Some folks make their bed as soon as they get up in the morning, one small part of a routine to maintain a neat, orderly home. You know these people: their home looks like it's perpetually staged by a pro, not a dirty dish in the sink or a framed picture out of kilter on the walls.

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Then there's rest of us, for whom maintaining a regular tidying up and cleaning schedule can be a challenge. The laundry baskets are overflowing, the living room looks lived in, and the chrome bathroom fixtures aren't quite glistening.

If the second scenario describes your household, consider adopting a simple—but more organized and systematic—approach.

With spring upon us, try this easy-to-follow schedule from the pros behind Consumer Reports' "How to Clean Practically Anything."

Every Day

• Make bed(s).
• Pick up clothes; throw dirty items in the laundry.
• Clean the bathroom sink and shower after each use.
• Straighten up newspapers, magazines, and other papers.
Load dishes into the dishwasher after each meal or wash and dry them by hand.
• Clean the sink and wipe the cooking surfaces after each use (including the microwave).
• Wipe down dirty countertops.
• Empty the garbage in the kitchen.

Every Week

• Dust furniture, shelves, radiators or air registers, woodwork, pictures, and mirrors.
• Vacuum rugs and floors.
• Vacuum or brush upholstered furniture.
• Empty the wastebaskets around the house.
• Wash bathroom basins, fixtures, and floors.
• Sweep or mop the kitchen floor.
• Clean range or cooktop burners. (Bonus reading: How to clean small appliances.)
• Wipe the refrigerator and the front of kitchen cabinets.
• Do laundry.

Every Month

• Vacuum or brush curtains and draperies.
• Clean under and around furniture and appliances.
• Wipe woodwork, windowsills, and walls where needed.
• Dust or brush lampshades and blinds.
• Polish hardwood floors and furniture, if needed.
• Vacuum books and bookshelves.
• Organize or store books, photos, and other loose paraphernalia.
• Vacuum upholstered furniture, cleaning under cushions and in crevices.
• Clean the oven, as needed.
• During the appropriate season, clean the filters on your room air conditioner, dehumidifier, or air purifier.


Cleaning Made Easy