Dust and grease, like family members we see frequently but don’t always want to deal with, are two culprits lurking around every corner in my house. I prefer using strategic methods in my ongoing battle against them, but time isn’t always on my side. Instead, I pick an hour over the weekend to arm myself with rubber gloves, two cloth rags, a brush and dustpan, and some spray cleaner. Then I choose my worst t-shirt-and-shorts combo from my closet and load up Madonna’s Confessions from a Dance Floor, turning the bass up high. Once my body’s pumping to the music’s beat, I put my ten speed cleaning tips into action, and whip through my house like the Tasmanian Devil with OCD.
1. Let the Sunshine (and Air) In
Before the dust starts to settle, I open the shades and windows to let in the spring sun and air; then I light a candle and let its aroma take over the house.
2. De-Cluttering Dance
When Madonna tells me to “get ready to jump,” I de-clutter the house by making piles of papers and mail. I make one pile of bills to pay and follow-up correspondence; the second pile is for papers to file away. Then I choose a date on the calendar for getting rid of both piles. This simple act frees up my kitchen counters for the space I need to cook, and keeps my table open for entertaining.
3. Trap the Dust Bunnies
Dust bunnies live in my bedroom and under my furniture, and float along the baseboards, trying to hide. I use my dustpan and a garbage bag to catch the bunnies in each room before they hop away.
4. Ragamuffin Maid
I tuck two rags in my waistband and take my natural cleaner on a tour of my house. Using the two rags, I dust wooden surfaces with one and spray clean the kitchen counters with the other.
5. Handles with Care
I clean every door, cabinet, and sink handle in the house, removing whatever residue any hands have left behind.
6. Kitchen Sponge and Soak
After sweeping away the dust bunnies, it’s time to degrease the oven and soak the sink. Since I tend to go through sponges like toilet paper, I purchased a package of cellulose sponges: one for the kitchen, another for the bathroom, and a third for the toilet. They scrub off caked-on grease from the stove, then join my fruit skins in the compost bin (instead of a landfill) once they’ve run their course.
7. Bathroom Break
My bathroom always requires a weekly touch-up. Using Bon Ami, I sprinkle the sink and bathtub, and then wash them clean with hot water. Finally, I take my toilet sponge and run it over the top of the toilet and seat.
8. Fluff the Pillows
Dust and pet hair accumulate in couch and bed pillows, so get outside and do a little shake.
9. Refrigerator Madness
Since my food seems to expire as quickly as I do (by the end of the week), I go through the fridge and see which vegetables are ready to join my sponges in the compost bin.
10. Sweep and Vacuum—and the Mop Alternative
A quick sweep of kitchen and wood floors will catch the rest of the dust bunnies and dirt. I like to mix my favorite essential oil with baking soda to sprinkle in the carpet and on my rugs, for quick deodorizing before the vacuum comes out to play. And since the only small rooms in my house requiring a mop are my kitchen and bathroom, I take a third rag and use the natural cleaner to spray the floor, then I finish up my speed-cleaning frenzy with barefoot dancing to Madonna’s last track, while the rag and I move across the floor.
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By Amanda Coggin, DivineCaroline