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Help me have a sparkling home.

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I don't know how to be a homemaker.

 

Meaning: I can tidy up clutter, I can vacuum and dust, I can get rid of junk, I can keep the kitchen counters and sink/stove/fridge clean, I can clean the toilet and sink in the bathroom...

 

...but I have never once washed all the windows in this house (lived here for 13 years.). I have never washed the baseboards, unless we were painting a room. I cleaned behind the stove once (because we painted the kitchen). I have never taken a feather duster and gotten rid of spiderwebs, but I have seen my dh do that a couple of times.

 

So...I can keep the house from being a health hazard superficially, but I don't know how to keep it looking really clean and sparkling, especially in the hidden areas like behind the stove. And I'm finally at the point where I want to do that. I want to have one of those houses where you walk in and everything is super clean--even the baseboards. And lots of people have houses like that, so I know it's possible.

 

When I was childless, my dh and I spent every minute possible out of the house. We were at work, volunteering at church, or hanging out with friends in restaurants. Then I had little kids and I stayed at home and wished my house sparkled, but I could never get a handle on it because they were little and needy.

 

But now the kids are older (12 and 14), and summer is coming up so I'll have free time, and it's time for the boys and me to figure out how to care for a home. They're big enough to be a big help and their personalitities are such that they will help me with a bit of encouragment (and bribery).

 

But I don't know exactly what to do and when. There are some things that have been mentioned on cleaning threads that I didn't even know were supposed to be done or didn't know how often to do them.

 

 

Questions: What is the best way to:

 

1. Figure out what even needs to be done to maintain the interior of a home so that it is sparkling clean. I'd like a huge specific list. I love lists. No, I cannot just look around and "see" what needs to be done. That's my problem. :). What, exactly, down to the tiniest of chores, does it take to have a sparkling home?

 

2. Figure out when/how often to do what needs to be done. For example, do I clean behind the fridge once a week? Once a month? Twice a year?

 

3. Get a schedule/routine going to get this stuff done. Use a program like Flylady? Motivated Moms (I think that's what's it's called)? Make my own? What's a good strategy for getting all the jobs done so we're not cleaning 8 hours a day every day.

 

Any other tips?

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You can find some good master lists in Martha Stewart books and in her website. She suggests frequency too. Browse that section of your library? I do like the FlyLady system, and there's an app called Home Routines that's similar. In FlyLady you have a daily and weekly routine, and then spend 15-30 minutes every day doing a detail cleaning task, like baseboards, ceiling fans, grout, windows, etc. Or you could go with the spring cleaning/fall cleaning idea. Another system I like is deep cleaning one room every few weeks, behind everything, ceiling baseboard windows.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Wow, that's very ambitious. Obviously I am not the person who can offer much help as I am excited when the floors are clean.

Some of those "Housekeeping" books will probably have schedules for what should be done when.

 

I wish I had the energy, the time and the back to do it.

 

http://www.thelostartofhousecleaning.com/

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Hire cleaning out and let them worry about it - not worth the trouble, LOL.

Edited by reefgazer
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I have had such a house, but I don't now. Routine is your best friend. Flylady is probably your best bet.

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Motivated Moms has an app for that.

 

I am not that person, nor will I ever be. My only hope is the future development of house robots.

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I tried to do this maybe once a year, in the summer, when the kids were outside for much of the day.  I'd do one room at a time, starting in a corner.  No real organization apart from that.  After one room is done, you are inspired to do another.

 

 

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maybe some glitter paint?

Maybe invite a SparklyUnicorn to come live with you ;)

 

I am not a good housekeeper. I don't mind. As long as the house is clean and tidy I am ok with it. Some people have a knack for it while others have gifts for other things.

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The book Home Comforts, The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson is a very thorough treatment of the subject. It covers everything!

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Maybe invite a SparklyUnicorn to come live with you ;)

 

I am not a good housekeeper. I don't mind. As long as the house is clean and tidy I am ok with it. Some people have a knack for it while others have gifts for other things.

 

Maybe...but this unicorn definitely flunks in the homemaking dept.  LOL

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I grew up in such a house.  I felt like a failure as a homemaker for many years as an adult.  LOL

My advice, is that if your house is clean like that it's great and fine and wonderful, but don't make your kids miserable about it.

I do know people my age that have houses like that.

Most of them stay up to midnight or later each day to accomplish this.

Some of them might be beyond what you are talking about, such as all clothes ironed and hanging in closet facing the same way. Vacuuming behind all furniture weekly, baseboards, ceiling fans, light fixtures etc are all perfect all the time.  

 

I think it's more sane to hire out that type of cleaning.

I know some people hire out cleaning and then also go behind the cleaner and do all the details that they want to be perfect.

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My house is never sparkling clean, so I have no advice about that. I did get something new to clean windows, though, that I absolutely love. It is the E-cloth window cleaning pack. It gets the windows clean quickly and easily just using water. I can do my whole house - 18 windows plus doors - in about two hours. That isn't doing screens and sills, just inside and outside windows. ETA: I use several sets of the cloths.

