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How to clean and organize your home for the new year

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It’s time for 2020 to pack its bags and get going, and as we enter a new year, it’s a time to focus on making 2021 better. And one of the best ways to start out on the right foot is by having a clean and organized home. We talked to Sean Bellinger, owner of Maid Right cleaning services in Henderson, to get some tips on the best and easiest ways to get your place in shape.

Make a plan

Don’t think about cleaning the entire house, Bellinger says. “It goes back to the old adage, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’” Write out a list, so tasks feel less overwhelming and more approachable. “You need to break it down into small things and prioritize,” he says. “If you’re trying to rush to clean your house because you have family coming over, think about the areas they’re going to be in versus cleaning the whole house. If they’re not going to be in all the bedrooms, think about the areas they’re going to actually see, and make an impression with those areas.”

Make a good first impression

Even during a pandemic, “first impressions are everything,” Bellinger says. To start, focus on places like the front entryway, the kitchen, the hall bathroom and living/family rooms. Even if you won’t be having guests over for the foreseeable future, high-traffic areas should be your top priority. If you’ve been spending lots of time in the bedroom during the pandemic, consider that common areas may have been neglected throughout 2020. If a living/family room has accumulated a lot of clutter, cleaning it first can alleviate stress, revive the energy of the room and even bring new life to an old home.

“In a lot of modern homes, the kitchen is open to some sort of family area,” Bellinger says. Remember, your plan doesn’t have to tackle everything all at once. As you tidy the kitchen, look at the family area, determine what really needs decluttering or cleaning, and create small plans each day to tackle harder tasks.

Clean throughout the week

Bellinger suggests cleaning or tidying a room each day and concentrating on the most important areas first, so that you don’t have to clean the entire house at once.

Clean as you go

This is a general rule to employ all the time but especially when you’re trying to create better habits for the new year. If you’re cooking a large meal, rinse pots and pans and wipe the counters down when you finish using them. “There’s no secret to that; some people are just messy cookers,” Bellinger says with a laugh. But keeping your space clean as you work will create less of a hassle down the road.

Declutter

“If you have stuff on the counter you aren’t using, can you find a cupboard to put it away in?” Often things aren’t really as dirty or messy as they seem. Find a home for mail and other miscellaneous items. Throw away or donate things that haven’t been used in a while or are simply piling up.

Look for overlooked areas

Fans, light fixtures, toilet lids and baseboards gather dust and gunk. “Take a moment to step back, sit down, look around the room and ask yourself, ‘What am I missing?’” Bellinger says. “We get oblivious to our own surroundings. Sit where you don’t normally sit to spot these problem areas.”

Use the Marie Kondo method

If it doesn’t spark joy, toss it or donate it. That goes for clothing, knickknacks and other miscellaneous items around the house.

Consider a service

“If you think, ‘I just can’t tackle this,’ plan ahead to have someone come out and help,” Bellinger recommends—emphasizing “plan ahead.” “All the different services are very busy,” Bellinger says, and a deep house cleaning typically can’t be done in a few hours or on the same day. If hiring someone to clean the entire house doesn’t fit into your budget, consider hiring help for one or two rooms. “Maybe you won’t have them do the whole house,” Bellinger says. Many cleaners will customize their services to fit the client’s needs.

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