The Den: Kickstart Your Cleaning

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Welcome to your den or family room cleaning video. Feel free to play this and listen to my voice while you clean, listen and pause as you work through your tasks, or watch this video through and then clean. Whatever suits you best!

The den is the place you’re supposed to kick back and relax after work and life-stuff is done for the day. It’s the place to be lazy on weekends. Many of us, including me, eat and drink in the den, too. Hey, it happens and that’s life! When we eat and drink in there, crumbs and spills are inevitable an over time, our den items like remotes, controllers, blankets and throw pillows can get crummy and gummed up. Dust gathers because of the electronics in there, too – oh, and pet beds usually reside in here, and that’s an issue in and of itself. As with most spaces in a home, it is hard to relax when you are surrounded with a mess. It’s not a complicated area to clean – which is a bonus. With a good cleaning and a few scheduled tasks over the year, the den will be kept in a beautiful, calm-inducing state. It’s simple, and you can do this.

In my den, the biggest repeat offenders are piled up papers, magazines, glasses, plates, and blankets and upholstery that get covered in pet hair, since my cats make themselves right at home in den. Daily clutter is the biggest thing, and dust and pet hair is the secondary challenge. My seating area and furniture tops are my MIAs in the den.

Head over to your den now. Have a look around and think about your MIAs or most important areas in here. What makes you frustrated, upset, annoyed or grossed out when it’s a mess? This is the first step of the Maker Method and if you’ve got the book, I’ve got my easy MIA quiz you can fill out on page 7 help this process. Take a minute to do this – it’s important to know where you need to focus. Great. Now that you’ve done it, think about your cleaning plan here. What are you going to focus on? What are the products, tools, and techniques you need to use in this space? Good – this is very important to figure out and saves you a ton of time once you get working.

Now, something that really works for me is to visualize what I want. So go stand in the middle of your den and close your eyes just for a moment, and imagine what your space would look like ideally, if it were cleaned to your liking. If you can see this in your mind’s eye, you’re on the right track because you’re setting your intention. Having a clear picture of what your space looks like – only as clean as you want it to be – that’s half the work. What does the seating area look like? What does your media area look like – how are the remotes, controllers and media consoles organized? How about your collection of games, board games and DVDs, if you’ve got them? What do you throw pillows and blankets look like? Your pet bed, if you’re a pet parent? How do you want the floor to look? In your mind’s eye, look up, around the ceiling and corners, light fixture, across the furniture, tv area and coffee table and down at the floor. Review the den entirely with your eyes shut to get a clear picture of what you expect it to look like when done. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Great. You’ve set your goal, and that’s the level of clean you are going to work toward.

Now we’ll move onto the second step of the Maker Method, PTTs, or products, tools and techniques. Think about your upholstered pieces – are they leather or fabric? Does anything need laundering? What about your remotes, controllers, consoles and flat panels. Think about all of this as you piece together your cleaning tools and products, making sure you use the right products for the right surfaces. If you have any electronics, including flat screens and remotes or controllers, you’ll need to use an electronics cleaner and I’ve got a simple recipe on page 124 of the book. Make sure you’re using a non-scratching microfiber cloth to clean any electronics and flat screens to avoid scratches. For the technique on how to clean flat screen TVs, visit page 123 of the book. When was the last time you reorganized your DVDs, board games and video game discs? I’ve got a whole routine for this very task on page 126. As you can see, planning these PTTS in advance is a massive time saver and proven strategy to save you time. Think about what you want to accomplish during the cleaning and plan in advance. This is how the pros do it. I recommend skimming this section to get a good idea of how this cleaning is going to flow and what exact moves and techniques you should employ. You can find it starting on page 115.

To get yourself in the mood, consider playing music or a podcast and lighting a candle or diffusing essential oils. Open a window if the weather permits. This always helps put me in the mood to clean. Make sure you’re dressed comfortably, have used the washroom, have a drink prepared and have everything distracting turned off. Right before you begin, look at your den and just remind yourself that in about 20 relatively painless minutes, it’s going to look markedly better than it does now. It’s going to feel better. You’re going to be able to relax and enjoy this space with very minimal time invested. This is going to be the den you dream of, clean fresh and relaxing. You’re T minus 20 minutes away from den bliss!

So as we always do, head over to your starting point and begin your cleaning. Keep an eye out for those grimy areas, like points of contact and remotes, as well as smelly or dingy blankets or upholstery. When was the last time you moved your furniture around to clean behind or underneath it? Is today the day? Perhaps so, perhaps not. Choose your own adventure! This is cleaning that works for you. As you do your cleaning, keep an eye out for anything dusty or unattended to; lampshades, baseboards, tops of picture frames. If you have plants in this room, you’ll want to see page 132 for my proven plant-cleaning technique – and this goes for artificial and real plants. What abut a fireplace, got one that you actually need to throw a log onto? I have you covered on page 132 as well. If you have toys in your den, I’ve got a plan of action for how to properly clean kids toys on page 135. Make sure the coffee table is clean, items like books, magazines and toys are organized, and that all items are positioned in a way which makes them look neat and tidy. While cleaning, take a moment to evaluate the items you have as you clean each one and decide if you still like it and still need it in your space. Just this week as I was cleaning my den, I removed a lamp we’ve had for years. I just don’t like it anymore and didn’t want to keep passively wondering what to do about it. The time had come to make a decision and take action, so without further consideration, into the donation pile it went. You can do this too – constantly prune your space for items which don’t appeal to you anymore and keep your space clean and clutter-free. Does anything need to be laundered, does anything need to be professionally cleaned? This is the time to pay attention and make a mental note.

As you’re working, pause for a moment, and just remind yourself how proud you are for dedicating this time to cleaning your den. Spending quality downtime in a clean, clutter-free space can help you better unwind and feel your coziest. This is the space where the family can hang out, you can host guests, or just enjoy on your own. It’s the ultimate chill out zone, and you deserve one that looks and feels amazing.

As you wind down cleaning the den, clear away the items you’ve used to clean, replace any furniture that has been moved and put the final finishes on your space. Alright! Now, stand back and observe what you’ve done. Smile, ear-to-ear, pat yourself on the back, let out a little spirited cheer, or do a quick dance. Whatever you need to do, you deserve to congratulate yourself and ride the feel-good vibes of your efforts. Your den looks noticeably better now, and all because of you!

The den requires ongoing maintenance or else things can get misplaced quickly and the space can look upside down in no time. Spend time establishing a den cleaning routine, perhaps you build it in to your after-dinner routine, just a quick pick up – ideally before kids go to bed, if you’ve got them – perhaps they can even help. You can see how this is done on page 259 and see how it can work for you. The den requires a few one-off jobs to be done throughout the year, like cleaning speakers and consoles, upholstery and rugs, and organizing and cleaning games and books. Scheduling them in will be an important thing to do. Take some time to do this; set it on autopilot and don’t think about it again! Look at your MIAs and also at your scheduling chart on page 274 and see what you want to include in your monthly, quarterly and annual cleaning schedule. Scheduling and routines is the third step of the Maker Method – what gets scheduled gets done.

You’ve done it! I am so proud of you that you got through the den and made it look relax-ready. Great work, next up, we’re going to the bathroom! Not together, we’re going to clean it!

Please share your journey with me by using #KickstartCMS and tagging me on Instagram and Twitter using @CleanMySpace and @MelissaMaker, share your photos on Facebook, or send me an email to info {@} cleanmyspace.com . I’d love to know how this is helping you!

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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