Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cleaning Part 1: Tackling the Chore

Cleaning doesn’t have to be an everyday battle, nor does it need to be a weekend cleaning spree with no time to relax. Cleaning is an unavoidable part of life and managing a family home. Here are a few ways to simplify the job.

Tip #1: Make it a group effort. Nobody likes to clean alone, and many hands make light work. Get the kids involved, even the toddlers. Give them a rag and a spray bottle of water, and they will scrub everything in sight! Vinegar is perfectly safe for small children and cleans glass streak-free.

Tip #2: Make a list. I can’t do anything without making a list (just ask my husband!). Write down everything that needs to be done. This can help you prioritize everything that needs to be done, and gives you a finite goal, rather than “clean house”, you have a list to follow: “take out trash”, “Vacuum bedroom”, etc.

Tip #3: Turn on the tunes! Cleaning is a boring chore for everyone but Monica Gellar, so turn on some music to sing along to and make the chore easier. Dancing while cleaning is also a great way to burn extra calories!

Tip #4: Delegate! Assign everyone in the family, including the kids, tasks from the list you made. You can divide them up according to time or difficulty, and split the work up equally.

Tip #5: Work over a week. Cleaning doesn’t have to be done all at once. Split it up by room. Monday do the master bedroom, Tuesday do the living room, Wednesday the kitchen, etc. This allows you to focus on one room at a time and do a thorough job, instead of doing just a little bit in every room and seemingly making no progress.

Tip #6: Just as the professionals do, work from the top to the bottom. There’s no point in sweeping the floor first, only to drop more crumbs while cleaning off the table. Start at the top, dusting ceiling fans and windows, and work your way to the floor. Then after you mop or vacuum, you are done. No more walking back over the clean floor!

Tip #7: Make it a game. My kids won’t do anything unless it’s fun. You can play basketball, trying to wrangle all the socks in the baskets. Or give each kid a broom and see who can sweep up the most crumbs. My boys especially love to see who can get the most dust/dirt on their rags while cleaning.

Tip #8: Set realistic goals. Your house won’t go from disaster to fabulous in a matter of hours. Go through it once to get all the clutter picked up, laundry put away, and trash taken out. Then go back through another day and give it a deep clean- scrubbing baseboards, washing curtains, and scrubbing counters.

Tip #9
: Reward yourself! After a long day of cleaning, go out to a movie or treat the family for dinner. Enjoy some relaxation, and come home to a clean house.

Tip #10
: Know your limits, and hire help. While I don’t recommend spending money you don’t have on a maid service every week, hiring help is sometimes needed. Whether it be a first time deep cleaning for you to maintain, or a professional handyman to move furniture, paint, or take care of necessary repairs, you can’t always do it yourself. When time or physical ability severely limits you, don’t be ashamed to get help where needed.