In the battle to maintain a tidy home, especially with children, you are always on the look out for great tips. FamilyCorner.com asked readers to share what helps them most. Implement any or all of these ideas to make cleaning easier and more efficient!
- Keep a container of disinfectant wipes under each bathroom sink. Each day, perhaps after your shower, use a wipe to clean off the sinks, counters and toilet bowl. This keeps the bathroom tidy all week.
- Spray down the shower walls, tub, counters and toilet, let the cleaner sit while you empty trash cans and hang towels. Then go back and wipe everything down and clean the mirrors.
- Use a dirty towel on the floor of the shower to keep your footing and avoid injury while you clean.
- Keep a squeegee handy to clean the walls down after the shower.
- Clean the toilet, sink & mirror while your kids are in the bath. This saves time as you need to be present while your kids bathe anyway. Just be sure to leave tasks that require strong chemicals (that may splash) for another time.
- Designate a drawer, basket or container for hair brushes, scrunchies and barrettes.
- Put hair dryers, curling irons and hair straighteners out of sight when you are finished using them.
- Use baking soda to clean the kitchen cabinets and counters. The stove and refrigerator will come out sparkling. Baking soda is a mild abrasive, so check for wear on “soft” paints and varnishes.
- Do a quick mop or floor wipe-down daily, to make it easier to do your weekly mop.
- If you use a dishwasher, load dishes as you use them. Don't allow your sink to become full of dishes.
- If you have pets, especially those that shed, use a hand held vacuum or sweeper to suck up animal hair before sweeping. Sweeping doesn't collect animal hair; it simply moves it around.
- Change your kitchen cleaning rag regularly. Be sure to rinse and wring it out well after each use and hang it to dry, to discourage bacterial growth and an awful smell.
- Toss your dish cleaning sponge into the dishwasher on the top rack.
- Play "Beat the Clock" by setting a timer for 15 minutes. See how much you can accomplish in this amount of time.
- When you clean for 10 or 15 minutes, as opposed to an hour or more, cleaning doesn't seem overwhelming. Turn some music on and do this a few times a day so everything gets done. Choose CD's instead of the radio to keep you on track. No commercial interruptions makes it easier to keep the beat while cleaning.
- Keep a supply of cleaning products in each bathroom and in the kitchen. Store these in a bucket or basket with a handle, to make it easy to pick up and set down as you clean.
- When you are cleaning windows, if not using the streak-free squeegee, wipe up and down on the inside and back and forth on the outside. If there are any streaks you will be able to see which side needs to be redone.
- Clean all rooms from top to bottom and left to right. This method makes it difficult to miss anything.
- Keep a stock of small bags in the same room as the cat litter box. Whenever the box needs scooping the bags are right there. No need to go get one.
- Keep a few extra trash bags in the bottom of your trash cans. When you pull out the full bag, a new bag will be waiting for you.
- Save time and aggravation by connecting a long extension cord to your vacuum cleaner. You can vacuum your entire house (or one floor if you have multiple levels) without having to unplug it for each room. If the kitchen, for example, is the center of your house, use a kitchen outlet to reach all of your rooms.
- Keep a supply of cotton swabs in your cleaning supplies. There is always some corner that your rag or sponge won't reach, such as that "gunk" that gets around the edge of the bathroom sink. Cotton swabs are small enough to get that job done.
- Do It Now! Put things back, rinse out that dirty dish, put shoes where they belong, and so on. When you think to yourself, "I'll do that later" you may find yourself in a panic later when you are running behind and so many things are not done.
- Throw a load of clothes into the washing machine before you start the coffee pot. Set a timer so you won't forget to put them in the dryer.
- Put in a load of laundry or run the dishwasher while cleaning other areas of the house. You will have accomplished more in a shorter period of time.
- Empty the sink, wash dirty dishes and wipe it all down. Getting up to dirty dishes is always unpleasant.
- Before heading off to bed at night, check that the bathroom has towels hung and that toothbrushes are put away. Give the sink a quick wipe down.
- Do a five-minute sweep of the living room. Grab a basket and pick up any stray toys, laundry, dishes and reading materials. Put them away, or at the very least, gather them all in a basket for tomorrow's clean up.
© Amanda Formaro