Is there anything better than coming home to a clean house?
I honestly can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see (and smell) my house in the immediate moments after I have cleaned it from top to bottom. It has become an increasingly rare occurrence in recent years, as I have focused my attention on spending my spare time with my children — but as I have focused my own self growth on finding ways to live a more simple life, learning ways to learn more efficiently and more effectively have made those sparkly clean house moments much more frequent.
I’ll confess, when I first got married, I had a cleaning service that came to my house weekly.
Looking back to that time — pre-kids — I kind of chuckle, thinking at how easy I had it compared to my housekeeping chores, which now include cleaning up after two kids, four pets and a spouse! Now that I have learned some good life hacks when it comes to house cleaning, I actually enjoy doing it — and really enjoy how lovely my house is to be in when my chores are complete!
Whether you were born with a mop and bucket in your hand or are a slow learner like me, I have dedicated this month’s “Sweet Simplicity” to adding some sparkle to your house – and some simple ways to do it!
Create a Simple System and Schedule: It doesn’t matter whether you always start in the kitchen, living room or bathroom areas, but you need to have a system and order to your cleaning. Start at one end of the house and complete one room at a time — this will save you from having to backtrack your steps and all that back and forth. I used to do my bathrooms first, then focus on dusting before I vacuumed the entire house.
Once I started with one room — in my case, the bathroom — and worked my way from room to room — I was amazed at how much quicker the process went.
Your system should ideally work from top to bottom, left to right.
This keeps you from having to go back and redo areas that may have gotten soiled after you dusted the areas above them! For example, start with ceiling areas on down — any dust you miss will land on the floor or tables. Anything you miss from dusting your tables will land on the floor, which will be sucked up by your trusty vacuum!
Stock Up: I always start my cleaning with my downstairs — and used to run out of steam by the time I had to focus on the upstairs area, usually because the thought of dragging all my cleaning supplies and that big vacuum of mine was just too much.
These days, I keep a caddy of my favorite cleaning supplies in several rooms in my house — so I am never really that far away from what I need. It helps keep me more efficient, prevents backtracking and makes those everyday spot clean-ups so much easier.
For starters, you should have a counter cloth at each sink of your house (kitchen and bath), a dust cloth in each non-bathroom area and if you have carpeting, a vacuum on each floor.
Go Green: I’m a huge fan of green cleaning supplies and have found that there are lots of great options out there that help me add sparkle to my house without a lot of extra chemicals.
Microfiber cloths from Norwex have been a life changer for me and helped me streamline my cleaning steps). In the past year or so, I have done away with virtually all non-organic cleaning chemicals and disposable cleaning supplies — no more paper towels or antibacterial wipes for our family.
If you are wondering if my house is now coated with a layer of grime and dirt, I can safely assure you that it is quite the opposite! My home is cleaner than ever and that I do not have to spray everything with harmful chemicals and then wipe it clean is a bonus.
Seriously. I just use wet my Norwex cloths, which have a built-in an antibacterial agent, essentially making my cleaning tools self cleaning — and then rinse it and hang it to dry until next time.
Most of these products are anti-bacterial from the tiny silver particles that are threaded in to the fibers. The microfiber collects even the smallest germs when wet and those are then rinsed away when you rinse them out.
The cloth then disinfects itself naturally while it dries, ready for its next use.
My toilets and sinks need a little more help, especially with two young boys frequenting them — but I love that I can still go green and keep their bathroom smelling as if they don’t even use that room!
There are lower cost alternatives to out there — just do a search for antibacterial cleaning supplies — but having seen the magic that my new cleaning arsenal has done on my home, I definitely encourage all my readers to give this type of product and cleaning style a try!
Having a more natural, toxin-free lifestyle is always better — what could be better than a healthier family and a healthier Earth.
Delegate Duties: This works best if you have kids at home but even if you live alone, you can make your cleaning chores easier with a delegation of duties.
I find that my cleaning day, which for me usually occurs on one of my days off, goes much easier if I have done my cleaning homework all week.
How much of your cleaning time is spent moving things off of surfaces so you can properly clean them? If you spend a minute or two daily making sure that the clutter is under control, you will find that the cleaning zips by in no time.
For example, my oldest son is responsible for making sure there are no toys or clothes on the floor in any room while my youngest son gets counters and tabletops.
Any items they find go in basket at the bottom of the steps that gets put away by the owners at a later time.
If you give each family member a declutter job (or just assign yourself one each day), your cleaning will zip by and you will have more time to sit and relax in that sparkly clean house of yours.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)