Thursday, March 11, 2010

78 You Asked: Squeaky Clean

I am back with another great question from another great reader!

Amanda wrote:

Hi there!
I have just found your blog and I LOVE IT!!!!!! I must visit it at least once a day. Its amazing!
I wanted to know what your housework/cleaning schedule is like? I'm pretty anal myself but am always looking for new tips etc...

Thanks again for your blog! 
Amanda 


The matter of the fact is, this is a pretty popular question that I have gotten for years {since before blogging days} however, the answer may be one that many shake their heads at... as in, I am a little nutsy when it comes to being clean.  So, I will try {and not succeed} to keep this helpful, short and sweet, but please forgive if I go off on a tangent!



Cleaning Tips & Tricks IHeart:

Create a Checklist?!  Check.

First off, I will start out by saying that I recently started something a little newer, as of this year, to help me stay on top of my cleaning.  As in, this queen of checklists decided that nothing was more deserving of a checklist than my cleaning routine.
So I created one {click to enlarge}:



As Randy Jackson would say, "So, check it dawg!"  Once this baby was laminated and hung on the fridge, it became the perfect reference for me the family to stay on track of our many household chores, that allow us to keep the homestead as clean as it can be with one gal, four boys and two furry pups residing inside.

Here is why I have become such an advocate of this checklist.  I am a big fan of doing my chores sporadically and as time permits vs spending hours in a cleaning rage {although that has happened} right before guests come for a weekend dinner.  So, this list provides a great reminder of the household cleaning tasks that I try to accomplish on a weekly and monthly basis, and allow me to check them off once complete {and because it's laminated, I can wipe off the check marks and start over the next week}.  Pretty straight forward stuff.  But the really yummy icing on the cake part is that this checklist also puts out there the things we need to remember to do less frequently {like change our furnace and air purifier filters} and instead of not having a clue when the last time was we did those things, now we can fill in a date so we know when we need to do it again!



Spread it out.  

 Keeping a home spiffy clean is A LOT of work, especially for all of you mansion owners.  However, doing a little bit each day, week, month, quarter and year, really helps to make it feel less overwhelming.  How often you determine it necessary to complete specific tasks, is very much about personal preference, we chose our frequencies based on personal health standards and cleaning habits.  So here is our typical routine:

Daily:

Kitchen duties: Our kitchen is considered the hub of the home and I use it all day long.  Therefore, in order to keep it in tip top shape, I ensure the following tasks are done each day:
1.  Wash Dishes/Load the Dishwasher
2.  Vacuum Floor
3.  Wipe Down Counter tops


Bathroom:  Wipe down counters and top/back of toilet.

Make Beds:  It's amazing what a difference a made bed vs a non-made beds makes.  It is the biggest way to transform a bedroom, and give it that tidy look your after.


Laundry:
1.  We try to wash a load of clothing a day {or less if possible by encouraging jeans and pjs to be worn at least twice - no, it's not that gross to do!}
2.  We only do laundry when we have the ability to put it away.  To get the kids to help, I added picture labels on their drawers so they know where to stash their clothes.


Tidy up Seating Areas:  Slouchy throw pillows and thrown about blankets create for a cluttered living room look, even if it's not really even cluttered.  Taking a quick second to quickly fluff up pillows, and fold blankets to place them over couch arms or chair backs, quickly spiffs up the space.  I also like to keep a lined laundry basket in the corner for additional blankets and pillows that we use when we snuggle up for movie night on the weekend.


Pick up:  I am a strong believer that being self disciplined and spending 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to put everything away, will totally and completely help you forever on after from allowing pileups of papers, toys, dirty dishes, blankets, etc... If you are organized and have a place for everything, than putting things away each day shouldn't take much time!  Plus, you can make it fun family time - try to pick out an upbeat song to blare each night while the family runs through the house to do quick pick-up duty together.



Weekly:

Clean Glass:  Keeping the glass throughout the house free of dust, fingerprints and doggy noses, also creates a lighter feeling in the room.


Dust Wood:  Using a good wood cleaner {mentioned below}, keeps wood looking healthy for years.


Clean Toilets: Each toilet gets a good scrub to avoid rings from forming.

Wipe Down Bathtubs:  Soap scum wipes off in a breeze with a quick once over with a sponge and cleaner each week.

Mop Floors:  A quick mopping each week help keeps high traffic areas, that tend to quickly show puppy tracks and sticky juice drippings, looking clean and fresh and preserves the longevity of our floors.

Empty Garbages/Recycling:  The Garbage man makes a weekly visit to the Jones residence, so we pay him our respects by making sure our garbage and recycling is curbside when he arrives.  Plus, garbage stinks, literally, so getting it out keeps the house smelling like my fresh flowers and not dirty diapers.

Wipe out Fridge/Microwave:  Keeping the fridge and micro wiped down weekly helps from getting to those dreaded days where hours are needed for scrubbing baked on spaghetti sauce or spoiled veggie juice from our appliances.

