By Gem from VA
By Ellen Brown
Weekly (or more often if we use the fireplace), I wipe down the light bulbs with a damp rag, while the light bulbs are cold. Dusty lights do not put out as much light, which makes a person unnecessarily use a higher watt bulb, or turn on more lights than necessary. I also clean the globes on the ceiling light fixtures every month or more often. It only takes a couple of minutes for nice bright results.
I hit the windows once a week on the inside with a vinegar and water solution. The outside I get about once a month. I do have newer windows and I can get the outside from the inside. This allows more light into the house, keeping the lights off.
I wipe down the TV screen and electronics every few days. This keeps dirt and dust from collecting on them and making them last longer.
Once a day, I take a rag damp with vinegar water or bleach water (diluted) and wipe surfaces down to help prevent the passing on of germs. These surfaces include the remote controls, telephones, door and cabinet knobs. It only takes me about 5 minutes to do the entire house.
I don't like clutter in the house. I have been in houses where it is cold, and I see that they have boxes and stuff stacked up over the heat registers. I make sure ours are uncovered while the A/C or heat are on. I also make sure that clutter or shoes do not block doorways. This ensures that doors can be completely shut. I keep our closet doors closed so that we are not paying to heat or cool the inside of the closet.
Twice a year, I rotate and flip the mattresses and then vacuum them. This extends the life of the mattress. If you have a larger/heavier person in your home, you would probably want to flip and rotate them more often.
I wash the curtains every few months and rehang them in the opposite window. This allows them to sun fade more evenly and be replaced less often. I just throw them in with the regular laundry and line dry.
Declutter! Turn unwanted items into cash. Sell them; get them out of the way. If it's trash, then put it out with the trash. Otherwise, you are basically storing garbage, paying yourself to heat and cool it, and to clean around it. Also, you can donate items and get a receipt for your taxes.
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
Please share any tips that you may have that can make housekeeping easy and ways to have the house always company ready.
By Donna215 from Glendale, NY
My number one housekeeping tip is to have a place for everything, and to put everything back in its place as soon as you are finished with it.
The one and only thing I don't put back immediately is the iron-that goes on top of the stove until it cools completely. Letting it cool atop the range means people see something on the stove and instinctively think HOT, plus, I have to put it away to cook. Win-Win:)
If you make a habit of putting things away every time, you're ahead of the game because the house stays tidy all the time.
How do I keep my house clean and tidy? I work like a slave every day, still the kids are not helping the matter at all.
By Martina from Jacksonville, FL
Having raised four kids and knowing the sheer number of excess toys their kids have, I'd subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy. If the kids aren't swamped in dozens of toys, not only will your home automatically be neater, they'll appreciate what they have. Giving away their older, gently-used toys will make some poorer child very happy. Thrift shops of all stripes are more than glad to process them, and of course there's always the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.
I'm also an advocate of turning cleaning into a game, a la Mary Poppins (without the magic, of course, lol!) Poor as we always were, I never could make the "chore chart" work for my brood. Simply put, I lacked the means for those cash incentives.
I'm a young mom of two toddlers. One is 3 yrs old and the other is 17 months. I find I am constantly picking up after them, it's kinda overwhelming. And also at the end of the day I am tired and don't wanna do much cleaning after they go to bed. I am the type of person that needs 8- 9 hrs a night.
One of the ideas I have come up with is to put them in their bedroom with a baby gate and sweep and mop the floor for 30 minutes. And just play with them in the bedroom until the floor dries. What are some of your ideas to keep your house clean with your kids, babies, etc.?
By Krystal from Kenora, Ontario
Thanks so much for your feedback! I find that these ideas can be very useful to me. :)
My wife and I are want to start a housekeeping/companion business of our own. For considering rates is there a difference between housekeeping Vs. housecleaning?
By James T.
When I hear "housecleaning," I think of a person who comes in and does a thorough job of cleaning out a house... getting rid of the deep grime and junk, deep-cleaning carpets, washing walls and windows, getting into the closets and under beds, etcetera... really CLEANING that house. Sort of a one time thing to get a house that has slipped behind back into shape and ready for daily maintenance tasks. An expensive, dirty, lengthy, thorough job.
When I hear "housekeeping," I picture someone who comes into an already fairly clean house and does small maintenance tasks like laundry, dishes, dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, etc. The sorts of things which most people just do from day to day. In other words, keeping the house clean.
If you are offering both of these sorts of services, be sure to outline in your policies what each one is and is not. You don't want to come into a home expecting to just dust and sweep but discover that first you will have to scrape up filth and throw out mounds of garbage! And on the other hand you wouldn't want to over-charge someone for simple light dusting.
Be sure the customer knows what the price will be for deep cleaning versus "light housekeeping." You might want to visit first to get an estimate of the job, or charge more for your first visit but after that charge less because it will just be upkeep.
If this is in conjunction with a companion or sitting service, the usual form is doing "housekeeping" in the form of small tasks, sometimes including cooking meals (my mother used to do this sort of work). If the customer expects more (clean out my fridge and de-clutter my closets), charge more accordingly. But be sure that both parties know what to expect for your service so no one feels cheated.
By Tracy Elaine
Don't have dogs or cats in the house (like I do), especially shedding ones (like I do, a Cocker spaniel). They also track dirt into the house and leave fur/hair everywhere in the house.
Electric forced air furnaces blow the dust in your home around, whereas radiant heat and baseboards do not. A girlfriend just moved into a newer home. She is now complaining about having to dust all the time. If you do have a forced air furnace in your home, get the duct work cleaned out once in a while.
Do not do any renovations to your home that requires drywall, like we did. It makes lots of dust when installing and priming with paint. The sanding down of the walls, lots of dust again.
Do not open your windows in the home. The wind will blow dust into your home and you will have to dust more often. This just isn't done in my home. I like fresh air.
Do not place bird feeders at the front door like I have. Now I also have sunflower shells coming into the house, tracked in by the kids, husband, dog and myself.
Teenagers/kids and their friends can also create quite a mess. Make your teenager/kids clean up their own mess after the "party". Don't you do it for them.
Do not be a collector of anything. The more stuff you have, the more things to take care of and clean. This is not happening here in my home either, I love collecting perennials (more to clean in the garden). I collect or have many crafting hobbies, more stuff, and I love reading, more books.
I remember way back to life in our first apartment just after we got married, no extra stuff, no kids, no pets, lived in town, no birds, gone to work all day (no one home to mess up the place). Boring, would much rather have what I have now, with all it's work and cleaning up to do!!
I even have a day to clean the car in there. But if for whatever reason I am unable to do a certain day's cleaning I don't worry about it. I just skip it and move on the next day. Unless that room is extremely messy and it's not one I can just close the door on, in that case I just add it to the next day and just do a "lick and a promise" so I'm not embarrassed about it. Then the following week I make up for it. This schedule has made my life so much simpler and I have so much more time now to enjoy the day. (04/28/2009)