Keeping up with the housecleaning is forever a battle at our house. Between my strong preference to be in the sewing room and our family’s busy school/work/activity schedule, it’s hard to keep up. Today, I’m going to share my best tips for staying on top of the mess and also some feedback on a few new cleaning products from Target’s up & up line that I tried out.
1. Assign cleaning tasks to specific days of the week. Rather than feeling stressed about the laundry piling up every day, commit one day each week (or two) where you do all of the laundry. It makes for a busy day when it comes around, but allows you to devote your attention elsewhere the rest of the week. This has been my saving grace when it comes to the laundry pile (and other deep cleaning). I enlist the kids now that they’re old enough, too. They help fold and put away their own clothes and we no longer have the sky-high tower of clean clothes piled up on a bed or couch. Previously I thought the best approach was to do little bits every day, but for me, I found myself to be too scattered and stressed trying to do a little of everything all the time – this method works better for me at this point. 2. Maintain an adequate supply of cleaning products and towels. There’s nothing like getting around to polishing the furniture and finding out you’re out of polish. Also, use multi-purpose cleaning products, like the up & up all-purpose cleaner with bleach. I use it for the whole bathroom – sinks, toilets, tile, showers, the works. I like that it has the bleach in it, which is especially helpful on my grout and also with sterilizing. There are also several multi-purpose products on the market now that clean your stainless steel, granite, and television screen all in one. This saves time and money and makes household cleaning just a tad easier. 3. Keep cleaning supplies organized in a handy bucket. When it’s time to clean, you can carry everything you need from one room to the next. Sew a pocketed liner for your cleaning supply bucket to keep track of smaller products like sponges, gloves, pumice stones, and brushes. An organized space for your cleaning supplies also makes it easier in times of crisis, like when there’s a big spill or someone gets sick. You can grab your wipe up cloths and your can of disinfecting spray and you’re set. I’ve added the up & up Disinfecting Spray to my bucket, also. The fresh scent is a major plus and there’s something about a disinfecting spray that is so reassuring when you start feeling like the germs are taking over your house – I use it on my fabric surfaces as well as in my bathrooms to kill germs and prevent mold and mildew.
4. Stay on top of the clutter coming into the house. By far, our biggest challenge is keeping the clutter at bay. Every day when the kids walk in the door from school, stuff goes EVERYWHERE. The kids sit down to do their homework and I’m always amazed at just how many papers, projects, and leftover lunch remnants fill the counter and table. I’ve gotten pretty swift at tucking school project keepsakes into a designated drawer and maneuvering the rest into the trash without the kids seeing me. I also clean out the lunchboxes as soon as they get home. So many of you recommended the up & up brand Disinfecting Wipes that I’ve begun using them. They do a great job cleaning out and disinfecting the lunchboxes so that I can immediately hang them up on their closet hooks and have them ready for the next day of packing lunches. I also sent a few tubs of the wipes off to school as it’s a common request from teachers and they’re so much more affordable than name brand wipes. So good for disinfecting door knobs, hard surfaces, telephones – all the frequently touched places that the germs are hiding out this time of year!
5. Have a place for everything. This year, we installed 6 hooks in our downstairs hall closet. Three for backpacks, three for lunchboxes. Oh the difference those little hooks make! Everyone knows where to find their backpacks in the morning – we have less stuff strewn across the hall when they come home from school. In general, everyone is much more successful at tidying up when they know where to put all the stuff. We have designated baskets that are just “miscellaneous,” too, so at least there’s somewhere to shove those happy meal toys until I can escort them to the trash can. Along the same lines, I’ve noticed that keeping surfaces decorated discourages clutter from being placed on them. I recently started keeping the tables set with dishes and napkins and a little centerpiece – the kitchen table clutter has disappeared! When things look nice, I think everyone puts in a little more effort to keep them that way.
6. Tidy up before bed and before setting out for the day. I’ve found that doing a daily sweep of counter clutter, dishes, and the toy trickle really helps us maintain a neater downstairs. I’m not saying we have everything in its place all the time, but it’s a lot faster to do the dishes throughout the day and have a clean sink before heading to bed than to wake up to a mountain of dirty dishes in the morning. Also, tidying up the kitchen and family room after the kids get off to school in the morning gives me a much more peaceful start to the day and helps me concentrate as I settle in to my work routine.
I hope that gives you a few new ideas to try out. There’s no perfect approach for anyone and our cleaning systems are always a work in progress.
What are YOUR best cleaning tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave an answer in the comments below and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win one $100 Target GiftCard.
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