Monday, June 18, 2012

The Queen of Clean

"Wow, you are like the Queen of Clean! How do you do it?"

This is one of the most frequently heard phrases and questions when people visit my home. It’s great. I’m incredibly proud of it; but not because I put in hours of hard work, but because it’s so simple and fun, but it LOOKS like I put in hours and hours (but who has time for that?!). But rest assured, my home was not always the put-together, clutter-free, squeaky clean home it is today! *gasp* Unbelievable, I know! If you want to know how to super clean your home, with almost no effort and in record breaking times, please, continue reading.

My BIGGEST tip is to do a 5 minute clean-up (you may need to make it longer depending on how much fun your kids have during the day) every day! My husband and I turn on the timer in our kitchen and then all chaos breaks out and we run around seeing who can put away the most things. It’s really fun racing to the last sock on the floor or the ball in the corner. I will admit that sometimes we have to reset the timer and actually pick-up because the first one turned into more of a game (tossing balls at each other, playing with nerf swords). I promise that doing this one little thing each day makes a big difference in the overall cleanliness of the house. For playrooms/play areas you might want to do it a couple of times a day for shorter time periods. The key is to make it quick and FUN!

Second tip; put a bin/basket where it seems that junk gathers. Not only does this make it feel a bit more organized, but if it is full, typically whatever was about to be put in there actually gets put away! Then at the end of the day, or whenever you pass by the bin, you can put the items that are in there away. Mainly, this just helps things like keys, mail, phones, and remotes from being scattered on counter-tops or laying around on the couch. 

Ok, so these first tips only handle clutter; but what about actual cleaning? Well, same idea! Growing up, my mom, sister, and I would play Cinderella and dress up, we’d dust and sing songs, get down on our hands and knees with rags and buckets and scrub the floor; it was GREAT! We had a blast and didn’t even know we were cleaning! So again, the key is to make it fun. For my brothers my mom gives them a “mission impossible”. The first part of the mission is pretty simple, and then the second one is a little harder, and the third part is the hardest (something like washing the sliding screen door); then they have to see how quickly they can complete it with a cap time of an hour. They run around like crazy and get everything done and have a blast while doing it.

For parents, try to have only one major task per day or per week. For me, dishes are a daily task, sweeping and laundry are every-other day tasks, and vacuuming is once per week. I have a calendar on my fridge with a color code for which day I do what. Then on the weekend there is a special code and it’s the MEGA chore of the week. For me the MEGA chores are: cleaning the bathrooms (tubs, toilets, sinks, and mirrors); scrubbing the floors (tile, wood, you name it); dusting the entire house (seriously every surface gets touched; so it’s a BIG chore, but kids are great at getting things that are their height and that means less bending over, reaching down, etc. so you only need to get the high stuff). The last weekend of the month can be a weekend off (I like to give myself one of these every once in a while); otherwise we do window washing (both inside and out; so this is a fun one in the summer for kids). Now, these are just the MEGA chores at my house, maybe the MEGA chore is cleaning out a storage closet, organizing your craft room, catching up on laundry, washing your car, or going through your pantry. Really, the MEGA chore can be just about anything! 

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Now, like I said I have a calendar on my fridge, and the to-do-list pesters me until I get it completed; this may not be the case for you, you may feel overwhelmed with the idea of one more thing to do in a day. If this is the case, start really small (like with the first two tips), then cleaning won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, you’ll enjoy it, and then it will get easier to work up to a more routine schedule. Truth be told, when I first started, doing the dishes was my MEGA chore for the week. Really, just pick a place and start, and soon enough you’ll be having a blast! The hardest part truly is starting. (If anyone has a solution for finding the motivation/courage/ability to just start doing something, please, share your tips because my weakness is running, I know it needs to get done, but I just can’t seem to get it done in a day). 

Anyhow, Happy Cleaning!
-The Queen of Clean

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