Labor Day weekend is upon us; the back-to-school jubilation of parents is almost as palpable as the looming desperation of children wishing to hold on to summer. Closing up your summer Hamptons home or cleaning your weekend home can be a snap, using our checklist below.
- Assemble an easy-carry bucket of cleaning supplies. This should include a role of paper towels or several old towels or cleaning rags; your favorite multipurpose surface disinfectant spray or green cleaner; rubber gloves if you choose to wear them; a soft cloth for polishing furniture; wood polish if desired; and a broom. Also grab an empty basket.
- Focus on one room at a time. Depending upon the flow of your home, choose an outer room first, like a bathroom, and work toward a central location from the outside in.
- Starting in the first room, gather up anything that doesn’t belong there and toss it into the empty basket. If a bedroom, first make the bed (or remove sheets to be washed, placing them outside of the doorway), clear clutter off all surfaces by either quickly putting it away or throwing it into your basket. Do not allow yourself to leave the room. Next use the broom to catch any cobwebs that might have formed, and brush around the tops of molding. If the floor is not carpeted, quickly sweep the floor and allow any debris to be swept into the area outside of the doorway. Next, use your towels or rags and surface cleaner to wipe down any durable surfaces (window frames); use the soft cloth and a few drops of furniture polish to wipe the tops of delicate woods such as dressers. If the floor is carpeted, make a note to vacuum later. Gather any bags of garbage from the room and leave outside the door.
- Move to the next room and repeat the process. If anything in the basket belongs in the second room, place it where it belongs. If there is a central hallway, allow bedding to pile up there but make sure the swept debris is separate.
- In the bathroom, before beginning to clean, gather dirty towels and such and place outside of the room; lift the toilet seat and spray with the surface disinfectant, and also spray the shower and tub. As in other rooms, next throw unwanted clutter into your basket, sweep the floor, and clean off the surfaces including fixtures with the disinfectant. (If cleaning marble, use only water.) Swipe the toilet (with a brush kept in the bathroom) and rinse down the shower. You might want to clean your tub and shower more thoroughly later; now is for a quick clean only. Use surface disinfectant and paper towels to clean the bathroom mirror. Remove any bagged garbage.
- When all the outer rooms have been cleaned this way, move to the central rooms, which might include living room, dining room, and kitchen. Save the kitchen for last, doing and putting away any dishes as a last step.
- At this point, if there is anything in the basket that belongs in the first room, take it there and then toss anything remaining in the basket. Gather the accumulated sheets and towels, start a load of laundry, then quickly vacuum any carpeted rooms, beginning with the first room you cleaned. This should be a quick vacuuming; don’t move furniture, just hit the high-traffic areas. Save deep cleaning for a room-by-room process on another day. During these rounds, replace linens if you stripped the beds, and also add fresh towels to the bathroom. Replace garbage bags in cans. Vacuum up the central area where you have swept the debris from all rooms, and gather up bagged garbage and remove it. If you have time, you can mop any tiled or wooden floor areas in a quick pattern; save deep mopping for another day.
Back to the restless kids on Labor Day weekend—involve them by giving them the basket, tell them they get to be Santa for a day, and let them gather and distribute the clutter to its rightful place. Make a contest with two baskets if you have two kids, and give a prize for whoever can empty his or her basket.
Of course, if all of this is more than you’d like to tackle for your final Hamptons beach weekend, or if you’d rather spend your weekend partaking of the many events scheduled for the area (see http://www.hamptons.com/Calendar) remember A Votre Service! is here to meet all of your Hamptons housecleaning needs, including window cleaning. We also offer house watching and handyman services after you leave—call us!