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Cleaning Resolutions to Make 2019 Your Most Spotless Year Yet!

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SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

Happy new year, you guys! This is the time when many of us are resolving to make some changes in our lives, or casting about trying to think of some changes we should resolve to make in our lives. Now, I’m not here to tell you what your resolutions should be because wow, that would be INCREDIBLY presumptuous and also pretty rude? But I have a few ideas of easy (truly, I promise!) cleaning-related resolutions you can make that will (truly, I promise!) make your 2019 a whole lot better. For each resolution idea, I’ve also included some things you might want to buy to help you along your way, and a reward for yourself once you’re confident you made it stick!


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You know what? I don’t super love doing the dishes. But I also don’t super hate it either, and I’ll tell you why: I do the dishes pretty much as soon as they go into the sink. WAIT DON’T GO! I know that is extremely annoying to hear but once you get in the habit of it — and what are resolutions if not a commitment to establishing some habits?!? — it becomes second nature to just wash that citrus juicer after squeezing the lime into the guacamole, or to scrub the mini Cuisinart parts after you’ve used it to make a batch of chimichurri sauce. (If it makes you feel better, I haaaaaate washing the mini Cuisinart parts, but that’s also the reason I force myself to do it straightaway!) It’s nice, after dinner, to not be faced with having to wash every pot and pan you used during cooking; it’s also nice, in the morning, to not wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes.

Buy yourself these things to encourage your new habit

Restock your sponge collection with a variety to address all kinds of needs: Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges for every day use; Dobie Pads for scrubbing things that can get scratched; Casabella Sparkle Sponges to add some glamour to your kitchen; a Chainmail Scrubber for scouring cast iron and for storming the castle.

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You’ll also want good dish soap, like Dawn Platinum, Seventh Generation, or my personal favorite, good old Palmolive, and a great drying rack. And don’t forget the dish towels!!!

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Then treat yourself to this once it’s stuck

That new kitchen gadget you’ve had your eye on (maybe a mini Cuisinart?!?), a new novelty mug for your morning coffee — and oh my God, I’ve been laughing FOR DAYS over that, why is it so funny??? — or a set of fancy new cookware.

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We’ll talk much more about bed-making in March, when I do my annul bed-making challenge, LAMOB, but if you want to get a jump on things and resolve to become a bed-maker in 2019 go for it! Making your bed every day is, in my opinion, the single best cleaning habit you can adopt. A made bed makes even the most clothes-strewn room look tidy and pulled together. Plus, it feels so much better to get into a made bed at night!

Buy yourself these things to encourage your new habit

Linen spray is a great and inexpensive little treat that serves an actual purpose: Spritzing sheets, pillowcases and/or a duvet cover with a light mist and then pulling them taut will relieve them of wrinkles that occured while you were sleeping, making them look fresher. And, if you use a scented linen spray, it will also help to keep your bedding smelling fresh in between washings. If your bedding has seen better days, launder it using a specialty quilt wash to remove the dinge that can build up over time. If your bed needs a little tjuzing, consider buying a new set of pillowcases, which is an inexpensive purchase that goes a long way in making you feel great about laying your head down at night.

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Then treat yourself to this once it’s stuck

Some new bedding as a reward for being a person who makes the bed every day!

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If your bedroom floor has come to double as your closet, and your clothes are suffering as a result of being tossed in a heap, maybe it’s time to decide once and for all to be a person who puts his or her clothes away. Here’s your mantra: Dirty clothes go in the laundry hamper, clean clothes get put away after they’ve been washed and folded; and clothes that have been worn that are going to get worn again soon can be hung on a decorative hook, or folded and placed neatly on a side chair.

Buy yourself these things to encourage your new habit

A set of 50 slim hangers to make more room in your closet and to give everything a pulled together look; wall-mounted hooks to create storage out of unused vertical wall space; a new laundry hamper with compartments to sort darks, lights and towels.

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Then treat yourself to this once it’s stuck

How about splurging on that hoodie (or whatever! Need some style inspo? Style Girlfriend’s gotchu, boo.) you’ve been wanting?!?

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Here are two good reasons to adopt a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning of the bathroom:

  1. A clean bathroom makes the morning so much more bearable, in part because you can find the things you need more easily if they’ve been put away in the place they’re supposed to be and also because waking up to a toothpaste-splattered mirror is just kind of a bummer.
  2. Regularly cleaning the bathroom actually makes the job much easier, much faster, and much less gross. To put it another way, cleaning a week’s or two week’s worth of bathroom mess is pretty light lifting compared to how much work it takes to remove a month or two of soap scum, body hair and the aforementioned toothpaste spittle.
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Buy yourself these things to encourage your new habit

People ask me this all the time, and I for sure owe you a longer post on it, but in the meantime, here are my go-to bathroom cleaning products and tools. You’ll notice there aren’t a lot of them! Keeping products simple (stupid, lol) helps to make the job go faster.

Scrubbing Bubbles to clean the tub, toilet and sink; Windex glass cleaner for polishing glass and fixtures; X-14 for mold and mildew build-up; Casabella all-purpose microfiber cloths for wiping the tub, toilet and sink; a toilet brush for... scrubbing the toilet bowl.

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Then treat yourself to this once it’s stuck

How about enjoying your beautiful bathroom by taking a long soak in some fancy bubblebath?

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person