I save money a number of different ways by keeping a clean house. This may seem like "too much work" to some people or you may say it "takes too long", however I have not found that to be the case. True, I am a SAHM, but I do have other activities that keep me busy throughout the day, such as running a farm, and being a home schooling teaching mom. I find that I can clean our home in about 45 minutes a day. My children also take part in cleaning; as each is responsible for their own room and bathroom. They share laundry and kitchen chores. We don't buy fancy cleaners or air fresheners. We do a lot of our cleaning with lemon juice and salt, vinegar, baking soda, some bleach, and soap and water. For air freshener, we usually burn a candle or use a match. I will go through the typical home, room by room, and point out the ways that keeping it clean is saving us money.
I keep our entrances clean and free of clutter. First off, I don't want a guest (or anyone else) tripping over clutter and getting hurt or suing me. I keep a rug by each door for dirty or wet shoes to go onto. By encouraging people to take their shoes off at the door, it saves the life of the carpet and my carpet cleaner. I also make sure that once the shoes are cleaned and dried, that they then go into their proper closet.
I vacuum or sweep daily. I also vacuum the heat registers and cold exchange ducts weekly. This keeps dust out of the air and makes it easier for those with allergies so that they do not have to take their allergy medicine as often, making it last longer. It also helps the furnace not to work as hard so the motor will last longer.
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.
We keep a clean filter on our furnace and A/C unit. This prevents dust and dirt from being blown through out the house and also helps with allergies and to prevent sicknesses.
I stay on top of our laundry. I try to do a load daily. This way, we aren't buying more socks or underwear because it's all dirty . I can also have time to line dry it by doing a load a day. We use cloth napkins in our house at mealtime, and this also ensures they are always clean, so no one is using disposable ones. (The cloth napkins just go into the next load of laundry, regardless of the color).
You must stay organized in the office. If you don't, you misplace bills and get charged late fees. I keep all the office supplies in one area. I have found since I organized the office two years ago, that we have not had to buy any pens or pencils since. Any free ones we get from businesses or vendor shows go into the pen and pencil bin. I also keep our coupons organized in a bin in the office. We have a special file for warranty information. That keeps us from paying for repair calls that we may not need to.
Keep these areas clutter free! Put items, tools and toys back away when you are finished using them. This prevents garden hoses and toys from being lost, run over with the mower (causing you to buy new and pay for mower repairs). Why does my brother have 4 snow shovels? Because he keeps forgetting where he left them. Ours are hung on nails in the garage and barn. Our hoses are kept rolled up to prevent them from being run over, mowed over, frozen or chewed up by a dog. When we buy motor oil, or wiper fluid, it ALWAYS goes on the same shelf in the garage. If it isn't there, we know we are out. We are not buying more when there is a case of it laying all spread out in the barn, basement and garage. Tools need to be put back where they belong so they are not lost and needlessly replaced, or allowed to get rusty and broken. Make sure everything has its own home, and gets returned to it. Keeping tools picked up also prevents someone from having an accident, such a stepping on a pitchfork. Above all, stay organized. Always keep items in the same spot. That way you are not buying what you don't need.
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.
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These are all great ideas! I have found that if you have daily routine you always have a company ready house without all the effort of wasting a whole day off. Keeping clutter at bay also makes it easier to have a clean house and really does cut down on buying replacements, misplacing bills, etc.
Sounds good except for feeding the dog left overs! You are not saving money as it will result in sickness in the long run. Buy a good quality dog food and stick with it for a healthier canine companion!
I read this long thesis and immediately
had to take a nap.
Do you enjoy anything else? to wit: reading,
gardening, the theatre, the arts, fine dining
& cooking not to mention travel.
What kind of vitamins do you take? I need some of those extra energy ones!
I wish I had the time and energy to do all of that. I was able for a time frame to get my entire house organized and it was wonderful! I had more free time because everything was in its place and didn't have to be found. It is much easier to keep your home clean when it is organized. Since I have started working again things are in disarray again. I have three boys, work full-time and am a full-time nursing student.
