Do you dream of having an immaculate house, but your kids, pets and busy lifestyle get in the way? Don’t worry, even if you don’t consider yourself to be naturally tidy, you can up-keep your house to a standard that’ll make you proud – or at least not embarrassed when friends pop around at short notice!
Print the following list up and stick it to your fridge,if you're in a position where you can't necessarily afford cleaning companies and you will soon stay on track of which chores need doing when. And don’t be shy of getting professional help or roping in family members – after all, if they live in your home, they’re responsible for keeping it clean too!
So without too much fuss, here is a guide to scheduling your home cleaning!
Your cleaning checklist:
You don’t need to spend hours cleaning every day to keep your house looking spick ‘n’ span – it’ll take you less than half an hour a day to do these tasks. Well done, you’re totally on top of things!
- Wipe the kitchen counters. One of the places in the house where mess and dirt can easily take hold, clear the clutter from your kitchen surfaces every evening, spray them with antibacterial spray, and give them a good wipe. Don’t cheat by wiping around the kettle and toaster – it only takes a couple of extra seconds to lift them up and clean under them!
- Do the dishes. Chuck them into the dishwasher if you have one, or do them by hand – this is one of those tasks you can’t leave overnight if you want to keep a clean house.
- Make the beds. Just smoothing the duvet and fluffing up the pillows automatically helps bedrooms look tidier – plus you’ll sleep better in a properly made bed.
- Put clothes away. The kids have stripped off and left their school uniform on their bedroom floors – again! Grab them and hang them up – you’ll be grateful you did when the morning school run chaos strikes!
- Arrange the sofa cushions. This simple act will make your living room look a lot more polished.
- Buzz around with the vacuum cleaner. Don’t worry about moving the sofa – a quick vac will get rid of dust bunnies, pet hair and the bits of food the kids have dropped on the floor!
- Wipe the sinks. Another of those handy hacks that really helps your house look tidy, all you have to do is wipe your kitchen and bathroom sinks with an antibacterial wipe – and if you’ve got a spare minute you could squirt some toilet freshener into your loo. There – job done!
More time-consuming than the daily chores, you can still get these done in a couple of hours at the weekend.
- Wash the bedsheets. According to a recent YouGov poll, one third of us only wash our sheets every two weeks – and one in 20 waits a whopping four weeks. But bedsheets can quickly rack up an impressive collection of nasty bacteria from sweat and drool to urine and faecal matter, so washing weekly is highly recommended.
- Wipe down all your kitchen units. It’s amazing how much tea, coffee and food manages to splatter itself all over your kitchen surfaces – including the front of the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the wall behind the stove. Time to break out the antibacterial wipes and get cleaning!
- Clean out the fridge. You may think it’s a germ-free zone but bacteria from spillages and food long past its sell-by date may be turning your fridge into a health hazard. Chuck out the manky vegetables, nasty meat and out-of-date yoghurts, take out the trays and wash them and clean the inside of your fridge with antibacterial spray.
- Take out the rubbish. For most of us, putting the bins out is a weekly task but it will make things a lot quicker if you have recycling bins in the kitchen for food waste, paper/card, plastics and glass, and put used items into the correct bins as you go along.
- Dust! Contrary to popular belief, most household dust isn’t composed of dead human skin cells – if it was, then disused old houses would be very clean instead of very dusty! No, most dust is, well, dirt. After a week, you’ll probably find your light-fittings, shelves and bedroom surfaces are pretty dusty, so get busy with the furniture polish and duster. It makes sense to do this before you hoover.
- Clean the floors. You’ve kept on top of the hoovering during the week, but now’s the time to really get into those nooks and crannies! Move everything you can and hoover everywhere. You might want to consider sprinkling your carpets with baking soda first to get rid of nasty niffs and do some carpet cleaning. Brush and mop any tiled, wood or laminate floors, making sure to use the appropriate cleaning product for the type of surface, as some cleaners can be harmful to wood or granite tiles, for example.
- Clean the bathroom. For hygiene reasons, this is a task that obviously can’t be skipped. Let’s not dwell on the germs that might inhabit your u-bend….anyway! Spray your bath and sink with antibacterial spray, and wipe down your shower curtain/squeegee the glass. Clean the outside of the toilet bowl with antibacterial spray, and leave the toilet cleaner in the bowl for 10 minutes before scrubbing with a loo brush and flushing. Clean the grouting around the tiles with the appropriate product. Oh – and remember to move all your potions and lotions instead of cleaning around them!
Your monthly checklist isn’t too arduous – just another step in the process of keeping your house looking fantastic!
- Clean the windows. If you’ve got kids, you’ve probably noticed that your mirrors and windows are attractively decorated with smeary hand prints. Wash them down with warm water and a little vinegar, and polish them up with a clean, dry cloth.
- Clean the dishwasher and washing machine. Who knew that these aren’t self-cleaning? In fact, both can harbour bacteria if not regularly cleaned. Use products especially designed to do this, clean the filters, and run through a hot wash with nothing in it once a month to keep the machines in tip-top condition.
- De-clutter. Instead of chucking everything in the attic or garage and forgetting about it, spend a few minutes each month clearing out unwanted items from old bikes to grown-out of school uniform and taking them to a charity shop or the tip. Even large items like sofas can be put on Freecycle or Preloved and someone will do the hard work of taking them away for you!
Traditionally, these jobs would have formed part of the ‘spring clean’ – the practice of giving the house a thorough cleaning and airing after the long, dark months of winter, which see everyone holed up indoors. But you can do them whenever you want – so long as you do them once a year!
- Clean inside your cupboards. Yup, remove everything from your cupboards and give them a clean – you can de-clutter at the same time and throw out or recycle anything you don’t need. It’s a boring job but it’s got to be done! Do it room-by-room in stages to make it slightly less mind-numbingly dull!
- Get your windows and gutters cleaned. You can do the insides of your windows yourself, but it’s probably best to call in a professional for the outsides and the gutters as wobbling about on high ladders can be dangerous!
- Clean out your bathroom cupboard. Medicines have sell-by dates and can be dangerous if consumed once these have expired, so get rid of your old stuff now.
- Wash down and/or repaint the walls. If you’ve got pets and kids, your walls probably haven’t ended the year in quite the same state as they started them! Now’s the time either to give them a good scrub down (wet wipes can be surprisingly effective for this) or to repaint if necessary.
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