Tag Archives: cleanup

GET SAVVY WITH CLEANING SUPPLIES

The little things will do the trick. 111779891

Walk down the cleaning supplies aisle in any grocery store and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the dizzying array of products available for purchase. There are concoctions that disinfect, scrub, polish, cut grease, de-rust, un-streak, and promise gleam and shine.

How to choose the right products without spending a fortune and cramming the cupboards with stuff you don’t need?

I thought I would share a primer for getting savvy with cleaning supplies.

  • Buy a small plastic bin with a handle for each floor of your home. You will fill it with all the supplies you need for cleaning your house, with the exception of your vacuum, and carry it from room to room as you clean. No more wasted steps back and forth as you retrieve the cleaning supplies you need for each room and each chore. Keep the bin in a linen closet or under the master bathroom sink.
  • Search out the circulars for sales and coupons. When you see a product you need, buy two. You can have one for each floor of the house or save one for later.
  • Each of your plastic bins should contain:
    • A plastic spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner for general surface cleaning. This need not be anti-bacterial. In fact, ample evidence points to overuse of antibacterial cleaners as one contributing factor to increasing the strength and number of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. A solution of vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle is inexpensive and when applied with a lint-free cloth will leave mirrors and glass streak-free. Unless a family member is ill with a contagious disease, save antibacterial products for food prep areas and cleaning the toilet.
    • Anti-bacterial wipes or spray cleaner for toilets and food preparation areas only.
    • Gentle non-abrasive cleaner for scrubbing showers and sinks
    • Anti-static dusting cloth and furniture polish. Furniture polish need not be applied with every cleaning. And if you have a central vacuum system, you can use the long hose and variety of attachments to save time with dusting chores, such as baseboards, window sills, blinds, and draperies. Dust suctioned away with a central vacuuming system doesn’t re-circulate back into the air and resettle, as it does with traditional vacuum cleaners, but is pulled into a central collection unit which can then be emptied periodically.
    • Sponge
    • Nylon scrubbing pad for scrubbing jobs
    • Lint-free rags for wiping and dusting. Old cloth diapers are ideal, as are worn cotton tee shirts. A roll of paper towels comes in handy, but go easy on the environment by using paper towels sparingly, and only for the dirtiest jobs.
    • Handful of small plastic garbage bags (small grocery bags are perfect) for collecting small bits of trash and used wipes or paper towels as you go along.

Replenish supplies as needed, and store the bins in the same place all the time when not in use. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much time, energy and frustration you’ll save on routine cleaning with this simple “Cleaning Carry-All” strategy.

WHITTLE DOWN YOUR HOUSEWORK

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Everybody likes a clean home, but who wants to spend their weekends scouring, sweeping and scrubbing? Not me!  Make the most of your cleaning time by staying ahead of the game with small, focused efforts, and break daunting chores into shorter, more manageable tasks that won’t gobble up your leisure hours. Saving housecleaning effort is much like saving money: small actions are an investment. They add up over time and pay off big in the long term.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Bathroom

Keep toiletries tucked away in drawers or closets to eliminate unnecessary dusting.

Consider a vacuum solution like Vroom to clean makeup, hairs, and powders from vanity counters after your bathroom routine.

Scum-fighting shower spray in the shower every day will go to work on its own to prevent buildup.

Spot clean the toilet and surrounding floor with a disinfectant wipe each day.

Straighten towels after use or use hooks for a no-fuss look.

Kitchen

Clean as you go when you cook to keep surfaces and pans easy to wipe up before food hardens. Wipe counters and stove surface after each meal you prepare to prevent tough, built-up grime.

Take a few minutes to vacuum the kitchen every night. Consider a built-in product like the Vroom.

Every few days while you’re talking on the phone or waiting for the soup to heat, clear the fridge of leftovers that won’t get eaten, then spot-wipe the glass shelves with a damp cloth.

Every few weeks while the pasta is boiling or the chicken is on the grill, use a microfiber duster to dust cupboards and walls.

Living Room/Family Room

Walk around most-used living spaces each night with a laundry basket and pick up items that don’t belong there. Take a few minutes to put those items in the places they belong, or delegate that chore to a family member.

During television commercials, grab a microfiber duster and do a quick once-around the room on surfaces, window sills and baseboards.

Put each day’s newspapers in a designated spot before going to bed.

If you have small children and lots of toys that get used in common living areas, don’t bother picking them up all day long. They’re just going to get pulled out again, so stop wasting time and energy. Shoot for two or three five-minute sessions of cleanup each day, and engage your child in the process as much as possible. A tidied family room gives some peace of mind at the end of day for grownup hours when children are in bed, and offers children a sense of accomplishment.

Bedrooms

A made bed contributes more to the overall impression of a clean bedroom than any other effort you make there. Try to make your bed each morning and you’ll retire with a more serene feeling each night.

Use handsome jewelry boxes or valet boxes to avoid clutter—and unnecessary dusting—on the dresser.

If clothes on the floor are a problem, get a coat stand with hooks, or fasten pretty hooks on the walls. At least clothes will be off the floor until you get the chance to launder them or hang them up.

Changing sheets and bed linens can be done in less than half the time with two people. Enlist a house mate’s help.

Close closet doors after use for a sleeker appearance in the room.

If you live in a house of avid readers, choose nightstands that have cabinet bottoms with doors, so the bedside book stack can be stowed away instead of adding to clutter and trapping dust.

Turn Over a New Leaf with Fall Clean-Up

falling leavesIn cold weather climates, fall is an excellent season for simultaneously getting good exercise outside and sprucing up your home’s exterior.

  • Fall leaf cleanup is excellent cardiovascular exercise and is best done by two or more people in phases. Get out an hour or so at a time to spread the chore over a few weeks. Leaves drop from trees in stages. It is unrealistic and frustrating to think one grand cleanup either at the beginning or end of the season will accomplish your goal. Don’t procrastinate to the point of having to claw at frozen clumps of leaves during snow flurries.
  • Reward yourself for outdoor chores by setting a pot of good soup or stew to simmer on the stove while you work. Coming in to the aroma of savory food without having to prepare dinner when you are tired will make the chore more pleasant and take on the association of a pleasant tradition rather than an onerous burden.
  • Sweep entryways of debris to leave a neat appearance for the winter months. Take the time to gently rake leaves from flower beds unless you have shredded them into smaller pieces. Otherwise, they will mat down and not only leave an unattractive mess in the spring, but harbor mold and fungus around perennial plants, possibly rotting their tender crowns.
  • Don’t leave pots of annuals outside once frost hits. Frost will blacken the plants and make them look pathetic all winter, as well as shorten the life of your containers. Clay pots are especially vulnerable to hard freezes and abrupt shifts in temperatures that cause them to shrink and expand. Dump the planters into a compost pile (or a low spot on the property that could use filling in), rinse the pots with a good spray from the hose and store them in a garage or shed.
  • If potted plants have not been plagued by pests or disease during the growing season, it is possible to reuse the soil for another year, but come spring you should augment it with fresh planting mix or composted manure to ensure its quality for another year of growing.
  • Remove fallen leaves from gutters. It is wise to never use a ladder when you are home alone. Be safe and have a partner stand by and hold the ladder. If you are beyond the time in your life when it is practical and safe for you to be on a ladder, consider hiring the service out, trading some other form of service with a neighbor, or asking a local volunteer group to assist you for free or a donation within your means. Boy Scouts, church youth groups and schools are often looking for ways to help their members earn service requirements.