Cleaning tips for a busy life-style
Cleaning is a chore
Let's face it.....
We all have to clean (or perhaps should clean is a better way to express it). Many of us, however, just don't want to clean. Sometimes, we don't have the time or the energy to clean correctly. I know that housecleaning is the biggest drag, yet I can't stand it when my house is dirty, and I suspect many of you feel the same way. I have had to improvise my cleaning techniques to keep it clean with less effort. I would like to share some of those techniques with you now.
"What? I was looking for something. You didn't put it away, did you?"
Miscellanous clutter makes for a difficult cleaning. These are items you have collected over time, but don't really need or use. To clean, you have to move things around, adjust things, pick heavy things up, and, well, you get the idea. I have found that by eliminating or at least organizing the clutter, cleaning becomes easier. So pack it up (clear totes are the best) or get rid of it if you don't need it. You can donate it, throw it out, or give it to someone you know can use it. But the key is to get rid of it fast, before you change your mind. Second guessing yourself about getting rid of something is the reason you still have the item in the first place. If you haven't used it or needed it for at least a year, then good-bye. Knick-knacks are a good example. They crowd shelves making it impossible to dust. Moving them around only makes the dust swirl and then settle back down. With less on the shelf, there is less to move makeing the dusting easier. I think you get the idea.
"I think everything is fine, why do I have to clean right now?"
If you put things away when you are done with them, you will always know where to find them the next time you need them!
I have noticed that a lot of the things I pick up from one room actually belongs in another room altogether. I used to spend hours moving in and out of a room putting things in their proper place as I cleaned. I would be tired and frustrated because I had to do all that running and I was usually not the person who left the item there in the first place. Now I keep a basket on the stairs for items that go upstairs. I put the items in the basket as I clean and take several of the items up the stairs with me when I have to climb them. Example: I have to go help my little one bathe, so I grab a handful of the items from the basket as I pass and I put them away before entering the bathroom. I do the same for the basement. If I have things that go in other rooms like from the kitchen to the living room, I often stack them until I have several items before taking them in (eliminates a lot of the running around). Once I have removed all items that go into other rooms and have put them away as I go, I generally find that a quick sweep or vacuum and the majority of the cleaning is done.
You can be truthful, or just have fun with this one.
Do you hate to clean?
You don't have to do things all in one day. You can spread them out. You could even do one a month or so. Unless, of course, you find it needs it before that. In many instances, you may begin to find that the cleaning doesn't need to be done as often because of the tricks used here.
Here are some tips for keeping things clean without a lot of fuss.
These items are only suggestions
- I have designated one day a week for major cleaning of different rooms. For example: I clean the kitchen floor every Wednesday with mop, bucket, cleaner, etc. That way all I have to do during the week is pick up and sweep. But you don't have to, you could just clean something when you see that it needs to be cleaned.
- When I change my bedding, I always run the vacuum over the mattress several times. It cleans up old skin cells, dust, dirt, and, well, those pesky little critters that we can't see or feel but we all know are there thanks to all those scientists. This also helps to keep the mattress fresher smelling and helps with allergies. Spraying with a freshener before making the bed will also keep it fresher.
- I put baking soda and vinegar down my drains once a week or so to keep the grease and oil from building up. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain and then pour 1 cup vinegar--IT WILL FOAM UP--Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water. It keeps the drains running smoothly and also keeps the drains from smelling bad.
"You guys can clean all you want, just keep the noise down so I can sleep."
Vacuuming might disturb the animals, or they might want to play with it.
- I find that if I vacuum out my refrigerator once a month (not the inside, the underside), it keeps the food fresher longer and uses less electricity; I have cats and the hair gets in along with the dust. Once a year I clean the back of the fridge for the same reason. I do the same for heating vents, heaters, air conditioners, and fans. Also, check those fan blades on your ceiling fans, built up dust and dirt makes the motor have to work harder and the fan less useful. The weight of the dust also causes the blades to become unbalanced. A quick wipe of the dust mop once a week or so eliminates the heavy work later on. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it only takes a quick second each time you do it and eliminates the heavy cleaning later on. Besides, you only need to do it when you notice that it needs to be done.
- I put aluminum foil on my stove drip plates (under the burners). This can be done whether the stove is electric or gas, just make sure the foil doesn't touch the connectors and the open space at the bottom remains open. This eliminates having to scrub them. I just take off the dirty foil and put on new foil. I have also noticed that stores now have thin aluminum plates that fit over the regular ones if you prefer that instead the foil.
"Look, it's raining, can't clean now."
