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How to Clean a Room, Easily and Effectively, Top to

Bottom

by Maria Gracia Join our newsletter to be notified when the newest Organizing Article is available. Cleaning. Most people don’t love doing it and some folks are downright overwhelmed getting started, especially if it has been neglected for a while. That being said, we all know cleaning is necessary for ensuring our homes are liveable, presentable, orderly, and safe, healthy environments for ourselves and our families. I do something I call the one-room-at-a-time method. It helps to ease those feelings of overwhelm, gives me the opportunity to keep up with cleaning before it gets out of hand, helps me zone in and focus on one thing at a time which results in a more thorough job, and provides me and my family with a clean, healthy environment each day. The premise is simple, a) choose one room in your home, b) focus on that one room only, and c) clean it for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much time and energy you are willing to invest on that particular day. Set your timer, and start. That’s it. If that’s not enough time to get the room totally clean, no sweat. You can continue for another 15-30 minutes immediately, or the next day. Don’t move onto another room, however, until the original one you were cleaning is clean. Also note, we’re not looking for perfection here. So, don’t invest endless days and time in one room. Unless you’ve neglected a particular room for weeks or months, a little bit of dusting and vacuuming will do the trick in the living areas and bedrooms…and a little bit of wiping and sweeping takes care of the bathrooms and kitchen. I do this one-room-at-a-time method 4 days a week, and then save one day a week for a more involved cleaning project such as completely emptying and cleaning a bookcase or cleaning out the fridge. I also don’t do any room cleaning two days a week, which gives me two non-cleaning days to look forward to…(except for tiny jobs like wiping a wet counter dry or something that takes a few seconds). Here’s my system for cleaning a room. I’ve included additional information for individual rooms, as well as some ideas for alternate cleaning routines. Let's get started.

1.

Cleaning is most easily done in a clutter-free room

What does that mean? It means removing extra "stuff" sitting around that does not belong where it is—yesterday's newspapers on the coffee table, toys that belong in your child's room, etc. Cleaning is much easier if clutter is cleared first. That does not mean that you have to sort all the Legos you found on the living room floor. Put the toys in a box and deliver them to your child's room. The pile of mail can be neatly stacked in its designated place to sort later. Newspapers go to the recycle bin. Tidying before cleaning should be quick work; just take stuff to the room where it belongs and get back to your cleaning project. When clutter is put away, for the most part, you are ready to actually clean.

2.

Get your cleaning arsenal together

Everyone has their favorite cleaning supplies. I keep mine as basic as possible. For floors, I have a dust mop, a broom, and a wet mop. I alternate these depending on the cleaning needed. For dusting, I have a feather duster (with a telescoping handle) and a microfiber cloth. I use the vacuum cleaner for carpets and rugs…as well as a hand vacuum for small jobs. My basic cleaning solutions consist of glass cleaner, a disinfecting multi-purpose cleaner, and toilet cleaner (along with a toilet brush set.) I also have a stash of cleaning rags, especially designated for cleaning. I have a few other speciality cleaning solutions stowed away for occasional jobs, but those I just mentioned are in my everyday cleaning arsenal.

3.

Start at the top and work to the bottom

Rooms should be cleaned top to bottom. This is because dust or other dirt is dislodged at the top and drifts down. Look up. What do you see? Crown molding, or the place where walls and ceilings meet, is a good place to start with a long handled duster. Go after dust and cobwebs, all the way around the room. Look at the ceiling. Cobwebs can appear in the most unexpected spots. Look at light fixtures and ceiling fans and dust those off.

4.

Continue dusting

Focusing on one wall of the room at a time, dust everything along the walls—light switches, picture frames, non-upholstered furniture, especially the horizontal surfaces, blinds, and anything on shelves. If you have baseboards, dust them as well.

5.

Damp clean

You may find that some things, like light switches, need a little extra work. Use a damp cloth to remove fingerprints and more serious dirt. Baseboards may need to be damp- cleaned if they are really dirty. A melamine eraser is good for getting spots off of baseboards or walls, but use it gently so as not to take off paint. Plants get dusty, especially those with large leaves. Wipe them with a damp cloth. Smaller plants may benefit from a watering under the sink…or some simple spritzing from a water spray bottle.

