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IWantToLearn : How to clean my apartment as quickly /easily as possible.(r/IWantToLearn)
Okay, okay. We all know prevention is important. But sometimes, homes just need some dedicated cleaning time and being efficient about it makes the work significantly less awful.
The thing that really changed it for me is the idea of limiting steps. When giving my house a deep clean, I found most of my time was spent walking back and forth- returning miscellaneous items to other rooms, fetching slightly different cleaning products etc. Now, I have a dedicated cleaning method. I adapt it slightly to different spaces in my home, but I do more or less the same thing, every room, every time. I learned this method from Melissa Maker (youtube channel CleanMySpace)- highly recommend her channel overall, she answers all sorts of cleaning questions. The vast majority of what I’m saying here is paraphrased from her bathroom and bedroom cleaning videos.
First off, a note on the method. It essentially works by picking a point in the room (generally near the door, but adapt it to whatever room you’re working in), and going in a clockwise circle around the room 3 times, doing a different cleaning task each time. The first wave, you tidy, straighten, and remove items that shouldn’t be there. The second wave, you clean/disinfect/dust/polish the items and surfaces around the room. The third wave, you sweep, vacuum and/or mop. This means you cover all basic cleaning tasks, while minimizing unnecessary movements.
I have a dedicated basket in my house that holds all these cleaning supplies- I take said basket with me into any room I want to clean. The vast vast majority of cleaning situations, I can handle from this kit.
- All purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Tub/Tile cleaner (note- I DIY all these, recipes from this CleanMySpace video)
- Wood Polish
- Microfiber cloths (I keep 3-4, for dusting, cleaning and polishing respectively)
- Glass cleaning cloth – something sturdy, with a flat weave. This is pretty similar to the one I have.
- Non-scratching double sided sponges
- Cleaning toothbrush
- Rubber gloves (for use in bathroom/gross spaces)
- Empty trash bags
- Paper towels
Optional: Music. I bring in something instrumental and beat-driven. No lyrics, medium-fast paced, something I won’t get distracted by. I recommend trying out this website to give you an idea of the type of music I mean. In general though, I will pick a Songza or Pandora playlist, as those players are a little more stable.
I plug in my headphones and carry my cleaning basket, plus a separate empty basket, into whatever room I’m tackling first. When I come into the room, I take a garbage bag out of my cleaning basket. I set the cleaning basket, garbage bag and empty basket somewhere relatively central in the room. At this point, I’m ready to begin.
Wave 1: Tidy
Starting from your starting point (lets say the door), move around your room clockwise. Throw any items that shouldn’t be in that room into the empty basket you brought with you. Put any trash in the trash bag. Straighten up as you go- fluff cushions, adjust decorations, etc. If an item belongs in a different place in the same room, carry it with you until you reach that spot, and put it back in place.
Bedroom: Make the bed as part of wave 1. Throw dirty clothes in the hamper (or a pile that you place in the hamper at the end of the wave). Put clean clothes on the bed and finish the wave by folding them.
Kitchen: Go around the room bringing dishes to the dishwasher/sink. If your counters and/or cooking range are particularly gunked up, you can pre-treat during this stage with some tile cleaner or all purpose. Finish by washing whatever dishes you have to.
Bathroom: pretreat the toilet and shower/bath with tub/tile cleaner as part of wave 1- this gives the products time to break down buildup. This is also a good time to use toilet bowl cleaner if you have it. Same goes for if you’re using disinfectant or a cleaner with disinfectant in it- all these things work best when you apply the product, give it some time to sit, and come back and scrub 5-10 minutes later.
By the time you’ve completed the first circle, the room should be tidy and ready for some deeper cleaning.
Wave 2: Surface Cleaning
Back to your start point. You can be really thorough here by doing one more quick circle around the room, attaching a microfiber cloth to a mop pole with a rubber band and using it to get cobwebs and clean the upper corners of your room. I don’t do this step often, maybe once every few months.
