Cleaning, Simplified

July 09, 2019

A Simplified Cleaning Routine

Looking at my home you'd probably think I enjoy cleaning. Every room is tidy with no clutter in sight; each shelf is neat with nothing out of place. I'm one of those annoying people who keeps their home always tidy and guest-ready. It's not because I love tidying up though, it's because I hate it.

I love hosting. I love having people visit. I want my home to be welcoming and comfortable, where people can gather for good conversation, tasty food, and a cozy environment. Before I downsized my possessions and decluttered my home, it took so much longer to clean up before guests arrived. Spending hours cleaning and tidying up; racing against the clock before the first knock at the door, it was stressful.

A benefit I've discovered to having a minimalist home is how much it lightens the load when it comes to cleaning. With fewer things, I tidy up more regularly but spend less time and energy doing it. I created a system that simplified my cleaning routine and eliminated stress. It's easy to follow and helps reclaim time that could be better spent elsewhere plus guests can be welcomed in at a minutes notice. Ultimately it's as simple as focusing on one main task a day with a little bit of tidying up in-between. This post is to share my cleaning routine in the hopes it makes yours easier.

Please bear in mind, I live in a 1000 sq ft apartment with one other person. We have no children and have zero plans to have any. We're both self-employed and have more lee-way than most when it comes to organising our time. I'm under no illusion that my tips for simplifying your cleaning schedule will be realistic for households where there are children or other dependents, lots of pets, or work schedules that eat into spare time. If time is limited, I'm of the opinion that tidying up should come after all the fun stuff. Life's too short to iron the bed linen and dust the skirting boards.



A Simplified Cleaning Routine


Tidying

A quick tidy every day makes a world of difference. Ten minutes will do the trick. Make the bed, put books back on the shelf, straighten the cushions, kick the rug back into place. These seemingly insignificant touches make a huge difference to how your home looks and feels. When I spend a few moments putting things back where they belong I find I keep on top of the clutter life creates much more effectively; it stays away for longer and doesn't build up. I'm someone who can't think straight unless my space is tidy. I hate wasting time tidying up so I keep on top the mess of daily life by returning things to their places as I move about my home. When I leave a room, I take something that shouldn't be there with me and return it to where it belongs.



Cleaning

I'm loathe to spend my weekend cleaning my apartment. On the rare occasion I haven't put enough work in throughout the week, cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, windows and sills takes a couple of hours and I usually do it on a Sunday. I prefer instead to do keep on top of each room by cleaning up as I go, wiping down counter tops, tables, and sinks on a daily basis. When I finish washing the dishes, I wipe over the counters; after brushing my teeth I splash water around the sink; if there's something on the floor, I sweep it up. The refrigerator gets cleaned every week when we do the food shop, which helps catch any food that's about to turn and prevents food from rotting faster. Doing these tasks regularly takes a few minutes and avoids the need to spend a few hours cleaning everything at the end of the week.

I prefer to tackle one room at a time by cleaning them on different days. I don't keep to a strict schedule and instead deal with whatever room needs the most attention. This means, come the end of the week, I can enjoy my weekend instead of spending it cleaning because most of it has already been taken care of. For the bigger tasks that don't need doing quite as often (like deep cleaning your oven), I aim to do this every few months. Two tools that have been invaluable for making cleaning quicker and easier: a Kärcher Window Vac and steam cleaner. Investments for sure but worth it, if you can afford it.



Vacuuming

If you have carpets in your home, like I do, walking around in shoes has a noticeable effect on the cleanliness of your home; and so I've become one of those annoying people who politely ask guests to remove their shoes. It makes a big difference. I only have to vacuum my home once a week, twice if we've had a lot of guests. Ask your guests to remove their shoes, they won't mind; although if they do, give them some grace or provide them with house shoes.



Dusting

Dusting is the worst and it accumulates also as quickly as you remove it. There's a lot of windows in my apartment and so dusting has become one of those jobs I hate. I have learned to deal with as quickly as possible. I take to the window sills and skirting boards with the vacuum cleaner and wipe everything down with a wet cloth. I do this every couple of weeks, probably less than I should. The plant shelf is wiped down every week and all the plants have their leaves dusted on a regularly basis.



Washing Up

After every meal, everything gets washed up and left to dry; counters are wiped down and the floor given a quick sweep. Our tiny kitchen doesn't allow for a dish washer and I'm not sure it's the most practical or sustainable solution when there's only two people in the home. Instead we wash dishes by hand and leave them to dry on the rack. My partner usually cooks while I wash up because it's undoubtedly better to tackle the dishes before food starts to dry and requires a lot more effort to scrub off. I have to admit, dishes usually get left overnight to air dry and put away the next morning. Why wipe clean dishes that will dry themselves if given a couple of hours? If you have a dishwasher, I've heard running it overnight uses less electricity and is cheaper to run.



Laundry

Once a week I do the laundry. On Fridays I refresh the bed and wash the sheets, and on Saturday I do the rest of the laundry including clothes, towels, and face cloths. It's usually 2-3 loads, which can be washed, dried, and put away within a day or two. Everything is air dried as we don't own a tumble dryer, which does mean strategically hanging towels and linens over doors when the clothes rack is full. For a two-person household, this schedule works well at keeping on top of things.


If you're curious about what I use to clean my home, you can find more information on that here.




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