Oh goodness, another cleaning related post. Whoooo Hoooo! I've recently found something referred to as the Three Waves Cleaning method in this blog post on Clean My Space. That blog post really spoke to me, mainly because of the 'get in the right head space' rule listed. That is the only way I'm able to clean - to have a plan and be in the right mindset. The more I make myself do it, the more likely I am to be able to convince myself to do it!
Anyway, recently I've incorporated this 3 Waves method to get myself prepped for cleaning. I will lay on the couch all evening if I let myself, so this really prepares me mentally for getting stuff done. It's like a warm up routine for me that guides me into the rest of the routine. Plus, if I'm in a hurry I can stop after each step and feel that I have gotten something accomplished.
Here is how I define the Three Waves for my cleaning routine - I clean a room/section of my home a night for 30 minutes (read about how I created my perfect cleaning list here) :
Wave One - Garbage & Gather
In this wave I grab a new garbage bag for random garbage/trash, a new garbage bag for the trash can in that area, and a basket I got from the Dollar Tree for random items that need to be moved to other rooms where they belong. This wave means I just start throwing away things that have cluttered up over the week in the certain room/area I'm working in. I'll be going through this using our down stairs area of the house which I've lumped into one 'room' to clean on Monday nights (see our first floor layout here & here). I start in the living room area and work into the office and then into the spare room by picking up any trash - receipts, junk mail, a left over fast food cup, etc - as I go a long. This is what the first trash bag is for. I also put a basket in a central area to catch things that don't belong so I can move them into their homes later. This first bag will also be used to catch the dirt when I empty the vacuum. I pull the trash bag from the trash can in the office and set it by the door and place the second trash bag in it so it's fresh.
Since this first wave is little, mini tidy session, if I'm in a hurry I can just complete this step and feel accomplished because things are tidy. This type of situation changes for each room too - in the bathroom or kitchen, for example, this first wave would also include changing the towels.
Wave Two - Swish & Swipe
I get my cleaning tools ready. Pro tip: keep the tools you need in each room/area - I have two vacuums (because my boyfriend came with one lol). One stays downstairs and one stays upstairs. I keep a Swiffer Duster in the closet with the vacuum and then some Clorox wipes under the sink in the downstairs bathroom. This means I have all the tools I need in one place. I don't have to keep running around, back and forth, to find the tools I need to get the job done. In each bathroom is Windex and paper towels so I don't have to run upstairs to clean the downstairs bathroom. It is all at my finger tips.
This second wave is dusting and wiping. I get my Swiffer Duster and start with the tops of our bookshelves and work my way down, and around, the downstairs. I also take a Clorox wipe to wipe down door handles, the coffee table, the top of my craft table, remotes, etc. This is a quick swish and swipe session that is made easier because everything is moved off of the surfaces it shouldn't be on. The Swiffer duster makes everything so much easier! I even have one of the long ones to dust our fans (which I have to admit most of the time doesn't get done!)
I can also finish after this step because the room looks even more put together than after the first step.
Wave Three - Suck it Up & Take it Out
This is the final phase - vacuuming & taking the trash out. Vacuuming is one of my favorite chores and I really have zero idea why. I do two passes with the vacuum in our living room (dog = shedding), one pass in the guest room, and the use my Swiffer Sweeper on the laminate wood flooring and tile in our entry way and office area. That thing can suck up some pet hair, let me tell you.
I empty the vacuum bin into one of the trash bags and take each trash bag out to the garbage bin. I also do a quick put away of any of the items that end up in the basket used to corral odd items that don't belong.
This is the final step! Our downstairs area often takes either the whole 30 minute time or more because it is such a big area. I star with this one on Monday evenings because it is the most lived in area and gets the most cluttered/dirty - especially after the weekend. It is nice to know that I can move through the rest of the week with a clean space to relax and come home to after a hard days work.
These three waves really helped me to break down my chore into something more manageable. It made the whole thing seem easily accomplished rather than staring at a room wondering where the heck to start. It helps me come at the room with a plan. Each wave slowly builds up and I know it's really not that much just to tidy up a bit with the first wave, and that generally warms me up in to the second wave, and then because I'm 2/3 of the way done might as well finish out the third wave.
I hope this helped you out a little in developing a small cleaning routine or at least figuring out how to tackle a room. If you want to read about how I tackle a really, really messy room, read this post. You can also find all my cleaning related posts here.
How do you clean? Do you break it into small steps? Any other tips?