Efficient Cleaning: Methods & Approaches

Cleaning Bathroom SinkIn the first segment on “Efficient Cleaning“, I introduced the concept of working “smarter not harder” with five considerations: scope, method, approaches, resources and time. We first touched on the need to honestly scope out the daily work involved in cleaning a home through looking at a task and sizing up how frequently it needs to be done.

Now we are ready to look at the second and third considerations: Method and Approach. A clean home environment has a much deeper impact in our daily lives–creating peaceful environments where we can focus on the people and projects that are most important.  Cleaning efficiently means accomplishing what needs to be done in the least amount of time. Having the right method is key for making this a reality. Basic principles of clustering tasks and following patterns are essential in saving time and energy.

For example: Dusting and straightening furniture and accessories in a pattern gives order to work and is a natural preparation for polishing furniture and cleaning fingerprints from mirrors and glass. The habit of saving the mopping and vacuuming until the last helps to assure us that any dust particles that have fallen to the floor will be picked up. These may seem to be simple ideas but having the right method, no matter how simple, always gives clarity to work and the satisfaction of a professional touch.

The right approach to a task also can make all the difference in accomplishing it.

For example: Will you do the task yourself or will you involve others? Will you do it in smaller chucks of time?

We often feel that the complete care and cleaning of the home depends solely on us. This is a false assumption. It is healthy to include other family members both for their sake as well as our own. There are simple task that children can do once they have been instructed and according to their age.  Both dusting and vacuuming can easily be shared with others as well as the cleaning of bathrooms.

There are always those more time consuming tasks such as cleaning closets or garages that may need to be done in smaller chunks of time. This is where the calendar is essential in order to avoid procrastination.  Having a schedule is the first and most important approach to accomplishing these tasks. Again, including the others, where appropriate, can help to make it happen in a more timely way.

The HomeAdvantage 21 Topics Workbook contains ideas for practical methods and approaches as well as for sharing the care with the others in the home. Age appropriate tasks are also listed.

Next time we will discuss the Resources and the Time Gluttons involved in cleaning.  In the meantime, what are your favorite efficient cleaning tips?  Please share them with a comment below.

God bless,


Efficient Cleaning

In June we launched Kathie’s Corner with seven segments on Clutter Control.

It is a common belief that picking up the clutter is equivalent to cleaning and yet as essential as it is, it is just the beginning. It is only the first part of a preparation stage for efficient cleaning. In reality we can’t clean properly with stuff in the way thus it is vital to be able to keep the clutter under control on a daily basis so that those specified times for cleaning aren’t spent “picking up”.

Hopefully you are now ready to move to the second preparation stage for efficient cleaning which is the mental attitude of working smarter, not harder.
In order to accomplish this it is helpful to begin by taking into account five considerations: 1) the scope of the job 2) the method to be used 3) the approach needed
4) the necessary resources and 5) the time involved.
Most of us don’t think about these things concretely when it comes to cleaning and yet in almost every professional endeavor these five considerations are part of an efficient process in accomplishing a desired end.

In this segment let’s look quickly at what sizing up the scope of a job means. We start by simply asking ourselves honestly how long will it take and how frequently does it need to be done. For example bedrooms generally need more care and more dusting because of the use of bedding which creates dust. Rooms with open windows or living close to railroad tracks or highways always create more dust. Don’t be surprised by these factors – they are realities. But also remember that the areas of the home that are not occupied as much will need less maintaining so don’t clean what doesn’t need cleaning!

Consider ordering the “HomeAdvantage 21 Topics” Workbook which contains a Time Estimate Worksheet for families. This covers all the rooms in a house and will be a great resource to help you to work smarter, not harder.

In the following weeks we will discuss Methods, Approaches, Resources, and Time Gluttons involved in Efficient Cleaning. In the meantime, honestly look at each area of the house to see where you are spending the most time cleaning and ask yourself why and how you might be able to streamline some of the work. Don’t forget to log on in the next weeks ahead for more practical thoughts cleaning ideas.

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

God bless,



Bedroom Clutter

The bedroom is the easiest place to let clutter happen since it is our personal space and we can convince ourselves that it doesn’t matter, no one will see it! In truth, because it is our personal space it needs to be kept in order to honor our own dignity and practically speaking, to be able find and care for our things in a timely way.  A clutter free bedroom facilitates calm and peace of mind in the midst of our hectic world. (more…)

Bathroom Clutter

The bathroom is easy to clutter and easy to ignore. It is the space in which we seek bodily cleanliness and yet for some reason we find towels on the floor and wash cloths in a ball on the sink counter not to mention makeup and hair care items everywhere but in their proper space.

Having the needed number and style of age appropriate towel racks is the first requisite in keeping them off of the floor. With children’s bathrooms different color towels may help the process. Keep in mind that towels usually can be used two to three times before a new one is needed. The more towels available, the more will be used and the more will end up on the floor. If there is room, a good ventilated basket to catch those dirty towels may help to keep control of the floor clutter. (more…)

Family Room Clutter

It is time to look at clutter in the space where the family gathers the most.

However you refer to this space, it is usually the room that attracts the greatest amount of family clutter. Like the kitchen, paper is a challenge although here the challenge is usually with magazines and newspaper. A simple solution is to have an attractive basket or magazine rack to hold this reading material (more…)

Kitchen Clutter: The Table

It is not unusual for the kitchen table to become a catch all or a desk rather than a sacred place for meals. It is true that the open surface of the table lends to paperwork and creative projects that many times can’t be done anywhere else. While preparing a meal or mixing up cake it is nice to have the children close at hand working on their homework or projects.


Kitchen Clutter: The Sink

The area around the kitchen sink can become a constant headache without a real routine that keeps dishes and glasses under control. Making sure that the dishwasher is started after dinner and emptied every night is a freeing way to begin each day. Avoid letting dishes pile up on the counter or in the sink because you don’t want to take time to put them in the dishwasher. It only takes seconds to put a glass or a dish in the right slot.


Kitchen Clutter: Paper!

Welcome to “Kathie’s Corner” first post in a weekly series of practical home management ideas.  This first series of topics looks at clutter, the number one concern in keeping up a home and the number one area that usually is the greatest challenge in keeping clutter at bay is the kitchen. Thus our discussion will begin there.

The three areas in the kitchen that attract the greatest amount of clutter are the counters, the area around the sink and the kitchen table so let’s zero in on them!


Introducing Kathie’s Corner

Today we’d like to introduce you to a new series from HomeAdvantage. Every Friday, “Kathie’s Corner” will share brief, practical ideas that you can put to use right away. Kathie will walk you through specific tips and actions for addressing the various areas of home management. Starting with the clutter challenge, she will share short, immediately useful suggestions to help streamline your home life.

We’ll continue to share postings with insights on the dynamics and environment of the home. But visit our blog every Friday for a quick tip. Do you have specific questions to address or ideas to share? Please add your ideas or questions to the comments on the blog. Kathie would love to address your questions in future posts. See you at www.homeadvantageplus.com for “Kathie’s Corner” on Friday!

A Man’s Viewpoint

Late last year I spoke at a conference which focused on marriage, family and the home. What was surprising to me was that the number of men attending equaled those of women. Traditionally one would think that when it comes to these areas of interest that women would out number men. This was another clear indication that times have changed and what once was viewed as strictly a woman’s territory of concern is now shared.

Being the founder of HomeAdvantage Plus, my focus at the conference was on the physical environment of the home and its importance for the overall happiness of family members. Throughout the day I had an opportunity to interact with a number of the participants and in particular with men. It was an experience that some would say was a real eye opener. (more…)