While there are a few odd people in the world who truly love to clean, the majority of us can think of one hundred other things we would enjoy doing with our time instead of pushing a mop. Even if we are intent on keeping a clean house, longer work hours and busier schedules make it very difficult to keep up with everything often make us too tired to think about cleaning. How do we fit it all in and still have time to rest, relax and have fun? The key is to have a good schedule and do a little at a time. Don’t go rolling your eyes at me, it really is easy.

a. Deep clean one room at a time. This would include:
1. For living room and family room: airing and cleaning the drapes, curtains or blinds; cleaning the ceiling, walls and woodwork; cleaning pictures, light fixtures and switches; vacuuming upholstered pieces; dusting and polishing furniture; cleaning carpet or floor.
2. Bedrooms: turning mattress, airing and cleaning bedspreads, drapes, curtains, cleaning the ceiling, walls and woodwork; cleaning mirrors and pictures; cleaning floor.
3. Kitchens and bathrooms: cleaning the drapes, curtains or blinds; disinfecting fixtures; cleaning and polishing appliances; vacuuming and/or cleaning carpet or polishing floors; polishing wood. (I use spray cleaner and paper towels to clean the bathroom floor and make it shine).

b. Teach your children to help. Use a room-cleaning chart as an aid, checking off each item as it’s completed.

c. Do at least one major project each day, and do it first (laundry, defrosting the refrigerator, cleaning the oven, washing windows, mending, filing away business papers, sorting through magazines).

d. Read instruction booklets that come with cleaning each appliance to get the most benefit from them.

e. Practice preventative maintenance:
1. Clean spots on furniture, carpets, walls, floors; fingerprints on doors.
2. Repair tiny rips in upholstery, bedspreads, curtains, and carpeting.
3. Clean dust from refrigerator motor – may add years to its life.
4. Keep appliances clean; oil hinges on doors; tighten screws and handles that are loose; glue corners of Formica or veneers on tables or counter tops or wallpaper that has come loose.

f. Make your house easy to clean.
1. Limit decorative items on tables and walls to the number you can keep clean and dusted.
2. Keep a box of cleaning items in several places throughout the home: one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen, one upstairs, one downstairs, basement and garage.
3. Consider storing silver in plastic or selvetcloth to keep it from tarnishing.

g. Have a long cord on your phone. Many times you can wash dishes, mend, polish silver, clean out drawers or iron while you’re on the phone.

h. Defrost and/or clean the refrigerator every two or three weeks; wipe spills under burners on stove; spot clean the oven between regular cleanings.

i. Alternate standing and sitting tasks.

j. Time yourself on the various jobs you do. You may be spending to long on tasks which should only take a short time.

k. Pick up clutter in the house before you retire in the evening.

Learn how to keep your house clean and tidy by working on it for just a few minutes each day.

The past with its pleasures, its rewards, its foolishness, its punishments, is there for each of us forever, and it should be. ~ Lillian Hellman

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