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Keeping a Clean Home, Part 3: My personal cleaning routines

Here is how I manage to keep the house clean. It's simple, really:

Stay home.

Be productive. (I.e., Work hard.)

Want the final details? Here you go! :)

First, I stay home a lot. I go out one morning for a couple hours to run errands and go grocery shopping. Only going shopping once a week saves a lot of money, by the way! I also go out one morning for a couple hours to teach some music lessons. I spend most of my days at home. Don't ask me how someone can manage housekeeping, cooking, homeschooling, and family time when they're away from home all day and out every evening. Going away a lot (for me) means last-minute meals and not much time for schooling, cleaning, or playtime with the children.

Secondly, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to put forth effort and work hard to be productive. Working fast (without compromising the quality of work!) is one of the best ways to fit cleaning into my day. If I work slowly, it could take all day and night.

If you've already read "Keeping a Clean Home, Part 1: How I simplify my cleaning tasks" and "Keeping a Clean Home, Part 2: Motivation ideas", then feel free to glean from my personal cleaning routines and practices. I'm sure they won't all work perfectly for your home, which is why this is the last and least important post in this "series"! :) Also, when reading about how I clean, keep in mind that we only have two small children. I'm sure my methods will change as the years pass! :)

Dishes

We don't have a dishwasher, and I usually do a fair amount of cooking (from scratch) each day, so even though we have a small family, there is usually a reasonable amount of dishes to be done.

I always wash dishes at least once a day. If I need a particular dish, or have an extra moment, I might wash them more than just once during the day. (For example, if guests are coming, I try to have all the dishes washed before they arrive!)

Regardless, I try to have every last dish washed before I go to bed. I leave the dishes to drain in the dish drainer on the counter, and put them away the next morning when they're dry. I very rarely towel-dry dishes. Often, I even stack clean rinsed dishes in one of the sinks to air dry, when the drainer has reached its limit! :)

Floors

We have both carpet and linoleum (and concrete, on the enclosed porch!) floors. I use my Dust Buster daily around the kitchen table, after each meal.

Once a week, I vacuum all the floors in the whole house. I remove and shake out rugs before I vacuum. I mop the linoleum and then replace the rugs (I use a "Ready Mop"). With the use of the hand-held Dust Buster (and an occasional spot-mop), I am able to just do the floors once a week, unless something majorly drastic happens! Our floors don't show the dirt, we have a small family, and we keep our shoes out of the house.

Bathrooms

We have one bathroom, and I clean it thoroughly once a week. I do the floor when I do the rest of the floors. I clean the sink, counter top, and toilet (bowl and outside). I usually clean the shower, though sometimes I'll skip a week on that. If the bathroom looks dirty before a week is up (it usually does!) I'll do some quick-cleaning (using a cleaning cloth and some vinegar or something mild) to hold it over.

Laundry

I wash full loads of laundry, and sort by whites and darks. I also have loads of work clothes and cloth diapers. I was diapers every 2-3 days. I wash work clothes every 3 work-days. I wash bed sheets every 3 weeks or so. I hang most of my laundry outside or on a wooden rack in the house to dry. In the summer, I can do several loads in one day. In the winter, I do about one load per day, just whenever the last load is dry. I have a no-nonsense approach to stains and pre-treating laundry. 

Dusting

Dusting is my least favorite task! I "try" to dust once a week. I do the whole house at once. Usually we have someone over that often, and so I get it done. If no one's coming over, I skip the dusting! I use a Swiffer cloth to dust. I usually wash the cloths and re-use them.

Cleaning windows, vacuming spider webs, or other infrequent tasks

I do things like cleaning the windows, sweeping the garage, washing walls, vacuuming spider webs, etc. just whenever I see they need done. Usually it goes something like this: I notice that there are spider webs around the kitchen walls/ceiling. I make a note to vacuum spider webs. In the next week or so, I make time to do it.

Housekeeping Blues: They attack me sometimes, and as long as I'm not chronically overwhelmed, this is how I beat them! 

Note: I am a one-day housecleaner. One day each week, I spend a couple hours cleaning. I do little things each day, but all the major stuff (vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) is done at once. I have tried schedules where I would clean the bathroom one day, vacuum the next, dust the next, etc. I just constantly felt like I was behind. I like having the house complately cleaned and then relaxing for a few days. I think that's just my personality. Something entirely different might work for you! :)

Comments

amyd's picture

Ready Mop

What do you do about your Ready Mop refills? I found some of the pads at a Dollar Tree store, they are a different brand but you can get six of them for a dollar, that's way cheaper than buying the others! For the cleaner, i just refill the bottle with regular floor cleaner (not the waxy stuff though).

