Monday, May 13, 2013

42 May Mini Challenge: Clean House!

Happy Monday!  How has your month of May been going?

Things around here have been a whirlwind this last couple of months, and some exciting things have had us shift our priorities and focus around the abode {nothing too crazy, just a few personal things}.  With that, I had to take a month off from the monthly challenges, but I am back this month with a mini-challenge that I am posing to myself, and thought that some of you may want to play along!



Did you know it was spring?  I live in Wisconsin so spring is juuuuust starting to make a presence, which has totally thrown me for a cleaning loop this year.  I have the hardest time getting motivated to do any of my "spring cleaning" if I can't even throw open my windows.  So, I wait.  And I wait.  And this year, I waited some more!  {Winter boots and hats were worn at baseball just yesterday!}

We have a pretty basic cleaning plan from day to day, week to week, however, there are those other things that get neglected throughout the year and are always in need of a little extra attention around spring time.  You know, like cleaning out the garage, wiping down all of our interior doors, touching up trim and picking up our backyard after the snow melts.  Some drawers need to be purged, items need to be sold and others need to be donated.  The things that are on my quarterly cleaning list, like cycle cleaning appliances, changing filters and batteries, etc... get some attention too.  Even the cars need a lot of scrubbing, winters around here are harsh and it's not too easy to clean out the cars in the snow.

I love this time of year because it motivates me to be ruthless with our house, give it a fresh eye and declutter, clean and get ready to enjoy the upcoming summer months!

Although I have been feeling busier than ever as of late, I know it shouldn't take long to knock a few cleaning tasks off the list.  So, I am posing a mini-challenge to myself.  I will take the final three weeks of May to get some things done around this place I call home.  Won't you join me?

Whether you are going to put together a cleaning caddy....


Implement a cleaning plan....


Or stock up and organize your cleaning arsenal....

{source}

I want to hear about it!  At the end of the month, I will host a fun link party, in which you can share your favorite cleaning tips, your cleaning routines, your favorite cleaning supplies, or even the craziest thing you found when doing your spring cleaning.  Anything goes, as long as it shows that you took on some sort of cleaning task.

Did you know dusting with dryer sheets repels dust for longer?  And that they are also great for removing buildup from glass?  Me either.  But you friends told me and I have a feeling I have a lot to learn, so I couldn't be more excited to have you link up your awesome-pants cleaning tips this month!



So where does one begin?

  1. The one big thing that helps me get our home whipped into sparkling shape, is my portable cleaning caddy.  I adore that I can easily transport my basics from room to room to quickly get tasks done.  Taking a few minutes to build a caddy will save you oodles of time down the road.
  2. My second tip is to devise a cleaning plan.  By doing simple tasks each day, you have less to focus on during the weekend or even during spring cleaning time.   Our cleaning plan also helps us to divide our tasks evenly throughout the family, so it doesn't feel like too much for any one person to take on.
  3. Stick to the basics.  How may specialty cleaners does one need?  A single all-purpose cleaner can take place of many of the individual ones.  Using 17 vacuums for different purposes?  Find a single one that can break apart to handle any task.  Even with cleaning, less can be more!
  4. Find inspiration.  Check out the www and your favorite magazines for ideas and products that work well for others.  Tips to get things done faster, products that work better, etc...
  5. Schedule it in!  Make time to get it done, whether it is 15 minutes per day or an hour on a weekend.  Ask for help watching the kids or get them involved to help with some of the simple household tasks.  Set a timer and race the clock.  The goal is to spend less time cleaning each day, and more time playing!
  6. Play music!  I can't help but blast through my chores with a smile on my face, when my favorite tunes are streaming out the stereo speakers.
  7. Light a candle, cut fresh fruit or simmer fresh herbs on the stove.  The aroma of things like lemon, lilac, vanilla and rosemary can invigorate your cleaning senses!
  8. Embrace it!  I like to wear a pretty apron and gloves when I clean, it doesn't make it feel like such a chore.
  9. Reward yourself!  Set some simple goals and work towards them.  Select a reward to keep you inspired to get through your list {if the thought of a shiny happy home isn't enough}, ice cream is a great motivator!
  10. Share it!  Blog about your cleaning tasks, tips and favorite products and share them with the world!  You have just accomplished something, you should be proud!  At the end of the month, we will link up all of our tips and share the ideas and inspiration with the IHeart Organizing community!



