>> Friday, April 8, 2016
Skipping ahead of myself again to share something I've been meaning to write up for quite some time. Our cleaning routine! And the reason I've wanted to write about it but haven't is because we weren't in a good groove . . . and I thought posting would help push us in the right direction. Well, now that we've cleaned and cleared out in our minimalist efforts, everything is falling much better into place.
Here's how we approach cleaning our spaces, how often we clean what, and what things we tend to leave for longer periods of time. Note: I'm not slating this as some "best practices" kind of post. Just merely sharing what we do. I'd love to hear how you approach cleaning in your everyday life!
#1: The kitchen tends to be the busiest spot in our home. I typically cook most of our meals and snacks from scratch to help save money in the budget for other areas. As a result, I use my food processor, blender, stand mixer, slow cooker, and multiple pots and pans almost daily. Holy dishes! Cleaning the kitchen consists of getting the dishes through the washer and putting them away. Cleaning any kitchen tools we've used. Wiping up crumbs and grime from counter tops. Sweeping any big messes off the floor. This isn't a deep clean, it's simply to keep things running smoothly.
#2: Tidying up clutter. I run through the main areas of the house regularly throughout the day and attempt to keep whatever near its "right place." Ada's toys are the things that migrate around mostly. We have a few baskets in the living room to put blocks and a few other quiet toys in. Stuffed animals are her favorite, so I find them everywhere. It's not a big deal if they're around, but there's something so soothing about walking around the house at night and it's all clear for the next day.
Also: We've been getting Ada in on the task because we've put a metal bucket at the bottom of the stairs. In the evenings, we ask her to get anything that belongs in her room and put it in the bucket so we can put it back before bedtime.
#3: Paperwork. This is something new we've attempting to tackle every single day. We noticed that so much of the crap we've been stashing for far too long was junk mail and other documents that could be cleared out almost immediately. I don't know what our hangup was. Now I try to recycle junk mail and take care of other random papers coming into the house the day we receive them. It's a work in progress.
Every Other Day
#1: We vacuum the floor on the main level of the house just about every other day. A lot of this ends up being mess from eating in the dining room, cooking in the kitchen, or general crumbs and dirt from the outdoors.
#2: Laundry. I'd like to get on a better, less frequent schedule with washing laundry. Part of this battle has been paring down our wardrobes. Part of it has been being more patient if favorite clothes are soiled. I think we could be better at waiting longer between loads, but it seems like we're doing at least a few every other day. I wrote a whole article about how we should wash our clothes less often for Wisebread a few years ago, it's an interesting read!
#3: Recycling. We have a huge bin for recycling in our kitchen and we try to empty it into the garage bin about every other day. But here's the problem -- I don't know WHY we seem to have so many boxes, plastics, and other things going through the house. This should be a once a week thing in my opinion. I'm really trying to examine why we have so much packaging. BTW: Check out this great article about Surviving a Week of Zero-Waste Shopping. We have a lot of work we could do in this area. Oh, goals!
Once a Week
#1: Bathrooms. I feel like our bathrooms get so dirty so fast! We tend to give them a total clean once a week, consisting of cleaning the toilet, wiping down the sink (toothpaste + 4-year-old = ugh!), spritzing the mirrors, and clearing out any empty containers.
#2: We vacuum the basement carpet once a week. If it needs to be cleaned more often, we can't ever tell because it's all different shades of brown and masks things well. I would like to get a shampooer to give the thing a good wash a few times a year. Anyone rent or buy one and have experiences to share?
#3: We wash our paperless towel system once a week -- sometimes more if we've been using a lot of them.
#4: Bedrooms. I'll just tell you I don't make our bed every day. I probably make it once a week. I used to make it mostly daily, but since being pregnant, I crawl in and out on occasion -- so I figure, what's the point? Ada's bed is the same way because she's still napping. And as good as we are with washing our clothing, we are slow to put it away. This is something I'd like to work on because having calm, clean sleep spaces is important. They're not horrible, but I hate seeing laundry piles.
#5: Change sheets. I say weekly because that's what we usually do. But if I'm being totally honest, there are times when maybe two weeks go and we don't change the sheets. Still, I try to keep this a weekly thing. If I can remember to do it before bedtime, I'm golden. If I continue to stay up too late, it doesn't get done in a timely manner. Is that gross? Probably.
#6: Trash. I am surprised this doesn't go out more frequently. Somehow, we haven't had a ton of actual trash. It's more about the recycling. Of course, if something smells or is full, we take it out right away. But usually we do the bathroom bins once a week on trash night. The kitchen has been mostly once a week since we started composting. There are always exceptions to the rule, but -- yeah.
#1: So, we don't really vacuum upstairs all that often. It's a mix of being too lazy to take the vacuum up the stairs and the fact that we don't wear shoes or eat much up there, so there's less mess to contend with. I'd say we end up doing it every other week or every three weeks (is that awful? it's been working well for us!).
#2: I have this thing about cleaning our windows. I mean, most people I talk to don't worry about it but once a season. I really like to give ours a good scrub once a month or so. I think having plantation shutters also exposes more dust that needs to be cleaned. So, I use some homemade cleaners and spritz everything about once a month.
#3: Dusting. I feel kind of weird admitting that I don't like to dust, so I don't do it often. I mean, dust accumulates, but it never seems terribly overpowering to me. If if notice a lot of dust, I'll of course wipe it up. Otherwise, I'd say I don't dust more than once a month. I think that's one benefit of having less furniture, too!
#4: OK, so I do a surface cleaning of the kitchen every day and it keeps things sane for a while. I do a deep clean probably every three weeks to a month. Like wiping out and clearing out the refrigerator. Cleaning the (outside) of the stove. Digging into the pantries to see what's expired. That kind of stuff. In an ideal world, I'd do this weekly or every other week.
#5: Wiping down furniture. I clean off the dining set about once a month unless I see something on it from an afternoon art project. We also recently washed and conditioned our leather couch after about a year of letting it go. We should probably vacuum under couch cushions more regularly. And one area I'm always embarrassed about? Underneath our bed. I don't know how so many clothes, toys, dust bunnies, etc. end up there . . . but they do, in droves.
#6: Closets. As we've gotten rid of more, we've needed to clean our closets far less often. Only a few sets of sheets helps with the linen closet. Fewer clothes means less mess in our bedroom closets. The worst closet in the house, though, is in the craft room. When I say we're mostly done with our leaning out, it's because the office/craft room is still a mishmash of things. We're working on it, and I hope to do a before/after really soon!
So, that's our general cleaning schedule. I have probably forgotten something major and you've all wondering WHY I don't clean whatever it is . . . but I assure you, there's nothing smelly or too terribly disgusting lurking inside these walls.
Happy Friday, friends!
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