Dirty Enough to be Happy! (Plus GREAT Cleaning Tips)

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
Phyllis Diller

 “Make Your Home Clean Enough to be Healthy and Dirty Enough To Be Happy.”

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Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it.”
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Our family is growing. Every day it gets harder and harder to keep up with cleaning, organizing and laundry.
Before I got married I had this vision of how things would be? Anyone else?  The laundry would always be folded and I would always know what I was going to cook for dinner, and we would all make our beds every. single. day.
Let’s just say, it was a lot easier in my dreams.
Keeping up with our homes creates an environment where we can grow closer as a family.  Everyone has to come up with their own way of doing things. Structured to fit their lives and the family around them.
I have felt too much disarray around the house lately. So, the last two weeks a lot of cleaning out and organizing has been going on at our house. We even held our first garage sale. When I feel like things are getting a little out of control, I like to take out a file box that I have kept for the last 10 years. It gives me inspiration. Over the years I have filled it with tips and tricks for cleaning. Some from my mom, my grandmothers, tips from my bridal shower, and tips I have heard and read along the way.

Maybe something in my box will give you a little inspiration and make your load a little lighter.

GENERAL
  • Make your bed everyday. My husband thinks this is silly. “Why, when I am going to get back in it tonight.” Make it anyway. It will make a difference.
  • Don’t make things “All or Nothing.” I find myself putting chores off becuse I know I won’t have the time to finish them or to do it how I want. Or, I look at the whole house and all that needs to be done and feel overwhelmed. Take one thing at a time. And if you don’t have time to fold the whole load of laundry, fold what you can when you can.
  • Do a load of laundry every day. Put a load in first thing, and before you hit mid morning, it will be dry and ready to put away. Then you don’t have to think about it again and you stay on top of one of the craziests parts of running a household.
  • Do something every day. Something. Every little something adds up and makes a difference.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen until the dishes are done. It will not be easier in the morning.
  • Need to clean the blinds? Put on a pair of cotton gloves. Spray one hand with window cleaner and wipe the blinds. Fingers running in between the individual blinds. Follow with the other hand to dry them off.
  • Every day take 20 minutes and pick up. It doesn’t seem like much but 20 minutes of tidying up will make a HUGE difference in your home.
LAUNDRY
  • When you are out of fabric softener, use a little vinegar.
  • Use hair shampoo to remove ring around the collar. Rub it on and let it sit for a few minutes, then wash. It will absorb the body oils.
  • If you don’t fold dry clothes right away, put a wet washrag in the dryer with your clothes for five minutes and it will help remove the wrinkles.
  • Static cling. Argh. Get rid of it by pinning a safety pin to a seam in the clothing. No more static cling.
  • Peanut Butter removes gum from clothes and hair.
  • Use hairspray to remove ball point pen from your clothing.
  • Does your iron need cleaning? My grandma’s old manual says to pour salt on a dish towel and then iron over the salt. It will clean it right off.
  • Our kids always have grass stains. I didn’t believe it when I was told, but use Crisco on the spots before throwing them in the washer and the grass stains will come out.
  • Sweat stains on your shirt? Escpecially your families white shirts, or your husband’s church shirts? Soak the old stains in white vinegar for 8-10 minutes before you wash them. If you want to keep new stains from become old, dab a new sweat stain with a little ammoia.
  • If you are trying to put a permenant crease in something that you are ironing, spritz it with some water mixed with a little vinegar and the crease will become permanent.
KITCHEN
  • Forgo expensive cleaners to mop your hardwood floors. Clean them with a mixture of water and vinegar, just a cap or two. You will love the shine, it doesn’t fade quickly and it won’t eat away the finish.
  • Make q-tips your friend. They are great when you are trying to clean the knobs on your stove, or around light switches.
  • When you have a pot boil over, and can’t clean it up immediately, sprinkle salt on the spill so it will be easier to clean up when you have the time.
  • Rub a cut lemon on the stove to remove splatters. Then wipe clean.
  • Does your disposal stink? Turn it on and drop in a few slices of lemon and some baking soda.
  • With your dishwasher empty, fill your soap spot with a package of Lemonade Kool-Aid. Run your dishwasher. It will help break down the build up that occurs over time.
  • To clean your stove top, use vinegar or ammonia. Wipe clean.
  • If you, or your family, happen to break a glass, press a slice of bread into the broken glass and it will pick up the small pieces.
  • Do you have ants? Place small piles of cornmeal where you see them. They will eat it, take it home and share it with their friends, and within about a week and a half, they will all be dead. They can’t digest it.
  • Need to get rid of fruit flies? Fill a glass up with a mixture of 3 TBSP apple cider and 3 drops of dishwashing liquid. Set it out on your counter. The flies will be drawn to the liquid and die.
  • Have you ever broken an egg? Pour salt on the egg and it will soak it up so you can scoop it right up. Instead of dealing with the runny mess.
  • Need to clean your grill or oven racks? Lay them outside on your grass overnight. The wet grass will loosen the grease and you will be able to wash it clean with little scrubbing.
BATHROOM
  • Alka-seltzer in your toilet will remove the stains.
  • Put a can of Coke inside the toilet and it will remove the ring around the toilet bowl.
  • Rub your bathroom fixtures with rubbing alcohol to make them shine. Just make sure they don’t have any plastic on them.
  • Use hair conditioner to shave your legs. No need to spend extra money on shaving cream.
  • Wash your shower curtains in the washing machine with towels and bath mats. So much easier than trying to scrub them clean.
  • Assign each person in your family a different color toothbrush. Then everyone knows which is theirs. Do the same with towels.
  • Remove mold in your shower using Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and a toothbrush to get in the cracks.
  • Use a squeegee on your shower walls after each use. It will really help with water spots and cleaning. Plus, kids think it is fun so they will remember to do it when they finish showering.
  • Use a pumice stone to remove the stubborn stains around your toilet. (You can buy them at stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, Target etc.) You can also clean porcelain with baking soda, just make sure it is wet.
  • After you clean your shower, rub Old English Lemon Oil (used to polish wood furniture) all over the shower and on the shower door. You shower will stay cleaner longer.
  • Use baby oil on your shower door. It will prevent water spots and scum. Just keep it away from your kids, if they drink it, it can be deadly.
BEDROOM
  • Make your bed every morning. Teach your kids to do the same. Make your bed and kneel to pray.
  • Keep a tupperware or space saver bag in your children’s closet, or under the bed. When clothes get too small, put them straight into the storage container. Once the container if full, store it and replace with an empty container. Then you put things away as you go and don’t have to handle the clothes twice.
  • Hang a second rod in your closets. One low and one high. Not only does it double your closet space, but your kids can reach and help hang things up.
  • Designate a place for shoes. Either a shoe organizer or bucket. Then kids know where to put their shoes away, and where to find them when you are headed out.
  • Designate a place for everything. Then your kids know where things go.
  • We love 3M hooks. You can buy them everywhere. Put them up to hang coats, backpacks, pictures, anything. When you are done, pull the tab and they come right off. I put one up for each of our children. They know when they come home from school that their backpacks hang right on the hooks. Same with their coats. It really helps get things up off the floor and off the door knob.
OFFICE / KITCHEN COUNTER CLUTTER
  • Remember: ONLY TOUCH IT ONCE: Don’t bring things in and set them down on the counter. Sort the mail immediately and throw away the junk. Have a place for the bills and other things and put them straight there. No need to put trash on the counter in a pile and then have to go through it again later.
  • Have a family calendar. Put it where everyone can see it. Keep track of what each child and parent is doing so you know what is going on and are less likely to “miss” something. It also helps children. They can see what they need to do and take more responsibility for their assignments and activities.
  • Create a central space/drawer for pens, crayons, pencils, tape, stapler, paper clips, etc. Your family won’t have to ask you where things are anymore. They can go straight to the drawer and help themselves.
  • Have a pad of paper, chalk board etc in your kitchen. Then you can jot down reminders as they come to you.
It is true, a clean, uncluttered home really does bring peace to everyone who lives there. Our homes can be a haven. A place where our family wants to be. I know when our house is a mess, it is the last place I want to be. Plus, when things are organized it gives us more time to spend with our families, the people we love the most.
What is your hardest household task to keep up with?
Have you ever had a garage sale?

