Friday, February 12, 2010

My Secret to a Clean House

My house is clean and I'm not afraid to admit it!

I get a lot of rolled eyes when people come to my house and see how clean it is amongst four males in the house. But the joke is on them.  Because my house isn't really that clean.  It just looks like it is.  You want to know how?  OK, I'll tell you my secrets, but you may never look at my clean house the same way again!

When the boys were young, I had to find a way to make things work.  I had a newborn, a 15 month old toddler and a five year old...not to mention a husband.  A clean house was on the way bottom of my priority list.  I remember after Charlie was born, my Mom stopped by and I saw her face as she looked around.  Toys everywhere, dishes stacked high, dust bunnies waving at you.  It was not pretty.  I had to change the way I did things.  I couldn't let the housework suffer. My Momma didn't raise a slob.  So I learned very quickly how to clean the house quickly and efficiently as possible.

OK, now for the secrets, you ready?


Clean as you go.

AND  

Everything has a home.

I know, not very mind blowing.  Kind of a let down, isn't it?

But it's just that simple.  If you are a working Mom, you don't have time to spend three days a week cleaning.  And if you are like me, a stay at home Mom who is hardly ever home due to baseball and volunteering at the school or tending to little ones, you don't have the luxury of spending your precious free moments cleaning.

I clean the house one day a week.  I do the laundry one day a week.  That is it.  Yet I still have a clean house and clean clothes consistently.

When I say clean as you go, here is what I mean: Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do right now.

If I walk past the garbage can and notice a that someone spilled something down the side of it, I stop right then and there, grab the wash cloth and wipe it up.  You might think, "I'll get to that later when I clean the kitchen after dinner."  No! Do it now!  When you go to clean the kitchen later, that is just one less thing you have to do.  Before you know it, that 15 minute clean up after dinner has turned into an hour because you have to wipe down the garbage can, clean that spill you ignored in the fridge earlier, wipe down the juice splattered down the cabinet from this morning, sweep up the crumbs still there from lunch...you get the picture.

If you clean as you go, you will save yourself so much time!

In the morning, I wipe the bathroom sink and toilet down after I get ready for the day.  It takes me 30 seconds and the bathroom looks clean every single day.  Then on my one cleaning day for the week, I go a bit deeper, clean the floors, clean the tub, etc.

I save vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and mopping for my one cleaning day.  But throughout the week, I wipe down the dusty tv as I walk past it, I take the dust-buster to the kitchen floor after the boys eat (just under the table not the whole floor).  When cleaning day comes, the messes are minimal compared to what it would be like if I would have ignored it the rest of the week.

Now hear me...Don't deep clean as you go, quick clean as you go.  That's why my house looks clean but it might not actually be clean.

And it will serve you well to teach your kids this also.  The rule is that we clean one mess before making another in the play room.  My boys have been taught since they were very little to wipe off the toothpaste from the sink when they are done, wipe off the toilet seat if they sprinkle, put their dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.

The little quick clean ups add up very quickly to a clean house.  Then spend your one day cleaning a bit more deeply.  You don't have to focus on the little stuff because it's done already.  You don't have to spend half an hour sorting through the mail to clean the kitchen counter because every day when the mail came you took a minute to open it, sort it and put it in it's home.  So your counter is already clean and you can focus on mopping the floors instead.  You don't have to spend half your day cleaning toys off the playroom floor to vacuum because every day you (or if they are old enough, your kids) took 5 minutes to pick up the toys.

Oh yes, one more thing, put those kids to work!  Especially if you are a working Mom and your one cleaning day is on the weekend.  You don't want to spend your entire day off cleaning!  So take a Saturday morning and work together to get it all done.  You will have a clean house and the rest of your day to do something fun!  If you work and have little ones...you have my sympathy.  Hang in there and just do the best you can!

If you can spend just a little bit of time making sure everything has a home, clean up time is much more efficient.  I will write more about that and other organizing tips in time.

So does this make sense? I don't want to ramble, but it may be too late for that. LOL  You can have a clean house and eat your cake too...or something like that.

I'd love to hear your cleaning tips in the comments section!  We can all use a new trick or two up our sleeves!

8 comments:

  1. I am the queen of leaving it and making a bigger job later. I will have to try this more often. Thanks!

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  2. Best advice ever!! "Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do right now."
    :)

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  3. I am trying to do this today!

    I lurk often and hope to comment more!

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  4. I agree. I do the same and it works great. On cleaning day I like to "work smart, not hard". Don't spend time scrubbing the tub or shower, spray it down with a good cleanser, walk away and give the cleanser time to do its work. You will be amazed at how easy it cleans. Do the same with your stove top, spray it good and walk away. If the cleanser dries up before you get back to it, just spray it again and wipe it down. You will spend a lot less time and energy scrubbing.

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  5. This reminds me a lot of the FLYlady style of cleaning too...15 minutes a day and my house is getting there! Great post! :)

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  6. Good advice!!  For motivation I time how long it takes to do a chore...emptying dishwasher, vacuum the living room, etc. On the days I'm dragging my feet I tell myself it only takes 2 mins..I can do this!!  If a friend calls and says she is on her way I know what I have time to do before she gets there. 

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  7. Timing yourself is a great idea! I can definitely see that as a motivator!

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