Wash Bed Sheets & Towels:  We do our best to wash all of our bed sheets and towels weekly.  We also use our washer's sanitary cycle to get rid of unwanted linen guests, such as bacteria and bed mites.



Vacuum Cabinet Door Fronts/Wall Vents/Under Furniture/Steps:  Although I vacuum the kitchen, main bathroom and some area rugs every day, the remainder of the house gets a good suck each week.  And that's everything from the fronts and edges of kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors & drawers, trim and room corners, all vents, around and under furniture and the steps.  No dust bunnies allowed!

Check out these links to see how we Organize our Mail Bin and Kid's Homework each week.

 
  

Monthly:

Clean out Garbage Cans:  Garbage cans can become huge germ and mold zones.  I use some hot soapy water to wash out the insides each month to keep them fresh and clean.  And by using a touch-less garbage can in the kitchen, it creates a germ free, odor free, automated environment that also keeps your hands clean when cooking or touching your kids, and that my friends helps prevent contamination!


Vacuum Wall Corners & Ceilings:  Using the long arm attachment on the vacuum, a quick run up wall corners, window sills and ceiling lines, rids dust and ew, spider webs!?

Vacuum Inside Couch:  Yeah, it's amazing the things I will find when the couch cushions come up.  Cheetos, army guys, pennies, crayons and dead skin.  Yep, it's a regular infestation that I take the vacuum to at least on a monthly basis, because I know that although house rules say "No Eating in the Living Room", kids will be kids!

Clean Stove-top Burners/Trays:  A simple sink of dish water and a scrubby sponge and the coil catchers {that is not the technical term} are nice and shiny!


Cycle Clean the Dishwasher & Washer:  Running a packet/scoop of lemonade powder through the dishwasher or some non-chlorine bleach through the washer {minus the dishes or clothes}, eliminates odors and stains and increases the lifespan of our extremely important cleaning machines.

Vacuum Vents:  Time to go beyond skimming the vent surfaces and actually remove the grates, snag a strong sucking shop-vac and really give the vents a good dust and cheerio removal.

Wipe Down Switch Plates/Door Knobs:  In all honesty, this is the perfect chore for any 8 year old eager to please mom and dad.  In fact, my 8 year old son is a pro at wiping down all the light switches and door knobs throughout the home.  I just equip him with a bucket of soapy water and bamboo rag, and off he goes.  He also earns a little extra moola in his allowance, for each one he completes!

Dust Ceiling Fans:  This was once a hard lesson learned for us folks.  Anyone look at the top of a ceiling fan after being ignored for about a year?  It looked like a jealous version of the dryer lint trap.  Pretty gross.  So now it gets a good sweep with a duster every month, which isn't nearly as painful as scrubbing glued on layers of dusty film.

Sweep/Vacuum/Dust the Garage:  Pretty self explanatory.  The garage is a dusty place.  And that dust can enter the home.  So keeping it swept and dusted helps keep that unwanted dust out of our home and out of our nostrils.

Launder Bath Rugs:  This not only keeps them squeaky clean, is also revives the fluff under foot in the morning!

Scrub Grout:  Grout can hold a lot of bacteria and germs, and wiping it down daily does help, however, a good scrub every month helps keep it looking good, like George Clooney good.




Quarterly:

Change Air Purifier & Furnace Filter:  You all know why, it's just a matter of remembering to do it.  They become less and less effective as they gain more and more dust, so keeping them changed on a regular basis is key to clean air.  Writing down the dates on the checklist will also be a good reminder since air filters are probably not the first thing on my husbands mind when he gets home from work!

Launder Couch Cushions:  The leather sofa gets a good wiping down with some all natural gentle water and dish soap.  The fabric sofa's cushion and pillow covers are removed and tossed in the wash on a sanitary setting and tumble dried on low.  It's amazing what kids and pups do to the sanitation of the cushions on a daily basis.  If it weren't such a chore, this would be done much more frequently!

PC:  I don't mean, being all PC about something.  Whatever that means.  I mean, taking care of the machine that gives me love.  And since it gives so much of itself for my happiness, it's only decent to show my computer some love back, by giving my vacuum a whirl around the keyboard and tower insides, of course using a soft, clean bristle attachment.  My computer geek husband also recommends making sure the fans look clean and that there are no clumps of dust covering any vents, because that causes the computer machine to run hotter and cause it to fail sooner.


Clean Oven:  Set it and forget it!  And open the windows and remove pets and family members from inside the home {if possible} to the outdoors, while the oven is self cleaning.  Wouldn't it be great if all appliances could clean themselves?  And if the house could magically do that too?  Could someone get on to inventing that so I wouldn't feel so guilty watching American Idol while infested toilets are screaming at me from the bathroom?  Oh, and to save on energy costs, run the self cleaning option on your oven right after using it for baking or cooking, because it's already heated halfway up!

