Monday, 27 October 2008

9 Ideas to Help Keep Your House Clean & Tidy

Although I’m no domestic goddess and have never been what my mum describes as ‘house proud’, I do like the place to be reasonably clean and tidy. A few dust bunnies in the corner I can live with but dirty work surfaces that your fingers stick to... no way!

Because of my condition, I’ve had to look for ways to keep the house in a acceptable state without having to keep getting up or standing for too long at a time; unless I utilise the time spent on my legs as efficiently as possible things just won’t get done.

Here are some ideas that I use and that would help anybody who’d rather spend time doing something other than housework.

1. While I’m waiting for a pan to boil, the microwave to ping, or the sink to fill, I wipe down work surfaces and/or unit doors, put the dish-wash away (or even just part of it if that’s all I’ve time for), purge a few out of date items from the fridge, wipe the outside of the fridge, the light switches or another little job that only takes a minute or two but helps keep the place neat and clean.

2. If I have to go upstairs for any reason, I look for some item or another that can go up with me. I generally place things to go up on the lower steps and pick a few up every time I pass. The same goes for stuff that needs to be brought down (I really must get a couple of those stair baskets). If there’s nothing there, I’ll have a quick look round to make sure there’s nothing else, like a pile of folded laundry on the armchair (yes, if I dry inside using the clothes horse, that’s where they get stacked).

3. I plan my jobs in each room so that I use the minimum number of steps and time spent on my feet. This can be as simple as ‘take handful of votive candles out of drawer and replace used ones as I move around, open window as I pass it, collect living room litter bin and take to kitchen for emptying’. Three little jobs done in one sweep of the room.

4. I keep a micro fibre cloth in a drawer next to the sofa. That way I can start dusting as soon as I see that it needs doing and without having to go to the kitchen first. Again, I work my way around the room systematically. The used cloth goes out with me next time I head for the kitchen and a new one comes back in.

5. I keep a complete set of cleaning tools upstairs. That way I can clean anything that needs it without having to go downstairs to collect the appropriate bits and pieces first.

6. I try to make sure I do the tasks that make me feel the house looks cleaner and tidier before tackling anything else. For me that means a tidy coffee table and clean floors in the lounge and, in the kitchen, clean and tidy work surfaces and clean appliances (although everything doesn't always get done!).

7. I tackle the jobs that take more time and effort the longer I leave them before those that will be just the same later, regardless of whether ‘later’ is in an hour, tomorrow or next week. Washing up takes longer if it’s left to sit and grow as does the laundry (I’m sure dirty dishes and clothes reproduce) whereas dusting takes the same amount of time regardless.

8. I open my post by my ‘pending’ shelf so there‘s no need to move after sorting. One pile is for filing, the other is for shredding. I then file and shred on a weekly basis. Any junk mail is either added to the shredding pile or put straight in the bin.

9. If I’m going to be standing to prepare food anyway, I might as well make two portions (at least) and freeze the rest.

No doubt you have your own ways of cutting down the time you spend on household chores and if you do, please let me know. I'm all for saving time and energy :)

Sharon J


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Catz said...

Thanks for this Sharon! Great ideas especially number 5 - I have enough dusters and a spare henry hoover in the loft! I already do the stairs thing (those baskets are soo expensive though) and number 7 - little and often works well.

wombat064 said...

Dear Sharon,
Domestic or not YOU are a Goddess.
This world needs more people like you, your determination and courage is to be commended.
There are those out there, with only a fraction of the challenges you face every moment of every day,that just give up and say "its all too hard".
Fight on my friend, Keep the good stuff coming.

Sharon J said...

@ Catz. I don't have a spare hoover and even if I did, I'd have nowhere to keep it in this tiny house but Richard generally does the upstairs hoovering for me while he's round. I've been looking for a stair basket at the boot market but have yet to find one :(

@ Wombat. Quite honestly, what does one do when one gives up? I don't actually understand what that really means. I've never seen any alternative other than to get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Sharon these are great ideas! I really like my place to be very clean, but I'm not so good at putting things away as I use them. Boy do I wish I was!!

Jack said...

I keep finding myself amazed at how useful these tips are for me now that I am leaving my job. Thanks Sharon.


Teena said...

Great tips Sharon... I know what you mean when you say you just get on with it. People ask me all the time how the heck I cope with 6 kids...answer...I just do! Things become routine and you then find easier ways to get things done. Its all part of living and loving your space on the planet. xoxox

Sharon J said...

@ Frugal Trenches. I used to be far more fussy about the house but have learned that I have to accept that it won't be a clean and tidy as it once was anymore. Nowadays, when it does it get a proper going over it I appreciate how nice it looks so much more though :)

@ Jack. Finding domestic 'shortcuts' certainly helps free up time that could be spent doing more interesting things. Good luck with your new life :)

@ Teena. I love your outlook on life. "I just do" is pretty much my standard answer too :)

Cathie said...

I always wanted a stairbasket too, then got one as a gift but soon discovered they are a terrible trip hazard.

Now we have the lovely solution of two large old fashioned wicker shopping baskets. One lives near the top of the stairs - the other at the bottom.

Things get chucked into the top one to come down and vice versa - I can hook the handle onto my arm, carry the baby, hold another kid's hand and down it all goes!

The most brilliant thing is that the baskets double up as thngs to take shopping or even better as the place to put snacks & toys on the front seat next to me on long journeys.

Sharon J said...

The baskets are a lovely idea, only I wouldn't have anywhere to put them at either the top or the bottom of the stairs. I might get rid of the bookshelf at the top to make things more practical at that end but then where would I put the books? Dilemmas, dilemmas....

Chaotic Kerri said...

excellent tips Sharon, I also do the stairs thing. Each of my kids has a step (our stairs curve round at the bottom allowing space to put stuff without causing a hazzard) but they aren't always good at taking their things upstairs with them.

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