6.

Move on to the furniture and lamps

We have a leather sofa in our living room. I use the brush attachment on the vacuum to quickly extract any crumbs or debris. Remember to vacuum upholstered crevices, like where the sofa cushions meet the  back and places your pets are especially fond of. (Of course, the less your pets are on your furniture, the less cleaning you’ll have to tackle.) I use a damp cloth to wipe the leather sofa if needed.  Upholstered furniture can benefit from vacuuming. Spot-cleaning will depend; some upholstery is professional clean only. Some lamps can be quickly dusted with a microfiber duster, feature duster, or the vacuum attachment.

7.

Curtains and floors are next

Curtains can be vacuumed gently if needed. If that’s not doing the job, you’ll have to add this to your TO DO list as a cleaning project for another day. Vacuum or sweep, and damp or wet- mop hard surfaces. Vacuum rugs and carpets. And yes, periodically, you’ll need to clean under the bed, dressers, sofa, oven, or refrigerator. Don’t try to these by yourself…and use furniture sliders to help you more furniture more easily.

8.

Mirrors and windows

Clean mirrors and any stainless steel with glass cleaner. Honestly, even if you do nothing else, just removing water spots and such from these surfaces will automatically give whatever room you’re in a cleaner, more presentable appearance. You may also wish to clean the inside of the room's windows when you clean the room. Then again, you may prefer to set time aside and do windows on another day.

9.

Don’t forget the finishing touches

Finally, look around for what little odds and ends remain. Perhaps the books on the shelf need to be lined up, or the pillows require plumping? Are throws neatly folded? Books or magazines on a table can be neatly stacked perpendicular to the edge of the table. As you’re cleaning, make a note of any particular little jobs that need doing, such as paint touch-ups, grouting, caulking, etc. Add these to your Cleaning Projects list. That is basic cleaning, but not all of it needs to be done every time. Tasks like dusting crown molding, baseboards, ceiling fans, and blinds might be every couple of months or as required. Every home is different, and everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to cleaning.

Now let's go room-by-room for cleaning that is specific to those rooms only…

Living rooms/family rooms/dining rooms

Most folks have framed art in these rooms. I exclusively dry-dust these. Never use glass- cleaner on framed art. The liquid can seep behind the glass. Don’t forget to clean the TV screen…I exclusively use a micro-fiber duster for this purpose. I also quickly dry-dust any wires or cords…these get incredibly dusty if you neglect them. Don’t toss stuff on the dining room table. It’s much easier to clean if it’s clear.

Bedrooms

Make your bed every day. It automatically gives the bedroom a cleaner, more orderly appearance. Hang clothes that have been tossed over chairs or put them in the hamper if they require laundering. Fingerprints on walls may be more likely in kids bedrooms. Keep an eye out for them.

Bathrooms

Of all the rooms in most homes, the bathrooms can take the most time and can be the least enjoyable to do. The trick is keeping bathrooms as clean as possible on a daily basis. A few days a week, use your preferred product to clean the toilet bowl; pour it in and let it work while you are wiping the mirrors clean, for instance. If toothpaste gets on the counter, wipe it up immediately. Do a quick clean of the shower, while you’re in the shower. You’re already wet…it’s a great way to keep up with keeping it clean. Clean the bathtub, when you’re done taking a bath. Don’t give that bathtub ring a chance to form. Bathmats and shower curtains will need to be cleaned now and then. Add them to your Cleaning Projects TO DO list.

Kitchen

My biggest tip here is, when you’re cooking, clean as you go. Don’t allow today’s meals to be tomorrow’s messes. If something “explodes” or spills in the microwave, handle that job immediately. Organize and clean a shelf in the refrigerator or dust the top of the refrigerator, while you are waiting for water to boil. Clean the outside of a cabinet or two while you’re waiting for something to microwave. With cooking comes waiting time. Use it to clean something in the kitchen. 