Edited by Meriwether
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I think I would hire someone outside help to get it the way I wanted so that I could just maintain it afterwards. It's a really big endeavor without some help. My sister is the way you describe and she spends a lot of time cleaning. I have no desire to be that way.

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The Flylady program has been very helpful for me. I tweak it to suit my needs, but the concept of zone cleaning is so helpful, I think. I can't stand all the emails, so I go directly to her site and get what I need.

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You know what I just did?  I hired a housekeeper for two full days of deep cleaning.  I got so behind I just despaired of catching up.  It was about $500 but now I have a clean slate and can at least keep on top of the daily stuff.  I'll probably have her come in from time to time, but honestly, getting over that hump was impossible for me.  There are too many *other* things that need to be done that I can't hire done...going through my stuff, getting rid of old things, running them to their ultimate destinations, having lunch with friends,going to weddings, graduations, church, etc.  But now I can keep up, mostly.

 

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I have a question.

How do you all rinse after cleaning?

If I use a lot of soap on the floor or counters, I don't really know how to get it off.  It always seems to end up having a smeared appearance, and sometimes even a tacky feel; so much so that I tend to clean with water more than I probably should  I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know this, but I don't.

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I have a question.

How do you all rinse after cleaning?

If I use a lot of soap on the floor or counters, I don't really know how to get it off. It always seems to end up having a smeared appearance, and sometimes even a tacky feel; so much so that I tend to clean with water more than I probably should I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know this, but I don't.

I use products that do not contain soap, because it's too hard to get off. Pinesol is my favorite. Just vinegar and water will work. These things evaporate. Soap doesn't.

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Buy glitter. Let the children use it. Voila! Your home will sparkle! This is the only way my home ever sparkles.

Edited by Janeway
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Read this! It's funny. It has lists. It's easy to implement as a team. Things like baseboards will come up on a regular rotation and not be forgotten.

 

It's been over a decade since I read it. They bro ably have it on kindle or as an app now, but is really appreciated that the system was screen-free. You also learn and record how long the job takes so you can more realistically schedule your gleaning time later. Some of the jobs I tend to put off really only take 5 minutes.

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I like How Jen Does It on YouTube. Her system is similar to Flylady but was easier for me to adapt to my needs. Here's a good video to get started:

 

 

 

 

ETA: I also like the Regularly app. You add tasks and set how often they should be done and it arranges the tasks by urgency so I always know what should be done next!

Edited by melbotoast
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I like How Jen Does It on YouTube. Her system is similar to Flylady but was easier for me to adapt to my needs. Here's a good video to get started:

 

 

ETA: I also like the Regularly app. You add tasks and set how often they should be done and it arranges the tasks by urgency so I always know what should be done next!

She has TEN pillows on her bed. I cannot relate to someone with TEN bed pillows.

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She has TEN pillows on her bed. I cannot relate to someone with TEN bed pillows.

:rofl: Yeah, that is one of the things I do NOT do.

Edited by melbotoast
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The book Home Comforts, The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson is a very thorough treatment of the subject. It covers everything!

I liked this one so much, I bought it. (I am better at reading about housekeeping than actually doing the housekeeping). I am trying to do this too. The kids are older and I would love for my house to be more restful.

 

Flylady is great and many people love it. It is based on Sidetracked Home Executives. I tried it for a really long time, until I read Home Comforts and it dawned on me that FL went completely against my personality and that I needed to work with who I am. I am not someone who works on something for 15 min. and then goes to another thing for 15 min.......

 

I am a project person.

 

I have not arrived, but I know that routines and working through deep cleaning one space at a time is helping. It seems like each time I deep clean I get rid of more stuff, organize better, get a decorative thing or solve a clutter issue. 

I am far from a clean house, but it is a little better.

 

I did steal my original deep cleaning lists from FL I think, but they have long-since been modified completely and I have more than 6 areas of my home so I don't bother focusing on each one for a specific amount of time. I just go through one at a time until they are done.

 

Ideally, I would then start again right away. In reality that doesn't happen.

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Can we get a show of hands if you know HOW to clean but get behind because you just don't wanna? Or if your standards of cleanliness were completely warped in the military and you know you'll never get it clean enough with the manpower at your disposal?

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Confession: I have a home like this. I don't have any outside help. I used to, but my house just wasn't getting as clean as I like, so now I do it. 

 

I've read every book mentioned, plus a couple  dozen more, lol, mostly because I like cleaning / home keeping books. They're relaxing for me.  :huh:

 

I prefer daily tasks plus zone cleaning. Several of the books mentioned can give you the basics of that: FlyLady (her original book), Sidetracked Home Executives (I like their original book, as well.) Also the youtube channel linked above, How Jen Does It. She's one of my favorites. All of those include info on zone cleaning. 

 

If you don't know what sorts of tasks to do in your zones, then those listed above will help. You can start there, and as you get better at it, you'll see things to add that are specific to your house and family.