Tammy's picture

Hi, Amy! Thanks for your

Hi, Amy! Thanks for your comment! :)

I use washcloths for the mop re-fill pads, and just launder them with my other whites. :) I never thought of looking at a Dollar store! 6/$1 is much better than 2/$1 for the name brand ones! :)

I've Enjoyed...

Tammy,

I've enjoyed your posts on decluttering and cleaning. Well, actually, I enjoy all of your posts. :)

I love the freeing feeling that comes with decluttering. It is so true that the less we have, the less there is to clean.

Lilyofthevalley's picture

starting from 3 to 1 :)

Ok, I'm starting at the end, but I just wanted to say good post. :) I have one major cleaning day too and then the rest of the time if I see something needs attention, I'll do a quick cleaning there. :) We have a central vac, so that comes out at least once a day. :) Dishwasher I do have, but I still have dishes that won't fit or can't be washed in dishwasher drying in the dishrack.

~Tanya

Tammy's picture

Thanks, Frugal Homemaker and

Thanks, Frugal Homemaker and Tanya! :)

I think central vac would be handy! My parents have that. :)

Need help with cleaning...

Any one have an idea about how to clean mold? I have light mold on the ceiling of my bathroom. I have done the opening the window with showers and all but we still get some light mold on the ceiling. When we first got the house I used one of those swiffer brushes and it seemed to get rid of some of it, but it came back. I just recently tried my "Mr.Clean mop thing with the two types of towels" and it just seemed to move the mold around ( don't waste your money on this thing, I should have known better!) . The paint on the ceiling is a non gloss, flat white paint.
I have to get it cleaned basically kill the mold so it does not come back and then I can repaint the ceiling to seal it. But it is January and I am not painting in the middle of winter!!!! Any idea's on how to clean this?
Thanks!
Sue

We had that problem in an

We had that problem in an apartment that we lived in. We diluted bleach in water then scrubbed the molded areas with a sponge soaked in the mixture and then mostly wrung out. It helped get rid of the mold and the stain that it left behind.

Hope that helps!

Gwen's picture

Vent fan

We had the same problem in our old bathroom. Flat paint (which is porous and allows the mold to root in deeply) and no ventelation were not a good combo.

We did use the bleach solution to keep it under control, but it will come back. My hubby repainted last fall with a gloss paint, and that seemed to have fixed it. We did an undercoat with a primer that had a mold inhibitor.

Long term, I think the most important factor is allowing your bathroom to air out after showers so the humidity can clear. A vent fan that vents to the outside or just opening a window will help a lot with this.

I also trimmed the bottom 'hem' off of my plastic liner to allow the water to drain all the way off. The hem would trap water and allow mold to grow.

-Gwen

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? –Milton Berle

THANK YOU!

Tammy, thank you SO MUCH for posting your cleaning schedule, and indeed, for the other two posts in the "series." I have to admit that I am a perfectionist who likes to learn...not always a good combination. I will read one Godly woman's book on housekeeping/homemaking, and assume that to be Godly, I must do what she says exactly as she says it. Then I pick up another, and get in more bondage to boxes and rules that GOD HIMSELF did not lay out for me. Eventually, I break under the pressure and cry out, completely overwhelmed.

After one such "meltdown," during which I held up a book I was currently reading and said, "I can't be this woman!", my husband took the book from my hand, prepared to throw it out. He wants me to learn to be Godly as it should look in STEPHANIE'S life, not exactly as it looks in other women's lives. But I'd never read about housecleaning from someone who has a relaxed (vigilant, but relaxed) view of it, as you do. The way you described things is pretty much exactly the way I do them, except that I don't schedule all my cleaning in one day, but I often let it go and do it all in one day. It sounds so silly to say this, but I now feel free to clean the way I clean, and not feel burdened because I'm not cleaning the bathroom three times a day or whatever.

I just want to say THANK YOU - your willingness to share has lifted a burden from my shoulders that has been there for all 5 years of my marriage. May God bless your part in ministering to my soul (and sanity!).

Sincerely,
Stephanie (www.vangorden-vm.blogspot.com)

Tammy's picture

Stephanie, you're quite

Stephanie, you're quite welcome! :) Thanks for commenting! :)

I think one of the great things about a Godly marriage is that serving our husbands frees us from the pressure of being "everybody else". I know it's a relief to me when I can just relax and focus on what's important to my husband and what works for our home, rather than seeking out the newest plan or "best" way of doing everything! :)

Reply to Sue...

Sue,

We have mold problems in our bathroom & bedroom, (5 people in a medium sized bedroom, with an insulation problem in the outside corner, I think)... like on windows and corners. We just have to use bleach on the moldy spots about once a year, and that seems to keep it under control. Wear old clothes when working with the bleach, and open the windows (leave them open for a little while after) to ventilate the room!