My husband is home with the kids all weekend(this is when I work) so needless to say I feel like I clean all week for it to be destroyed on the weekend. I read a quote in a magazine recently that said "Trying to clean a house while kids are growing is like shoveling snow while it is snowing". That fits my home perfectly. How do I get boys to care and want to take pride in their home also. They are 14, 8, and 3.
I found your article extremely motivating and informative! I'm a divorced mom of 4 that works outside the home but you've given me the motivation to step it up a bit.! Thank you.
All I can say is ...WOW! You are my new hero, and I mean that. Sound advice, and I will TRY to slip alittle of it into my daily life. But I would be lying if I said that it would be possible for me to do that much in the time table that I have ( work 6 days a week, four kids , and a house that would take roughly a year to get ship shape). Again, Kudos, and bless you for being such an inspiration!!
We are not worthy, you are my frugal queen. Thank you for all the advice and about the storage of garbage you are right, I now how incentive to completely overhaul my home. Thank you.
For those of us who strive for organized homes, but seem to never have the time for it, we have Flylady.net. Go to this web site and check it out. This woman has inspired so many people to have the homes and lives that they have dreamed of. We can do it too! She will take you through "baby steps" to achieve amazing results. You will love her routines, the zones and yourself, for checking her out.
first of all ladies and gents out there in this big world just take 15 mins. and work on one thing. I put a fabric softener sheet in the trash cans before I put the bags in and it saves me alot of stink my dear husband smokes in the bathroom since I started this the trash can doesn't smell that bad. Also if you don't use it get rid of it. If you don't have time to really clear out stuff. Buy bins like shoe boxes and like put your mail in it that week and while watching tv go through it. Put stamps and some envelopes in there and a pen or calulator in their. My husband goes through ours on a saturday or sunday morning.
Wow! I wish I can be like you.
This is the way I have tried to live most of my life, maybe not to all the extremes, i.e....light bulbs, but I have tried. I can not stand clutter and chaos and a messy home. However, what do you do about this, my husband is the direct opposite...he keeps everything and just wants to "set" it around. He has 40 yr. old clothes, of course that don't fit, he keeps . It is truly a horrible situation when you are not on the same page with someone. Had I known this, I would have split with him before we married.
Also, I am older and when you get older you simply CAN NOT keep up this life style no matter how you want to, you just don't have the energy, it will drive you crazy...so be prepared to be able to have help to maintain your way of life. You are my kind of "clean queen"
WOW! I totally admire & envy Your energy! I really enjoyed reading Your tips & wish I had the stamina & will power to keep up on my home like that. I will try to raise the bar on my efforts - Thanks for inspiring me! & on top of all that You run a farm! What hard work! Mary
Dogs should never be given food for humans. If you cannot afford to buy quality dog food and to feed as directed by the packaging, then you can not afford to have a dog.
Wow - this is a wonderful essay and you inspired dramatic comments. You should be out on the lecture circuit with all those other great motivational speakers.
I am a little curious, though, to know whether you'd give it all up to work full-time outside the home if you had the opportunity. Sounds like you've found your niche and will stay with it. Good for you.
kelli...I don't always make top quality meals for my family does this mean I can't afford to have children or a husband ?
I wish I had your energy, this made me tired just reading it.(lol)seriously you are a great inspiration
Considering the dog was dumped on us, I'd say he is lucky to get any food. He also gets regular dog food as well. When he was dummped, we took him to the pound. But they were going to put him down, so we brought him back home. Yes he gets his shots and vet visits also.
As for kids, I started mine with keeping their rooms clean when they were little, with just a small area.
When they help dust, I make it interesting-by hiding quarters. If they don't dust it all, they don't find all the money. If they find it, they get to keep it.
Don't know how you do it; I was worn out by the time I finished reading what you do. I'm a frugal person but to go to that extreme it's just not in me. But I do admire your efforts.
