Showing posts with label cleaning house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cleaning house. Show all posts

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spring Cleaning and/or Sell This House!

Here's how I spring clean:
1. I buy a notebook.
I make a heading for each room. Even closets.
I imagine that I'm a potential buyer of this house. You know...PRETEND!...and see the room through someone else's eyes.
I stand in each room and look around and see all the imperfections.

2. Then I write down what needs to be done if I were to put it up for sale. Every single thing.
Yes, this is scary.
But it works.

For example, in my master bath, the shower really needs to be recaulked because some of it is peeling off and it looks messy. One of the towel bars is coming out of the walls. (Hmmm, someone swinging perhaps?) And I think the closet in my bath needs to have some reorganization...bigger plastic bins for medicine and so forth are in order. It looks messy.

I write that all down. Numbered.

And proceed to the next room.
No matter how small OR big, I write down what needs to be done.
That's my Master List for the year.
I go through it once or twice a year, and sometimes it doesn't get all done, but that's OK.
Because when it's written down I know it will be, eventually.

I came up with this method when I had to show our past two houses in order to move. I learned this: It's super super annoying to have to do all those little things you procrastinated for years, for SOMEONE ELSE! My houses never looked so good as when they were ready to be put on the market. This really annoyed me. And I vowed it would never ever happen again. (I'm just kidding on that last sentence...I'm really not that dramatic about something so trivial.)

But this way, I don't feel overwhelmed about all the little repairs and improvements that need to be done, because I know I'm working on them.

3. When my list in my handy dandy notebook is done, I carry it with me to the first room, when I'm ready to get to the "cleaning" part. This way, I can write down what I need, the measurements, and so forth, and put all that on a separate sheet in the notebook. I can go to the store with my list, maybe 3 rooms out, and get everything I need, without making constant errand runs. If I need a new curtain, or organization bins, I have the measurements right there.

4. Then I scrub like I'm showing the place.

Sometimes, I know I will get just one room done a day. Or maybe even one a week. I set a realistic goal for myself so I won't burn out and I can still keep up with my daily happenings.

I relegate to a separate page, those BIG projects...painting a leaky ceiling, finding a new chair for the den, so I don't get too slowed down. This list can also serve as a "to-do list" through out the year if I can't get it all done right away.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cleaning House: An Overview

1. Declutter
Whenever the mood hits, I do a room by room declutter.  I have a trash can for junk, and a garbage bag for Goodwill.  For closets, I usually have the kids help me determine what no longer fits, or what they might never wear.

The reason I do this:

The kids don't miss it. And if I think they might,  I put a "KEEP FOR AWHILE" garbage bag in my attic/basement (hidden) and see if a whole 6 months go by without them asking for it. I don't really buy the kids a lot, but birthday parties and Christmas and with 5 kids and hand-me-downs know how that adds up. So, we don't have a ton of clothes, toys, crap, because it's just too much work to keep it all organized.

If I don't LOVE it and use it, and it's just taking up space, I get rid of it.
In the kitchen most especially...every appliance I don't use, bowl, tupperware, many spatulas does anyone need?...and I don't use the "I might use it one day" excuse...if I don't use it OFTEN, get rid of it. If I miss it terribly, and I regret getting rid of it so bad and mourn for it's loss, then I buy another one but I think that has only happened once.

2. Toys
The older kids keep all their special 'no share' toys/games etc in their rooms in designated spots. I have a toy cupboard (linen closet) upstairs for all the games, stuffed animals (only a few), and "extra" stuff. In the kids rooms, they each have a little trunk where they keep their little gadgets and gizmos that are important to them. I have a cabinet in my living room with a few toys and baskets for blocks, Legos, etc for Andrew and the baby. I don't keep toys any place else, because that's just more cleaning up. So I guess "there is a place for everything, everything in it's place."

3. Catch-All
I have a dresser with baskets in my kitchen, labeled with each kid's name, for all the kid's crap I find lying around that has to go up to their rooms. Papers, drawings, sticks, name it...if they leave it lying around, I throw it in their baskets and they know if they left it somewhere around the house that's where it will be. I've seen people do this with those baskets that fit on the stairs too, or in their cubbies if you are so lucky to have a great mudroom. That way I don't have to be running up and down to "straighten".

4. Maintain
With that said, I do constantly pick up, put away, etc....I don't realize how much I do, until I get sick or pregnant or both, because then, in a day or two there is STUFF everywhere!

5. Fast and Efficient
If I need to do a BIG straighten, I always start in our bedroom, because it's just a habit, and it's the farthest corner of the house. As I go I throw everything that's NOT supposed to be there into the next room and so forth and so forth, working my way through the house. I try to go super fast and not get distracted, and/or the Queen of England just called and said she'll be stopping over in 10 minutes.  The key is to not get side tracked and not to leave the room you are supposed to be straightening until it's finished.

Cleaning is really about how you set up your house:
1. In every bathroom I have have windex, paper towels and a toilet brush. That's all you really need. Maybe some powder cleanser for the bathtub once in a while with a green scrubbie thing. I keep all that in each bathroom in a little basket under the sink. That way the kids can get to it easy for chores and so can I.

2. Whenever I get a chance, and I see something needs it, I can just whip out my supplies and it takes minutes.

3. A good vacuum. I use a Dyson but there are other good brands also.  That thing saves me so much time. First, it sucks the living heck out of everything. Vacuuming makes everything look and feel cleaner, if that's all you get a chance to do. It's really easy to use the attachments too, so I put on the brush attachement and use that for the molding and corners, and even furniture! when I notice they need it. I use in the bathrooms and kitchen too...easier than a broom and dustpan.

4. On and off through the years I've hung a piece of paper on the fridge with jobs assigned to each child on a Saturday.  This has helped when I feel like I can't get caught up.

5. Every night, before I go to bed, I usually straighten up the downstairs quickly.
I put a photo on my blog a long time ago of my laundry room and how I have it set up. This saves me TONS of time. I do a little laundry almost every single day. That way I'm never spending HOURS on it. I bought a big basket for Jeff and I and little ones for each kid, labeled with their names. I fold the clothes right out of the dryer and throw them in each basket depending on whose is whose. Every Friday or Saturday I will make the kids go down and get their baskets and hang up and put away all their clothes.

Simplicity is the key and once you have it set up, you will find it makes your life so much easier.

And with all that said, my house is not always perfectly cleaned and straightened but this system seems to make my life easier and my house cleaner.