I do the majority of this step using just all-purpose and a microfiber cloth. Starting from your start point and working from high on the wall (shelves, pictures etc) to low near the floor (tables, baseboards), move around the circle again. Spray surfaces as needed, spray the cloth for small things. Pay special attention to points of contact- light switches, drawer pulls, door handles etc. These things get grimy faster than other places. Feel free to switch cleaning tools as needed- this is especially true in the bathroom, where I’ll use a lot of different products. Switching tools/cleaners shouldn’t take a lot of time or steps, as long as your cleaning basket is near the center of the room.
In the bathroom, if you let the tile cleaner sit during wave 1, the grime in the shower should lift pretty quickly with a sponge and some elbow grease. Rinse with water, and (optional) bring a squeegee to quickly remove the water to prevent future buildup. I switch to paper towels for cleaning on/around the toilet, so as not to contaminate my cloths. Get small details (around faucets, counter corners etc) with a cleaning toothbrush. If you have hard water deposits on metal fixtures in the bathroom, you can soak a rag or an old shirt in vinegar and wrap it around the fixture, let it sit for an hour or so and come back and give it a good scrub- the deposits should lift. If any bit of gunk or grime (in any room really) gives you trouble, sprinkle on some baking soda for light abrasion. A little more cleaning product on a toothbrush or sponge applied to this baking soda should form a paste that’ll get through the tough spots. I keep baking soda in the fridge for longevity, but if I know I’m going into a room with a tough cleaning job in it, I’ll put this in my cleaning basket before I start.
Outside the bathroom, the all-purpose should cover most cleaning tasks. Switch to wood polish if you like for wood furniture, and get windows and mirrors with a glass cleaner. Work your way around the room in the same clockwise circle until you reach the start point. By the time you get to the start, all surfaces should be clean.
Wave 3: Floors
At this point, I generally set my cleaning basket, my ‘moving things’ basket and my trash bag outside the door, and I get whatever floor cleaners I need. In carpeted rooms, this is a vacuum- in tile rooms, a broom, dustpan and mop of choice.
Note: My place has a relatively small kitchen and bathroom, and all other areas are carpeted- I do my ‘mopping’ on my hands and knees with a tile cleaner and another microfiber cloth. This is more work intensive, but for a small space it’s still manageable and makes more sense than a mop.
This step should be pretty self explanatory. With a vacuum, I like to go around the baseboards and get any tricky edges/corners with a brush attachment- I do one circle around the room this way. Then I get myself to the corner furthest from the exit and work my way backward towards the door. If I have big furniture that’s easy to move (tables, chairs) I’ll move them so I can clean under. Same thing with mopping- get down into the edges/corners first with all purpose and a cloth. Then just sweep up debris, throw it in the trash and mop the rest. When I mop I also start in the corner opposite from the door and work back towards the door- this way you can leave the room without getting your feet wet.
By the time you’re back at the door, the room should be all clean. TA-DA! Finish up by emptying that basket of things you removed from your target room and putting them back where they belong.
I use this method all the time. If I set aside a few hours on the weekend, I can get my whole place gleaming. Even if I don’t have that much time/energy, I can handle any room in about 20-30 minutes- I’ll get whichever ones need the most attention, and settle for a tidy and vacuum in the others.
As far as your specific questions. Shower I already talked about, it doesn’t need much more than a spray and scrub every week or so, plus occasional vinegar treatments for build up on the fixtures. Under the bed, you can handle that by moving your bed aside, dusting any stored items and vacuuming- this doesn’t need to happen every time you clean, but maybe once a season and at least once a year to stop it from getting too gross. Stove can be mostly handled with all purpose and elbow grease, particularly if you wipe down after cooking/don’t let food solidify. As to your other questions, I don’t know much about hardwood floors or oven cleaning, so here are some more CleanMySpace videos (I promise I’m not sponsored) on cleaning hardwood floors and cleaning self-cleaning ovens. Also, here is a separate link on fixing scratches on hardwood floors.
Any more specific questions can be pretty easily handled by google. Good luck!
EDIT: Obligatory “Thanks for the gold!” edit, plus some formatting and clarification.