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Looking back on last year and housework. Don't you wish you could make a new plan to keep things organized and the washing caught up? Trust me, it is possible! I'd like to suggest a few tips to frustrated and overwhelmed homemakers that I've used for many years. I've passed them down to my daughter and sons as well. Fortunately, my daughter picked up on it! As for the sons, well, they're still struggling but I figure one out of three ain't bad!
First, use the month of January to reorganize. Unfortunately, to do this you'll need to invest in storage products. After the Holidays, there are a lot of plastic crates, etc on sale. It doesn't matter if it's red and green or a holiday design, who cares! Go through one a closet at a time. To attempt more than one at a time gets you feeling overwhelmed, so keep it down to one.
My second suggestion is to form new habits concerning dish washing and laundry. Try this for a week or so and you'll make it a practice. If you're fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, do not go to bed without loading it. If you hand wash, use the same practice. Same with laundry, once you make one big laundry "catch-up day", make a practice to wash the days clothes before bedtime. If you do this; you can keep yourself caught up.
Now I want you to know, I'm not SUZY HOMEMAKER, by any means, but I raised three kids using this method. A piled up house and laundry room makes for a frustrated Mom. And you know the old saying "If Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Speaking of happy, Happy New Year!
By Sharon from Ravenna, KY
When I see a smudge or dirty spot, I clean the area right away. If I see something that needs dusting, I dust it. Once a week, I dust the entire house. The bathroom gets used the most, so on a daily basis I wipe this or that and it is clean and kept clean. It only takes a few minutes and when cleaning day arrives I don't have to work as hard.
By Gem from VA
So, a lot of people talk about "I have a friend" which really means them. But this isn't the case. I do have a friend whose habits have now gone beyond what I can tolerate and I just have to put my frustration into words and perhaps help others.
My friend inherited money from her father's estate. At the age of 65 and in poor health, you would think she would and could be a bit more conservative. But in the last six months she has spent $70.00 on a pair of house slippers, 13K on a bathtub, and I bet she has 5K in jewelry. Please remember these numbers when the crux of this submission becomes clear.
The real reason these numbers frustrate me is that she has just convinced her church ladies that she can't take care of her house work anymore and they have offered to come over and take care of it. For free. And she is going to let them.
Now I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I can remember during my whole life that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It's something I live by. I also love "a place for everything and everything in its place". I hate not being able to find things so I am almost anal about putting things back. I never leave my house dirty because frankly, I don't know if I will be back. After working for hospice and the state police, I have seen what happens when your level of procrastination is at Defcon 1.
When she gets the mail, it piles up on the tables till it's falling over. There's no such thing as recycling right then. She leaves the mess for me to do if I want to sit and have coffee, much less a meal. It is nothing for me to come over to watch her dog and see the same bowl of moldy peas on the table for 3 weeks. A table she walks by every single day on the way to the kitchen.
Her TV chair is the central hub of the house, and whatever she eats stays there, within arm's reach, for weeks. Once, while she was gone on a trip, I sat things that needed to go into her room by the door. Seven months later, it was all still there.
She didn't get around to filing her taxes one year and, for the next 9 months, she had to pay double for her medical insurance because it was deemed she had more money; and her stress was high when it didn't have to be. Once she had a meltdown on the phone to the poor girl at the insurance company when none of it would have happened had she just filed her taxes.
I lived with her for seven months, until I could move just three blocks away so I could still help. But it got so bad, I told her I wouldn't clean her house anymore. It was tough love but I had to do it. I didn't have time for a life of my own because I was trying to train her to take care of her own. Now she has figured out a way to not do it herself. Again.
So, she's wasting other people's time and generosity of spirit. She's wasting more money because she doesn't have to spend any on housekeeping services, and she would rather donate to the local radio station than the food bank. She is wasting energy and resources because she is asking others to spend electricity and water on huge messes that take hours when she could do little things every day to prevent them. It's gotten to the point where I don't even want to go over anymore. And that makes me sad and mad at the same time.
I guess if I had a point to make in all this it is that if you are the kind of person who has respect for yourself, your home, and your family and friends, feel very good about that. If you see yourself in anything I have written, please forgive me but it's never too late to change. If you know someone with these issues, tell them how you feel. It's not mentally healthy or safe to live in a house that you wouldn't invite anyone over and if you did, they would tell you they were busy.
