Household Cleaning

(OR A Petition to Keep Saturdays Fun)

Welcome back, friends! 
Today’s post launches part three in the Modern Simple Homemaking series: Keeping Things Tidy 

Yup...housekeepingNow, before you stop reading and run away, keep in mind that there are very good reasons for keeping a house clean and surprisingly easy ways to manage it. 

First, the reasons. So why do we bother with keeping a house clean?
- It just looks better. Simplicity & budget are big purchasing factors for us when buying household items and 
  frankly, even the least expensive (Craigslist) belongings look nicer when tidy.  
- Cleanliness = healthiness. Dusty, grimy surfaces are breeding grounds for critters, sickness, and allergens. 
- It reduces stress. A well-managed environment mirrors a well-managed mind. When the outside world is 
  chaotic, a clean home provides relief and peace. Plus, it makes it plain easier to find stuff!
- Helps with priorities. When Strider gets home from work, a clean house helps me enjoy our time together, 
  rather than being nagged by the neglected chores I put off. 
- It’s welcoming! If things are tidy at home, there’s no reluctance to jump at opportunities to invite guests in.
- It saves us money. Stuff's just less likely to be broken or lost.
Now that we understand why we bother with cleaning, let’s round up the arsenal.
Though there are cleaning products out there for anything you can imagine, it doesn’t really require much. 
Note: I try to avoid heavily scented cleaners. Despite their best efforts, no company’s chemical scent is ever as pleasant as open windows or lighting a single, good-smelling candle.

To caddy or not to caddy? Many people recommend using a cleaning caddy to take everything you need around with you. I’ve never really gotten into this practice and our apartment isn’t actually big enough for it to be a real issue. Worth considering though.

Products to Have Handy:
- Liquid hand soap: No one enjoys picking up a slippery, scummy bar of soap. 
  Also, consider avoiding antibacterial; warm water and suds will do the trick!
- All-purpose cleaner: Meyers, Clorox GreenWorks, or homemade all work well.
- Disinfectant wipes: I love these and affordable, generic ones use the same 
  formulas as the big names.
- Furniture cleaner: Our surfaces are mostly older or unfinished and seem 
  unfazed by aerosols like Pledge, though this isn’t recommended for quality 
  wood. Murphy’s Oil is a good option as is mayonnaise.
- Glass cleaner: Whether store brand or homemade, it’s a good one to have.
- Liquid dish soap: We do a lot of dishes—Meyers and Seventh Gen are my top 
  picks. (If you have a dishwasher, add detergent for that to your list.)
- Toilet bowl cleaner: I use Lysol gel but read that denture tablets work too.
- Laundry detergent & softener: I prefer liquid for bothdryer sheets leave a 
  residue and make materials less absorbent over time. I also try to use 
  unscented detergent paired with a lightly scented softener so our clothes aren’t 
  double-dosed in scents.
- Bleach: This powerful cleaner/disinfectant is always helpful to keep on hand. 
  Note: Never, ever, mix bleach with any other chemical or cleaner, ever. 
  (Though this is mostly common knowledge, it bears repeating.)
- Baking soda: Cheap & one of the most versatile cleaners around.
*Note: Be sure to label all cleaning supplies if not clearly marked on package.*

Tools You’ll Need:
- Broom & dustpan / vacuum: I also recommend a handheld vacuum if you have the budget for it—we got a 
  DustBuster for our wedding and has been used weekly since.
- Mop & bucket/Swiffer: Though Swiffer pads can be pricey, these days a wet mop system really can replace a 
  mop & bucket if you’re inclined to do so.
- Toilet brush & holder / shower squeegee (a new challenge for me with glass shower doors)
- Magic Eraser: I’m a recent convert to this little tool, but it totally worked!
- Dusters: I like disposable ones for quick jobs and spare rags for heavier cleaning.

See, not too bad! Now that you have the “how,” let’s discuss the “when.”

During my childhood, there was virtually no cleaning during the week and by the end of breakfast on Saturday, we’d be saying our prayers to not hear mom’s resigned voice chime, “Guess it’s time to get cleaning, huh girls?Ugh!
I dreaded Saturdays for that reason! Which, I supposed, is why I now try to just do a little cleaning each day so duties don’t roll over and pile up onto the weekend. I prefer spending the weekends doing fun stuff, don’t you?

Many people designate specific days for each task. Tuesdays: groceries, Wednesdays: dusting, etc. Though there are many cleaning schedules available online in that format, I have a hard time always getting the same task done on the same day each week. 

Instead, I have three lists: Daily, Weekly, AnnualI keep the Daily & Weekly tasks on the same sheet, which is laminated & on our fridge. Daily tasks get looked at and mentally checked off each day; Weekly ones get crossed off with a dry-erase marker as they are done, whichever day that may be. 
If this system sounds like it would work for you, snag the free printables below:

Daily & Weekly Cleaning Tasks (with suggestions)

As you can see, I keep the daily list as short as possible. Overview tasks help to keep everything pulled together no matter how busy the day is. I struggle to make the bed every day, but our “15 min pickup” is usually less than 5.

The only list item I don’t have spelled out is laundry. I do laundry once a week (remember, we’re just a family of two). We have two laundry baskets in our closet so we keep it sorted throughout the week, which saves time. I also recommend only doing full loads and doing them back-to-backthis saves time, labor, and energy as the heat in the dryer will cut back on drying times for subsequent loads.

Whether you’re a task-per-day or more flexible type, good music is essential!

There you have it, the tools to get the job done and a solid plan of action. Now buckle your seatbelts because next week, I’ll be putting up four posts in a row looking at cleaning each major area of the home. Get excited!

For some great quick cleaning tips, check out this post on Speed Cleaning over at Living Well Spending Less. Another helpful look at cleaning schedules is available via Apartment Therapy here: The House That Cleans Itself.

This post is part of the Modern Simple Homemaking series.
To learn more about this series and see other posts, click the button above.

1 comment:

  1. I always had this sneaky feeling that the way we did things when you & your sister were young could be improved on and well this post just proves that....it's wonderful and i am so glad you said it. I love you bunches


Thanks so much for your comment! I really love reading them and look forward to hearing what you have to say!