The desire (and ability) to keep a clean house is something I inherited. My mom and grandma are both constantly tidying up around the house. (And my step-mother shares my near-OCD levels of cleanliness.) I simply cannot stand clutter, and dirt is my greatest nemesis. Knowing this about me, my friend Jessica asked me to write a post on obscure household chores. Ask, and ye shall receive.
For cleaning tasks that happen monthly or less frequently, I entered a recurring event on my Mac Calendar. That way I don’t lose track of when something needs to be done. Having it pop up on my calendar makes me more likely to get it done in a timely manner. There are also, of course, the non-obscure household chores that must be done daily and weekly. In the interest of completeness, I’ll include those as well.
Make the bed
Put away any clean dishes (whether in the dishwasher or hand-washed dishes left to dry overnight)*
Put into the dishwasher all dirty dishes
Hand-wash any dirty dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher
Wipe down countertops/stove/sink area
Take out the recycling
Open/file/toss all mail
Put away all clothes/shoes worn that day (this one is highly challenging for my husband!)
*When I was a kid, my best friend lived next door, and her mom always loved it when I came over because I would invariably empty their dishwasher. I am literally incapable of leaving clean dishes in a dishwasher. I’ve been late to work on more than one occasion because I just *had* to empty the dishwasher. It’s a sickness.
Clean the bathroom (including mirror, glass, sink, toilet, and floor – I do the tub less often because it’s hard on my back)
Laundry (clothes, sheets, towels)
Take out the trash
*We have a Roomba. His name is Marvin, and my husband is always trying to get me to let Marvin do the vacuuming instead of me. I’ll let him do the in-between vacuuming, but when it comes to really getting the job done, I only trust myself. Besides, Marvin doesn’t have a crevice attachment, nor does he have the suction of my canister vacuum. He’s handy to have around, but I’ll never give up my real vacuum!
**I hate, hate, hate dusting. With a burning passion. I’m not sure whether it’s because dusting was one of my chores growing up, or because I have too many knick-knacks, but it’s the worst. To alleviate the loathing, I only do one part of the apartment each week. I do the bedroom(s) one week, and the living/dining area the next week.
Clean makeup brushes (see my post here about this)
Mop kitchen floor*
Clean screens of all electronic devices (phones, iPads, computers)**
Wash iPhone case with warm soapy water; air dry completely before putting back on phone
*This one is variable. When we had a white tile kitchen floor, I would Swiffer Wet Jet it every week after vacuuming. Now that we have a Pergo kitchen floor, I Swiffer Wet Jet when it needs it, and I run our mopping robot, the Mint (aka R2D2) about once a month.
**Use a special electronics spray cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth (preferably one that’s designed for electronics).
Take everything (and I mean everything) off kitchen countertops for a thorough wipe-down, including the backsplash ledge
Wipe down exterior of kitchen cabinets
Vacuum cobwebs from corners, both high and low
Oil cutting boards (if they’re wood or bamboo) with mineral oil
Clean filters on vacuum cleaner (I empty the canister on an as-needed basis)
Clean out refrigerator and freezer*
Empty kitchen cupboards, wipe them down, and rearrange the contents (food cupboards only)
Wipe down baseboards
Wash crystal vases and other glassware that doesn’t get used frequently
*I do spot-cleaning from time-to-time, but on a quarterly basis I like to take out everything, toss old condiments, and rearrange the contents. Here’s a good description of how you should be organizing your refrigerator contents. And here’s a breakdown of how to best store various foods. We keep this on our refrigerator for easy reference.
Replace shower curtain liner*
Throw out or give away any clothes I didn’t wear in the previous season
Waterproof boots in the fall before boot season begins
Clean and moisturize boots in the spring when boot season ends, before storing until fall
*We use a shower spray on a daily basis to help cut down on residue, but I find that the liner is still pretty grody after about six months.
**This one’s a real bitch, especially if you live in a city (where there’s a lot of pollution) or somewhere where there’s a lot of pollen. Someday I’ll live in a place that doesn’t have mini-blinds. They’re basically just dirt magnets. And I do mean magnets, because dirt and grime stick to them like it’s nobody’s business. To clean them, I use a solution of Mr. Clean and water, and scrub with a sponge. I generally have to throw out the sponge when I’m done because it’s a dirty, dirty job.
***I actually don’t do this as regularly as I should, primarily because my electric knife sharpener is stored in a super inconvenient place. But I think a semi-annual sharpening is appropriate. Nobody wants a dull knife.
Every Three Years
Move to a new city – it’s the best way to get rid of dead weight!
Here are my go-to products:
Seventh Generation Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner
Seventh Generation Emerald Cypress & Fir Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Seventh Generation Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Wipes
Seventh Generation Geranium Blossoms & Vanilla Natural Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation (sensing a trend here?) Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner
Seventh Generation Mandarin Orange Granite & Stone Cleaner
Seventh Generation Lemon Chamomile Wood Cleaner
Method Apple Orchard Steel for Real (stainless steel cleaner)
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Radish Scent Dish Soap
Boos Block Mystery Oil (for cutting boards)
Formula 409 (for cutting through grease on the stove)
Bar Keeper’s Friend (for scrubbing the kitchen sink)
Trader Joe’s Automatic Dishwasher Detergent (powder – it’s better for your dishwasher and dishes)
If you have a favorite product, let me know in the comments. If there’s one thing I love more than beauty products, it’s cleaning products!