Monday, September 27, 2010

Cleaning 101: How to clean in record time

I hate cleaning and as a child I always daydreamed of adulthood. It would bestow upon me no responsibility, reckless abandonment, and a carefree lifestyle. As an adult I could do whatever I want...

Fast forward seventeen years and now I daydream of being a kid again doing little to no chores and stressing about whether Shane B. from the football team really likes me.

Cleaning is awful, but we have to do it. Well actually you don't have to do anything, but when I come to your house and it's clean, I really do appreciate it! Not to mention a clean house lessons your stress load, and lifts your mood. Think about it. When you leave the house in a hurry and forget to make the bed, clean the dishes and pick up your clothes, what do you come home to at the end of the day? Chaos. And when it's a bad day, the last thing you need is more chaos! Here are my top tips to lighten the load and make it a breeze to do.

Stay focused
This has got to be the best tip I have and if you take my advice on this, you will save an hour. I am about as ADD as they come. I start to pick up and straighten the house and five hours later I have accomplished nothing and started 20 different tasks. Get out the kitchen timer. Write down all the things that need to be done in a weeks time. Break it down into two to three items at 30 minutes tops a day. Knowing that the timer is going will keep you going, and the list will keep you focused.

Flash Cards
I learned this trick years ago and still use it today. Keep 7 flash cards for all the chores that need to be done in a week for your home. Limit 2-4 chores per card. Keep the flash cards in a recipe box, junk drawer or cupboard. Randomly pick out a card each day. Whatever the chores are on the card is what gets done that day. Set your timer (preferably 30 minutes) for the flash card pulled. Once those chores are complete separate that card from the rest of the chores that have not been done for that week. This keeps chores manageable, and not so routine. Sometimes I vacuum on Tuesday's and sometimes is gets done on Saturday.

Straightening up
Keep baskets, or attractive tubs around the house that are labeled or distinctive in some fashion. For example, keep baskets at the top and bottom of stairs, if items need to be taken upstairs they can be thrown into the baskets and hauled upstairs when someone uses them or vice versa. Also, keep baskets or tubs in various rooms for quick clean up. Toys, magazines, and misc items can be quickly thrown into them to organize and straighten up a room until you have time to distribute the items to their original location.

Lint rollers
Like Vodka, these little guys are multitaskers. They can quickly clean upholstery, lamp shades, headboards and chair cushions at record speeds. They are great at quickly rolling over placemats if you don't have time to wash them.

Handheld Vacuums
Invest in the best you can afford because these are perfect for in between cleans. They can quickly pick up crumbs, dust bunnies, little messes and allow you to go longer without the big mammoth vacuum.

Get out the cheap Vodka and wipe down all your counters and glass surfaces with newspapers. It is the greenest way to clean possible,  cheap, and won't leave streaks!

Baking Soda
Whatever the Vodka can't clean the baking soda will take care of. Mixed with water it has the necessary grit to scrub anything clean, but is gentle enough to not harm hands, pets or kids. It is also a green product and wont hurt the environment!

Unfortunately it is a part of adulthood no one ever told us about. I was under the elusion that it meant eating ice cream for breakfast, pancakes for dinner and staying up till 3am just because I felt like it. And while I can do all those things, no one told me I'd have to clean up the messes I made at 3am. (  the pancake syrup really sticks if it isn't cleaned up right away!)

'If you want to see me, come on over. If you want to see my house, call ahead.'"

Melissa Taylor, Denver, Colorado

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  1. I like that timer idea, Amanda! I think I will be trying that one. I've also been thinking about getting a hand held vac/dust buster and will definitely get a move on that purchase. I know that if I can do a few things after the day job at night, it will make it less I have to do on the weekends I so look forward to!

  2. Great tips and love the quote...priceless!

  3. I'm going to try the flashcards! I'm also adding this to my Friday Favorites this week. That quote is amazing and I must use it soon. GREAT post!

  4. The timer is brilliant! I think it will definitely force me to stay focused - I love the flashcards, I use a list, but the flashcards seem more fun (and yay vodka shout-out!)

  5. I broke a fingernail (hurrying) getting to this post, and it was worth it! Strangely enough I have FOCUS written on one of my blackboards. The only way to get anything done.
    Thanks for the tips. I love these tips you post.
    Have a nice evening.

  6. I am going to try flashcards, the baskets, and I really do need a super hand held but don't know of one! I must also focus...what a super blog with useful hints...hope you have a great week! xo

  7. Awesome! Of course, to clean in record time you need "flash" cards :) Love that!!

  8. This will help you rest and revitalize after coming back from office. This is very important in keeping your home clean. If you are organized, it will be easier to clean your stuff.

  9. I have actually done the kitchen timer thing before b/c I can be very easily distracted as well, and I too am all about the baskets for toys! The lint roller is genius...will use this tip for sure..and so true about lessening the stress levels, thanks!

  10. I am exhausted just reading through the directions on how to clean....feels like a whirlwind. I agree cleaning is a necessary evil, and i do tackle in force. I usually start with one side of the house and move on....I would much rather be weeding the garden

  11. Based on your theory that we should all live glamorous lives, I've recently been thinking that a cleaning lady would be a worthwhile luxury!

  12. I think a good does of Vodka would be helpful for all the household chores - love the index card idea. I think I'll spring it on the kids this weekend!

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