Remember to vacuum the top of the room when you vacuum the bottom.
- Troubled by cob webs in the corners, nooks, and crannies? When you do your regular vacuuming, remove the floor nozzle from your vacuum and attach one of the wands. Run the wand around the edge of the ceiling in each room. This takes only minutes, but will eliminate dust, cobwebs and any stray pests who have decided to come visit
- I use disinfectant wipes in the bathroom for quick cleaning when needed in between the heavy duty cleaning. They work fast, smell good, and help keep away the germs.
Do you have litter boxes to clean?
Now that you have some quick ideas...
Would you clean things that aren't usually seen by guests?
- Have litter boxes? Sprinkle baking soda in them once a week or more if needed to help control odors. When they have to be cleaned out, put them in the tub and fill with hot soapy water. Then use the toilet brush to scrub the sides and bottom clean. Rinse with warm water and dry with a disposable rag or paper towels. Be sure you have dumped all of the litter before putting the box in the tub.
- Do your knick knacks need cleaning? Soak in warm soapy water for a few minutes and then rinse, use a soft toothbrush for any areas that didn't quite come clean (be careful to check that the paint won't wash off before immersing). If you can't immerse the knick knack, try using a soft clean paint brush to brush off dirt and dust. This also works with plastic flowers.
- Have items that are too high to easily reach for dusting? Try using a long dusting wand sprayed with a light coating of dusting polish or cleaner. Then carefully wipe the item(s). A dust mop or broom will work too.
- Have plastic window shades (vertical blinds I think they are called) that are dirty and in need of cleaning? A quick way to clean them without all that hassle is to place them in a tub of hot water and a cup of bleach. Let them soak for about fifteen minutes and then rinse using the shower. They will have to drip for a bit, but you can speed that up by shaking them well and then laying them on thick towels. Once the majority of the water is gone, you can hang the damp blinds back up and they will air dry on their own. Keep them down and with the blades spread open until they are dry.
- Trash cans need to be cleaned? Place in your tub and fill with hot soapy water. Use the toilet brush to scrub them down and then empty the water in the toilet and rinse well with hot water. Dry with disposable rag or paper towels. Spray with a disinfectant spray before reusing (because of the toilet brush). You can keep them smelling fresh between cleanings by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the can before putting in a trash bag.
Dryer sheets are for more than just making the clothes smell clean.
- Put dryer sheets in the corners of cabinets especially under the sink in the kitchen and bathroom. Replace the sheets about once a month. They will help keep the dampness out and will keep the area smelling fresh and clean. Used dryer sheets work well here so they can do double duty. You can also put used dryer sheets between old books to keep them from smelling musty.
- Sprinkle baking soda around the counter tops behind small appliances (like the toaster) and canisters. Sweep the baking soda as close to the back as possible with your fingers or a dry rag. This will keep the area smelling fresh and will keep out unwanted guests such as ants who can't stand baking soda. Clean the old baking soda away about once a month and replace with fresh.
Paper towels will keep the pans from getting scratched and that means they are easier to clean.
A few useful ideas:
- Use a sheet of paper towel or a clean dry dish towel between non-stick bake ware to keep them from getting scratched. Reuse the towel each time-clean or replace the towel if and/or when it gets wet or dirty.
- Use cream of tartar and a damp rag to scrub the metal on your appliances to a bright shine. Scrub, then rinse with a clean damp rag. Dry with a soft towel to polish. Also good for aluminum sinks. Or use a steel-wool pad and soap, then rinse with warm water. Works good on the surface of your stove and cabinet, too. Be careful not to rub too hard or you will remove some of the painted surface or scratch the surface.
- Use steel-wool pads to remove tea stains from coffee cups, silverware, pots and pitchers.
- Wash kitchen sponges in the dishwasher when they begin to smell. This will clean out any bacteria and dirt that has gathered in the surface holes of the sponge making them more sanitary to use. It will also increase the life of your sponges. If you don!t have a dishwasher, just pop them in the microwave for thirty seconds.
- Need to clean up those candle holders of all the wax buildup? Place them in the freezer for about an hour and then carefully use a butter knife to pop the wax from the surface of the holder.
- Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to remove pet hair from funiture and curtains, clean the bristles often letting the hair fall into the tube and be sucked up by the vacuum.
A quick summary:
By picking things up, putting things away when you are done with them, and using some of the hints and ideas in this article, you will find cleaning will no longer be a problem. In fact, you will not have to clean as often. Cleaning is a bore and a nasty chore, so make it easy on yourself.
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© 2011 Cheryl Simonds