House Cleaning Tips For Those Who Have No Idea How, What and When to Keep It Clean

Sometimes housecleaning tips are not enough...

The final product of good house cleaning practice can be found in pictures of glossy magazines and those video tours of well designed and pristine homes.

They're all lies.

Well - not exactly lies - they just don't tell the whole truth.

Those pictures and videos don't tell you what it really takes to get to that pristine, fresh looking ideal of the perfectly clean and organized home. They are illusions - a mirage in a desert. Okay, I'll stop now - I'm getting just a little bit emotional.

But who wouldn't feel bamboozled.

Those still glossy pictures and videos are only a fleeting moment in time. They don't show you how to get there and most importantly - they don't tell you that the effort is endless.

Yes - house cleaning goes on forever!...and ever!...and ever!...

You would think that I would know this. It's not like I didn't do chores growing up. It just got wiped from my memories by other more exciting activities like playing tag, making and flying kites, having a beach day (I grew up in the Caribbean).

Well, reality hit me when I got my first apartment. I could get the basics done - you know - clean the dishes, do the laundry, clean the bathroom. But it occurred to me that I had never actually bought cleaning supplies. Never made a house cleaning plan. Never organized a thing.

I can go on until I get to Neverland but I'll save you from my embarrassment.

I knew that I needed to do something once the dishes started piling up in the sink regularly. My problem was and still is...

I just don't like house cleaning and back then I would put it off until I couldn't. Why?

It's BORING and it could wait.

My attitude mirrored this joke by the late Joan Rivers, "I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again."

I had better things to do! That is - until my landlord would give advance notice of a visit to check on one thing or another or when family showed up.

Today, after living in a couple of houses and apartments with and without other people (big and small) - I have a better idea of how, what and when to keep it clean. And it's all thanks to one thing...

My job!

I'm a researcher/software developer and the way we work to get products out the door is agile. We deliver small increments of software within a specific timeframe and budget, while ensuring that we provide quality with high business value.

For us developers it also allows us to be transparent and ensures that we're always improving in the next iteration.

What does any of that have to do with house cleaning? For me - EVERYTHING.

It was the missing element -- agile project management for house cleaning. After all - I follow the process at work, why not apply it on the homefront?

So I am.

To be transparent, I needed to note every cleaning task that had to be done. To improve on how I did these tasks, I put on my researcher hat and scoured the internet, those glossy magazines and television shows to test out their cleaning tips. I kept doing what worked and dropped what didn't.

And on this site and particularly - in the eletter 'The Saturday Morning Cleanup' - you will find house cleaning tips and practices which are inspired by an agile project management framework and some research.

12 Tips For Quick and Easy House Cleaing

12 Tips For Quick and Easy House Cleaing

Below are 12 housecleaning tips to get you started with what I consider to be good house cleaning practice. They should help you to regularly achieve those fleeting moments of a fresh looking ideal of the perfectly clean and organized home (-;

The 12 Tips for Good Housecleaning Practice

  1. Become a house cleaning project manager, not a stuff manager - Learn how to stop being a stuff manager by practicing your own version of minimalism, finding a place for everything and having a maintenance plan.

  2. Make a cleaning - house plan (like the badly drawn one below). Now walk each room with a notebook and a pen and a camera to take pictures. In each room take lots of pictures. Then write down all the chores that have to be done to get that room just the way you want it - clean and organized.

  3. Make lots of house cleaning checklists. Now you have your pictures, and your cleaning tasks for each room. Sit down and create house cleaning checklists for each room. For example, in the Kitchen, you can make one checklist for cleaning the refrigerator, one for the oven, and even an after dinner cleaning checklist for the kitchen cleanup.

  4. Make a daily household chore list. While making your cleaning house plan and checklists, it is important to remember those chores which must(should) be completed daily. For instance, the dishes, making your bed and sorting through the mail.

  5. Establish 15 minute house cleaning plans. This is for those free moments when by some miracle you have nothing else planned. These 15 minute plans are lists of 2 to 3 chores you know can be completed in 15 minutes of less. One of these lists can include, 1) sweeping the kitchen floor, 2) dusting the window sills. If you're looking for a chore that offers a more visual impact, then another 15 minute cleaning plan can just be, Living Room: Putting everything back in its place.

  6. Establish a family house cleaning plan. This will require a family meeting. In this way, everyone knows what cleaning jobs they are responsible for and equally important, what chores others in the family are responsible for. Also, you can layout any rules about when and how often the assigned chores should be completed. Finally, and this is optional - let everyone know the pay rate for each cleaning chore. This could be money or incentives.

  7. Find the time to implement your plan with a house cleaning schedule. With a cleaning schedule you decide what you clean, when you clean, whose turn it is to clean what, and when to hire a maid service to clean when you don't have the time to do the really big cleaning jobs.

  8. Time to go shopping for cleaning supplies. This could mean going to the store or shopping in your own home (I don't mean online shopping - just using what you already have). You could also consider making your own homemade cleaning products with recipes that include lemons, vinegar and baking soda.

  9. Determine the best tools for the job. On you will learn about the use of pressure washers, vacuum cleaners, air cleaners, window cleaning tools and household notebooks.

  10. When you apply these tips a useful tool would be a stop clock or timer. I find this to be essential as it keeps me focussed on the task at hand - find it on any available smart phone.

  11. Get some house cleaning motivation.

  12. Learn about what you should know about cleaning and disinfecting your home.

Bonus House Cleaning Tips

House Cleaning Tips Blog

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  • The exact practices used for household management back in 1914 -- you'll be shocked to know that we still use some of these today.

  • The best methods of removing dust, cleaning paint, woodwork and glass.

  • Instructions on how and why you should make an inventory of household goods in a card file -- e.g., "Keep bed linen and towels, piled preferably on shelves, near bedrooms and bathrooms, marked and numbered. Put the clean underneath when they come from the laundry."

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