Cleaning Tips

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If you just read my play-by-play on how I Deep Cleaned my whole house (all by myself) we need to chat. You’re either a family member – which is why you read my blog posts, to begin with, I didn’t think anyone else read these – or you have just way too much time on your hands. But either way, thanks for being here and powering through!!!

As promised, I do have some tips to share about cleaning your house all by yourself. Most of us don’t think house cleaning is the most glamorous of jobs or particularly enjoy the act of cleaning. But we do love a clean house, right? Well, the only way to get it clean is to, yep, you know it, clean it! Or have it cleaned. But I would rather save my money for a plane ticket to South Africa…

Cleaning Tips - Garies Girl

Back to cleaning. The act of cleaning can be made fun. What? Did you read that correctly or is Garies Girl high on cleaning fumes?

No, not high. I’m serious. The act of cleaning can be made fun. Now how did I make it fun for myself? Here is how:

  • A Cleaning Schedule
  • Proper Cleaning Tools
  • Know your House
  • Prepare for Cleaning Day
  • Follow a Cleaning Routine
  • Be Flexible
  • Time to Clean
  • Rewards!!!

Cleaning Schedule

I love schedules!!! A cleaning schedule serves multiple purposes. It breaks up the big task of cleaning the whole house, into smaller, more manageable tasks. And it gives you a plan, a roadmap, to work from. And no, nothing is set in stone, you can move things around on your schedule, but ultimately you will end up with a good solid plan of action.

The Big Clean - Garies Girl

Cleaning Tools

Let’s face it – nobody can clean a house with just a rag. You need multiple cleaning tools. My tools include a duster with an extendable handle, a reusable rag, disinfecting wipes, a Mr Clean Magic Eraser, and since I’m vertically challenged, my step ladder. As for cleaning products, I use Simply Green for most surfaces and Windex for cleaning my windows. I also use furniture polish for wooden furniture, paper towels and dryer sheets.

The Mr Clean Magic Eraser comes in handy when cleaning walls near light switches and door handles. Places where dirty hands might have touched multiple times and left their mark. It also makes scuff marks disappear with minimal effort. I use disinfecting wipes on all door handles, cabinet pulls and light switches.

I take all these items with me from room to room. You can use a basket, a bag, a bucket or even a cleaning caddy to put the small items in and this way I don’t run back and forth (or up and down stairs) for supplies. Bathrooms need additional cleaning items, so I just keep a set of those in each bathroom.

For floors and carpets, I have my vacuum cleaner, my carpet washer, a broom and long-handled dustpan, and my Swiffer Wet Jet. Just love that one! It is easy to use and makes my wood floors shine. After mopping the floors with my Swiffer Wet Jet, my house just smells cleaner.

I actually bought my vacuum cleaner on Amazon. They don’t sell that specific model anymore, but this one would be a good option too: Bissel CleanView. I like a bagless type of vacuum cleaner, with canisters I can empty and that is lightweight and can swivel easily. And Bissel purchases support the Bissel Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.

Know your House

It really helps if you know what in your house usually makes it feel dirty. Is it stuff all over the place or is it dirty windows or dirty floors? Knowing what you need to clean helps you get to a clean house quicker. When you deep clean your house, you would most likely want to clean all areas of a room. And when you quickly want a room to look clean, you can hit those trouble spots and call it a day.

To me, my house feels dirty when my kitchen is dirty. Or when items are not put away and when I see pet hair and dust on my floors. So I clean floors very often and make sure items are put away in all the rooms. During The Deep Clean, I realized that my baseboards and windows were in dire need of cleaning. Once I saw them, I couldn’t unsee the dirt and just had to get it all clean.

Prepare for Cleaning Day

Earlier in the week, finish – I mean really, really finish – your regular laundry. Yes, you want to fold and pack away every clean item that has been hanging out in your laundry room. This creates an empty and clear space to wash all those bigger, bulkier items like curtains and comforters. And you won’t get distracted or bogged down with regular laundry.

