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A Quick And Easy Housecleaning Plan

As Published In Getting Organized Magazine —
A Quick And Easy Housecleaning Plan

Of course housecleaning is no one’s idea of a fun time. (Frankly, very little about home maintenance seems fun to me — especially gardening. I do not understand gardening. Sitting in the hot sun, digging holes, pulling weeds, sweaty, dirty, killing your back and knees — where’s the attraction in that?? Sorry — I digress!) But you don’t have to give up your entire weekend to scrubbing and dusting and vacuuming, as long as you have a plan in place. These tips will help you find the time to tackle a little bit of cleaning each day, as well as embrace a routine that reduces the amount of mess you create in the first place.

Everyday Straightening Up

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  • putting things away as soon as you’re done with them saves beaucoup time — while laying stuff down in one location (with the intention of putting it elsewhere later on) creates double work
  • when leaving a room, scan for anything that doesn’t belong there — pick up misplaced items and take them with you to put away
  • rinse dirty plates and deposit them directly into the dishwasher (rather than plopping them in the sink to crust up) — then when you run the damn thing, empty it as soon as the wash cycle is done
  • lather-as-you-go is the rule while cooking — clean the spatula, platter, and bowl you just used, instead of piling them up for later
  • straighten the curtain after you finish your bath to avoid mold — and use a squeegee on your shower/tub walls to cut down on soap scum
  • anything you do to nip spills in the bud can only help — that means wiping down the sink/counter/tub after you use them, mopping up spills as soon as they occur, taking off your shoes before you enter the house, and making use of mats to prevent messes before they happen

Regular Weekly Cleaning

  • carry your supplies (sprays/scrubs/rags/squeegees) in a bucket from room to room — if you use different products in different parts of the house, create a standard “kit” for each (bathroom cleaners in one, kitchen cleaners in another, miscellaneous-living-area cleaners in a third)
  • dust first (before you sweep or vacuum or mop) to avoid creating extra work after you’ve already tackled the floors — oh, and use a microfiber rag instead of a feather duster if you have allergies
  • sweep any areas without carpeting — then vacuum (starting with the upper levels of your house and working your way downstairs) — then take aim at any floors that require mopping
  • make a quick run through each bathroom — sanitizing the toilet (automatic bowl cleaner in your tank will reduce the need for scrubbing), dousing the shower with a spray-and-rinse solution, swabbing the sink, and removing any toothpaste-or-possibly-hairspray splatters from the mirrors
  • do the same in the kitchen — de-crud-ifying the sink, sponging away whatever remnants of the week’s meals still reside on the stove, and disinfecting any horizontal work surfaces

Spring (Or Fall Or Whenever) Deep Cleaning

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  • time to wash the bird poop (outside) and fingerprints (inside) off your windows — then take a minute to scrub your screens free of dust and dirt and other schmutz
  • while you’re at it, give the walls, door frames, window sills, and baseboards a good once-over — removing scuffs, handprints, and random miscellaneous blemishes
  • rinse off every shelf, rack, and crisper bin inside the refrigerator — then de-frost/de-yuck your freezer
  • thoroughly wipe down your kitchen, bathroom, and any other cabinets — removing their contents, then washing away every single sticky/dirty spot, both inside and out
  • this is also a good excuse for flipping your mattresses and cleaning textiles, including drape-y items (like window coverings and shower curtains), as well as big loose swatches of fabric (like bedspreads and duvets) — you might even think about whether or not any upholstered soft furnishings (like couches and chairs) could stand a scrub and a new coating of stain protectant
  • actually move big pieces of furniture while vacuuming so you can suck up the ridiculous fluffle of dust bunnies that’s taken up residence in your home
  • get under/behind large appliances (so you can more effectively evict months’ worth of accumulated grime) — then scour any baked-on food stuck to the oven, burners, and stove-top
  • if you have carpets, shampoo ’em — if we’re talking wood or tile floors, mop then douse them with a healthy coating of stain-resistant wax/sealant
  • go through your fridge and toss anything that’s growing hair or collecting Social Security — finally, declutter each drawer, closet, cabinet, and other storage area as you go

The Quick Clean (When You Only Have A Few Minutes)

  • great when “unexpected company” meets “zero time/energy for a deep clean”
  • gather up any trash — take a basket through the house picking up clutter (you don’t have to put it all away right now, as long as you get everything back where it belongs within the next week)
  • pour cleaner in each toilet and do a quick run with the brush — then sponge up any obvious smears/smudges/spills on furniture, sinks, counter-tops, and mirrors
  • vacuum only the high-traffic areas — wipe non-carpeted floors with a damp towel or a dust mop
  • straighten couch pillows/slipcovers — same goes for stacks of magazines and knicknacks on shelves
  • burn a scented candle or stick of incense (or at least spray some freshener) for an air of cleanliness — finally, close the doors to rooms your guests won’t see (what they don’t know won’t hurt them!)

Tips For Removing Stains

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  • chocolate/coffee — blot with a 50/50 vinegar/water mix
  • blood — sprinkle with meat tenderizer and cool water
  • red wine/ink — swab with club soda, sprinkle with salt
  • grass — dab with slightly diluted hydrogen peroxide
  • oily substances — absorb with corn starch
  • gum/wax — freeze with an ice cube, break from fabric

Essential Cleaning Supplies

  • rubber gloves, dust mask, knee pads, apron
  • vacuum cleaner and sponge mop
  • feather duster and dust cloths
  • sponges and paper towels
  • toilet brush
  • plastic bucket
  • floor wax and furniture polish
  • glass cleaner, all-purpose, disinfectant and bleach

(this article has been edited/expanded for the web — click here to download the original PDF as published by Getting Organized Magazine)

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Copyright 2015 RamonaCreel.com

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    Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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