Fresh Start: 5 Places That Always Need Cleaning

The holiday season usually leaves me exhausted and a bit daunted by the task of getting my home back in order after a month of parties, late nights, and house guests. I can deal with the big jobs: laundry, bathrooms, etc. — but it's the unexpected little jobs that make me feel overwhelmed by the long cleaning process.

So this year, I'm beginning by tackling some of the places that always get dirty, always drive me crazy, but usually get pushed to the bottom of my priority list or go unnoticed far too long:

• 1. The utensil drawer. I never will know how so much dirt manages to sneak into one place, but it's a magnet for crumbs. And by the time I notice it, I'm usually rushing to set the table just before everyone sits down, or eating on the fly before running out the door — not the ideal time for a scrub down.

• 2. Hallways and staircase walls. I'm not really sure why we have banisters because it seems that at least in my family, we prefer to use the wall for support — and it shows! After a busy month of having people coming and going I always notice a brownish haze running just about hand level along our staircase walls. Time for a wipe down!

• 3. Doorknobs (and surrounding areas), light switches, switch plates, and faucets. If you have a busy home, these areas get a lot of use, and could use a germ-dispelling wipe down a regular basis. The same goes for the refrigerator handle, coat closet, telephones and kitchen cabinet handles.

• 4. Doormats. Guests mean extra traffic and extra dirt especially this time of year when mud is at a high. Give your door mat an extra cleaning being sure to clean the area underneath as well.

• 5. Trash cans and the area around them. Especially the kitchen one. This is my very least favorite job, especially this time of year when its not as easy to bring it outside for a spray down. However, after the holidays it could always use a deep cleaning, and so could the walls around it. The combination of cooking extra dishes before hurrying them out the door to bring to dinner parties, more people around the table, and extra people helping in our kitchen during holiday meals usually means a messier kitchen area in general.

The best part about these places is that although we often overlook them, they only take a few minutes to remedy, and they make a big difference. Mr. Clean's magic eraser is great for quick wipes downs in high traffic areas. What other always clean-worthy places would you add to the list?

Image: Apartment Therapy New York: Laura's Sparse & Soulful Home

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