Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Best of the Best Housekeeping Tips Roundup

I am finally getting to posting the collection of the best housekeeping tips that I promised way back here. In my defense; however, I did say that it would be "next month" meaning April and today is the very last day of April but April nonetheless :). So, without further ado- the best of the best from some of my favorite blogs and favorite people:

1. HC on ditching cleaning excuses:
Excuse #1- "I’ve got too much stuff!"
Instead of saying that you can’t get organized because you have too much stuff shouldn’t you say “I must get organized because I have so much stuff”?
Excuse #2- "I've no home for this stuff!"
Call this TMS disease: too much stuff. If you've outgrown your closet, desk, your file cabinets, your room, your office and even your home, it isn't the size of the storage space. It is the size of the stuff. Dump this excuse along with the excess stuff.
Excuse #3- "I've no time for this stuff!"
If you work at organization what you will find is more time.
Excuse #4- "It's not my mess!"
If it impacts your home, your work, your office or your routine, then it really is your mess.
Excuse #5- "No one taught me how to be organized!"
Somewhere along the way you learned a lot of skills you use in life. You can learn to be organized too.
Excuse #6- "Alright, I'll do it tomorrow!"
Didn't you say that yesterday too? This time, put some action behind that excuse of putting it off until tomorrow. Begin with an action plan. Figure out what you want to organize. Make a to-do list for that project. Divide the tasks up among time slots on your calendar. Keep those appointments.

2. Christy W. on summer preparations:
Over the summer months, deep clean one room of your house each week. By fall, the whole house is ready to go for another school year.

3. Karen on using white vinegar for fabric softener:
1) It’s cheap. You can buy 2 gallons of the stuff at Sam’s Club for about $3.40.
2) It doesn’t aggravate my skin. I have eczema and extremely sensitive skin. White vinegar isn’t harsh. There is no fragrance left on your clothing either.
3) No waxy build up. Unlike other fabric softeners, vinegar doesn’t leave a waxy residue on your clothes. This makes towels and cloth diapers more absorbent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about that waxy issue in your dryer.
4) It’s safe. We’ve heard a lot lately how cleaning supplies and products are unsafe for our families. You don’t have any worries with vinegar.
5) It has other uses. I like having vinegar on hand because it has so many uses. Also, you can add a little vinegar to your whites to help get them clean.

4. Esther on night time preparation:
Take 5-10 minutes each night to get things in order. I like to make sure the dishes are washed too...helps the next day flow better.

5. Danita on general household tips:
Making your bed is 70% of cleaning your room.
Try to take 5 minutes each day cleaning at least 1 room.
If there is an item out of place on the floor or table and you walk by, take it with you if you are going in the direction where it needs to be.
If you haven't used it in a while or worn it in a while you probably should just get rid of it.
Storage containers / bins are your friend.
Keep a record of what is in your freezer and pantry so you know what you have on hand without digging through the pantry or freezer.
I keep a standing storage bin that has drawers and wheels in my entry closet. I have each drawer labeled with the following: gloves, hats, scarves / earmuffs, & work gloves. That way they can be found all year long and the kids know where to put them when they take them off.

6. Sarah A. on tackling the hardest rooms first:
The room you always leave until last is the best one to start in. Procrastinating the rooms we hate cleaning only makes us feel worse when we say that we're done. When we're finished with everything else, our mind still remembers that we chickened-out of the hard rooms.
Do the most difficult and annoying areas of your house at the beginning, when you are most motivated. Once you accomplish the feeling of completing those tough areas, everything else will seem like a piece of cake.

7. My mama on designated room bags:
Have bags for each room of the house- ones that stay open. In each room that you clean you put items that go to different rooms in their named bag. Room by room you add to it and put away the items for that room while you are in it. That way you don't go from room to room putting one item away just to find another item that leads you to a different room and on and on.
Also, the bag works if the kids don't put stuff away. To get the item that they should have put away back- they have to do an extra chore or something. If the family know that at such and such a time is when you go around to each room to gather toys and such, they will hurry to put it away before that happens.

8. Jacque on cleaning with little ones:
Have your little ones with you while pick up things so they will get in a habit of doing it.

9. Amanda on blitzing:
Take a 10min pick up break to just get the floors picked up. A room can look "clean" just by picking up the floors and vacuuming or sweeping.

10. Heidi on folding laundry:
Fold the laundry as soon as it is done drying...then put the laundry away as soon as it is folded. It makes life SO much easier!