Laundry room

Be sure the dryer vent is clean. When lint is removed, throw it away. Don’t forget to clean the “inside” of the washer now and then. It gets really grimy under the rim, in the detergent dispenser, and where you pour liquid fabric softener.

Basements, attics, and garages

Definitely don’t neglect regular dusting and vacuuming in these rooms. Also, avoid storing any food products in these rooms that aren’t in unopened cans because you may be inviting pests…which will then involve many challenges, cleaning and beyond.

A quick word about cleaning routines

If you don’t love the clean-a-room-at-a-time method, you might prefer focusing on dusting only one day, vacuuming only another day, and mopping only on yet another day, and so on. I don’t do this because I prefer knowing that each room was given my individual and focused attention…and I like knowing that a room “is done.” But that’s just me. You have to do what feels best for you. Some folks like to do a basic full housecleaning of every room once a week. This takes more dedicated time on that one day, but then the job is done until next week. Those working outside the home may only have time on weekends. Someone having company over might just concentrate on the rooms their guests will see. If you have other family living at home, teaming up with other family members can get cleaning done in a fraction of the time. Clean together in one room, or divide the family up and tackle many rooms at one time. I hope I have given you some ideas on cleaning your home and keeping it neat. Perhaps I have also given you an idea or two about cleaning routines. When regular cleaning is a habit, it feels less of a chore. While cleaning, you might want to chat with a friend or listen to your favorite music or podcast. These can make the process more enjoyable. There is pleasure to living in a clean space and a sense of accomplishment for having created it. As you find the cleaning practice that works best for you, you may even find you enjoy the process as well as the outcome. I’ve even come to find cleaning as the perfect opportunity for productive meditation…counting my blessings and finding happiness in something I can do that doesn’t take a whole lot of thinking. Back to Organizing Articles Index
cleaning routines make cleaning so much easier rubber gloves and a spray bottle for water vacuum curtains and rugs use a static duster to clean dust from mirrors fast organized cleaning routines help save time
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Back to Organizing Articles Index

How to Clean a Room, Easily and

Effectively, Top to Bottom

by Maria Gracia Join our newsletter to be notified when the newest Organizing Article is available. Cleaning. Most people don’t love doing it and some folks are downright overwhelmed getting started, especially if it has been neglected for a while. That being said, we all know cleaning is necessary for ensuring our homes are liveable, presentable, orderly, and safe, healthy environments for ourselves and our families. I do something I call the one-room-at-a- time method. It helps to ease those feelings of overwhelm, gives me the opportunity to keep up with cleaning before it gets out of hand, helps me zone in and focus on one thing at a time which results in a more thorough job, and provides me and my family with a clean, healthy environment each day. The premise is simple, a) choose one room in your home, b) focus on that one room only, and c) clean it for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much time and energy you are willing to invest on that particular day. Set your timer, and start. That’s it. If that’s not enough time to get the room totally clean, no sweat. You can continue for another 15-30 minutes immediately, or the next day. Don’t move onto another room, however, until the original one you were cleaning is clean. Also note, we’re not looking for perfection here. So, don’t invest endless days and time in one room. Unless you’ve neglected a particular room for weeks or months, a little bit of dusting and vacuuming will do the trick in the living areas and bedrooms…and a little bit of wiping and sweeping takes care of the bathrooms and kitchen. I do this one-room-at-a-time method 4 days a week, and then save one day a week for a more involved cleaning project such as completely emptying and cleaning a bookcase or cleaning out the fridge. I also don’t do any room cleaning two days a week, which gives me two non-cleaning days to look forward to…(except for tiny jobs like wiping a wet counter dry or something that takes a few seconds). Here’s my system for cleaning a room. I’ve included additional information for individual rooms, as well as some ideas for alternate cleaning routines. Let's get started.

1.

Cleaning is most easily done in a

clutter-free room

What does that mean? It means removing extra "stuff" sitting around that does not belong where it is—yesterday's newspapers on the coffee table, toys that belong in your child's room, etc. Cleaning is much easier if clutter is cleared first. That does not mean that you have to sort all the Legos you found on the living room floor. Put the toys in a box and deliver them to your child's room. The pile of mail can be neatly stacked in its designated place to sort later. Newspapers go to the recycle bin. Tidying before cleaning should be quick work; just take stuff to the room where it belongs and get back to your cleaning project. When clutter is put away, for the most part, you are ready to actually clean.

