Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cleaning: Tips, Tricks and a Schedule! (part 2)

Good Morning!  Hopefully you have your new schedule all set!  Now it's time to get ready for your big cleaning day!  If you have kids, enlist the help of someone else!  Have your husband, mom, or friend watch the kids so you can clean (which can actually be good thinking/therapy time!) or have them help you clean while you tag-team the kids!  These things come in handy too:
Hands free always helps! (I had to put that in there, he's just so precious!)  Anyway, you are probably wondering where to start!?!?  I can help you with that!  Now, not everyone has the exact same things that need to be done but you will get the general idea!  First things first:  Crank up the tunes!  Who wants to clean without singing along to your favorite songs? ( Even if they are one-hit wonders from back in sixth grade!)  Ok really:  Strip the bed(s), change the sheets and make the bed!  Then go and start a load of laundry to wash said sheets!  The house already looks better doesn't it!!!! Now go load the dishwasher (if you have one!) and wash the dishes that can't go in the machine!  You'll have to take periodic breaks throughout the day to move the laundry to the dryer, iron, start a new load, etc! 
Here is another tip!  Place a 1/4 C measuring cup in the top rack of the dishwasher and fill it with vinegar!  Then fill the 'soap' dispenser with vinegar as well and put baking soda in the pre-rinse section!  When you are ready to hit the 'wash' button, your dishes will come out ultra sparkly without all of those unpronouncable words and chemical residue! If you are cleaning out the fridge today, this would be a good time for that and wiping out the microwave!  Take down all of the window blinds and put them in a tub of hot water and (you guessed it!) vinegar.  Clean ceiling fan blades if you like!  Then go and do all of your outside chores (should you have any) like washing the windows and taking out the trash!  If you vacuum before doing the outside things, you will just track dirt, grass, leaves and other outside stuff back onto your cleaned carpet.  Going outside first will eliminate that problem!  Brush off any large crumbs from the table or any other surface.  Now it's time to vacuum!  After that is finished you can get started on the dusting!  If you were to dust first, the vacuum would just kick the dust back up later!  Don't forget the baseboards and door frames!  Your floors are now primed for mopping but first go and wipe off your soaked window blinds and hang or lay them out to dry!  It's time to clean the bathrooms!  (Not much fun I know, but it has to be done, right?)  Doing the bathrooms last allows you to take a shower or bath immediately following in order to get all of the bathroom germies off of you before doing anything else!  NOW YOU"RE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Go make a green smoothie and reward yourself with a bubble bath in your freshly cleaned bathroom, rent that movie you've been wanting to see, go shopping, or just relax!  Congratulations!  It will now be so much easier and require less effort to keep things looking the way they do now! 

You have your weekly schedule all ready to go and it's easy to find time to get your daily activities finished!  I like to try and get as much as possible done in the morning before Kyle leaves for work and while the little one is eating breakfast.  My house is quite small so I can still keep an eye on the kids while they eat and I do other things around the house.  If you don't have the ability to do this, then I wouldn't recommend cleaning while your child is eating.  You wouldn't want anybody to choke for the sake of clean carpet!  Nap time is also a really good time to get things going.  It might be better for you to take 30 minutes before bedtime routines or your favorite show to do your chores?  Whatever time of day works best for your schedule and even if you only get one thing finished.....then great!

Here are some great organizational tips that have helped me along the way as well!  Make use of your small spaces!  Put bins under beds for toys or shoes.  Have baskets or boxes that fit underneath the end tables for anything that you don't want out.  We have one for toys and one for extra blankets!
Build UP!  You probably have one shelf in all of your closets but lots of room left before you get to the ceiling.....add a shelf for seasonal items or things you only use occasionally but want to keep!  Space bags are handy for keeping your seasonal clothes on your new shelf!

Just be sure to label your bags!  Speaking of labels, make those your new friends too!  You don't need a label maker.  Markers and stickers or masking tape will work just fine!
Keep a labeled box or boxes in the linen closet for extra things like lotions, razors, cotton balls, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc!  Another labeled box with drawers is good for keeping cold and allergy medications, just keep them up high enough that the kids can't reach them!  You can hang an inexpensive plastic shoe rack on the inside of the linen closet door for cleaning supplies and cloths and they have pockets high enough that the kids can't reach those items either!

I love to read magazines and find a lot of helpful articles in them, but I do NOT like to have them all strewn about the house and flipping through each one to find that one recipe I remembered reading is not something I have time for either!  Get a simple pocket file folder and label the tabs with categories like 'travel', 'recipes', 'style' and tear out any helpful magazine articles.  Now you can toss the remaining magazine freeing up your space!  It's also fun to look back through the categories periodically....I always forget what I put in there!

DVD's were taking over their specified cabinet so I purchased a large CD case and filled it with categorized DVD's.  It takes up much less room and I also alphebetized them and left room for future DVD's so they are easy to find and easy to add to your collection!  Bonus:  I can easily fit them in a drawer or cabinet now so I don't have little ones pulling down the movies all day!

Incoming mail was cluttering my already small table so I purchased a very inexpensive (3 dollars at Target) mail organizer to hang near the door in the entryway.  Now we can put outgoing mail there as well so we don't forget to put it in the mailbox!

Well I hope that at least some of this has helped!  I need to get myself back on track as well!  :-)  Have a fabulous day and drink a giant green smoothie at some point!  See you tomorrow with a schedule!  I would love to hear all of your helpful organizational tips too!


  1. As far as organization, we think a lot alike =) i think every square inch of usable space in our house is stuffed with containers for toys and blankets and books and whatnot. About the mail, I tend to forget about things that I can't see (out of sight, out of mind syndrome) so I bought a mid-size bulletin board with a nice frame around it and some pretty tumb tacks to tack up all of our bills for the month as well as a book of stamps. I hung in the kitchen next to our calendar so we don't forget to pay the bills on time =) For toys, I bought a tall bookshelf and screwed it to the wall and put lidded plastic containers on it. Having a 5 year old who enjoys playdough and legos and toys with small parts and a 1 year old who eats everything that will fit in her mouth, the lids have been a lifesaver. Tyler can reach and open the bins and Kylee can't. The high shelves get assigned containers of messy art supplies (read paint, glitter glue, decoupage, etc). Since our closets are pretty big and the kids clothes are short, we put dressers in their closets and use the drawers for storage for games and flashcards and blankets, etc. I'm going to steal your over the door shoe organizer idea! We rent so we aren't allowed to put locks on the insides of the cabinet doors and Kylee has discovered the forbidden cabinet and I'm sick of moving the kitchen chair everytime I need to get to the sink or said cabinet. Thanks Jess =)

  2. Dressers in the closet is a great idea if you have the space! Then you have more space in the room! I'm doing that if we ever get big enough closets! :-) Bolting cabinets to the wall is a great idea too....we also have a little monkey! lol

  3. I figure I ought to follow your blog since we have the same .blogspot background (love those veggies!)

  4. I just checked out your blog and saw that we had the same background as well! lol Great minds think alike right!?