January 4, 2011

Keeping it clean...

I am always on the look out for ways to keep my life neat and organized. I go through deep cleaning and organizational spats every quarter or so, but never the less, by the end of the next quarter, I have important papers scattered throughout every room in the house, craft supplies just thrown into a box, and random things stashed in cupboards because a friend decided to stop by in 5 minutes. A clean house is filled with messy cupboards, I say, upon asking friends and family, they said that they often neglect any cleaning or organizing that is not immediately visible. So I have decided to put myself on a daily regimen that I found at Apartment Therapy, one of my favorite sites. It involves 20mins of a specific cleaning task a day, and gives you tips to spend less time cleaning (or a crazed cleaning spree) overall.

Laura via Apartment Therapy (side note: We have the same couch, Laura, you have great taste!)

1. Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)

I started glaring at the two rooms, trying to get in the "tackling mode" where you really feel like you can do it and it's going to be easy! I put some music on (tip #4) and set a timer for 20 mins to see what I really could do.

Before I tell you the results, I wanted to slip in a little disclaimer. The holidays are crazy for us all, for me it consisted of family staying at my house, tons of cooking (pre and post Christmas), dinner parties, and lots of gifts which means lots of trash, recycling, and rearranging. I kept the house clean through the holiday circus, but come the 31st, after all the Christmas was packed away, company back to their homes, and tons of leftovers in the fridge, I was done. I've been doing the bare minimum to keep the place functional, and not gross, and thats it.

So, back to me glaring at the kitchen and living room....
I pushed start on the timer. I went quickly from pile to pile, not running, but not wasting anytime either. Magazines strewn across the coffee table got stacked and put away, empty coke cans were recycled along with the junk mail that had been piling up, waiting to be tossed. Whenever I clean I use my large dining room table to create "home piles" to place items that belong in other rooms of the house, that way I can make one trip per room when I'm done cleaning. I have 4 flights of stairs, so the "home piles" work well.
The bar counter was sprinkled with random things that went into their "home piles", keys where hung on their proper hooks, purses left on the barstools were hung on a coatrack. The gingerbread house was finally tossed. I had been wanting to do this for a few days now but, this was a rather large gingerbread house, and I have been feeling rather lazy.

Before I knew it, the 20mins were up, but I wasn't quite finished. I started a stop watch, and continued to complete the assigned tasks. I needed to wipe down the surfaces (coffee table, large dining table, bar counter, kitchen counters, and nook counter), I needed to sweep (I chose to Swiffer because I have one of those long shag area rugs in my living room, and while I love it, it sheds on the hardwood floors contributing to dust bunnies. I normally have to do my floors at least every other day.) luckily the whole floor is hardwood, so not getting out the vacuum today. Lastly, I had to dust (entertainment center, mantel, pictures, and moldings), as soon as I was done I stopped the timer 16:05 mins, that means for my first day task it took 36:05 mins to complete it. However I believe next month when this task comes up again, I will be under time, if I follow the "tip & tricks" provided in the article. I would also like to add that this daily task list is designed to make sure the assigned task gets done, it doesn't mean that you should only clean your kitchen counters once a month. A little cleaning a day can work into any schedule, you can adjust the time that you have to clean, and the new task everyday tells you where to start so you don't spend your 20 mins pondering what you're going to do first.

2. Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)

Please view the Apartment Therapy full article to learn how to maintain a clean house using the logical, helpful tips and tricks. Try to weave them into your own home cleaning needs and schedule. Thank you the Sarah Rae Trover for creating the list!

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