Clean+Chaos Posts

First, I want to thank every visitor for the amazing turnout during the first two days of my launch! So far, one request has stood out from the rest: “Give me a top to bottom cleaning plan!” I’ve heard you loud and clear! We have one coming down the pike shortly, but before you create an efficient top-to-bottom cleaning plan, you have to do one important thing.

ORGANIZE

Organization does NOT mean everything is always in place. All organization means is everything HAS a place.

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Mail, shoes, toys, stuffed animals, cleaners, toiletries, medications, magazines, books, etc. just need to have a home. Everyone can organize based on what makes sense to them.

I like to group items based on where I use them. Shoes always coming off in the living room and not the doorway? Put a shoe bin where it’s most conveniently accessible. Do your kids have a problem with not putting away trash upstairs? Put a trash can in every room to encourage them throwing it away. Laundry piles out of control? Put a hamper wherever your family tends to shed layers. Organize using sensible tactics for your family. And have fun doing it! Go to the container store, or Ikea, or Big Lots, ha! Get on Pinterest and build your own boxes!

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But if you want cleaning to be easier, items in your home need to have a home of their own. That way you’re not spending double the time picking things up. Think of ways to gather the chaos off the counter, off the floor and out of the way. Expose your house so we can get cleaning!

 

Cleaning Efficiency Organizing

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Why is it that with young children holidays can be anything but a vacation? Recently, Ben and I were out with the boys for a Saturday brunch and, of course, we are scarfing our food and guzzling our coffee to get home for their critical nap time. While hauling our boys, bags, car seats, etc in the parking lot (queue: Home Alone family running in airport), I heard a college student say to her friend, “Ok, I think I’ll go nap for a while, maybe lay out, and then head over to your house before we go out tonight.”

My jaw dropped. Was my life ever that laid back and free? What in the world did I do with so much time to myself? I spent the tear-filled car ride home day-dreaming about what I would do if I had a full day to myself. So. many. wonderful thoughts. It must be said  that our two boys make this new life far richer and more wonderful than a million personal days. Still, it’s true, I am not in a season of relaxation or personal freedom.

Our Memorial Day weekend was filled with a trip to the grandparents (and all the chaos that goes with packing up and heading out), visiting with family, and having a Monday morning meltdown. It’s 3 pm on this holiday, and it’s the first moment I’ve sat down since 5:55 am this morning. After getting the boys calmed down, fed, and in a happier state, the toddler gently pours out the entire cup of hot coffee onto the white carpet. Fabulous, son. My first thought? “Ben, take a picture for the blog!”

So, here you go, folks. The wonder of Sol-u-mel.

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Cleaning Parenting Stress

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Who really has time to dust? Who really wants to dust? No one. But who loves for their home to be free of the evil white coating? Surely I’m not the only one.

With all dusting, to do it well, always think ” top to bottom.” Start with a long duster to reach ceiling vents, fan blades, curtain rods, tops of book shelves, etc and just work your way down the room. In essence, you can clean in such an order: ceiling, crown molding, fan, chandeliers, window blinds, wall decor and bookshelves, TV, pictures, lamps, furniture and then baseboards. I love the Swiffer for dusting and Method Dusting Polish for cleaning wood and furniture.

Areas people forget or neglect to dust: lamp shades, light bulbs, molding, stair well baseboards and high corners, furniture legs, window ledges, tops of outlets and light switch frames, tissue paper holders, inside door frames, etc. Sadly the possible areas to dust are endless. Thankfully, we don’t have to lose out life to it.

The key to Fast and Easy Dusting, though, is regular maintenance. I spend less than ten minutes every week dusting. The trick is to have some things you dust when you do the semi-weekly house cleaning (book shelves, table tops, dressers, etc), and at other times spend five minutes here and there getting fans, baseboards, windows, light fixtures, etc. Sometimes the easiest way to start is just to dust when you see dust! You don’t have to get it all under control immediately. My goal is not to have my entire house completely dusted at one time. My goal is just to not have a house covered in dust. Progress, not perfection.

