This guest post is written by Alice Robertson, professional home organizer.
This winter’s been like a petulant teenager who yells, slams a door, storms off, and returns to make another loud point before stomping off again. Some people react the same way when faced with spring cleaning chores. If you’d rather spend more time relaxing—in an atmosphere that helps you channel that Zen—follow these helpful hacks.
Declutter. This process could initially take more time at the beginning, depending on how much stuff you’ve accumulated, but as you gradually donate or toss items, and reclaim space on top of counters and surfaces, you’ll also cut down on dusting and cleaning time. Not sure where to start? Check out this six-week decluttering challenge.
Live with little people? Even young children should contribute to tidying the home. Here’s a great resource for how best to assign age-appropriate chores.
Create a workable routine. Set a timer for 15 minutes each night and assign cleaning or decluttering tasks to each family member. Kids can neaten up their rooms, unload dishwashers, wipe down sinks and counters, sort dirty or put away their own clean laundry.
Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. Rinse and scrape throughout the day, load the dishwasher and run it once it’s full.
Clean as you cook. Wipe up countertop and stovetop spills when they happen—it’s much easier to clean a newer spill than one that’s had time to dry.
Stock basic cleaning supplies in your kitchen and bathrooms. Wipe the toilets and sinks down daily. Make a kit of microfiber cloths, a sponge, and a scrub or toilet brush. Fill a spritz bottle of your favorite cleaning spray—or use water and white vinegar.
Pick up as you go. Cultivate a habit of picking up after yourself and implement a one-touch rule. If you’re making tea, don’t drop the spoon in the sink—put it in the dishwasher now. Use those two seconds now instead of waiting to do it later.
Make the bed each day. Psst! Want to make it even easier? Skip the top sheet and use a duvet with a washable cover instead.
Identify and target high-traffic areas. Give those areas a quick sweep or vacuum every day to prevent dirt and dust from spreading throughout your house.
Go shoeless. Encourage your family and visitors to go barefoot or sock-foot inside to keep dirt confined to the shoe area. Store shoes on a throw rug to trap dirt.
Don’t leave rooms empty-handed. Only take what you have time to put away immediately, otherwise you’ll just relocate piles—remember that one-touch rule? It applies here, too.
Do laundry as the hampers fill up or one load a day. Invest in a hamper set that encourages sorting, or give everyone their own hamper. If you work from home, toss in a load when you’re taking a break from the computer.
Evaluate your closet often. Toss clothes that just don’t work any more into a bag. When it’s full, sort it out and toss, donate, or sell.
Evaluate your storage. Here’s a great article on 30 easy storage solutions anyone can do.
Dreading dealing with cabinets? They’re vital for storage and organization but attract dust like crazy. Keep them cleaner with shelf liner. Apply wood furniture wax to their outside every six months or so to provide a protective barrier and keep grease, grime, and oil from sticking. Clean your cabinets with a 50:50 mix of warm water/white vinegar solution, adding a few drops of detergent to banish extra grime. Find more tips to tackle cabinets made from various materials.
Not a fan of cleaning baseboards? Wipe with Magic Erasers dipped in warm, soapy vinegar water. Put a disposable toilet wand into an old sock sprayed with cleaning fluid. Swipe. Some savvy housekeepers suggest rubbing fabric softener sheets along clean baseboards to repel dust and dirt longer.
Most people clean behind their appliances once or twice a year… or when the appliances die and need replacing. These guidelines lead you step by step for cleaning kitchen appliances. Hint: Start with the largest and end with the smallest.