Keeping up with basic house work and good personal care can go a long way.
My mother was from the old school and she used to tell me that one way to keep everyone in the house in good spirits is to know what your families needs are and to know the importance of keeping personal hygiene up to par. She’d say keeping everyone’s clothing and surroundings clean, being positive and having a sunny disposition despite what storms are raging out in the world can be very helpful.
She always emphasized that no matter how bad things get in your life be it financial or emotionally that it would be so helpful to always keep set aside enough money to buy things like luxury soaps, dish liquid, laundry detergent, fresh smelling fabric softener, and a bottle of some fresh smelling cleaning product.
She also believed that buying sweet smelling perfumes, womanly trinkets and pampering yourself is a good thing. All so to help keep our physical appearances, clothes and immediate surroundings as clean as possible. She’d say you may be poor as a church mouse but if you can do these small things for yourself and your family then half of life’s battles may be won.
So I have to say that it was that bit of advice from my mom that helped me get thru a many storms in life. I agree with her on all of this. I mean you don’t have to be Martha Stewart perfect and clean and you may decide to do things in a greener way, but just keeping things uncluttered, tidy, dusted, picked up, everything in its place, put away where they belong, the floors swept and mopped, the sinks cleaned, the dishes cleaned up and put away, the dish drying rack washed and drained, putting a few flowers here and there, pretty kitchen curtains, clean sheets and towels and just having these little things up to par really means a lot and that it is very settling, calming and relaxing to body, mind and soul.
Well I took mama seriously because I know how as small children how secure we always felt in our home growing up with mama and daddy. The house was always very orderly, uncluttered, tidy, clean or being cleaned and we were always being bathed, our clothes being washed, ironed and tended too. There was always dinner being cooked and you could just smell the aroma of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans, lemonade and things like that. There was always the smell of fresh starched and ironed sheets and clothes. Always a floor being mopped, warm dish water smelling of palmolive gold dish liquid and clean dish towels to dry the dishes with. There was always daily rituals and routine. So home always felt like a pleasant place to be because it was always kept up. Then there was always board games being played, conversations going on, quality time being spent with our parents or music being heard or the TV being watched together as a family.
I have three friends and a niece who asked me how in the world do I manage to always have kept my house so clean and orderly. Because every time they’d stop by, they’d see me relaxing on the sofa or looking like I don’t even lift a finger doing much at all. I let them know it’s really not as hard as you think if you get yourself into a pattern of keeping things tidy and clean half the work is done. It really is! It does start in your mind. Because if you hold in your mind about how hard it is to maintain a home and to do this and that, and you think that house work is demeaning then you will always have a problem. I mean this is your house where you eat, sleep, love and live.
You heard the saying that a man can work from sun to sun but a women’s work is never done. Well that much is just a fact of life about housekeeping, there is always something to do and something needed tending too.
I tell you, I used to be a “whirlwind” or what you’d call a little deep cleaning “Tasmanian Devil” whirling throughout the house cleaning, cooking, sewing, washing windows and moving furniture around to change the look of the house all the time but this was way, way, way, way……..back in the day, lol! and I used to love it! I used to turn on some good cleaning music and get going and I could get all my housework done in almost a day or two, it was really amazing to see me in action back then. I still cannot believe the type of energy I had back in those days. But now my policy lately in life is…….. and in the past few years has been changed to a slow, slow putter, lol! I’m more like the little turtle who gets to the finish line eventually….lol! So puttering around is what I do, yeah and so you do what you can, when you can and not sweat it.
So I tell my friends and my niece that I at least try to do one thing or to do something regarding the upkeep of the house everyday so things don’t get out of control or pile up and get filthy and to the point of no return…. lol! I tell you that I can never just let things go and I won’t as long as I can help it. So in that way somehow things fall into place and stay quite easy along the way.
Floors: Our floors stay cleaner longer between mopping’s by sweeping them every single day and clean up spills off the floors immediately with a spray bottle cleaner and paper towels. (I love the upright sweep broom and dust pan set, it comes in cute colors and makes you wanna sweep the floors.)
Shoe Trays: And one major important thing to do is to leave all shoes at the front or back door (in a shoe tray or some open cardboard box) and not allow anyone in your home with their shoes on.
