Unless cleaning is your favorite activity in the world, you will likely benefit by using the smartest cleaning tools to help the job get done faster and more effectively.
Your living space – whether it’s a studio apartment you share with a roommate, or a large lifestyle estate that you have to yourself – serves as the foundation from which you build your many successes in life. The stronger your foundation, the more powerful your successes.
Keeping a clean and organized home is essential to your efficiency, if not your sanity.
Sadly, keeping your living space clean and organized is easier said than done.
On the bright side, it helps to have the right tools. If you have the right tools, you’ll use them.
If you don’t have the right cleaning tools that you enjoy using, you’ll put off cleaning and organizing – and this will, in turn, impact every area of your life.
Why It Matters to Have the Right Cleaning Tools for Your Home
Among cleaning tools, two are particularly important to you. And they’re probably not what you think.
Here’s a hint: it’s all about gravity.
Dust and dirt follow the law of gravity – eventually, everything undesirable will find its way down.
I encourage you to invest in these three quality home cleaning tools:
1. Comfortable Pair of Kneepads
That’s right, you heard me correctly. Every home should have a pair of good knee pads tucked away somewhere and readily available.
Here’s the deal: I have all kinds of state-of-the-art cleaning tools and natural solvents, but still – sometimes I feel like I’m just pushing the dirt around.
Over the years, I’ve found that the best way to get something done, is to get down on my hands and knees and put some ‘elbow grease’ into it. Hence, my belief in knee pads. They are particularly useful for bathroom and kitchen floors.
I like the feeling of satisfaction from doing a job well and using the right tools. Whether you’re weeding the garden, removing a motor oil spill from the garage, or making your kitchen floor shine, a good pair of pads can make all the difference on your knees – and they help make the task a lot more enjoyable.
Personally, I like the foam ones. They’re light but durable (I’ve had the same pair for many years). And since most brands sell for under 9 bucks, they’re a pretty good value, too.
The thing about mops is, they mostly just move the dirt from one place to another.
I do use mops in my home for in-between cleanings, but most of the time I find it’s more effective to just pop on the knee pads and go for a good old-fashioned scrubbing, using rubber gloves, microfiber cloths, and a bucket with hot, soapy water.
…if I told you what dust really is, you might become disgusted and stop reading, so I’ll spare you the gory details”
This may sound corny, but I swear to you the feeling of satisfaction after this particular chore is empowering.
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2. An Excellent Vacuum
I had a funny conversation recently with a colleague who was telling a light-hearted story about his bride who had purchased a vacuum cleaner that he thought was absurdly expensive. I met his gaze directly and said, “she made a smart decision.”
If the vacuum is under a good warranty and it’s of exceptional quality, then it will last for years and years.
It’s all about the suction power. You want an outstanding vacuum that will pull up the dust, dirt, and hair from your furniture, your rugs, and every crevice in your home.
By the way, my colleague just rolled his eyes and replied “you two are made for each other!”
At our home, I use a special industrial-strength backpack vacuum. It looks like a ’50s B-movie sci-fi jet-pack (see photo). I even use it outdoors on the patio. It’s super, super strong and can suck up anything.
But you don’t need a backpack vacuum – any good upright is fine – but do invest in a good one.
If your upright doesn’t have a powerful hose attachment, than you’ll need an additional mini-handheld vacuum (but it had better be strong).
The thing is, this vacuum is powerful. It has a super-strong motor that provides über-suction for the dirtiest of floors, carpets and corners – making everything sparkling clean.
My organizing buddy Lorie, upon learning of my passion for excellent vacuums, said simply: “You’re dorkilicious!”
If you can get your floors really clean, that’s a significant achievement. A mediocre vacuum isn’t going to be as effective at getting the dust and dirt removed from your home.
My philosophy is that my time is so valuable, if I’m going to clean, I want to make it count.
The Deal with Dust
The #1 rule of housecleaning is that (because of the law of gravity): eventually, everything – all dust and dirt – ends up on the floor. When you understand this simple principle, it can help make your limited time go farther during household chores.
As particles become smaller and smaller, they will become airborne with the slightest breeze or movement, and float still further down again. This means, that you must look to your floors and carpets. That’s where every thing unappealing ends up (and if I told you what dust really is, you might become disgusted and stop reading, so I’ll spare you the gory details. I also won’t tell you what microorganisms and substances we drag into our home from the outside world on the soles of our shoes).
Do your chores, but remember to always save enough time for a good vacuuming at the end. If nothing else, all the old dust and dirt (that has floated down since your last home-cleaning) will be removed.
Vacuuming, in my opinion, is even more important than mopping. Mops have a tendency to just dilute dirt and move it around, but not necessarily to remove dust and dirt (despite what you see on the television commercials).
Need extra inspiration to be consistent with your new lifestyle habits? Become better organized by subscribing to our Quality of Life newsletter. Each week you’ll receive a simple lifestyle strategy that will inspire you to make better use of your time and energy. It’s free. Sign-up now and as a bonus you’ll also get instant access to our downloadable report on using checklists to become highly effective.
3. Heavy Duty Rubber Gloves
Imagine, in the Victorian Era before rubber gloves were invented, how cracked and painful a homemaker’s hands must have been? They didn’t even have moisturizer then (well, they had whale oil, but that was for the very rich).
I invested in a pair of deluxe, heavy-duty rubber gloves from Williams Sonoma… and never looked back. I’ve had these gloves for over ten years, so my purchase was worth every penny.
Forget those lame dish gloves they sell at the grocery store. Get a high quality pair and they’ll never tear (but remain nimble enough for you to use them masterfully).
What’s In Your Cleaning Caddy?
Some chores are especially tempting to postpone.
When that’s the case, consider re-evaluating your tools.
Often when we have the right tools, chores become faster and more enjoyable (and therefore we procrastinate less). Particularly important is your cleaning caddy.
Your cleaning caddy should be organized in such a way that it inspires you to use it.
Firstly, you must have a cleaning caddy. It makes cleaning more effective when you don’t have to keep returning to another room to locate your spray bottle and cloths.
Your caddy has everything you need within it so you can take it with you from room to room.
You might be surprised how much can fit inside a small and lightweight cleaning caddy.
In my own cleaning caddy (pictured here) are:
- 6 differently sized brushes
- retractable razor blade (for windows)
- plastic putty knife (for safely scraping stuck-on surfaces)
- 3 natural spray cleaners (window, all-surface, and bathroom/mold)
- heavy duty rubber gloves (the kind that last 20 years)
- knee pads
- liquid scrub
- and fresh cleaning cloths.
A common mistake is to forget to stock scrapers and brushes within a caddy. These tools help you to safely clean sticky spots or moldy corners. They don’t take up much room inside the caddy, so why not stock them? That way, you won’t have to disrupt your cleaning momentum when you encounter a problem area.
Finally, the ultimate clever trick is, when you are finished cleaning, to clean and reorganize your caddy before you put it back in the closet – so that it’s ready-to-go next time you want to use it.
What am I missing? Is there a particular tool that’s been an organizing lifesaver for keeping your home tidy and neatly arranged?
Spring Cleaning Necessities – http://speedcleaning.com/2012/uncategorized/spring-cleaning-necessary/
On Knee Pads – http://hubpages.com/living/knee-pads
What Dust Really Is – http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1966870,00.html