Hints and tips for basic cleaning

Keeping the house can take a lot of time and energy, and you, like me, would probably rather be somewhere else. Here is a list of cleaning supplies to keep on hand, as well as a few tips to make the chore go faster:

If you live in a two storey house, keep double the cleaning supplies. Keep one set in an upstairs closet, and one downstairs. This eliminates the burden of carrying heavy buckets up and down stairs. Both areas should have these basic cleaners:

  • Your favorite all purpose cleaning spray
  • Degreaser
  • Bleach
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Scouring powder
  • A hard bristle scrubber - a short handle
  • Paper towels
  • Two sponges-one with a soft, or white backing, and one with a hard, or green backing
  • Window cleaning fluid-this can also be used on mirrors (or a bottle of white vinegar)
  • Brass/wood polishes if needed
  • Newspaper (for mirrors and windows)
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Mop
  • Vacuum (store the "real" vacuum where there is the most carpet; and carpet sweeper where there is the least)
  • Rubbish bags-both sizes small and large

Remember that you don't need to purchase every new cleaning product that comes out. Your mother and grandmother made due with the basics, and the old tried but true dies hard.

Always use music! I like to start my cleaning upstairs and work my way down, in a clockwise movement, with a little R&B. The reason for this is when I look at the living room, well, the living room always needs cleaning, doesn't it? It's easy to get overwhelmed and decide to finish the job another day.

Start upstairs with the room to your left. For simplicities sake, let's say it's a bedroom. Strip the bed and throw the laundry into the hallway, then go through with your large garbage bag and start tossing. When you're done, clean, dust, vacuum, and make the fresh bed. Move onto the next room and so on. Garbage and linen should get tossed first, then clean from the top of the room down, saving the vacuuming and bed making for last.

At the end, toss all the garbage and linen down the stairs and vacuum (or sweep) the hallway. Don't carry everything down and then climb back up the stairs.

When you hit the next floor, same thing, start in a corner, not picking up the usual stuff your family leaves on the floor in front of the TV. Move in a clockwise motion, leaving the sweeping or vacuuming for last. Always work from the ceiling down as well, it's disheartening to clean the sink and then get dust all over it from sweeping off the top of the mirror!