Simple Sunday: Cleaning

by Frank Martin

Simple Sunday is a weekly series wherein I tackle easy ways to simplify some aspect of life. Past topics have included money, technology, exercisecreativity, and life more generally . This week, we’re taking a look at something you, me, and everyone else seem to dread: cleaning. You should have seen my apartment the first year or so after college. To say it was a sty would be, in some ways an understatement. That said, biting the bullet and starting down the path to a simple, minimalist lifestyle has made the whole thing easier. These are a couple things I’ve found useful, and I hope you do to.

1 Clean as you go: This might well be the most important. If we let stuff pile up, whether its dishes, dust, or whatever, the bigger the mess, the harder it seems to be to tackle. So instead of doing weekly cleaning, clean up as you go. Do dishes by hand after each meal, put a book back on the shelf after you finish reading it. This won’t replace burst cleaning entirely, but it cuts down on the length of those bursts, and what you have to do when you do it.

2 Everything has a home: When I get home, I sit down on a bench near the door, take my shoes off and put them away under the bench before emptying my pockets (what little they contain), put my wallet, etc, in a small basket at the end of the bench. I have a reading corner with a chair, small table and reading lamp. There is nothing in this corner but a couple of journals, the book(s) I’m reading, a high-lighter, and some bookmarks. No piles of paper or random stuff strewn about, nothing stored on the floor, anywhere.

3 Make it a habit: These days I sweep my entry, bathroom, and kitchen every day, and mop all three each week. If you habituate to cleaning on a certain schedule, it makes it a lot easier as its just part of your routine as opposed to something extra. I’d suggest sweeping daily in the morning and/or evening as part of your morning/evening routine.

4 Use less chemicals: Take a look at whatever cleaning supplies you have. How many different bottles of who knows what is in that kit? These days, I have things cut down to a small handful. Simple green is my go to basic cleaner. A small amount diluted with water goes a LONG way. Comet or Bon Ami does the trick for my shower floor and toilet. Tilex and Windex are stored in the bathroom to take care of the tile and windows, and I’ve got a bottle of bleach socked away that comes out every once in a while for the harder stains.

5 Clear the clutter: The simple lack of piles of stuff will make a space look cleaner. It makes it easier to clean, and easier to find things if you misplace something.