 

So here's an example since you mentioned windows. This week, my zone is the main kitchen and hearth room. That means, in addition to keeping up with my usual routines that include basic cleaning, I spent a little time doing the baseboards, the light fixtures, the underneath parts of the table, etc. as well as cleaning the windows in my kitchen and hearth room only. I went out onto the porch and did the glass on the outside of my sliding door and also the walk-out porch door. The other windows, baseboards, light fixtures will get done when it's time for their zone. I don't clean the insides of light fixtures until the bulbs need changed, only the outside. 

 

FlyLady insists that everyone only has 5 zones, so that each zone gets done each month, but my house is huge, so I have more. That means that I will only be doing the detailed type of cleaning in each zone every 2 months, which is fine for my house. She also says not to spend more than 15-30 minutes in your zone. Also, if you have a lot of clutter, just work on getting rid of things in each zone, then start cleaning after you've decluttered.

 

If you've never read Home Comforts, it's definitely worth your time. I love, love, love that book!

 

Here are a few others I've enjoyed:

Bonnie's Household Organizer

Confessions of an Organized Homemaker

Unstuff Your Life

Is There Life After Housework? (this one changed the way I do several things)

Clutter's Last Stand

 

I definitely don't want to spend a huge amount of time cleaning, but I'm aware that I spend more time on it than most. Part of that is the size of my house, but part of it is that it's worth it to me. 

 

I'm not sure why it matters to me, but I've always been this way. And while other people walk in and think my house is "perfect", in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about the things I'd like to improve upon. That's actually a tendency I'd like to get rid of. It's a nagging perfectionism that is just part of my personality.  :glare:

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I grew up in a home that was rarely ever cleaned and my husband also grew up in a home that was/is never cleaned. So, when I got married I really had no clue how to keep a home, decorate, clean, or even cook. I feel like the past twelve years or so has been a long but interesting journey in learning all this stuff. I so wish my mom had taught me some of this stuff as it would have saved me a lot of time. Anyway, I don't know if any of this will help you but I feel like I have FINALLY figured out how to have a clean and sparkling home. (Plus, currently our house is on the market so I need to keep it sparkling. And, boy, do I love having a clean house so very much.)

 

I have read a ton of books on this and I have found that I really just have to find something that works for me. I mean I learned SO much from other people but when I tried to do their system in my home with my kids I just ended up feeling frustrated. Anyway, here are some things that helped me:

 

- First of all, get rid of any clutter or things you aren't using. It is hard to clean if you have too much stuff or piles of stuff around. I used to keep so much stuff out of guilt, because someone gave it to me, or because "I might need it one day". I still do keep stuff that "I might need one day" but it is stuff that I have been brutal with myself and realized I will actually use it as opposed to "I think I might use it" or "I wish that I might have the time someday to use this". Although this is personal- I have a TON of books which some people might see as clutter.  I also had a whole bunch of kitchen gadgets that people have given me and I never used. So, I kept all the books and got rid of all the kitchen stuff. The point is to not have stuff you aren't using taking up the space that the stuff you actually use needs to go. I really like this 3

 

- Have some sort of daily, weekly, monthly, biennial plan- The secret to making cleaning easy is to do it often. That way you are just wiping up any mess from the last time you wiped instead of trying to chisel crud off because you haven't cleaned it recently (some time this century or ever). My in-laws house is like this- they all dread cleaning because when they do it is a huge massive project to scrape or scrub whatever because it has been left so long. Even something as simple as dusting takes forever because they have like a quarter inch of dust built up (things look taller!) and they have to wipe and wipe and wipe until it all is gone as it makes mud with the first few wipes. In contrast, my dusting is a simple wipe or brush with my duster once a week. It takes just a few minutes to dust my whole house. When I vacuum every other week I get the brush and quickly go over my baseboards and they are always nice and clean. The Home Comforts book talks about this and it is so helpful. Make a list or routine for yourself that you do daily, weekly, monthly, and twice a year. It helped me to "tie" these things onto routines or habits I already have. So, daily I have things like laundry, dishes, make beds, daily pickup, etc. My daily items are just the routine I need to do everyday. For weekly work, I have broken my house into groups for each day. Monday I clean bedrooms, Tuesdays I clean bathrooms, Wednesdays I clean the main living areas, Thursdays I clean the kitchen, Fridays is Misc. day where I have a specific list I do like clean out the van, wash windows, or declutter an area or whatever needs work. I don't have anything scheduled for Saturdays or Sundays. So, for the weekly work I have about a half hour in the middle of the day when the littles are napping, the olders are working on their independent school stuff, and I can do my weekly work for that day. My monthly and biennial stuff I will schedule for specific days. That is part of the reason I left Fridays more open is that I can schedule a big project like tidying the basement or moving the fridge and oven to clean behind. I made a list of monthly projects and a list of biennial projects and I go down the list and schedule them for when I can.

