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House cleaning - break it down into smaller jobs!! | Lists by Lois

House cleaning - break it down into smaller jobs!!

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So some of these items are as required, once a year, and a few should be done more regularly.  You live in your house so you know how quickly things get dusty and out of control.  Always start at the top of a room if you are doing a Spring or Fall type clean.  Even in your daily/weekly- its best to START AT THE TOP and work your way down- so dust, then vacuum.  Clear the table then sweep the floor...  As you travel through your house keep a bin handy for things to put away after your cleaning and a bag for donations and another for garbage.  Pick one bigger project and do it each day and you may not need a big Spring clean! But don't expect any special notice for the things that get done- it's the House Fairy that keeps things looking good and being done each day!!

Remove STUFF from horizontal surfaces every day- How does that STUFF get on here? That's not where this belongs...   


"A place for everything and everything in its place."

Isabella Mary BeetonThe Book of Household Management, 1861

Spots- they show up everyday.  Make everyone a Spot Watcher.  See a spot? Wipe it up!  Floors, walls doors, fridge and dishwasher.  Spots happen - wiping as we go makes for less work later.  Washing hands after meals, after work and school before doing anything else helps too!!

ALL closets and shelves - sort out of season stuff and place in labeled container. Wipe shelves, coat rod, back wall and door (do one closet at a time - breath and keep up your fluids!)

Scrub chairs and table legs

Scrub plastic table cloth

wash cupboard fronts, drawer and tops with degreaser

wash inside cupboards with warm soapy water or degreaser 

Wash dishes and put back ( some only get used once a year!)

Clean oven inside and top, lift top, if possible and clean up any spills

Wipe down outside of fridge front, sides and top

Empty fridge -check dates of everything- toss. Wipe down inside of fridge with hot soapy water, then vinegar.  Place fresh baking soda in back of fridge and re-stock. (Make a list of things you threw away that were out of date, that you use regularly, to find coupons for the items and buy next time they are on saleenlightened

Empty freezer- check dates and for freezer burned food.  Defrost freezer by holding blow dryer against thickest frost and wiping as you go.  Wipe down with hot soapy water, then vinegar. Place baking soda in place where it cannot be knocked over ( trust me- it happens) then place newest things back in freezer first and older things on top.  Note: List these items and then use them first when you do your weekly menu plan

Go through junk drawer and put away anything that has a home.  Anything you don't need, throw away, donate or use for creating an art piece.  Re-use any small containers to sort anything that must be kept

Using an elastic to hold a soft microfiber or similar cloth over your mop or broom, dust the ceiling for cobwebs - Really!

Pull furniture away from walls and dust the walls by using an elastic to hold a soft microfiber or similar cloth over your mop or broom. (Might as well vacuum back there too and have a bin handy for any miscellaneous items you find to put away later) Any dirty areas, or if there is a lot of cooking or smoking in the home- follow the dusting with a warm soapy water wash.  Start washing the wall from the top. (Do this before the baseboards and one room at a time or you will be overwhelmed)

Dust, then wipe with hot soapy water -door frames, window frames, baseboards, stairway ledges

sweep and wash, or vacuum well, any stairs

Any shelves - dust fronts spaces, tops and re-order, re-purpose anything you don't love that's on or in the shelf

Laundry - try to do at least one complete load every day if you have children at home.  Get it put away each day too with the kids helping.  If there are not kids at home, pick a one day a week and stick to it. Of course, if you're traveling for work, or vacation you'll do it more often but to really make sure you are cycling through your clothes, once a week should be fine and not too overwhelming.  As you put your laundry away, watch for things that never make it out of the closet. Why do you still have that?

Sweep the kitchen floor after every meal if there are kids at home- or assign a child to do it.  this will prevent tracking of any bits that have fallen on the floor during food prep, eating or clearing up that might get tracked to the rest of the house. Catch spills right away too and this will make less to clean up later.

Wash floors.  You may want to write this on your calendar so you can do it regularly as your house requires it.  Some families do it everyday- others once a month.  When you stick to the floor, you are leaving it too far a part.  If someone says they could eat off your floor, you are doing it too often- give yourself a break.  Check for the best way for your floor to be cleaned with the manufacturer's site, but warm soapy water- not too sloppy- does the trick for most.  Harsh chemicals can remove coatings and finishes, so its worth checking. 