No serious, shoes can carry so much dirt and so many germs into your house that you wouldn’t believe it was possible. I also invest in plastic shoe covers for guests who don’t want to remove their shoes or for when workers come in for repairs or whatever and also keep a basket of those Chinese dollar slippers near the door for everyone as an alternative to wear once inside my home.
Those few things helps keep your floors cleaner longer and helps in wear and tear in your flooring or carpets. Now don’t get me wrong because I love people and entertaining every once in a while, but the truth is the less entertaining you do in your home then the less wear and tear there is on your furniture and flooring, your things last longer and stay cleaner. Especially if you have quality things all around. You don’t want kids running all around breaking or ruining all your good things. So I prefer meeting up someplace or entertaining of people else where if I can most of the time. There are so many great coffee shops and diners to meet up with folks for fun.
Enlist Help: Another thing I like to do is enlist help from every family member as much as possible. Everyone can do something. When my kids were home they would help with putting away their own toys and make up their own beds in the morning and teaching them how to iron their clothes after a certain age and things like that really help you. But for right now my husband helps with the laundry and washing dishes on the weekends (since there tends to be more dishes on the weekends.) Did I say how sexy it is to have a man who doesn’t mind helping out a bit around the house. He’s in charge of mopping all the floors every week, vacuum’s and keep’s his bathroom clean while I keep my tiny bathroom clean. Of course with anyone there is an initial teaching of how to do all of this at first and then family can be on their own after that. So giving jobs to everyone in your household cuts down on the amount of work you have to do to keep the entire house clean. Every little bit helps, believe me.
Invest in Stove Top Cover Trays: So, I like to keep the stove cleaned off immediately after each use and to cover the stove top with burner cover trays. They make them so pretty and so you can sit a crock pot on top of these trays too if you don’t use the burners too often like me. The kitchen counters should be clutter free as much as possible and the kitchen table wiped clean after every meal (crumbs all over the table is ugly and attract ants) and also that we never leave dishes in the sink all night, its a good policy.
It’s always so nice to start my day in a clean, tidy kitchen and end my day with a clean and tidy kitchen. It’s also easier to wipe off (with hot sudsy water) parts of the refrigerator lightly as things get used, spilled and moved around in there on a daily basis and to keep a box of baking soda in the refrigerator (or a paper towel with vanilla flavor on it tucked in there) or even a tiny open bowl of white vinegar in the bottom of the fridge for a day or two but to change out the baking soda every month though. I like to mix in tiny bits of the downy unstopables in the baking soda I put in the fridge, it makes it smell so good. (I even sprinkle some in the kitchen drawers underneath the liners.) So when it’s time to do a big cleanup job of the refrigerator it’s very easy and quick because it’s not all that dirty to start with. I also keep the fridge free of old stale food too and throw it out! LOL!
Also to wipe out the microwave really good (with a spray bottle of all purpose cleaner) at least once a week or when needed and in between spilling messes, but if you buy plastic plate covers (or cover food with paper plates) it keeps food from popping all over the microwave, avoiding a big mess to clean and I leave inside a cup of baking soda mixed with downy unstopables (that gets removed each time of use though and put right back in) as it helps to keep it smelling clean in there too.
Bathroom Cleaned: One way I keep my own bathroom clean between deep cleanings is to do a quick cleaning of the toilet bowl (with the toilet brush, bowl cleaner or ajax or baking soda then vinegar) and keep a bottle of disinfection wipes or a spray bottle of one part vinegar and one part water or all purpose spray cleaner to wipe clean the sink counter, the sink, the toilet seat, rim and toss. I must wipe off my sink after each use right behind myself with the disinfection wipes after I shower each day. I just wipe and it’s done.
Clothing: Also as far as my clothes are concerned, I put all dirty clothes in a dirty clothes hamper or either keep them hung up to air instead of leaving them laying around or in a pile anywhere in my bedroom nor do they get tossed around on the floor and everyone in the house should follow that rule. Imagine a trail of dirty clothes all over the place. That’s a no, no.
Keeping Beds Made Up: You’d be surprised at how something as simple as making up the bed every single morning (after airing a bit) after showering, it can give a room a look of being well put together.
What I trained my kids to do early on before leaving for school was to pull up their sheet and a comforter makes it the easiest for kids to handle, just throw the comforter on top neatly over the sheet and it’s all done. Also a quick check that everything in the room is in its proper place will make the bedroom look complete and inviting for when you return to it.
