Otherwise, this is me, looking at you.
1) Picking Up
The first step to cleaning your house is picking up. See yesterday's post for a definition. Don't go room-by-room and pickup then clean. This takes way too much time and is not efficient. Instead, go through your whole house and pick up every room. Then you have fewer obstacles to clean around.
2) The Kitchen
I'm not sure why I start in the kitchen - maybe it's because I really like cleaning my kitchen, or because I keep the cleaning supplies under the sink so proximity wins? For whatever reason, I like starting here.
The first thing I do is SCRUB the almighty out of my sink. Now is also an excellent time to de-stink your sink if necessary. I don't like to use harsh cleaners here...just my regular dish soap and a sponge. Soap the whole thing down and scrub, using the hottest water you can stand on your hands. No, I don't use gloves. Hands wash easier. Wipe the whole thing down after soaping with a wet paper towel - keep rinsing and wiping til it's all clean.
Next, we move on to the counters and cooktop. Start on one end of the kitchen and work your way around. You can use spray cleaner or the soapy sponge - when I had granite counters I liked the soapy sponge better, but now I use Greenworks spray. Totally up to you. Just take everything off the counters and wipe those puppies down. It's okay if you get some on the floor - we'll get there. If you have an older cooktop with drip pans, scrub them or run them through the dishwasher while you clean. Wipe down your cooktop the same way you're cleaning your counters, and make sure to clean the instrument panel on it as well - that thing gets grody, too. Same for your microwave and any other small appliances.
Finally, we're gonna clean the floor. I mentioned before about my favorite floor cleaning method. Soak your paper towels in hot water and cleaner, then wring them out individually. I like to rotate them 45 degrees as I stack them so they don't clump together when wet. Get on the floor (you're at least 5 feet off the ground - you cannot see all the dirt from that high up!) and using individual towels for each 1-2 square foot section, wipe the floor, including baseboards and moulding. Using a clean towel each time ensures maximum sanitation and works wonders to contain pet hair. Plus, unlike a mop, you're throwing the mess away instead of spreading it around.
I love you, Bounty.
See? That wasn't hard. Moving on....
Dusting is a very important step, obviously, and should be done early. Why, you ask? When you dust, hopefully you're using one of these:
They trap most dust and hair. However, some of it will fall to the floor, so you don't want to have cleaned the floor yet, right? Thought so. Make sure to clean under and around EVERYTHING and especially your blinds. They hold a lot of dust and hair and can really aggravate your allergies if they aren't cleaned frequently.
Clean clean clean!
This will go really fast if you do it at least weekly.
Alright, y'all, I know it can be nasty, but you have gotta get really close to your bathroom to ensure maximum cleanliness.
First step - lights. Not kidding - your light bulbs get all sorts of dust, hairspray, and other products on them. Make sure they are cool to touch, then take a paper towel, spray it with glass cleaner, and wipe off each bulb. Get the top and outside of the fixture, too. Your bathroom will stay well-lit.
Let there be light!
Now we're gonna clean the sink area. I start by stripping everything off the sink and counter so I can see all the surfaces. Spray down your mirror with glass cleaner and wipe down well. Notice how many specks of gross are on it and consider flossing your teeth from a further distance next time. Then spray the counter and sink and scrub those down, too. When you put your things back on the counter, wipe them down as well - toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, etc. They get grody, too.
Next, let's clean the shower/tub. If you get mildew, it's not your fault. Some areas are more prone than others. However, you can kill it easily. Take regular white vinegar and pour or spray it on the mildew - this will kill the organism. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse with water. Now use regular bathroom cleaner to wipe away the grime.
Alright, it's toilet time. Start by putting bowl cleaner in so it can sit while you wipe down the rest of the commode. Make sure you wipe down the top of the tank and the lid, then the seat, then the rim. If menfolk use your potty, this won't be pleasant, but it must be done. Now, using a toilet brush or a paper towel, scrub out the inside of the bowl and flush.
Don't get scared now!
Finally, we're gonna clean the floor. Use the same method we used for the kitchen floor, taking extra care to clean around the base of the toilet, since they usually have crannies that attract dust and hair.
Now we're in the home stretch. Before you start cleaning the floor, if your baseboards need cleaning, now is the time. Use your trusty cleaner-soaked Bounty and wipe those puppies off. Now, depending on your flooring, start your engines! Just like with dusting, you cannot be too thorough. I usually move several pieces of furniture to vacuum under them. If your furniture is super-heavy, this may not be an option, but if you're like me (my brother gave me the Indian name Strong Like Ox), you can handle it. Make sure you keep an eye on the dust cup in your vacuum - no matter what the British dude on the Dyson commercials says, they do lose suction as those things fill up.
5) Miscellaneous Tips
If you have any extraneous boxes lying around (I keep boxes for things I buy for a little bit, just in case), chuck them after a month or two. They're just taking up space.
Or you'll have boxes from October and November in your laundry room...
Wipe off your washer and dryer with a damp paper towel every few weeks - they get a very fine coating of lint.
Cleaning day is a great time to clean Fido and Mitten's bowls.
This is also a good time to straighten up your closet.
Photo is blurry, 'cause I got scared.
And of course, you can always light yourself a candle!
Happy Cleaning, y'all!