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The best thing I have ever done is move back in with my mother. For six months, while my family was between houses, we moved back in with my parents. During this time, I observed how my mother, a wonderful housekeeper, kept her house so spotless.
She only works at 20 minutes intervals. For example, after supper, she would put the dishes in the sink and clean off the stove. Then she would take a break. Later, she would go back and rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Then, she would take another break. Later, she would go put some laundry in.
I have taken my mother's unspoken advice and have found household chores not to be so daunting now.
By BarwickJ from Ottumwa, IA
I find it is much easier to clean when I start at one end of the room and work my way around in a circle. For example, in my living room I sprinkle baking soda or carpet freshener on the floor so it can sit and deodorize while I clean. Then I start in the left corner and go clockwise around the room, dusting, putting things away, sorting coupons and newspapers, tossing garbage, refreshing fabrics, plumping pillows, and when I get back to where I started, the whole room is fresh and organized and all I have left is to vacuum. It is fast, easy, and it also gives the carpet freshener a good chance to really get the odors out.
By ragingdarkwaters from Lakewood, OH
Ever need rubber gloves, but can't find a pair without holes? I used to buy the yellow ones that came one pair to a package, but they were always wearing out and were either too large or too small and pretty expensive. I had a pair for the kitchen, bathroom and for outdoors. OK, you can replace an old left glove with a new left glove etc. but that can be pretty pricey in the end.
One day I went to the beauty supply and saw they had a box of 250 latex gloves suited for either hand on sale for $5.00. I found that these gloves are pretty tough and would last for a couple of uses. When they got a hole, or wore out I could just recycle them and not add to the landfill. They fit perfectly with a snap and have so many uses! You can even use them to dye your hair!
Your local beauty supply has so much to offer. Squirt bottles, gloves, plastic containers, scrubby things, etc. Go investigate!
By Sue123 from Oroville, CA
How to fake clean a house (or what to do when your house is a wreck and company is coming in 15 minutes).
Family Room: Stack books and magazines in neat piles or place in a decorative basket. Drape a blanket over the sofa to create an inviting atmosphere. Arrange throw pillows to hide stains. Toss scattered toys into a tub or basket
Kitchen: Declutter refrigerator by removing notes, drawings, etc and placing in a shoe box (sort at a later date). Refold kitchen towels with the clean side out. Boil cinnamon and orange peels to cover food smells
Bathroom: Use a lint roller to pickup hair. Hang fresh towels. Use your robe to cover the damp towels on the back of the door. Gather counter clutter (cosmetics, etc) into a stylish basket. Light a candle
Remember: Your friends came to see you, not your house!
Source: Kentucky Monthy, December 2009 issue.
By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY
You only need a few basic cleaning supplies to perform all of your household cleaning tasks. All purpose cleaners save money and eliminate clutter caused by an over abundance of specialized products. You can store basic cleaning supplies in a basket with a handle to keep your cabinet more organized. When it's time for a quick clean or a thorough weekly cleaning, you can grab the basket and carry it with you from room to room. This saves time and eliminates the aggravation of having to search for cleaning products and supplies.
By VeronicaHB from Asheboro, NC
If you need to be kneeling down, but don't have a pad for your knees, take two large safety pins and two large sponges and pin one sponge to the knees of your pants.
By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO
For odd jobs, to remind yourself the specific jobs that need done, try this idea. Make "tool kits". Put all the items you need for a task into a bin or bucket and label it. Make a "garden" kit, an "oil change" kit, a "dog wash" kit, etc.
Instead of spring and fall cleaning, which overwhelms me and doesn't get done, I'm working my way through the house with one cleaning project per day.
I tried using SPF 30 sunscreen to get black marker pen out of my white leather sofa and it did not work! I also tried nail polish remover which stripped the leather and ruined my sofa. Do not assume that this will work!
Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean during that period ONLY. When the timer goes off, you're done for the night. It's amazing what you can get done when you're focused by the tick of the timer.
I color code my sponges. For example: yellow is for the toilet, green is for the sink, etc. The sponges last longer because you know what it is being used for. And you can plan accordingly.
When cleaning, apply your cleanser to the surface and let it sit while you work on something else and give the cleaner time to work and you will have to use a lot less elbow grease to get your cleaning done.
Do yourself and your senses a favor by opening up windows when you use caustic cleaners. Opening up various windows and doors will help air circulate throughout the house and help freshen everything.
Get a small steamer used for cleaning. Use the jet tip and when cleaning the bathroom it shoots a strong jet of steam and makes quick work of any and all corners.
I have one rule for food leaving the kitchen. It must be on a tray. For this reason, I never get spills on my carpet or furniture.
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I live alone and have run into a tornado of a mess. I am beginning treatments and possible extensive back surgery. I am not able to tackle the mess I keep turning over and over to find anything. I am so frustrated and can't stand and work for over 30 to 45 minutes. Can you help me with a plan I can foresee?
You shouldn't necessarily have to stand as long as you say to do a lot of things. I am unable to stand for more than five-ten minutes at a time if that. When I go through things I take several things to the table, a chair, or my bed, depending on the room I'm working in and sit while I sort through things. I also always have a garbage bag nearby that I can toss things in. I still have a mess but that is because I have too many ideas roaming around in my head.
I have arthritis that is now bone on bone. I cannot stand for very long either. I have an office chair at my desk. When time for sweeping, mopping or vacuuming... I roll around in my chair. If the bedroom needs a big cleaning then I just roll the chair back there. I use stools for cooking or doing dishes. Hope this helps.
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In a pinch, use a baby wipe to do a quick cleanup of a whole bathroom. Makes everything smell baby fresh, too.
On faucets, follow with a dry washcloth to shine up the chrome. (05/18/2009)