Laundry: As far as doing laundry, we wash once or twice every week. I no longer separate my husband’s clothes from mine, we pick one day to wash and put all our clothes together and combine one wash of white and color clothes together and one of dark clothes. Then on another day we will wash the bed sheets, towels and cloth shower curtains together and we are done. Plus we immediately dry everything in the dryer, fold and put them away the very same day unless something is still a little damp and needs to be hung up to finish drying. Of course my husband is such an amazing helper with all of this… so sexy!
KEEPING YOUR CAR CLEAN: So we never leave clothes where they do not belong like on the kitchen table or on chairs or anywhere else out of being too lazy, unless it’s the thick cloth car seat covers which usually get washed, dry and folded and set by the door to be put back in the car the next day after my husband gets the car washed or he cleans and vacuums the interior of the car. We keep one or two huge thick clean white bath towels in the trunk of the cars to dust the cars off on the inside and outside each week or when needed, and that too eliminates having to pay too often to go to the car wash or having to wash it so often your self. I was amazed at the idea of dusting the car off and using furniture polish at times and you would be amazed at how much energy and time is saved in having to wash your car so often. Every day my husband hoses down the vehicles with water to remove dust and pollen and if there are any bird droppings. He shakes off the car mats too and keeps them covered with old newspaper or on my side I keep a nice piece of fabric on top of the mat. I also keep a little duster in the side pocket of the car door so to keep the draft board and surfaces dust free. Also we keep a bag for garbage in the vehicles and throw out the garbage each time we park for the night. We don’t let garbage sit in there or the smell will be there to greet you the next day. LOL!
So the habit of doing at least one something everyday and following through with whatever gets done can eliminate a lot of work and from dirt piling up or accumulating and especially all dirt and grime from building up in the first place.
My Mom always said “a clean house stays clean, if you clean, while it’s still clean.” That’s the trick of keeping it clean with minimum work. So keeping things, wiped off, dusted, and picked up on a regular basis/ developing a routine and not letting the work or the dirt accumulate or pile up at all or else it becomes much worse and so it requires more work to clean a dirty house or vehicle.
Dusting: I prefer picking one day to take a soft cloth or the “GO DUST” duster to dust all surfaces when passing by objects and another day to spray and wipe clean the few mirrors and glass surfaces. My husband keeps the gym equipment and machines sweat and dust free as he is the main one using it all. So I like to keep clean rags, wipes and spray bottles of window cleaner and all purpose cleaner in every bathroom and in the kitchen underneath the sinks. So we don’t have far to go to get what’s needed. But what is even easier is to cover a lot of surfaces with pretty lace cloths or linen table cloths so then you really don’t have to do much dusting at all. Just collect the cloths and toss in the wash, dry and replace them.
The “GO DUST” duster is the most wonderful creation ever, because you don’t have to move anything and the duster twirls around and catches all that dust for you. It’s really helpful for the elderly who don’t have much energy to clean or someone who is unable to do much cleaning at all.
But there are days and moments when I just don’t feel well at all or just don’t feel like doing much of anything at all and so I don’t and I could do that because most of the time the house is kept clean anyway.
Most of the heavy cleaning of our house is now being done by my husband and he does such a good job, (sexy, lol!) so the very, very light and minimal cleaning which I find I have to do helps to keep the dirt down to a minimum and from accumulating. Plus being tidy and making sure that everything is in it’s proper place gives an amazing illusion of being clean automatically.
So most times when I don’t always have the energy or ability to get things done like I want to, I usually try to get someone else to do some things for me, be it a friend, neighbor or a family member and give them a few bucks for the job well done. Thank goodness for support.
I might even have to go ahead pay for a house cleaning services or have someone to come in to do a big job for me like for instance, I never can clean the inside of the oven of my stove because I cannot reach down or in there to do it, it’s impossible for me to do so, that’s why I always have people lined up to help with these big jobs and with some of the housework every once in a while and as needed as much as I can afford to so my husband does not feel burdened down. (Update: We have one of those self cleaning ovens now. So having to clean the inside of the oven is a thing of the past. Ya Hoo!) It seems like he is enjoying taking on so much responsibility for me anyway which is so sweet. But the main thing is not to give up and just let things go, because trust me it will be much worse, much more work and harder to maintain if you let things go and pile up. So if one person won’t help, there is always another person to find who will.
