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The White Glove Test

Updated on April 18, 2011

Okay, I will admit it. I HATE CLEANING! I am sure this comes to no surprise. I am also pretty sure that I have this in common with several people out there. The problem is… we can not get away from cleaning. It is a daily chore and something that, unless we win the lottery, will always be a part of our life.

Today, as I was scrubbing floors and becoming highly intoxicated by the cleaning fumes, I had an epiphany! The reason I hate cleaning so much is because I am so picky and thorough. I can’t just pick the garbage up. I must scrub and sanitize. Even if the room looks clean to the human eye, I am pretty sure I can start cleaning it and spend an hour doing so. Yes, it is a sickness.

Think about it. Take the typical living room. It may have a few scattered items on the floor that need to be picked up. (Like those shoes you just kicked off or the newspaper that is a day old.) Does that mean it is a disaster… no. Yet, when I start cleaning, I can’t find myself picking up just the shoes and the newspaper. Yes, I will do that first, and then I will notice the dust on the end tables, which need to be pledged. Then I will have to dust the entertainment stand… including moving everything to get underneath and around. While I am at it, I will pull out the vacuum. If I already have the vacuum out, well, I might as well move the furniture and vacuum underneath. Speaking of furniture, might as well use those handy tools on the vacuum and get the whole place spruced up. Final finish, after all the dust bunnies have been killed and the furniture has been freshened, is a quick spritz of Febreeze. Might as well make the room smell good after all that hard work, right? So, these two items will have cost me at least an hour!

So, as I was drenched in sweat, the thought occurred to me. Why do I work this hard on cleaning? The answer is probably the same as most of you. Because a clean house is a comfy house. It is a lot easier to relax when you are not surrounded by clutter and dust bunnies. The problem is, however, that if you don’t keep up the cleanliness of your living quarters, the work needed to get it back is much harder. Yet, if you keep it up and do a little each time, maintenance won’t take long.

How to Maintain a Clean House

Here are just a few steps to not only maintain a clean houe, but maintain your sanity as well.

Step 1: Remove the Clutter

This is an important step. While I am not saying you should live in a house that has nothing in it, you should be mindful of all the junk you have stored on every surface. Believe me, I am a hoarder and a collector. This is probably the most difficult task for me. For some odd reason, it seems that every surface in my house is a magnet. That magnet is so strong that it collects everything, especially papers and junk and spare things that must have moved out of my junk drawer magically. The key is to not let the junk collect. If you sort through the papers from the mailbox immediately and discard the ones not necessary, you are saving yourself a huge job later on.

The other problem is displaying knick knacks. I am not against collectibles; I have some of my own. Yet, the more collectibles you have out, the more you need to dust around. This can add plenty of time to your cleaning rituals. Pick your poison, would you rather pick a special few and spend less time cleaning; or would you rather keep everything out and spend more time cleaning and less time enjoying.

Step 2: Set a Schedule

Giving yourself a cleaning schedule and a set amount of chores to do each day to keep on top of things. It doesn’t have to be a strict schedule. If you can’t get the chore done on the day it is assigned because of something you have planned, so be it. Just don’t let it become more of a habit to not be doing the chores. The purpose is to mainly do a little each day.

For instance, you may set up a schedule like this:

Monday: Clean bathrooms - this is a notoriously bad chore… so you might as well use Monday to do this. Remember, this is when you scrub the toilets really good, clean the mirrors off, wipe out the sink, and wipe down the inside of the shower. Don’t forget to sweep and mop the floor.

Tuesday: Clean kitchen counters. This is when you are going to move the stuff sitting on top of your counters and get behind it. Believe me, stuff does collect there. Just remember, you are making food in this area. Think about that when you think you don’t want to do this chore.

Wednesday: Clean all the floors. Sweep. Mop. Vacuum. This just has to be done well enough to get the main junk off the floor.

Thursday: Dust. Dust everything in your house. If you have a lot of stuff to dust… you might want to separate this into two different days. This is the time to get under those knick knacks and collectibles. This is also the time when you might want to look through the pile of papers mounting on your end tables. Remember, if you dust today, you will be ready if company comes over for the weekend.

Friday: Take the day off. You deserve it. Go out and have some fun with your friends or rent a movie and have a nice quiet night at home.

Saturday: This is cleaning day. Get your cleaning gloves out and thoroughly clean the entire house. This is the day you should be making your bed. This is the day that you set for all the other little tasks you haven’t done during the week. By the way, since you have done some of the chores earlier in the week, it probably won’t take too long.

