Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Keep-It-Clean Plan

If you are anything like me, you don't have much time or energy to thoroughly clean the whole house in one day. On those rare occasions when I do get it all done in one day, I want to keep it spotless for as long as possible. That's hard to do when there are other people in your household who don't have the same mindset about keeping things picked up and cleaned up as you do. I've found a quick and simple routine for dealing with that problem. This routine is more my speed. And each room could easily be delegated to other members of the household without taking up too much of anyones time. It involves every room, not spit-shine cleaning, but daily maintenance of every room. I think I could live with that.

The only thing I could add (from one SAHM to the other) is to get dressed AND put your shoes on after you get out of bed and before you start cleaning (I think that's a FLYLADY thing, not sure). It somehow motivates you to do other things. I find that if I just get dressed and not put on my shoes, it keeps from doing little things that I could do outside, like take the trash all the way to the container instead of leaving it on the porch for my hubby to do it, clean the birdbath, water plants on the porch or in the yard, even checking the mail.

With a plan of attack, you can maintain a sparkling house in just 19 minutes a day!

These room-by-room to-do lists will help you get the work done quickly so you can put your feet up sooner rather than later.

Kitchen, 4 1/2 minutes daily
Always start with the sink. "Keep it empty and shining," says Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections (Bantam, $15) and creator of, a housekeeping website. A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen's benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stove top spick-and-span, too.

# Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
# Wipe down the stove top (one minute).
# Wipe down the counters (one minute).
# Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (two minutes).

Bathroom, 2 minutes daily
Make cleaning the basin as routine as washing your hands. But don't stop there. Get the most out of your premoistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.

# Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
# Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
# Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
# Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
# Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Bedroom, 6 1/2 minutes daily
Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A neat bed with inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. Although smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seen like a high priority as you're rushing to work, the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the unruffled covers.

# Make the bed (two minutes).
# Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry (four minutes).
# Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).

Family Room, Living Room, Foyer, 6 minutes daily
Start with the sofa — as long as it's in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you've fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you're halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

# Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (one minute).
# Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (two minutes).
# Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (one minute).
# Straighten coffee-table books and magazines. Throw out newspapers. Put away CDs and videos. (Two minutes.)

RealSimple Keep-It-Clean Plan

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