Comments

  1. 1

    I love these types of home cleaning tips Heather Ann! Thanks:)

  2. 2
    Stephanie Phelps says:

    My house seems to always be in a mess with four kids and 2 dogs but i love the tips and yes my house looks boring unless you just love clutter and toys and dirty dishes and clothes lol

  3. 3
    Vicky Carlson says:

    I love the bread over broken glass tip the best! I’ve had a little shard of glass embed itself before and it’s awful . Thanks for all the tips!

  4. 4

    Great tips! I’ve resolved to to a better job of keeping my house clean in 2012.

  5. 5

    Wow.

    I don’t get impressed easily, but this list impressed me. It’s new things – not things I’ve seen over and over. I especially liked the permanent crease tip.

    I’m going to change my ink cartridge and print this out for future reference.

    Thanks.

  6. 6
    Tian Kinasih says:

    Thank you for the great tips! :)

  7. 7
    Sari Berry says:

    Great tips for staying on top of things – and I love the quotes at the top!

  8. 8

    We sometimes get ants too. We have very sandy soil so they really like it. I use this dust called diatomaceous earth: http://www.livingwithbugs.com/use_dust.html. I buy the food grade and sprinkle out side of my house before the ants get in. The dust compacts after a while and the ants don’t mind as much. I tned to sprinkle twice a week.

    Works well! Little ant activity and the food grade version is not poisonous to little ones.

  9. 9
    Donna Marie says:

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I know I will be using some of these in the near future. Esp the 3m hooks one.
    :)

  10. 10

    The “All or nothing” mentality is my biggest hurdle to get over. If I know I won’t be able to finish something, or if I know I won’t be able to get it done “perfectly”, I don’t even want to try. I am having to fight that and attack things a little at a time, and it takes some time but I can see progress!

  11. 11

    These are GREAT tips, I can’t wait to try some!!!

  12. 12
    Thomas Murphy says:

    Great tips! These will really help, my house is a mess!

  13. 13
    Karen Hand says:

    Excellent tips. I do have a question though about putting a can of coke in the toilet to remove the ring. Do we pour the can of coke into the bowl, or set the whole can in the bowl? I know it’s a stupid question, but hey, I dom’t know, hence the reason for asking. I’d like to give it a try. I’ve got to print these tips out because there are a lot of new ones that I didn’t have any idea about. Thanks.

  14. 14

    I just like the helpful info you supply to your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check once more right
    here frequently. I am relatively certain I will be informed a lot of new stuff right right here!
    Good luck for the next!

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