Over the past couple of years, as I have let go of more and more of my belongings, I have seen the time I spend cleaning decrease dramatically. I used to go through days at a time with items all over the counters, on the floor, in the corners until I would be so visually overwhelmed by the clutter that I would either a) ignore it for even longer or b) start a cleaning frenzy that would last for an entire day. Since adopting the mindset and schedule below, I have reduced the time spent cleaning in my home to just 30 minutes a day, on average. I don’t include laundry in my cleaning list, just basic home cleaning.
Since I started decluttering, I definitely have less to clean, but I have also noticed that perhaps it was more my habits that were contributing to the constant clutter than the amount of possessions I owned. Since I have simplified, I have also learned some things that have helped me cut my cleaning down to 30 minutes or less each day, and I’m pretty sure they can be applied by anyone, whether you are into minimizing or not.
1) Adopt the ‘Leave No Trace’ habit. This is basically the old rule that everything should have a place, and be put back in its place as soon as you are done using it. No more setting your purse on the counter for just a minute, or leaving that pile of laundry for later. Put it away NOW! This has contributed the most to my home being organized and presentable at any given moment. Sure, you may need to add an extra 30 seconds to 5 minutes on to each task, but, in the long run, it will save you lots of time. When you are done making a snack, wipe the counter down. If you spill some juice on the floor, wipe it up immediately. If you get undressed, hang your clothes up or put them in the hamper.
This seems fairly obvious, but I was very surprised at how habitually I left things out that I figured I would take care of quickly, but never did, and it all added up to lots of clutter that became overwhelming. Creating this habit in your home is ESSENTIAL to keep cleaning to 30 minutes a day. If you have to spend time putting things away before you can actually start to clean, you will end up adding a lot of time to basic cleaning tasks.
2) Choose one task per day that you want to complete. Ideally, you will have already adopted the ‘Leave No Trace’ habit; so all surfaces and floors should be clear and ready for cleaning. This schedule is meant for basic home cleaning maintenance and does not include deep cleaning projects.
My weekly cleaning schedule looks something like this, and all the tasks take me 30 minutes or less to complete-
Put cleaning agent in toilet
Spray shower cleaning spray
Use current hand towel to clean off mirror, then wipe down counter and inside of sink, also any splatters on the front of counter cupboards and drawers.
Use paper towels or anti-bacterial wet wipes to wipe down toilet, floor around toilet, and edges of shower/tub, garbage can, and inside sink.
Clean inside of toilet
Scrub problem spots in tub and rinse.
Replace hand towel with clean one, and clean bath towels.
Using Mr. Clean Scrubbing Pads spot clean any marks on walls, doors and door molding.
Use anti-bacterial wet wipes to wipe doorknobs and light switches.
Sweep kitchen and bathroom floors, front entryway and garage.
Use mop to go over each floor area. I prefer to use the Swiffer Steam Mop as it can just use water for the steaming, making it smell much cleaner to me, and saves money since the cloths are reusable and it doesn’t require an additional cleaning agent.
-Thursday-Dusting and Garbages
Use a micro-fiber cloth to dust all furniture, shelves and windowsills. Follow-up if needed with a wet cloth or Pledge wipes.
Empty all garbages in home, separate recyclable material if applicable. Use wet cloth or anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down all garbage can fronts.
Move all counter top appliances out and wipe behind them, then replace.
Wipe down the front of all cupboards, stove, refrigerator and dishwasher.
Clean the outside and inside of the microwave, wash the turntable.
Empty the toaster crumb tray if needed.
Wipe down the inside shelves and doors of the refrigerator.
This may seem like a lot to do when you first get started, but as you start putting things away as soon as you use them, you will find that cleaning becomes a breeze each day. One of the tricks to reducing cleaning time is having the surface areas already cleared, cleaning then becomes mostly a matter of wiping things down. When I do have deeper cleaning projects, like wiping down blinds and baseboards, or washing windows, I save those for a weekend when I am in the mood to tackle one of them. Having my home very clean the majority of the time definitely gets me in the mood more often for those larger projects!