Wash Bed Linens:  Although we try to wash our sheets weekly, laundering ALL of the bed linens each week wouldn't be very earth friendly, and wouldn't be very family friendly since my kid's wouldn't see their mom, I would be chained to the washer and dryer from sun up to sun down.  But it does have to get done, so setting a more reachable goal is what works for us.  Every 3 months, the duvet covers and bed blankets get a run through the sanitary cycle, and we hope that the months in-between don't allow too many icky germy mites to take up habitation in our bedding.

Vacuum Mattresses:  Using the brush attachment, I go over the entire surface in long, horizontal strokes, paying special attention to the buttoned areas.  This again, removes any unwanted nightly visitors, the hubs is the only one I want to be spooning with tonight!

 Vacuum Window Coverings:  Also using the brush attachment and lowering all roman shades, a quick once over all window treatments keeps them dust free.

Descale Coffee Maker:  My machine doesn't like crusty lime and hard water build up and I personally prefer a slice of toast over coffee floaters, so I make sure to use the recommended descaling agent and give the insides of my coffee maker a good pipe cleanin'.


Clean out Fridge/Freezer:  Remember the days of "Defrosting"?  I have terrifying images of my mom scraping layers of snow off of the freezer walls with steaming pots of hot water insides and her holding back her tears and screams of terror and disgust.  Ahh, those were the days.  These days, it's actually not so bad.  We just remove all the goods from the freezer and throw it in a laundry basket {since we are uber quick}, coolers work for longer tasks.  We use a vacuum to get rid of any stray crumbs, and then using warm water and soap suds, we wipe down the inside walls and shelves.  The ice maker bin and veggie drawers also get a good wash in the sink before getting put back.  And since we are super good about cleaning out the fridge and freezers each week when we go to the store, this task usually is pretty easy peasy.


Annually:

Clean out Cabinets/Drawers:  This just requires removing the contents of the cabinet or drawer, and running a vacuum inside.  It's amazing the amount of crumbs that can linger in drawer crevices and utensil trays.  I also use this as an opportunity to check the expiration dates on any pantry foods and toss out anything expired, and to donate/toss/re-organize the spaces, as I only put back the things I need.

Launder Shower Curtains:  Back to the laundry room we go!  And this time it's to wash the shower curtains.  These don't tend to get too dirty, since we use clean liners that get changed out as soon as they start to become a little soap scummy.  But, they can't be ignored forever, so every once a year or so they go in for their annual cleaning.



Do Rags.  

Keep extra rags and sponges corralled under each kitchen and bathroom sink, whether in a basket or hanging from a Command Hook.  This makes for quick and easy cleanup when there is a spill on the floor, or toothpaste splatters on the counter top and in the sink.  And although I am a huge fan of microfiber clothes, I also recycle old dishtowels and washcloths for this, since majority of the time they are just being used for quick messy cleanups {Find new uses for old things, old disinfecting wipe tubs can be used to corral rags under a sink}.



The Vacuum Attachment that Really Sucks.  

Although I totally Heart my vacuum, like I dance with it daily, what IHeart more is the bristle brush attachment that came with it.  I use it for EVERYTHING.


Yep.  As I mentioned in my cleaning routines above, I vacuum cabinet door fronts and vents and curtains, and although I take the credit, this is the little guy that does the dirty work for me!


I also use it for vacuuming under furniture, indoor/outdoor rugs, under couch cushions, inside the PC, etc.. like I said, E V E R Y T H I N G.


Leave your Shoes at the Door.
  
You have been told since you were a kid by your own mom, and grandma for that matter.  Take yours shoes off at the door.  Well, it's a good thing you listened!  Because shoes are one of the biggest culprits for tracking in dirt and pollen and dust into the home.  Leaving your shoes at the door, and picking them up and carrying them carefully to their respective homes, helps to eliminate all of that dust and pollen from getting stuck in your carpet fibers.



Golf Caddy, no.  Cleaning Caddy, yes!

Snag a caddy.  Yes, I know you aren't Tiger Woods {too early?}, however, cleaning caddy's are the cat's meow!  They make carting around those pesky cleaning supplies, a lot easier when they are all corralled together.  And if you have multiple levels to your home, I also recommend keeping one on each level for even easier access, making cleaning a lot more likely to happen!

I store one cleaning caddy in my new coat closet {main floor cleaning}:


And another in my laundry room {lower level cleaning}:





Clean Home Items IHeart:

The following are items that I absolutely couldn't live without, when it comes to keeping mi casa nice and tidy clean:

Dish-washing Gloves:



 Of course these beauties can be used for much more beyond daily dish washing, I recommend snagging a pair for all cleaning duties that require a little extra elbow grease or when dealing in bathrooms at all.  They are great for protecting your precious skin and nails from germs and cleaners.  Just make sure you give them a quick wash with dish soap after doing any dirty work.  And snagging some pretty ones makes cleaning so much more fun, because you just might feel less like an overworked Cinderella and more like the princess of the ball!


