According to traditional custom, house-cleaning should be done prior to the Chinese New Year. For the older Chinese community, it is a taboo to sweep the house during the first few days of the new year as this chore is tantamount to sweeping away good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
With the new year just around the corner, the rush to spring clean homes has to be hastened or risk the wrath of relatives, especially the older ones. Scheduling the time to do a thorough cleaning can be challenging to those with work and festive shopping on their agenda. So here are some tips to clean your home as fast and efficiently as possible.
Start with a simple schedule
“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” as the saying goes. It is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed if you dive right into cleaning. Instead, it is best to take a few minutes to create a simple schedule on the areas that need cleaning and a checklist for the things needed to be done. When planning the schedule, start with the areas that are accessible by guests (for example; the porch, living room and kitchen) before moving onto more private spaces.
Be reasonable with the schedule as there is only so much one can achieve in a day. Give yourself time to enjoy a cup of tea and ensure a comfortable amount of rest intervals, especially after doing the more physically demanding cleaning activities. If your schedule is too demanding or not flexible enough, you could end up disregarding it altogether - falling back onto the chaos of erratic cleaning.
We’ve included a free checklist at the end of the article to help you in your home cleaning.
Declutter and rid the unnecessary
To be a ‘sifu’ of fast and efficient cleaning, you must learn to let go of that which you fear to lose. The time for reflection is upon us. Do you really need that torn pair of jeans that doesn’t fit anymore or 100 pairs of oversized t-shirts? How about the pile of old books gathering dust, or random decor in every corner?
The easiest way to rid ourselves of the hassle and repeated tedious cleaning in the future is to recycle or throw away the things you don’t need. The popular KonMari method by Marie Kondo encourages discarding items that do not bring joy into our lives. Rather than spending time relocating the clutter, embrace minimalism and dump the unwanted things into a box for donation to charity, pre-loved stores or a nearby recycling centre.
Move from top to bottom, and large to small surfaces
As a general rule, you should work your way from the ceiling down - that includes cleaning fans and lighting fixtures first as dust falls downwards. It avoids needing to re-clean the spaces again.
Large surfaces are the first to draw the eye’s attention. As you move through a room or living space, start with the larger surfaces and work your way to smaller areas, so you have the biggest visual impact from your cleaning. Clear the dining table and kitchen worktops before moving on to the drawers and shelves. If you wear yourself out with the smaller items and run out of time, you will feel less accomplished as you glance across the room.
Use the right kind of cleaning solution
Stubborn stains and grime may take immense physical effort to scrub off. However, using the appropriate cleaning solution for the situation helps reduce the effort needed for a spotless surface.
If you were not able to purchase the appropriate cleaning solutions, fret not as resources found around the house can be used instead. For example, toothpaste helps restore the shine to metallic faucets in the bathroom. If you like to know more cleaning hacks, check out our previous article here.
Tech can be your best friend
Undeniably, technology has evolved the way we clean our homes. Older relatives may often exaggerate about cleaning their houses with a ‘sapu lidi’ or having walked a thousand miles for supplies. Thankfully, there are faster and more convenient solutions in the 21st century.
A vacuum cleaner is far more efficient than a broom at cleaning dust of various surfaces, and steam cleaners work miracles on fabric stains and grime on kitchen stoves. If you are forced to do endless piles of laundry, consider using the larger machines and dryers at a nearby self-service laundrette. In keeping with the automation trend, floor cleaning can now be automated with robot mops and vacuum cleaners which can be preprogrammed to clean at a preferred time. Wouldn’t it be great if robot cleaners do all the cleaning for us in the future?