 

- It really helps if you establish a routine for yourself because after a while it becomes so easy because you just automatically do it instead of having to think about it or decide or plan something (decision fatigue). So, for example, I have a morning routine which includes getting myself ready, Bible/prayer, making my bed, and a very quick tidy of my bedroom. Then I have "tied" a lot of my daily chores to meals because I always have to make meals. So, right after or while breakfast is cooking I unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. I do the same with lunch and dinner- laundry and dishes are tied to cooking. Our quick tidy of the house is also tied to dinner. When I start cooking (usually around 4 or 4:30) the kids start to be picking up the house. After breakfast the kids make their beds and do a quick tidy of their rooms. "Hanging" our daily chores to something we already have set in stone (meals) really helped me to stick with it and get things done. I also try to clean as I cook which helps with kitchen tidying. I run a little soap and hot water in the sink so that as I am cooking I can just plop in the dirty dishes and then just throw them into the dishwasher after a meal. No rinsing required.

 

- Invest in good quality tools- cleaning/taking care of your home is part of your job so treat it like one and try to find good quality tools that help you or make it more pleasurable for you. For example, I had a cheap broom that I used daily for sweeping my wood floors. The floors never seemed to be clean and I realized my cheap broom was causing the problems by leaving dirt behind. I asked for a beautiful horse hair German one for Christmas one year and it has made sweeping such a pleasure and it picks up the finest dust. Plus, I have had it for five years now and it is still brand new looking and I used to go through two cheap brooms per year. I also love the smell of Mrs. Meyers (the concentrate that you dilute lasts forever- I use one capful per regular spray bottle and it cleans wonderfully) and homemade orange/vinegar cleaner (can't use this on some surfaces due to the acid). Cleaning with those is so very pleasant because they smell so nice. Anyway, find nice good quality tools that work for you. I mean you don't want to have a million cleaning gadgets but finding a few good quality (whether purchased or homemade) products that work for you will make a ton of difference.

 

- Make sure everything has a specific spot where it goes and then always put it back when you are done. I found that I was the worse offender in my house because I get busy or distracted with something else and then I forget. (Mom, can you help me? Mom- the baby is drawing on the walls! :) ) The best is if you can get every single space organized in your house. I just did this a few months ago because we were putting our house on the market and WOW it is so very, very nice. Tidying up is so much easier and I just LOVE having everything be so pretty and tidy. I want to live like this all the time.

 

- Use tiny bits of time. Get yourself into the mindset to always be picking things up or wiping something when you notice it. Walking by a door and notice dirty smudge marks?- wipe it right that second. Go into the bathroom and notice TP on the floor?- pick it up right then. It takes just seconds but it makes such a difference. Now, when I am talking on the phone I walk around my house and do all these little details. Whenever you are going to another room, pick up something in the room you just left to be put away. Also, have an area where you put all the stuff to go upstairs/downstairs and then take it with you when you go. The area that was the worst for me was our van. By the time I got the kids home and unloaded plus any groceries and kid stuff, I was always so exhausted and would leave any bits of trash or cracker or whatever. Pretty soon my van was a crummy pile of trash and gunk. So gross. Then I realized if I just took those ten or so second to quickly pick up any bit of trash the van stayed relatively clean and nice. And cleaning it out on Fridays was not such a huge chore and I stopped dreading it.

 

- Notice trouble areas and figure out a way to make it more organized or work better for you. Clutter begets more clutter. If you notice pile build-ups, figure out what is causing that and devise a solution to make it. I just noticed this with my van and need some sort of organization in there.

 

I hope this helps some. I feel like I have a lot more to say but I need to go do some of my cleaning and school stuff.

 

P.S. I recently found Clutterbug on YouTube and have been enjoying her videos.

Edited by 4Kiddos
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No suggestions.  I wanted to wish you luck on your journey.  I am a flylady drop out.  Although the one thing that stuck is my sink always shines when I go to bed at night.

 

I simply hate cleaning.  I love the results of cleaning.  I don't want to live in filth.  I do weekly cleaning but in depth make my home sparkle-in the spring and the fall.  There are so many other things I would rather be doing.  I think my biggest challenge to a sparkling home-I live with a bunch of packrats.  When ds left for college I discovered that he was one of the larger contributors.  My house was much easier to keep close to sparkling.

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I grew up in a home that was rarely ever cleaned and my husband also grew up in a home that was/is never cleaned. So, when I got married I really had no clue how to keep a home, decorate, clean, or even cook. I feel like the past twelve years or so has been a long but interesting journey in learning all this stuff. I so wish my mom had taught me some of this stuff as it would have saved me a lot of time. Anyway, I don't know if any of this will help you but I feel like I have FINALLY figured out how to have a clean and sparkling home. (Plus, currently our house is on the market so I need to keep it sparkling. And, boy, do I love having a clean house so very much.)