Bamboo Washcloths:
 

These cloths are great for dish-washing and wiping down counter tops.  Bamboo actually inhibits the growth of bacteria and is also a renewable resource, so it's a very "green" alternative.  These clothes are also very soft and absorbent and machine washable!


Grout Brush:

This fantastic tool is my all time bathroom tile life saver!  I have white grout in my bathroom and it shows dirt pretty awfully, so this brush paired with some abrasive cleaner is definitely a match made in heaven.


Indoor/Outdoor Rug:
 These rugs are AMAZING sand trappers, which makes me AMAZINGLY happy!  No sand and dust and pollen inside the house makes for a clean house!  One should be placed at every entrance to snag all of that dirt before the good flooring does.


Cleaning Caddy:




As I mentioned above, cleaning caddy's are such a benefit to keeping all your cleaning supplies together and portable when moving from room to room.  They make a ton of different types, but I really Heart the dual purpose caddy and mop bucket combos.  Hey, anytime you get two anythings in one, it's great.  And although you could use anything from a shoebox to a plastic crate, these are definitely my top pick!


 Vacuum:

Vacuums are a pretty amazing and powerful machine.  And these days, they really keep your house cleaner than ever, with their built in HEPA filters and bagless technology.   And you may notice that a broom and dust pan aren't on my list of musts.  That's because I don't use one.  Ok, that's a small fib.  I do have a hand held set for super quick mess cleanup, however, I never touch my regular broom anymore.  In fact, because I vacuum every day, I know the dust is getting picked up, not just pushed around.  I use my vacuum in every room, including the bathroom.  And I will admit that we did splurge on the spendier Dyson, however, we purchases a re-furbished version a couple of years ago for half of the price of a new one, and when it arrived, it was packaged and appeared to be brand new, and we have never had a problem with it, which is great for me for how often it gets used!  And when a vacuum can actually exhaust air that has up to 150 times less mold and bacteria than the air I normally breath, it's virtually priceless.


Microfiber!
Microfiber is like a miracle material, that picks up dust and dirt particles like a charm, and comes in many forms from floor mops to sponges to rags.  Plus, it is washable, which means you can use it over and over and over for cleaning glass, dusting, washing bathrooms, whatever is clever.  Say goodbye to paper towels and disposable dusters, and hello to microfiber!


Air Purifier:


Seriously, who knew something like this could get me as giddy as it does?!  And who knew that with all of the cleaning that I do, that this thing does more?

Here are the amazing stats this little guys boasts:
*  The Winix PlasmaWave Air Cleaner Model 5300 features 3 stages of air cleaning to capture and neutralize a broad range of indoor pollutants quietly and efficiently. 
*  The HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size
*  The carbon pre-filter absorbs odors and VOC's (volatile organic chemicals)
*  The PlasmaWave plasma generator attacks airborne pollutants at the molecular level
*  A built-in air quality sensor provides "set-and-forget" operation by adjusting the fan speed automatically

No joke!  The air quality sensor works so well, anytime I spray cooking spray from the kitchen, hairspray in the bathroom or "all natural" cleaners anywhere in the homestead, the little fan on this clean air machine speeds up and gets right to work cleaning chemicals out of the air.  Plus, my dust build up as dropped significantly, I only have to dust once a week and it used to be a daily battle.  It takes a lot to impress me, but this did it!


Oh!  Mop!


As I mentioned in my post about moving more "green" in the kitchen, I also mentioned that I truly Heart the Method O-Mop.  Of course, any home should have a mop, but this mop rocks  because not only does the microfiber lock in dust and keep it there, it's also completely washable by just tossing it into our washer/dryer, and when it comes out, it looks like new again!  When I use this for total floor cleanups, I just fill my sink with some warm soapy water, and rinse the microfiber out a couple of times during the process {I have a lot of hard floors}, and although it's not 100% as easy as a mop and bucket, it does a good job and uses far less chemicals, cleaners and waste so I am OK with returning to the sink 3-4 times during the job.


Toilet Scrubber:

I am totally not into sticking my hands into the porcelain god, even with gloves on, which is why a toilet brush and caddy is an essential item for this gal!


Yep, simple as that.  Those are my favorite cleaning essentials.  Doesn't take much does it?  When you live in a smaller space, less is more!


And finally, if you house crashed me today, what would you find in my cleaning caddy's, at the sink and above the washer/dryer? 


Cleaning Products IHeart:

J.R. Watkins Natural All Purpose Cleaner:
I have recently become such a sucker to this stuff!  I find myself cleaning more than ever, just so I can smell it.  Yes, the smell is invigorating.  Imagine my excitement when I found out that it also comes in a lotion.  My hands have never felt better!



J.R. Watkins Lemon scented All Purpose Cleaner is what I use for my All Purpose cleanup jobs, even my glass.  It doesn't streak at all, making it a perfect candidate for my stainless steel, patio doors and counters.


