Skill a Week: Apartment Cleaning

Forgive me, this is closer to a realization and a few tips. Every weekend where I don’t have something planned, I tell myself “this weekend, I’m going to do a great job cleaning my apartment!” And I never do. Now, there’s no particular reason for me to clean, usually. Sure, it’s nice to have a clean apartment, and I feel more responsible when I have one, but in the end I could instead live in squalor.

When my back’s against the wall, though, it’s awfully easy to clean an apartment. For instance, between Friday night and Saturday morning, I spent about six hours cleaning. And in that time, I totally re-arranged two rooms (a much better arrangement), cleaned a kitchen counter full of dishes, scrubbed the stove, cleaned the bathroom, mopped five rooms, changed bed linens, moved my computer, and dozens of other small things. In six hours! And that’s the amount of time I spend procrastinating on a normal weekend!

So, the lesson here is that, once you get started, it’s shockingly easy to do a serious amount cleaning, so long as you put your mind to it.

And here’s a very simple cleaning tip I picked up. Previously my cleaning arsenal had mostly consisted of windex, bleach, draino, paper towels, vinegar and baking soda. At a dollar store I found 6 dishrags in a bundle for $1 (they’re very shoddy/loosely knit). They’re so much more effective and re-usable than paper towels. First you can use them for drying things, then wiping down mostly-clean surfaces, then mopping up drink spills, and then finally cleaning/scrubbing seriously dirty things – one dishrag can easily replace a roll of paper towels. If they get disgusting, you can throw them out; if they’re just dirty, you can run them through the washing machine. One thing I cleaned was the stove – I think paper towels are too soft to cut through accumulated oil spatter, but the dishrags were rough enough that it posed no problem.

Also useful – using an old sponge to cut through layers of grime in the bathtub or bathroom sink. I’d used paper towels here as well and they always left some grime behind. But after 2-3 months of use a sponge gets gross and is only suitable for this type of cleaning (or wiping down kitchen counters).

Leave a comment


  1. Cleaning is such an underestimated thing and yet is the cause of so many arguments, between family members, husband and wife and particularly landlord and tenant. Cleaning is always “someone elses” job. Few take responsibility for their own environment.

    When you consider the health benefits of getting rid of dust and dirt, the mental benefits of de-cluttering and the positive effect of cleaning to the environment around you it can be considered an all round “do good” task, not to mention the calories you burn when you undertake the cleaning!

    • m741

       /  March 8, 2013

      I think the mental benefits are greatest for me. It’s wonderfully relaxing to see a clean house/apartment.


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