Yes, you know you’re supposed to keep your house clean, but you also are a human being who probably wants to do one hundred things before spending the day doing chores. May we present the perfect middle ground between OCD cleanliness and total squalor. For this season and the whole year ahead, here’s what you have to do if you aren’t going to leave it to a professional.
First—change your approach. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been cleaning by “zone,” tackling the kitchen in a fury then picking up and moving on to the bathroom. Wrong. You’ll spend too much time switching between tasks. Instead, tackle your needs one task at time and from top to bottom, left to right in each room (so you aren’t undoing all your good work by knocking crumbs and dust on to the floors you just vacuumed).
Here’s the rundown.
Dusting: You can get by with doing this every other week, but when you do it be thorough. If you can’t see the top of a surface, you aren’t off the hook. If you neglect those heights, the dust that collects at the top of your furniture or shelves will fall off and collect on other surfaces.
Windows & Blinds: Give your windows a wipe down once a month. Trust us . . . clean windows are severely underrated. You won’t realize how bad it was until you give yours a wipe. Clean blinds and curtains seasonally.
Fridge: Purge fairly regularly lest you find an errant yogurt or a wilting head of kale when you are least expecting it. Give the icebox a full shake down seasonally, wiping down the inside with diluted dishwashing detergent or a mix of baking soda and water (cleaners are technically fine, but they might leave a smell that could affect your food) and checking the expiration dates on shelf-items like condiments.
Oven: Wipe this down weekly, cleaning up any major spills as you cook (we shouldn’t have to say that, but just in case). The inside (you hadn’t even really thought about that one, had you?) is actually fine to leave alone more often than not. Fret with the oven if you start having problems like smoke or odors or a major spill.
Countertops: Give these a light wipe down down as you use them, and a more thorough pass monthly, moving around appliances and clearing away clutter.
Sheets & Towels: Wash your sheets every other week at the very least, and drop your duvet cover in every month. For guidelines for the rest of your linens, check our guide on dirty laundry.
Tub & Shower: You can actually avoid this more than you’d think. Once a month is fine, but between cleanings do your part to minimize moisture build up. Pull the shower curtain closed as soon as you are done soaping up to prevent mildew (it will dry more quickly), and run the exhaust fan (or crack a door or window) during your shower and a bit after for extra ventilation.
Toilets: Spot-clean as needed, but weekly otherwise. If the ring has started to appear, you’ve let this go for too long.
Flooring: Sweep, clean, or vacuum bare floors every other week to cut down on dust and dirt. Try to spot sweep if you’ve just cooked (particularly if it’s something that tends to be crummy—we’re looking at you crusty bruschetta). Mop monthly. For carpets and rugs, weekly is ideal, but a spot run here and there will keep you out of trouble if you use the area more often or if you have a pet.
The Take Away: Each month, that means you need to attend to your toilet each week, your dusting duties, flooring, and sheets at least twice, your window and tub once, and oven and counter tops with use. Seems easy enough, right?
A little unsolicited advice ... don't forget to make your bed in the morning. Even if the plan above falls apart, it at least it looks like you have it together.