Creating a Plan for CLEAN!

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We’ve all seen the popular television programs showcasing homes that would make most people’s hearts ache with envy. These pristine homes are like museums; if the phone book were put away, the house would instantly be clean. We all want our own houses to mirror those abodes or even replicate the delightfully cheesy homes shown in 1950s commercials, with the lady of the house smiling contently as she casually adjusts her crisp white apron and calmly sweeps dirt into her perfect little dustpan.

But we live in the real world, one that consists of days when our feet hit the floor running every morning and don’t stop their movement until we fall into bed at night. We’re more likely to live out of the laundry basket and the dish drainer than to have organized perfection. As women, we are pulled in many different directions every day. Life moves quickly; schedules are packed and sometimes our cleaning routines suffer. Although we can’t tap into movie magic and make the mess within our homes disappear in ten seconds or less, we can create a plan that will help make our cluttered homes a clean and organized sanctuary.
Make it a Daily Project

Finding time to deep clean our homes daily is a tall order and not a realistic one either. Instead, break down all that needs to be done into manageable “mini-cleans” every day. Pick one area a day; spend fifteen minutes cleaning and enjoy the rewards of basic damage control. Choose a zone within your home, a room or a specific area, and focus on tidying that area only for a set amount of time daily. For example, wipe off the mini blinds, windowsills and tops of door and window casings. Doing a little every day will make major cleaning days less dramatic and give us the peace of mind that we are doing something daily toward the great goal of a completely clean home.

A Path and a Home
As you clean and de-clutter, identify items that need a “path” and ones that need a “home.” Items that need a home could be seasonal clothing that needs to be stored, outdoor items that need to go back outside and anything that belongs in a child’s room. An item that needs a path could be the broken toy that needs to go to Dad’s workshop to be fixed, the shirt that needs to be sent to the ironing board or the dry cleaners, or the junk that needs a path to the garage sale, recycler or dumpster. If you process your clutter with this mindset, the end result will be more satisfying than moving homeless piles of stuff from room to room.

Create a Cleaning Schedule
Planned schedules and chore charts are not just for kids! Having a visual game plan for cleaning and attacking that clutter can do wonders for keeping your cleaning duties on task and preventing the snowball effect that happens when undone chores pile up. For example, Monday could be the day you tackle the kitchen, Tuesday could be “bathroom day,” and so on. Having a set cleaning routine in some sort of written form makes it easier to stick with the plan just as a road map guides travelers to a desired location. Having a well-thought-out schedule not only keeps cleaners on track; it keeps them focused on the task at hand. Better-focused cleaning time means paying more attention to what is being done and creates the likelihood that a better cleaning job will occur.

Get the Gear
Having the proper cleaning supplies and tools will do wonders for the drive and commitment of a new cleaning routine. Spending a little extra money on a good cleaning product actually saves money in the long run since cheap products rarely produce as good results. Additionally, having the right tools for the job is important for continued success. Cleaning tools don’t have to be expensive or fancy, either. An old toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning tough corners or grout; a cloth diaper makes a great dust rag and a basic mop is a helpful tool.

Having a clean and functional home may take a bit of work, but it also just feels good. Havinga tidy, organized and efficient home also frees up time for you to focus on the things that matter most in life–family, friends and interests or hobbies.
Be realistic about your new cleaning routine and don’t expect miracles the first week. As with anything, your new cleaning plan needs commitment and even a little help from the whole family. As you move forward in planning your home cleaning project, keep in mind all that you have to gain and how ultimately having this new structure in place could change your overall attitude toward keeping your home clean and organized. HLM

Sources: and the experience of the author.