 

I have read a ton of books on this and I have found that I really just have to find something that works for me. I mean I learned SO much from other people but when I tried to do their system in my home with my kids I just ended up feeling frustrated. Anyway, here are some things that helped me:

 

- First of all, get rid of any clutter or things you aren't using. It is hard to clean if you have too much stuff or piles of stuff around. I used to keep so much stuff out of guilt, because someone gave it to me, or because "I might need it one day". I still do keep stuff that "I might need one day" but it is stuff that I have been brutal with myself and realized I will actually use it as opposed to "I think I might use it" or "I wish that I might have the time someday to use this". Although this is personal- I have a TON of books which some people might see as clutter.  I also had a whole bunch of kitchen gadgets that people have given me and I never used. So, I kept all the books and got rid of all the kitchen stuff. The point is to not have stuff you aren't using taking up the space that the stuff you actually use needs to go. I really like this 3

 

- Have some sort of daily, weekly, monthly, biennial plan- The secret to making cleaning easy is to do it often. That way you are just wiping up any mess from the last time you wiped instead of trying to chisel crud off because you haven't cleaned it recently (some time this century or ever). My in-laws house is like this- they all dread cleaning because when they do it is a huge massive project to scrape or scrub whatever because it has been left so long. Even something as simple as dusting takes forever because they have like a quarter inch of dust built up (things look taller!) and they have to wipe and wipe and wipe until it all is gone as it makes mud with the first few wipes. In contrast, my dusting is a simple wipe or brush with my duster once a week. It takes just a few minutes to dust my whole house. When I vacuum every other week I get the brush and quickly go over my baseboards and they are always nice and clean. The Home Comforts book talks about this and it is so helpful. Make a list or routine for yourself that you do daily, weekly, monthly, and twice a year. It helped me to "tie" these things onto routines or habits I already have. So, daily I have things like laundry, dishes, make beds, daily pickup, etc. My daily items are just the routine I need to do everyday. For weekly work, I have broken my house into groups for each day. Monday I clean bedrooms, Tuesdays I clean bathrooms, Wednesdays I clean the main living areas, Thursdays I clean the kitchen, Fridays is Misc. day where I have a specific list I do like clean out the van, wash windows, or declutter an area or whatever needs work. I don't have anything scheduled for Saturdays or Sundays. So, for the weekly work I have about a half hour in the middle of the day when the littles are napping, the olders are working on their independent school stuff, and I can do my weekly work for that day. My monthly and biennial stuff I will schedule for specific days. That is part of the reason I left Fridays more open is that I can schedule a big project like tidying the basement or moving the fridge and oven to clean behind. I made a list of monthly projects and a list of biennial projects and I go down the list and schedule them for when I can.

 

- It really helps if you establish a routine for yourself because after a while it becomes so easy because you just automatically do it instead of having to think about it or decide or plan something (decision fatigue). So, for example, I have a morning routine which includes getting myself ready, Bible/prayer, making my bed, and a very quick tidy of my bedroom. Then I have "tied" a lot of my daily chores to meals because I always have to make meals. So, right after or while breakfast is cooking I unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. I do the same with lunch and dinner- laundry and dishes are tied to cooking. Our quick tidy of the house is also tied to dinner. When I start cooking (usually around 4 or 4:30) the kids start to be picking up the house. After breakfast the kids make their beds and do a quick tidy of their rooms. "Hanging" our daily chores to something we already have set in stone (meals) really helped me to stick with it and get things done. I also try to clean as I cook which helps with kitchen tidying. I run a little soap and hot water in the sink so that as I am cooking I can just plop in the dirty dishes and then just throw them into the dishwasher after a meal. No rinsing required.

 

- Invest in good quality tools- cleaning/taking care of your home is part of your job so treat it like one and try to find good quality tools that help you or make it more pleasurable for you. For example, I had a cheap broom that I used daily for sweeping my wood floors. The floors never seemed to be clean and I realized my cheap broom was causing the problems by leaving dirt behind. I asked for a beautiful horse hair German one for Christmas one year and it has made sweeping such a pleasure and it picks up the finest dust. Plus, I have had it for five years now and it is still brand new looking and I used to go through two cheap brooms per year. I also love the smell of Mrs. Meyers (the concentrate that you dilute lasts forever- I use one capful per regular spray bottle and it cleans wonderfully) and homemade orange/vinegar cleaner (can't use this on some surfaces due to the acid). Cleaning with those is so very pleasant because they smell so nice. Anyway, find nice good quality tools that work for you. I mean you don't want to have a million cleaning gadgets but finding a few good quality (whether purchased or homemade) products that work for you will make a ton of difference.

 

- Make sure everything has a specific spot where it goes and then always put it back when you are done. I found that I was the worse offender in my house because I get busy or distracted with something else and then I forget. (Mom, can you help me? Mom- the baby is drawing on the walls! :) ) The best is if you can get every single space organized in your house. I just did this a few months ago because we were putting our house on the market and WOW it is so very, very nice. Tidying up is so much easier and I just LOVE having everything be so pretty and tidy. I want to live like this all the time.

 

- Use tiny bits of time. Get yourself into the mindset to always be picking things up or wiping something when you notice it. Walking by a door and notice dirty smudge marks?- wipe it right that second. Go into the bathroom and notice TP on the floor?- pick it up right then. It takes just seconds but it makes such a difference. Now, when I am talking on the phone I walk around my house and do all these little details. Whenever you are going to another room, pick up something in the room you just left to be put away. Also, have an area where you put all the stuff to go upstairs/downstairs and then take it with you when you go. The area that was the worst for me was our van. By the time I got the kids home and unloaded plus any groceries and kid stuff, I was always so exhausted and would leave any bits of trash or cracker or whatever. Pretty soon my van was a crummy pile of trash and gunk. So gross. Then I realized if I just took those ten or so second to quickly pick up any bit of trash the van stayed relatively clean and nice. And cleaning it out on Fridays was not such a huge chore and I stopped dreading it.

