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June 18, 2018  |  Login
Simple Cleaning Strategies
By Elizabeth B. Goldsmith PhD, Betsy Sheldon
When faced with a houseful of rooms demanding to be cleaned, you can become so overwhelmed you don't know where to begin. Maybe you start by picking up the dirty clothes on the bathroom floor and take them to the laundry room, where you stop to fold socks that take you next to your bedroom to put them away. The dirty mirror distracts you, and you head into the kitchen for the window cleaner, and stop to finish up the breakfast dishes and then. . . .

When you hop from room to room, putting a single pair of socks away or wiping down one piece of furniture at a time, you may be multitasking or merely running around in circles.

What you need is a plan. A method. A strategy. There are plenty of great ones: Cleaning strategies are certainly not a one-size-fits-all. Trial and error will tell what works for you. But all good plans have certain components.

A Practical Sequence

If you were making a shirt, you wouldn't sew the buttons on before you cut out the material from the pattern. Likewise, cleaning necessitates a logical order. You wouldn't, for example, mop the floor before you sweep it. Each home is different, but the order follows some universal principles:

• Clean from the top down. Dust the ceiling corners and lighting fixtures, then the tops of picture frames, clean the windows, and finally the window frames and sills. Wipe up any smudges on the walls or light switch plates, dust the furniture, and sweep or mop the floor.

If you start from the floor and work up, by the time you get to waist-level cleaning, you're sweeping toast crumbs off the counter onto your clean floor.

• Work your way through the house. When doing a whole-house clean, move from room to room in a sequential order. Say that you have a two-story home: Start on the second floor in the room farthest from the stairs and work toward them, cleaning the hallway floor as you make your final trip toward the steps.

Then start on the first floor, working from the room farthest from the kitchen or laundry room - whichever place you must return to for more water or cleaning supplies as needed.

• Prioritize "public" areas. If you have frequent visitors, start with the rooms and areas your guests are most likely to see: the main floor entry area, powder room, living room, and kitchen.

• Go around in circles. A good strategy for cleaning a single room is to work in a circle. Start to the left or the right of the door or entrance and make a clockwise or counterclockwise circle around the room.

What about the center? Most rooms are small enough that your efforts can be somewhat pie-shaped, stepping from the perimeter to catch any furniture placed closer to the center of the room. more



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