If your house constantly looks like the 'before' scenes on home makeover TV shows, it's time to find some easy ways to keep it clean. Cleaning your house needn't take too much time or effort if you fit tasks into your daily and weekly routines, and have a system so that cleaning becomes more a habit than a chore. Don't be afraid to ask for help from the rest of the family, friends and relatives, especially if bringing your home up to a manageable standard.
Clean as you go
Taking a few seconds to clean areas as soon as you've used them keeps your home looking presentable and makes a thorough clean later much easier. After you've used the shower, bath or washbasin, wipe them down. Removing excess water from shower stalls with a squeegee before getting out of the shower helps prevent limescale building up. Clean the bread board or kitchen work surface before you eat your sandwich. After dinner, wipe the dining table as soon as you've eaten. When cleaning the kitchen after dinner, give the inside of the oven a wipe too, preventing a thick buildup of grease.
Clean on the go
In our everyday lives small periods of time are wasted that could be spent more usefully. Use time wisely to complete small cleaning tasks. While waiting for the kettle to boil, wipe down kitchen cupboard doors, or a shelf, or give the floor a quick sweep. If you find yourself tapping your toe waiting for your other half to get ready before going out, give the living room a quick dust. Wiping the kitchen work surfaces doesn't have to wait until after dinner -- do it while dinner's in the oven.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning when there's a lot to be done. Not knowing where to start, you can end up doing nothing at all. Focus on the cleaning jobs that make a big difference. De-cluttering and vacuuming or washing floors takes little time but makes rooms look much better. Tackle large, noticeable stains on walls and furniture. In bathrooms and shower rooms, cleaning mouldy tiles and shower walls or curtains has a big effect. If you struggle to get started, set a timer to 15 minutes and clean as much as you can in that time.
Have a system
Cleaning is easier when it's a habit. Cleaning routines, such as cleaning every morning before leaving for work, or every evening before going to bed, should fit in with your lifestyle and home. Try different routines to see which one suits you best. You could clean one room thoroughly every day, or set aside one morning every weekend for an intense clean. Schedule major jobs such as windows for monthly cleans. When cleaning a room, have a set method, such as starting from the top to the bottom of the room, finishing with vacuuming, or clean the room from left to right. Then there's visual evidence of progress.
Suffering in silence isn't going to clean your house. Enlist family, friends and relatives to help. Assigning tasks and responsibilities to each family member is one way to get help, but sometimes this can lead to lots of nagging and arguments. Cleaning together as a family is more enjoyable, and with patience, teaches young children good habits. Paying a cleaner to do a deep clean once a month is sometimes money well spent for the peace of mind. Ask your friends if they're interested in reciprocal cleaning parties, where, playing music in the background, you can have a chat and clean at the same time, with the temptation of a glass of wine and some cake once the job's done.