Declutter, declutter, declutter. I don’t have a lot of clutter all over the house, so not a problem for me. But if your to-do list for this year also includes a big decluttering project, do that first. It will make cleaning soooo much easier! Being the fountain of information that I am, I even have decluttering tips for you too. But not here. This post is all about cleaning.

Start your cleaning day with an empty and clean vacuum cleaner. And make sure you have all your tools ready to go. If your mop solution is low, make sure you have the refill ready to go. Going to wash the carpets? Then make sure you have spot stain remover and the cleaning solution for your machine. This is not the time for a run to the store. Trust me, you will lose momentum and nothing will get done when you get back.

Follow a Routine

If you are going to do a deep clean, then you might want to wash some curtains and bedding. Get that out and into the washing machine before you start cleaning the room. If there is regular laundry, gather those up into a laundry basket first and get it out of the way to deal with later. If you have lots of “stuff” in the room (on the floor, nightstands or shelves), grab an empty box or bin to put it all in for now. Moving a lot of small items one by one is a big time waster. And bonus! If they are in the box, you can easily decide if you really need to put all of them back.

These boxes contain all the items from the shelves in this bedroom. I want to seal the wood, so no need to put any of these items back until that mini-project has been completed.

Keep the closet doors closed. This is not the time to declutter this area. They need to be on their own separate decluttering/reorganising schedule and will be cleaned at that time.

Always clean your rooms from top to bottom. The act of dusting dislodges dust – shocker! Which, if you cleaned from the bottom up, will just fall on your clean surfaces. Now, if anything falls, it ends up on the floor, which is the last thing you clean in the room.

Trash… If you don’t have a trashcan for every single room, get some. You can line them with small trash bags or even plastic shopping bags if you want – that keeps them clean longer – and makes emptying them easier. On cleaning day, I move them out to the hallway, just outside of the door, while I clean and vacuum. I add trash that I find to them, but I don’t empty them one by one. At the end of the day, I come through with a large trash bag and empty all of them at once.

Baseboards attract dirt like crazy. I wipe mine down with a damp cloth and then go over them again with a dryer sheet, which helps with static and keeps them cleaner for longer. Bit of bad news here, they are easier to clean when you are down on their level. Bending over is just not fun (and bad for your back) for that long a time. The good news is that all dryer sheets smell amazing.

Kitchens are usually beasts to clean. So many things happen here, right? When I deep clean, I wipe down cabinets as well. And sometimes that is easier to do while you are sitting right on the floor. If you need to sweep before you do that, then so be it. You will be so surprised when you look at your kitchen from the bottom up!

Be Flexible

This applies to both your schedule and getting into tight spots. You want to be able to change up your schedule as you clean. Don’t feel like cleaning a bathroom today? Pick another room and clean the bathrooms tomorrow. It is your schedule and you are allowed to make changes.

I joked with a friend the other day, that I’m just not built to be a plumber (we’ve tried some of these types of DIY projects in the past). I just can’t make my body get into tight spaces anymore. But at least I can still try. When it comes to cleaning, you sometimes have to get down on the floor to clean baseboards, or up on a stepladder to reach the ceilings. It is what it is.

Time to Clean

Time to get it done. You have your schedule, and you have your tools and supplies. Preparations have been made. Now is the time to tackle the cleaning project.

Just know that it will be easier to do if your family is busy elsewhere. You cannot clean around other people. I’m not saying they have to be out of the house (that could be helpful too), but if you clean upstairs, have them stay downstairs with the pets and such. Unless you have a family that help with these type of chores…

Put on comfy clothes, put your hair up in a ponytail and turn up the music. Music makes everything fun – even cleaning. For me, it helps set the pace and keep me on task. Start with the first room and get it done.


Once you are done with the cleaning tasks on your schedule, sit back and relax with a nice reward. A glass of wine, a quick walk outside, sitting back in a comfy chair with a book or an episode of your favorite show, you get the drift. You worked hard and you need and deserve this slice of me time. Remember – rewards can be spaced out. And you can have many rewards. Think of small rewards for finishing scheduled items and a bigger reward at the end of the project.

There you have it, my cleaning tips and tricks. What do you do differently? Let me know!

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