I spent much of the last two years disagreeing with Wal's small rechargable canister vac about how much cleaning should be done. Specifically, it felt that the correct amount was "no more than three minutes' worth." I put off ditching it for a better vacuum as long as possible, since they're pretty costly, but when we got the cat, waiting was no longer an option.
The new vacuum? Is amazing. Thanks for asking! I dropped about $120 on it, but I didn't want to spend $80 on another p.o.s. The cost difference definitely worth it for the longer life and increased functionality. I could go over how it's got every feature I wanted, and totally pwns all of creation, but that's not really the point. The point is ... it keeps things clean. It's invaluable for tidying up spilled litter. Using it as an upright, the rugs look good in like, five seconds. The "upholstery brush" (ha!) quickly dispatches someone's fur from my black futon. On the dust- and fur-removal fronts, I was set.
Vacuuming, however, is not all there is to cleaning.
When we moved two apartments in one day, much of my cleaning product stash got used up or left. Having to start again in building my arsenal, I got to thinking about my most cherished few:
Windex (w/ papertowels)
I can't stand those jerks who think 409 or Fantastik are any good - because, they sux0r compared to Windex. Although I've liked having the antibacterial one around (for when someone has accidents, hehe), the plain old blue one is fine for me. It is completely necessary to have at least two bottles (kitchen + bathroom), preferrably more. Also, according to my up-bringing, Windex is the prefferred cleaning product for everything ever (okay, hard surfaces), except for wood.
My bathroom cleaner of choice for icky tub places, toilet seat, etc. Must be name brand. Use wet papertowel, rinse, reuse, wipe with dry papertowel (no sponges!). Excellent on chrome, but has to be rinsed off.
Toilet bowl cleanser with duck neck
Preferrably not blue, as I once stained a wooden toilet seat with that stuff by accident. Use only on inside of bowl, with toilet brush. Rinse toilet brush in clean bowl water afterward.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
My boss at my previous job absolutely insisted that I use and/or worship this. I like the heavy-duty one best. Although I find that scrubbing bubbles are good for cleaning, they can't really get through icky textures (shower buildup, gross). That's where the MCME comes in. Trust me. No, really. Use on shower walls, sinks, etc. He's also the only variation of a "sponge" allowed in my bathroom - and he works better.
Resolve carpet cleaner
My new friend. He and I recently worked together to remove bloody paw prints that certain hurty post-op kitties left all over the bathroom carpet (I know: awww.) It went quite well, so I'll be using him more soon.
Palmolive dish soap
Now the best stuff is available in good smells - yay. The only supplies I need for dishes are this and a good sponge (there's no dishwasher here, anyway). One of those that's soft on one side, and "scotch-brite pad" on the other. My mom always used green and yellow rectangular ones, but I like the curvy ones.
I like to use the pads first to dust shelves and stuff by hand, and then once I put it on the stick, I can clean the floor as I dislodge all the cat toys from behind every piece of furniture. (Sidenote, it's always fun to see which "cat toys" are "items she stole from my desk or purse.")
And, even though I said I wouldn't, I'll probably go into disgusting detail about my vacuum soon. The week I got it I took photos and sent them around. IT IS THE AWESOME.