Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Organized
Paid cleaning help can be a wonderful short-cut to a clean and organized home--if the household budget can stand the cost.
But what do you do if the Prize Patrol bypassed your door this year?
Take a speed-cleaning lesson from the pros!
Paid cleaning services are masters of the art of speedy, efficient cleaning. Watch professional cleaners at work: they don't waste time, cut corners or dawdle over the job--and they know how to clean fast, clean right.
To speed cleaning chores in your organized home, take a tip from their copybook. Try these tips from professional cleaners.
Schedule Cleaning as A Job
Professional cleaners schedule every job, right down to the minute. Nobody hires a cleaning service that promises to arrive "some Saturday when nothing else is happening." Take a tip from the pros, and set up a regular weekly cleaning schedule.
There's nothing like the feeling of a completely clean home—but you won't get it by cleaning in fits and starts! The pros don't quit until the job is done, and neither should you. Schedule the job and stick to it to get the work done in record time.
Dress for Success
Professional cleaners dress for the job in comfortable, washable clothing designed for work.
Check out their supportive shoes and kneepads. Goggles and gloves protect against chemicals, while a cleaning apron keeps tools and supplies at their fingertips.
Clean catch-as-catch can and clothing tends to catch it! End the era of bleach-stained sweatshirts and dripping nightgowns. Set aside a "cleaning uniform", and wear it, right down to shoes, gloves and eye protection.
Invest In Proper Tools
Professional cleaners don't use gadgets. You'll never find them toting specialized, one-use tools, or gee-whiz gimcracks hawked on some television infomercial.
Forget flimsy supermarket cheapies, and invest in sturdy, well-made cleaning tools. Replace the rackety sponge mop with a terry-covered Magic Mop or Sh-mop for easy, efficient floor cleaning.
White terry cleaning cloths (find them in the auto parts section as "detailing towels") are durable enough to stand up to walls, counters and floors, and are easy to launder in hot water and bleach.
Pick It Up
Professional cleaners come to clean: counters, furniture, appliances and floors. They can't do the job if each horizontal surface in the home is covered with papers, toys, dirty dishes and just plain clutter.
Pretend that you've hired a high-priced cleaning crew. You wouldn't make them sweep the clutter to one side to do their job! Give yourself the same head start you give professional cleaners: pick up before you clean. Without the distraction caused by out-of-place items, cleaning chores will fly.
Tote Your Tools
Watch an average home manager clean the bathroom. Ooops! Forgot the powdered cleanser, so down the stairs you go. The toilet brush? It's in the kids' bathroom down the hall. Run to the laundry room for more cleaning towels, to the kitchen for a box of tissues. Where's the vacuum? Did the teenager take the squeegee to wash the car?
Professional cleaners tote their tools with them--all their tools.
Look in the cleaner's tote tray: all tools, cleansers, brushes and rags needed to finish the job are right there.
Vacuum, mop and mini-vac wait in the doorway.
A plastic bag for trash is tucked into a pocket, next to the waving feather duster.
That's why the pro has finished the entire bathroom before our amateur makes it back up the stairs with the powdered cleanser.
There's a reason professional cleaners can tote all the products they need in one tray: they've simplified cleaning products. Relying on a few multi-purpose solutions cuts time and clutter in the cleaning tote. Professional cleaners carry:
- light-duty evaporating cleaner (glass cleaner or multi-surface cleaner)
- heavy-duty degreasing cleaner
- tile cleaner
- powdered abrasive cleanser
That's it! No soap scum remover, no special counter spray, no single-use products designed to clean only blinds or fans or walls. The pros know that these four simple products can handle any ordinary cleaning chore.
You won't find the pros pausing to follow television soap operas or check their e-mail. Amateur cleaners, too, should limit distractions as they clean. Turn off televisions and let the phone go to voicemail to stay focused on cleaning up ... fast.
Use appropriate motivators to energize cleaning sessions. Play upbeat music for an energy boost. Bookworms look forward to cleaning when a book-on-tape plays in the iPod.
Cleaning as a team with friends or family members can help you stay on task and ease the boredom of a cleaning session, so buddy up! Working with a parent is also the best way to teach a child skills he or she will need for life.
Make Every Movement Count
Professional cleaners don't circle a room more than once. Taking their place before the bathroom sink, they'll spray and wipe the mirror, scrub the sink, wipe down counters and polish fixtures before they move one inch to the right or left.
Don't get physical with your cleaning sessions—make every movement count. Stand fast and clean everything in your path before you move on.
Two Hands Are Better Than One
Professional cleaners don't work as if one arm is in a sling, and neither should you. Get in the habit of using both hands to attack cleaning tasks.
Spray a mirror with one hand, wipe it down with the other. Scrub counters with two sponges or cleaning cloths, not just one. Dusting goes twice as fast when a lambs wool duster in one hand cleans nooks and crannies while the feather duster in the other skims flat surfaces.
Two people make a bed four times faster than a single cleaner working alone. Watch the pros at work. Working in teams, they make short work of an average home.
Where family circumstances permit, make cleaning a family affair. Family members are more reluctant to mess up a clean house when they have been part of the effort!
Tidy Up for Next Time
At the end? Professional cleaners wrap up each job before they leave. Tools are returned to storage areas, totes tidied, spray bottles refilled and soiled cleaning cloths take a trip through washer and dryer. Goal: to be able to hit the ground running next time they visit.
Follow their lead!
At the end of each cleaning session, return tools and supplies to their storage places.
Check levels of cleaning products, noting any needed items on a shopping list; launder cleaning cloths and stow away the vacuum cleaner.
The finishing touch? Spritz the newly-cleaned home with scented room spray ... and enjoy the squeaky-clean feeling!