If you feel like your house or apartment gets way dirtier faster, you’re not alone. With so many of us at home for more than a year doing virtual school or work, surfaces get dustier, floors get dirtier, and rooms become more cluttered. The solution? Keep your place in order, which can help when it comes time to cleaning, as a more organized space takes less time to spiff up. Then, when you’re tackling the cleaning, do it the right way, in the right order. Here are some handy tips from a few pros:
- Store things in bins. That keeps things clean with zero maintenance since you can simply wipe off the bins, suggests Susan Hayes, the professional organizer behind PaperClip in Bethesda.
- Don’t display or leave out too many things that can get dusty. Do you really need all 20 of those pens on your desk, for example? And try to keep unnecessary items off the floor, which will make vacuuming a breeze, Hayes points out.
- Practice preventive maintenance. Hayes is a big fan of this approach, like cleaning off bottles before putting them back in the refrigerator to keep shelves from getting sticky.
- Take a “top down” approach. Eco-designer Robin Wilson, author of the book Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle, likes to start at the top. First, clean ceiling fans and light fixtures with a micro static dust cloth, as they are the highest. Then run the duster or a damp cloth over walls, cabinets, and bookcases. Shake out rugs, and when you finally get to vacuuming, use one with a HEPA filter and a self-contained canister to prevent dust from being expelled back into the air.
- Consider that window treatments are notorious dust collectors. Wilson recommends washable linen or cotton over heavier fabrics, mechanized window shades that can be vacuumed or shutters, blinds, or pull-down shades made from natural materials like bamboo or wood.
- For bedding, follow Wilson’s rules of three. That means wash zippered pillow covers every three weeks and pillows every three months and replace pillows every three years.
- Make donating a habit. To keep your home from getting overly cluttered, regularly give away unused or gently used items, including clothing. Schedule a donation through an organization like the Purple Heart, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, or the Lupus Foundation, and the truck will come right to your home on a designated day to grab your items. If you live in an apartment building or condo where that’s not feasible, or you’d rather drop things off, search for the closest location of GreenDrop.
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