Kitchen/Bedroom drawers - they should not all be junk drawers. Honest.  Remove everything from the drawer.  Turn it upside down and shake all the crumbs into the garbage (no crumbs?- do you live in your house?) wipe the drawers with hot soapy water. Now, put back into drawer what you really want in this drawer for how you use it, not for the tool storage your son has made it or the drop spot it has become.  Do one drawer at a time if that's all you can handle.

Live Plants - its nice to have something indoors but they must be watered ( REALLY) and fertilized, the soil stirred up, and the leaves wiped (I like to put mine in the shower for a spring rain) and dead leaves removed or swept up regularly, as well as re-potted as they grow, so this adds to your house up keep

wash window and screens - still my least favourite job.  Use hot soapy water to remove grime and dirt.  Clean out window track.  Use vinegar or window cleaning product to do final shine with either paper towel or newsprint( wear gloves unless you like black hands)  but go vertically inside and horizontally outside  so if there are streaks in the final wiping, you know where to start to fix it. Trust me, when the windows are finally clean you will love it and notice the streaks and it will bother you, and this will make it easier to fix.  Spray screens or wash in tub so they don't dump dust and dirt on your freshly cleaned windows.  Dry thoroughly before re-installing.

Dusting - don't make yourself crazy. Over a 24-hour period, you lose almost a million skin cells.  But you can make it simpler if you take one surface at a time, and remember you don't have to use fancy cleaning products.  Mild dish soap and a non-lint cloth will do the trick in most circumstances.  Aim for once a week - and get the kids to join in.  Clear everything off the surface ( hopefully there's not too much there that shouldn't be) and wipe. Dry with lint-free cloth.  Wipe each item as you return it to its place! Done - maybe even during a few commercials!

Vacuuming - some manufacturers warranties on carpet are void if you do not follow their vacuuming schedule and carpet will last longer if vacuumed more often as grit gets in and wears out the fibers.  Twice a week is better but it should be done at least once a week.  Vacuum slowly- allowing the grime and grit to be sucked up into the vacuum. There is no prize for speed when it comes to vacuuming.  Move lighter furniture out of the way each time and heavier furniture as required but at least in your annual big clean!!  Dust finds its way everywhere.

Polish your mirrors- I have a friend who washes her hair in the sink or shower everyday.  When she's done, she cleans the mirror, the counter and the sink. She polishes all the chrome with her damp towel, as well as wiping down the tub or shower. She tosses the towel in the wash with any other laundry left behind in the bathroom. She then gives her toilet a quick clean inside and out, then puts on her makeup, does her hair and she is ready for the day and anyone can use her bathroom any time! She's the best at this that I know.  Polish bedroom and hallway mirrors with warm soapy water before you use it to do baseboards and door jams, or when you dust.

Blinds- you can buy one of those fingered dusters, or wipe with a damp cloth, or look in the yellow pages for someone to come in and clean with with a vibrating system.  they bring a special van to your house- take down your blinds and wash them in the van then return them to your home.  It really depends on what type of blinds you have.

Curtains - some curtains can be washed on gentle or delicate, then dried on low - or hung to dry.  READ THE LABEL ON YOUR SHEERS OR CURTAINS FIRST.  If you dry them in the dryer - hang them back up as soon as the dryer is done so you won't have to IRON.  If you love to iron- great.  If you want to iron- that's a list someone else will have to make!

Paper - Lord give me patience to deal with all the paper that comes into my house everyday! Let's try the "touch it once management theory" for paper.  Is it important? Where does it belong?  Where is the recycling? If its a bill I go online and schedule the payment of it, or put it in the bills to be paid zone.  If its for a group I belong to I have a spot for each group for all those papers.  If its for the kids - I will need a file folder for each child with each event and find a spot to keep those.  Any important dates must be written straight onto the calendar, either on the fridge or in the highly visible spot where I will check it everyday.  Some families have a different colour pen for each person.  Newspaper is used for grocery shopping list or menu planning?  Find a spot for that all to be together, then straight to recycling when that is done.  Anything for taxes or that I might need for taxes goes into an easily accessible file.  Medical , prescription and dental receipts go in a zipped plastic bag in case I need to refer to them again quickly.  We each have our own horrors when it comes to paper and it is a dragon that requires constant watching...  O no!  Look out the dragon is attacking Now!!  See, still not under control at my home.

Wipe down shiny things, table and counters after supper everyday.  That way it will not become a giant chore.  Keep as little as possible on your counters so you have room to work and dust and crumbs don't collect.

more to come!

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