Who knew? There are three kinds of house cleaning and cleaning my house takes me longer because I didn’t know! I don’t distinguish between them. I overlap them. I get sidetracked. I don’t respect their boundaries and timing. I lose myself in a full out top to bottom clean in one room and run out of steam (and hours) before I even start in other rooms of my house. Dusting the shelves and you spot some photo albums you just have to stop and organize? Sorting a load of laundry and you’re compelled to sanitize the washer…and mop behind it? Ah, you’re as guilty as I am of not respecting the three cleans!

The three kinds of house cleaning each have their purpose…and timing:

Daily — Maintenance — Annual

Don’t confuse them and you’ll be a more effective and efficient house cleaner. Daily cleaning is the tidying up that you do every day. Putting the dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning up the toys, filling the hamper with your dirty clothes. Maintenance cleaning is the weekly or bi-weekly house cleaning you do. Vacuuming the floors, cleansing the sinks, changing the bed sheets, emptying the trash cans. Annual cleaning is the major house cleaning you take on once, maybe twice, a year, often in the spring. Washing the windows and the baseboards, vacuuming along the carpet edges, cleaning the ceiling fans.

The three types are interdependent. Spend a few minutes every day on daily cleaning chores and you’ll cut down on the time needed for your weekly maintenance clean. Be faithful and consistent with your weekly cleaning routine and you won’t be overwhelmed by the big annual clean come spring. Schedule time for a good spring clean every year and it will set you up for weeks of easier maintenance cleans.

The three types have different goals. The daily cleaning is for the tidying and straightening needed for every day life. You don’t want to come home after work to a sink full of dirty dishes or fall over toys stranded in the living room, so we clean them up as part of our nightly lock-up routine. The maintenance cleaning is for getting rid of the new dirt that’s come to visit since our last cleaning: the dust on table tops or dust bunnies under the couch; the soap residue in your shower and sinks. Even if company isn’t coming, who doesn’t enjoy a freshly dusted and vacuumed home? The annual cleaning is for removing the build-up and grime that accumulates over time: the baseboards, blinds and ceiling fans need cleaning; the refrigerator needs to emptied and wiped out; the windows need to shine…but only once a year. Anything you can’t reach with a two-step ladder? It’s an annual cleaning chore!

Respect the three types of house cleaning and spend less time cleaning which is a goal we can all embrace. Or leave the maintenance and annual house cleaning to award-winning Buckets & Bows Maid Service. You tidy. We’ll clean!