Map a Cleaning Route
For a one-story house or an apartment, start with a corner room and work inward. If you have a two-story house, start with a room at the top corner of your home and work your way in and down. Clean each room completely before moving on to save energy and time wasted from walking back and forth.
Break Up Chores
Instead of spending an entire day or weekend cleaning, clean half the house, or one story of a two-story, on one day or afternoon. Clean the other half or other story on another afternoon. Reserve a block of time for the attic, basement, or garage.
When to Hire a Professional
Consider hiring a professional window cleaner once a year, especially if you have a two-story house or storm windows. Hire a gutter- or roof-cleaning service in late fall. Choose services that are bonded and insured, and get at least three references. Depending on your time and house size, rent the necessary carpet-cleaning equipment, or hire a service. If you are renting equipment, steam-clean all carpets at the same time to save money. When hiring a service, some companies offer discounts to clean three or more rooms.
In the Kitchen
Keep your kitchen in order by creating a place for everything. Store cookware and utensils near the range or cooktop so they are within reach when cooking. Keep a spray bottle with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water or an all-purpose spray cleaner in the kitchen for cleaning after meals.
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In the Bathroom
Stash a spray bottle with all-in-one window and surface cleaner and an extra roll of paper towels under each sink for surface cleanups.
In the Hall Closet
Install storage bins with separate drawers for gloves, hats, and scarves. Stock up on stackable see-through plastic containers to store lightbulbs, batteries, and emergency candles.
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Create a Cleaning Center
To make your cleaning center efficient, use baskets, bins, and caddies to store products and supplies. Consider integrating your cleaning center into an existing laundry area or room. Create customized cleaning and supply checklists. Post daily, weekly, and monthly chores on a small bulletin board in the cleaning center. When a product is running low, note it on the list before the next shopping trip.
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Store all cleaning supplies in one place for easy retrieval. A closet or laundry room is ideal for supply storage. Wherever you choose to store cleaning supplies, keep them out of the reach of small children.
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Keep all laundry supplies together in a pretty basket or box. This will save time when doing loads of laundry and will keep the laundry area tidy.
Use a Basket
Train all family members to put dirty clothing in hampers. Place a basket or hamper in each bedroom closet, and in each bath if space allows. Place three additional hampers in the laundry area -- for dark clothes, light clothes, and towels. In households with teens, delegate a laundry responsibility to each family member. Assign simple laundry chores, such as folding socks, to younger children.
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Doing the laundry once a week is generally sufficient, but plan for additional loads if you wash uniforms, work clothes, or gym clothes. If dress shirts and suits are part of your attire, add a weekly trip to the dry cleaners.
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