Judging from the number of emails I’ve received in the last week, and my traffic logs, many of us have made it our New Year’s Resolution to get the house clean and organized. Imagine my surprise to discover that, while I’ve posted a number of printable cleaning checklists, I’d somehow forgotten to post a weekly cleaning routine for one of the most used rooms in the home: the living or family room! So, after a bit of pontificating below, here’s the checklist and the cleaning flow-chart you’ve been looking for!
Now, whether the room where everyone flops down to watch TV, play games or read should be called the living room or the family room seems to be a matter of small (and irrelevant) debate. According to Wikipedia, it depends on who gets to use the room in question, along with what kind of stuff occupies the room.
In my house, there’s a room on the main floor which is visible the instant anyone enters the front door. Not surprisingly, when we bought our home I immediately dubbed it the Living Room, put our less-wrecked furniture in there, and pronounced it “Off Limits” to my son. Then I moved all of my favorite knickknacks and breakable tchotkes into the room, hung our best art, and arranged the furniture to create a nice conversational area where I could also sit alone in front of the fireplace reading in peace and quiet. Also not surprisingly, it’s become my son’s favorite place to play board games and hang out when he’s not watching TV… which tends to be right when I want to sit down and read.
Meanwhile, we have a family room in the basement where the furniture is all pointed at the ridiculously large (and loud) television my husband insisted on. The game closet is down there, because that is where I expected we’d play board games, and all of the furniture is kid- and pet-friendly. As in, my sofa is slip-covered in denim which might seem like an odd decorating choice, but it sure makes for easy stain and spill cleaning!
In other words, I use this routine on both rooms, and you’re welcome to do so as well. Just don’t expect me to create an entirely separate checklist for a Rec Room, Great Room or whatever you call it in your house.
Weekly Cleaning Routine for the Living/Family Room
You will need:
- Cleaning cloths
- Homemade glass cleaner (or a commercial product)
- Homemade furniture polish) (or a commercial product)
- Two bags or boxes
- A vacuum with dusting, crevice and upholstery attachments
- Homemade air freshener (optional)
Straighten up first
(Hopefully you’ve been doing your daily cleaning routine and the room’s in fairly good shape. If not, don’t panic — it’ll just take longer.)
- Let the light in by opening all of the curtains. Give them a good shake as you do so and any built-up dust will settle on the floor where you’ll be able to vacuum it up. If you have blinds instead of curtains, dust them before opening them.
- Pick up the trash and put it in one of the bags or boxes. Set it aside.
- Gather the clutter that belongs elsewhere and put it in the second bag, then set it aside, too.
- Store nicely whatever should stay. Put all CDs, DVDs, toys, games and other regularly-used items that belong in the room into their respective storage locations. (I deal with this by using this ottoman that doubles as storage AND extra seating.)
Hard surfaces second
- Get dusting. Lightly dampen one cleaning cloth for dusting. If there’s a TV in the room, wipe its screen first while the cloth is still clean. Next, work the room from left to right, top to bottom, and dust the window casings, furniture, and knickknacks. Pick up items as you dust; don’t just dust around them. Be sure to get lamps, including their bulbs. Use a separate cloth to polish wood furniture as you go.
- Make things shine. Grab an unused cleaning cloth and your glass polish. Again, work the room left to right, top to bottom, and polish all glass surfaces: table tops, picture fronts, glass knickknacks, fireplace doors, even interior windows. Note: You may need more than one cloth for this!
- Do smudge patrol by cleaning the light switches, door knobs and door jambs.
Now for the rest
- Remove the cushions from the sofa and chairs and place them to one side.
- Vacuum the soft furniture using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to get up crumbs and other strange things that accumulate under seating cushions. Next, vacuum the back, sides and fronts of your sofa and chairs.
- Vacuum each cushion as you return it to its place.
- Vacuum the base of walls and heavy furniture using the crevice attachment.
- Vacuum lampshades and throw rugs using the dusting attachment.
- Now vacuum the floor using the regular vacuum head. Move throw footstools, ottomans, and floor lamps as you work and vacuum beneath them, too. (Yes, dust actually accumulates around the base of these things and builds up.
- Spray the room with air freshener if you’re using it.
- Put away your cleaning supplies and vacuum.
- Throw away the box of trash you’d gathered.
- Return other items from the box of clutter that belongs elsewhere to their appropriate locations.
Now that you know the steps involved, here’s the flow-chart that pulls it all together. I advise printing it up and storing it in a convenient location, whether that’s in your household notebook (I never got into those, personally) or taped inside the door of a cupboard in your living/family room (which is where I keep mine).
Printable Weekly Cleaning Routine for the Living Room/Family Room