2.

Get your cleaning arsenal together

Everyone has their favorite cleaning supplies. I keep mine as basic as possible. For floors, I have a dust mop, a broom, and a wet mop. I alternate these depending on the cleaning needed. For dusting, I have a feather duster (with a telescoping handle) and a microfiber cloth. I use the vacuum cleaner for carpets and rugs…as well as a hand vacuum for small jobs. My basic cleaning solutions consist of glass cleaner, a disinfecting multi-purpose cleaner, and toilet cleaner (along with a toilet brush set.) I also have a stash of cleaning rags, especially designated for cleaning. I have a few other speciality cleaning solutions stowed away for occasional jobs, but those I just mentioned are in my everyday cleaning arsenal.

3.

Start at the top and work to the

bottom

Rooms should be cleaned top to bottom. This is because dust or other dirt is dislodged at the top and drifts down. Look up. What do you see? Crown molding, or the place where walls and ceilings meet, is a good place to start with a long handled duster. Go after dust and cobwebs, all the way around the room. Look at the ceiling. Cobwebs can appear in the most unexpected spots. Look at light fixtures and ceiling fans and dust those off.

4.

Continue dusting

Focusing on one wall of the room at a time, dust everything along the walls—light switches, picture frames, non-upholstered furniture, especially the horizontal surfaces, blinds, and anything on shelves. If you have baseboards, dust them as well.

5.

Damp clean

You may find that some things, like light switches, need a little extra work. Use a damp cloth to remove fingerprints and more serious dirt. Baseboards may need to be damp-cleaned if they are really dirty. A melamine eraser is good for getting spots off of baseboards or walls, but use it gently so as not to take off paint. Plants get dusty, especially those with large leaves. Wipe them with a damp cloth. Smaller plants may benefit from a watering under the sink…or some simple spritzing from a water spray bottle.

6.

Move on to the furniture and lamps

We have a leather sofa in our living room. I use the brush attachment on the vacuum to quickly extract any crumbs or debris. Remember to vacuum upholstered crevices, like where the sofa cushions meet the  back and places your pets are especially fond of. (Of course, the less your pets are on your furniture, the less cleaning you’ll have to tackle.) I use a damp cloth to wipe the leather sofa if needed.  Upholstered furniture can benefit from vacuuming. Spot-cleaning will depend; some upholstery is professional clean only. Some lamps can be quickly dusted with a microfiber duster, feature duster, or the vacuum attachment.

7.

Curtains and floors are next

Curtains can be vacuumed gently if needed. If that’s not doing the job, you’ll have to add this to your TO DO list as a cleaning project for another day. Vacuum or sweep, and damp or wet-mop hard surfaces. Vacuum rugs and carpets. And yes, periodically, you’ll need to clean under the bed, dressers, sofa, oven, or refrigerator. Don’t try to these by yourself…and use furniture sliders to help you more furniture more easily.

8.

Mirrors and windows

Clean mirrors and any stainless steel with glass cleaner. Honestly, even if you do nothing else, just removing water spots and such from these surfaces will automatically give whatever room you’re in a cleaner, more presentable appearance. You may also wish to clean the inside of the room's windows when you clean the room. Then again, you may prefer to set time aside and do windows on another day.

9.

Don’t forget the finishing touches

Finally, look around for what little odds and ends remain. Perhaps the books on the shelf need to be lined up, or the pillows require plumping? Are throws neatly folded? Books or magazines on a table can be neatly stacked perpendicular to the edge of the table. As you’re cleaning, make a note of any particular little jobs that need doing, such as paint touch-ups, grouting, caulking, etc. Add these to your Cleaning Projects list. That is basic cleaning, but not all of it needs to be done every time. Tasks like dusting crown molding, baseboards, ceiling fans, and blinds might be every couple of months or as required. Every home is different, and everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to cleaning.

