Ducks 'n a Row: 15 Fantastic Cleaning Tips

05 March 2011

15 Fantastic Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Up  photo by Lusi on sxc.h
Guest Post by Pamela Garner
1. Make a schedule and stick to it!
If you choose a regular time to clean every week, especially if you want your whole family to participate, it will provide consistency that will ensure the job gets done. It will also encourage good habits in everyone.

2. Make a list of cleaning priorities before you clean.
Checking things off lists can make you feel more accomplished and it's a great way to stay organized.

3. Work in sections.
If you bounce from one room to another you may feel disoriented and overwhelmed. Start in one corner of the room and focus on the task you are doing then work your way across. No backtracking! Walk around the room once and you're done then go back once for the floor.

4. Start with your least favorite room or area.
Might seem counter intuitive, but getting that bathroom or junky hallway out of the way at the beginning will make the rest of your cleaning seem like a breeze.

5. Pick up clutter first.
Picking up will automatically make everything look cleaner. Do this before you actually clean surfaces so you have less to clean around.

6. Always start at the top of the room and work your way down.
This way dust all ends up on the ground before you vacuum. If you work in the opposite way dust from the top will fall onto areas you have already cleaned below.

7. Always clean with dry things before wet.
So wipe off and dust surfaces before using any kind of wet cleaner. Getting rid of a lot of stuff with the dry cloths prevents streaking and spreading of dirt.

8. Take your cleaning tools with you from room to room.
The best way to do this can be an apron with pockets or a bucket. I suggest finding the right supplies (this is important) and then organizing them in some kind of bucket or tote. Just store them in the bucket all the time and all you have to do is pull it out and all your tools are there at your disposal. Plus they're easy to carry!

9. Deal with stains early!
If you leave stains on carpet or furniture for long period of time they can become permanent.

10. When removing stains from clothing work from the back to the front of the fabric.
This keeps the stain from spreading deeper into the fabric as you're working on the front.

11. Turn off your phones while you clean.
Try to eliminate any other distractions like televisions or computers too.

12. Make the house smell fresh!
Febreze and other odor killers for air and fabrics do this, but my personal favorite is leaving baking soda on the carpet for a few hours before vacuuming (some people suggest overnight).

13. Take pictures of your home (or specific "problem rooms") when it is completely decluttered and cleaned.
It may seem a little silly, but I used to take pictures of a room I had cleaned and post them on the inside of the door. This was the way I wanted the room to look, and with pictures, whoever in the family used the room could see it was possible.

14. Control Clutter daily.
Try to make a daily effort to keep down the clutter in your home so you have less to clean next time. The more you deal with things as they happen the better.

15. Maximize your cleaning time.
Sometimes cleaning can be dull and there are so many better things we could all be doing with our time. A way to fight this problem is to find an easy and fun background task. No, I don't mean turn on your computer or phone to work while cleaning. Don't even think about work or anything distracting. Paying attention and focusing on the task are important for speed. You should also not do anything while speed cleaning that requires one hand - use both hands to clean.
But you can find an activity you enjoy (that requires no hand or heavy brain power) and may not get to do otherwise. This will make your cleaning time feel a little bit more like a treat. Just make sure you can still focus on the task at hand: cleaning with speed.

A couple of examples:
  • If you don't have much time to read and miss reading great books, buy some books on tape and listen to them as you clean.
  • Good music, especially upbeat or something you haven't gotten to listen to in awhile, can really do the trick. Plus, if no one's around you can fit in some quality dancing time with the mop.
  • Cleaning is also great exercise.
  • Need basketball practice? Shoot hoops with the laundry and other things while putting them away.
  • When I am picking up or cleaning with kids I often challenge them to a competition: either that I can pick up more things than them or that I can finish picking up half of the room faster then them. This is just good old fashioned fun competition and always gets everyone a little bit more excited about the chore. It's even fun with other adults.
I hope these tips help you get motivated and feel more in control of your housekeeping!
Pamela Garner hates to clean. Her answer? Develop a "Speed Cleaning Secrets" system to make it as painless as possible. You can see more cleaning tips at her site While you are there, check out her free email minicourse.
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Sinea Pies hates to clean, too, but I love a clean house.  What a paradox!  
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