Life Skills: A Clean Home

I have to be honest. I am not a skilled nor strong housekeeper. In fact, I’m looking for help in the house because of medical reasons, so there’s that. I did ask for advice, tips and tricks on facebook (there’s that social media again!), so I hope to be able to share some helpful words with you here.

Pinterest is full of advice and I even found this board on Cleaning 101: There are numerous websites dedicated to cleaning tips and tricks (like flylady), and we’ll list some of the sites we found here:

FlyLady is really good about emphasizing baby steps, charts, setting goals, working in manageable sections and within reasonable times. She divides the house into “zones” and that’s the day’s focus, in addition to regular maintenance of the kitchen and other rooms. Her suggestions and ideas work for thousands, if not millions, and there are websites that go over how to make the zone idea work for the personal house (even with small children pitching in).

Remember the advice to clean from the top to the bottom (covered in the hygiene post). When working in a room with ceiling fans, that’s the item to start on for the cleaning session because gathered dust will fall to the floor. Once the “trash” has hit the floor, it’s a simple matter of sweeping and mopping.

So for deep cleaning, I like to turn on music and “bust a groove”. FlyLady recommends setting a timer for 15 minutes, or 10 minutes, 5 minutes – whatever works for the individual.

When cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, wipe from the top down so that sugar, salt, crumbs, various other trash ends up on the floor. In the kitchen, do the dishes after the counters have been wiped but not yet cleaned; this way, any water that spills or splashes hits the floor and the not-yet-cleaned counters. Wipe down the microwave, if it’s been heavily splattered and stained a bowl of water with either vinegar or lemon juice for about a minute helps loosen the stuck-on food. Baking soda and dawn dish soap apparently make a nice paste (look on pinterest for that one) that can be used on the counters, microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, etc. Let it set for several minutes (approximately 15) before rinsing. It is very important that the scrubbed areas get rinsed. Once the dishes have been washed and set to dry (unless you dry as you go, as some do), finish wiping down the counters, table and chairs. Sweep from side to side, picking up the broom to return to your start position. Run the broom around the underside of the bottom cabinets and floor, sweep into the center of the room, and gather the trash into the dustpan. Mop with fresh hot water, rinsing often. Work from the far wall and mop yourself out to the living room or other room, rinse the mop a final time, and put the mop head up off the floor when putting it away. Have a dedicated spot for the mop and broom.

dishes done

In the bathroom, wipe down the walls, mirrors, counters and sinks. Using a separate sponge or paper towels, wipe down the top of the toilet, the handle (to flush), the front of the tank, behind the seat, the seat and under the seat. Using a safe toilet-bowl cleaner, follow package directions. Wipe down the base of the toilet. Depending on your floors, you’ll then sweep, running the broom around the baseboard and moving into the center of the room. Mop, starting on the far wall (in our bathroom, that’s the edge of the tub and behind the toilet) and work your way into the hall or bedroom.

really clean pretty bathroom

The type of floors in your house determine which type of cleaning supplies you’ll need: broom, mop, vacuum, swiffer, steamer, etc. Remove all dirty dishes, laundry, mail/papers, and trash, even if that means putting things into boxes or bags. In the living room, office, den, family room, or whichever other rooms that are not bedrooms, you’ll start by dusting every hard surface. Remember, the dust will settle on the floor. This is a good thing as it can then be swept or vacuumed up from there. Wipe down the entertainment center, the coffee and end tables, and the lamps, bookshelves, etc. Vacuum the furniture with the upholstery attachment. Steam it, if you have a steamer, and allow it to dry.


In the bedrooms, wipe down/dust the ceiling fans, dressers and chests of drawers, headboard and footboard – any hard surface. Gather up the trash, laundry, and anything else that doesn’t belong. Find a home for it. Vacuum or sweep and mop.

And now, relax. We’ll worry about “the rest” of the stuff later. That’s where FlyLady’s zones come in very handy. The daily stuff would be dishes, laundry, wiping down counters, picking up trash and cleaning off hard surfaces, and maybe even running the vacuum in heavily-trafficked areas or the broom if the dirt/dust has built up.

I’m sure there’s other areas to be covered, such as making the bed, putting away the laundry, etc. And, of course, daily hygiene and personal care. I hope this helps. Cleaning, especially deep cleaning, can be a big job, overwhelming at times, and it’s best to figure out how it works for you. Maybe work in small bits, using the timer, setting a goal to just finish the kitchen or living room. Start with the smallest room, or the one with the least amount of work, so you feel accomplished. Work through each room, starting at the door and go clockwise.

One Thought on “Life Skills: A Clean Home

  1. I suggest natural, non-toxic cleaners for those who may have small children.

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