I am sure if you took a poll of your friends, you would find that most of them are not too keen on cleaning the house. Unfortunately, though, it is something we all need to do. We all seem to have less time to do anything these days and most of us would rather spend our time at home with our family or with our feet up. Here are 17 bright ideas on how you can make cleaning your home take up less of your valuable time:
Have a plan. Think about all the tasks you need to do around the home and group them into daily, weekly, monthly, 3monthly and yearly. If you know what you need to do every day, you are more likely to get it done.
Prioritise. Choose to do the most important jobs first, just in case you run out of time. Cleaning to toilet or vacuuming will most likely be more important than polishing the silverware or re-arranging the pantry.
Don’t try to clean the house all in one day. Allocate cleaning to 15-20min blocks. If you work outside of home and/or have young kids, don’t expect to get 5hrs of cleaning done in one day!
Be realistic with your time and what you can accomplish. Most homes will never look like the houses in Vogue Living magazine. You need to accept that some things are never going to be perfect.
Plan to clean at times when you have the most energy. If you are a morning person then aim to clean in the morning.
Put on some fun, fast pace music while you clean. This will make the tasks more fun as you sing along and hopefully give you a little extra spring in your step to get things done faster.
Delegate. Don’t allow yourself to be the only one doing all the housework (unless you live alone). Give your partner a few jobs like cleaning the toilet or unpacking the dishwasher. Kids can help too. Putting away toys after playing with them and making their beds shouldn’t be too hard for most kids. I’ve found that once kids get to about 4yrs old, the like the idea of being a helper. Also, try not to expect perfection from your helpers. Give them time, and a bit of guidance, to get better at their jobs over time.
Keep all your cleaning products and equipment in one location (away from kids and animals). Having everything together such as cleaning products, wipes, brushes, clothes and sponges, will help you to be more organised and have access to what you need straight away. Spending time looking for a duster will eat into your cleaning time. When you have everything in the same place, you can also see what needs to be replaced. There is nothing worse than running out of toilet cleaner just before your in-laws drop in.
If you can afford it, invest in good quality cleaning equipment. Better quality mops, vacuum cleaners and micro-fibre clothes etc. will help you to get the job done better and faster. Do your research before buying anything new to see what can help you get the job done smarter. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive things, just good quality.
You don’t need to use the most powerful chemicals to get the job done well. There are a lot of different products out there. Find products that work for you. You might want to use a selection of store purchased products, eco products and home-made products. The key is to know what makes your job easier.
Don’t allow your home to become full of clutter. Having a lot of ‘stuff’ in your house will make cleaning your house a lot more time consuming. Dusting takes a lot longer when you have to move 37 snow globes from your travels off your side table and then put them back again. It is a good idea to have a clean out every 3 months and the key is to not get too attached to things such as snow globes or shells from your past holidays. There is no need to lose all the personality from your home, just don’t overdo it.
Have a place for everything. A lot of mess around the house is because we don’t know where to put things. Paperwork, clothes, toys – when they don’t have a place to go, they sit on a table or in a corner and make things look messier than they need to be. It is a good idea to find a place for something as soon as you buy it. It is also a good idea to have a place for your paperwork like bills and mail. Put it away as soon as you get it!
Try not to let your washing pile up. Aim to either iron it or put it away unironed as soon as you bring it in off the line. There is nothing more deflating than looking at a big mound of clean clothes piled high in the corner of your lounge room. Putting away a little at a time is much quicker than ironing and folding 3 weeks’ worth of laundry in one go. If you can’t find time to iron clothes before you put them away, iron on demand.
When cleaning the house, start cleaning things up high and leave the floors until last. If you wash and vacuum the floors first, they will only get dirty again as you wiz around dusting, washing dishes and making beds.
If you have young kids, don’t stress when there are toys everywhere. Learn to recognise the difference between dirty and messy. Develop a good system for toy storage so that you can quickly scoop up toys and put them away when needed. Places like Ikea and Howard’s Storage are good places to get some inspiration for toy storage.
If you have older kids who don’t like to keep their room clean, simply focus on preventing it from becoming a toxic hazard zone. Nominate one day a week where the kids must lift everything off the floor and remove any food so you can clean the floors and air the room. If they don’t remove things, put them into a big bag and leave it outside near the bin. If you stick to a routine they should hopefully get used to it. Try not to stress about their room the rest of the week.
If your home smells nice, it makes it feel fresher and cleaner. If possible, air your house regularly, use candles and natural oils or bake a cake. Even brewing coffee can give the house a great smell, especially in winter. If you close your eyes and the house smells nice, you might forget about the mess?