We get a lot of requests for cleaning tips and advice. Usually people are just looking for chore shortcuts or an easier, cheaper way to do things. But our goal, particularly when people are paying us to do their cleaning, isn’t necessarily to find the easiest or cheapest, but to provide the best and most efficient cleaning. That’s why we are big fans of automating our cleaning process. This is something that we do both at home and on the job. In this case automating simply means to put all of your cleaning chores whether at the office or at home on a regular schedule so that it becomes just a background part of your routine. Lifehacker.com did a great job of covering this subject a while back and talk about all at home chores, not just cleaning. We’re going to focus on cleaning and update it a little specifically for our needs.
Do Things In Batches
This is a productivity tip that I use in a lot of areas of my life. We try to blog once a week here at Environmental Cleaning Services, if I wait until the day before to come up with an idea, research, and write the blog, it is going to be a long and tedious chore. Not to mention writing out the social media posts, plus all of our regular reports. When something isn’t necessarily time sensitive, I pick one day a month and sit down and write everything. This gets me in a writing mode, making the writing go faster and usually better. The same is true for your chores. Keeping up with the dishes and messes in the kitchen can be overwhelming. A great idea for saving time AND money is to plan out your meals ahead. Then pick one day and make as many meals for the week as you can, storing the rest in the refrigerator. This makes grocery shopping easier, you’re less likely to splurge on your dining out budget because you came home hungry and are too tired to cook, and you can knock out all of your prep and cooking dishes in one day, leaving only serving dishes for the rest of the week. The same is obviously true for laundry as well. With laundry, planning ahead can help with choosing which day to be your laundry day, whether you know that Saturdays are your lawn and gardening days, or your kids need sports uniforms done by certain day, planning out your laundry days is possible and can easily be added to your routine cleaning calendar.
Making The Most Of Idle Time
This is one that is easier said than done, but once you get into the habit of it, things magically seem to be cleaner all the time. Whenever you have 5-10 minutes, clean off your desk, or wipe down your counters. During a commercial break, tidy up the room. If you’re on hold for a phone call, make sure everything is put away in front of you. We often spend our idle time annoyed that something is wasting our time, but it is only a time waste if we let it be.
Creating A Schedule
As we mentioned earlier, creating a regular schedule and automating your cleaning can help out a lot. Obviously there are unexpected messes, things that can’t be put on a calendar, but most people are fairly good at cleaning those right away. We typically don’t let a glass of spilled juice just sit there on the carpet as long as we let dishes pile up. But the trick to maintaining a good cleaning schedule is to turn it into a habit, which takes time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll do a great job for the first week and go around telling everyone how this cleaning schedule has totally transformed your home and everything is now always spotless. But about half way through the second month I start slipping back into old habits. Making this isn’t a new habit does take time and willpower, but 3-4 months of intentional habit forming cleaning can lead to a lifetime of the kind of home your proud of.
We are going to divide our cleaning schedule up into daily, weekly, twice a month, and monthly to get the most of things.
- Daily – Lifehacker recommends 10-minute cleaning. They have created a Google calendar which we have embedded with their suggested cleaning schedule. Obviously the cleaning you do on specific days is dependent on you and your schedule and personal preferences but feel free to copy things to your own calendar as you see fit. The daily cleanings should probably focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. Possibly by focusing on appliances one day, your bath tub another, etc, these overwhelming tasks can be broken in to tiny bite sized manageable moments that just take ten minutes out of your day. Of course, there will still be regular chores such as dishes, but the rest of the house won’t pile up while you take care of the daily cleaning needs.
- Weekly – As we mentioned earlier, weekly is a great time to plan out and prepare all of your meals. This is a well known tip for saving time and money, and typically even leads to healthier eating. But in my experience it also leads to easier dishes during the rest of the week. My wife normally prefers to use every dish in the house to make a grilled cheese sandwich, so if we do all of our cooking at once, then we can knock out all of our dishes in one day and only really deal with plates and silverware the rest of the week. And again, laundry is a great easy multi tasking chore. True story: I plan my laundry days around baseball games. I get a lot of laundry done while watching baseball.
- Monthly – Once a month pick a room or two for deeper cleaning. Obviously this can depend on the size of your house, whether you live in a castle or a studio apartment, pick a room and give it a good cleaning whether it needs it or not. If your rooms are generally clean try doing a little preventative medicine.
Good habits are hard to form, but they are also hard to break once you’ve established them. Getting into a regular cleaning schedule does take some time and effort, but you will definitely be glad you did it!