Method Le Scrub Bathroom Cleaner:

This stuff is super great when I pair it with my grout brush, it's a naturally abrasive cleaner which makes it perfect for those tougher bathroom jobs.


Martha Stewart Dishwasher Detergent:
For the few times a week we run the ol' dishwasher, we use this stuff!  We have found that it works best for us, over any other all natural dish-washing agent we have come across to date.


Method Laundry Detergent:


This stuff is SO great!  Like, look at the size of the bottle?!  It packs a lot of punch, 4 pumps per load, and the first time we pumped those 4 little pumps into our detergent dispenser, we definitely wondered how our clothes will ever come out looking clean and smelling fresh.  But Method won't let you down, because they do come out looking and smelling wonderfully.  And the bottle uses far less waste than most laundry detergent bottles do, which makes this stuff just that much more fabulous to me!


Method Wood for Good:


Ok, so I tend to Heart Method a little bit.  I have been using it for years now, and am a little addicted.  And there is no exception when it comes to this wood cleaner.  Again, maybe it's the smell, but I can't help but want to clean my whole house over and over when I get this little bottle out.  And oh, how my wood glows!  You can just see it become invigorated every time the microfiber cloth and I give it a good wipe down with this Wood for Good.


Martha Stewart Carpet Cleaner:

  I was pretty excited when this product came out, because I was really struggling to find an all natural carpet cleaner, since most are very full of tons of harsh chemicals.  Not this stuff, can't even smell it, which is slightly weird, but hey, it's so much better than dying of fume overdose at such a young age.  And it works, and that's what really matters!



Method Lil' Bowl Blu:

 This stuff works great for keeping the throne as fresh as a throne can be.  Plus it's bleach free so it doesn't erode the enamel the way harsher cleaners and toilet bowl clings do.


So now that I spilled my spendy cleaning beans, as you may recall {since I have repeated this frequently in many different posts}, this year I want to "Spend Less", "Simplify", "Be Green" and "Learn".  And a lot of other things too, but those 4 things can all be put into a new plan for cleaning.

I have been hearing more and more great things about all natural cleaners that you can make right at home, for a HUGE fraction of the cost of all of those fancy pantsy cleaners {most I have listed above as my favs}.  So, a very sweet blog reader passed along a great recipe from Dr. Oz's website:

Mix together:
1 tbsp of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)
3 tbsps of white vinegar
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of dish soap
1 drop of essential oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional)

Pour it into a spray bottle you bought at the hardware store, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. For windows, use white vinegar wiped down with newspapers, and to disinfect toys and other kids’ products fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.

Bonus: Cleaning out harsh chemicals is not only better for your health, it’s good for the environment, because you drastically cut back on your plastic use by eliminating all those bottles of mildew cleaner, window washer, bathtub scrub, and more.
 
 
Sounds super easy right?  And if I can find a way to smell like Lemons, I will really be sold on it.  I figure by switching to this:

Spending Less:  The total cost of all of the supplies together could buy me 1-2 bottles of cleaner, however, these will probably make a whole year's worth!

Learn:  I will be learning to make something new and putting it to the test against my current favorite cleaners.

Simplify:  Sounds like this one recipe can clean up the whole house, meaning that less cleaners need to be purchased and lugged around, which sounds a lot more simple to me!

Go Green:  Not only is this mixture a homemade all natural recipe, it also will be made in a bottle that I can use over and over and over, vs buying new ones each time!

I also stumbled across this super awesome cleaning bottle, which of course I have to give a spin, which is full of other all natural homemade recipes to use for keeping the homestead clean:



So there you have it!  You made need to read all of this information overload in a couple of sessions, but hopefully that answers some of your questions on how I keep my home, feeling squeaky clean for the ones IHeart.

I will also make sure to keep you updated on the process of switching to the homemade cleaners, however, I will also be making sure to use up all the stuff I have as well, since I refuse to let it go to waste.

I received some great emails and comments on the "Going Green" in the kitchen post, anyone else wanna share their cleaning secrets with the rest of the blog readers, and myself?  Anyone out there as crazy obsessed with cleaning as I am, and if so, where does our cleaning cravings stem from?  I totally salivated to cleaners and soaps when I was preggers, weird right?  Of course I would never ingest anything harmful to myself or unborn child, but it must mean that I really am passionate about cleaning, or just really odd....




78 comments:

  1. Didn't you find your husband's wedding ring in the couch even?

    Do you get your kids to help with the cleaning? Tips on that?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Heather!

    We did find it in a sofa! And the scary part was that we had vacuumed under the cushions a ton of times but thank goodness it was inside the actual couch and safe from vacuum attachments!