~Marissa

thanks for the help.... one question....

Thanks for the help... but do either of you know if the bleach will damage the wall board that is what the ceiling is made of?
How much do you dilute the bleach? 2-1 or 3-1?
Or should I just use it straight? I just do not want to ruin my ceilings...
thanks again for all the advice!
God Bless!

Sue

Great post Tammy. I really

Great post Tammy. I really enjoy reading your blog. I have one major cleaning day each week as well. The rest of the week I do light cleaning/organizing. My upstairs bathroom usually needs to be cleaned about twice a week. My grocery shopping/errands happen one day a week for only a couple hours as well. This works well for me right now. I watch my two young nephews three days a week, sometimes home and other times at my sisters home. My heart is home though, and that's where I prefer to be most of the time. I feel so blessed to have this time(before children) to focus on making a home for my husband and I, and to learn the ins and outs of housekeeping. I look forward to reading more tips! Love, Samantha

Tammy's picture

Thank you, Samantha :)  

Thank you, Samantha :)

 

Sue's question

Sue,
I know a couple ladies suggested a bleach water mixture to remedy the mold, and that's exactly what we did in our basement. One more suggestion is to make sure your bathroom is well ventilated. Before we installed a bathroom fan that was powerful enough to ventilate our bigger upstairs bathroom we had alot of condensation and paint flaking on our ceiling and walls. If you don't have a bathroom fan that is an option and if you do than make sure it is working well. God bless!

Tammy's picture

Mold issues

Thanks for all the helpful ideas on mold. I am not an expert when it comes to mold!

We have a tiny bathroom that is very air-tight (no fan). Even a warm BATH with the door closed makes the mirror and window get all steamy. A shower with the door OPEN does the same thing, and a shower with the door CLOSED puts condensation in the sink and counter. :|

And to add to that, our shower unit is more of a make-shift remodel job where someone put panels around an old bath tub and caulked the cracks. We constantly have mold issues with the cracks.

I scrub with straight bleach every now and then. I hate doing that! I wear old clothes and rinse it well. I usually make sure I do this right after the children have had baths, and then we take a few showers before giving them baths in there again after the bleach, because I'm paranoid about bleach!

Some of the mold stays, but I think it might just be staining. Supposedly bleach will kill the mold. But I was also reading that you shouldn't use bleach to kill mold on wood. I think that was at a website about mold problems after flooding in your house.

Occasionally we'll get a little mold around our windows, and I use bleach + water to clean it. Oh, the joys of living in an older house! :)

Cleaning product for tub

What cleaning products do you use to clean your bathtub (not the mold)?

I spray the tub down with

I spray the tub down with vinegar, then sprinkle baking soda around. Depending on the build-up I'll scrub with a sponge immediately or let it sit for a bit, refresh with a spritz of vinegar then scrub.

Sue: bleach use on mold

Sorry, Sue... We dilute the bleach to about 10% bleach and 90% water. We haven't noticed any damage to the paint or anything, but we have semi-gloss paint.

keeping a clean home, part 3

I use the bleach on my bathroom walls and ceiling too...when you do go to repaint you can use a product called Kilz..{there is other brand also that does the same thing. } Tell them at your paint store you need a product to keep mold away and to cover up the old stains. Kilz is thick and will cover water stains and such and made so the stain it will not bleed back through the new paint.

Kilz and mold

I use to work in a paint department in Southern Illinois. The humidity down there made it difficult for any oil based paint to dry. The reason I note that is that Kilz has two kinds of paint. Kilz is usually in a red can and is oil based, but Kilz 2 is in a blue can and is water based. Too many of my clients opted for the water based because is dried faster. The problem there is that Kilz 2 does not do the same for mold that Kilz does. Kilz is amazing and I am in no way affiliated with them, but I thought I would warn you because many of my clients came back upset that the Kilz 2 didn't work.

cleaning routines

i have a cleaning routine everyday. in the morning after i have gave my son his breakfast and he is washed and dressed i get myself ready. then about 8.30 i clean the whole bathroom such as bath, sink, windowframe, bleach toilet, wipe toilet, clean mirror, new towels and wash floor.i do that everyday!!!!! then i do my sons room. then my room. polish all rooms upstairs everyday. then i clean the ballister rail down the stairs and the skirtin boards. then my kitchen gets cleaned. then my sitting room. which i have wooden floors. throughout the day i will repeat this and i have my own routine as to how i clean. i wipe the sides from left to right working my way around the kitchen. if it doesnt get done then i feel uncomfortable and cant rest till its done in a certain way. i dont like my partner cleaning the kitchen as i have to know if its done in my own way. silly me but i cant help it!! lol

