Mastering an Effective Cleaning Routine

February 2013
Welcome February……the time when we are halfway into hibernation and anxiously awaiting spring. It’s a time to reap the awards from all the de-cluttering you have done in January. February is the perfect month to concentrate on light surface cleaning and dusting around your home. Leave all the deep cleaning until spring and focus on mastering an effective cleaning routine.
A clean home is very important to me, but because I lead a very busy life, I don’t want to spend my “limited” free time cleaning. Devoting the weekends to cleaning never worked for me and still doesn’t. 
I believe there is a certain level of maintenance that needs to take place in order for a home to run smoothly and peacefully… enough so that I can have unexpected guests come over without feeling embarrassed.
Because of this, I have come up with a very effective cleaning routine that fits into my lifestyle and keeps my home looking refreshed. The best part is that it only takes about 30 minutes a day. Try it out and tweak it to fit your needs:
Schedule for Week A:
1.       Clean the bathrooms. Clean toilets, countertops and mirrors. Wipe down shower weekly or bi-weekly, depending on time. 
2.       Clean windows on main level. Weather permitting, clean windows if needed.
3.       Vacuum and mop high traffic areas like kitchen, living room, and entryways. 
4.       Clean bedrooms. Wipe down surfaces, pick up items off floor, vacuum. 
 Schedule for Week B:
5.       Dust walls, ceiling, and high spots in your home. Wipe down coffee tables, chairs, dressers. Dust off pictures and wall décor. Sweep front porch and/or patio.
6.       Clean the bathrooms. Clean toilets, countertops and mirrors. Wipe down shower weekly or bi-weekly, depending on time. 
7.       Vacuum and mop high traffic areas like kitchen, living room, and entryways. 
8.       Clean basement and/or office. Wipe surfaces, pick up items from floor, vacuum.
Schedule for Week C:
9.       Vacuum and mop high traffic areas like kitchen, living room, and entryways. 
10.   Clean the bathrooms. Clean toilets, countertops and mirrors. Wipe down shower weekly or bi-weekly, depending on time. 
11.   Clean bedrooms. Wipe down surfaces, pick up items off floor, vacuum. 
12.   Tidy up garage. Vacuum and clean car. 
 Schedule for Week D:
13.   Deep clean kitchen (wipe down appliances, trash can, cupboards, clean out cupboard).
14.   Clean out refrigerator and freezer. Quickly wipe down shelves. 
15.   Organize food pantry, kitchen cabinet, storage drawer, or closet. 
16.   Wipe down tables and chairs. Vacuum and mop high traffic areas like kitchen, living room, and entryways. 
17.   Clean the bathrooms. Clean toilets, countertops and mirrors. Wipe down shower weekly or bi-weekly, depending on time. 
Some other tips to incorporate into your routine to make it more effective are:
Split tasks with your partner and children and make it more fun.
Teach your children to help. Give them light jobs, such as dusting the coffee table. When they are old enough, teach them to be responsible for their own bedrooms.
Buy different colored laundry baskets for each child. Anything found around the house gets put in their baskets. At the end of the day they are responsible for emptying their baskets and putting things back where they belong.
Wipe down bathrooms often instead of letting it build up for a week or more.
Clean sheets weekly. Throw them in the laundry during your daily cleaning time.
Clean as you go. Put ingredients away after cooking. Put dishes in dishwasher while dinner is cooking. If needed, do laundry during your daily half hour cleaning. 
If you love starting your days fresh and clean, incorporate a general “house pick-up” in the evenings. Pick up toys, put away papers, sweep floors. 
With an effective cleaning routine, just 30 minutes a day can make your life easier and your home much more welcoming!
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