 

- Notice trouble areas and figure out a way to make it more organized or work better for you. Clutter begets more clutter. If you notice pile build-ups, figure out what is causing that and devise a solution to make it. I just noticed this with my van and need some sort of organization in there.

 

I hope this helps some. I feel like I have a lot more to say but I need to go do some of my cleaning and school stuff.

 

P.S. I recently found Clutterbug on YouTube and have been enjoying her videos.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write all this out!  I appreciate it.  

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Confession: I have a home like this. I don't have any outside help. I used to, but my house just wasn't getting as clean as I like, so now I do it. 

 

I've read every book mentioned, plus a couple  dozen more, lol, mostly because I like cleaning / home keeping books. They're relaxing for me.  :huh:

 

I prefer daily tasks plus zone cleaning. Several of the books mentioned can give you the basics of that: FlyLady (her original book), Sidetracked Home Executives (I like their original book, as well.) Also the youtube channel linked above, How Jen Does It. She's one of my favorites. All of those include info on zone cleaning. 

 

If you don't know what sorts of tasks to do in your zones, then those listed above will help. You can start there, and as you get better at it, you'll see things to add that are specific to your house and family.

 

So here's an example since you mentioned windows. This week, my zone is the main kitchen and hearth room. That means, in addition to keeping up with my usual routines that include basic cleaning, I spent a little time doing the baseboards, the light fixtures, the underneath parts of the table, etc. as well as cleaning the windows in my kitchen and hearth room only. I went out onto the porch and did the glass on the outside of my sliding door and also the walk-out porch door. The other windows, baseboards, light fixtures will get done when it's time for their zone. I don't clean the insides of light fixtures until the bulbs need changed, only the outside. 

 

FlyLady insists that everyone only has 5 zones, so that each zone gets done each month, but my house is huge, so I have more. That means that I will only be doing the detailed type of cleaning in each zone every 2 months, which is fine for my house. She also says not to spend more than 15-30 minutes in your zone. Also, if you have a lot of clutter, just work on getting rid of things in each zone, then start cleaning after you've decluttered.

 

If you've never read Home Comforts, it's definitely worth your time. I love, love, love that book!

 

Here are a few others I've enjoyed:

Bonnie's Household Organizer

Confessions of an Organized Homemaker

Unstuff Your Life

Is There Life After Housework? (this one changed the way I do several things)

Clutter's Last Stand

 

I definitely don't want to spend a huge amount of time cleaning, but I'm aware that I spend more time on it than most. Part of that is the size of my house, but part of it is that it's worth it to me. 

 

I'm not sure why it matters to me, but I've always been this way. And while other people walk in and think my house is "perfect", in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about the things I'd like to improve upon. That's actually a tendency I'd like to get rid of. It's a nagging perfectionism that is just part of my personality.  :glare:

 

 

Thank for you for the list of books and what you've said.  I don't think I'll fall into the perfectionism trap, but I am tired of having dust piles in the corners of my rooms. 

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I liked this one so much, I bought it. (I am better at reading about housekeeping than actually doing the housekeeping). I am trying to do this too. The kids are older and I would love for my house to be more restful.

 

Flylady is great and many people love it. It is based on Sidetracked Home Executives. I tried it for a really long time, until I read Home Comforts and it dawned on me that FL went completely against my personality and that I needed to work with who I am. I am not someone who works on something for 15 min. and then goes to another thing for 15 min.......

 

I am a project person.

 

I have not arrived, but I know that routines and working through deep cleaning one space at a time is helping. It seems like each time I deep clean I get rid of more stuff, organize better, get a decorative thing or solve a clutter issue. 

I am far from a clean house, but it is a little better.

 

I did steal my original deep cleaning lists from FL I think, but they have long-since been modified completely and I have more than 6 areas of my home so I don't bother focusing on each one for a specific amount of time. I just go through one at a time until they are done.

 

Ideally, I would then start again right away. In reality that doesn't happen.

 

Yes, a few years ago, I was aaaalmost at Sparkling Clean.  I was about 2/3 of the way there, but it was just after a major declutter. 

 

And now the stuff has started accumulating again, so I'm pretty far from my Sparking Home goal..  My in-laws moved into a smaller house and my DH brought home a bunch of their stuff that they had to declutter.  But now my house is full of their old things and now my house is full of clutter.   The stuff DH brought home has no place to go in my house, so it's shoved behind doors and in corners.  I'm going to start my Sparking Home project by finding places for the things I want to keep and getting rid of what I don't.  

Edited by Garga

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So far, my plan involves a few steps:

 

#1.  Reading the above suggestions to get an overall picture of how this homemaking thing works.