11. Crystal on tips for a successful move:
1) Keep your home clutter-free. When it comes to moving, the less you have to pack and move, the easier it makes it! So while I'm in the process of boxing everything up, I have a box handy for trash and a box handy for things to giveaway or sell in a garage sale.
2) Have a plan. I always have a "moving notebook" that I use to help me stay organized and on-track. I have a page for each of the four weeks leading up to the move and as I think of something we need to do before the move, I assign it to one of the weeks. I keep a list of what we need to remember, things to pack at the very last minute, important numbers and information, and things we need to do as soon as we arrive at our new place.
Another thing I find very helpful is to pack suitcases with two or three days' worth of clothes and a bag with our toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. We put these in our car and unload them straight into our bedroom upon arrival at the new place. Even if we don't get most of the boxes unpacked that first day, at least we'll have clean clothes and toothbrushes.
3) Accept help. I know not everyone has such a great support group around them but if someone offers to help, gladly accept it. And then pass the favor on the next chance you have.
4) Start early. If you have four weeks until you move, don't put things off thinking you'll have plenty of time to do things when you are closer to the move date. No, start today.

12. Kim C. on "If it's not dirty, don't wash it":
1.) Children do not necessarily bathe daily
. It's just not necessary. Little ones don't get body odor like big people, and the ones in diapers tend to get the important parts washed several times/day anyway. So the smaller people in our house - the ones who need constant supervision in the tub - get bathed on an as-needed basis.
2.) Clothes do not get washed with every wearing. Again, it's often just not necessary, and it can even be poor stewardship since laundering wears clothes out more quickly. We usually do a quick visual inspection and maybe a sniff test. Obviously certain items are excluded from this policy. Please tell me you assumed that without me having to say it.
3.) Towels don't get washed every time.
With a few exceptions, we think a towel can be used many times before it needs washing. Maybe I should have mentioned that we each have our own personal keep-your-hands-off-it bath towel.
4.) It's ok for kids to sleep in their clothes.
Really, if they spent all day playing indoors and their clothes are clean, they don't need to change into PJs. If they don't care, I don't care. It's one less thing to do in the evening and one less piece of laundry to wash.

13. Kelli on a sweet smelling home:
There are several ways to keep your home smelling nice. The first and cheapest way is to open the windows! I first found out about tart warmers a few years ago and was impressed at how such a little thing could make several rooms at once, smell so great.
Here are some homemade air fresheners using ingredients you probably already have:

"Citrus" Air Freshener
Peels of lemon, orange, lime, tangerine or grapefruit
1 pot of water
Put slices of citrus fruit peel into the pot of water. Let simmer gently for an hour or so for a citrus scent.

"Baked Goodness" Air Freshener
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or a few cloves
1 pot of water
Let simmer gently for an hour or so for a fresh baking scent.

"Easy as Apple Pie" Air Freshener
Simmer a sliced apple and a couple of cinnamon sticks in some water on your stove. The whole house will smell like apple pie.

14. Stephanie on seasonal eating:
1. Seasonal produce is most likely local (because it does not need to be brought in from a warmer climate, etc.). Local produce is at it's freshest and it's peak of nutrition, making it your best bet for meals that are nutritionally dense and healthful.
2. Seasonal produce does not have far to travel from field to plate. Because it is usually local, there is a minimum of transportation necessary, which only reaps benefits for the environment, and usually our wallets as well.
3. Seasonal produce is cheaper. This is partly because of #2, less transportation cost. It is also because when a particular item is at it's peak, there is an abundance to be had, and thus, the price goes down (sometimes the price goes up initially, because of the increased demand and popularity of an item, but it quickly drops as the harvest continues). In my menu planning posts, I explained that I use seasonal produce as much as possible to keep my costs lower.

15. Lastly, me on Colossians 3:23:
Remember Colossians 3:23 and teach it to your children! "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to man." I taught this verse to my daughter thinking that it would serve as a reminder to be diligent in working at the tasks that I give her and found that it convicted me most of all! In fact, there have been several days, one in particular that happened recently, where I was doing a full scrub down of the kitchen and my arms were burning and I stopped to rest. Plopping on the couch, I exclaimed, "Oh that feels good to sit down! This is seriously hard work!" To which my two year old daughter replied, "Mommy, remember to do it heartily as to the Lord!" What motivation!

Until next time,


  1. What a fantastic collection of tips! Look forward to going through them more thoroughly soon! Thanks for coming up with this! God bless!

  2. GREAT collection! :) Thank for including my little insignificant tip among all the other wonderful ones!
    The Daily Planet