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Saturday, July 7, 2012

5 Easy steps on how to clean your house like a professional


How to clean your house like a professional


cleaning lady
My professional work experience is in the hotel industry. As the manager of a few different small properties I hired and trained a great deal of housekeepers. Some people may think that being a hotel “maid” is a simple job that anyone can do. This simply isn’t true. Sure, almost anyone can TRY to clean a motel room but only the dedicated will succeed. From time to time I am given the opportunity to draw upon my past work knowledge to hire and train one of my husband’s new employees. This task was much easier when I was still working because I had so many useful resources, not to mention that I did it regularly so it was very natural. Now things are more difficult.
As I was trying to recall the room cleaning processes required by my employees of the past I began to realize how useful these techniques would be for cleaning a personal home. Hotel chains requires their rooms to be cleaned in about 45 minutes for a large room with many amenities (such as a Hampton Inn) and about 25 minutes for a small room with few amenities (such as a Motel 6). Motel housekeepers are typically required to clean 10-15 rooms per day. How do they manage it? To be successful they must have a system.  
Here is the daily cleaning checklist I gave to the housekeepers at the motels I managed. I believe we will be more successful on cleaning day if we have a plan. I know I don’t have 15 bathrooms in my house but if a motel housekeeper can clean that many bathrooms in one day I should be able to clean my house from top to bottom in only a few hours.
1-      1- Clear out all trash and dirty linens (changing linens on Laundry day makes for one less thing to do on cleaning day).
2-      2- Clean the bathroom:
a.       Spray the shower walls and the bath tub with a disinfectant spray. Wipe with a clean DRY rag (never use water to clean a bathroom!).
b.      Spray the entire exterior of the toilet with a disinfectant, including the pedestal connecting to the floor. Wipe with a clean DRY rag.
c.       Use a toilet bowl disinfectant to clean the inside of the toilet, especially underneath the rim.
d.      Spray the counter top and sink with a disinfectant spray. Wipe with a clean DRY rag.
e.      Clean mirrors, sink faucets and bathtub faucets with window cleaner.
f.        Mop floor, being careful to remove all hair.
                                                               i.      General instructions: use a clean rag for each section of the bathroom.
                                                             ii.      Never use water except on the inside of the toilet.
                                                            iii.      Keep all dirty rags wrapped tightly to prevent hair from falling out.
3-      3- Dust furniture
4-      4- Make Beds
5-      5- Vacuum yourself out of the room.
 The key to cleaning your house as if it was a hotel is to have all the “stuff” put away. That means all toys, clothes, junk mail, shoes, and clutter. Hotel maids aren’t required to clean around stuff and neither should you. Our houses should be junk free for a few hours at least once a week.
I am also a large supporter of having someone help you with the dirty work, especially the floors and bathrooms. Many people assume it must cost a fortune to hire someone to come into your home to help, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can find someone to help you for 10-15 dollars per hour. Unless you have a monstrous house with 7 or 8 bathrooms you should need only 2-3 hours of help every other week.  That is between $40 and $90 per month, a small expense when you take into consideration the increase to the value of your house. Bathroom fixtures will last a life time if they are cleaned regularly, however they may need to be replaced after only 5 – 10 years if they are not properly taken care of.
I realize for some people this may be an expense that simply does not fit into their budget. That’s okay! I suggest finding a friend who feels the same way you do who would be willing to swap a few hours of work each week. On the first and third week of the month spend 2 hours cleaning one house; on the second and fourth week of the month spend 2 hours cleaning the other house. Work is always more fun with a friend and you will get twice as much done. Just knowing you have a friend coming over to help will force you to de-clutter so the rooms and bathrooms can be cleaned like a hotel.  Focus on cleaning the bathrooms, the floors, and doing a quick surface dust.
 The average size of a house in the United States is 2330 square feet with 2 ½ bathrooms. The average hotel room is 450 square feet and most housekeepers are required to clean about 12 rooms per day. That means they are cleaning 5400 square feet of floor space, 12 bathrooms, and making 12-24 beds all in about 6 hours. This seems like an incredible work load but they manage it because of a few very important issues:
1-      The bathrooms are cleaned REGULARLY (daily at a busy property) which means there is rarely any heavy build up on the plumbing fixtures.
2-      They aren’t working around clutter, toys, trash, food, etc. There is nothing to ‘put away’, if there does happen to be some food or trash in the room they throw it out.
3-      They have a system that includes a logical path of travel throughout the space and they do NOT clean with water.
A clean house is like an organized house; a CONSTANT work in progress. My house is nowhere near as clean as it could be (I once had a housekeeper tell me, “everywhere I look everything is just SO dirty!!”). But I do dedicate my Tuesdays to making it clean and I have a cleaning Schedule that I have hanging on my broom closet door, that works well for me and my life. I figure one day the kids will be smart enough to use a door knob instead of the glass and their aim to the toilet will improve (or they will learn to sit down!). And perhaps they won’t continue to eat ketchup with every meal or wear their muddy boots in the house. Until then I will do my best to provide a comfortable place for my family to live. I challenge you to do the same! I firmly believe this is something we can all do to drastically increase our value of lives.


