Establishing a Cleaning Routine - and Sticking To It
At the best of times, cleaning can be a pain in the butt and nothing is more painful than setting up a strict cleaning schedule to try to keep your home in check. Nine times out of ten - it ain't gonna work. Since I've always found it difficult motivating myself to get cleaning and tidying, there are a few things I noticed that help me to keep things in 'order', which I would like to share with you.

1. Make wash loads easier by sorting clothes ahead of time

When my laundry basket is starting to encroach over the rim, I make time to sit down on the bathroom floor, pour all of the clothes out around me and create piles that correspond to different types of fabric. I like to separate my synthetics from my wools, cotton and delicates, and of course, I will wash whites together in a separate load. Anything that goes into the 'mixed' cycle, will be things that contain a combination of different fabrics. I will then put each pile of clothes into plastic bags. You've got to reuse all the bags you had to buy in the supermarket because you forgot all of your own ones somehow, haven't you? Then, I put all of the bags back into the laundry basket and there they sit until I'm ready to do my next wash. Doing this ahead of time when I have a spare five minutes makes it far easier and less arduous when it comes to doing the washing. I can just bung it in and not worry about whether my clothes will come out shrunken and battered...because I do spend time worrying about it, and it's ridiculous! It's also a good idea to try not to pressure yourself to do all the wash loads in one day because if you do that, in my experience, you'll probably end up getting halfway through and being frustrated, or even end up doing nothing at all!

2. Regularly purge your cupboards, wardrobes and clutter drawers - tackle it before it worsens!

We are all guilty of having that one cupboard or drawer that we prefer to shut the door on and try to deny its existence. But when the time comes to get something out of said cupboard or drawer, we end up getting angry with it and think, "Why have I got all of this ****?!"

The best tip I have picked up is to go through them as often as you can, turn out your junk drawers, shoe cupboards and food cabinets, and eliminate any items you can't stand the sight of or that you know you will never end up using. If you've still got things in your kitchen cupboards dated 1990-something, you might as well get rid of them. As far as wardrobes go, I adopted the 'wardrobe switch-over' a couple of years ago and I'm so glad I did. There's something very satisfying about getting your seasonal items out twice a year to change them over, ready for the coming months. While I do this, I grab the opportunity to sling out any clothes I won't wear anymore, although I admit this can be a very difficult task. One thing that comforts me is that I can leave them in a charity collection bag out on the street, with the peace of mind that they will soon be in the hands of someone who needs them more than I do.

3. Get your cleaning done when you are most productive

If you are an early riser, now is a good time to start your chores. In the morning you tend to be most alert, although sometimes I know I'm more up for cleaning later in the day, which is completely fine. I particularly like mopping the floor or hanging the washing up to dry whilst the evening television programmes are on. I will also boost my productivity by putting on my favourite albums, and recommend that you sometimes watch cleaning tutorials or 'speed cleans' on YouTube, before you make a start. They might seem like a waste of time until you are powering around your living room pretending you are in your own little speed clean to your favourite artist. Don't knock it until you try it! You can also get some great tips and product recommendations too.

4. Use the most efficient cleaning aides

If you've got to use five different products or pieces of equipment to tackle one task, you will probably feel less likely to want to do it. Multi-purpose sprays, anti-bacterial wipes, cordless and versatile mops and vacuum cleaners are all great ways to make a daunting task seem like a doddle. I have a steam cleaner and a cordless vacuum cleaner, both by VAX, that make life easier when it comes to cleaning my floors, wall tiles and carpets. They don't even need to cost a lot either. One came from Amazon and the other from eBay, which had been previously been repaired by a certified restorer. I think that by using multi-purpose equipment, you can really make the job cleaner, easier, cheaper and less boring (if you are the kind of person that gets excited about the many functions of steam mops...*raises hand*)

5. The Sunday Night Deep Kitchen Clean

I'm writing this post on a Sunday and am already itching to get started on my kitchen. The worst thing about coming down to breakfast on a Monday morning is walking into a dirty kitchen from the night before. Weekend kitchen mess left for the first morning of the following week can be a disaster, and Monday mornings are bad enough on their own sometimes, right? On Sunday night I will do all the usual - wipes the sides, make sure I've loaded everything into the dishwasher and set it (as I do every night) so that everything is squeaky clean the next morning. I'll also arrange items on the countertops neatly and sweep and mop the floor. But finally, I will add the cherry to the cake, and that is the golden item in any cleaning cupboard. You didn't think you'd read a cleaning article that doesn't mention Zoflora, did you? If you haven't heard the news, get yourself on YouTube for ideas on its uses, and then dash to your local Poundland and stock up! I dilute a capful of Zoflora into hot water in my sink and let it infuse the kitchen with floral goodness overnight. Best way to wake up on a Monday morning.