How to Clean Your Entire House (The Good Enough Method)

I am not what you’d call a fastidious housekeeper. I do alright keeping the place generally tidy, but when it comes to wiping, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing I sort of suck. Over the years, though, thanks to the help of Flylady and my own sense of efficiency, I’ve developed a method of getting the whole place reasonably clean in and hour or two.

I tend to think of housekeeping in a hierarchy. Dishes and laundry are the most crucial elements of survival, and I prefer to at least get the dishes done before I start any more intensive cleaning. Having the sink clear makes it easier to move through some of the later tasks. Laundry, however, is easy enough to just stuff in a closet until I’ve got time to deal with it. I approach most of housekeeping like this-moving from one layer of cleanliness to the next so that if I don’t have time to do everything I want at least I knocked out the most important things first. So here’s my list:

  1. Wash the dishes. Wipe out the sink while you’re at it.
  2. Put things away. I go around the whole house and put away anything that is out of place. This gets me ready for the next step.
  3. Dust everywhere. Whether you prefer to use a cloth or a dusting wand or whatever, your goal is to knock as much dirt as possible to the floor where it can be picked up by the vacuum. I even dust the counters and toilets.
  4. Wipe down surfaces. I use a spray bottle of vinegar, a magic eraser, and a cotton cloth or paper towels to wipe everything down. Kitchen counters, light switches, stair railings, glass tables and mirrors, and lastly the bathroom counter and toilet.
  5. Quick-clean the bathrooms. Having just wiped things down in the bathroom, I squirt some soap into the toilet (usually just whatever’s handy-hand soap or old shampoo or body wash) and swish it around. If the tub needs attention I’ll give it a quick rinse, then come back and scrub the toilet a little more.
  6. Vacuum everywhere. I have all wood and tile floors but I still use a vacuum. I just find it so much easier than sweeping or swiffering! You can read more about my love for my vacuum here. I vacuum all the floors, shaking out small rugs as I go and using the upholstery attachment to hit any spots that are particularly laden with pet hair. And here’s a tip-put a few drops of your favorite perfume, fragrance, or essential oil onto a cotton ball and suck it up with your vacuum. It will scent your whole house as you clean!
  7. Spot clean the floors. I rarely make it this far, but if I have time I use a swiffer-like contraption with a regular washcloth attached to it to clean high-traffic areas. For the wood, I spray vinegar down and then wipe wipe wipe. For tile, I mix warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a big cup and pour it onto the floor a little bit at a time as I scrub. I use such little soap that there’s no need to rinse.

Like I said, I’m by no means an expert. This is just what works for me and my laziness. This routine takes me 1-2 hours and my goal is to do it every Friday afternoon to get the house clean for the weekend, but in reality the littlest thing can throw me off and I will often go two weeks or more without cleaning. But as long as I keep on top of the basic things in the meantime-washing dishes, picking up after myself, and doing at least enough laundry to keep us in clean underwear-then it’s easy for me to get the house back to company-ready condition while Jack takes a long nap.

Please note that while I said “company-ready,” that is not actually the goal of this routine. I don’t do it on Monday to get ready for weekday playdates, I do it on Friday to get ready for family time spent hanging out at home. The people who live here are the most important people in my world and I want the house to be clean for us, not for anybody else. It’s so nice to be able to spend Saturday and Sunday cooking breakfast and snuggling on the sofa without worrying about a messy house. If a friend comes over on a Thursday and sees my house at its worst, well then I hope she loves me enough to not care.

Thanks for reading, y’all! I’ll be cleaning house this afternoon to get ready for an exciting weekend. See you Monday!

image from here

4 Responses to “How to Clean Your Entire House (The Good Enough Method)”

  1. Dee July 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    That pretty much sums it up at my casa! Love the hand soap in the toilet. Now I know I am not the only one!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Hahaha, no you’re definitely not alone!

  2. Aria July 15, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    i’m always on the lookout for helpful cleaning routines, and this is awesome! i know it’s monday but i will probably be implementing it today in an effort to whip the house into shape after the weekend.

    oh and i thought i might share this with you:

    it’s a housecleaning schedule that i found on pinterest. i’ve been trying to use it but i’m sure you understand that with a one year old that doesn’t always happen, but i like the idea of doing just a little bit every day.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 17, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      Oh, I love that routine you linked to! I can’t bring myself to clean every day, but I might use it as a guide for my big weekly clean. Thanks for sharing!

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