Cleaning the house is a necessary chore, but let's face it—some of us might not mind it, but no one really loves it. Still, like many chores, it's usually bigger in our head than it is when we set in to do it. Here are some ways you can streamline the process, make sure you have the tools on-hand when you need them, and never wonder what you should do next.
Chores. No one really enjoys these menial yet essential tasks, mostly because they suck up valuable time we'd rather be spending on something… Read…
We walked you through some tips for putting all of your household chores on autopilot a while back, and while many of them still apply, when it comes to house cleaning, you can't just automate it—the cleaning needs to get done, and unless you pay for someone to do it for you, you're the one who has to do it. Still, there are some ways you can optimize the whole thing. Let's take a look.
Put Your Household Cleaning on a Schedule
This may seem basic, but it's important. The first thing to do is to put your regular cleaning on a schedule. This has two big benefits: First, it makes sure that everything that needs cleaning gets cleaned. Second, it makes sure that you never tackle too much at one time and get overwhelmed. Break down your cleaning calendar into specific duties, like "wipe down the countertops" or "clean the microwave," instead of just "clean the kitchen." By giving yourself specific tasks and responsibilities, you'll never stand in front of the kitchen or bathroom, heave a sigh, and wonder where you're going to start.
How you go about building your schedule is up to you. We'd recommend a shared Google Calendar with other people in your household, just so everyone's on the same page. A shared to-do list in your favorite to-do list manager, or in a collaboration app built for small groups can also make sure everyone does their share and everything gets done. If all that high-tech nonsense is too much for your household, just slap a calendar on the wall and add each cleaning duty to it with a marker.
Finding the right tool to track your to-dos is highly personal, and one person's best is another's junk--but there are some that are better … Read…
We talk a lot about personal productivity tools at Lifehacker, but sometimes you're not the only person who needs to get things done for a… Read…
Clean in Short Bursts So It's Not a Huge Commitment
You've likely heard all about how you can clean your house in minutes a day on the regular. Inspired by people like The Fly Lady and her detailed quick cleaning regimen, these methods break down the massive task of cleaning your home into bite-sized tasks that you can do in short bursts. If you had trouble making sure that your cleaning tasks were easy to tackle above, these methods will help a lot—but more importantly, they teach you to clean in short, quick bursts. Burst cleaning makes the job less daunting and helps you learn to clean as you go (cleaning while I cook is one of my secret tricks to an always-sparkling kitchen). It also makes tidying up an easy habit that you can pick up and integrate into your routine.
Your holiday guests are arriving in 15 minutes and your house is not exactly the epitome of cleanliness. Don't panic! Here are a few tips and… Read…
Cleaning your pad is a chore, but it doesn't have to suck up your entire day. Apartment Therapy suggests tackling a different area of your home… Read…
Use Timers and Technology to Power Through Your Cleaning Duties
We've known for some time that setting a timer and working in dashes can get help procrastinators jump past those imposing first steps. The… Read…
Productivity methods like the Pomodoro Technique are great for helping you focus at work, but they're amazing for helping you clean, too. Set a timer for the amount of time you'd like to clean, say 25 minutes. Then focus on cleaning until the timer goes off. Give yourself a five minute break, and then do it again. After four of those work sessions, or "pomodoros," give yourself a longer break, or stop cleaning altogether. It helps those short bursts add up, and if you do something different for each of those sessions, you'll be surprised how quickly a lot of your cleaning gets done.
If you like cleaning to music, consider using timed playlists packed with your favorite music to signal when you should start cleaning and when you should stop, take a break, or move on to the next task. However you go about it, everything's a little more fun when there's music playing, and when you know the finish line is on its way soon.
Get Cleaning Supplies Auto-Delivered On Your Cleaning Schedule
Not having the tools on-hand to do the job you need to do can throw you off your game. Instead of trying to remember to pick up cleaning wipes or vinegar and baking soda at the grocery store when you do your regular shopping, buy them on a regular schedule along with your cleaning duties. Amazon's Subscribe and Save will net you everything you need on a monthly basis (or longer, depending), which can be perfect if matched up with your cleaning calendar. If you do the kitchen at the beginning of one month, and then the bathroom at the beginning of the next, set up your subscription to match. Alternatively, if you know you go through wipes monthly but wood polish every six months, set your cleaning supplies to deliver on that schedule. Not only will it serve as a reminder of what you have to do on any given month, you'll always have what you need to tidy up.
If you want to take it to the next level, take a look at ePantry, a subscription service just for cleaning products. They ask you questions about your household, suggest a cleaning regimen based on your habits, and then send you the cleaning products you like on a schedule that matches. You get the benefits of having the tools you need when you need them, and you also get the benefit of someone else drawing up your cleaning schedule so you don't have to.
Stop When You're Done, and Don't Go Overboard
The New York Times examines why it's more difficult to exert willpower today than it was for our grandparents, then suggests how you can use…Read…
Finally, and this is something I'm guilty of, don't let yourself get carried away when you start cleaning. It can be easy to just keep going once you've gotten started, but it's important to stop yourself when your timer goes off, of you've finished the task you said you would do. Don't go overboard and assume that because you're making good progress that you have to clean all the things. Putting in too much effort actually drains your limited willpower reserves, and will leave you stressed and tired for the next thing you have to do, or the next time you need to do some cleaning.
Few people love to clean, but we all have to do it sometimes. We've shown you how to speed up your laundry and automate your other chores, but… Read…
Some people will have the opposite problem, and get so quickly distracted that they never finish the one thing they set out to do. That's okay too—forgive yourself and come back to it later. The important thing is that you're getting the cleaning done and making an effort to make it a regular thing. Next time, break the task down even more so you have greater successes over longer periods, and step up from there. That way everything gets cleaned, and you don't feel terrible about it. With luck, these techniques will help. Whatever you do though, try to make it fun.