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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Housework shortcuts

So, I'm not really one of those women who keeps a super clean house. And I don't really want to be. Because that would mean that I was spending a lot of time cleaning, which I really dislike. I prefer to use my homemaking skills in more creative endeavors. But the house has to be cleaned, so I look for every shortcut that I can find.

Here's my tip for cleaning my large porcelain kitchen sink, at the same time that I get my dishrag and dishtowel white. I have a bunch of white dishrags and towels. I bought a couple of the large packs at Target a couple of years ago. Once a week, I choose the dingiest washrag and dish towel and lay them flat in the bottom of my kitchen sink. I then spray the rag/towel covered sink down with a multipurpose cleaner that contains bleach (it's Target's Up and Up brand all-purpose spray cleaner, but there are others on the market, that's just the one I use). I let the saturated rag/towel stay in the sink for a couple of hours, until looking bleached. Then I lightly wring them out and add to a load of white laundry to be washed, and give the sink a good rinsing. My sink is clean and one washrag and one dish towel look white again.

Help me out here. What do you do to minimize your housework?


  1. I keep a sink full of hot, soapy water as I'm cooking and wash dishes (and counters) as I cook. It prevents the depressing stack of dirty dishes in the sink when I'm done cooking.


    1. Hi Angie,
      That is so great! I need to remember to do this more often. You're right, it is depressing to see all the dirty bowls, pots/pans, utensils, etc, when you're dog-tired from cooking/baking and everything else! Good reminder.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. As with Anonymous above, my mom taught me to "clean as you go". It does help! When I was a child and asked mom why I had to make my bed since it got un-made every night, her response was that the biggest object in most bedrooms was the bed and if that looked clean, the whole room looked neater as a result. For some reason that made a big impression on me. Like you, Lili, I'm not a white-glove kind of a housekeeper (more of a "good enough! one) but I find if I do regular maintenance, it isn't so overwhelming.

    This summer I am teaching my children more cleaning skills so I can (hopefully!) hand off tasks as they get older! Is this wishful thinking????

    1. Hi Kris,
      I hadn't thought of it that way, the bed as being the visual centerpiece and why making it everyday makes the room seem tidier. I will use this with my kids (and myself on those days when I wonder "why bother").

      And having my kids pitch in is not just a time and work saver for me, but also they've developed a bit of discipline concerning housekeeping (not always, but some). This summer my two daughters are doing dinner one night a week. I tell you, I feel like a queen on Tuesday afternoons! Good luck! And keep in mind that kids often love to do the things we adults can't stand any longer, cleaning toilets and dusting (especially if a feather duster is involved) being two of those odd things in my house.
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Here are a couple of thoughts for parents with babies/toddlers/preschoolers--food is eaten and crafts are performed at the table. Easier to clean up. Minimizes carpet/upholstery stains. Also, consider investing in a sofa/chair cover (such as the brand SureFit). Stomach bugs and baby spit-up never hit when kids are by easily cleaned surfaces. Nope. My sofa has been baptized by both of my kids as well as my niece. Scotch Guard is another option but I had mommy-fog-brain and remembering to reapply it yearly (or whatever the recommended time frame was) just wasn't going to happen. When your kids outgrow this stage (and they will!) your upholstery will thank you for it.

    1. I know, our sofa suffered more "trauma" in the first 3 years of our son's life than in the following 21 years! We didn't think to get a slipcover for it, until it was too late for the original upholstery. I had to re-upholster it myself one year, and kept it well-covered for several years after that job. And definitely, having kids stay at the table for meals and snacks as well as messy crafts will save a lot of headaches. Good suggestions!

  4. I definitely am in the clean as you go camp. My secret is to just make myself complete one thing before going on to the next. Sometimes just picking the worst thing in the room (sort of like the made bed thing) and getting it done motivates me to keep going and if not then at least that thing is finished.

    My favorite short cut -- I love to soak in the tub, so I take a cloth with me for scrubbing the tub and I keep an old toothbrush near the tub. Sounds odd, but if I take a few minutes and wipe everything down pretty much daily it never has to be scrubbed "hard."

    1. Hi Shara,
      I've done the picking the worst thing in the room before, too. Sometimes I just have to get myself started, and this will do it. And as you said, how great to be able to look at that one area that had been a mess and see it so clean.
      I love your shortcut for cleaning the tub. I'll have to remember that. (And my bath tub gets quite a bit of use from me -- it's my think tank!) I do something similar with the bathroom sink. I change out the hand towels every other day (everything seems mildewy here for a good part of the year).When I grab the hand towel for laundry, I swipe it over the bathroom sink. It means that at the end of the week I just have to do a quick spray down and wipe clean, instead of scrubbing with cleanser.
      Thanks for commenting!

  5. I'm not a natural housekeeper and as fast as I tidy and clean the house it seems to untidy and unclean itself; sometimes I just have to make a contract with myself to behave like a paid cleaner for a couple of hours...i.e. if I paid a real cleaner, I wouldn't let her interrupt her cleaning to check her blog and emails, drink a cup of tea or get side tracked by all the lovely reading material that she's tidying up...this method sometimes works but not always!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      That's a really great insight/idea! Could you imagine if you did pay a cleaning lady and she regularly plopped herself on your sofa to read your magazines, then sat at your desk for a spell to check her email and do a little blog surfing? Next, she'd venture into the kitchen to fix herself a cup of tea and a cookie. It sounds so far beyond ridiculous. And I suppose that if I thought of myself as "on the clock" I could accomplish more in less time. That's a terrific way to think about cleaning.
      Thanks for your input! Next big cleaning day I will try this with myself.



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