Note: This is a guest post from Dana White of A Slob Comes Clean.
As a teenager, I worked at a camp. A very clean camp.
I learned a lot over those summers. I lived by the detailed checklists we were given that told us exactly what to clean and how to clean it.
It was a magical time in my life, and I remember almost every moment fondly.
The bedrooms in our staff cabin underwent daily inspections, and I still feel a little heat in my face and grumpiness in my heart when I remember being scolded for my messy bunk.
I doubt the scolding was much of a scolding, but I took it hard because I was so genuinely confused. I couldn’t understand what had caused me to fail the inspection. When I asked the inspector, the look on her face clearly showed that she couldn’t understand what I didn’t understand. She listed off multiple “obvious” things that I had neglected to do.
They were not obvious to me. Obviously.
As I became an adult with my own home, I learned that I had legitimate issues with not seeing things the way others see them. (Slob Vision is a real thing.) I became paranoid about missing cleaning tasks that should be obvious.
I’ve come a long way, and by keeping up with daily tasks and getting clutter out of my home, I’m much more aware of what needs to be done. I’ve also chilled out a lot and realized it’s more important to welcome people into a home with a potentially-overlooked mess than it is to keep them out for fear of forgetting.
But a list helps. So here’s mine. Here’s a list of cleaning tasks that can be easily overlooked, spring (with all of its natural cleaning energy) is a great time to tackle them.
I’ll start with the tasks that are most visible. That’s how I prioritize all of my cleaning and decluttering efforts. I call it the Visibility Rule. Progress in visible areas increases my cleaning energy and inspires me to keep going.
12 Cleaning Tasks that Can Be Easily Overlooked
A doorknob and the grime that somehow gathers around it may be the first thing a guest sees. It’s annoying that hands I wash all the time get grime on things they touch, but it’s also satisfying to wipe that grime away.
Light Switch Covers
Again with the finger grime. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation involving body oil and skin cells, but I don’t want to talk about that because it grosses me out. Just clean your light switch covers.
Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans
I’m a big fan of turning on my ceiling fan in a pinch if I forget to dust it, but maybe you’re not as lucky as I am to be at an age where you can realistically call Hot Flash on a cool day. If you are paranoid about sending dust chunks flying, use a pillow case to do the job and catch the chunks inside. (Just don’t forget to shake it out into the trash.)
If glass light fixtures are easily removed and replaced, stick them in the dishwasher and they’ll come out sparkly. While I often don’t notice a slightly dirty light fixture, clean and shiny ones get my attention.
The Back of the Bathroom Door
It feels like the back of the bathroom door doesn’t qualify as visible. But it’s totally visible to someone who is in the bathroom. I don’t want to talk (or think) about how the door gets dirty, I’ll just tell you to clean it.
Real ones or fake ones, I feel like plants should be self-cleaning, but somehow they aren’t. Dust them.
Tops of Curtains
Windows usually get attention during spring cleaning, but don’t miss the tops of your curtains. You could wash the curtains if they’re washable (and hang them right back up to dry), but if you’re not going to do that, at least dust the tops.
Grab a handheld vacuum and clean your window sills, especially ones behind curtains. That’s where bugs go to die.
Let’s move on to some things that aren’t as visible, but quietly get dirty and can really benefit from the focus of spring cleaning:
How exactly do crumbs end up in a place where only clean utensils go? I’m not here to solve that mystery, just to remind you that it happens. If your silverware tray is dishwasher safe, run it through a cycle. If not, wipe it out.
Dishwasher and Washing Machine
It feels like dishwashers and washing machines shouldn’t need to be cleaned because they deal with soap and water on the regular. But just like a bathtub, they do. Both will look better and perform better once they have been cleaned. Usually, it’s as simple as running a cycle with a special cleaner.
Dust your walls. I was upset, too, when I realized dust could collect on vertical surfaces, but being mad about it didn’t make my house look better as much as running a dry mop along my walls. The whole room looks brighter (and a little less fuzzy) when the walls have been dusted.
What are some things you forget to clean?
Dana K. White is an author, podcaster, speaker, and (much to her own surprise) a Decluttering Expert. In a desperate attempt to get her own home under control, Dana started blogging as “Nony” (short for anonymous) at A Slob Comes Clean in 2009. Today, Dana shares realistic home management strategies and a message of hope for the hopelessly messy in her books: Decluttering at the Speed of Life and How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind.