So Fresh and So Clean Clean

I’m sure there are about eleventy billion blog posts with that title since, say, 2001. Make this eleventy billion…and one. 😉

So, anyhoo, cleaning sucks. The only person I can remember encountering who LOVED cleaning was…hmm…Danny Tanner. And he was fictional. Highly doubt Bob Saget’s even remotely like that in real life.

So, while my house is far from perfect, I thought I’d share a handful of simple tips that I use to keep the Monster of Filth from overtaking our lives. They definitely also act as a stress reliever, believe it or not.

Invite someone over every two weeks. (Or at least pretend like someone might stop by at some point.) You know that one big whirlwind clean that you do when company’s coming? The one that feels a bit like a workout? Y’know, before your MIL (or, in my case, mother) drops by? This is it.

Do it, then do it again in two weeks (one week if you can; my average is two, and there’s nothing wrong with that). You’ll notice that it won’t be as huge of a challenge when you do some of the other tips below; it’ll get easier as you go.

Plus, it feels nice to sit back and enjoy the cleanliness (and friendship, of course) at the start of a weekend, which is usually when we have folks over. (I clearly don’t subscribe to the “you’re my friend, I don’t have to clean before you come over” theory. I will, at the very least, pick up and vacuum for you. It’s the least I can do!) Even with a newborn in the mix, I try to hit the priority areas: bathroom surfaces/potty and main living areas.

Slow and steady wins the race. It sounds contradictory to the last point, but after that one big cleanfest, pick out the chores that you need to complete more regularly. Then assign them a frequency: daily, a couple of times a week, weekly, and monthly.

Maybe you need to dust and vacuum more often (vacuuming is a common thing for us with a toddler dropping food and playing on the floor where cats may be traipsing litter). Maybe your bathroom can use a quick once-over weekly, as well as your floors. Stretch these jobs out over the course of a week. Scrub the toilet and wipe down of all bathroom surfaces Monday, vacuum Tuesday, sweep and mop Wednesday, etc. Then when it’s time for your “company clean,” you’ll only have some of the deep-cleaning stuff to do.

Do something everyday. I’m not talking about the fact that my grandmother mopped her floors daily. (True story!) I’m saying that you can pick from that list and, depending on your mood and energy level that day, do ONE thing.

Mind you, this could include smaller, regular stuff like putting dishes away or folding a load of laundry all the way up to Old Englishing (totally a word) the woodwork or touch-up painting. Simple and small or big project, it all counts. This is essential to remind myself when the newborn exhaustion hits – do only what you can do, even if it’s one small task. Which leads me to…

Get into the habit of picking up. Every night when our older child’s in bed, we attack the main living area. Some days he hardly touches the toys, but most days (and especially on weekends, during the summer, or lately with Mommy on maternity leave), the place looks like a tornado hit. And don’t get me started on the holiday toys that have exploded into every nook and cranny of our lives.

So, we try to pick up. Our stuff, his stuff, whatever we can do. It really only takes about five minutes, depending on the day’s activities, and it makes a huge difference when we come down the stairs, bleary-eyed, the next morning to a relatively neat house. We’ll also do all the dishes in the sink and make sure there’s a load in the wash. Don’t get me started on cat toys, though. Those, I like to leave out for our boys’ mental stimulation, so I really only pick them up if company’s coming. Is that weird?
Find what works for you and stick with it. Some people prefer doing all the dusting in their entire house at one time, then doing another chore the next day. Others like getting one room done at a time, even if it involves dragging out the vacuum and all the supplies needed to clean it each day for each room. I usually do it the first way, but I can swing both ways. I’m hip like that.
And there’s no right or wrong way. Seriously, whatever you’re comfortable with, just do it. It’s kind of like how I budget. I know it’s not the way a lot of people would be comfortable handling money, but it works for me.
So, what’re your cleaning tips? Do you have any goals you’d like to make publicly to clean something more or in a more efficient way? Go ahead! We won’t make fun of you if it doesn’t happen. Promise! {Or feel free to share your least favorite chore!}

One thought on “So Fresh and So Clean Clean”

  1. I totally suck at cleaning. Hello kitchen full of dishes, I'm looking at you! If only the dishwasher would empty itself it would be so much easier! 🙂

    Let's see… cleaning tips… Well, I did find that when I had a cat with a urinary problem who would pee on anything left out on the floor, I got much better about picking up after myself! Apparently I respond well to threats – especially when I know they're not idle ones!

    And I realize this totally goes against the whole frugal minimalist thing, but I discovered that vacuuming became much less horrible once I bought a cordless upright. I kept the heavy canister vacuum with all the attachments and super power stuff (you know, the one that's like wrestling an octopus), and I use it every few weeks to get into the corners and all that good stuff, but between times I whip out my handy dandy cordless model and give the house a quick once over. It's super light and there's nothing to trip over, plus it has the added advantage that the battery only lasts about 15 minutes so I'm not tempted to get all perfectionistic about it, which makes me dread it significantly less.

    On that note, I'm gonna go do the dishes before I go to bed!

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