    Great question about getting kids to help with cleaning... for the answer, check with Nanny 911... just kidding! Actually, I will see if I can get a post together about that sometime this month!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know I'm a little late commenting (I'm browsing backwards through all your posts, love your blog!!), but I LOVE me some baking soda and vinegar! I have a stainless sink and a few times a week I sprinkle baking soda in, spritz with vinegar and scrub. The sink is so shiny you'll need to break our your shades! I keep the baking soda in an old parmesan shaker so it's always handy for sparkle-fying or to help scrub pots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seriously been wondering what to do with my parmesan shaker since I got it as a gift several years ago (I don't want to ACTUALLY use it for parmesan bc it doesn't keep it very fresh!)... this is GENIUS!! Project ASAP for when I get home! Thanks for sharing :)

      Delete
    2. Ahaaaa!!!! good idea, I have one as well and I did not know what to use it for. Thanks for sharing!!!

      Delete
  4. Hi April!

    Thanks so much for passing on the tip! I am totally gonna give this a try! You rock!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely article!! Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Also late to the post....

    You can wash you shower curtain liner instead of tossing. It's true!!! I didn't believe it but my husband's shower curtain had been ignored for too long ( he uses the guest bath to let me get ready in peace). I was too lazy to go to the store. I figured if it got ruined he could use my bath for bit.

    Anyway, ran it thru a cold wash on "gentle" with a bath towel for scrubbing action, a smidge of detergent and splash of vinegar (to cut the scum). Voilà! Clean clean clean. I just hung to dry. Save some green while being green.

    ReplyDelete
  7. you mentioned something about getting the borax solution to smell like lemons - you can buy a small bottle of lemon essential oil or lemon extract and put a few drops in the mixture. Or you can put some cut lemons or lemon peel in the bottom of the bottle.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great pictures, will have to take pictures of my recent bathroom organizing project, I love organizing it brightens my psyche. Had to organize out of necessity, had knee surgery and arthritis flare couldn't bend down to get things out of cupboards in the bathroom, put everyday products on top of my counter and it looked messy. Went to Container store and bought organizers with handles, small lightweight ones that I could pick up, I put things in them that I use more often and placed them back in the cupboard, I also bought pretty colored organizers and put makeup in one, larger bottles in another, smaller tubes in another. Now when I leave the items on top of the counter the counter looks cleaner and I can put the things away when visitors come.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Heather,

    IHeart everything you have done I catch myself going to your site always, thank you for the ideas


    susanne

    ReplyDelete
  10. where did you get your wood sideboard? (as seen in the dust wood image) I'm looking for one exactly like that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous -

    The sideboard was originally from HomeDecorators.com, however, they don't stock it any longer... they may have similar versions however. I would also hunt on craigslist, you may find a good deal, I always hear of individuals finding buffets/sideboards on there... and I updated the hardware on ours which changed the whole piece so I would keep that in mind as well when on the hunt!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  12. This seems to be a great site which offers Professional Cleaning Company, Commercial Cleaning, High quality cleaning, Domestic Cleaning, House cleaning services, Cleaning company, Brisbane Cleaning, Lawn Mowing Services, Cleaning Prices, Commercial Cleaning Prices, Domestic cleaning Prices etc. and i would surely like to try their service...i had been relying on http://www.peoplepowercleaning.com earlier and they too offered good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love, love, love your blog and bought the Martha Stewart dishwasher detergent on your recommendation. Uh oh, it does not work so well with my dishwasher at all! I'd love to use more environmentally conscious products but I've gone back to my cascade gel paks. Other than that, super addicted to method products, sad they discontinued the rice milk and marshmallow clothes detergent. I was an omop gal as well until I got a steam mop for Christmas last year and now I only use that (which I try to tell myself cancels out the dishwasher detergent use, no?).

    Keep the great advice coming!
    Keltie

    ReplyDelete
  14. What would you use to spiffy up hardwood floors that aren't so spiffy? We just rented a house with hardwood flooring and I don't want to pay to refinish them. I've been told to use water and vinegar but really want to make them look nicer!

    ReplyDelete
  15. To Sara Miller:

    Try Bruce Hardwood Floor Cleaner (green bottle) from any home improvement store. No wax, no build up, just clean. We have been using it for 5 years now. We use a micro-fiber cloth/mop to put it on. You can purchase a micro-fiber cloth or mop. Don't skimp on quality. It makes a big difference to pay a little more. Not all micro-fiber cloths are created equally.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Anonymous! Thanks so much for responding to Sara, I am so behind on emails, and I don't have hardwood floors {only fakes}, so I am grateful for your answer!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  17. What program did you make that cleaning check off list in? I love the colors you used and could totally upgrade my shabby black and white list.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Amy - I use Microsoft Excel! Love it!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the bedspread in the picture for washing sheets & towels. I've been looking for something like it for a long time. Mind sharing where you got it? Thanks! Katie

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Katie!

    Here is the link to our bedspread: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/painterly-paisley-sheet-set/?pkey=e|paisley|26|best|0|1|24||3&group=1&sku=3037330&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

    Looks like it's selling out in anything other than a twin size...

