When your household to-do list is as long as your arm, these simple cleaning and organising tips will help you finish it in half the time.
We’ve never been inside as much as we have lately, and it shows. Suddenly, our eyes are open to precisely how much housework our personal spaces need.
But who wouldn’t rather read a book, tend a garden or, you know, watch paint dry? To make housework less boring and get it done with as little effort as humanly possible, give these 12 house cleaning hacks a try:
1. Clean the shower while you sleep
Get rid of built-up residue on the shower head by immersing it in a bowl of white vinegar and leaving it to soak overnight. Revive a mouldy, smelly shower curtain by tossing it in the washing machine with a few towels; the rough fabric helps to scour the curtain.
2. Disinfect the bin overnight
Remove garbage bin odour by dropping a lemon wedge, some ice cubes and a handful of salt into the bin. Leave overnight, and rinse it in the morning (rub some on any yucky areas, while you’re at it). Lemon deodorises, while the salty water removes residue.
3. Corral groceries in the car
By keeping a laundry basket in the backseat or boot, you can contain groceries while you drive. This can stop spills before they happen and make unloading much quicker once you’re home.
4. Break it down
Instead of one major clean-up over the weekend, do daily five-minute sweeps instead. Arm yourself with a laundry basket and a mobile vacuum cleaner or floor wiper. Sweep through each room for five minutes, placing things that don’t belong into the laundry basket. This makes it easy to put those things back into the right room once you get there.
5. Write on the washing machine
To prevent a red sock dyeing white sheets pink, use a white board marker to write directly onto your washing machine (notes disappear with a swipe of a towel). List clothes that must be washed separately or placed in a delicate bag. Or get three laundry hampers: whites, coloured clothes and delicates. Pre-sorting, done!
6. Store sheet sets together
Fold sheets and stash them in one of the matching pillowcases to keep complete sets together.
7. See everything you need
Keep on-the-go essentials – face masks, keys, sunnies, a toy for the kids, wet wipes, water bottles – in an organiser that hangs over the front door or just near it to make leaving the house hassle-free.
8. Pull triple-duty
Laundry while cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming your living room? It’s possible: Throw a load into the washing machine. Then spray your bathroom tub, sink, tiles and toilet with a multipurpose cleaner and let it go to work on the dirt in the bathroom while you vacuum and mop the living room. Return to the bathroom and wipe down the surfaces. Finally, pick up your clean laundry and hang it out to dry.
9. Clean the dishes without scrubbing
Run a sink of hot, soapy water when you start cooking, and soak dishes as you go to stop food and fat from hardening on plates, pots and pans.
10. Carry a cleaning caddy
Store cleaning liquids, brushes, rags and trash bags in a plastic caddy with a handle. It’s portable, and you won’t waste time running back and forth between rooms to retrieve a forgotten bottle of detergent or brush.
11. Go right in the kitchen
Start cleaning kitchen surfaces on the right hand side of your stove, and move around the kitchen in a clockwise direction. The stove top is usually the dirtiest, so save this area for last to prevent spreading grease around.
12. Create a lost-and-found
Every home needs one! Use a lidded container to corral stray screws, buttons or random game pawns. When someone in the house is looking for a “lost” item, they’ll know where to check without complaining about your cleaning efforts.
Originally by Sylvia Ong, The Singapore Women’s Weekly, May 2014 / Last updated by Brooke Glassberg