Depending on how thorough you want to be, house cleaning is a major project that can take days or even weeks to complete. In the time leading up to a planned house cleaning, though, you may experience elevated stress levels.

That’s likely to happen because you’ve probably been putting the project off for a while, and the clutter, dust and unwanted odors are making it difficult for you to enjoy your home.

House cleaning is also likely to make you feel stressed because you probably feel as though you don’t have adequate storage space for the things you own.

That’s why your house became cluttered in the first place, and without a solution for that problem, you know that a cleaning project won’t have much of an effect anyway. That’s discouraging, and it causes you to procrastinate even more.

You need a plan – a plan that will make your cleaning project as easy and stress free as it can possibly be. You need to:

  • Find a solution for the clutter.
  • Reduce the unnecessary effort involved in cleaning your home.
  • Make it easier to maintain your home, so future cleaning projects won’t feel like such major undertakings.

When you’re about to begin a major project, you’re always going to feel at least a little stress. Feeling unprepared is a large component of stress, though, and we’re going to alleviate that problem with these four simple tips.

Eliminate the Clutter Before You Begin

Eliminate the Clutter Before You Begin

The easiest way to accomplish a major house cleaning project is by getting rid of as many unwanted or unused items as possible before you begin. One of the biggest reasons why our homes become cluttered in the first place is because we continue to accumulate possessions even though we don’t have adequate storage space for those things.

So, before you embark on your project, you need to identify the things that you don’t need anymore – or don’t require immediate access to – and come up with a plan for getting them out of the house.

Here are the five best ways to get unwanted items out of your home along with the pros and cons of those options. It’s likely that the ideal strategy for you will involve a combination of these methods.

  • Sell items in an online auction. This requires a bit of effort since you’ll need to create listings and take pictures of the items. It’s also usually only appropriate for small items that are easy to ship. An auction, though, is typically the way to earn the most possible money for your unwanted items because it exposes those items to the largest possible pool of potential buyers.
  • Hold a garage sale or run a classified ad. Offering your unwanted items only to local buyers typically means that you’ll earn a little less for them compared to selling them on an auction site. However, it can also be easier than creating auction listings and shipping the items to many different buyers. Also, selling to local buyers may be the only viable option for getting rid of oversized items.
  • Give items to friends and family members. You won’t earn any money for this, but it’s a great way to help loved ones who could use those items and may not be able to afford them.
  • Donate items to goodwill. You won’t earn money for those items, but you may be eligible for a tax deduction and will also be helping people in need.
  • Put items into storage. Renting a storage facility will add to your monthly bills, but it also means that you won’t actually lose those items. It also costs much less than building an addition to your home.

Stop Doing Things That Contribute to Unwanted Odors

Here’s one of the most important things to remember about any house cleaning project. If the things that you do cause your home to smell bad or accumulate dust at an accelerated rate, those issues will still exist after you’ve cleaned your home and will ultimately make the project less effective than it could have been. Always remember these crucial pointers.

  • Don’t let clutter accumulate. Put things away in their proper places after using them. You have to take an active role in maintaining your home, or entropy will always take over.
  • Don’t smoke in your home. Either grab an alternative product like a Geek Bar Pulse to use indoors or make sure that you always go outside to smoke.
  • Keep a schedule for home maintenance. The filter for your air-conditioning system, for example, needs to be replaced every 30-90 days. You should also keep a schedule for other routine tasks like cleaning drains, carpets and windows. If you know exactly when you’re going to do those tasks, they won’t pile up on you.
  • Keep an eye on your plumbing. Avoid clutter under your sinks because if you’re stuffing too many things in those areas, you may not notice leaks when they occur. It’s important to fix plumbing leaks promptly because mold will proliferate if you don’t.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Before you embark on a major house cleaning project, you should think about whether the tools that you have around the house are really appropriate for the job. You’re not going to get very far, for instance, if you want to do a deep cleaning with a mop and a standard household vacuum. You can rent better tools at many supermarkets and home improvement stores.

Some of the best tools for a major house cleaning project include:

  • Commercial carpet cleaner: Shoots a stream of hot water and detergent into the fibers of your carpet and uses a vacuum to carry the liquid and dirt away. These are available at many supermarkets.
  • Pressure washer: Uses high-pressure water to remove dirt and grime from the exterior areas of your home.
  • Ozone generator: Fills a room with ozone, which neutralizes most odor-causing molecules through oxidation. Ozone generators are potentially dangerous and must be used with extreme care.

Make Maintaining Your Home as Easy as Possible

Make Maintaining Your Home as Easy as Possible

When your cleaning project is complete, your top priority will definitely be to go as long as possible without needing to do it again. To keep your home fresh, clean and livable, you need to ensure that maintaining it will be as easy as it can be. Here are some tips that can help.

  • Consider buying an air purifier. An air purifier uses a fan and an array of filter elements to remove odors and control airborne allergens like pollen and pet dander. The filter elements will usually include an activated charcoal stage and a HEPA stage.
  • Use activated charcoal liberally. You can buy bags of activated charcoal online and in most home improvement stores. Charcoal is extremely absorbent and works very well for controlling household odors.
  • Control the humidity in your home. Make sure that your windows are properly sealed. Check your plumbing for leaks. Consider putting desiccant in your closets and under your sinks. It may also be worthwhile to buy a dehumidifier for your basement and/or attic.
  • Invest in better home storage. Anything that makes it easier for you to keep your home organized is money well spent, and items like vacuum bags for old clothes, plastic storage bins and bamboo or fiberboard shelving are quite affordable.
Dr. Alexander Reed

Dr. Alexander Reed, with a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from MIT, brings over two decades of experience in the construction industry. Before joining our team as a freelancer in 2019, he led several high-profile construction projects and taught at Washington University. His expertise, gained from managing large-scale urban development projects, enriches our content since 2019. He is an advocate for green building practices and has consulted on various eco-friendly initiatives. In his free time, Dr. Reed is an avid sailor and enjoys writing about the intersection of architecture and environmental sustainability.

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