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Six Easy Steps to a Clean Home

9/4/2015 (Permalink)

Clean and decluttered countertops is an instant facelift for any kitchen
As the owner of a restoration company who spends more than 50 hours a week making sure other people’s homes are clean and healthy, I can certainly identify with the axiom, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” A bit of a neat freak by nature, I appreciate a clean home but as the owner of a company, I understand the temptation to look passed the messes, and opt for doing anything else during my “free time.” Over the years, I have had to come up with a plan that balances the need for a clean house with the need to relax and decompress. I offer the following six easy steps to getting a home ready to accept visitors—even a mother in law—without breaking too much of a sweat—or your back.

Step 1 Kitchen Clean Up

Begin with the kitchen. Since this is the most well used room in the house, it is the place where you want to focus your energy. Begin by putting all dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Wipe down countertop surfaces, sink, refrigerator handles and the front of the microwave with a multi-purpose cleaning agent. If it’s been more than a month, go ahead and hit the oven’s self-cleaning button. Bonus Tip: A clean oven cuts down on bad odors and reduces the potential for a smoke out situation, which occurs when previous spills become over heated, causing smoke to stream out of the oven, triggering the home’s smoke detectors.

Step 2 Head to the bathroom

Wipe down the toilet, counter, and sink area with a multi-purpose bathroom cleaner. Clear the counter of any items and put them back into drawers or closets. Hang fresh towels. The mirror takes the most abuse so be sure to wipe that down with a glass cleaner. Bonus Tip: sit down on the toilet and look around; what do you see in your sight line? If you can see it, so can your guests.

Step 3 Dusting

While most homes only need a good dusting once a month, it is a good habit to do some routine maintenance. Weekly cleaning of living spaces should include picking things up off the floor, throwing out old newspapers, organizing the magazines on the coffee table, fluffing pillows and couch cushions, folding throw blankets, and putting shoes away in the closet. When it is time to dust, use a good product, such as Pledge Multi-Purpose cleaner, and a micro fiber cloth, which works much better than paper towels. Bonus Tip: Always spray the product on the cloth and if you fold one micro fiber cloth into four parts, you will have eight clean sides to use throughout the house.

Step 4 Go to Bed

I have always been a fan of making beds—complete with hospital corners. I fondly remember my childhood ritual on Saturday mornings, listening to John Denver while making the bed in my pink-colored room. And though it has been many years since those days, it still gives me great joy to walk into my bedroom and see my bed dressed for success—the center of attention—with crisp sheets and matching comforter set. Making a bed is the single most important chore that can be done in the bedroom. It instantly makes the room look and feel cleaner and neater. Getting your children to agree with this philosophy, however, might prove a bit challenging. Once kids hit the teen years, you may have to pick and choose your battles and one of the easiest battles to give up is to allow them to have their own space, a room that they can decorate and keep however they want. For our family that space was their bedroom. From the pink walls in our daughter’s room—which I may have encouraged—to the ridiculous posters in our son’s room, we allowed them to do whatever they wanted—as long as it was legal—in those spaces. I just kept my opinions about their interior decorating choices to myself, smiled, and quietly shut the door.

Step 5 Trash Talk

It is amazing how much stuff a family can collect over time! It is a good idea to get rid of items that are no longer useful or relevant and taking up space in the basement or garage on an annual basis. For every day trash, however, consider putting three or four neatly organized plastic bins in the garage or a mudroom. It will make the chore of separating plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard that much easier. Bonus Tip: The more you recycle, the less trash you amass.

#6 Suck It Up

Borrowing from Nike’s tagline, “just do it!” The task of vacuuming is just one of those dreaded chores but it has the most significant impact. If you have done the routine maintenance suggested in Step 3, however, the work of vacuuming should be smooth sailing—straight down the halls, in and out of rooms. Start upstairs and work your down. Stick to the high traffic areas and leave areas under the beds and behind furniture for a much more thorough cleaning, when you enlist the help of the other family members living in the house!

Tada! Go ahead and grab a magazine, put your feet up, and enjoy the feel of your clean home.

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