Whether you live in a small downtown apartment, a little cottage in the Marigny or a sprawling and expansive St. Charles Avenue manse, keeping it clean can seem like a full-time job. Add to that the fact that some of us were not only not given lessons on the finer points of how to, for example, do laundry, but also, many of us were never taught when to clean certain items. Perhaps the inside of the oven gets scrubbed when the house fills with smoke while you are cooking a frozen pizza. Baseboards might get a little attention when company is coming over, after coffee is somehow spilled down the wall or when there is visible dust. Or maybe you find yourself asking, “What is a baseboard?” No judgment. We all have our areas of knowledge and blind spots. A simple cleaning schedule can break chores into manageable bites and demystifies the timeline.
- Make bed
- Tidy surfaces and rooms as you go
- Empty trash bins
- Wipe down sinks and faucets
- Do dishes
- Toss in a load of laundry
- Wipe down cooking range
- Sweep the floor in one or two rooms
- Launder bed linens
- Dust furniture and shelves
- Wipe down appliances
- Clean bathroom sink, tub, shower and toilet
- Clean and sanitize switch plates, light pulls, doorknobs and the area around doorknobs
- Clean mirrors
- Vacuum upholstered furniture, lamp shades and carpet and mop floors
- Wipe down cabinetry
- Clean baseboards and vents
- Wash doors and clean windows
- Sanitize garbage cans
- Scrub inside appliances
- Clean backsplashes and grout
- Clean and organized the pantry
- Clean blinds and drapes
- Wash or dry clean comforters
- Shampoo carpets and upholstery
- Sort, shred and toss papers
- Clear, clean and organize closets
- Wear cleaning gloves to protect hands and nails.
- For weekly chores, start in one room and work your way around the house.
- Clean top to bottom, left to right. As you work from higher surfaces down, dust and debris that falls to the floor can be swept, vacuumed or mopped, rather than simply spreading and moving it around the room.
- Work smarter, not harder by letting cleaning products sit on surfaces for a couple of minutes before cleaning them off.
- Cut down on trips between rooms by putting cleaning supplies in a caddy or bucket for easy transport from room-to-room and for undercabinet, supply closet or cabinet.
- Carry a catchall basket from room-to-room. As you come across errant items, place them in the basket. Upon entering each space, place the items where they live in that room.
- Keep extra trash bags in the bottom of trash bins.
After the first couple of weeks, you’ll get into a routine and it won’t take as long to do the weekly and monthly chores. Make it less daunting by listening to music (Louis Armstrong is one of my personal favorites while cleaning each Saturday) and lighting a scented candle or, if you like it, incense. Reward yourself afterward by settling into your favorite cozy spot with wine or your favorite cocktail and enjoying the tidy, freshly cleaned and pleasantly scented fruits of your labor.
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(Note: An earlier version of this post published on April 22, 2020.)