This month I am going to do a follow-up post on our greener cleaners, answer one of your most frequently asked cleaning/organizing questions and hopefully check a few extra cleaning tasks off our ol' to do list!  But cleaning is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with, so I hope you will join in on the clean house challenge!

So who is excited to tackle a cleaning project or two with me?  What other cleaning tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any products or systems that are working wonders for you?




42 comments:

  1. I didn't even make it through the whole post. I made it as far as WI and had to comment. I didn't realize you lived in WI! I live in WI too and always get excited to meet fellow WI bloggers (Balancing Home). We are SE WI, what part of the state are you?

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    1. We are just outside of the twin cities. I love Wisconsin in the summer, but man the winters are getting long!

      Nice to "meet" you! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Yes, the winters do get long. For a second there, I didn't think it would ever end. I know parts of WI saw snow in May!

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  2. Oh goodness, I'm the worst about cleaning! I only really do it when the mood strikes, so I'll be joining up with this challenge kicking and screaming :). Maybe seeing everyone's tips and strategies will help me get going!

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  3. Oh wow I have so much that I want to achieve in my house in May.

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  4. Oh Jen, I am glad spring is finally hitting our parts. It was nippy out yesterday for sure. Pretty bad to have to put on a winter coat!!! I have made a small dent in my cleaning... operative word being "small". I cleaned out the cabinets, pantry and fridge/freezer. I organized our storage room, which needs a slight tweaking, I see. And, I cleaned the laundry room. But that is as far as I got. I too need to open windows. I am waiting for these crazy winds to die down so I can also varnish some windows that we replaced.

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  5. I love the idea of a cleaning plan, our house is a bit of a work in progress and I don't know if I'm coming or going most days, so having a sheet would be really helpful. Xx

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  6. We have relatives from both sides of the family coming in two weeks, so I've got the same goal with a shorter time span! AAAHH!! I have a hard time getting motivated to clean, but I do LOVE a clean house, soooo....I better get to it! I'll be checking in to see what tips/ideas are in store from you and the comments. I'll need all the motivation I can get.

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  7. Quick question...How do you keep your house in order and so organize with 3 boys? I have 4 kids 7,5,3, 18 months (2 girls & 2 boys) and I will clean the house and they always destroy it. I am trying to teach them to be organize but its not working, they are constantly making a mess and I am always telling them to put things back. Do you think they will ever get it? Thanks for all your tips and advice, i've done a lot of your projects already sometimes twice because my 18 month old destroyed it.

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    1. I'm right there with you. I think Jen's kids are a little older and already "trained". Lucky-ducky. Mine are 6,4, and 13 months and it's the LITTLE one that seeks and destroys! The older two will clean their room and then the "baby" will come and mess everything up, killing their motivation to do it again.

      Any tips for those of us with YOUNG kids would be appreciated. And YES, I am trying to train them. I think I may need to start a reward system!

      BTW: I'm ready to start #1, put together a cleaning caddy, WHOO-HOO!

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    2. Great questions! I am hoping to address how we work together as a family with our cleaning this month, which includes our kiddos!

      You are right, my boys are older and very helpful. Yes, it wasn't always that way and they did the same things when they were super little, pulling things down, dumping things out. The only thing I can say to that is see if you can get them to get equally as excited about putting the items back into the baskets or onto the shelves, celebrate the picking up process and have them help pick up the items they are taking out. Easier said than done, but even at that age there are little things they can do to be helpful and to learn.

