Spending an entire weekend day cleaning (which, for me, is about once a month... maybe) leaves me with a mixed bag of feelings. On one hand, there’s something that feels head-clearing and accomplished about scrubbing on your hands and knees to a Disco Forever Playlist, but on the other hand, it’s a Saturday that could have been spent outside in the sun, getting lunch with a friend, or simply pressing next on an episode of a favorite bingeable show.
As someone who recently turned 30, I have less tolerance for what used to feel like charming chaos. Now, it’s just kind of gross if the kitchen counters are coated with yesterday’s nacho detritus or sofas are taken over with coats and purses. As such, I’ve tried to become someone who does what I never thought I’d do: research — and actually try — cleaning tips to make my life a little more structured and a lot cleaner. Here are some small tips I’ve learned to do throughout the week that add up to a lot of saved time and stress. They also have the added benefit of making me feel like the adult I technically am, even if most of my meals still come from a plastic box in the premade aisle.
1. Pick An Hour (Or The Length Of A Podcast Episode) To Tidy Up Midweek
Take about an hour in the middle of the week to declutter your home, and if that feels somewhat daunting after a day of work, put on an episode or two of an addictive podcast to make the time pass quickly. For around 45 minutes to an hour, do some low-maintenance cleaning like wiping down your bathroom counter, hanging up stray coats or clothes that we tend to drape over chairs and sofas, put your shoes in your closet, and throw away those wilted tubs of salad in the fridge.
2. Find A Weekly Cleaning Schedule That Works For You
It used to be that when I walked into somebody’s home and saw a cleaning schedule on the fridge, I would look at it curiously, like a rock from another planet. A schedule seemed so regimented, so domestic. Maybe it’s because I’m now in my 30s, but I think I get it. There’s something deeply calming about seeing a list in front of you with items you can check off with ease — or at least easier than my life’s more existential to-do list (“write a book” and “make enough money to have a swimming pool”).
Certain pin-happy sites are filled with printable weekly cleaning checklists to keep you organized and remind you of things you might not remember otherwise. Some of the schedules out there seem a little overzealous — I, for instance, can’t imagine a world in which I need to scrub my toilet bowl or wipe my bathroom mirrors every day — so find one that doesn’t feel like you’re overcommitting. There are also cleaning podcasts — you heard me right — with excellent and totally doable daily lists from accredited professionals if you do a little digging.
3. Look At Cleaning As Self-Care
Instead of viewing cleaning as a set of chores, reframe it to be some peaceful self-care throughout your week. It’s one of the few activities we can do without staring at a screen, which has made me develop an odd love of doing monotonous things like decluttering a drawer or washing dishes. The time you spend tidying up each day — or throughout your week — can also be a chance to light a candle, disappear into a podcast or playlist, and clear your head and your space. Of course, doing so with a glass of wine or cup of tea can’t hurt either.
4. Find Products That Do The Cleaning For You
If there’s one aspect of cleaning I could do without, it’s the constant sweeping and vacuuming needed to keep floors free of crumbs and dirt. For this reason, the Roborock S5 Max is truly my new best friend. It’s an intuitive device to have around, with handy features that do things like adjust the suction according to whether the Roborock is on hard flooring or carpet. The robot vacuum’s laser rangefinder also creates a custom floor plan map for your home, so you can schedule whether you want just one room cleaned or your whole place.
My favorite part is the S5 Max’s mopping feature. Mopping is something I do too rarely because as an apartment dweller, it’s a bit of a hassle. You have to lug mop water around, find a place to dump the dirty water, trek up and down stairs, etc. For this reason, the Roborock S5 Max is a lifesaver by keeping floors clean and non-sticky — no more splashing gray mop water on my legs as I try to sling it over the fence outside my apartment building.
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5. Reward Yourself!
Cleaning saves money and helps ground you in your environment. When my apartment is clean, I feel comfortable inviting friends over for dinner or drinks instead of spending more money out at bars. In a similar money-saving vein, cleaning out my fridge and getting rid of moldy leftover containers — and taking stock of what ingredients I actually have — makes it easier (and more appealing) to cook meals at home.
This may not be the case for everyone, but a cluttered environment usually contributes to a scattered mindset. The weeks where I take the time to keep things straightened absolutely make me feel like I have a better handle on life in general. To reward a newer, cleaner you, treat yourself to fancy cleaning products or give yourself permission to go a little wild in the storage section of your favorite home-goods store. Or spend that money you saved eating in on a nice bottle of wine.
6. Keep Convenient Cleaning Products Around
To clean counters or disinfect doorknobs during cold season, keeping wipes handy helps you to clean up easily. For dusting, use a dryer sheet to wipe most any surface, from shelves to baseboards to blinds. The sheet’s coating is also said to make furniture less prone to collecting dust.
If you’re able to commit to doing small tasks daily (or at least every other day), it’ll save so much time and stress. “If you want to make a difference in the world, start by making your bed,” was the premise of a viral commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. It emphasizes that the little things matter, and it gets your day started off right.
I think the same can be said of other seemingly minor daily cleaning tasks. At the risk of venturing into cheesy territory, these things — clearing your coffee table or washing your dishes — are ways of investing in yourself and creating the sort of environment that you feel proud of.