Cleaning House

If you are starting from the basics, totally overwhelmed, and don't know where to begin on keeping your house clean, here are some tips:

~ Make a Morning routine and an Evening routine-                                          
 Here are 2 samples of my own personal routines:                                                                                   Morning Routine:                                                                                                                     
* Wake up 7AM, read Bible, pray for the day, get myself ready, make my bed                                  
*Get kids dressed, help them make their beds                                                                                   
* Make Breakfast (fill sink with soapy water, clean up as I cook)                                                      
* Check Calendar and Note board on fridge                                                                                    
* Sort and Wash laundry(I'm a SAHM, so I gather up all the dirty laundry in the AM from everywhere in the house and throw it all in one laundry basket and pick a color and do that load-just one load a day-unless more is needed. I dry and fold it all in the afternoon and put it away.)                                
* Quick check e-mail, make to do list(while I eat breakfast), check daily schedule planner                      
*5-minute room rescue(taken from  pick a room that needs tiddying up, 5-minutes max put everything away.

Evening Routine:                                                                                                                           
* Make sure sink is shining (                                  
* Wash face, remove make-up(sad to say I haven't been in that habit my whole life, just learning it now)                                                                                                                                              
* Do a general, quick pick up around the house; putting things back where they belong
*Check Menu Planner to pull out meat to defrost, or soak beans, sprout(rinse), dehydrate, etc.
*Put out hot spot "fire" ( hot spot is an area in your home, or each room, where clutter tends to collect, i.e. desk, Kichen counter, hall closet, etc. Take time to put away the things in one of your hot spots.

(Put each routine in it's own page protector, tape it to your bed room wall, or stick it in a 3-ringed binder. Buy wet erase markers and use them to check off each step of your routine...wipe it clean the next day and use again to check off)

~Work on routines and at the same time PURGE!!!                                                                             
Go through each room of your house, little by little(take a whole month off from cleaning, if you have to, and just organize instead---declutter. You can't clean clutter---I learned that from the FLYlady). A fantastic  method (seriously) and guide to declutter is found here:                           

~Once you have your routines down pat and you've decluttered your house, it's time to make a few schedules!!! A daily schedule would be nice, a weekly schedule can be lovely, a menu planner for dinners for a whole week takes the hard part of out cooking, and a zone cleaning list keeps your house peaceful. (Zone cleaning is from, basically you break your house up into 5 cleaning zones and each month you take one week to tackle one zone, it really works!!!) Look below at the Intermediate Cleaners for all the lists.

    For those of you who are good at cleaning and can keep up on the house fairly successfully, but need some fresh ideas and maybe a more structured system. 

     Lists will become your best friend, if you are an anti-list maker...God bless your little soul, and quit reading this now, because I'm about to give you a rump load of lists! :)

    You will need (1) a Weekly checklist of cleaning(I put mine in a schedule format). You'll also need (2) a daily schedule, (3) a monthly goal list, (4) a Menu Planner, and (5) several zone check-off lists.

    You will want to stick each of your lists in their own page protectors and place them in a 3-ringed binder or on your fridge, a wet erase and a fine tip dry erase marker to check off your lists and to write in your weekly changing dinners. 

    These are what mine look like and you can use them as a template to write in your own life needs.

    1) Weekly Checklist of Cleaning and Schedule:
        I used Microsoft Excel to write a simple schedule out, but I don't know how to paste it on here. So I'll type everything out for ya.
    Day of Rest, Write letters and cards, Dinner:___________
    Clean out fridge, Plan next meal menu, water plants, do 15-30 minutes "Zone" cleaning, Dinner:___________
    Tuesday- Errands Day
    *Grocery Shop
    *Drop items off (friend's house, goodwill, post office, etc)
    *Mail Box(we have a PO BOX in addition to our home address)
    Empty all trash in house, put out trash cans PM, Dinner:________________
    Deep Clean:
    *Sweep and Mop
    *Sweep front and back porch
    *Clean Bathroom

     Laundry Day:
    *Wash rugs(when needed)
    *Wash curtains(when needed)
    *Re-organize bedroom closets and wardrobes(when needed)
    *Mend and Iron clothes/linens
    *Polish/wash/powder shoes
    *Straighten up laundry area
    *Change bed sheets(when needed)
    *Catch up on any excess loads of laundry
    Clean windows
    Purge magazine and mail
    File Papers
    Enter receipts and balance "checkbook"(all my finances are organized amazingly in a computer program my husband wrote...)
    Clean out purse
    Clean out car
    Odd jobs
    Yard work, mowing, picking up toys and misc items misplaced outside
    Finish Zone work for the week
    Finish any projects(refurbishing an old chair, etc)

    2) Daily Schedule:

    8AM-Children wake up, eat breakfast(clean as I cook it), get dressed, make bed, brush teeth(some of my morning routine has already been done by this point)
    9AM- Chores~kids help~(whatever needs to get done from my weekly cleaning schedule(#1 list)
    10AM-quick break for snacks and drinks and running around
    11AM-Games with the kids until Lunch
    12PM-Lunch, clean up lunch
    12:45PM- Exercise Time, some kind of activity for the kids to get out their energy, and Yoga for mom
    1:30PM-Nap time for the baby princess, and story/school time for the boys
    3:30PM- snack time and kids play on own while mom starts dinner
    5:30-Dinner, kids hangout with Daddy(while mom cleans up dinner)
    7:00-Bath time for kids
    7:30-Kids have story time while in their own beds...Dad reads or tells a story, then lights out.

