Make Housework a Breeze by Using a Weekly Cleaning Checklist
1. Organize your cleaning supplies
Once you get into housecleaning mode, it's a real distraction to search high and low for cleaning supplies. Much better to keep your momentum going by organizing all of your most-used supplies in a bucket, bin or carryall. Start with the cleaning basics: an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner (you can easily save money by making your own), plus washable microfiber cleaning and dusting cloths, a toilet cleaner and brush, and an old toothbrush for bathroom grout and hard-to-reach corners.
2. Decide on your cleaning style
Housecleaning styles differ. Some people like to choose a task -- dusting, for example -- and dust each room until all the dusting is done. Others like to "check-in" to a room and perform all of the cleaning tasks at once, so when they leave that room they don't have to return. There's really no right or wrong way to clean, so experiment to determine which cleaning style you prefer, and stick with that. The idea here is to streamline the cleaning process so you can move on to more fun stuff.
3. Job One: Clear out the clutter
No matter what your cleaning style, the first step in efficient housecleaning is clearing out clutter. Take a few minutes to pick up clothes, books, games and toys, and put everything back where it belongs. Then you're ready to grab the cleaning supplies, and you can keep going with no distractions.
4. Living Room
In the living room -- or any room -- start with higher surfaces and work your way down. The best dusting tool is a washable microfiber cloth, slightly dampened with water. Avoid heavy use of furniture polish as it leaves a greasy or waxy buildup over time. Make sure to lightly wipe all surfaces.
Clear the counters (moving items to one side and moving them back is ok), then spray them with a homemade or eco-friendly cleaner. Wipe the outside of all your appliances, including the refrigerator, stovetop, microwave and conventional ovens, and exhaust fan. If the fan filter is greasy, soak it in soapy water soak in the sink. Don't forget to clean the inside of your microwave oven to remove spattered food and keep it smelling fresh.
Once the counter is clear of anything that doesn't belong, start at the top and work your way down: mirror, counter and towel racks, then clean the toilet, sink, tub and/or shower. Refill soap, shampoo, conditioner and other dispensers. Your final touch will be putting out fresh towels, which should be changed at least once a week.
Begin by dusting or vacuuming lampshades and window sills, and then dust the furniture. Change the sheets at least once a week; quilts and blankets should be washed monthly and pillows should be laundered or dry cleaned every six months.
8. Every Room
Check for cobwebs, vacuum exhaust-fan covers, vacuum or dust molding along the floor and around doors and windows, and check for dirty fingerprints on doors, doorknobs and light-switch covers. These aren't tasks that have to be performed every week, but if you notice something you can take care of it quickly, before it becomes a bigger job.
9. Save the floor for last
Dust and dirt rely on gravity, so clean the floor in each room last to ensure that you've done the most thorough housecleaning job possible. This applies whether you have hard-surface floors (wood, tile or linoleum) or carpet.
10. Prepare for next week's cleaning
Encourage everyone in your household to put things away when they're finished with them: books, homework, toothpaste, toys, hobby crafts, makeup, cooking utensils, whatever. This will streamline your weekly cleaning routine, because you won't have to run around relocating items before you even start. And the best way to get the house cleaned? Have everyone pitch in to help.