I'm like "Rheaad"...do you enjoy anything other than cleaning? I refuse to spend the great portion of my day cleaning and organizing and I'm so frugal that my friends sometimes laugh at me but unlike them, I'm not in debt; I have everything I need and most of what I want and I sleep like a baby not having to worry about finances. And by the way, I live on Social Security.
Way to go, Mom! you rock! thanks for telling the truth!
WOW again. Thanks for the schedule. Gave me some good ideas I work part time but like previous persons plan to step it up and esp. get some declutering done.
I could be your clutter free sister. In my house, everything has a place and everything is in it. (most of the time). I have 16yr, 11yr and 3 month old boys, a husband, 2 cats and part time job, but I just dont feel "right" if my house isnt clean. It is so much easier to KEEP it clean then let it go crazy and have to start from scratch. I also agree with you about the home office. Having a desk with a file drawer is a wonderful thing. I also love to read, and cook. Frugalness is a necessity but I consider it a hobby too. I've amazed some people by suggesting things they never even thought about. And by the way, growing up, my mom would fix the dog breakfast everyday along with ours. French toast, whatever. She also got regular food (NOT premium) and lived to a ripe old age. My cats only eat walmart brand dry food. Keep up the good work with everything!
I'm wondering if your husband is supportive of your efforts. Is there time and energy left for joy and shared activities? I'm just happy being me....no Betty Crocker here and so far I haven't heard any complaints from the home front.
I hate clutter -- but it is so hard to get rid of. All my clutter turns into treasures when I go to throw it away, except the really awful stuff like Junk Mail and I hate those jobs.
I really do appreciate your tip about hanging curtains on different windows each time due to fading, etc. A terrific idea; never heard that tip before. Thanks.
That was a nice read. I really think I'm going crazy. I grew up in a very cluttered house, it was the most cluttered house I ever saw or any of my friends and extended family ever saw. My mother worked nonstop trying to keep it clean but the clutter was all my dad's doing, she couldn't stop him.
Anyway I graduated college a couple of years ago and just moved into my own apartment and have become an INSANE NEAT FREAK. I have a maid that comes in a couple times a month to do a very thorough cleaning and scrubbing of everything (I live alone). But every day I still clean a little on my own. I throw out garbage DAILY. I just keep a small can in my kitchen and use empty plastic grocery bags, every night I throw the bag in the garbage chute. If I come home and put a piece of paper down somewhere, it will be on my mind to pick it up and put it away or throw it away. I may be in bed and remember something that is "out of its place" and I get up and go put it there. I try to buy very few things, not because I'm cheap but because I don't want clutter in my apartment. I constantly do the dishes also, if there are dirty dishes in the sink I can't relax. This is all crazy for me because before having my own place I was a complete slob. I never cleaned once unless my parents forced me to help clean.
I make certain matrresses are sprayed with Lysol before putting on clean bedding and I use isopropyl rubbing alcohol and wipe down door knobs, light switches, handles, etc especially during the winter months and a little bleach is put in the dishwater. These easy steps keep us healthier and paying less to see a doctor.
I use baking soda, vinegar and water to clean out bathtub drains and sinks. Once bubbling activation begins, the hot water flushes down quickly through the pipes. Less money spent on plumbers too.
Our furnace filter is kept clean and changed frequently throughout the year. This too keeps dust at a minimal. Taking off shoes at the door saves the carpet and other floors from being cleaned as often.
I bake a lot more in the winter which helps to keep the house warm and the aroma is very nice. Also, making my own bread and other home made goodies is a real treat while waiting for springtime to arrive. I enjoy cooking more over a hot range in the winter than in the summer and I still find lots of time for working on my hobbies.
Used dryer sheets fit nicely on my Swiffer broom and also can be used for wiping cobwebs from walls.
Rooms in our home are closed that are not used often and that saves on the heating bill.
Will you adopt me?