Cleaning Efficiency

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Cleanliness is a lifestyle. It’s true. Having a clean home is like having a clean body. Some people get in the trap of eating unhealthy food and neglecting exercise, only to get so fed up with themselves at some point that they try to detox, diet, purge the pantry of garbage, and run their first mile in six months. Only problem is, they revert to old habits quickly instead of adopting a new lifestyle.

My husband dropped over 50 lbs a year ago and has maintained it successfully, easily, and with great pleasure. Not by dieting, not by extreme exercising. Not by constant mental battle to do something he doesn’t want to do. He read a lot, learned a lot, and made a lifestyle change. He changed a few key factors in his daily life, stuck to them, and now eats as much as he wants, enjoys his food more, feels better, happier, and never wishes for an “off” day.

The trick to keeping a home clean (yes, even in the midst of babies, work, and unending chaos) is adopting a new lifestyle, a new perspective. When cleaning becomes a small part of our daily routine, it’s much less daunting and much more realistic to tackle. There are so many facets of our life of which we lack control. There are so many areas that we work at only to see the fruit of down the road. Cleaning is not like that. Cleaning promises instant satisfaction, instant fruit of labor, and it’s something in which we can gain expertise and efficiency!

Of course there are moments we can’t control it ALL, for sure. Perfection isn’t our goal. Good stewardship, good habits, and progress is our goal.

There are tasks that can be done daily, weekly, and seasonally that will help us stay on top of maintaining a clean home. I will be posting cleaning schedules to encourage the adoption of frequent cleaning habits. In the meantime, think of cleaning as you would healthy eating. The first step in any lifestyle change is altering our mindset!

Cleaning

Parsley Plus, Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel, Meyer's Clean Day All-Purpose Cleaner, Great Value Natural Multisurface Cleaner, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Swiffer Duster
Clean home must-haves!

These are a few indispensable cleaning products that I use everyday at home and in my professional cleaning service. I have more, but these are some essentials to have in a kid-friendly, kid-messy home.

Why I love them:

  • Parsley Plus – This stuff is less than $1.50 at Wal-Mart and it’s amazing. Safe, natural, fragrant, and cleans counter tops and wood really well. I am not the biggest parsley fan when it comes to food, but I adore the smell of this cleaner.
  • Melaleuca’s Sol-U-Mel – Melaleuca is a great company that you have a membership with to purchase their products. Sol-u-mel is a wonder cleaner that I refuse to run out of. It can basically clean anything you want. It’s a teatree oil based stain remover. You can use in laundry, dilute and use on carpet, on walls, etc. I’ve even cleaned white leather furniture with it! It is also a fantastic deoderizer. Car mildew smell? Clay in white carpet? Grungy couch cushion covers? This stuff is your solution. (If you want to get in touch with an awesome Melaleuca rep, let me know!!)
  • Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner – This stuff is the strongest smelling cleaner that I will use. But their cleaners smell like you’re in a garden. Honestly. Lavender. Lemon Verbena. They’re heavenly. It comes in concentrate and you can dilute in spray bottles or use for mopping floors.
  • Great Value Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner – Okay. Believe it or not, Parsley Plus and this Great Value cleaner are the ONLY reasons I go to Wal-Mart. This super cheap cleaner is one of my all-time faves. It is corn, potato, and coconut based. It is 100% non-toxic and non-poisonous and has no smell whatsoever, which is great if you clean all the time. It cleans perfectly, without leaving streaks. I even clean glass and mirrors with it, stainless too!
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – Yep, they’re magic. I never clean a bathroom without a magic eraser. They are superb at cleaning sinks and tubs, especially fiber glass tubs. They’re also great for cleaning doors (you know how it gets grungy around door knobs from dirt and oil), and kids’ art work off of walls. But bathrooms? Never go to clean a bathroom without one. And I always splurge for the thicker bathroom version. Definitely more durable.
  • Swiffer Duster –  Swiffer is one of the greatest inventions to ever hit the shelves . . . says a professional house cleaner. I have said many times that I need to purchase stock in them. They’re easy, work well, and you can toss them when they’re filthy. Not to mention the design of them allows for you to get in all kinds of corners, heights, and narrow spaces.

Cleaning