If you try to wait to clean, you shouldn't. Just get it out of the way so you can hang out with friends and family. Also, don't yell at your kids if they don't want to clean, because you remember being a kid don't you?
The best way I have found to ensure a spotless house is to go though it with a digital camera in hand, snapping pics.
There are many money saving advantages to keeping a clean house from energy efficiency to reducing wear and tear on mattresses and electronics. This is a guide about how I save money by keeping a clean house.
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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
I would begin training the three year old to learn to pick up after themselves and put their toys away. Children love to flit from one toy to another and then leave it. Let each one have a couple of toys out at a time and then see the oldest child puts the toys up before getting out something else or trade it for another. This is the only way I know you will get some rest and make your day of work lighter. The youngest will learn from the older child by observation and do the same when it's older or catches on to the task expected.
This is a creative, instructive and often successful idea that works with many toddlers and can be more specifically defined as the kids get older. Your three year old should be able to "get it" and with any luck, the 17 month old may decide to follow suit, at least for a few minutes. :)
Have a "Five Minute Pick up Party" at least once a day. Schedule it before a favorite activity (snack-time, play time, reading time, etc.)
*Set up a toy box, card board box, laundry basket (whatever you have) in a central location.
*Put on some hyper kiddie music, to get the kids excited.
*Set a timer for five minutes and make a big deal about saying "On your mark. Get set. GO!."
*Have the kids pick up as many toys, games, books, etc., as they can and put them in the box or laundry basket before the timer goes off.
*Make a big deal about their accomplishments when the timer goes off and move on to the fun activity as quickly as possible.
This is not a perfect solution, but at least it will get a good deal of the clutter into one spot. You could set your own timer, after the kids nap or go to bed, for 10-15 minutes to sort out the things that really don't belong in a toy box. (The timer thing is easier for us adults, too, knowing we can get on to more desired activities . . . sleeping :) :) :) . . . after just a few minutes work.)
Hope this is helpful.
I work with babies/toddlers, and a seventeen month old is old enough to help pick up, too! But a whole day's worth of toys is far too overwhelming for the kids. Start to establish hourly clean up times; and encourage them to learn to put one toy away before taking out another. If they have a lot of toys (like so many of our kids); try separating them out into bins or boxes, and only bring one bin or box out at a time. Engaging them in an activity in another room while you mop is fine; but you should not need to do that for any other cleaning task (unless there are cleaning chemicals involved--but you can minimize those). Even your little one should be able to engage him/herself for ten minutes at a time if you are in view; so you can alternate work and play.
As soon as my kids could walk when it was nap time or bed time, we spent awhile picking their stuff up and putting it away. This way they were learning to pick up after themselves. My kids also didn't have any really small toys (they make more of a mess). When they wanted to color they had to sit at the table and do it, that way the crayons didn't get scattered all over and there was no coloring on the walls, etc. Also if kids have an over abundance of toys there is more of a mess. When my girls got a new doll the old one was gotten rid of. They only really need one at a time. The same could apply to boys and their cars, trucks, etc. Barbie junk makes a mess because it is so little, as does GI Joe stuff. Games were never kept where they could reach them that way pieces didn't get scattered all over and lost. They also sat at the table to play games. Story books were kept out of their reach until they were old enough to respect the books. That way the books didn't get torn, etc. When my girls were really little each one of them had a cardboard box that was about 24x18x18, and all of their toys fit in that box. After they got older and wanted to play dress up, etc. they shared a larger toy box, that besides regular toys had my old formal from high school, my wedding dress, and some of my other dressier clothes in it.
I got tired of the mess and had the boys each pick out a few of their favorite toys. The rest went into storage. This made a huge difference and it was easy for them to tidy up. Each month the box came out and they traded toys. My children loved age specific work books and would spend half an hour or so at the table which enable me to get things done without disturbances.