WOW u r busy!!! I watch "How clean is your house" on BBC tv.That makes me feel better about my home.I do some of your tips like keeping closet doors shut but let's be real.Our homes r for living.I commend u if you're able to do all this & still enjoy life. I wish I had your energy!
I have lived life both ways. Very wealthy and not so wealthy. My professional husband never lifted a hand in the house. I worked full time, took the 2 children to the sitter's house and picked them up. She was a wonderful woman. I grocery shopped on Friday night,
Cleaned & did washing and ironing on the weekends. Helped them with their homework on weeknights. Also did the accounting for the business. After 14 years I was
totally exhausted and in depression. My dh attended the casino and blew it all plus picked out a new girlfriend on the side. Now my girls are all grown up and married and I get to spend my days in the craft room doing what I want to do. I like my house to be clean but not the way of a fanatic any more. Getting better by the day. Praise the Lord. Single for the rest of my days I did my utter best but it was never good enough. Learned a great lesson Don't fret the small stuff and believe me "It's all small stuff".
Your cleaning supplies sound like something I would be interested in making. How does it leave the house smell? How do you go about mixing up your cleaning 'stuff'?
I agree that a certain amount of cleaning is necessary to keep a household running smoothly, for sanitary and to make one's home a pleasant place. You give some great tips but I believe that a person must strike a balance between attention given to family, recreation, housekeeping, personal interests, etc. We all need to determine what our main goal in life is and prioritize the time and energy we give to each activity in order to live out that goal. This is not always easy to do. I find that prayer often gives me the inspiration I need to make those decisions. The really hard this, I find, is to make choices between many "good" things. Usually it comes down to what would benefit us and our loved ones in the long run.
Some of this I do, some I don't. (You have a lot of spunk!) But I do keep a decent house. I always think of my home being MY 5 star hotel. I am retired, a bit of a homebody, and like having my home to where I enjoy being here.
I have a clean comfortable bed. (I keep a padded cover over my mattress. I remove it and wash it every month.) I keep my kitchen clean and free of clutter, it is a lot more frugal and healthier to eat at home. I like my home clean and odor free. (OK, now I got to looking at my light bulbs. :-) They are dusty, gotta clean them off.)
I also have a dog. I buy her a good grade of pet food. But, I also feed her a little extra. A little gravy over her kibble, a dab of beef stew, etc. I do not feel that by doing this her health is in danger. She is happy and content.
To those people who say you should not feed a dog 'human food', I say there was no such thing as 'pet food' sixty years ago. Dogs ate leftovers and bones - cats were given butcher scraps and saucers of milk. Our happy, healthy dogs eat our scraps, supplemented with eggs, bones, oats and dry biscuits.
Yesterday, while I was in the middle of my 'good weekly clean', my daughter walked in and said "Shall we get the bus to Bristol ,Mum?"
Down went the sweeper. Down went the polish. Ten minutes later off we went. What will she remember when I'm dead - the laughs we had or the dust under the bed? If that makes me a scruff so be it! Either way , I'm 69, too old to change but to each her own. Thumbs up.
Marg from England.
I find it hard to believe this article. It is very idealistic.
This is not idealisti , it is how I clean and maintain my home by scheduling tasks done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. And yes, I spend roughly an hour per day cleaning, usually a quick pick up at morning and at night before bed, and doing small jobs or chunks of larger jobs. It is possible to keep your home clean and clutter free. I schedule the tasks so that I am not spending my weekend cleaning. I work full time and this is the only way I can manage to keep a clean and organized home.
My very first post. I know this is an older article. I do many of these things too. mom-from-missouri you are not alone. I keep my home immaculate but full of love. Once you start a cleaning routine and stick to it your tasks will go faster since you have practiced it so many times. It's just like anything else you practice you will get faster and better each time you do it. I have many hobbies. I am a bookworm, artist, music lover, gardener and love to decorate. I spend lots of quality time with my loved ones. My home is part of my family and I want to show her tons of love. Keeping her clean and well maintained is how I do that.
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