Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
My mother is one of the old-school housekeepers. That meant that twice a year, the house would undergo massive cleaning. Every last little thing would be moved, vacuumed, dusted and otherwise cleaned. I still remember the feel on my hands of the bucket of water mixed with Spic-n-span, and the smell of oven cleaner and ammonia.
It was a massive effort.
In today’s world, I do not know of anyone who has the time and energy to do this sort of cleaning even once a year. And luckily, it is not necessary anymore. By being efficient in your housecleaning on a daily and weekly level, you will never have the need to do a massive cleanup again.
Little and Often
Borrowing from one of my favorite productivity books, Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management, all it takes is “Little and Often”. By doing little amounts of cleaning consistently, you will never get to the point where you have to spend hours or days cleaning a house.
When I was first married, I waited until the weekends to do any sort of housework. And often times there were other things I would want to do. I still remember reluctantly scheduling a day with my husband to clean the house…because the floor of the bathtub was gray with dirt, the toilets all had rings, the dust bunnies were bigger than the cats and many experiments were growing in the refrigerator. Ultimately it would take hours of really intensive cleaning and scrubbing, often with nasty chemicals that left our eyes and lungs burning.
What I learned is that by applying little and often, I never have weekend cleaning sessions anymore.
Examples of Applying Little And Often To Cleaning
The bathrooms and kitchen are the most often used rooms in the house, and the ones that have the potential to sink into a slimy, germy mess the quickest. By cleaning up the kitchen counters and sinks and doing dishes daily, the kitchen stays relatively. Weekly we will purge the refrigerator, and I will do the floors.
In the bathrooms, I wipe down the sinks daily…while I am in there. I also clean the sinks, counters, toilets and showers weekly. By keeping up with it, I have not had to use anything stronger than nice-smelling shampoo and a Mr. Clean eraser for years.
To prevent massive cleaning, I work a little bit every day. Following the Flylady tradition, I have a rotation of rooms that I deal with, and a list of everything that needs to be done to “deep clean”. Yesterday I washed the valances and blinds in my bedroom, and thoroughly dusted everything. Today I will polish the brass, vacuum the furniture and purge my closet. Next week I will move on to the great room, and I will spend no more than 15 minutes a day working from the list. By following the list, everything gets hit at least three times a year.
Save Yourself Work By Working More Often
In the end, I am much more satisfied with my level of cleanliness. My house never disgusts me, and I am always able to open my doors to whoever stops by.
Is my house perfectly clean all the time? No. But I never have to give up my precious weekends to chip away at a backlog of cleaning made harder by neglect.
Photo by Mr. T in DC