How To Clean Your Microwave…With A Lemon
(it really works)
Weekly Cleaning Checklist

I see you on the horizon, Spring Cleaning, and I will take you down. 

And while I’m at it, I’m going to re-resolve to get back on the horse with my cleaning routine, because as long as I stick to it, it’s highly effective and not all that time-consuming. I’ve been…well…not doing it lately, because I’m all “Oh, I’m totally moving, the house is going to be a mess what with packing anyway.”

Cut to three months later, and we’re still…


So. Let’s do this.

My System: There are six rooms in our apartment (kitchen, water closet, living room, nursery, bathroom, and bedroom), so I’ve assigned each of these rooms to a day of the week on my iPhone, and I tackle one a day, no excuses (with a No Cleaning Day built in somewhere in there). I find that handling chores in miniature portions makes me dread them less, and makes me do a better job.

This list is a whittled-down version of Martha Stewart’s Weekly Cleaning Checklist, and it’s a good one. In my former life as an organized person with an under-control household, I actually did hit all of the below bullet-points over the course of a week. (Except for vent-vaccuming. I mean, really: who does that?)


- Change and launder bath mats, towels, and washcloths

- Clean toilets, bathtubs, showers, and sinks (I also like to spray the shower area daily to prevent mold)

- Empty trash bins and wipe down outside and inside

- Wipe down mirrors


- Change and launder sheets and pillowcases

- Discard magazines that you’re done reading and reorganize bedside table area (this one is huge for keeping your room looking neat, and I am off to do this right now because really, who needs that many Stars and US Weeklys in their life?)

- Empty trash bins

Dining Room:

- Change and launder tablecloth and cloth napkins, if you use them

- Wipe down table and chairs

Home Office:

- Sort through in-box; pay bills and file paperwork (I keep a little letter organizer on my desk, stash everything in the world in it, and go through it weekly)

- Empty trash bin


- Discard old food, beverages, and takeout containers

- Flush drain with boiling water

- Wipe down all surfaces, including refrigerator, sink, and cupboard doors

- Wipe inside of oven, microwave and toaster oven

- Wipe down inside and outside of trash bins

Living Room:

- Sort through magazines and catalogs; discard those you’re done with and store the rest

- Fluff and rotate sofa cushions

Throughout Home:

- Dust all surfaces, including light fixtures and tops of books (don’t forget to dust on top of and behind your wall hangings)

- Vacuum and mop floors (I have wooden floors and use no-rinse floor cleaner, which simplifies the process greatly)

- Vacuum vents

- Wipe down all glass surfaces

Do I do all this on a weekly basis? Oh goodness, no. Not these days.

But I aspire to!

How-To: Get Oil Out Of Leather


So I love dry oil spray, I do…but I do not love it when I forget that our beautiful leather chair is now sitting in our bedroom to make room for the tree, and accidentally give it a coating of (beautifully scented) spots.


Totally get-outable.

And it’s easier than you think.

All you do: pour a ton of talcum powder onto the area (no sprinkling; pile that stuff right on) and let it sit. Allow your husband to be utterly perplexed when he spots the disaster scene upon his arrival home and wonders aloud whether you’ve developed a raging drug problem or taken to baking cakes in the bedroom. And then, after a few hours have gone by (those of you with fewer curious dogs than I should leave it there overnight), wipe the powder off with a dry cloth.

That’s it.

Ta da!

(The chair looks like it’s a completely different color in each shot because it’s next to a window and the pictures were taken at different times of the day. But you get the idea.)

Speaking Of Multitasking

Want to hear a couple of sorta neurotic but 100% effective tricks for keeping apartment mess manageable?

Every single time you move from one place to another in your home, pick something up and return it to where it should be, whether that means carrying a glass out to the sink on your way to the kitchen for a soda, or grabbing the socks from under the table (seriously? What is it with men and socks under tables?) and putting them in the hamper on your way into the bedroom. This might sound annoying, but trust me: it becomes second nature very quickly, and goes miles towards keeping clutter under control.

A similar-and-equally-helpful tool for keeping things in order: every time you notice a little something that needs to be spruced up, do it right away. No “oh, I’m cleaning on Saturday, I’ll get to it then” - if you notice a film of dust on a lightbulb or some crumbs on the table, just wipe it down immediately. That way you’ll have less to do when cleaning day actually does roll around…plus you’ll have caught all those little nooks and crannies that you might miss when your focus is on cleaning a larger area.

Neurotic? Perhaps. But neat!

Click here for a Weekly Cleaning Checklist.