“Clean your rooooooom!”
Man, if I had a dollar for every time my parents yelled this very phrase at me when I was growing up, I’d probably still be doing this but I’d be doing it from a big old beach house along the California coast. It seems most of us dislike cleaning, but find even more excuses to not clean our rooms.
Don’t be fooled, I face the same cleaning challenges that everyone else does, I was not born with the auto-clean function. Those people have superpowers, kind of like people with 6-pack abs. On that note, created a really handy cleaning routine for the rest of us Muggles to follow, by very popular request.
Now, I must disclose that I’m not overly concerned about doing a perfect room cleaning (when I clean for myself; I have a different idea about how my company cleans for our clients), unless it absolutely needs to be, or for when we do a big annual or biannual clean. I’m more concerned about spending the least amount of time needed to get the room clean to a certain point and then I want to move on. The room cleaning method I’m showing you here is a cross between my company’s secret sauce and my personal opinion of what works best for me. It doesn’t cover everything, like windows, mattress cleaning, drawers, etc. but it does cover the basics. From time to time, you’ll want to throw in some extras. With this well laid out routine, you’ll know exactly where to add them in. We have a lot of great videos and blog posts which you can use as resources and I’ve linked them at the bottom of the post.
This method works for any room you have actually, but bedroom is a great place to demo the method.
There’s a printable for you as well as a video, which you can see here!
Melissa’s 3 Room Cleaning Rules
I have 3 rules about cleaning: trust me, these rules will save you time so listen up.
Rule 1 – Get in the right headspace
Um yeah, you need to be in the right headspace. I don’t know what you need to do to get there (maybe watch one of our videos :D), but if I am not in the mood for cleaning, I literally waste time doing everything else but clean. Just commit like 20-30 minutes to give your room the attention it needs. Pick your music ahead of time, get a drink, go to the bathroom, and then get cleaning.
Rule 2: Use the right tools and products, and have them all with you
Don’t waste your time using inadequate tools and products, get the good stuff that isn’t going to waste your time because of quality issues. Select items that you need; nothing more and nothing less, just enough to be efficient. My recommended product and tool list is below. Then, gather the items up and take them to the room, don’t leave one item out. If you have it all with you, you won’t need to leave your room and that will keep you focused.
Rule 3: Have a Method
Have a plan, and that’s why I am going to share my list with you, so that you know what to do and the order to do it in. Also, work clockwise and stay on course, that way you won’t need to remember what you have and have not cleaned. You save so much time by not backtracking.
Tools and Products
Ok, so assuming you’re in the right headspace (which takes care of rule #1), let’s go to tools and products. Here’s what you’ll need to clean your room:
- Microfiber cloths for dusting, cleaning and polishing. I’d say to have 3.
- Glass cleaning cloth, for mirrors and windows (if you feel like cleaning your windows)
- Vacuum (mop if you have hardwood floors)
- All purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Disinfectant (points of contact) – if you wish
- Garbage bag, bag for recyclables, replacement garbage bag
- Mop pole, hair elastic
- Fresh linens, or at least strip your bed, was the sheets and have fresh ones ready to go (in the video, I don’t change my linens because I did so 3 days prior to shooting).
Now, you might have items and/or finishes in your room that I don’t have in mine, so if you have something that requires special attention, get the right product for it. Otherwise, this list will suffice.
The method we’re going to use for this I will refer to as ‘3 Waves’. Essentially, you’re going to do 3 circles (waves sounds sexier and less kindergarden-y) around your room to cover off all the areas. The three waves are: tidying, cleaning, and floors. That way, you tidy and deal with garbage and laundry first, clean second, and vacuum (or mop) last. You can’t go wrong. You’ll always work clockwise and I pick the door as my ’12 O’Clock’ so that I always have a consistent start and finish point.
So, let’s get started!
The first wave involves picking up garbage and recycling, putting things where they belong (tidying) and quick organization. For this wave, you don’t need cleaning products, you just need your garbage bag/recycling bag and perhaps a laundry basket for items that don’t belong in your room. Keep those close to you.
As I go around my room, I am scanning from top to bottom, left to right for any item that needs to be ‘dealt with’. For example, any soda cans get recycled, garbage gets tossed, clothes are thrown on the bed if they are clean (which I will fold at the end of this wave) or on the floor if they are dirty, so that I know to take them to the laundry room after. Any items I don’t need in the room go into the laundry basket which I’ll leave outside my door and deal with after the clean is over.
For the items that I pass which are in their right homes (because each item has a home you know), I tidy and organize them. I position them neatly and attractively on the surface (which we clean in the second wave). For example, an iPad, a book and a cell phone scattered on the night stand will be tidied by stacking them on the table surface with the largest item on the bottom (iPad), followed by the book and topped with the phone. A great tip I always use for tidying is to line my items up parallel or perpendicular to the edges of the furniture. That way, things always look straight.
Now, finish this wave up by folding those clothes and making the bed. Put the clothes away before you move on to the second wave.
