Cleanliness Is Next To Manliness

I will readily admit it. I am a bit of a clean freak.

No, not the OCD, “I must pick up every dirty dish before I go to bed type” but instead the “I like things nice and tidy” type.

I have been like this most of my life. I actually started doing my own laundry at 12 years old because I wasn’t pleased with how my mom was doing the wash! No problem for her she, was happy to have one less chore. And now that I have a child, I am quite proud of the fact that he takes after dad. He picks up his room, throws away his trash, and puts his dirty dishes in the sink. Better to have him that way than to be raising a son who is a pig.

So, with all that said, you can imagine that our house is clean and organized. Many people ask me (especially since I am a single parent) who our house keeper is and I proudly say “we don’t have one!” But I am sure that you are thinking that it takes a lot of effort to clean and I can tell you that it simply does not. I spend about 30 minutes, twice a week cleaning and that is all. The secret is to not let the place become the city dump and then it doesn’t need a cleaning crew to get it back on track. Here its my basic schedule.

KITCHEN (TAKES ABOUT 10 MINUTES)

We cook a lot and the kitchen gets dirty a lot. I always start with the sink. Keep it clean, shining, and … empty. Clutter is your enemy. A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen’s benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stove spick-and-span (also, once a month I clean out the fridge completely).

* Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher

* Wipe down the stove

* Wipe down the counters

* Sweep, wet mop and/or vacuum the floor

* Take out the trash.

I use a scented bleach spray/disinfectant (or wipes) in the kitchen to clean almost everything. It kills germs and smells good.

BATHROOMS (ANOTHER 10 MINUTES)

I have a habit of cleaning the sink and counters every time I use them. You will be surprised at at how much time this saves. Again, I swear by the scented bleach spray/disinfectant (or wipes) in here as well.

* Wipe out the sink. Wipe the toilet seat and rim

* Clean the toilet bowl with a brush

* Wipe the mirrors and faucets

* Squeegee the shower door (one trick is to do this after you shower, while you are still in the shower, to save time)

* Wet mop the floors

BEDROOMS (5 MINUTES)

Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A made bed will inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. I know, I know… smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seen like a high priority, but the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the perfect covers.

* Fold or hang clothing and put away odds and ends

* Pick up the night stand (and other furniture) and dust

* Vacuum or sweep

FAMILY ROOM, LIVING ROOM, FOYER, DINING ROOM (FINAL 5 MINUTES)

Start with the sofa. It’s probably the largest piece of furniture so everyone notices it. Once you have the cushions and pillows looking good you’re halfway home.

* Organize and/or pick up the rest of the furnishings

* Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets

* Straighten coffee-table books and magazines, throw out newspapers, put away CDs and videos (and video games in my case)

* Dust. I use a Swiffer duster (with reusable, washable duster covers – now that is a great invention!) that I spray with Lysol as I go along. It smells good and keeps the dust on the duster so it doesn’t fly all over the room.

(Two big time saving tips. 1- I keep the cleaning supplies where I need them and usually in each room (kitchen, bath, etc) I also keep a second set of cleaning stuff upstairs near our play room and secondary bedrooms. You will be amazed how much time this saves. 2- Get in the habit of doing a lot of this work as you go through your day. For instance, after lounging on the couch all evening simply organize the cushions and the coffee table when you get up to go to bed. Takes all of 30 seconds)

There you have it. Simple, straight forward, and man friendly (easy and not a lot of time commitment!) And what about that laundry I mentioned earlier? Yes, I still do it and now I simply throw it is at night while we are watching TV or, if we don’t have Saturday morning plans, I will knock out all the weekly laundry as I start my cleaning routine.

Good luck as you become the best house keeper you have ever had. I think you will be amazed at just how easy this is and how big of an impact a clean, organized home will have on your psyche and your life.