You know you have a problem when your cleaning supplies closet is so cluttered with bottles and sprays, you can't even find the stuff in which you need to clean your house! With so many different cleaning products on the market, each promising to make life easier and more efficient, I find myself impulsively stocking up on the same kinds of stuff over and over again. All it takes are a few cleaning basics to cover all your house cleaning bases. So if your'e ready to get down to the nitty gritty of it, here are your must-haves!
- Windex is a no-brainer. Every house has windows and Windex is the best for cleaning glass without streaking. Plus, it works great on other surfaces in your home, such as stainless steel, mirrors, chrome and tile (save $1.00 on SC Johnson Windex and other cleaners).
- Clorox Clean-Up is your go-to germ killer. It not only cleans but is also disinfects. Use it in your bathroom to kill mildew and in your kitchen to kill germs that cause odors.
- Murphy's Oil Soap is still the best for cleaning wood surfaces. Use it on windowsills, stair bannisters, hardwood floors and even furniture with painted surfaces. Look for the spray version for easy cleaning without the need to dilute (save $0.55 on Brawny paper towels).
- Swiffer Sweeper works better than a boom. It comes with disposable pads for easy clean-up and a swivel head that makes getting into tight corners a cinch. There's also a mop model for getting off sticky grime from hardwood floors.
- Fuzzy Wuzzy Microfiber Mitt may look an a alien creature your kids watch on Sunday morning cartoons, but it really works! Throw it on your hand and run it over every surface to remove dust. The thick chenille side is ideal for tackling fan blades while the blue side is great for wiping down electronics.
- Lysol Toilet Bowl is a powerful cleaner that can dissolve mineral deposits and rust stains while it disinfects and kills bathroom germs. For a fresh start, try it with a toilet wands that comes with flushable wipes.
- The Works Tub and Shower Cleaner is the easiest way to clean your bathroom. No need for scrubbing, just spray and wipe away tough soap scum and mineral buildup.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my absolute favorite tool of all. These amazing sponges can remove just about everything from crayon marks on the walls to gunk on the stove top. Plus, they work without the need for additional cleaners.
The places we live in have a lot of power, and I'm not just talking about the power to shelter us from rain and snow, I'm talking about the power to actually alter our moods. Likewise, we have power over our houses. Studies suggest that making tiny adjustments in your habits around the house can actually make a huge impact on one's emotional well-being. No need to wait for the weekend or an end-of-the-year salary bonus. Just a few tweaks to your daily routine is all it takes to cultivate a positive attitude!
Here are five tiny tasks you can do to truly change your mood. Each one takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Give it a go and see if it makes a difference for you!
Make Your Bed
I used to argue that making my bed was a waste of time. I'm just going to get right back into it anyway, right? Turns out, making your bed is a catalyst for other healthy habits. Think about it: Making your bed will inspire you to want to clean the sheets, which will inspire you to want to do the rest of your laundry, which will inspire you to want to put away your clothes, which will inspire you to want to tidy up the other rooms. Before you know it, you're coming home from work to a clean, organized home. Oh happy day!
Just Do It!
At some point in my adult life, I realized that putting off cleaning the dishes didn't end with the dishes cleaning themselves. I might as well just do it, preferably with a smile and some good tunes.
Start a Journal
I'm constantly asking my kids what the best part of their day was (and "nothing" doesn't count as an answer), but no one is making me reflect on my day and all the good that came out of it. I keep a small notepad on my nightstand and jot down something that made me happy everyday. It's a wonderful reminder that, even on a bad day, there's always something good that happened, too.
Tame the Paper Dragon
The majority of the mail I get is junk mail, and yet it somehow ends up sitting unopened on my front door table for weeks (even months). Before I know it, the "paper dragon" has swallowed up some seriously important and timely envelopes - like a bill that needs to get paid or a check that needs to be cashed - and I'm in a much bigger mess than the pile of envelopes spilling over onto the floor. I've started keeping a small garbage can by my front door so I can go through the mail AT ONCE and throw away anything I don't need... again, AT ONCE. What's left gets taken care of or filed away. The same thing applies to my email Inbox.
Keep Everything in its Place
It's a simple fact: Clutter causes stress. Take the extra five minutes to return everything to it's correct place before leaving a room. Instill this lesson in your kids early on and maybe, just maybe, the remote will be ready for you on the coffee table when it's time to relax on the couch, or your keys will be waiting for you by the door when it's time to head off to work.
In Monday?s post, I discussed how breaking down the big job of housekeeping into small, manageable tasks makes the job look a lot smaller. In fact, it makes it look almost easy!
I've been living by the mantra of "a few tasks a day keeps the chaos away" for quite some time now. In my twenties, it was easy to look the other way when my laundry basket was overflowing with clothes and the dishes in the sink were still sitting there from last night's meal. Ok, sometimes it was last week's meal -- don't judge!
This all changed when I had kids. Now, I have quadruple the amount of laundry to do, dishes to clean and fingerprints to wipe away. I can't even fathom leaving for work in the morning without putting the dishes in the dishwasher or going to sleep at night before folding the laundry. I truly feel happier and more in control of my life when my house is clean and orderly, and I think almost everyone with a family can relate to this. I also know there are a lot of times when it feels easier to just ignore the mess all together because even after it's clean, it will surely becomes a mess in a matter of days, sometimes seconds if you're the parent of very little ones. I used to be one of those people.
With laundry and dusting and scrubbing and mopping and putting away? the list goes on and on. The need for housekeeping seems to be non-stop. And you know what? It is! Facing this fact has helped me manage my household chores. It only takes a couple of days before the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and the mail needs to be sorted and the sheets need to be changed, so I might as well try to keep it at bay before it piles up into a heaping ball of stress. For this reason, I use a chores list to keep my home (and my sanity) intact.
For those of you who are interested, here?s how I break it down. I have a few daily chores, and the rest I designate to a certain day (or a certain family member) for that week. Use my schedule or create one of your own!
- Make bed
- Wipe down bathroom counters
- Empty dishwasher
I try to do a few chores a day. Of course, some days I simply can't get to everything. I'm not a total clean freak and I allow life to get in the way of cleaning every now and again. I'll just get to it the next week!
- Wash bathmats, towels and washcloths
- Mop the floors
- Scrub the tub and sink
Garbage pick-up is Wednesday morning, so I make sure everything I want to throw away is on the curb before bed!
- Go through refrigerator and throw away anything that?s expired
- Collect trash from all the trash cans; wipe down inside and outside of trash cans
- Throw away magazines and junk mail that?s been piling up around the house
It's Friday! Friday! Friday! My only chore today is to take a load off.
- Change pillow cases and sheets
- Fluff pillows and sofa cushions