Now that the room is neat and tidy and free of distraction, I can actually clean it. For the second wave, we’re going to tackle the dusting, cleaning and polishing. To prepare for the second wave, I keep a dry microfiber cloth over my shoulder so that I can ‘buff’ surfaces and items dry (and access it quickly), a clean microfiber cloth in the other hand and a bottle of all-purpose cleaner in the other.
High and low dusting is the first thing you’re going to do. The important thing to know about dusting is that dust falls from the top to the bottom, so you want to start at the top and work your way down. That’s why we start with the high dusting. Prepare your high and low dusting tool now, by placing a dampened microfiber cloth over the end of a mop pole and securing it with the hair elastic. Start at your 12 O’Clock point and raise the tool up to the seam where the ceiling meets the wall. Walk it from corner to corner around the room (moving clockwise) dragging it along the corners and edges along the seam (cobweb central). While you’re at it, you can also clean any door frames, vents or light fixtures (which should be off if you are cleaning them). When this is done, you can either move on to cleaning, or what I did in the video is back track my steps and clean the baseboards using the same tool. I know I should wait until the end to do baseboards, but I was naughty.
Now that your high and low dusting is done, take 2 microfiber cloths and your bottle of all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner. Leave the glass cleaner by your mirror so you don’t need to drag it around with you. Spray your cloth so that it’s damp and head to your 12 O’Clock area to start. Start scanning (top to bottom) and seek out any fingerprints or marks on the wall, points of contact, or horizontal surfaces that need dusting and polishing. You are literally going to scan, moving your head in an ‘yes’ position (up and down) looking for things that NEED cleaning. Include furniture and room decor in this scan, and clean items as necessary.
If you wish to disinfect your points of contact, use a disinfectant for this (unless your all-purpose cleaner does this too). When it comes to cleaning furniture, here’s what to do. Remove all items, and place safely on the floor, spray the furniture surface if you can, or just use a damp cloth to wipe if not. Wipe in an ‘S’ pattern (starting at one end and moving to the other, and zig-zag back and forth until you are done). Grab your buffing cloth if necessary to dry the surface before replacing items and then replace items, one by one, quickly wiping each one as you replace it in the right spot. Since you’ve already organized and tidied, you have less things to do during this wave, and you can strictly focus on cleaning. Check to see if your furniture’s vertical surfaces have fingerprints on them and spot clean as required (vertical surfaces get less dirty than horizontal ones, so they don’t need as much cleaning).
For your mirror, spray it with glass cleaner, then take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe using an “s’ pattern from top to bottom, and buff out any streaks as needed. Move along to your window sill, use a cloth to wipe the frame and sill of the window, and you can spot clean any fingerprints if you wish. I use the same method for picture frames, which you can see in the video. I also support any item by holding part of it secure with my left hand while I clean with my right hand. That prevents it from falling! I don’t clean my window coverings in this video, but you can certainly do this if you wish. See, with focused effort, this was easy and effective.
Third & Final Wave:
The room is clean, organized and now it’s time to perfect any misses, clean the floors and remove garbage, laundry and rogue items. For this, all you need is a vacuum (and mop if you have hard floors).
Start by emptying your garbage and replacing the bag (if you have one if you your room). Place the garbage and recycling bags, dirty laundry and rogue item pile by the door. Then, you’ll begin vacuuming. Now, you can do a quick vacuum of open areas (which I demo in the video), or you can start moving furniture out of the way (smaller stuff, not your bed), and using attachments to get into crevices, etc. The depth and level of detail is your call. Let it be known that I absolutely hate vacuuming, so I tend to cheat wherever possible in this area. But, being an allergy sufferer, I can’t ignore those crevices for long and need to do this every now and again. The attachments are great because they do allow you to go into detail, reaching areas your regular vacuum head can’t. Areas that are often forgotten are: under the bed, the crease where the carpet meets the wall (does yours look darker? It’s not supposed to be ombre you know 😉 ) and behind furniture where dust bunnies tend to hide. The point is, you vacuum, in whichever capacity you choose. The vacuum technique I demo in the video is what I call the ‘W’ pattern, and it leaves nice cuts in the carpet. See, even though I don’t like it I do a damn good job at it. That’s ’cause I’m a fighter.
Remember, there are lots more things you can do to get an even better, more detailed clean but I also know that too much of a routine can scare me (and probably you), so this is a basic one and you can build on it and customize it as you wish.
Here are a few links to other posts that you may want to include in your bedroom cleaning.
Cleaning points of contact: https://cleanmyspace.com/10-points-of-contact-to-keep-clean-this-cold-flu-season
Dusting tricks: cleanmyspace.com/10-handy-dusting-tips
Getting into the right cleaning headspace: cleanmyspace.com/making-cleaning-fun
Organizing your closet: cleanmyspace.com/3-steps-to-help-organize-your-bedroom-closet-or-any-closet
Cleaning your pillows: cleanmyspace.com/clean-your-pillows
So, that’s how I clean a room! What do you think? I hope this has triggered something within you and now you’re motivated to clean. What are your bedroom cleaning secrets, tell me!