Guest Blog #209, Entry #701, October 13, 2011
It always seems that there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we wish to do, and of those hours, there are only a select number that are set aside for cleaning our homes. Due to this, it makes sense that the bulk of our efforts are concentrated in areas such as the kitchen, family room, bedrooms – the areas where life really takes place. Other spaces that typically serve only a functional purpose in our lives, such as the laundry room, hallways and foyer, mudroom and basement, are often neglected. Try out these tips to get them freshened up and looking neat, clean and uncluttered.
These functional rooms can easily become catchalls for things we like to keep out of sight such as sporting equipment or the recycling. So, the first step will be gathering together all of the items that have found their way into the room, but never found their way back out, and return them to their proper home. You’ll have a much easier time when you get into the actual cleaning if all areas are clear with the floors and other surfaces easily accessible.
Not all homes have a mudroom, and if yours does not, then focus your efforts on the entryway or foyer. The mudroom sees an awful lot of coming and going, and dirt gets tracked in by both people and pets. Because in many cases, it also serves as the point of entry for our guests, you’ll want to keep it clean and inviting. Start at the top and work your way down. Using either a broom or your vacuum cleaner, clear out dust and cobwebs. Take notice of any hand prints on the walls or other marks and wipe them clean if your paint allows for it. The floor will need extra attention because it takes such a beating. Sweep or vacuum thoroughly and then use a multi-surface cleaner to mop up any remaining dirt and restore a shining appearance. It’s a good idea to have either a large basket for shoes, or a small system of shelves so that they don’t end up simply strewn across the floor, and if you don’t have mats both inside and outside the door for wiping the feet, it would be a good idea to invest in some as it will cut down on the amount of work you have to do the next time you tackle this room.
Tackling your laundry will be more pleasant when the room is clean and organized. One of the best and most useful items to have available is a three-section laundry sorter so that you can easily separate whites, darks and colors before washing. If you have a lot of laundry you might need two units but having them will help keep dirty clothes off the floor and that is half the battle won. When cleaning the room, either sweeping or vacuuming, make sure to clean behind the dryer. Even though you regularly empty the filter, lint accumulates and can clog the vent creating a serious fire hazard. If the vent on the outside of the house also has a lint trap remember to clean it regularly or perhaps even remove it completely to ensure open airflow. Your washer and dryer surfaces can be cleaned with a multi-purpose glass cleaning solution such as you would use to clean your windows or glass top tables. They’ll end up looking so shiny you might think they’re brand new again!
There is a question that has confounded mothers for an untold number of years – why do children drag their hands along the wall as they walk down the hallway? While the answer may never be revealed, clean walls can be revealed by using warm water and a damp sponge to clean painted or wallpapered surfaces. Just make sure to spot test first in an inconspicuous area.
Of course we saved the best for last – the basement! All joking aside, it’s all too easy to fall into an “out of sight, out of mind” way of thinking with regard to the cellar, but this is probably one of the most important rooms of all to keep clean. Dust and musty odors are the obvious reasons, but, mold and mildew, which can be dangerous to your family’s health, can grow and multiply so you’ll want to keep on top of the cleaning situation in the basement. If you store a lot of items downstairs, you can move everything to one side of the room and clean then move the items back to the clean side to finish up. Make sure to focus on getting rid of dust and cobwebs, and keep an eye out for signs of wee intruders such as mice and insects. If moisture tends to be a problem in your basement you might want to give serious consideration to purchasing a dehumidifier. It would qualify as a really sound investment in your family’s health – again due to mold and mildew – and would also help to protect the items you do have stored there.
Once you have these areas all spruced up, things will seem so lovely and bright you’ll be motivated to include them in your regular cleaning schedule.
Barbara Kolb provides freelance articles for AdvanceMe America’s leading merchant cash advance provider.
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