Saturday, February 10, 2007

Clean Sweep

I've been developing a new cleaning system lately that is working out pretty well. I don't function well in a messy environment and I hate that moment of panic when an unannounced guest shows up at your door. I love having friends over and I'm committed to not letting a messy apartment get in the way. Here are a couple a systems I have tried in the past:

1) Clean the entire apartment from top to bottom (including laundry) on Monday. Pros: There's nothing better than a sparkling clean apartment and climbing into freshly laundered bed linens to start your week off right. Cons: It's a lot to do in one day and I find myself frequently getting side tracked with other commitments that delay my cleaning until it gets out of control which is compounded by not being very tidy in the mean time because "I'll get to it tomorrow."

2) Clean a different room each day (i.e. living room on Monday, bedroom on Tuesday, kitchen on Wednesday, bathroom on Thursday, and laundry on Friday.) Pros: It breaks up the task into smaller more achievable projects. Cons: Same as #1 as far as getting side tracked. Apartment stays pretty clean, but never quite has that sparkling clean effect.

Overall system #2 works pretty well, but I found that I needed more flexibility if I didn't get around to cleaning for one or more days. Playing catch up is no fun and I usually find myself waiting until the next Monday to start over.

Here's my current solution that is working pretty well so far. To increase flexibility I've broken everything down into tasks that should be completed daily if possible, but still has the flexibility to take a day off and resume the schedule if necessary. I often take the weekend off. The daily tasks can usually be competed within 30 - 60 minutes with the exception of laundry which of course requires a few minutes of work every 45 minutes or so until completed.

Day 1 - Laundry (dry cleaning drop-off, etc.) and light vacuuming
Day 2 - Clean up any clutter in view (includes desk, nightstands, etc.)
Day 3 - Surface cleaning: dust, scrub counters and sinks, bathtub and toilet
Day 4 - Deep clean floors: Vacuum, Dust, Mop, etc.
Day 5 - Closets, drawers, cupboards, frig: Limit to 15 minutes or so per room
Day 6 - Special projects: This is the day to clean out a really cluttered closet or tackle a seasonal or periodic project.

Start over again with day 1 once you make it through the cycle. Note: There are a couple of things that I do everyday almost without exception: wash dishes, make my bed, take out trash and recycling as needed, and put things away after I use them.

The best thing about this system is that I don't feel pressure to keep up with a specific day of the week assignment. If I start day 1 on Monday and have a busy day on Tuesday, I can start up again with day 2 on Wednesday. As long as you try to complete the the daily tasks on a fairly regular basis, you will complete the the cleaning cycle every week give or take a day or two.

The bottom line: I still don't have that sparkly clean feeling all at once, but so far I feel it's a benefit worth giving up so that my apartment stays pretty clean all the time and there is never a day where I have to be humiliated if I have unannounced visitors. Since I started this system, I've had a couple friends mention that my apartment is always clean.


Paula K said...

I don't know much about blogging, but I thought I'd comment on your "clean sweep" ideas. I have three words for you: hire it out. It's delightful to come home to a clean apartment while I was out playing! Although it doesn't stay clean for very long at our house...

Michelle said...

Rachel, I love your blog. I also love your cleaning ideas. Any ideas on how to stay sane through the cleaning? Michelle B

Drew and Annie said...

Wow, I'd love to be as systematic as that but I don't think I could remember what I was supposed to do everyday...I tend to do method one. I start cleaning and get on the war path and don't stop 'til my house "shines like the top of the Chrysler building". :)