For people who’ve just moved into their first apartment after college, the heady experience of being on your own is sometimes tempered with the fact that no one else is there to take care of the household cleaning tasks. Unless you can afford to have a maid in a couple days a week to tidy up, chances are you will have to handle the job yourself. Here are some tips that will help the cleaning from becoming an overwhelming task that takes all weekend to manage.
The first thing to keep in mind is that cleaning is not actually a single task, but a series of smaller tasks. Many of these can be accomplished in half-hour or less each day. Make a list of the cleaning that must be done daily or weekly, such as dusting, vacuuming, washing and drying clothes, and putting away the clean laundry. Instead of trying to do everything one day a week, do a little each evening.
For example, you can decide to dust on Tuesday, a task that should take no longer than thirty minutes if you have a two bedroom apartment. Run the vacuum cleaner on Wednesday, again taking no more than a half-hour. Wash clothes one evening, then dry, fold, and put them away the next morning or after you get home from work. Staggering the cleaning tasks means the apartment always looks decent and nothing is piling up to create distress when people show up at your door.
Some cleaning tasks can be done while enjoying some form of entertainment. It is relatively easy to dust while you listen to music or watch television. Doing dishes is another daily task that goes quicker if you have some form of entertainment to amuse yourself. Even mundane tasks like making the bed go quicker if there is something else going on that helps to soothe the mind while you are tucking the corners and fluffing the pillows.
Another issue that can intimidate some people is the belief that you must have a special cleaner for every different job in the house. That is not the case. Look for cleaning products that do double duty. Many people find that foam bathroom cleaner not only works on bathroom tiles and porcelain surfaces, but will also do just fine for the kitchen sink and many kitchen countertops. If the collection of cleansers is kept to a minimum, you will feel more in charge, as well as being proud of yourself for saving money on the cleaning supplies.
From time to time, there will be large jobs that must be done, such as washing windows. Time intensive tasks like this are best left for weekends or off days, depending on how your work schedule runs. Always schedule out more time than you think you will need for the task. This will prevent you from getting frustrated if the job is taking longer than you think it should, as well as build in some downtime that you can enjoy doing whatever you like once the job is done.
If everyone living in the apartment works outside the home, or is attending school, make sure to coordinate the cleaning projects so that everyone helps out. Kids can make their own beds, pick up their toys, and take their dirty clothes to the laundry basket. Working spouses can take out the trash, put dirty dishes in the sink, and put books and other items back where they go. Working as a team means that no one has to get exhausted doing the cleaning, and the apartment will always look nice when friends and relatives drop by.