 

#2.  While reading, I plan on decluttering and deep cleaning each room one by one.  I plan on spending about 4 hours a day on that throughout the summer. By the time the summer is over, the house should be deep cleaned and hopefully, I'll have a few routines in place before the craziness of the school year begins.  Summer for us will be 10 weeks.  

 

#3.  As I go through each room, decluttering and deep cleaning, I will also need to maintain the rooms that are done being deep cleaned.  For the maintaining, I will time how long each job takes.  How long does it take to wipe out the bathroom sink?  How long does it take to vacuum a room? 

 

I've had a conversation with my kids that goes roughly like this, "Put the dishes in the dishwasher away."  "That takes sooooo looooong!" "No it doesn't.  It takes like 7 minutes."  They remain unconvinced, and yet 7 minutes later they're done.

 

Unfortunately, I am just like my kids.  I tend to think a job will take either much longer than it does, or much shorter.  So I put off things that could be done in a snap because I don't think I have the time, or I get involved in something without enough time to complete the job and it's left half finished and is a mess.

 

#4.  As I work through this process, I hope to settle on a long-term routine that works for me.  Reading the different books and doing the work with these goals in mind should help me figure out what works best for me.  When school starts, I hope we'll have a plan in place.

 

 

Edited by Garga
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It sounds like you have a great plan!

 

How Jen Does It had a video series which includes decluttering & deep cleaning which might give you some ideas. Good luck!

 

 

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When I'm really lacking the motivation to clean, I watch an episode of Hoarders. It doesn't even take a full episode. Twenty minutes in and I'm fully charged to tackle the house. It works on my kids, too.  :thumbup:

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Questions: What is the best way to:

 

1. Figure out what even needs to be done to maintain the interior of a home so that it is sparkling clean. I'd like a huge specific list. I love lists. No, I cannot just look around and "see" what needs to be done. That's my problem. :). What, exactly, down to the tiniest of chores, does it take to have a sparkling home?

 

2. Figure out when/how often to do what needs to be done. For example, do I clean behind the fridge once a week? Once a month? Twice a year?

 

3. Get a schedule/routine going to get this stuff done. Use a program like Flylady? Motivated Moms (I think that's what's it's called)? Make my own? What's a good strategy for getting all the jobs done so we're not cleaning 8 hours a day every day.

 

Any other tips?

First, let me say, I have a pretty well-developed reputation for having a clean and well-organized home, which is maintained by myself and partially the kids (not hired help). BUT it is very rare that I clean places such as beind the fridge or under the couch cusions. It's just a lot of effort poured into something that has little or no visible results. (Caveat: if a family member had severe dust allergies or something like that, it would be different; I'm speaking strictly from the idea of how the house looks, since you said "sparkling clean" and not "hermetically sterile.")

 

Second, my house right at this exact moment in time is also way down the trail of neglect. There is too much going on right now for me to spend the time I want/need to spend on the details. I'm hoping to get on this by the end of June/early July, but it's just not happening right now. I'm looking around the room in which I am now sitting and, right off the bat, here are things I need to do:

*take all the gardening and plant materials out to the garage; sweep up bits of dirt and plants

*force all the family ancestry stuff my mom gave me to use into some sort of order and get it out of the piles, totes and shoeboxes stuffed in here

*off-load some successful plant cuttings that have grown into plants themselves but now I have too many

*catalogs, mail, books, knitting - all stuff that needs to be put into some order

Other general cleaning; trim and windowsills, ceiling fan.

 

Third, I like Don Aslett's books and his book Is There Life After Housework? does have the lists of what to do when you're asking for. Personally, I don't follow those kind of lists because they never jive with my own notions of what matters. Some things are also specific to what sort of materials are in a person's house; i.e., if you have white doors with panel insets, your house will look cleaner if you periodically clean dirty handprints off from around the handle and clean the dust out of the panel edges. If you have brown doors with no insets, well, then you maybe never need to clean the doors, unless it's to give you peace of mind about germs. (Doorknobs are very germy.)

 

Fourth, just to satisfy your deep love of lists, here, in no particular order, are some things that I pay a lot of attention to in my own home, beyond the obvious not having a dirty toilet or clean off the kitchen countertops:

 

*I clean my carpeted stairs in a specific way. I wisk dirt from the crease and then vacuum the treads with a hand vac. (I have a Shark.)

*Stair railings must be dusted often and any spider webs knocked out from there.

*I go around the house with a tall dusting wand about once a month or two and pull down any cobwebs from the corners of rooms where it meets the ceiling, crown moulding, fan blades, air returns, any high ledge or area like that. Recessed light cups, too.

*I clean off baseboards that are visible, and chair mouldings.

*I clean off any spots on the carpeted area.

*I empty the fridge once every one-two weeks and clean the shelves and put back the stuff I'm keeping. I have an order to how things go in the fridge; it is not a hodge-podge.

*I take everything off the front of the fridge once every 1-2 weeks and throw away/file anything unnecessary. I clean the fingerprints and put things back in a pleasing way. Sometimes I also clean the dust off the top, but not every time.