Now let's go room-by-room for

cleaning that is specific to those

rooms only…

Living rooms/family rooms/dining

rooms

Most folks have framed art in these rooms. I exclusively dry-dust these. Never use glass- cleaner on framed art. The liquid can seep behind the glass. Don’t forget to clean the TV screen…I exclusively use a micro-fiber duster for this purpose. I also quickly dry-dust any wires or cords…these get incredibly dusty if you neglect them. Don’t toss stuff on the dining room table. It’s much easier to clean if it’s clear.

Bedrooms

Make your bed every day. It automatically gives the bedroom a cleaner, more orderly appearance. Hang clothes that have been tossed over chairs or put them in the hamper if they require laundering. Fingerprints on walls may be more likely in kids bedrooms. Keep an eye out for them.

Bathrooms

Of all the rooms in most homes, the bathrooms can take the most time and can be the least enjoyable to do. The trick is keeping bathrooms as clean as possible on a daily basis. A few days a week, use your preferred product to clean the toilet bowl; pour it in and let it work while you are wiping the mirrors clean, for instance. If toothpaste gets on the counter, wipe it up immediately. Do a quick clean of the shower, while you’re in the shower. You’re already wet…it’s a great way to keep up with keeping it clean. Clean the bathtub, when you’re done taking a bath. Don’t give that bathtub ring a chance to form. Bathmats and shower curtains will need to be cleaned now and then. Add them to your Cleaning Projects TO DO list.

Kitchen

My biggest tip here is, when you’re cooking, clean as you go. Don’t allow today’s meals to be tomorrow’s messes. If something “explodes” or spills in the microwave, handle that job immediately. Organize and clean a shelf in the refrigerator or dust the top of the refrigerator, while you are waiting for water to boil. Clean the outside of a cabinet or two while you’re waiting for something to microwave. With cooking comes waiting time. Use it to clean something in the kitchen. 

Laundry room

Be sure the dryer vent is clean. When lint is removed, throw it away. Don’t forget to clean the “inside” of the washer now and then. It gets really grimy under the rim, in the detergent dispenser, and where you pour liquid fabric softener.

Basements, attics, and garages

Definitely don’t neglect regular dusting and vacuuming in these rooms. Also, avoid storing any food products in these rooms that aren’t in unopened cans because you may be inviting pests…which will then involve many challenges, cleaning and beyond.

A quick word about cleaning

routines

If you don’t love the clean-a-room-at-a-time method, you might prefer focusing on dusting only one day, vacuuming only another day, and mopping only on yet another day, and so on. I don’t do this because I prefer knowing that each room was given my individual and focused attention…and I like knowing that a room “is done.” But that’s just me. You have to do what feels best for you. Some folks like to do a basic full housecleaning of every room once a week. This takes more dedicated time on that one day, but then the job is done until next week. Those working outside the home may only have time on weekends. Someone having company over might just concentrate on the rooms their guests will see. If you have other family living at home, teaming up with other family members can get cleaning done in a fraction of the time. Clean together in one room, or divide the family up and tackle many rooms at one time. I hope I have given you some ideas on cleaning your home and keeping it neat. Perhaps I have also given you an idea or two about cleaning routines. When regular cleaning is a habit, it feels less of a chore. While cleaning, you might want to chat with a friend or listen to your favorite music or podcast. These can make the process more enjoyable. There is pleasure to living in a clean space and a sense of accomplishment for having created it. As you find the cleaning practice that works best for you, you may even find you enjoy the process as well as the outcome. I’ve even come to find cleaning as the perfect opportunity for productive meditation…counting my blessings and finding happiness in something I can do that doesn’t take a whole lot of thinking. Back to Organizing Articles Index
organize your cleaning tools cleaning routines make cleaning so much easier rubber gloves and a spray bottle for water vacuum curtains and rugs use a static duster to clean dust from mirrors fast organized cleaning routines help save time get rid of clutter as you are cleaning
Copyright 1998 - 2021 Get Organized Now!™ 611 Arlington Way, Watertown, WI 53094 This page may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you buy something from one of those links. -- Thanks.
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