Sunday: Laundry day. I hate laundry as much as I hate cleaning. Yet, unless you have an endless budget to buy a new outfit everyday of the week, laundry is inevitable. Just think, laundry is a relatively calm day. You can sit on the couch while you fold it. Best thing is, if you fold it upon coming out of the dryer, very rarely will you need to pull out the iron (and it is nice and warm). Just remember, if you do laundry weekly, it won’t be as big of a task. If you are really good, you might even do an occasional load throughout the week. Just remember to put the laundry away.

Now, if you noticed, I didn’t set the days by the different types of rooms. This is just an idea and you can tailor it to however you would like to do it. The main idea is to do a few things during the week so the task won’t be so overwhelming when you clean the entire house.

Another key to the schedule is to remember that kitchen duties should be done every night. If you keep up on the dishes, it won’t turning into a disgusting job. The other thing to remember, is everybody in the household should get into the habit of spending about a half an hour each night before settling down and picking up the mess made over the day.

Happy Working Song

Step 3: Don't Stress About the Mess

This is a step that I really need to take to heart. While having a clean home is nice, it is almost impossible to have every second of every day. Kids are bound to leave their toys out and people will always kick there shoes off and throw their socks on the living room floor. We lead busy lives and sometimes we are so exhausted, even the smallest task seems to be impossible.

Yet, if you get into the habit of keeping things up and putting stuff away right away, the weekend won’t be a whole day of nothing but chores. The other bonus, unexpected company while no longer have your cheeks turning red or an endless amount of excuses coming from you!

Unfortunately, a messy house is also a sign of a house well lived in. Sometimes you might not get to the chores because you decided to sit down and read to your kids. What is important is that you don’t let the stress of the mess get to you. When you become stressed, chances are high that you will put the chores off again and again. Therefore, the more you stress, the bigger the mess.

So, when it comes to being able to enjoy a nice clean house, remember, it is attainable. We all hate cleaning (at least most of us probably do), but if we keep the chores small and kept up throughout the week, it won’t be so overwhelming when the weekend hits.

The best part about a clean house is it is much easier to sit back and relax. So, after you are done sweating up a storm after you scrubbed your house up and down, jump in the shower and clean off. You deserve a break.


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    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Peggy - Ahhh... this is a ruthless reminder that I have been slacking. The chores always seem to get away from me when we go on vacation. To make matters worse... I came back from vacation with strep/tonsilitus. Ugh... my house looks like a tornado of Hot Wheels has gone through it. I guess I better listen to my own advice right now... except I think I am going to start with Saturday chores! :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Now...if I could just round up those birds, mice and, let's scratch that idea and maybe just get our resident cats and dog to help in the cleaning. Haha! Cute video! I'm afraid I am not as organized as you with a chore for each day of the week, but I do keep a fairly well kept house most of the time. As you mentioned, decluttering is key! I am continually working on that! Voted useful and will share.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      You know, we didn't see that one yet! I just took them to see Rango - last weekend at the 9:10p.m. show - we were the only 4 in the theater! It was awesome - they sat where they wanted, we sat in the back row and I couldn't help it - I threw popcorn at them! We laughed super loud and talked as loud as we wanted!

      I'm going to watch it with them in my bed - you know I love to party in the bed! LMAO!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Darn that husband for working so hard when you have important things to do... like watch a video! ;) LOL If you haven't watched the movie Enchanted yet... it would be a cute family night movie in your comfy bed! :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I'll watch it on the real computer when I can get Dave to stop working:)! It sounds like the girls would like it too!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Thanks for reading this.... I had to go back and reread it because it has been awhile. I still don't like cleaning, but I do realize the importance of it. The messier the space... the more stressed I get. Although, number 3 is definately important to stress. Kids grow up fast and before you know it you will have a clean house and your kids moving out. The sacrifices. I think I would rather enjoy them then now while they still like me :P

      I am dissappointed that the clip won't play for you. It really is motivating. It is from the movie Enchanted. I only wish I was that happy every time I cleaned!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Aww the clip won't play on my iPad! I would like to Stress #3! Haha! Seriously, I keep my house pretty clean but I am not above getting behind on the dreaded laundry or leaving some dishes in the sink. I have friends that would rather die than do that. That's why they aren't as happy as me:)