Yep. Guilty. I totally “fake clean” my house, and I love it. And actually, it’s really not anything to be ashamed of. I’m sure many of you do the same, or worse, you don’t even fake clean. Although my idea of heaven is taking a shower in a sparkling bathroom, putting on crisp clean PJ’s, and getting into bed with newly washed sheets every single night, reality is that there are too many other things in life that require my time and attention that it’s not possible to be constantly cleaning every room in my house. Even before A came along it was a stretch to find the time to do a good deep cleaning each week. So I’ve always done it every 4-6 weeks, with weekly “fake cleaning” in between. It’s really easy; my weekly tasks take about 30-40 minutes in total and could still be pared down from that, if needed. And the best part is that I don’t waste an entire day cleaning my house, meaning more time to spend with A, B, and KP, more time to go on long runs, more time to catch up on lost sleep, and more time for organizing! Well, the last one probably isn’t always true, but you get the gist – giving yourself a break now and then means more time for doing other things that are meaningful and enjoyable to you. And even I will admit that’s way more important in life than having a gleaming white toilet.
Here are the things I (try) to do every weekend. And I don’t necessarily do them all at once. For example, when I know I’ll be away for a weekend I’ll take 5-10 minutes a night during the week to do some of them. And depending on the amount of human and/or animal residents in your house, there may be other things that you choose to do in between deep cleanings. But these are my regular weeklies:
1. Pick up / straighten up in each room. I do this in one big sweep through the house, starting in our kitchen. It sounds like a lot but really it does not take more than a 1-2 minutes each room! Kitchen: put food away in fridge/pantry, dirty dishes in sink or dishwasher and clean dishes in cupboards. Living room: re-stack magazines on coffee table into neat piles, put randomly strewn items back in their places or toss into baskets, put important papers from the week together in a safe place and discard/shred what isn’t needed. Bed & Bath rooms: put clean laundry away and dirty laundry in hamper, put out fresh towels and dirty ones in the hamper as well. Also put items lying around back where they belong, or toss into a drawer so they don’t create clutter and gather dust (which then requires more cleaning!).
2. Disinfect Kitchen/Bathroom surfaces. For this I rely on one of my two favorite “Power Tools” (pictured above): Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes. These double-sided wipes are such a time saver. One side provides regular disinfecting action and the other is textured with mini scrubbers that attack more serious messes. They really can be used anywhere in the home and do just as good a job as the old spray-and-scrub routine, in significantly less time. I use them to clean up the kitchen every night, and I leave a container of them under the bathroom sinks to do quick weekly scrub downs of all surfaces (counter, sink, toilet seat and rim, tub, and even walls/floors if needed). Side note: I cannot take credit for finding these fancy wipes. My sister-in-law turned me on to them at her shore house a few summers ago and was equally excited about their awesomeness. She digs neat things too. You know you have problems when you both gift cleaning supplies to one another at Christmas…
3. Vacuum heavily used rooms. This is where Power Tool #2 comes into play: my Miele Olympus Canister Vacuum. Aside from having great suction, this vacuum has an adjustable height handle that swivels well enough to maneuver the tight spots in our house, it is exceptionally lightweight (which is key because we have 3 flights of narrow, twisty steps), and it stores away nicely in the one and only (very) small utility closet I have in the kitchen. Vacuuming weekly will help keep dirt, dust and grime from accumulating too much on your floors in between major cleanings, and really does help everything look a whole lot cleaner.
And that’s it. Three steps to a fake clean home and a real happy you!