Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Squeaky Green: My realistic plan for 20-somethings longing for a clean home

Dudes, there are about a billion green cleaners out there. Even Clorox has one! Personally, I prefer brands such as Method, Seventh Generation and Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds (this stuff is amazing), along with my trusted combo of baking soda and white vinegar. While these cleaning supplies are all perfectly capable of doing as good of a job as traditional toxic cleansers, there is one thing you can do to guarantee that they don't work:

Don't use them. Don't clean at all.

I promise that they will do you absolutely no good this way.

Fear not! I will give you my 15:10:5 method of maintaining a clean home without going all dustbuster crazy.

15: Clean for fifteen minutes a day. Decide what you will clean, set a timer and go for it. Today I spent my fifteen doing dishes and cleaning my kitchen counter. Is my kitchen sparkling? No. Does it need to be mopped? Yes. However, it looks a heck of a lot better and I did it while boiling pasta for dinner.

10: Put away ten things. Don't have fifteen minutes? This is even faster. Pick ten things to put away and do it. I like to use categories, such as clothing or things that are blue, but whatever works for you is the method you should use. Are there more things to put away after those ten? Yes. Is your apartment cleaner than it was about three minutes ago? Absolutely.

5: Within the first five minutes of getting home from work, do something that you can check off your to-do list: a thank you note, throw load of laundry in the dryer, get dinner started, etc. This forces you into a mindset of productivity, rather than a mindset of 'I'm going to sit in front of the computer with chips and salsa'. Getting dinner started as soon as I got home led to me doing my fifteen minutes immediately which led to a clean kitchen which led to a completed load of laundry and vacuuming, as well as getting all my grading done. See what I mean?

That's it. My apartment isn't basking in perfect cleanliness but it is a joy to come home to and I am never embarrassed to have people over at random. I deep clean about once a month (that would be when I q-tip every nook and cranny) and do the fifteen minute rule for every room on Thursdays, which leads to a clean apartment. You'll note that this is all about maintenance and upkeep- not perfection. Use your green cleaners for fifteen minutes and then go enjoy your life, okay? There's more to this world than a single sparkling toilet.

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