I agree with RedHatter, if the kids are old enough to grab a toy and play with it, they are old enough to learn how to put them away. I have no kids, but sometimes play 'games' with my cousins that the last one to finish their chore is a rotten egg, or that they get dessert once everything is off the floor. Make it fun, and quick! Soon enough your youngest will be helping too. =)
Oh Redhaterb, it broke my heart to hear you say you threw away the old dolls. What if they were attached to them? The most beautiful wedding I ever went to was one where the mother of the bride had all her daughter's dolls dressed in wedding gowns that she had made over the years. They were all placed on a table at the reception.
I have a daycare in my home. I have several large Rubbermaid bins with lids. Each bin has a different type of toy in it; one is full of blocks, one has cars, trucks and race car tracks, one has dolls and furniture, one has puppets, masks and stuffed toys, etc. Each bin has toys that "go together." I pasted pictures of the toys on the outside of the bins. The kids pick one bin to play with, when they get bored, we pick up those toys and put them in the bin, then they pick out another bin. All the toys get put away before we get out another bin. As soon as the kids leave, I put supper on to cook. While it's cooking, I sweep and mop the floors, then I have a clean floor AND some time to relax before bed!
The big bins are easier for the kids to put toys into than most other storage containers. I also have one of those shelving systems with the brightly colored baskets. They LOOK cute, but are pretty useless as most kids have more toys than what fit into the little baskets! And toy boxes aren't very good, because EVERY kid just HAS to dump out ALL the toys! And also, a piece of advice from a mom whose kids have grown up and moved away; relax, enjoy the mess, it only lasts a few years and then you will be wishing for those little kids and their mess to be back again!
I suggest having only a limited asst of toys available to them. Rotate batches of toys every few days. That way there will be a limited number of items to be scattered and the toys will always seem new to the kids.
All of the previous hints are good. I'd like to offer my suggestion. I'm a "granny" of 4 (21, 19, 10, and 4). I spent too much time when my girls were young worrying about picking up toys and cleaning their rooms to the point of almost obsessing. I, too, was a young Mom and know that it can be overwhelming. When you're feeling stressed, take a breath/pause, thank God for your blessings, don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy your kids, especially while they're young. Trust me, they grow up way too fast. (At least they sometimes bless you with grandchildren.) Have fun and God Bless!
Thanks so much for your feedback! I find that these ideas can be very useful to me. :)
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
I do this all the time, when I see lots of dishes are piling up in the sink, I start hiding most of them and leave only a few. If clothes are a problem, I reduce the inventory until said problem is fixed. If it is a mess that they are making, I take away the things they are making a mess out of. Anything extra I put on freecycle.org in my area and get rid of it. I keep a bucket of soapy shampoo water in the bath and they can throw in their socks instead of letting them get under beds and such. I have plastic trash bins to store things in all out on the patio, and I could put a wooden table topper on them but I just leave them as they are.
I have a play pen I got off of freecycle.org and it is a throw away stash place for junk.
It is mostly the things I make that I like the most; like the fabric spray, fabric softener and water, or the pine sol water, pine sol and water.
I like to use paper plates if they just don't get it and leave a mess all over the place. =When it is paper or toys, again, I find a place to store them out of sight. I might even take half of it out and either store it or give it away.
I also save change, and when the kids are low on money I pay them to clean up. It is bribery but it works, or else I pay them to go get me water or to take things to the kitchen. I have a wonder broom that is wonderful. I couldn't live without it. It is rubber and when drug along the carpet in short sweeps cleans like no ones business, and I generally use rags on the bottom of a swiffer or just my shoes and a wet towel with pine sol to sweep the floor. It is mainly a matter of environmental control. I also watch the kinds of toys and gifts I get them..don't want little things all on the floor, the dogs will eat them. LOL Hope this provides some inspiration.
I agree about not getting kids the real little toys,etc. The smaller the items the more mess they make. Also when my girls were little when they would get a new doll for Christmas, we got rid of the old one. Their board games and puzzles were kept on a shelf in the coat closet, not in their rooms, and when they wanted one of those things, they used it in the family area, not in their rooms or where ever.
As soon as my girls started walking, when it was nap time or bed time, we made a routine of them helping me pick up their toys and putting them in the toy box. We didn't get them all picked up, but it helped to teach them what to do. Their books and coloring books and crayons were also kept where they had to ask for them and use them in a certain area, be it on the living room floor, etc.