    3) Monthly Goals(update each month--I put it on the bottom of the same page as my daily schedule)

    These are my goals for April 2010:

    Organize Garage
    Landscape Front Yard
    Petition Fisher's Landing School
    Complete Menu Planning booklet
    Get Finances in Order (check) (just finished that a couple days ago, good feeling!)

    4) Menu Planner (See my Meal Planning page)

    What I cooked this week:

    Monday: Potato Soup
    Tuesday: Tacos
    Wednesday: Savory Rice loaf
    Thrusday: Scallions and Beans, with buttered whole wheat tortillas
    Friday: Creamy veggie turkey and spinach-cheddar cornbread
    Saturday: Spaghetti

    5) Zone Checkoff lists: 
    (put each list in it's own page protector, keep it in a 3-ringed binder or tape it to the inside cabinet door, closet door, or bookshelf  of the room the zone is in. Buy a wet erase marker to write on the page protector with. Supply dates next to the chore accomplished in each may not get to that chore again in 3's ok...if an item on the zone list is accomplished 2x a year, you're doing good!!!!)

    My Zones---(In one month, you should have 4-5 weeks. Each week you need to work the according zone. Week 1, work on zone 1; week 2, work on zone 2 and so on)

    Zone 1 (Garage, Front Porch and Front Entry)
    *Clean cobwebs
    *Clean outside entry windows and windows on front door
    *Wipe down garage doors of dirt and fingerprints
    *Clean switch plates and walls of handprints
    *Weed front porch area and trim bushes
    *Wipe off light fixtures
    *Get rid of unwanted items(esp. in garage)
    *Wash outside cement paths and driveway

    Zone 2 Kitchen and Dining area(I don't have a dining room, so it's all in one for us)
    *Empty refridgerator and clean throughly
    *Clean stove and oven
    *Wash inside windows
    *Straighten drawers and cupboards
    *Wipe fingerprints off walls and cabinets(inside and out)
    *Clean light fixtures
    *Sweep and Mop
    *Clean soap scum around and under sink
    *Wash french doors
    *Wash baseboards
    *Clean switch plates and doorknobs(sanitize)

    Zone3 Bathroom and Master Bedroom
    *Sweep and Mop
    *Straighten cabinet shelves
    *Deep scrub shower and tub
    *Clean out medicine cabinet(throw away empty/exp. items)
    *Clean fan and light fixtures
    *Put away all clutter left out
    *Deep clean sink and toilet
    *Wash shower curtain
    *Wash mirror
    *Wash walls and baseboards
    *Clean doorknobs and light switch plates
    Master Bedroom-
    *Clean cobwebs
    *Vacuum and Shampoo carpets(when needed)
    *Clean off night stands
    *Polish Hopeschest
    *Wash mattress pad
    *Flip mattress
    *Wash window and curtains(when needed)
    *Dust baseboards and wipe walls
    *Take unneeded items out

    Zone 4 Kids' Bedrooms
    *Clean cobwebs
    * Dust windowsills and wash windows
    *Clean light fixtures and fan
    *Clean doors, walls, and baseboards of fingerprints
    *Wipe switchplates and knobs
    *Vacuum and Shampoo (when needed)
    *Change bedding
    * Take out unneeded items

    Zone 5 Living-room (most week 5's are cut short in the month...the living room usually doesn't require as much attention)
    *Clean cobwebs
    *Clean windows
    *Straighten bookshelf
    *Dust ornaments and decor
    *Wipe fingerprints off walls
    *Wash baseboards
    *Sweep and Mop
    * Clean light fixtures and fan
    *Clean switch plates and knobs

    And there you have it...I am not perfect in my cleaning, but this system seems to work well for me when I'm not being lazy and actually following it. It can be overwhelming at first, but after awhile you get the hang of it and it's so nice!!!

    Some cleaning supplies and tips:

    ~Lifetree makes amazing "green", safe-for-kids, products for cleaning as well as bathing. I use their bathroom cleaner, and shower gel. It's around $12 for a whole gallon. sells it and some healthfood stores. It's a very consentrated formula so a tiny bit goes a LONG way. 1 gallon could last 6mon-1year.

    ~Baking Soda will remove any stains inside toilets with a little-to a lot- of elbow grease. Alka seltizer is suppose to work too, it hasn't yet for me...

    ~White Vinegar is cheap and great to clean with, dilute with water and stick in a spray bottle.

    ~Bleach wipes are not eco-friendly and they are expensive, but, to me, they are worth it. Especially when you're potty training toddlers. I use bleach wipes continually. I use them when my kids pee on the bathroom floor or just to wipe out the bathroom sink more than once a week(which is how often I fully clean my bathroom).