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  21. WOW! Thank you for ALL the great tips.
    Also, I notice the gorgeous bunk beds for your boys... Where did you get them at?
    Thank you!
    Angie

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post! My fiance will think I'm a dork but I think I'm going to start doing this!

    Also it's totally true about fluffing the couch, it makes a huge difference!

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Angie,

    The bunk beds were originally from the Ashley Homestore. I believe they still carry the same style in new colors.

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love all your ideas, and your site is amazing. It really makes me want to get more organized. In what program do you make all your printables?

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Heather - Thank you! I use Microsoft Excel to create my printables.

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  26. Could you do a tutorial on excel?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I too would be interested in a tutorial on Excel. Do you have a recomendation on a book or something to learn how to use it to create the sheets like you do? Thank you so much for all of the great ideas and the free printables!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am a dork, but I have been wondering the best way to clean my tile shower and was excited to see this in your post (and am thrilled for all your help in this post, thank you!!), I clicked on your grout brush link, but it looks like it's no good any more. Do you mind telling me the brand it is? Or is any grout brush fine? (I didn't even know they made such a thing, wonderful!)

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Kimberly - I learned Microsoft Excel through using the "Help" button and by years and years of working with it at previous jobs. There may be great books, however, I don't know personally, you may have to google around for that answer. :)

    @Mary Lynn,
    Any grout brush should be fine, I have used a couple of different ones over the years and they all seem pretty same same to me!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This post is made of awesome! Thank you. I noticed you said that you made your printables in Excel. I will have to look into that because I don't have a clue and would like to make my daily and weekly routine look "cute" like yours, lol! I will look around for a tutorial, books, or whatever.

      My question is, once you make the printable chore chart, how do you get it onto your blog? I am so clueless when it comes to this kind of stuff. thanks!

      Delete
    2. Hi there!

      I copy and paste it into Photoshop to create an image file. I share the files using box.com. :)

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  30. on the top right of your page you have free printables. i wish your cleaning checklist was over there. i need it lol

    ReplyDelete
  31. I just found your site and I am so thankful for it! We just bought a house 4 months ago and it's double the size of our previous home. I have been overwhlemed on trying to come up with a cleaning list. I will be implementing it. Thank you so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love your checklist! I'm a checklist queen myself. There is something about seeing those checked off of my list that makes me want to sing! I am a fan of all natural cleaners myself. I have done tons of research on several different products especially Borax. I absoulutly would not recommend Borax detergent to anyone, or anything that has Borax in it. It is banned in Europe because of the chemical reactions it causes to children. (SCARY) In all my studying I discovered Melaleuca. 100% natural cleaning and everyday use products. Lets just say my kids are great cleaners because of Melaleuca now. My home smells like a spa all the time! I love it. Thank you for all these wonderful tips. I enjoy reading your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks so much! This post will help me a lot. I love your idea about getting the pretty gloves... I'm not a lover o cleaning so maybe that will help. I was wondering where you found that cleaning bottle with the print on it?

    Thanks!
    Trac

    ReplyDelete
  34. @Trac,

    You can find the bottle at Crate and Barrel and Target! :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  35. Rosemary essential oil is also good instead of the peppermint oil and it is antimicrobial so it makes it cleaner too!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks again! For your weekly cleaning do you have a particular day of the week you do each weekly thing? What about laundry?

    Thanks,
    Trac

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daily. I do tasks each day. Even laundry. The weekly tasks are also spread out throughout the week or done on the weekend, depending on my schedule.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  37. I use very few bought cleaning products. Straight vinegar is one of my favorites. FYI vinegar is a natural disinfectent. I put it in clear water to wash my floors.The water will pick up the dirt and the vinegar cuts any kind of oil, soap scum, and it disinfects. Wash your walls with vinegar and water. Cuts grease from cooking, leaves no resadue to attract dust and you don't have to rinse. For lime scale on faucets rap a paper towel around area and pour on vinegar and let set. When you remove no lime and it is bright and shiney. Soap scum is removed easily with cheap shampoo. Just pour a little on the rag and scrub a little and it is gone. One thing I use that isn't green is Purple power. I keep it on my kitchen sink in a spray bottle. I spray the bottom of my skillets at every wash, works great on the in and out side of those blue roasters. I have a stainless steel sink and spray after dishes to make sure all grease is gone and my sink shines. This is a car degreaser. You can get at Walmart $5 for a gallon. I mix 50/50 so I get 2 gallons for $5. Be careful around painted surfaces. I used it on my stove top and it did fine but on the top part of the stove it took off a little paint. A friend of mine told me about Purple Power and her husband and my other half have breathing problems and this dose not bother either of them. Just my way of cleaning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many great tips for the vinegar! I use it as my daily cleaning remedy now {I mix it with dishsoap, borax and water}, however, never knew how great it is for other things! Thanks so much!

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  38. What Dyson vacuum model do you have?
    Thanks,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie!

