to Clean or not to clean, that is the question…
Some days it feels like I am the only woman in my circle that doesn’t truly enjoy cleaning. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house, I just don’t jump up in the morning excited to mop the floors. So what is a girl to do? Well, since I have a home full of 3 rambunctious boys, (and a husband so let’s go ahead and say 4) I’ve picked up a few cleaning tips I can share to keep your house clean-ish without dedicating your life to the chore.
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#1) Pick Up Wherever You Are, Whenever You are
Fixing breakfast for the family? Unload the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. Bathing the kiddos? Wipe down the sink and clean the toilet. Watching Puppy Dog Pals for the two thousandth time? Fold a load of laundry. If you are like me, you have tasks that need to be done anyway in pretty much every room of the house and if you’re conscious about it, you can incorporate cleaning into your daily schedule. While this won’t deep clean your house, it will allow you to have a picked-up home without having to dedicate hours of the day to cleaning alone.
With this tip comes the advice to tackle the laundry as you go as well. I use to wait until a certain day of the week and I would dread the day! (I felt like the girl in the photo) Then when it came I would fold a billion piles of laundry only to have them sit on our sofa (laundry folding central) for another 4 days and then it when we finally got it all put up it would be time to start again. Ugh! I now tackle about a load or two a day at most and while I spend more time putting it up this way (I count it as my cardio for the week) it doesn’t pile up and I don’t have to dread it all week long.
#2) Build a Cleaning Arsenal
Cleaning isn’t fun to begin with, but when you’re using stinky cleaners that give you a headache and tools that don’t do their job, it’s down right miserable. Through the years I’ve collected an arsenal of cleaning supplies that I actually enjoy using. Many of them are naturally based as I’ve become very chemical sensitive as I get older and there’s no need to poison the children if I don’t have to! Here are some of my all-time favorite cleaning products that really get the job done!
FOR DUSTING AND WINDOWS-
I discovered Bees Wax polish on a shopping trip to Asheville and used it on everything. When I ran out at home I had to find more so we started carrying it at our store and could not keep the stuff in stock. This is probably my all-time favorite cleaning product. I use this stuff everywhere and it is natural, made in the US and smells like lemony goodness! This is my go-to product for windows, (I’m the only person that I know that leaves streaks with Windex) stainless steel appliances, granite, furniture, and more! This spray is not a “cleaning” spray, but rather, a polish. If your windows or counters are seriously grimey you’ll want to wipe them down first, but this stuff brings serious sparkle to anything it touches and it smells delicious too. My boys actually fight over who gets to spray the can when I clean and I don’t have to worry about it harming them which is a win-win for everyone!
Seriously, give this stuff a try. You’ll never clean your windows or stainless appliances with anything else!
FOR TOILETS AND BATHROOMS-
In my old house we had an ancient enamel tub that I could never get really clean until I discovered these little babies. I had used the regular ones in the house already, but on impulse I picked up a pack of the Bath Scrubber ones at my local store and wow! My tub was finally clean for the first time in many, many years! They’re all I use now in my bathrooms for tub rings, wiping down sinks, etc.
The other product I have discovered and loved is the one cleaning item that I do not purchase an “All Natural” or “Chemical Free” version. I want that toilet bowl clean and anything in and/or around it clean! The Home Care Lab The Works 32-Ounce Toilet Bowl Cleaner is the only toilet cleaner that I’ve found that tackles the hard mineral rings that stain the bowl from our crazy-hard water in the new house. It’s really affordable as well, which I love!
FOR THE FLOORS-
When my sweet hubby asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year I somewhat jokingly replied with “a full-time housekeeper” and he delivered as close as our budget would allow. On Christmas morning I unwrapped my very own mini housekeeper. A brand new iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum! We named her Roxy and she starts her shift at 5 pm seven days of the week and helps to keep the dog hair and crushed gold fish under control. I still have to vacuum if I want things really clean, but it certainly helps to keep my sanity on a day-to-day basis.
For the mopping I used to use Swiffer pads for my weekly go over of the floors, but when I discovered that there was an option that just used water and would save me from having to replace the pads all the time I was hooked! The e-cloth Deep Clean Mop uses only water to clean your floors and the pad is washable and reusable. Score! I’m saving money and reducing the chemicals that are used in the other brands!
#3) Employ the Mess Makers…I Mean Children
Let’s be honest, if I didn’t have children keeping a clean house would not be nearly as challenging. Each peanut butter covered, sticky handed, dirty kneed little boy seems to multiply the mess factor by about one zillion. I can handle cleaning up after two adults, but add three little guys into that equation and I’m out of my league. That’s why I’ve found it essential to find creative ways to get the kids to help pick up after themselves.
For the oldest kiddo we’ve learned that “employing” him is the best technique for getting results. Lucky for us there is always some amazing new Lego set coming out that The Dark Haired Boy just has to have so there is always motivation! We pay for any additional tasks he takes on such as unloading the dishwasher, sweeping up, wiping down the table, etc. We take away pay if he does not do the chores that we require such as keeping his room clean and putting up his laundry in a timely manner. A simple chart and star stickers keeps us on track and we pay a quarter per star. For the most part, it is a user-friendly system for us all.
The two year old is well, two, so there isn’t much that works. We have found however that if we tell him that Roxy the Roomba is going to run and eat up all his toys he can get those toys back in the basket pretty quickly! We also work with him on putting his toys back in the same places in his room so that he knows where things go and how to put them back when he is done.
Baby boy is still immobile at the moment so he’s off the hook when he comes to cleaning, but his time will come!
I’ve recently come across this Ahhhhmazing Chore System designed by a fellow Home-schooling Mom that encourages chores based on pictures as well as description so it can be used with kiddos of all ages! I love how easy this system is to implement and that I can use the same system for my boys of different ages! You can get it on sale for a limited time by visiting: http://findingbeautyintheeveryday.com/chores
#4) Schedule Company
I’m laughing as I type this because this is the one, sure-fire way to motivate me to really, deep clean my house. Tell me that company is coming and I go into crazy-mom cleaning mode. Just ask my husband. He’s learned to stay out of the way if I’m on a company-is-coming tangent! I’m starting to wonder though if he only invites people over so that he’ll know the house will be clean. Hmmm…. Anyways, if you are externally motivated, make it a point to have people over once every few weeks or so and that way you will be motivated to kick it into high gear and tackle those projects that are just too easy to put off on a day-to-day basis. The only problem with this approach is after the company leaves, you’ve got to clean up all over again!
I actually just had a friend come over last night for our church small group meeting who had happened to drop by unexpectedly the prior night. She commented on how quickly I was able to pull the house together (there were train sets and Legos on every inch of the living room floor) and I just had to laugh. If she only knew!
So now in closing, I’m going to leave you with a poem given to me after the birth of my first kiddo. Remember, if the house is a little messy, they’ll remember you playing with them a lot more than the mess!
Babies Don’t Keep
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.