      More to come!

      xo,
      Jen

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  8. I am wanting a new cleaning caddy and like the one you have pictured. Is that yours? Where did you get it? I don't have a blog so I'll share with you now... I'm a cleaning fanatic and like to make a lot of my own natural products. My sister gave me a great little book called "The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing" by Michael De Jong. It is written by a former housekeeper who got tired of breathing all of the fumes from products. There are recipes on how to clean anything and all the recipes only draw from 5 ingredients: baking soda, borax, lemon, salt, and white vinegar. Great tips in it!

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    Replies
    1. Ooh! Thank you, I'll have to check out that book...isn't borax dangerous?

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    2. Hi Whitney!

      I found either last year or the year prior, at Target in their spring outdoor section {it's meant to be a cutlery caddy}.

      I love it and found it is just the right size and keeps things nice and neat. I believe Target has some new caddies out this year that are similar in shape and size.

      Thanks for sharing your tips!

      xo,
      Jen

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  9. Yay! Love your challenges :) One thing that I try and do religiously is one load of laundry a day, start to finish. When I get home at night from work I throw a load in the washer, do dinner, clean up, throw the clothes in the dryer, and by the time I get my kiddo to bed they're ready to fold and put away. We may not have 7 full loads a week, so it leaves one or two nights laundry-free :) Plus, it keeps it from piling up.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we try to do the same! If we don't, it's amazing how fast it can pile up!

      xo,
      Jen

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  10. Love your inspirational attitude, Jen. You somehow manage to make even cleaning sound fun! :)

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    1. Haha, thanks! I do what I can. :) But I am also the odd duck that sort of enjoys cleaning...

      xo,
      Jen

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  11. I like your caddy, too. The compartments are nice- the last time I tried a caddy, it was separated into two big compartments and everything slid into each other and junk seemed to get tossed into it. My husband is on graveyard shift and the computer is in our bedroom so my blog is stalled out, so I'll share a tip now. In the search for a "perfect" vacuum (we have no carpet or this wouldn't work)that gets everywhere, doesn't cost a fortune in bags or filters or just to buy, works with small or large families (read:lego's, barbie bits, star wars bits, etc) I have come to love our shop vac! Easy to use, has attachments, can suck up bigger things without lots of pre-sweeping and easy to dig through the canister to rescue the toys.

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  12. OH I love this challenge! I need to get motivated and open my windows too! I always try and purge as well in the month of May, so this is a great focus. I will purge, clean, purge, clean.... :)

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  13. Perfect timing!! Even though I live in the south and it's now in the high 70's, I've put off spring cleaning. This is just the inspiration I need!

    ~Megan

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  14. excited to join in on the cleaning fun ... although spring is over in my part of the woods. It hit 100 degrees today. Hello summer!!

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    1. Wow, send some of that warmth our way! We still have our furnace on here! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  15. Great post! A friend of mine has a great tip. She sets a timer for 5mins and get as much done as she can. Once the timer finishes she sets it again and reads a few pages of a book and continue this processes until she is finished her jobs. By setting the timer for 5min lots it allows her to reward herself for the 5mins of cleaning with reading a book!

    Melissa

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    1. Love that! It's such a good idea to find what motivates you when doing chores! Sounds like she figured it out! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. I am going to try that right now. 5 minutes of chores 5 minutes of blog reading. :-)

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  16. Great ideas! It helps to have a plan and break up the list into smaller projects. I like set a few tasks for each week. =) I love to light candles after I clean a room. =)

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  17. Great challenge- exactly what I am doing now that I have sold the house and am purging and packing.
    Here's a question for you... What kind of vacuum? I have a Kirby, but it is HEAVY and the attachments take forever to change out. What is a good vac for carpets, bare floors, and has quick on-board attachments that can get into crevices or swipe the ceiling fan quick as a wink?

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    Replies
    1. Congrats on selling your house!

