You’ve got a household to-do list as long as your arm, but these simple cleaning and organising tips help you finish it in half the time.
Disinfect the disposal – Remove garbage bin odour by dropping a lemon wedge, some ice cubes and a handful of salt into the bin. Leave overnight and rinse it in the morning. Lemon deodorises, while ice and salt turn into salty water to remove residue.
Clean the shower while you sleep – Get rid of built-up residue on a shower head by immersing it in a ‘plastic’ bag of vinegar and leaving to soak overnight. Clean a mouldy, smelly shower curtain by tossing it in the washing machine with a few towels – the rough fabric helps scrub the curtain.
Basket for the market – Stop seafood water spill in your car by keeping a laundry basket in the backseat. It’s great for stowing groceries while you drive, plus it makes unloading much easier once you’re home.
Daily mini rescues – Instead of one major clean-up on Saturday, do daily five-minute sweeps instead. Arm yourself with a laundry basket and a mobile vacuum cleaner or floor wiper. Sweep through each room for five minutes and place things that don’t belong into the laundry basket – this makes it easy to put those things back into the right room, once you get there.
Write on the washing machine – To prevent a red sock dyeing white sheets pink, use a white board marker to write directly onto your washing machine (marks disappear with a swipe of a paper tower). List clothes that must be washed separately or placed in a delicate bag. Or get three laundry hampers: For whites, coloured clothes and delicates. Pre-sorting clothes done!
Store sheet sets together – Fold sheets and stash them in one of the matching pillowcases to keep complete sets together.
See everything you need – Keep travelling essentials – think keys, a toy for the kids, wet wipes – into a clear organiser that hangs over the front door to make leaving the house hassle-free. Or use it to stash items like batteries, letters or a measuring tape.
One thing in = one thing out – Before you buy a new item, pick an old item at home to donate, toss or sell. A great de-cluttering rule to use for toys and shoes.
Stack up accessories – Stack bangles on a paper-towel holder so you can survey your options more easily during your morning rush.
Do double duty – Laundry while cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming your living room? Put a load into the washing machine. Then spray your bathroom tub, sink, tiles and toilet with a multipurpose cleaner and let the detergent work on the dirt in the bathroom while you vacuum and mop the living room. Return to the bathroom and wipe down the surfaces. Finally, pick up your clean laundry and hang it out to dry.
Easy wash-up – Run a sink of hot soapy water when you start cooking and soak dishes as you go to stop food and fat from hardening on the dishes.
Go right in the kitchen – Start cleaning kitchen surfaces on the right hand side of your stove, and move around the kitchen in a clockwise direction. The stove top is usually the dirtiest part of the kitchen so save this area for last to prevent spreading grease around. Soak sticky saucepans and pot lids in hot soapy water first, so they are easier to clean when the kitchen surfaces are done.
File wraps and bags – Stash tall boxes of aluminium foil, cling film and zip-lock bags in a magazine holder – they don’t often fit neatly into drawers.
Carry a cleaning caddy – Store cleaning liquids, brushes, rags and trash bags in a plastic caddy with a handle. It’s portable and you won’t waste time running back and forth to retrieve a forgotten bottle of detergent or brush.
Create a lost-and-found corner – Every home needs one – a pretty lunch box or lidded container to keep stray screws, buttons or lost LEGO bricks and game pawns. When you need a “lost” item, you know where to look first.
By Sylvia Ong, The Singapore Women’s Weekly, May 2014