*I clean out my pantry about every 3 months, and my other closet that has cleaning supplies and other stuff (sunscreen, insect spray, etc.). I vacuum the dust bunnies from the bottom. I consolidate what is there if needed. I throw away stuff that is unneeded.

*I wisk all the fireplace wood debris every couple weeks in the winter. It just looks trashy if there are bits of wood where the firewood is. I also need to keep the ashes emptied because it activates my allergies.

 

Really, the biggest thing that keeps a house from appearing clean is clutter and excess stuff. You said you are good at this, so that is a great starting point.it's also just easier to clean something if there is 't a bunch of obstacles in the way.

 

Good luck!

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First, let me say, I have a pretty well-developed reputation for having a clean and well-organized home, which is maintained by myself and partially the kids (not hired help). BUT it is very rare that I clean places such as beind the fridge or under the couch cusions. It's just a lot of effort poured into something that has little or no visible results. (Caveat: if a family member had severe dust allergies or something like that, it would be different; I'm speaking strictly from the idea of how the house looks, since you said "sparkling clean" and not "hermetically sterile.")

 

Second, my house right at this exact moment in time is also way down the trail of neglect. There is too much going on right now for me to spend the time I want/need to spend on the details. I'm hoping to get on this by the end of June/early July, but it's just not happening right now. I'm looking around the room in which I am now sitting and, right off the bat, here are things I need to do:

*take all the gardening and plant materials out to the garage; sweep up bits of dirt and plants

*force all the family ancestry stuff my mom gave me to use into some sort of order and get it out of the piles, totes and shoeboxes stuffed in here

*off-load some successful plant cuttings that have grown into plants themselves but now I have too many

*catalogs, mail, books, knitting - all stuff that needs to be put into some order

Other general cleaning; trim and windowsills, ceiling fan.

 

Third, I like Don Aslett's books and his book Is There Life After Housework? does have the lists of what to do when you're asking for. Personally, I don't follow those kind of lists because they never jive with my own notions of what matters. Some things are also specific to what sort of materials are in a person's house; i.e., if you have white doors with panel insets, your house will look cleaner if you periodically clean dirty handprints off from around the handle and clean the dust out of the panel edges. If you have brown doors with no insets, well, then you maybe never need to clean the doors, unless it's to give you peace of mind about germs. (Doorknobs are very germy.)

 

Fourth, just to satisfy your deep love of lists, here, in no particular order, are some things that I pay a lot of attention to in my own home, beyond the obvious not having a dirty toilet or clean off the kitchen countertops:

 

*I clean my carpeted stairs in a specific way. I wisk dirt from the crease and then vacuum the treads with a hand vac. (I have a Shark.)

*Stair railings must be dusted often and any spider webs knocked out from there.

*I go around the house with a tall dusting wand about once a month or two and pull down any cobwebs from the corners of rooms where it meets the ceiling, crown moulding, fan blades, air returns, any high ledge or area like that. Recessed light cups, too.

*I clean off baseboards that are visible, and chair mouldings.

*I clean off any spots on the carpeted area.

*I empty the fridge once every one-two weeks and clean the shelves and put back the stuff I'm keeping. I have an order to how things go in the fridge; it is not a hodge-podge.

*I take everything off the front of the fridge once every 1-2 weeks and throw away/file anything unnecessary. I clean the fingerprints and put things back in a pleasing way. Sometimes I also clean the dust off the top, but not every time.

*I clean out my pantry about every 3 months, and my other closet that has cleaning supplies and other stuff (sunscreen, insect spray, etc.). I vacuum the dust bunnies from the bottom. I consolidate what is there if needed. I throw away stuff that is unneeded.

*I wisk all the fireplace wood debris every couple weeks in the winter. It just looks trashy if there are bits of wood where the firewood is. I also need to keep the ashes emptied because it activates my allergies.

 

Really, the biggest thing that keeps a house from appearing clean is clutter and excess stuff. You said you are good at this, so that is a great starting point.it's also just easier to clean something if there is 't a bunch of obstacles in the way.

 

Good luck!

Thank you for all the tips! I'm chomping at the bit to get the decluttering going, but it isn't going to happen until after the SAT II tests on June 3rd. And then on June 4th, I can get going. I'm looking forward to it. I'm tired of the clutter and stuff shoved in all the corners.

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Thanks to this thread I now have clean windows and I even cleaned the outside windowsills :hurray: . ( of course the twins missed out on some of their schoolwork for me to accomplish this feat :leaving: )

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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I just had to come back and say this was a great thread!! I have been happily absorbed in the A Slob Comes Clean podcast for the last two days and I just bought her book. I feel like I finally found someone realistic about things for someone like me, and all of the lightbulbs are coming on. I think a lot of this might even come in handy for my teen. I also got the Flylady app. It might get annoying after a while, but I like having a checklist on my phone. It's been good to get my off of my laptop and walking around getting stuff done while the kids are otherwise occupied, something I've long needed to do! 

 

thanks for the inspiration!! :) 

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Hire cleaning out and let them worry about it - not worth the trouble, LOL.

If only I could find someone who cleans as well as I do. 😕

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