Let’s face it, not everyone has a dedicated cleaning day. Honestly, as an expert in this area, I don’t even recommend it. Using an entire day to clean the house, unless you have absolutely nothing else to accomplish, is a waste of your time, energy and bandwidth. Cleaning “as you go” during the week is a far better use of your resources, keeps your home from getting messy and leaves you much happier as you expend less energy scrubbing for hours on end.
But even if you do clean every day, there are areas that we always miss. We forget, we neglect or we just plain don’t realize need cleaning. These tend to be the areas that make the house look a whole lot dirtier than it actually is.
In my cleaning business, it was amazing how much more sparkly and clean a house could look just by focusing on some little tasks that had been neglected for a while. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your home before a big party or are just hoping to make your house feel a little cleaner, these recommendations will give your home the quick boost it needs.
Take a look at the nearest door to you. How does it look? I mean, aside from looking like a door. Really look at it. If you’re anything like most people with kids, the door is covered in smudges and scuff marks, leaving it looking dingy and dirty. A quick cleaning of the doors can really improve the overall look of the entire house. If you have white doors, use a magic eraser to remove the scuffs and a bucket of soapy water and cloth to clean the smudges and dirt. It really is amazing how much of a difference cleaning the doors can make in your house, and in a pretty short amount of time.
Baseboards, while beautiful additions to the décor of a home, are a giant pain in the behind most of the time. They are collectors of dust, dirt and grime throughout the house. The good news is that they are super easy to clean and make a real difference in how clean the room can look. White baseboards that are dirty give the entire all a wall a ho-hum look, while clean baseboard brighten the room. If they are just dusty, use an extender dust wand. If they are caked with dirt, dust or grime (which happens the most in kitchens and bathrooms), simply wipe down with warm water and soap or your favorite all-purpose cleaner.
Whether you have faux wood, real wood or vinyl blinds, chances are they aren’t being cleaned as often as they should. And with good reason. They are a pain. But it makes a big difference when they ARE clean. To make it easier, break it down by room. Commit to cleaning blinds in one room a day. Dust the blinds with large slats with a microfiber cloth, a Swiffer or a specific blind cleaning tool. My recommendation for dirty vinyl blinds? Just buy new ones. Honestly. The amount of time it takes to thoroughly cleaning the cheap $5 blinds could be better spent just about anywhere else. They also tend to break very easily. Just like the commitment to cleaning one room at a time, replace the cheaper blinds one room at a time, too.
4. Sliding glass doors/glass storm doors
With kids and pets, it’s like smudge city on those glass surfaces, isn’t it? It’s like the kids and dog noses know how dirty their tiny little prints will make the door look. Clean them often if you want a super quick fix for making the room appear cleaner. For some reason, a clean glass door just makes the whole room appear to shine.
5. Outside of kitchen appliances
Like the glass doors, appliances are a magnet for smudges, fingerprints, dirt and grease. We tend to touch and grab the appliances with grime already on our fingers, hence the constant battle to keep them clean. If you’re running low on time and want the kitchen to appear sparkly, give the outside of the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and stove/oven a quick cleaning. Whether it is stainless steel or mirrored, you’ll give yourself a pat on the back for getting that “this room looks super clean” feeling for only 5 minutes of effort.
6. Throw pillows
I have a love/hate relationship with throw pillows. I love the way they look in the store, on my Pinterest feed and for about 13 seconds after I bring them home. But then, inevitably, my kids and husband insist on sitting on them so violently that they look their fluffiness and end up flat and sad. Perk them up by throwing them into the dryer for 15 minutes of so. The heat give umph back to the pillows. When I am expecting company, I always give the throw pillows on the couch some attention. It makes the whole room look clean and orderly even if I haven’t done a damn thing besides that.
How often do you clean your curtains? Be honest…come on. They are SO easy to forget. However, they are also collectors of dust, dirt and anything else that splashes, sloshes or spills on the floor. If you live in a home with anyone effected by allergies, cleaning the curtains is also a great way to reduce the effects of those allergies. Throw them in the wash (or take them to be laundered if they require more specialized care) one room at a time. Bonus: anything freshly laundered makes the room smell better. Awesome!
8. Walls, especially in entry ways and stairs
I am unsure why kids need to touch the walls constantly. Like, here is a beautifully painted wall, let me put my grubby little fingers all over it. But such it is and the walls in areas like stairs and entry ways become inundated with fingerprints and dirt. It’s such a quick fix that makes a huge difference. In fact, many times you don’t realize how dirty is actually was until after you see it clean.
Keeping your house cleaning on a regular basis can feel about as futile as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, but if you can manage to do one thing at a time and keep these neglected areas from getting too dirty, you'll create the illusion of a polished home. Hey, an illusion is better than nothing, right?
Cleaning can seem like an arduous and often mundane part of life and sometimes, it is. My job as a mother and a homemaker is ripe with mundane and annoying tasks, but I'm grateful just the same, because my mundane is someone else's goal or dream. I designed The Reluctant Homemaker Starter Guide for the mom that looks around at the home management tasks in front of her and isn't even sure where to start. It's difficult to show gratitude when you're drowning in day-to-day tasks and stuck in the "I just need to survive today." cycle. This starter guide is the jumpstart to organizing and simplifying homemaking for the modern mom. No more guessing. Download your free copy, mama.