Do you know the 10 best house cleaning tips that save time and money?
I have met a few working mums who say they find it easier to have a dirty house until the weekend. That is something I find completely insane because, from my experience, a clean house actually saves you money and time which is the very thing these mums think they are saving but if you sit down and think about it, a clean house is actually saving you money because you will not spend on exterminators for ants, rodents and anything that loves dirty homes. If you have allergies, a clean house means spending less on treating your allergies and you will be more productive if you do not have to deal with your asthma or a runny nose.
The health benefits of a clean house are numerous as this article in Dr health explains 20 of them.
Now you probably are thinking of all the things you have to do to get your house clean and wondering how it will save you time and money. Well, I have experience with this since I am what some of my friends describe as a “clean freak” and I think I have perfected the art of cleaning to save time and money and I will share these 10 tips with you.
Keep the house neat and tidy
This is the first step to having a cleaner house that takes up less time to clean. You see if you have to start by picking up socks from the floor, throwing clothes into the laundry basket, and putting things in their right place, you actually will be wasting time and in most cases, an untidy house is going to lead to procrastination. You just will not know where to start and you will think you should first go to work and then tackle it in the evening but when you get home it will look like too much work and yet you are tired and have to get dinner started.
To save time, ensure everything is put where it is supposed to be. When you get back from work, hang your coat on the hook where it is supposed to be, put your bag where you usually keep it and have everyone in the house do the same. Do not allow anyone to be sloppy; things should be put back where they were and not just close to where they were. This will make it a lot easier for you to follow the next tip to save time and money. It is also advisable to get rid of clutter in the home regularly by getting rid of items that are no longer needed; sometimes they are just seated in corners occupying space and making the place untidy. The garage and attic tend to have a lot of such items and they only will act as hiding places for rodents and other pests.
If you have a tidy house, you will then be able to see dirt much easier, and you will not have to wait for the weekend to do all the tidying and cleaning. Spot cleaning means you will have very little to do when the weekend comes and you probably will have more time to focus on other things like playing with the kids, walking the dog and bossing your husband around, LOL. If coffee spills, wipe it off immediately, if the kids drop crumbs on the floor, clean it up immediately after they are done with their snack. If your kids spill tea on the couch pull out a steam cleaner and tackle the spot right away, there are even portable models that are truly convenient to use.
It is also a good idea to clean up the bathroom after using it. Spray a cleaner over the shower and wipe it, give the sink a quick clean after brushing your teeth and have everyone else do the same. It will also work better if you have the cleaning items near. Keep the sponge, cleaning liquid and anything else you would need to clean the bathroom, in the bathroom. Have a cleaning cloth near the shelves so that if you notice some dirt collecting there, you can give it a quick wipe as you pick your keys. Try not to leave dirt and spills that can be cleaned immediately.
Develop a system
A number of people have a system at work which helps them work more efficiently and get things done in time. You need to transfer that efficiency to your home. Random cleaning will not cut it and the cleaning is going to seem very daunting. The system you create should include a well thought out plan that will ensure you prioritise tasks. You have 7 days in a week; instead of choosing just one of them to do the cleaning, divide the tasks so that each day will have a task. For example you can clean the kitchen on Monday, the living room on Tuesday, do laundry on Wednesday and so on.
If you have been doing spot cleaning, you will not have a lot to do so you may find it takes just 15 to 30 minutes and the rest of the time can be used for other things. A system will also ensure that things are kept in particular places. You may have experienced the hassle of being late as you search for your keys. With an effective system, you cut out such time-wasting inconveniences because you will have everything where it is supposed to be. And your life will be more like clockwork.
Embrace green cleaning
The world is going green and so should you, if not for the sake of the planet, do it for your own finances. Quite often you buy into the idea that these cleaning detergents and soaps that claim to achieve big things like a germ-free and bacteria free bathroom and kitchen are the best you can get. Well, that is not true. Many of these have dangerous and strong chemicals which are probably the reason you have skin irritations or difficulty breathing, not to mention they are pricey.
On the other hand, it is amazing how simple vinegar, lemon and olive oil can be mixed together to make effective cleaning agents that will leave the home not just clean, but smelling fresh. If you do not wish to make your own eco friendly cleaning solutions, you can buy them- there are now many companies that are going green and these detergents are cheaper than the concentrated chemical filled ones. Going green will save you the expense on medical bills in the long run since research has proved that these chemicals are not good for our skin, lungs and general body so staying away from them is the healthy and money-saving option.
