My Best Tips
Regular Maintenance & Upkeep
1. Separate cleaning supplies: I keep separate cleaning supplies in each area that needs regular attention. Every bathroom has what it needs to be kept clean, the laundry room has it's supplies as does the kitchen. Trash bags in every area are a must as are paper towels! This really helps because you can tackle something right when it happens instead of putting it off; my usually excuse was "Oh, I'll take care of it the next time I'm in here and I have my supplies. Then I'd forget and the process would repeat itself. And it really doesn't cost more either, because you run out of cleaning materials much less quickly then if you were just using one stash for everything.
2. In the bathrooms: I am a big fan of Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. It keeps your shower looking nice and fresh until you're ready to do a good scour and scrub. And it makes that whole process much easier and quicker since there isn't that much left to do. I also like the disposable, biogradeable toilet scrubbers that you can flush after using. Those might be a little more expensive, but I hated looking at a nasty scrub brush and so I'd then throw it out and go buy a new one. Scrubbing Bubbles is the only one of I know that is both disposable and biodegradeable, but if you know of others please let me know!
3. In the kitchen: I don't have a dishwasher, except for me, and that really stinks. But I refuse to use paper products so something's gotta give. There really are only two options for avoiding a sink full of nasty dishes and those are- rinse off and leave in the sink for later or wash right away. I usually wait until the end of the day to wash them, but it's much easier if I don't have to scrape off dried food particles. I use a scrub brush and I soak it in bleach every night to get rid of any lingering bacteria. Don't use sponges, they are nasty!
Even though I don't have a dishwasher now, I did for many years prior to living in this house. So here is my tip for those of you lucky enough to have one (so everyone, right?); buy these. It's the Oxi-Clean Automatic Dishwashing Detergent, and when you use it you don't have to pre-rinse! It always baffled me as to the purpose of a dishwasher if you had to pre-rinse everything before using it. But with that detergent you don't have to PR and it gets the dishes clean on the first wash cycle. (Am I the only one who lets a dish stay in the dishwasher for multiple cycles until it's clean?) Of course, if you are one of those super lucky people, the best thing to have is a dishwasher that eliminates the need for the PR. My parents got one a few months ago and let me tell you! That bad boy can clean anything in one wash. One day...
4. All the other rooms: I have a two year old so I need to do some type of carpet cleaning daily. Since I don't like to lug out my huge vacuum every day (which means I'd end up leaving it out all the time) I have one of those little carpet sweepers. Unless we have some type of disaster, it's what I use; it gets the job done both quickly and easily, plus it's very light weight and compact. Perfect! I usually do a major carpet clean, wash, and vacuum every weekend or every other weekend, depending on what type of catastrophe has occurred.
For the Big Clean
As unpleasant as it is, no matter how much maintenance and upkeep you do, you still have to have do a full house cleaning every so often. In the winter I usually do it once a month but in the summer it's every two weeks. For me, this is the best way:
1. A fun playlist: Have a great play list full of upbeat music with which you can sing along. Nothing takes your mind of the task at hand better than a good song. I mean, it's next to impossible not smile when Bon Jovi's Livin' On a Prayer is playing!
2. Just clean, don't organize. These are two separate tasks and if you attempt to do them both then you will get side tracked and end up getting very little accomplished. I know that when I'm cleaning it can be very easy to want to sort and alphabetize and all those type of things, but it really is just another way for me to avoid doing the nitty-gritty cleaning.
3. Give yourself a break. I either take a 10 minute break after each room or every hour. It helps to keep my energy levels up and at the beginning of every room or 50 minutes, it's in the back of my mind that if I can just get through this, I can relax for a few minutes. (I take this approach with studying, too.)
4. Do your best to keep the kiddos out of the house. I know it's not always possible, but for me, it's next to impossible to do a major cleaning with Spencer in the house. The best and most efficient way you can clean your house is to do it alone. Plus it's easier to rock out to your music if no one is around, haha!
5. Clean one room at a time. Accomplish your task and move on, don't clean all the windows in the house- do all the windows in in one room. This way, if something happens and you have to stop, you at least have one or two rooms finished rather than a bunch of rooms done half-way.
6. Wash, Dust, and then Vacuum. The vacuuming should be your last step in the process because you don't want to have to do it multiple times. And it gives a nice sense of completion to a room.
I hope you learned a few things you didn't know before. I know that I'm always trying to find new ways to make cleaning easier, so please tell me if you have any great tips!