Microcleaning – How Small Cleaning Tasks Can Prevent Overwhelm

I really enjoy making up words. Especially when they relate to household management. Microcleaning is one of them.  No, it is not short for microwave cleaning.  Nor is it the practice of cleaning very small toy figurines 🚂.. Microcleaning is a concept I came up with that means doing small bits of cleaning each day. This practice cuts down dramatically on the amount of larger cleaning tasks that need to be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Think about it:  if you’re cleaning up your high traffic spaces each day, attacking crumbs as you see them, and resetting the kitchen before you go to bed, you’re going to feel on top of your game and your house will maintain a nice, baseline clean.

Let’s dive into 6 ways you can practice microcleaning in your own home! 

#1 – After meals

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, I feel like the practice of cleaning up after mealtime is essentialI believe in fully resetting the kitchen after every meal.  That means dishwasher loaded, dishes that need to be hand washed are washed, counters are wiped free of crumbs, spills and splashes are wiped off appliances and cabinets, and floor crumbs are vacuumed.  There is something so gratifying about resetting the kitchen and flipping the sign to “kitchen is closed” until the next meal.  You can walk away knowing your space is clean and tidy, and ready for the next tornado that is mealtime (toddlers, anyone? 🤣) Here’s the thought process:  if we don’t clean our kitchens after mealtime, then messes will accumulate throughout the day and week, and by the weekend you have a huge mess on your hands.  If you spend 10 minutes tidying immediately after the mess is made, it’s easier to clean, takes less time, and allows you to feel fulfilled before moving onto your next task.

#2 – Before your evening wind-down

I LOVE this microcleaning tip.  This is the final push of the day, as I call it.  Dinner is done, kids are in bed, and it’s time for a quick microcleaning session before the body hits the couch (or the bed! 🛌).  Let’s face it, once we’re on the couch for the night, we’re not going to suddenly rally an hour later with a burst of energy and say “let’s clean!!!”.  So, do it before you settle in.  Decide what “it” is for you and your family.  Maybe it means mail is opened and processed.  Counter clutter is cleared.  High traffic flooring is vacuumed.  Current projects are tidied and/or put away.  Lunch is made for tomorrow.  Put together a little checklist of what your evening tidy looks like, and get it done as fast as possible.  THEN you can reward yourself by heading to the couch for a good show, podcast, or book.  Or to the tub for a nice soak.

#3 – The magic of the handheld vacuum

I use my handheld vacuum multiple times a day!  Check out my Instagram post from this week where I showcase my beloved Dyson.  It’s so much easier to have a handheld vacuum within reach to quickly attack a pile of crumbs, a dust bunny, dog hair, you name it.  It takes 10 seconds, and you’re done.  I typically grab my vacuum after mealtime, since I’m in resetting mode anyway. 

#4 – Bathroom surfaces

Bathrooms are places that can get dirty FAST, especially with kids.  Do yourself a favor, and put an all purpose spray and a few rags or a roll of paper towels under your bathroom sink.  When you’re in the bathroom, and notice the counter getting a bit dirty, give it a spray and a wipe 🧽.  Same with the toilet.  Or mirror.  It’s not a perfect, detailed clean, but it’s enough to get noticeable crud cleaned up.  Again, we don’t want spilled makeup, soap globs, and toothpaste-y mirrors building up day after day until they become a HUGE task to tackle.  Clean a little now, save a LOT of time later.

#5 – Laundry rule of ONE

If you haven’t read My Top Laundry Tips blog post, be sure to give it a read and focus on tip #7, which is to do 1 load of laundry every day.  Life hack:  what makes this super easy to attain is washing all of your clothes together on cold.  Kids’ clothes, adults’ clothes, dish towels – throw them all in!  Add some baking soda to boot.  The only things I wash separately, on warm, are sheets and towels.  I find that laundry can become this overwhelming task because we are oversorting.  I believe in washing everything together, then being more particular about how you dry (read: line dry delicates, athletic wear, jeans, etc.).  Doing one load a day makes it easy to stay on top of laundry, plus see a load all the way through from wash to put-away.

#6 – Tackle messes RIGHT AWAY

This one might seem obvious (hi 👋🏻, potty training accidents).  But sometimes little spills and blips are easy to turn our back on when we should really just tackle it in the moment.  A great example of this is the microwave.  You reheat spaghetti for lunch and it splatters all over your microwave.  Grab a warm rag or damp sponge and wipe it immediately before it dries.  Once it dries and cakes on, you just made your job 15 times more difficult.  Another example is the highchair.  Make sure to give that puppy a thorough wipedown after your kiddo is done eating.  Again, once food or drink dries, it becomes a pain to clean.  You spill rice on the floor, grab the vacuum.  Pot boils over on the stop, wipe it right away.  You get the picture!!  

And there you have it.  Six ways you can incorporate microcleaning habits into your daily life.  This will make your actual “cleaning days” way more mild.  Speaking of cleaning days, we will talk about my weekly and monthly cleaning schedule in a future post!  Thank you for reading, and please share below how this has helped you in your home!

Author: jillmcmeekin

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