A realistic & flexible plan for every modern homemaker to get a clean home this Diwali.
There’s something we’re all short of. TIME. More so when we’re constantly oscillating between dual (sometimes, even multiple) roles of a homemaker, partner, parent, professional etc. Between all of this and so much more, just getting through the day and accomplishing the daily errands seems like quite an achievement. Spending days cleaning up every corner of the house for the most awaited, exciting, and extravagant festival of the year is a dreadful mission. It’s everyone’s story. Trust me, it is. Even mine.
With barely a week to go for Diwali now, I am already dreading the dirty fans, webbed walls, gunky tiles and cluttered closets. There’s just so much to do, and so little time. I am just getting started and have an easy-to-follow-flex-and-achieve plan to get things in order. If you too have little or no time just like me, take it easy, take it one step at a time and we’ll get there together—just in time for Diwali.
Here are my hacks for every modern homemaker to get a clean home this Diwali. We all have different standards and different benchmarks for a clean house, so feel free to bend this plan to your liking. Whatever gets your home as clean as you want it to be, is—without doubt—the best plan for you. So, without further ado, let’s gets started.
1. Stay realistic and calm.
Set your expectations honestly and realistically depending on how much time you really want to invest cleaning up. The more the time, the better the output. However, a great deal can still be accomplished in lesser time. It’s better to aim for excellence than perfection to keep yourself from being disappointed. And no matter how crazy it gets, just keep calm and blow away your worries as it is going to be a happy Diwali despite everything.
2. Ask for help.
It’s only wise to not start off alone. It’s okay and always better to ask for help. It will not only help get things done faster and better but also help you stay sane in this crazily hectic festive season. You could ask for help from your domestic help in exchange of some extra cash or from someone within the family including your spouse, kids, and even parents. The more the help, the faster and easier it will be. Or if your budget allows, outsource whatever you can. There are plenty of home deep cleaning and organizing services available nowadays. It will just super expedite the whole process. If it’s out of your budget like mine, fret not—stay with us and follow this plan.
3. Gather your weapons.
Have all your cleaning equipment and organizing tools handy before you start—or at least for the part of the house you wish to cover on a particular day. This might require pre-assessment of your cleaning needs and prior purchases but will save you from last minute hassle and waste of actual cleaning time. I love all sorts of cleaning tools, products and organizers and am a big hoarder of anything that can be used to clean other things.
4. Split the responsibilities.
Once you are ready, the best next step forward is to split the responsibilities. The most efficient and effective way of doing is—in my opinion—is to split the steps in a sequential manner. This means each person owning different steps of a process instead of entirely different processes. For example, if my husband and I were to clean the huge wall-to-wall glass windows together, one of us would first vacuum the crevices and corners and the other one would follow by wiping with the glass a damp cloth as the first one simultaneously moves to the second set of windows. I find this mechanism super-fast and most efficient as you’re working with the same set of tools, doing the same set of things without having to waste time in switching processes and tools in between.
5. One at a time.
Mentally divide your house into portions or spaces and go for them one at a time. You can choose to take rooms, washrooms, kitchen, outdoors one after the other and clean each one thoroughly before you move on; or take up one kind of task at a time; for e.g., closets, cabinets, furniture, furnishings, walls, fans, tiles. I like to take up one kind of task at a time and do all of it as I find it way faster. Like I’d clean all the fans at once and be done with it. Either way, you need to pay attention to details (to the degree you’d like to and depending on the time at hand) and complete one thing before you decide to move to the next. This way you don’t have to keep coming back to complete undone stuff.
6. Insides before outsides.
A simple sequence to follow while cleaning, decluttering or even organizing is to do the insides before the outsides. Clear, clean, and organize the insides of closets, cabinets, chests, drawers, bed boxes etc. before to start cleaning the actual area. You can then clean the outsides all at once. This will ensure you don’t have to redo the room and waste double the time and energy.
7. Clear the clutter.
Clearing the clutter is the precursor to cleaning. If you have lesser time, you can skip this step, but its only worthwhile to invest sometime in making your house clutter free as often as possible. It keeps your home looking cleaner and organized for a longer time as compared to just cleaning which is very short term and takes more time in a cluttered space. Start by reassessing everything you have at home and discard anything that you haven’t used for over 6 months because you’ll probably never use it again. This is the best way to get rid of unused stuff and make space for new, more useful stuff at home.
8. Complete clean-up.
This is the core of our Diwali mission and undeniably the most time taking part too—the actual cleaning. Every one of us have our own way to cleaning and our own benchmarks too. I am more on the extreme OCD end of the spectrum and love to hoard all sorts of tools and products for cleaning different parts of the house. This is how I usually go about when I am planning a thorough cleaning of the house. I’d give it 3 days, with roughly 3 hours every day, in my 5-day Diwali mission (I have a 3 BHK with 3 bathrooms, a living room and a dining area, a kitchen and 5 balconies). You can assign time to this part based on the area of your house and outsource any part of it depending on your budget and time available.
I also follow a simple 3-way parallel approach when I undertake thorough cleaning (as rare as that is). I call it the CUBOIT approach.
9. Outsource (Optional)
You can make your life a hundred folds easier by outsourcing most of the stuff listed above—depending on your budget. Some of the stuff I plan to outsource are:
The more you outsource, the lesser time you’d have to spend cleaning up yourself. A call to #UrbanClap just does the trick, you know, and whoosh, you’ll have a Diwali ready home in under 6 hours. On the other hand, the more money you’d have to shell out. So, I’d recommend balancing it out well in terms of time and money.
As I mentioned earlier, organizing should ideally be a two-phase process—insides followed by outsides. But just like cleaning, the extent to which you organize totally depends on the time at hand, tools available, and your personal liking. As they rightly say, ‘Keep your home clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.” Organize your closet, cabinets, chests—as much as you can and as much you like—right after you have cleaned them. Line them with cabinet liners (I use newspapers as they soak up any odor or moisture and come free of cost), pile up similar items together, and use organizers to create designated spaces and sections. Once done, move on to organizing the exteriors which is typically the last step in this mission. Not organizing the visible stuff means your home will go back to be the way it was soon after. Invest in quality organizers (meshed baskets are my favorite). They are the easiest way to stack up and keep similar stuff together. I use baskets everywhere—inside the closet, on the dressing table, kitchen cabinets and counters, bathroom, and everyone else. You can also use other variety of organizers to keep spaces across the house (kitchen, drawers, closets, bathroom) looking more organized than ever.
Now that you’re done with this long, tedious, and dreaded Diwali cleaning mission, it’s time to take a break, sit back, and soak in the festive vibe until it is Diwali.