Customer Relations · Family · Tips and Tricks

Cleaning Routine for Your First Home

With basic supplies and room-by-room checklists, you can get into the housekeeping habit

Moving into your first home is exciting and presents a wonderful opportunity to cultivate new habits, such as getting organized from the start, planting your first garden and even housekeeping. Cleaning may not be at the top of your list of things you’re excited about when it comes to your new place, but keeping your space spic and span is a big part of what will maintain that “new house” feeling. The key is crafting a cleaning system that works with your life.

Know your cleaning style. Do you prefer to take on the entire house in one marathon session or break it up into bite-size chunks? After much trial and error, I’ve discovered that what works best for my family is a combination: small tasks that get done each day, paired with one not-too-long weekend session where everyone pitches in.

Find the time. Take a look at your calendar to get a realistic idea of when you have the time to clean, and decide on a regular day and time each week — it’s easier to keep up with a cleaning routine if it’s just that: routine. If you’re finding it difficult to fit in cleaning, consider setting a timer during your sessions and challenge yourself to do the job within the time you have. If you’re trying to get children involved with the chores, try setting a stopwatch — it’s easier to get kids motivated when it’s a “race”!

Get the order right. Always start high and end low so that dust and grime that drift down when you’re tackling higher-up areas don’t dirty freshly cleaned floors. And if you’re pressed for time, focus on the rooms with the most need for frequent cleaning: the kitchen and bathroom.

Keep your tool kit simple and multipurpose. On one hand, having too many specialized tools and products makes cleaning more complicated than it needs to be (and clutters your cleaning cabinet). On the other, being under-prepared for the job will frustrate you. Here’s what to include:

  • Good vacuum cleaner with attachments. A vacuum is a worthy splurge because it will last for many years and makes many tasks quicker and easier. Use it (with various attachments) to clean floors, blinds, carpets, upholstery and more.
  • Extension cord. If your vacuum cord can’t reach your entire space without unplugging and replugging multiple times, get an extension cord to plug into a central location to save time and frustration.
  • Microfiber mop with extension pole and removable, washable covers. The EPA reported on a study from the University of California, Davis finding that microfiber mops remove 99 percent of germs, whereas traditional mops reduce bacteria only by 30 percent. Use the mop to clean hard flooring, walls and ceilings. For many purposes, water alone is enough to get a surface clean because the microscopic fibers actually pick up and remove dirt and germs.
  • Microfiber cloths. Like a microfiber mop, cloths made from this amazing material should make up a key part of your cleaning tool kit. Use a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water to clean nearly any surface, then dry the surface with a fresh microfiber cloth to finish removing dust, dirt and germs. Launder after each use.
  • Cleaning brushes. A toilet brush, all-purpose scrub brush and grout brush (or spare toothbrush) are all you need.
  • Squeegee. Make quick work of window washing and mirror cleaning with this workhorse tool.
  • Gloves. Choose a pair that fits well and feels comfortable.
  • Baking soda and vinegar. There’s not much that one (or both) of these natural cleaning superstars can’t tackle. Pick up (or repurpose) a few spray bottles to store your own cleaning solutions.

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