Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to make vacuuming less of a chore

My father-in-law owns a tile shop/tiling company and so of course when we built our house we ended up with a lot of tile. Like, a LOT. Like, floor to ceiling tile in the laundry, toilets and bathrooms; tiled front patio, tiled back patio and all of the floors inside the house except three of the four bedrooms (I put my foot down on that one).

So the long and the short of it is that I have a large space to vacuum and mop and therefore have developed a pretty good routine.

1. Vacuum regularly
I vacuum and mop every day. EVERY day. Some people think I'm crazy but if I were to tackle it just once a week or once a month, it would be such a huge job that it would make me miserable. Plus all the 'bits' that find their way into the carpet and rugs that we have would break down, get trampled and get nestled into the fibres of the carpets. By vacuuming regularly, all that is required each time is a quick pass with the vacuum. I like to vacuum at the start of the day but some people prefer to do it in the evening- whatever works, I say!

2. Buy an extension cord for your vacuum cleaner
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 Seriously. It's $5 for a 5m cord or $10 for a 10m cord which allows you to plug your vacuum in once and then work your way around pretty much the entire house without stopping. This one tip has saved me sooooo much time, I don't know why I didn't start doing it earlier. I leave the cord attached to the vacuum cleaner and just wind it up.

3. Pick up everything before you vacuum 

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It really doesn't need to be a massive tidy up. Many people get distracted by sorting and decluttering and organising as they go but vacuuming should be a quick couple-of-minutes chore. If you find yourself getting sidetracked just remember- cleaning should take priority over organising. It's far more important to remove the dead skin and food crumbs from your house than it is to make your magazine collection look pretty. 

If you get the urge to organise something, leave it alone but write it down on your Master Task List or your Quick Chore List in your planner or household binder. It will wait for you, I promise!

In the meantime, pick up everything that could be in your way and chuck it in a laundry basket (or pretty basket or shopping bag etc ) so that the floors and couches are free to vacuum. Once I've vacuumed and mopped I like to get the kids to unpack the contents as it's usually their stuff but if I'm alone or the kids are napping it's no drama to pick up the basket and carry it around with me from room to room to put things where they belong. 

If your house is particularly cluttered (post-Christmas bombsite, anyone?) then buy a few baskets (they're only $2.80 each!) and have one for each room. The important thing is to EMPTY them after you've cleaned! But a fresh and clean house usually inspires people to keep it that way and not re-clutter it. 

The end result is that in less than 20mins your house is 'picked up', the floors are vacuumed and mopped and you have a list of less urgent projects to work on. 

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