We’re all busy, and real housecleaning always comes last on my list (until it gets unbearable). Typically I set aside a bunch of time to clean several rooms (pick up, vacuum, dust) all at once. When I researched household cleaner hazards (see that blog) I also ran into some cool ideas for cleaning up quicker.
Helpful House Cleaning Tips
- Set a cleaning time. My friend taught me this trick—she cleans her house Thursday mornings. She has a set amount of time, which helps her keep moving because of the time limit.
- Get your kids involved, with age-appropriate tasks. The sooner you start them out, the more likely they are to help you later. And let them do what they like. Start with picking up their toys, if they’re not doing so already. Vacuuming, dusting, and taking out the trash can be novel to them, even if don’t like doing it anymore. And don’t re-do it, because then you haven’t saved any time at all, plus that’ll kill their sense of satisfaction and they won’t be as likely to do it next time. I like small bribes to help get the job done.
I found “clean as you go” tips from Heloise,* and I sifted things out like a quick way to wax your kitchen floor. Do people still do that? I barely dust—a friend said to me that dusting “was something the previous generation did.” So I picked my favorite tips:
- After you flush the toilet, sprinkle 1/4 cup of baking soda into the wet bowl. Take your shower and then give the bowl a single scrub. Flush to rinse.
- If the dishwasher's not full, add burner covers or small shelves from the refrigerator — anything that needs washing.
When you're done vacuuming the floor and baseboards, use the upholstery attachment to dust one bookshelf (I like this one because if you do a bookshelf at a time, it’s not so daunting).
When you’re saving all this time, of course stay cognizant of your kids’ safety and watch out for shortcuts. When my kids were young, I had a housecleaner (oh, how awesome it was) and she left some 409 in the playroom, right at their eye level. Luckily an adult found it first. Kids under the age of 6 are most likely to be poisoned by a household product. One evening I asked a few kids, ages 6-9, how you could identify poison. They all answered that the bottle would say “poison,” which started a discussion. Not that they would all go drinking bathroom cleaner, they are smarter than that, but not understanding that the stuff is poison is concerning. Even using natural cleaners doesn't keep you safe from this issue.
I have tried several natural cleaners that work great, check them out if you're ready to make a change.