      We use the Dyson DC14 {an older model but still works great!}: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Dyson-DC14-All-Floors-Upright-Vacuum-Refurbished/1777830/product.html?cid=123620

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  39. holy crap, just found this blog... you are my new hero

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello! I just came to your blog from Modern Parents Messy Kids for the cleaning schedule. I went to your etsy shop and the cleaning schedule in this post isn't for sale there. Will it be again at some point? Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hey there, just wanted to drop you a quick thank you for this post. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  42. i'm in the middle of revamping my housekeeping/organizing schedule and had pinned your blog several weeks ago- so glad i came back to it! of course i had to see what kind of cleaning products you use because i noticed in a post where you like to be as green as possible! we started using melaleuca products 2 years ago and have been so happy with them and it has made me so much more aware of what i'm exposing my family to in our home!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I saw in one of your replies about hardwood floor that you only have "fake" wood... I'm guessing you mean laminate or pergo? If so, how do you keep yours clean? Mine were beautiful but now that my 3 year old races up and down them with toy cars, etc they look scratched and ugly. Any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I didnt read through all your comments but If you fill a bottle with lemon peels and then fill in all the spaces with vinegar and let it sit for a couple weeks, it will infuse the vinegar with lemon and its oils. use that in place of the plain vinegar in your cleaning solution recipe and there you have it! Lemon scented cleaner!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I love your blog... My dream is one day have my house as organized as yours. I try but have a teething toddler is not letting me do much, besides my husband travels often so he helps w the mess. LOL

    Anyways, I love your air purifier... where do you leave it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! We leave the air purifier tucked away next to our dining room buffet.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  46. I would LOVE it if you had a printable version of this post! :)

    Laurel

    ReplyDelete
  47. I really love this checklist. Would it be possible for you to send me the file? I want to add a couple of things to it, so that it matches up with my house/life. I look forward to hearing from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      You can find new versions of the cleaning checklist in my shop here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/72260342/personalized-cleaning-checklist

      Thanks!
      Jen

      Delete
  48. I wish my house looked like this! I just can get it all done working Monday to Friday 9:30-5:30

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love your ideas for cleaning. I had a question: Where do you find the checklist boxes in Excel? I have my own cleaning checklist and just made boxes out of the cells, but I like the checklist look. Thank you in advance for any help. :)
    Jessica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jessica!

      The boxes are actually just cells that I added a border to.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
    2. Ok, Thanks! That's what I did, but your sizes just look better. :)

      Delete
    3. You can also use the font: Windings 2 and press "shift" + 8 to make a box. Then change the font size to your liking. :)

      Delete
  50. I didn't read all of your comments, but I noticed in your cleaning routine that you never mention cleaning the vacuum itself. Perhaps this is some other part of your routine, but as much as you use your vacuum, I hope someone is taking the time every 2 weeks or so to remove any hair or fibers from the brush rollers, and to clean the filters (there's more than one), replacing the hepa filter every couple of months, minimum. Just makin' sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, I was totally going to mention this...

      Delete
  51. I recently found your blog and have been reading through your posts. You are amazing! Thanks for this and all your other posts :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. I found your blog about a month ago and I love it! I especially love that you live in good ol' Wisconsin too(we live just outside Milwaukee)! These are some great cleaning tips. I can't wait to start using these. I work full-time, am a mom to a 2 year old and my husband is a firefighter who works crazy hours. Thanks for such a great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Really an heart touching article… within these several products of IHeart…method wood for good I like the most…..

    ReplyDelete
  54. What a great blog :-) Pinterest led me to your side a few days ago und I love to read and get inspired. Today I searched for a list of chores to do regularly and here it ist. Thank you for this great article.

    ReplyDelete
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  59. Great post! Would you consider doing a "Cleaning 101" post discussing your methods for each cleaning task? Your house always looks sparkling clean! Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I just read this post and I'm wondering if you or your readers could recommend a good cleaner for wood floors AND tile?? I'm trying to cut back on my cleaning products. I have tried the vinegar/water but I can't get over the smell :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. Good advice... but I highly doubt your a working mom. Let's see you work over 40 hours a week and make your house smaller. What advice do you have to that?

    ReplyDelete
  62. I think the only things I would recommend would be proper washing of the dishwasher, washing machine, and garbage disposal. You can buy "Plink" capsules for your garbage disposal (or throw in a lemon wedge with vinegar and grind them for about a minute), and Affresh makes full-system cleaning packs for the dishwasher and washing machine. Since you have a front-loader, it is even more important to run some Affresh through there every few months and disinfect the boot seal to prevent mold. The manufacturer recommends a monthly cleaning, but we do it quarterly without any issues. Also, your dishwasher has filters! Some have more than one (one in the door and on the bottom under the turbine). If you've never taken that system apart to clean it, you might want to use gloves...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reminding me to clean the dishwasher filters, I had totally forgotten that the door seals collect so much grime and grease, good tip on the gloves!

      Delete

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