• Next to Nature

Making All That Spring Cleaning Worth It

All done with spring cleaning? Or maybe you skipped it because let's be honest...once it's clean, it's hard to KEEP clean. Keeping a clean house can be such a big job. Especially if you have a full-time job, kids, dogs, or just don't particularly like cleaning. Ohhh, do we get it! Just because we love trying all the safe and effective cleaning products for the store doesn't mean we love to clean all the time or that we have the time! But, the more we learn about the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of a clean and healthy home the harder it is to let the excuses (and the dust bunnies) pile up. Today we are sharing our best tips on how to create a stress-free house cleaning schedule that reduces anxiety while cutting your cleaning time down to just 5-15 minutes a day. That's right!


The Benefits of Setting a Cleaning Schedule It's easy to procrastinate on the house chores; wait until the weekend and designate a "cleaning day." It's a once-a-week thing that keeps the space generally clean and tidy for some of the week, right? But we always feel like little piles begin to stack up a little sooner than you'd like. Sticky handprints, muddy paw-prints, dog hair dust bunnies sneaking under the furniture are relentless and the more we study the human brain, the more we know that a cluttered home can lead to increased stress and feelings of chaos, which - at least for us - bleeds over into other areas of our life. As the to-do list piles up, our energy dips and getting organized seems unsurmountable. We may even end up completely avoiding our designated "cleaning day" because we feel too overwhelmed to begin. With regards to our physical health, a cluttered home is not typically a very clean home either. Dust is a major concern here---especially for those with young children or allergies, and bacteria from neglected bathrooms, kitchens, floors, etc. can wind up causing repetitive health problems that only make things worse. We share this not to scare or shame! We've frequently been overwhelmed by these issues ourselves, and it’s good to be reminded of how directly connected our health of our bodies is to the health of our homes. Ready for some good news? You can start to change this right now by setting a simple cleaning schedule that takes only 5-15 minutes a day, and we’re going to show you how.

Introducing the No-Stress Cleaning Schedule We like to think of this cleaning strategy as interval-training. The point being, you want to get as much done in as small a space of time as possible, while maximizing results. Research shows your brain is better able to handle and complete large tasks when they’re broken up into smaller, more focused components. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a room-by-room schedule. Here’s how it works: every day you pick a room, assign a household member to it, and dedicate 5-15 minutes to cleaning it. How much time it takes depends on the size and scope of the room and how organized you are out-of-the-gate. If you’re a morning person, take advantage of that energy to get it done then. If you’re a night owl, tackle it after work or after dinner. The point is to spend a little time every day as opposed to a huge, overwhelming chunk of time once a week...and forget perfection. Good enough is good enough, and it’ll get better and better the more you practice. That’s it, and it’s so simple.

Here’s Your Stress Free Room-by-Room Cleaning Checklist Alright, set your timers. We want these rooms done in 15 minutes or LESS!

Kitchen Day: schedule this one the day before trash pick up, that way you can get rid of old food without creating a smelly trash situation.

  • Start by cleaning your kitchen sink. Let cleaning solution sit while you run through the rest of the list, then rinse well.

  • Clean out and dispose of any old or expired items from the fridge

  • Wipe down countertops

  • Wipe down fridge and other appliances

  • Sweep and mop floor. We love microfiber and steam mops!

  • Empty all household trash cans into kitchen trash and take out so it’s ready for the next day

Living Room Day:

  • Do a quick pickup of magazines, books, glasses, toys, etc.

  • Vacuum or sweep/mop the floors.

  • Dust all surfaces with microfibers or unscented Swiffers.

Laundry Room Day:

  • Hang up or put away any clothes.

  • Dust off washer and dryer with microfibers or an unscented Swiffer, and wipe clean with a safe all-purpose cleaner.

  • Vacuum or sweep/mop the floors.

Bathroom Day: Quick version (helpful when company is coming over or you only have 5 minutes):

  • Shake bath mats outside.

  • Change hand towels.

  • Spray down and clean counters and sink.

  • Clean mirrors.

  • Sweep floor.

Thorough version:

  • Remove bath mats and last week’s towels for washing.

  • Empty trash.

  • Spray down tub, let sit 5 minutes then rinse.

  • Clean mirrors.

  • Clean sink.

  • Sweep or vacuum bathroom floor, then mop.

Bedroom(s) Day: We typically like to tackle all our bedrooms in one go, but you can break it up into different days if you prefer. No matter what, plan to strip all the sheets in one day.

  • Strip sheets, replace/wash.

  • Vacuum.

  • Dust off surfaces. Don't forget fan blades!

Playroom Day (if applicable):

  • Vacuum or mop floors

  • Wipe down table tops and chairs with safe all-purpose spray

  • Take 5 minutes to re-organize toys/books. Baskets and cube shelves are great for keeping it simple.

Dining Room Day (if your eating area is part of your kitchen you can do this the same day as your kitchen routine):

  • Wipe down table

  • Give high chairs/boosters a good clean.

  • Vacuum/mop floor.

Speed Things Up by Getting Organized 5-15 minutes may not seem like a lot of time to clean a whole kitchen or bathroom, BUT it is possible so long as you’re organized and forget perfection. For example, save time by having all your cleaning supplies, microfibers, etc. in one portable spot, like a cleaning caddy. Taking a little time to get some hooks, trays, and dividers for your kitchen and bathroom drawers ensures everything has its place and makes for speedy tidying.

Customize Your Cleaning Schedule Keep in mind, this schedule is entirely customizable based on the size of your home, your personal schedule, and your lifestyle. Here are some fun ways to customize:

  • Don’t want to clean every day?

  • Combine more than one room into one day, if it takes 20 minutes instead of 15 no big deal. We'll let it slide.

  • Vacuum/clean all your floors or do all your laundry in one day. That’ll shorten up your daily room-by-room routine. Using the time-delay feature on your washer can also help get more laundry done while you sleep.

  • If you have a roommate, spouse, partner, or family around have them pitch in one day (or more) a week. This could mean everyone takes care of their own bedroom or everyone gets assigned a room on a weekend to tidy up.

One final word of encouragement: the hardest part of starting a new cleaning schedule---or any new routine or habit---is actually starting. But you’ve already started mentally by reading this article, so your next step is to print out these lists and start applying what you’ve learned. Once you get going, it will become second-nature and you’ll have better health and happiness to show for it. You’ve got this and if you need help swapping out cleaning products for safer, non-toxic options, we've got you!



Sources:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12144-017-9679-4

  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

  3. https://www.webmd.com/women/features/places-germs-hide#1


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