I know it seems a bit odd that just after talking about going green I would encourage you to embrace technology which many times is the opposite of going green. But there is a lot of eco friendly technology and this will make your life a lot easier and save time and money. For example I have a portable steamer which I use in the morning when I realise my blouse or husband’s shirt needs to be ironed. A steamer works a lot faster, and in a minute or 2 I am done and can attend to other tasks. I also recommend that every home has a reliable vacuum because it is a lot easier to use for spot cleaning than a broom and dustpan. A dishwasher will get the dishes done while you attend to other tasks, while a coffee maker will greatly save your time when preparing your morning coffee. Do not believe that spending money on gadgets is going to increase your cash outflow, it is actually making you more productive and giving you more time and like the saying goes, “time is money” so you save time, you save money. Just make sure they are energy efficient.
Work as a team
Everyone in the home has to play a part in getting and keeping it clean. It starts with everyone knowing the system that works in the home. They need to know where everything goes and ensure that they put things where they are supposed to be. You can then divide some of the chores. For example cleaning boards is something even a young child can do so while you clean the kitchen floor, the children can help clean the boards. People should be encouraged to rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher as opposed to living them for one person to do. The family can learn how to separate their laundry, with the whites on their own and the colors in another pile so that whoever is going to do the laundry just has to pick the baskets and put the clothes in the machine. When you work as a team, tasks will get done a lot faster and you will not need to hire a cleaning lady or cleaning service that will take up money. Productivity and efficiency also tends to go up when people work as a team.
Go for quality tools
We talked of embracing technology, and this is a bit related to that. When I buy tools to help me clean, I usually look for the best. This does not mean that I go for the most expensive, I look at the features it has and how it will make my cleaning more efficient. I also consider its durability. When shopping for a dishwasher, electricity and water were a concern so I looked for one that is energy efficient and I read up on how to ensure I do not use too much water. Even the small things like a spray bottle need to be quality; you do not want to have to buy a new spray bottle every month. Something designed from good hard plastic and able to withstand constant use is what should catch your eye. The longer you are able to have these tools without replacement, the better for you.
Old clothes make good cleaning rugs
Do not throw away old clothes, especially cotton shirts, these can make good rugs for cleaning, you can even make a mop out of them. I watched a video showing how to make a mop out of a t-shirt and I was impressed and inspired. When you recycle old clothing, you are not only reducing the amount of trash in the world, but you are also saving money that you would have spent on buying rugs and mops. It may take some creativity to make rugs but with the extra time you will have from following these tips, you can come up with something you will feel happy about.
When I was still new to cleaning, I found that in an attempt to save time, I would try to work really fast but I would end up getting exhausted. I soon realised that it is important to pace myself, learn how to do things to a particular rhythm that is faster than a bride walking down the aisle but also not as fast as a 100 meter athlete. I borrowed from my husband who likes to jog to particular music which he says gives him a rhythm and he will not over exert himself. Likewise, I started listening to music that would give me the rhythm and the pace that was just right. I also learned to set a deadline when I should have finished a particular task, this prevented me from getting sidetracked by a cute puppy playing outside the window or thinking about a conversation I had with a long lost friend from high school, everything is done with purpose and in no time it is done.
Cook as you clean
A big mistake many people make is leaving a big mess as they cook and they end up having a lot to do after having their meal in the evening. I recommend just like you do spot cleaning, wash and clean as you cook, there is a lot of downtime as you wait for the food to get ready, use that time to wash the dishes that can be washed quickly and easily like used knives and spoons. You can also soak the chopping boards and oily pans and wipe the boards whenever you can so that there are no spills left behind.
By the time you sit down to have your meal, you will have done more than half of the cleaning work and this will save you a lot of time, especially if everyone will put their dishes in the washer after eating so that you just have to press start as you go to bed. You will also need to ensure that you put away everything in its right place, for example dish clothes and gloves should not be left lying on the boards or over a pan, hang them up in their right place. The less clutter you have in the kitchen, the easier it is to clean up.
It may not be easy to follow each one of these tips to the full, it also took me quite some time to develop the kind of consistency that I now have. Be ready to adjust your system from time to time until you find a system that works for you or a rhythm that you can follow to keep a good pace.
Carol Bell is a mom, a wife and a blogger. She usually writes cleaning guides and tips over at VacuumKoo.