My Stress Free Cleaning Routine
Let’s face it… everyone needs a stress free cleaning routine because while no one really likes to clean…. no one wants to live in a disorganized mess either. I see cleaning as a necessary evil. One of those “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” situations. In my twenties, I was not exactly the cleanest person on the face of the planet. I was still in the learning stages of how to adult and getting out the door to be at work on time, while also looking professional, was about all I could handle.
So, inevitably, things would pile up and instead of cleaning being a passive habit, it was more of a huge pain in the @$$ when I finally decided to do something. And to be honest with you… I was ok with it. That didn’t change until I started dating my now husband, who puts a high premium on cleanliness and tidiness. When we started getting more serious, I realized I should probably shift my habits to ensure our home would feel clean and tidy every day. This was obviously quite different from my previous system, which was to let things pile up until I was having company over. Thank, God I’m a social person.
Since then I’ve come to a few realizations. The first is that cleaning doesn’t have to be painful if you invest a little time every day. The second is that systems and keeping things simple are key to success. The third is that perception is reality and everyone’s versions of clean and tidy are not created equal. Below are a few of my go to cleaning tips that have made my cleaning routine feel easy.
KEEP CLEANING SUPPLIES ACCESSIBLE
The biggest hurdle I had to get over, was the bathroom. I felt like the mirrors always had toothpaste splatter on them, and the countertops always looked gross. This was until a lightbulb went off one day while I was walking with cleaning supplies from the kitchen to the bathroom. I realized how silly it was to keep things I needed in a different room. My biggest prohibitor to keep things wiped down and sparkling was the proximity of the tools to do so. Since then, I’ve started keeping cleaning supplies right where I need them to eliminate running around for things.
Before I found Norwex, I would keep a travel size spray bottle of all purpose cleaner in my cabinet, along with a stack of cloths or paper towels. However, since I’ve found Norwex, I’ve not had to buy any cleaners since I just need an Envirocloth and Window Cloth to keep surfaces clean. I use the Window Cloth every morning when I hop out of the shower to clean the steam off of my mirror, leaving it shiny and streak free. After that, once I finish my morning routine, I use the Envirocloth to wipe down the vanity. I personally like the travel sized ones like this, or this. When it’s laundry day, I will take the Envirocloth and wipe down the toilet and it goes right into the wash. For my shower, I keep a Bathroom Scrub Mit in there and wipe the walls and floor down on the days I wash my hair (I do this 2-3 times a week…because I’m lazy and dry shampoo changed my life…yup, I said it!). Since finding Norwex, my bathroom has sparkled *consistently* with far less effort than what I previously used to invest in this room.
STOP VACUUMING YOURSELF
The other hurdle that I couldn’t seem to clear was our floors. I HATED vacuuming…with a passion. We have an adorable cat, that I love to death, but I hate his fur everywhere. We originally had a huge vacuum that was heavy and hard to use, so we (I use that term loosely…I coerced my husband into the purchase) invested in a cordless Dyson.
This helped tremendously. I still love it and use it often to spot clean. However, it still felt like a huge chore to regularly pull it out and clean our floors. So this past deployment, I decided to invest in a Roomba. Because, there’s no better time for a little retail therapy, right?
When I tell you this changed my life…I mean it…this CHANGED MY LIFE! Now, I run it every morning. It takes less than a minute to empty the little waste reservoir, and hit the go button. It literally makes me so happy, I get giddy because I know when I come home, my house will feel clean. Since putting that habit in place, my floors are debris free and I don’t have to dust as often. It’s amazing and you NEED one.
I hate laundry. It’s my least favorite chore. A friend of mine gifts himself a service every year for his birthday (he’s a genius and I need to get on board with this idea). One year he sent his laundry out. When he told me, I immediately felt jealous…but not enough to fork out the money to pay someone to take the task off my hands. So in true Ciara fashion, I set out to find the simplest way possible to do laundry.
My changes in my routine came down to the sorting and soap. I decided to only separate based on temperature/color to help eliminate how many loads of wash I needed to do. I also decided to invest in really good laundry detergent to make sure everything was being cared for, despite paring down the sorting routine. Here’s how I make that happen.
LINENS AND TOWELS
I have always believed in only having white towels and linens. My husband scoffed at at the idea when we were registering for our wedding. He wanted fun colored sheets and towels, and I said “absolutely not…bright white only.” I could feel my great grandmother coming out of my mouth as I said it. However, he’s now a believer. White linens and towels are fantastic because let’s face it, they get gross and need to be sanitized…especially after someone is sick. Bleh! My go to washing method is HOT water (basically as hot as your washer will go), bleach, a good detergent and then high heat in the dryer. This kills pretty much anything germy growing in those fibers.
In the five years we’ve had our linens and towels, they’ve stayed BRIGHT white with no dinginess. We’ve had zero stains, and no weird mildewy smell that many complain about with their towels. Not to mention, I’ve had way less hassle because I can pull sheets (fitted, top, pillowcases and duvet), bathroom towels (hand, body and bath mat), and even kitchen tea towels (I use these, they’re AMAZING) together and get them done in one or two loads. Everything comes out beautifully, and totally sanitized.
I’ve applied a similar mentality to our clothes. Everything gets washed together, even delicates (I put them in a washing bag like these) and my husband’s smelly uniforms. Except, it all gets washed in cold water, instead of hot, and with really good detergent, like Rockin’ Green Classic Rock or Norwex Detergent, on a mild setting. Our clothes come out looking fantastic and I feel less stressed without all the extra sorting and fuss.
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
I specifically remember, when my husband and I started living together, coming to the realization that his and my versions of clean and tidy were very different. It hit me one day when he got home from work and seemed fine for the first couple of minutes, and then super annoyed like a switch had flipped five minutes later. I walked into the kitchen and asked him what was wrong as he was washing a mug and dish that were in the sink. He responded that he felt the house was dirty. Mind you, I had vacuumed, picked up the living room, taken out the trash and dusted. The house was not dirty, he just felt like it was because of that mug and dish that were in the sink. The comment made me curious.
I have always been a firm believer in the fact that 80% of your success is driven by 20% of your efforts, so I ran a test the next few days. I decided to only clean certain areas of the house and not others to see what was important to him. Low and behold, my suspicions were confirmed. To me the house felt messy if the living room wasn’t tidied up and dusted…he could care less. To him the house felt messy if the kitchen wasn’t pristine with all dishes out of the sink… to me the sink was a black hole that I didn’t care about. Bedroom was a neutral point for us both because we could just shut the door and not think about it. So I had found it….the magic formula for us to both be happy with how our home looked was wiping the countertops down, keeping the sink clear and the living room tidied up. Once I figured this out, I stressed less about the other things that I previously thought were important and was able to reinvest that time, that I would have otherwise wasted, into other things.
So there you have it. That’s how I have simplified my cleaning routine into something that no longer causes me anxiety, or stress while still maintaining a neat, clean and tidy home. What systems have you put in place? How have you simplified your routine? I’m always up for good suggestions, so if you have a gem, leave it in a comment below!
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