smell? Visitors will notice how your house smells. You, on the other hand, are used to how your house smells and probably don't notice the smell of pets, garbage or exotic cooking in the same way your guests do. Before guests arrive, light some scented candle, use room sprays or simmer lemon and spices in water to freshen up any stale smells. Take out the trash even if the bins are not yet full. Give the bins a quick scrub and rinse and then put use lightly scented garbage bags. Clean your sink drains with baking soda and hot water to keep any funky smells at bay.
  • Get rid of clutter and disarray. Take some time to tidy up and straighten before your guests arrive. Declutter surfaces in the living room, front hallway and bathroom, and anywhere else your guests might spend time such as sitting at the kitchen table. Your guests will perceive your house as messy if they can't find a place to put their beverage down without having to move stuff aside. And that leads to the next point about cleaning up your home: beverages.
  • Make sure you have a variety of beverages to offer your guests. You don't have to have a cabinet full of expensive liquors or tea caddy full of imported teas. But you must have sparkling glasses and spotless cups to serve your guests. Even a simple glass of water can feel elegant when served in a shiny glass with ice and a lemon wedge.
  • Fresh flowers and plants make your home feel cared for. Get rid of dead dusty plants and replace them with vibrant potted plants and fragrant bouquets. A bowl of plump, not too ripe fruit on your dining room or kitchen table makes you home look fresh and hospitable.
  • Cleaning and tidying your bathroom is a must. Wipe down counters and fixtures, clean toilet and sweep and mop the floor. Make sure that you all have clean hand towels available for your guests and spare rolls of toilet paper on hand. Replace bar soap with a liquid soap dispenser---it's much more hygienic and tidy looking than a used bar of soap sitting on the edge of the sink.
  • Always provide a set of fresh towels and linens for house guests. Make sure your overnight guests have a clean bed to crash in at the end of the day.

Cleaning your home in a pinch. Did your mother-in-law just call to say she wants to drop by in ½ an hour? Have no fear! Here are a few quick tricks to make your home look presentable at a moment's notice:

  • Use a laundry basket to pick up miscellaneous items in the main living areas, then stash the basket in a bedroom closet until your guest leaves.
  • Close all doors to bedrooms and other rooms not intended for guests.
  • Close drawers, cupboards, closets and storage bins to make your home look sleek and clean.
  • Wipe fingerprints off appliances and glass tabletops.
  • Remove any dishes from the sink or counter tops. Brush crumbs and food particles off the counters and into the sink with a cloth dampened with warm water.
  • If you don’t have time to take out the trash, at least tie up the top of the garbage bag to keep your trash out of sight and odors at bay.
  • Scoop the cat box.
  • Use a microfiber cloth and quickly dust the coffee table and other spots where guests will congregate.
  • Burn scented candles in the bathroom and kitchen
  • Open a window and let some fresh air in while you quickly tidy up.
  • Turn off any lights that aren’t essential. Why leave a light on in the bathroom if there’s a chance that your guest won’t even go in there when she visits.

Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your unexpected visitors. Even if you don’t get to everything on this quick clean-up checklist, relax. Your guest (even your mother-in-law) has come to see you, not inspect your house!

If you want more tips on how to clean stuff around your home, from your coffee grinder to a faux flower arrangement, check out the video below!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

— Erma Bombeck

© 2014 Sadie Holloway


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