School in Session-Cleaning Schedule
Every 4-6 months brings about a slight shift in routine. When school starts in September there is a drastic swing towards having more structure. After a summer full of freedom we are thrown into a ridged schedule of school bells, dance lessons, soccer games, and piano practice. As a mom who loves summer time when there are typically 8-10 neighbor kids running in and out of the house and the sprinklers are always on, I must admit I enjoy returning to a schedule. I tend to be so much more productive with a clear-cut agenda.
As I have been working to rewrite my weekly list of things to do now that school is in session I have come up with the following plan.



From the beginning of my career as a stay at home mom I have scheduled my Monday’s as “Laundry Day”. My kids understand that on Mondays their Mom will be in the laundry room and they will be required to entertain themselves. If I start the day early and work until late I can finish all of our laundry in one day. I am a compulsive ironer (if that is a word) so almost everything that starts in the washer ends on the ironing board. Because of this there are times my Laundry day ironing pile spills over into Tuesday, but there is never enough to really interfere with cleaning day.
Tuesdays are cleaning day, always have been and always will be. As a mother of three young children I am amazed at how messy a house can become in 7 days. I sometimes ask myself if there will ever be a time when my family members will help pick up the house without me nagging them, probably not. The way I see it, I have two choices, I can either be angry and frustrated with the condition of the house or I can accept that the floor may disappear from time to time. Our home is a much happier place to be if I choose option B. My one pacification is to know that my house will be clean, from top to bottom, at least one day each week. This includes bathrooms, floors, dusting, piles of mail, stacks of toys, etc. Tuesdays are the day.  (If you’d like to drop in unannounced Tuesday evenings or Wednesday mornings are the perfect times!) This is also the day I take a quick trip to the grocery store (yes, I only shop one time per week!)
Monday and Tuesday both have a (C) next to them as they are constants in my life. Unless I am to be out of town I can always be found fulfilling these responsibilities on these particular days.
During my more structured fall/winter plans I will be spending my Wednesdays in the kitchen. I am a terrible baker but would like to improve; this will be an opportunity to practice a bit. I have recently learned to make cheese and have a strong desire to fill up my ‘cheese cave’. My once stocked freezer is running desperately low on freezer meals so this will be a time to stock up. The kids love working with me in the kitchen so they are excited for Wednesdays. Nap time is writing/blogging time.
I never fully understood why, but women tend to NEED some creative time, just as men tend to NEED some TV time (or other form of relaxation). My sewing machine has been idle for months now, as my hands have been covered in mud since last March. The scrapbooks haven’t grown even an inch, and my waist line has grown too many inches, as I haven’t been exercising nearly enough. Thursdays have been set aside as a day for action and growth.  Again, nap time is writing/blogging time.
By the end of the week my motivation for projects, cooking, and strict motherly antics is completely gone. I am ready to do something FUN! When the weather is nice we plan to go hiking, or to the cabin. After things cool off a bit we will splash around in the heated pool or visit the warmer vistas of St. George. Or, if we are feeling especially worn out we will simply bombard Grandmas great basement play room or drop in on the neighbors up the street. Any change of scenery will do.
I’m not sure how others feel, but I have learned to never make reoccurring plans for Saturdays because something always comes up and changes whatever plan I had. So the Saturday plan is to make NO plan.
Religion is a major part of my life. I prefer it this way. As a member of a Sunday worshiping religion I have this day set aside for worship and family time.
So there it is; a schedule that is both flexible and structured, a plan to give me something to work towards each week, a method for accomplishing my list of projects.  Organizing your daily activities is a valuable tool when looking for opportunities to be successful. By putting my responsibilities (laundry, cleaning, shopping) at the first of the week I am able to use my time more wisely during the middle and end of the week.  Do you structure your weeks or just take things as they come?

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