Air Freshners: What is also very helpful is burning all around the house either soy scented candles, setting out natural air fresheners (like potpourii) and burning scented essential oils can help too. Aromatherapy is a wonderful, amazing thing and is very good for lifting spirits and moods, but everyone knows all about that. I love the smell of eucalyptus oils burning in the winter.
Garbage Removal: And another tip is to remove all garbage every night after dinner. I don’t care how much you buy those fragrant garbage bags they do not remove the stench of garbage left in the house overnight. The larger the garbage can the longer the garbage sits inside the house. So I keep a tiny sized garbage can by the door in the kitchen and the garbage must go out of the house every single evening after supper dishes are washed up.
Early To Rise: Plus getting up early to do what you have to do will allow you to have enough time to get things done and the rest of the day to have all to yourself. Or if your not a morning person you can choose to do things leisurely through out the day or later in the day. For instance I have a niece who chooses to do housework only at night. She says her adrenaline starts to flow better at night and she gets it all done. So can you imagine up at say 1:00 a.m. doing laundry or any form of house work. LOL! Well I say more power to her and what ever floats her boat….LOL! but because we prefer to doing anything with the sunlight beaming thru the windows it works better for us. LOL!
So between my husband and I, we try to get at least a minimum of one or two things done per day, which can just be getting the daily must chores done like the sweeping of the floors, washing dishes, making beds and cleaning your bathroom behind yourself, then consider it something rather than nothing at all and go for doing any other needed thing at another time because the truth is that things will fall in place eventually if you pace yourself and not over do it and it could be as simple as a breeze.
Plus another thing that can be done is closing parts of the house off by closing the doors and covering things with sheets is a good idea too so you won’t have to keep cleaning things. Just concentrating on the main areas of use, such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom and your bedroom might be all you can handle.
We try keeping walls freshly painted by getting them done in recommended periods of time. Then keep the walls clean by wiping off dirty fingerprints immediately from wall switches, wipe off doorknobs and kitchen cabinets. It’s amazing how nice things could look with proper care and love.
Cook Once A Week: I knew this older single woman who always cooked a huge Sunday dinner for herself once a week. I mean she did the works. She baked things like two meats which could be either a ham or two chickens or turkey breast or turkey roast or a beef roast and then she’d make two starches like rice and potato salad and then two vegetables like a huge pot of collard greens or string beans or broccoli or mixed vegetables. Then she would reheat and eat from these same foods every night after work for her dinner as so she always ate one good nourishing meal each day. The only meal she had to cook or prepare for the rest of the week was her breakfast, if she cooked that much, because she always had bagels, english muffins, cornbread, yogurt or cereal in the house to eat. She always had a light lunch each day which could be a salad or believe me sometimes she would pack a lunch taking a few slices of the ham or chicken she’d already baked that week to carry a sandwich to work, saving so much on lunch expenses of eating lunch out too. Plus it’s more sanitary. She was a very very frugal person. She liked to save so she could take really nice vacations. So when she’d get home her dinner was always waiting for her, all she had to do is warm up her meal, relax and do whatever activities she had planned for the evening. I also noticed that she used to go to bed very early and get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep every single night. I tell you her skin always looked so amazing, so beautiful she looked like she never aged at all, she had no wrinkles and kept her weight at a minimum, always having a beautiful and youthful figure too. But you know the saying black don’t crack! lol! Well she looked good even after reaching her late 60’s and 70’s.
Well I learned so much about how to manage my own life from some wonderful great older women in over the years and mostly from my mom for that I am truly grateful. I learned that doing some simple little things can help a lot.
- Best 25 Gadgets to Keep Your House Clean (techpp.com)
- Stand for Something in Your Kitchen! (waronaverage.com)
- Tips for looking after your new flat or apartment (jakedehavilland.wordpress.com)
- Daily Cleaning 101 – Step 3: The Bathrooms (organisedmoms.wordpress.com)
- The Kitchn Cure (treemama.wordpress.com)
- Keeping it simple: Five habits for a cleaner home (unclebobs.com)
- How To Have A Clean House Without Working Too Hard (modernmanofthecloth.com)