Set your home to run on autopilot, Part 1

If you are like most people, your home is probably your most valuable asset. Meanwhile, your family’s health is invaluable. Protecting both requires regular and thorough cleaning of your home, but the list of things to be done can be overwhelming. And taking haphazard approaches to home cleaning can mean you either spend too much time cleaning because you don’t do it efficiently or you are simply doing a poor job of it because you don’t always have the proper know-how and tools.
For example, if you were to rise a little late on a Saturday morning, pour a cup of coffee, read the newspaper, then – when you are putting away the milk – decide spontaneously to clean your refrigerator and defrost your freezer, you may not have the best supplies on hand or know the best techniques for getting the job done right. You would likely be mid-job by the time your family came looking for their lunch. And it would be middle to late afternoon before you completed the work, meaning your Saturday would be basically shot. If, by contrast, you were to schedule a three-hour refrigerator cleaning task from 8-11 on Saturday morning, you could gather know-how and supplies ahead of time and set your alarm to ensure you got started on time. You would finish well before lunch and would have the entire afternoon free for something fun with your family.
At MaidPro, we complete roughly a half a million cleans per year. We’ve got cleaning know-how and scheduling down to a science and we use technology to make it all work. In this 3-Part series of articles we will show you how to set your own home cleaning to run on autopilot. We will cover:
• Recommended cleaning tasks and frequencies (part 1),
• Scheduling cleaning tasks and using technology to manage (part 2), and
• Strategies for delegating and outsourcing the cleaning tasks you either cannot or do not wish to complete yourself (part 3).
Here, in Part 1, we provide recommended cleaning tasks and frequencies to ensure your home looks good, maintains its value over time and provides a healthful and safe living environment for your family.
Daily: Sweep high traffic areas; wipe/disinfect countertops, doorknobs and other hard surfaces in kitchen and bathrooms; wash and put away dishes, pots and pans; wash, dry, fold, put away laundry; make beds; sort, recycle and/or file papers; remove garbage and trash; and general straightening.
Weekly: Vacuum/mop floors; dust, wipe, or wash furniture, fixtures, baseboards, window sills, picture frames, lamps and shades, blinds; clean stovetop, burners, burner plates, and kitchen backsplashes; clean out refrigerator/discard spoiled food; wash/dust cabinet fronts, large and small appliances (stove, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster, coffee maker, etc); scrub/disinfect/rinse all tubs, showers, toilets (including base and behind), and sinks; wash/clean/change bed linens; polish faucets and other metal fixtures; clean mirrors; change hand towels; vacuum furniture upholstery; wipe fingerprints from all woodwork, doorframes, switch plates; empty recycling bins.
Monthly: Polish furniture/cabinet fronts; wash wastebaskets; wash/clean heavy bedding (quilts, comforters, blankets); vacuum/clean underneath and behind furniture and underneath cushions.
Quarterly: Deep clean refrigerator and oven; shampoo or steam clean carpets and furniture upholstery; clean/dust permanent light fixtures; remove lint from back/inside of dryer venting system; clean cooking ventilation system; vacuum, flip and rotate mattresses; deep clean and treat floors to protect from etching; clean out and purge food cabinets, storage drawers and bins, bureau drawers and closets.
Semiannually: Clean curtains, window treatments. Wash windows inside and out. Vacuum screens and window frames (between window and screen). Wash ceilings and walls (if you think they aren’t dirty, try moving a picture or mirror that has been hanging around for a while). Clean electronics (use compressed air to blow dust out of keyboards, backs and insides of computer towers, etc).
Annually: Clean/inspect chimneys and flues; clean/inspect heating and cooling appliances; inspect air ducts for mold/dust buildup (clean as needed). (These annual cleaning tasks should be outsourced unless a household member is specifically qualified to do them.) Clean basement, attic, garage and other long-term storage areas.
Whew! That’s a big, scary-sounding list of recommended home-cleaning tasks and frequencies (and it addresses only indoor cleaning). In Part 2 of our series, we’ll offer strategies for using technology to schedule cleaning tasks; in Part 3, we’ll address delegating and outsourcing to ensure tasks on the list get done at the recommended frequencies without taking over your life.

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