This post contains four cleaning tips for beginners. If you are new to cleaning and want some guidance on where to begin, I hope this post can help you. In this post I also share some of the cleaning mistakes I made as a new homemaker, along with practical cleaning tips to help you avoid making these mistakes.
This post is part of the Homemaking for Beginners series.
Tip #1: Simplify Your Cleaning Supplies
When I first started homemaking, I went straight to the supermarket to buy cleaning supplies. Upon arrival, I was dazzled by the array of products on the shelves. There seemed to be a cleaning product for every household concern that could possibly exist.
I brought home a bagful of supplies and dutifully arranged them in my cleaning cupboard. At first, it was exciting to look through my collection and select a suitable product to use. But it soon became cumbersome to trot back and forth to fetch a different product every time I began a different task.
Eventually, my well-stocked cleaning cupboard backfired on me. Instead of helping me keep my house clean, it did the opposite. Having an overabundance of cleaning products made cleaning overwhelming and unenjoyable.
If you are new to cleaning, simplify your cleaning supplies. If you can streamline your cleaning process, you will feel motivated to clean.
Here are two easy ways to simplify your cleaning supplies:
- Use multi-purpose cleaning products. It is not always necessary to use a specialised cleaning product for each part of your house. Look for all-purpose cleaners that can be used on multiple surfaces and in different rooms.
- Build a collection of reliable cleaning tools. Your cleaning products will be more effective if you pair them with complementary tools. My two favourite cleaning tools are microfibre cloths and cleaning brushes.
Tip #2: Protect Your Hands and Wrists
Something that I didn’t realise when I first started cleaning was that cleaning can be very hard on your hands and wrists. If you are new to cleaning, you may find it helpful to protect your hands and wrists when you are cleaning.
Here are five easy ways to protect your hands and wrists when you are cleaning:
- Wear waterproof gloves. The skin on your hand can get irritated by cleaning products, water, and dirt. If cleaning irritates your hands, consider wearing gloves to keep your hands clean and dry. Gloves create a protective barrier that eliminates direct contact with irritants. Gloves also protect your hands from scratches. My favourite gloves for cleaning are nitrile gloves, which I find durable and protective, yet comfortable to wear.
- Let your tools do the work. Many cleaning tasks involve repetitive movements, which can hurt your fingers and wrists. If you experience discomfort when cleaning, consider changing the cleaning tools you use. For example, when scrubbing the shower I find it helpful to use a brush with a sturdy handle.
- Use a gentle hand soap. Cleaning your house involves a lot of hand washing, so it’s helpful to use a soap that doesn’t irritate your skin. I like to use liquid Castile soap, which I dilute and place in a foaming dispenser.
- Keep your hands moisturised. Constant hand washing can lead to dry skin. To prevent this, try applying a hand cream after you wash your hands.
- Massage your hands. If cleaning leaves your hands feeling tired or sore, you may find it useful to gently massage your hands. During the massage, you can focus on your finger joints, as well as the muscles and tendons on your hands. I find it convenient to do this while I am applying hand cream.
Tip #3: Focus on High Impact Tasks
When I was new to homemaking, I had no idea where to start. At first, I decided to just work on any task that popped into my mind. Brimming with enthusiasm, I baked bagels. I ironed pillowcases. I organised (and reorganised) shelves. I even knitted a scarf.
These tasks kept me very busy, and my list of completed tasks grew very quickly. But despite spending hours working in my home every day, something felt wrong.
One afternoon, looking around my home, I finally pinpointed the problem. I had been working hard, but I had been working on the wrong tasks. My goal was to have a clean home, but I had chosen a path full of detours. I needed to map out a direct route to the home that I envisioned.
That day marked a monumental change in my approach to homemaking. After much experimenting, here’s what I have learnt. If you want to create a clean home, start by focusing on high impact tasks. These are the tasks that will provide you with the biggest benefits.
Here are five examples of high impact tasks in my home:
- Cooking simple, healthy meals.
- Cleaning the floors.
- Dusting the surfaces.
- Having a daily laundry routine.
- Keeping rooms neat and tidy.
For more details about these high impact tasks, you can read my step-by-step beginner's guide to homemaking.
At first glance, high impact tasks can seem unromantic and unadventurous. (I was initially a little crestfallen to find that on my list of high impact tasks, there was nary a bagel in sight.) But what high impact tasks lack in glamour, they make up for in effectiveness. When you work on high impact tasks, you will feel motivated and encouraged because you will see wonderful results very quickly.
Tip #4: Review Your Cleaning Routine
When I made my first cleaning routine for myself, I struggled to follow it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to stick to the routine I had made for myself.
Eventually, I became so discouraged that I abandoned my original routine and began using a completely different one. To my surprise, the new cleaning routine felt effortless and enjoyable, and my house began to look much cleaner.
This experience taught me that it takes time to develop a cleaning routine that suits you, and you don’t have to get it right the first time. To create a cleaning routine that works for you, you should review and improve your cleaning routine on a regular basis.
Here are three tips to help you review your cleaning routine:
- Troubleshoot recurring issues. If you notice a certain problem cropping up again and again, look for a way to solve it. At the start of my homemaking career, I often overloaded my laundry horse, which made it difficult for the laundry to dry properly. One day, I decided to start counting the number of items that I added to each load of laundry. This was a simple and elegant solution that I use to this day.
- Modify your cleaning schedule. If you habitually struggle with a certain task, try moving it to a better timeslot. I used to sweep my floors every evening, around an hour before bedtime. I dreaded this task because I was usually exhausted after a full day of work. Once I moved this task to the morning, I began to enjoy it much more.
- Streamline your cleaning technique. If there is a cleaning task that you find especially strenuous, look for a faster or easier way to do it. For many years I cleaned my window blinds one slat at a time. This was agonizingly inefficient and usually left me with achy arms and shoulders. By switching my technique to cleaning larger sections at a time, I was able to finish this task in a fraction of the time.
Search for the Scenic Route
Cleaning your home is a recurring task. If you want to keep your home clean, you will need to clean your home over and over again. That is why the tips in this post have focused on helping you discover techniques that make cleaning easier and more effective.
As you are cleaning your house, remember that there are many alternative routes to a clean home. You have the power to choose your route, and you can change your route whenever you want to, as often as you like.
If you want to enjoy cleaning, search for the scenic route. It might take some time, but it will be worth it. You’ll know you’ve found it when cleaning no longer leaves you exhausted and stressed, but instead makes you feel energised and uplifted.
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