A Cleaning Discovery

When I lived at home, I used to hate the menial tasks of cleaning. While the logical part of me understood that I could do just a little cleaning everyday and always have my living spaces clean, the totally-not-interested part of me liked to wait until the room looked like a tornado and then go on an hours long cleaning frenzy. This was the pattern for pretty much my whole life. My room at my parents house went through this cycle. Last time I talked to my friend  and roomie during college: Julea, she mentioned how ramen bowls would pile up, clothes would bundle, and papers would be everywhere on my desk for a few days and then she’d come home and my whole side of our living quarters was swept, wiped, reorganized and  OCD neat.

Apparently I don’t consider my history because once I bought my house, and moved in, I thought things would be different. This was my house. There was nobody else with whom it was shared, and I would have to keep it clean always since I had people over so often.  It worked. For a while.

Then things started getting busy and I quit holding so many parties and informal hangouts. Then the bowls started piling up. And cat hair balls accumulated  into the stairs.  And my clean laundry would sit in the dryer until I ran out of clothes upstairs. I don’t like dusting. Or wiping baseboards.  And I’ll spare you the rest of the details.

I conceded to my overbearing personality which refused to cooperate with my needs.  I would need a maid. She was going to make my life easier. For a small sum, which I thought was definitely worth the hours of my time, the cleaning would be taken care of. I never seemed to have the desire to spend cleaning anything after a day of work, and a few hours taking care of business tasks. I honestly just succumbed to video games before bed most nights.

And then I rammed my car into my cousin’s van, which means I’m putting off the regular maid for this month while I cover that expense.  In a way it’s kind of good since I was now unable to defer my responsibility which I feel like I need to probably do myself anyway. In an effort to heed the wise words of my friend Joanna “You’re lazy. Stop bein’ lazy”, I’ve decided to try the 30 day cleaning routine. I can’t seem to do any nebulous cleaning on an as-needed basis but I love lists, and I love following lists. Maybe this is my ticket to clean freedom. I added litterboxes because with two cats, it’s definitely a constant routine.

It’s a list provided from Apartment Therapy. 20 minutes a day? I can do that.

How to Clean Your House in 20 minutes a day for 30 days

1. Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum). Litterboxes.
2. Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)
3. Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)
4. Surface clean “extra” rooms (basement, office, play room) Litterboxes.
5. Surface clean living room and kitchen
6. Clean bathrooms
7. Clean all interior windows (white vinegar and newspaper works great and is cheap!) Litterboxes.
8. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house (don’t forget stairs)
9. Surface clean bedrooms
10. Deep clean living room (mirrors, baseboards, dust artwork) Litterboxes.
11. Clean bathrooms
12. Clean out closets (hang up clothes, mittens, jackets, hats)
13. Surface clean “extra” rooms Litterboxes.
14. Deep clean bedrooms (organize drawers, check under bed, tidy closet, dust artwork, fans, lights, mop)
15. Surface clean living room and kitchen
16. Deep clean bathrooms (clean inside drawers, inside of trash cans, tops of mirrors, tile, mop) Litterboxes.
17. Clean all door knobs, phones, entertainment equipment (remote controls), switch plates, banisters and other things that are repeatedly touched.
18. Clean out the refrigerator, take stock of food, organize pantry
19. Clean entryway, sweep porch (if you have one), clean out car (because they areoften our home away from home) Litterboxes.
20. Surface clean living room and kitchen
21. Surface clean bathrooms
22. Surface clean bedrooms Litterboxes.
23. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house
24. Clean linen closet, straighten towels, sheets or regular closet if not applicable
25. Surface clean living room and kitchen. Litterboxes.
26. Deep clean kitchen (scrub appliances, wash trash cans, base boards, wipe down and straighten cabinets)
27. Surface clean bathrooms
28. Surfaces clean bedrooms. Litterboxes.
29. Clean one item you’ve been meaning to get to and haven’t (deep clean your stove, wipe down all light fixtures, tackle a particularly unruly area)
30. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house

Easy Right?
So all of you with spaces that belong to you, how do you manage to keep the cleaning tasks from going over your head?

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  • Reply Meghan November 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Whoever came up with that list has never been to my house. It takes more than 20 minutes to clean mine and Tom’s bathroom. And sweeping has to happen once a week or else the double-dog shedding takes over. It’s not a bad idea to have a plan for what to do each day though. At least then you have a plan of action instead of just being overwhelmed by the whole house. I’m curious to see how this works for you.

    • Reply Sunira November 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      Well the article is from apartment therapy, and I notice that it deals with sub 1000 sq. foot homes/apartments in general, not 2000+ sq ft. homes, but even if it doesn’t take 20 minutes, I could work for about 45 a day without burning out.

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