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Prioritize Your Apartment Cleaning Efforts

If the interior of your apartment looks like an episode of “Hoarders,” then it’s time to get serious about your cleaning chores.

Sure, nobody likes to clean, but if you create a plan and chip away at it during the week, you can keep cleaning under control. How good would it feel to never again have to waste a perfectly good Saturday afternoon on an intense, four-hour cleaning spree?

With that in mind, here are a few tips for developing an organized cleaning strategy you can live with.

Set priorities
When you’re in the mood to clean, you may be tempted to tackle every chore on your list: dusting, vacuuming, mopping, spit-shining, re-arranging, organizing your spice rack — the list can go on. Trying to tackle all of these chores at once can lead to an overload and subsequent meltdown. That’s why it’s important to set apartment cleaning priorities and work these tasks in reasonable chunks of time throughout the week.

The key to keeping your apartment clean is to decide which chores are the most important. First consider which chores are so important that you should be doing them every day — things like washing the dishes, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, and straightening up countertops should be on your short-list of daily chores. Next, think about weekly chores — the things you need to do at least once a week so that your apartment cleaning situation doesn’t get out of control. Weekly chores include things like vacuuming, dusting, and doing laundry.

Read more: 7 Obvious Signs That You Are a Hoarder

Once you’ve got these daily and weekly chore lists established, set the tasks in order. Create a daily chore pyramid and a weekly chore pyramid that shows how important each task is. Glance at your pyramid every day, and remind yourself that you at least need to take care of the most important task on that list. When you’ve completed that task — and if you have the time that day — you can tackle other chores in their order of importance.

Apartment cleaning checklists
Creating your own apartment cleaning checklist can help you manage your time. For each chore on your pyramid, create a micro-list that details the steps to finish the task. If “clean bathroom” is on your weekly chore list, for example, your cleaning checklist for the bathroom might look like this:

  • Switch out dirty towels for clean ones
  • Scrub shower
  • Clean toilet
  • Wipe off mirror
  • Scrub sink
  • Vacuum and mop floor

If you’ve got a chore checklist like this for every task in your cleaning pyramid, you can help yourself be as efficient as possible during your designated cleaning time. You can even keep your checklists in plastic page protectors and use dry erase markers to check off the tasks as you complete them. (All right — that might be asking too much.)

Red more: In-Laws Visiting? 15 Ways to Tidy Up in No Time

Use a chore chart
If you need a little extra motivation to stay on top of your apartment cleaning, a chore chart could give you a bit of visual encouragement. If you’ve got roommates or a big family, a chore chart can be an especially effective tool for apartment cleaning.  Write everyone’s name on the chart with associated chores and deadlines, and then hang the chore chart in a central location. If each person’s duties are all written down on paper, no one can say they forgot about doing their part.

Not only do chore charts foster better communication between roommates, they can also turn a boring round of apartment cleaning into a game. Assign points to the various cleaning chores and then have a weekly competition to see who can get the most points. The winner gets a prize (maybe a week off of chores?) and the friendly competition makes things a little more interesting. (Singing the Mary Poppins song while you clean is optional, of course.)

Develop good habits to stay clean
Maintaining a clean apartment boils down to keeping good habits. If your current apartment cleaning habits leave a lot to be desired, you can teach yourself to take a more organized approach — follow through and you’ll find yourself living in a cleaner space!

Read more: 17 Cleaning Essentials for Your Apartment

Photo credit: Shutterstock / LukaTDB

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