Thank you so much

I just want to thank you so much for your blog! I am new to being a stay at home mom and I feel that I disappoint my husband because his mom never worked and always had a spotless home. My mother worked full time and then some when I was growing up so as long as I can walk through the house it doesn't seem messy to me. I actually googled "motivation to clean my house" and I got your blog. I appreciate everything you wrote. I plan on bookmarking this page because I already feel motivated to clean my house and it is 1:33 a.m. right now! I am not at home though because my husband works nights and my washer and dryer are broken so I brought all of our laundry to my parent's house. I am really tired but I want to stay up and get it done so I can be home in the morning when my husband gets off work. Anyways, thank you so much for your wonderful advise!

preventive cleaning

As a mom with my sixth on the way and a husband who travels frequently with work, I have more than a handful of cleaning demands. I make use of the moment to get tasks done before they get out of control. As soon as I clear the kids out of the bathroom after tub time,I use a wet towel to wipe down the sinks, tub, shower walls, and floor, being sure to get back behind the potty and under the sink skirt. If I do this I don't have to "clean" the baths more than once a week or so. Each time we fix a meal, we wipe the counters, sink, and stove surface down afterwards and dishes go right in the machine(we rewash breakfast plates and use the same cups all day). After lunch I have the oldest kids sweep under the table and wipe down the seats if they are messy. I like to be the one to clean up before bed, though, b/c I don't want any crumbs left for overnight creepy crawlies! We use a big rug and a shoe basket at the door to cut down on dirt tracked in the house. Laundry is an everyday affair but one load a day will keep it under control.Dust is easier to handle if I wipe things down a few times a week-but we have removed most nicknacks and useless clutter b/c I too hate to dust! I bought a lambswool duster that is washable and works great and also a few dollar store microfiber cloths to toss in the machine. Oh, and my guilty indulgence is the swiffer mop every day or so-cleans quickly and smells good. Homeschool clutter piles up fast so we use a file cabinet where the kids put their work everyday and a big bookcase and a dresser with labeled drawers. If we put it away right away, it does't get out of control. Clutter is one of the worst things to make a house feel dirty. I also keep cleaning supplies where I need them-glass cleaner and comet in the bath cabinet, etc. Being conscious of what needs to be done keeps me from doing major cleaning. With my system, I can devote about an hour a week to big jobs like vaccuuming and toilets and once a month to do all the windows and ceiling fans and such. It doesn't sound like it, but I really don't like to clean!

"Don't ask me how someone

"Don't ask me how someone can manage housekeeping, cooking, homeschooling, and family time when they're away from home all day and out every evening. Going away a lot (for me) means last-minute meals and not much time for schooling, cleaning, or playtime with the children."

Believe it or not, this has helped me the most! I homeschool my 3 kids and I often feel guilty feeling like I have to be like other homeschool moms that brag about how much they are out of the house doing all the activities with various homeschool groups. I always wonder how they can keep a clean house, cook, and homeschool while still being so active. I've tried that and all I feel is overwhelmed! Then I find out that their husbands help with the cooking and cleaning. I personally don't feel like I'm doing my job if my husband has to cook and clean after working all day, BUT I know there are some husbands that actually enjoy it! Just goes to show that we cannot compare our family with others, we have to find what works for us. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only mom who feels like the best place for me is at home :)

5 minute bathroom clean-up

i got this tip from a friend and its a life saver. first as you go in remove the trashcan and set it right outside the door with in reach and then drop a denture cleaning tab in the toilet, then do the mirrors. next wipe down sink and faucet with a lysol wipe or natural ones if thats what you use. then wipe down the outside of the toilet with another wipe and brush the denture cleaner in the toilet. lastly wipe down the floors with another wipe. pitch it all in the trashcan empty that and you are done

Help with clingy toddler and cleaning

Currently, and for the last 6+ months since my 18 months has been mobile, I can't load the dishwasher without him climbing on the door. I tell him "no," pull him off, and a couple of times, I put him our spare bedroom (nearby) and closed the door so that I could take 60 seconds to finish the dishes! (I felt awful.) I try to save the dishes for when he naps, but I would prefer to do the dishes right after meals. I don't like hand washing and just want to use the dishwasher when possible. My daughter did not have this problem (she's 3). Also, my son has a lot of separation anxiety, so I can't load/unload the dishwasher, do laundry, or clean the bathroom and just let him play with toys/see a movie in another room. I walk away, and he cries. Sometimes, I hold him, othertimes, I just need to take care of laundry and have to let him cry. I don't know what to do. It is soooo frustrating to not be able to clean when my son is awake, and sometimes when he naps, I just need a break myself (or spend time w/my daughter).

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