Cleaning Tips Indoors & Out

Cleaning Schedule Wipes Chores Out Quickly

The quickest and simplest route to a clean house is to schedule cleaning tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal basis. Try this easy schedule to mark off your cleaning to-dos.

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Household Notebook Has Helpful Family Information DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Whatever your mental roadblock to the idea, consider establishing a cleaning schedule. By scheduling chores so that they're performed regularly — before the problems mushroom exponentially — the house stays cleaner, and the house cleaners do less work to keep it that way. Use these sample checklists as a start-point to develop one that's right for your household.

Daily Cleaning Checklist

Make beds
Place dirty clothing in hampers
Wash, dry and put away one load of laundry
Clear kitchen counters and wipe down stovetop
Clean kitchen sink
Take out kitchen garbage
Sweep kitchen floor
Pick up family room and play areas (put away toys, stack newspapers, remove clutter)

Weekly Cleaning Checklist

Change bed linens and bathroom towels
Clean bathrooms
Clean kitchen counters and wipe inside of microwave oven
Wash or dust hard-surface floors
Dust furniture
Vacuum carpets and rugs
Check entryway or porch; sweep if needed

Minimum Maintenance

Even the best-run households experience rocky patches from time to time. Illness, special work assignments, absence of a family member, or volunteer commitments can throw a monkey wrench into the workings of a home. There’s a solution for busy times: a minimum maintenance shortlist to keep your home running smoothly. Think of it as a Magic Minimum: those essential tasks that must be done come hell, high water or soccer playoffs.

Every family has different needs, but most Magic Minimums provide for:

Basic accounting chores (bank deposits and bill paying)
Meals and menus (clean dishes, grocery shopping)
Laundry (necessary clean clothing)
Home management (once-a-day pick-up, weekly cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen)

To make your own Magic Minimum plan, list the rock-bottom essential maintenance chores that need to be tackled to keep the household clean, fed and on time. A sample list might look like this:

Every Day:
Load and run dishwasher
Tidy kitchen
Run one load of laundry, fold and put away
Family pickup time

Every Week:
Review checkbook and pay bills
Shop for groceries
Clean bathrooms

Next step: Delegate! Assign one or more minimum chores to each family member. Every family member has a stake in keeping the household functioning, so everyone should be expected to help.

Finally, post your Magic Minimum list in a public place. Families using a Household Notebook will include their list under the "home management" divider. Another time-honored choice is the refrigerator door, but use whatever area is central to your family. The written list aids accountability, because everyone knows what must be done to keep the household functioning during times of stress.

Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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