11 favorite housekeeping tips

i'm no paragon of household cleanliness, but i have four {ofttimes five--i babysit} small children 
{ages 11 and down} and i manage to keep a {mostly} clean and tidy home.  
some days, that's no small feat.  
i have a few favorite "rules" that we live by around here, though, that really help to cut down on the 
day-to-day dirt and grime and make our "real" cleaning days much less of a chore.

1. wipe down the bathroom counter and toilet each morning. 
 i usually do this right after i get done with my hair and makeup.  
or, after brushing my teeth...since, let's get real...hair and makeup miiiiiight not be an every day thing.
a quick swipe removes any hairspray residue or dried-up toothpaste flakes {thanks, kids} 
and polishes and shines things right up.  
we keep a package of wet wipes on the back of our commode and i've been known to swish one of those cheapo wipes over all the surfaces.  
my current favorite for a quick clean-up is mrs. meyer's surface wipes {see photo with #6}.

2. use dawn dish soap for pre-treating greasy spots on laundry {from bbq sauce, salad dressing, oil, etc} and for treating grease stains after they've already been washed/dried into clothing.
yes.  even after they've been washed.  and dried.  no joke.  
more on that here...
trust me, it works beautifully!

3. don't make any empty-handed trips.  
this is a big one around this house...important enough that i've tried diligently to instill it into my children.  
if you're coming in from the car, grab a quick handful of trash {from the floor, from those handy trash-gathering compartments in the door, from the cup holders...and if you have no trash in your car, well....just don't tell me, please}.  
if you're going out to the garage, take that random screwdriver and hammer that have been sitting on the counter for six days.  
put a cute basket at the top of your basement stairs and throughout the day as you come across items that belong downstairs, toss them in the basket.  when you are going downstairs, empty the basket and take those things down with you.  you'll save time {from multiple up-down trips} and get things put away! win-win!
     


4. during the warm summer months, have your kids sleep on top of their bed covers.  
keep in mind, these are just ideas...you can take them or leave them.  
but i love that making the beds for my two littles is just as easy as folding up a simple, light blanket.

5. wipe it when you see it.  
if you're standing in the bathroom curling your hair and you see dirty fingerprints on the light switch, wipe them with a wet wipe.  if you're loading the dishwasher and you notice ketchup splatters on the adjacent cabinet doors, wash them off.  don't let the little messes accumulate to a chore large enough to make you crazy.



6. find a countertop spray with a scent you like and keep it under your kitchen sink.  
if you're anything like me, you're far more apt to use it if it's a scent you love.  
my current favorite, again, is a mrs. meyer's product--i'm just a wee bit partial to her countertop spray in the lemon verbena scent.

7. set a timer.
for those days when allllllllll the "little" messes here and there threaten to overwhelm you, 
your kitchen timer is your best friend.  
set the timer for ten minutes...or even five, if that's all you have to give...and just do as much as you can in five minutes.  then move to the next room and repeat.  you'd be surprised how much you can accomplish in a very short period of time if you are solely focused on one task/area.
i love my friend natalie's post on how effective this tactic is!

8. enlist the help of your kiddos.  
this seems elementary and so common-sense, yet we often overlook what a help they can really be.  and let me encourage you to occasionally reevaluate chore assignments.
  
for several years now, it has been my oldest daughter's job to empty the dishwasher.  that's our routine, and i don't really give it much thought.  
however, she was recently gone to camp for a week, and while she was gone, my two youngest daughters took over that task.  granted, there were many items that they were unfamiliar with and were unsure where to place them.  since austyn has been back from camp, i've had her "training" her little sisters, and soon the dishwasher emptying duty will be theirs.
several years ago when the chore was dealt to austyn, the two little girls would have been too young to do that job.  it took her being gone this summer for me to realize that they're now old enough and can lighten austyn's chore load a bit.
even small toddlers can help with some rudimentary household duties.  i'm not talking child labor here, folks.  i'm talking about us all pitching in as a family.



9. if you have a slipcover couch {and i realize i'm probably targeting a small percentage of my readers here}, find a quilt/coverlet/bedspread/sheet that you adore and use that over the seat cushions.  it will buy you several extra weeks between slipcover washings.  
my sofa has a white slipcover and after seeing all the gunk that comes out of this couch cover, i don't know that i could ever go back to a non-washable couch again.
i have two vintage coverlets--one white all-cotton chenille and one white all-cotton hobnail--that serve as excellent slipcovers-for-my-slipcover.  

10. put it away.
perhaps the most basic, obvious suggestion here...but also the easiest one to disregard.
simply putting things away as we use them will majorly cut down on frustration and clutter later on.
yes, it may take you an extra ten seconds to walk those nail clippers back to the bathroom, but when your four-year-old comes crying with a hangnail, you won't have to frantically search the junk drawer or dig through your nightstand.  



11. let it go.
this one is the most difficult for me to follow.  but sometimes, there are just areas that you need to let go of...loosen your tight grip on control of that room.
i'll be honest with you, my laundry room is a mess.
i'm a little bit fanatical about putting things back where they go...pretty much immediately after use.
my hubby?  he's not so fanatical.  so, his "man-closet" tends to overflow, quite often, into the laundry room.
i could huff and puff and blow the house down and give him the silent treatment...and i'd probably end up with a pristine laundry room somewhere down the line.  
or i can just let it go.
and that's actually what i've chosen to do.  i keep my "side" as neat and tidy as possible and figure he'll get to his stuff whenever his crazy work schedule allows him a bit of free time.
i tell people, "my laundry room looks like this so that the rest of my house doesn't have to."  and i mean that.  i'd rather have the mess contained and hidden behind closed doors than scattered in little clutter-piles all over my house.

hope you find some of these tips useful...
every little bit helps, right?

what are your favorite little secrets for keeping your house clean?
please share!

also, i wasn't paid {in any way, including money or products} to write this post.  however, if you're looking for good deals on cleaning goods--especially mrs. meyer's products--you should consider signing up with epantry.  their prices rival that of target and walmart; plus you avoid spending $37 in the target dollar spot when all you really needed was toilet bowl cleaner.
if you sign up via my referral, you'll automatically save $10 off your first order {and i'll get a referral credit!}...plus, once you're on their site, a little pop-up box will come up on the bottom left of your screen, with the opportunity for you to save another $2 {when i joined, i had to tell a joke.  tonight, they asked me to name something in my garden.  it's always a silly nonsense question like that}.
also, i spoke with JD in customer service, and he said that if you mention him by name {down in that little conversation box i told you about} and ask nicely, they'll waive all your shipping fees.  every time!!!
so.  there ya have it.  if you're interested, check it out!



2 comments:

  1. My fave cleaning item is having lots of good-quality microfiber cloths on hand. Easy for wiping glass doors/windows, walls, door frames, bathroom sinks, tables etc without chemicals. Easy to have young ones "help" wipe! And my other "rule" is that "common living areas" must stay picked up so all eight of us can enjoy. Kitchen, dining room, living room and office. I am much more loose with their bedrooms...I require a made bed daily but only make my olders pick up once or twice a week in there.

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  2. I *try* to keep the living room and kitchen clean by making sure we all pick up our stuff before we go to bed each night. Some days are better than others! I use the timer cleaning method a lot and it probably works the best for us. My favorite handy dandy cleaner is Method's Lavender multi-purpose spray. Liking the cleaner you use really does make a difference!

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