Both my girls shared a toy box that was about 2'x2'x3' and that is where they kept their dolls, doll clothes, the stuffed animals that they had, and a few of my old dresses that they used for pretend dress up. When it came to dolls and stuffed animals, they were always the larger sized ones.
Instead of feeling like a slave to cleaning make the cleaning fun for you and the children and, unless they're tiny toddlers, it's more than possible for them to help :-)
Dishes? Make it a game who scrapes, washes or dries. Laundry? Make it fun to sort clothes by color and a make it a game who's going to load the washer, who's going to put in the laundry soap, who gets to push the right buttons to turn on the washing machine, who gets to put the washed laundry in the dryer and who gets to be the first to take the items out of the dryer and fold them. Dusting? Who wins to have the feather duster. Vacuuming? Who thinks they can do the best job without hitting the walls or furniture with the vacuum.
Bottom line: make it a fun game and the children will be learning how to do these chores, how to pitch in and have pride for doing so :-)
Your bedroom messy? Oh well, you live with it and if critters take over because of it or you can't find something you're really looking for or it's dirty or damaged when you do find it? Well, oh so sad too bad and they'll figure out it's their responsibility eventually ;-)
You could create a chore list based on the age of you children. I have four kids; each one has one chore a day. (A chore that takes less than 30 min to do) Vacuum, dishes sweep and mop, dog duties, ect... along with keeping their rooms clean. I pay them for their chores. I divide the money daily for each chore. (5 chores 5$) If the chore is not completed by a certain time or correctly, I have them redo the chore and lose the money for that day.
Go to www.flylady.com. It has helped me tremendously!
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 know what you mean, it's never ending.
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.
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Tips and strategies for keeping your house clean from the ThriftyFun community.
When cleaning, do every job as fast as you can and time yourself. You'll then know it's not such a chore if you know each task is only going to take a few minutes. I think it was Parkinson's Law that said "Work expands to fit the time available" and that's certainly true of housework. If I work fast, I can clean the entire house in 3 hours. If I don't, it can take all week.
During commercials, I pick up things. As soon as I hear my show come back on, I stop cleaning. That way, I'm not sitting around wasting time watching commercials and my apartment stays clean without putting in hours at a time. I reward myself with TV time by speed cleaning.
The easiest and only way to really keep the house clean is to first pick up the clutter and put it in it's place. You can't get to the dust unless you can reach it. With that in mind, here's what I do:
My most favorite cleaning item is a feather duster (about $5 at Walmart). It makes dusting fun and easy. Another tip is to do a little something every day, so cleaning up doesn't become such a big deal. And you can make great use of the commercial breaks on TV, you'll be surprised how much you can get done in several 3-5 minute breaks.
I once read that the most successful housewives did this: One day was designated to one room. Like Mondays: Kitchen; fridge, sweep, mop, and clean counters. Tuesdays: Living Room; dust, vacuum, so on. Of course, clean as you go. But this insures that you have at least hit a room once per week. For laundry: we have white night, colored night, and towel night.
By Tracy Elaine
Here are some tips I read long ago. When the room is out of control and you don't know where to start, just imagine the face of a clock. Pick a corner to be 12 and work your way around. For the bathroom, in a pinch, grab a wad of toilet paper, slosh alcohol onto it and wipe the sink/counter then do the toilet, starting at the top, then flush the wad away.
When I start to tidy a bedroom, the very first thing I do is to make the bed. My college roommate taught me this trick and I'm teaching it to my kids now. It makes the whole room look cleaner and gives you the oomph to continue. I find that this works well with the couch cushions in the living room as well.
Do not live in the country; gravel and dirt get tracked into the house on the shoes, like my home. If you do have kids; get them to have chores to do. Before they can use the car for the evening, they have to clean up the kitchen or maybe wash up the bathroom. They want a privilege, okay, this is what needs to be done.
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 made myself up a schedule. Each day I clean one or 2 rooms, do one or 2 loads of laundry. And during the seasons, I mow one section of the yard. I'm normally done within 2-3 hours and then I have the rest of the day to myself. And my house always stays clean.
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)