Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring cleaning my cleaning routine

"Come my little friends
As we all sing a happy little working song
Merry little voices clear and strong"

- Giselle, Enchanted

I think I've mentioned before that I live in a pretty small apartment (here in NYC, we call it "cozy"). It is 400 sq.ft. of goodness, and I love every inch of it! This may actually be the smallest apartment I've ever lived in, but for some reason this one just works really well for me. This apartment is fairly new construction in an historic building, so I get just the right combo of charm (pretty brick facade) and convenience (central air, dishwasher, etc.). 

One thing I've learned though is small space living means keeping things neat can be tricky. Seriously, my apartment can go from spotless to disaster in a matter of minutes. So frustrating! It doesn't help that I am pretty lazy when it comes to housework. There are just so many other ways I'd rather spend my time...

Photo credit: Martha Stewart

My usual method of spending 3+ hours on Saturday morning cleaning was just not working, so last year I started looking for a more ideas to improve my efficiency. I came across an interesting post on Apartment Therapy (one of my FAVORITE sites!) that outlined a plan calling for small bursts of cleaning every day rather than 1 big session. While initially the idea of cleaning something every day didn't really appeal to me (me = lazy), I could see how this might help me maintain a more constant state of order.

I gave it a shot and, lo and behold, I kind of enjoyed it. It turns out I had previously been a "binge" cleaner, but daily cleaning had a real appeal. Unfortunately, starting this plan a few weeks before the holiday season was not ideal. My schedule was chaotic and it was hard to develop a new habit. It went by the wayside until, well, now. After spending a day getting my apartment back in shape, I have decided I want to give my cleaning routine another makeover.

You can read about the plan and the schedule in the original AT post here. I adapted the original plan to suit my own needs. For example, taking out the trash every and doing some laundry daily are not practical or necessary for me; instead, I made floor cleaning a daily add-on. Since I don't have any "extra" rooms or many windows, I also traded those tasks for things like prepping the recycling, something that can totally get away from me (I really need to figure out a way to use my iPad to cut down on the amount of paper I bring into my house!).

I share this because I think some of you may also struggle with fitting it all in and making the best use of your time. I am expecting that soon my Saturday mornings will be booking up with long runs as I start to move into marathon training, and I know that the last thing I'm going to want to do when I get back is clean the house! Maybe some of you feel the same way?

I'll report back in a month or so and let you know if I'm able to stick with it. What about you -- are you binge cleaners, daily cleaners. or something else altogether? I'd love to hear any tricks and tips that you're loving right now!


  1. Sounds like a great plan! I'm usually both a binge and daily cleaner. I straighten and clean up every day, but every once in a while, there's a day when I need to do a more thorough cleaning.

  2. I avoid cleaning at all costs...I hate it and have just a bit of laziness in me haha. However, with my daughter crawling now, I have to be on top of things much more than I used to! Vacuuming once a week (or God forbid, once a month a few years ago haha) no longer cuts it since her little hands seem to find every little piece of anything on our carpet or floors. Actually cleaning is sort of like running...I tend to avoid it, but love the feeling once I do it! I'll have to check out the site you posted!

  3. Lindsey -- that's probably a good combo! Once I'm done cleaning, I tend to think, "great, I cleaned for the week!", and then not put much effort into maintaining. Which is definitely not working!

    Amy -- I'm glad I'm not the only one! And now that I have a dog, I have the same problem with keeping things off the floor. Not that I'm comparing your daughter to my dog -- just that they're both low to the ground and are very curious about new things ;)

  4. haha...that is so funny about your dog. When I had a new puppy years ago I totally compared it to having a newborn (even though at the time I had no baby haha). I had to stop back just to tell you that I cleaned for about 2 hours yesterday thanks to your post. I put on my headphones and listened to my new playlist and had a great thanks for the motivation. :)