the elements of clean

Back in 2005, I ripped out “The Elements of Clean” from the pages of my Real Simple magazine… knowing that I had finally found the answer to the mystery of cleaning. With my ever-smaller apartments in Los Angeles, most of these tasks took little time at all, so I had forgotten about how wonderful this road map truly was. That is, until I unearthed it from the storage boxes and decided it needed to be framed somewhere in the house so that we never forgot what was going on.

It’s time like the frantic holiday cleaning season when cleaning plans really come in handy… so I anticipate we’ll be completing most of these columns before we host Christmas in December. It’ll be nice to get back on track and into a good routine that doesn’t just involve straightening up what is dirty…

Do you employ any sort of cleaning road map? Or do you just wing it? Or do the cleaning fairies take care of it for you (they did for us last Christmas Eve and it was amazing!)???


  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe

    Oooh thanks for posting this! I remember seeing it a long time ago and I think it is definitely a helpful reminder… I am totally guilty of letting some of the more random tasks go WAY too long.

    Printing now!

  • Julie S.

    Thanks for sharing this! Sadly, I won’t get as good of a clean in before the holidays- I guess a teething/needy infant will do that to you. BUT I do plan to do the floors, kitchen, bathrooms, dusting, etc as well as decorate tables and cook all of the food. That counts! :)

  • Kim@NewlyWoodwards

    I love this one, too. I saw it in the Real Simple Cleaning book (yes, I totally asked for it for Christmas last year). I stay pretty true to it…. except for the bathroom.

    I hate cleaning bathrooms. So much so that I asked hubby for a cleaning service for Christmas to do our bathrooms once a month. =) It’s kinda sad.

  • Steph

    Thanks so much for posting this! I was just trying to write out all my chores and figure out how often to do them. This is perfect. Love your blog!

  • TikiBird

    If there’s no baby poop/urine/other bodily fluids outside of said baby’s diaper at the end of the day, I will sleep easy that night! I anticipate that as the extent of my cleaning schedule for a while.