By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
Few things in life are as big a turnoff and eyesore as an untidy, dirty domicile. After all, the home is meant to be a sanctuary – a refuge where we can return after a busy workday or trip and spend time with family and friends and pamper ourselves. But when dust bunnies, clutter, and germs accumulate, residing in that abode is much less enjoyable.
That’s why the experts advise getting on a regular cleaning schedule and taking the time to learn how to tidy, disinfect, and neaten up your home correctly.
“The cleanliness of your home impacts your mental and physical well-being. It can also help you preserve the value of your home,” says Nicole Levine, president/CEO of Home Clean Home Inc. in Brooklyn, New York. “Keeping up with a regular cleaning routine will minimize the effort it normally takes to tidy up, which reduces your stress levels, too.”
“Keeping a tidy home can save you time and money. Quick cleanups that, for instance, create homes for your belongings make a big difference. By better organizing your environment, you can also see what you need at a glance when things are properly sorted and put away. You can avoid purchasing duplicates and overstuffing your storage space, as well. And from a health standpoint, wiping down counters and sweeping up any mess on the floor on a regular basis eliminates the spread of bacteria and discourages bugs.”
Levine suggests keeping a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly schedule for different cleaning and organizing activities.
“For example, you should be doing dishes, sweeping, and wiping your counters daily. I recommend decluttering once a week and cleaning your home from top to bottom once a month. And at least once or twice a year, you should attempt a deep house cleaning to take care of any buildup in areas you don’t normally pay attention to,” she says. “Doing it this way makes keeping your home spotless simple because it lessens how much you have to do when you clean.”
Keep in mind that a daily cleaning session goes a long way.
“Try to set aside five minutes before you leave your house in the morning and five minutes before bed to put away anything that needs to be relocated back to its proper space. And make sure kitchen countertops and surfaces where you prep food and eat are thoroughly wiped down,” suggests Sarah Dunn, owner of Get It Dunn in San Diego.
Danelle Schrader, chief operating officer for CottageCare Housecleaning in Littleton, Colorado, recommends a cleaning regimen that begins by decluttering rooms and areas.
“This could be as simple as tossing out old mail, emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning up toys, shoes, laundry, or other items that are out and need to be put away. Of course, you can hire a quality cleaning service to get the house clean, but they are not going to solve your clutter problem,” says Schrader.
Start from the top of each room and work your way down to the floors.
“We use the ‘cleaning-one-room-at-a-time’ method because it ensures that you don’t miss anything and is less overwhelming,” adds Schrader.
Pay attention to removing any spiderwebs and dusting all surfaces, working your way from top to bottom. Use cleaning wipes or a water/bleach solution to disinfect all commonly-used surfaces.
In bathrooms, take a scrub brush and cleaning solution to the toilet, shower, and sink area. Remember that elbow grease matters here. Use cleaning/deodorizing pellets or a liquid product in your toilet bowl, too.
“The living room or family room is another key area to devote cleaning attention to. The key to maintaining this space is proper storage,” Bell notes. “If children play in this area, add a basket where they can easily place their toys at the end of playtime or where you can toss them in case of an unexpected guest.”
We all lead busy lives, so don’t put undue pressure on yourself to keep things spotless 100% of the time.
“There may be days where, for instance, the laundry is a little bigger than you like – and that’s okay,” Levine adds. “The important thing is that you try to do as much as possible to keep things clean and organized and to make a schedule that works for you and stick to it.”