      We use the Dyson slim for majority of our vacuuming. We purchased a refubished Dyson vacuum years ago and it is still going strong, but we only have carpet in a few spots in our home now, so the Dyson slim has been fabulous for the hard floors, stairs, trim, ceiling corners, bathrooms, couch, cabinet faces, etc... it's essentially replaced our broom and is light enough that the kids can even use it. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Definitely agree that Dyson make great vacuum cleaners. The best thing is you can see exactly how filthy your floors are by the amount of dust and hair that gets sucked up. Even if your floors look clean. And the very best thing of all about them is that you do not have to buy vacuum cleaners bag. What a waste - money, resources, time to buy them etc. I would only ever buy a bagless vacuum cleaner again. Although I do actually call them hoovers. I like to use a broom when I can - saves electricity.

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  18. I have no idea what dryer sheets are, sound like something you put in a clothes dryer, but I don't have one of those either as I just hang my washing on the line outside. Sounds as if you have to buy dryer sheets too, which is surely a waste of money. I just use old rags from old clothes and wash them so I can reuse them. I hate cleaning, it is just totally boring but you make it seem quite inspirational so have fun!

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  19. I live in a 950 square foot cottage. And not alone. While by no means a hoarder, I am still on a mission to declutter the heck out of this place, and clean it top to bottom. This challenge is exactly what I needed to motivate this mama! xx, Kate

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  20. Norwex, Norwex, Norwex! I started buying Norwex cleaning products about a year ago and they are amazing! With twin boys, age 2, my favorite are the window washing cloths...they get rid of all the smudges and finger prints using only water!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I have heard great things about Norwex.

      xo!
      Jen

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  21. I'm with you...finally nice enough to motivate me to clean! I have always intended to do daily/weekly/monthly chores but never have gotten into a great routine. With six kids and daycare hours it's tough, but I need to do something to get it all under control! Thanks for the motivation! ;)

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  22. It's awesome that you are doing this for the rest of May! At my blog Mommy, In Demand we are dedicating the month to Spring Cleaning also! It's been a lot of fun. Here are the links to 2 of my favorite posts so far: http://mommyindemand.blogspot.com/2013/05/spring-cleaning-challenge.html and http://mommyindemand.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-to-clean-glass-top-stove.html

    Maybe you can find something on there you can use! Happy Spring Cleaning!!!

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  23. I'm in, Jen! My house and yard need a bit of attention after this winter! We live in SE WI, so I just love keeping up with you each day and *trying* to get organized:) And, I was freezing my bum off last night at my son's baseball practice, as well! I can't wait to put away the winter gear for good! Today is nice, though...time to finally plant some flowers! :)

    Thanks so much for taking the time to blog...I <3 it!

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  24. I'm so excited for your upcoming challenge. I am just starting a blog and one of my first posts is going to be about organizing my closet. I guess I better get started!!! Thanks for having such an amazing blog!

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  25. I am definitely going to join you in this challenge. I have been interning for the past 4 months... so almost no cleaning has gotten done around the house. Much cleaning is needing to be done!

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  26. I'm excited about this challenge as I have deemed 2013 my year to SIMPLIFY. We have been in our house for 15 years and I've done very little purging. We are now empty nesters...but not all of the "stuff" went with the kids...imagine that.

    My goal was to have all of this done by May, but I'm finding it will be fall before I get through the entire house. Of course I'm doing more than just purging or cleaning, I'm repainting cabinets, trim and walls, installing new floors and replacing wallpaper as I go. I'm working on a schedule so that each month I tackle (and complete) at least two rooms.

    So far the three bathrooms and my master closet are almost done...wish I'd taken "before" pictures of the cabinets as I have tried to use as many of your organizing tips as possible. They look great now, but you can't see how bad they really were.

    Thanks for the challenges..by the way I'm up to 27 bags on my 40 bags in 40 days...just not all done in 40 days. Instead of just "throwing out" what I no longer need I'm going in with friends to do a multi-family garage sale...a bit more eco-friendly...and maybe profitable too. What's left I'll donate to a local women's shelter thrift store.

    I have found a great iPhone app for creating a monthly cleaning plan. It is called Home Routines and it lets you set up Cleaning Zones with specific tasks and assign them to weeks. Each month it automatically updates the weeks/zones to that month.

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  27. I'm just gearing up for a major deep cleaning. Grandparents coming in two weeks and I've got to give the house a head to toe.

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