Where to Start When Cleaning the Living Room

Published: about 1 hour ago

There are many ways to slide into a cleaning groove. Some people clean to prepare for company. Others clean for the self-satisfaction of relaxing in a picked-up living room. And some folks clean when they just can’t ignore the popcorn crumbs in the cushions and dust on the mantel any longer. There are people who attack mess in a cleaning frenzy, and others who clean like a slow-dripping faucet, where one thing leads to another and before you know it, you’ve put away the clutter and dusted, vacuumed, and fluffed the pillows.

The point is: There’s no wrong way to clean. But taking a breath to consider where you’ll start impacts, if not the end result, how much time and work you have to put in to get the room spotless.

Specifically, when it comes to cleaning the living room, as tempting as it is to begin by tidying up around a central point, you shouldn’t start with the coffee table. Instead, start with the overhead light fixture.

We often talk about cleaning from top to bottom, and cleaning the living room is no exception to the principle. Your living room light fixture is a landing spot for dust and dirt. The last thing you want to do is knock that mess onto your already meticulously polished and arranged coffee table and have to clean it up again. Starting your living room cleaning session by dusting your light fixture ensures that the mess that floats down to the surfaces beneath it will get dusted, wiped, or vacuumed up when you’re performing those tasks later anyway.

But Wait, There’s a Catch:

The top-to-bottom strategy is great if you’re cleaning for speed and want to make your efforts more efficient. But it’s an advanced effort, and here’s a lesson from Housekeeping 101: Do your own thing. If what gets you motivated to clean the rest of the living room is seeing your reflection in the gleaming wood of your freshly polished coffee table, start there. If the thought of vacuum lines in your carpet makes you get up off the couch to reach for your cleaning kit, cleaning from top to bottom can take a seat.

Cleaning “rules” might be ways to get the job done according to someone’s definition of efficiency or thoroughness, but, hey, it’s all going to get dirty again no matter what’s cleaned first or last, and the actual best cleaning routine is the one that works for you!

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