The endless weekend conundrum: to relax or to do chores. While some busy bees feel perfectly accomplished by running errands and polishing silver on a sunny Saturday afternoon, most of us would still rather sit poolside or indulge in a lazy brunch with our girlfriends. Inevitably, we get to Sunday night to a hamper full of dirty laundry, dusty floors, and accumulated clutter. This does not set the tone for a productive Monday morning. So how do we enjoy our sacred free weekend hours without sacrificing our home’s cleanliness?
Sabrina Fierman, vice president of Manhattan’s elite cleaning service New York’s Little Elves, has a solution.
The trick: knowing exactly which tasks should be performed weekly, and spreading them thin over the weekend so you never have to spend more than an hour at a time on one particular task. “By spreading these chores out over a few days, you’ll have plenty of leisure time left, but you’ll also be set for the week ahead. Better yet, you won’t feel as though you have wasted a day—or even half a day—on cleaning.” To help us navigate this efficient cleaning routine, we asked Fierman to break it down for us. Add these to your calendar—and get ready for your cleanest weekend yet.
“Since we tend to drop our clothes wherever is convenient at the end of the day—on beds, sofas, or chairs—Friday night is a great time to hang them up in the closet and put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper,” says Fierman. Do the same for all towels and bedding that might need to be changed. While this small task may not take you longer than 10 minutes, it sets the motion for the rest of your cleaning plan.
On Saturday morning, take care of getting the laundry done, advises Fierman. “During the wash cycle, go for a quick run or workout, or relax and regroup from a busy week,” she says. “For best results, remember not to over-pack the washer. Do two loads or more if necessary. And always separate dark clothes from white ones before washing. If you are like many city dwellers sharing a laundry facility, remember that Sundays are always busiest.” You’ll want to get in early on Saturday to avoid the crowds or send your laundry and dry cleaning out in time to get it back before the weekend ends.
“Dusting and vacuuming are essential to keeping your home clean—and healthy,” says Fierman. “At different points over the weekend, dust tabletops, bookcases, and other areas where dust naturally gathers.” By tackling tasks separately, you’ll never feel as though you’re spending half a day cleaning. In fact, depending on the size of your home, this task could take you as little as 20 minutes.
“When vacuuming, start by checking the dust bag to ensure it doesn’t need changing. Begin with rugs and carpeting, moving furniture as needed to hit all parts of the room. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas. Then remove the carpet attachment if you have a canister cleaner, and replace it with a recommended attachment for hard floors. Many manufacturers provide a narrow attachment that can also be used to clean corners and hard-to-reach areas between the baseboard and the floor itself—which is key for optimum cleaning.”
“On Sunday morning, simply put away laundry from the morning before if you have not already done so,” recommends Fierman. Now you have clean clothes for the week ahead and an entire morning to enjoy. The last thing you want is to leave a long list of chores to get done on a lazy Sunday.
By Sunday evening, take time to declutter: “Start with kids’ toys, kitchen items, bath accessories, reading material, unopened mail, and personal items. Sort items for recycling and such, but don’t overdo it,” says Fierman. “You’ll want to leave time for leisurely Sunday afternoon activities and a relaxing evening. While preparing Sunday’s supper, toss any leftovers that are past their prime.”
Follow all these simple steps, and you’ll have a tidy home to start the week fresh, without taking an entire day to do chores.
What is your cleaning routine that keeps your home spotless all week long? Share your wisdom with us.