Do you know how to clean a house? I don't.
Don't get me wrong. I know how to clean a kitchen, bathrooms, even the dining room. I know how to put things away in the bedroom and vacuum and sweep. But life gets in the way of daily cleaning, and eventually, our whole house looks like a tornado hit it and my poor husband has given up on me, and eventually it's time to put things to rights. Since we are having my in-laws over after Christmas and we are having our annual New Year's Party, we need to spend the next week seriously cleaning house. Which requires me to admit that well, I don't really know how to clean a house. Obviously, the proper steps are:
1) Get stuff off the floor/counter/couch/bed and put it away
2) Clean/vacuum/sweep/lysol/change tablecloth, etc. until shiny.
However, I don't really know the right order to start tackling things in. Normally I start with the dining room, because the table is kind of a vacuum/dumping ground and is covered in stuff. However, it occurred to me recently that when doing a week-long deep clean, you must instead start with the least frequently used rooms of the house, as they are the least likely to get messed up again. So I have opted instead to start with the guest room and the living room. Next will be the bathrooms, the hallway/steps, the office, and then our bedroom, and lastly, the dining room/kitchen.
In addition to not knowing the right order, I'm never sure where to start. I fixate on little things and abandon the big picture. I focus on dusting the molding, not clearing the stuff from the coffee table. I have helped enough other people clean to know that this failure to look at the big picture is not unique. It ends in throwing all of the things in a box and shoving it in the bathtub/closet/under the table before people come over. This is bad. In the future, I plan to use this "clean from top to bottom, left to right" method to avoid fixating on anything too large or too small and move quickly. I am also in the market for a better method for dusting besides Swiffer dusters, so if you have any suggestions, let me hear them. (I do not actually know how to dust anything. I know how to use pledge, but I don't think I'm supposed to use pledge on the fake plants in our bookshelf. I also don't want to just shake the dust into the air, as I have a severe dust allergy.)
As far as keeping a house in good shape, I really like a lot of the ideas from this Daily Quick Cleaning Checklist. We try to do 10-minute cleaning bursts daily, which helps a lot, but it's easy to fall behind on them. But I'm open to more ideas - how do you keep your house clean? What order do you clean in? How do you dust?