This hub is written in response to the request, "What are some cleaning tips for people who Dislike to scrub?"
Cleaning Recommendations and Ideas from a Reformed Slob
I'll come right out and admit it - I like to scrub. I actually get a high. I suppose it's what runners experience when they're running, and I hazard to guess many people reading this will think I'm crazy for loving to do something that isn't a lot of fun to do.
I wasn't always like this. In fact, I used to be a slob. It was never dirty on the verge of germy. But I definitely lived in an unorganized mess most of the time. Beds were rarely made and my clothes often ended up on the floor at the day's end. But I always felt great when I managed to get things tidy and clean.
Now that I have kids and stay home, I guess I fell into a system of organization and a steady routine of cleaning and tidying. I found shortcuts to getting rooms picked up and developed my own system for quick and efficient cleaning. Here are some tips and ideas from my home to yours.
- Vacuum Everything: Yes, I mean everything. Using your vacuum cleaner attachment, clean cobwebs from the corners of your rooms, clean window blinds, vacuum the glass and the window panes. Vacuum the radiators and base boards. Instead of dusting tables and shelves, vacuum them. Don't sweep the kitchen floor - vacuum it. It saves time and you don't have to bend over with a dust pan to pick anything up. And once you get the vacuum out, you'll be more inclined to use it on other areas. Vacuums aren't just for floors anymore!
- Put Everything in the Dishwasher: Whatever fits can usually be cleaned in your dishwasher. Pots, pans, light fixtures, dish trays, stovetop grates - even bath toys. If you don't have a dishwasher, cut down on the amount of dishes you use. Switch to paper plates. Cook a full dinner using one pot.
- Don't Make a Mess: If you don't make a mess, you won't have to scrub a mess. Sounds too simple to be true? Well, it's not all that easy, but if you find yourself putting things away as soon as you're done with them, you won't find yourself tidying them up later.
- Prevent Big Cleaning Jobs by Doing Small Ones: There are the big jobs that most of us don't enjoy - mopping floors, scrubbing the tub, washing windows, dusting - I could go on. While there is no way to completely eliminate doing these things (outside of hiring a housekeeper, more on this later) you can cut down on the frequency in which they need to be done. Let's say for example that you don't vacuum or sweep your kitchen floor for a week. Combine that dust, food and hair with the oils and moisture in your kitchen and you've got a kitchen floor that needs to be mopped at week's end. But if you vacuum or sweep that floor every night, you will find the floor doesn't really need to be mopped for a few weeks even. So a five minute a night habit can save you an hours worth of work every week. Another example is to spray your shower after every use with a daily shower spray cleaner. This will help prevent soap scum buildup and bacteria, which if left unattended can lead to odor. Again, a 3 minute daily habit will end up saving you time every month.
- Hire a Housekeeper: Don't immediately dismiss this idea because you think you can't afford it. Hiring a housekeeper once a month to do the things you really despise doing - mopping floors, cleaning toilets, dusting everything - can really pay off on your mental well-being and can even inspire you to keep things cleaner the rest of the month. But can you really afford to hire someone? Find out from your friends how much they pay their housekeeper or call a local company for an estimate. Once you know how much you'll need to spend, find a way to get the money elsewhere. Let's say you'll need $60 once a month. Are there any costly habits you have that you can cut out? Morning coffee for a month can cost over $60. Cigarettes? Even a pack every other day can run over $100 a month. No bad habits to break? How about using grocery coupons - you can save up to $30 a week without doing too much and that can add up at the end of the month. Do you ever order-in dinner? Cutting out one or two dinners a month buys you a housekeeper.
- Do Less Laundry: How many times have you sent pants to the dry cleaner because you found them under a pile of dirty laundry a week after you wore them just once? Save money and time by hanging (clean) clothes back up in your closet when you're done wearing them.
- Invite People Over: Plan a dinner date, even if it's just another couple. People who despise to scrub will clean for company. And your mind will be so distracted that instead of thinking about how much you despise cleaning while cleaning, you'll be thinking about how much longer the roast will take in the oven and if the wine is chilling in the refrigerator. If you have kids, schedule weekly or monthly playdates. Get people in your house regularly and you will find yourself staying neater and cleaner.
Is It Clean up Yet?
Don't expect miracles. Unless you're financially well-off, you will not wake up in the morning to a clean house unless you did it yourself the day before. Keeping a clean and tidy house is no different from any other goal in your life - keep it realistic and put some work into it. If you're driving home from work and thinking that you'll mop the floor and clean the bathroom and do five loads of laundry before bed - well, you're either crazy or you'll find yourself sitting on the couch at 9pm with a glass of wine vowing to do the work tomorrow night. Do a little bit each day and get into some good habits. Over time you will find that as your attitude and behavior toward cleaning changes, your home will reflect those changes.