Clean up your act—faster!

By Sandra Gordon

Thinkstock_118283367_SSBLOG_homeorganization

How much time do you spend cleaning your house or apartment each week? According to a study by MaidPro, the Boston-based residential cleaning company that has over 130-individually owned and operated locations across in the U.S., housecleaning takes a three-hour chunk of time out of every weekend, on average. I like that fact that housecleaning is a workout. Still, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather use some of that time working out at the actual gym, going outside or even heading to the mall (again) with my tween daughters.

Here’s the dirt on how to streamline house cleaning from Melissa Homer, MaidPro’s chief cleaning officer, so you’ll have more of your weekend for fun stuff.

Invest in storage bins. “The best way to keep a house clean is to keep an organized home,” Homer says. “The less that’s in your way, the more you can see the dust and dirt and the easier it is to clean.” Storage bins can give everything a home so you and your family can easily put things away before they pile up. “Cleaning goes much faster when you don’t have make decisions about where to put things,” Homer says. To decide where a bin should go or where an item’s place should be, think about how often you handle it. “The more it gets used, the closer it belongs to the primary living areas in your home,” Homer says, such as the living room or kitchen.

Use multi-surface cleaners. Why carry around four or five cleaning supplies when just one will do? You want a good multifaceted cleaner that can handle degreasing, soil, dust and disinfect, too. “If a cleaner can do all that, you can fly through almost every surface in your house, from kitchen counters and windows to furniture and bathroom surfaces,” Homer says. To avoid cross contamination, use different rags for your kitchen, living room and bathroom. Homer favors microfiber rags. “They scrub harder, doing more of the work for you. And they don’t leave lint on mirrors or glass coffee table tops,” she says.

And our advice when using all-purpose cleaners, is to let the cleaner sit for 5 minutes, or as the label directs, before wiping. Two products that aced our tough mess tests (including getting up grease and caked-on soap scum) are Nature’s Source and Seventh Generation, which also happen to be greener cleaners. And don’t bother with antibacterial cleaners. Regular ones work just fine.

Do one extra—small—organizing or cleaning task per day. Today, maybe it’s 10 minutes purging the junk drawer in your kitchen. Tomorrow maybe it’s 2 minutes organizing the cabinet where you keep your food storage containers. The next day, perhaps it’s 5 minutes tackling your unmatched socks bin. Just a few minutes here and there can buy you time on the weekends. Need more motivation? “Imagine the cumulative impact of 365 similar tiny tasks on your home’s overall feeling of cleanliness,” Homer says.

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