Maintaining a clean home can be a struggle with work, kids, guests and seemingly endless amounts of dust, but it isn’t impossible. In order to keep a clean home it’s easier to do a little at a time rather than block out half a day to get things done. It also takes some self discipline to do what needs to be done instead of leaving it for later. As we live in an apartment, there isn’t a lot of room or storage areas, so keeping things clean and organized is very important to us.
A Clean Kitchen
Cleaning as you cook is a skill to master in its own, but cleaning dishes, wiping down counters and spot cleaning intermittently while cooking is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. By the time you’re done cooking all but the pans would be clean and drying so after your meal there isn’t too much more to do.
As a general rule, take the two minutes to put away all clean dishes before you go to bed, make sure the counters are clean and set out any items you might need early in the morning (coffee maker, mug, etc). You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Using containers to store messy ingredients like flour and sugar will make sure you don’t have that annoying layer of flour around the bag every time you grab it. Also reducing the amount of items on your counters also helps keep your cleaning time down, as you have less things you have to move around each time you need to wash down the counters.
A Clean Bathroom
I believe cleaning the bathroom once a week is sufficient, but to keep it looking nice I have the “rinse rule”. After brushing teeth and using face products, they often dry down into the sink leaving nasty residue and caking appearance. Hence the rinse rule. Always rinse the sink after using a product in it (excluding hand soap as it doesn’t seem to leave anything).
The rinse rule also applies to the shower, ensuring there is no hair, shampoo or other products on the walls or tub before getting out, this also includes emptying the hair trap before you leave the bathroom.
Another big thing is not keeping your shower curtain scrunched to the side after a shower as it makes it much easier for moisture to stick around and for mildew to grow. Let your shower curtains dry by leaving the curtain as wide spread as you can.
A Clean Bedroom
It can be irritating to fold laundry, but putting it away directly after getting it out of the dryer is the best way to ensure it won’t become a pile on the floor that gets re-washed without even being worn.
Taking a few minutes to dusting a couple days a week can also keep your bedroom cleaner, and reduce allergy reactions during the night. Changing the sheets often will also help with this.
Minimizing the amount of items in your bedroom will also help with your cleaning. Like with your kitchen, the less you have to move around to clean, the faster it will be. a few candles are nice, but having piles of items stacked on your dresser and side tables just makes it harder to clean.
The Living Room
Dust is often the enemy here, with bookcases, gaming systems and decor, there is ample room for dust to settle. Keeping a duster in the living room makes it quick and easy to remove dust, and seeing it will help spur you to do it. Every once and a while a good scrubbing is required, but generally a quick run with a duster will keep everything looking good.
Couches often get abused, stained and ripped, so investing in couch covers will lengthen the life span of your furniture.
Using coasters on wooden tables is also a must to ensure longevity of your furniture, as will using rugs under couches and tables to avoid damage to your floor. Keeping your house looking nice isn’t just about keeping it clean, but keeping it in good repair.
The Paper Basket
Often bills and odd ball paperwork winds up pilling up, I recommend having a paper basket, a place for them to sit until they are sorted that isn’t a step or kitchen counter. Not everyone has a filing cabinet, but you can get portable file organizers from Staples for a couple of dollars to organize your paperwork and keep it safe and well organized. It’s never good to lose your paperwork, especially around tax time.
The Front Door
This one can be difficult, as guests are not always respectful of your home, so I came up with a solution. As I live in Canada, where we often have mud and snow on our boots, I got a massive matt for my front door, allowing ample space to come in, take off shoes and place them on racks with matts underneath without getting my floor wet and muddy, which can cause damage to the wood. Essentially, the front entrance has three matts which can be easily vacuumed and ample shoe storage to avoid anyone needing to place their footwear on my floor. To ensure your guests don’t make a mess, you can also recommend they place their shoes on the rack the first time they visit, to ensure they know they are allowed to use them.
Clutter makes it very difficult to keep an orderly home. I recommend removing seasonal items and storing them in Rubbermaid containers. Winter clothing, boots, scarves and mittens can be removed from the front entrance during the warm months. During the winter, summer jackets, sandals and summer dresses can be switched out. This allows more space for visitors jackets, less clutter in the front entrance and in your bedroom closet.
Essentially, keeping cleaning supplies in an easily accessible area makes it easier to clean. Using those couple of minutes between other things can be used to keep things in good condition. I recommend having a lot of microfibre cloths around to avoid wasting paper towels that leave little bits behind. Most things can be cleaned with vinegar or baking soda if they are caked on. Being able to convince yourself to do it now rather than later will make cleaning easier. Not to mention I can almost guarantee you will never look at a clean counter first thing in the morning and be irritated about how clean it is.