Q: I love the look of your house! And I love how you arrange and decorate your shelves, tables, etc. I would love to do more of that, but I talk myself out of it when I think about all the cleaning and dusting of all those little decor items!! What are your quick cleaning tips to keeping everything tidy and dust free? Is it always as clean as it looks in the pictures?- Kim
A: Good question! And one we definitely get pretty often. We do our best to tidy up before snapping after photos for the blog, but in general we’re pretty orderly people and we’ve found that creating a spot for everything really helps us keep things organized and neat (to see how we sort and store nearly everything in our house, check out this post – and peruse other ideas located under Organization Options on our Projects Page). That way we don’t have to schedule major house straightening sessions since most of our things have a place to call home (and can usually be found there, as opposed to in a pile on the dining room table or on the kitchen counter).
When it comes to actually keeping things spic and span, I like to work as I go (a little each day as opposed to a major cleaning sesh every a week). John does nearly 100% of the cooking (he’s my own personal Top Chef) and also does all of the laundry and lawn mowing, so cleaning seems like the least I can do to hold up my end of the bargain. I’ve also developed a series of shortcuts along the way (shhh, don’t tell John!) so it’s really not a major undertaking to keep our little rancher looking up to snuff on a pretty continual basis.
I like to do some things every day as I’ve found that they go a long way towards making the house feel nice and clean. For example, wiping down the counters in the kitchen and loading any dishes into the dishwasher that have piled up in the sink each night before bed only takes a second but ensures that I’m a little happier when I trudge into the kitchen for some cereal the next morning.
Here’s a list of some of the ten-second things I like to do daily:
- wiping down the kitchen counters
- loading the dishwasher & wiping down the sink
- sorting the mail (paying bills & shredding junk mail immediately so nothing piles up)
- bringing a few pairs of shoes back to the bedroom (they tend to pile up at the back door)
- folding the sofa blanket and putting it back in the basket next to the couch
These tiny efforts literally take about five minutes total, but they really make all the difference in the world.
Then there are a few things I do a couple times a week like:
- running & unloading the dishwasher (it’s cake after years in NYC without a dishwasher)
- wiping down the sinks in the bathrooms
- taking out the garbage & the compost (when they’re full, no sense in wasting bags)
- wiping down the stovetop (we have a glass top that’s pretty easy to keep clean)
Again, these little efforts really don’t take much time but they add up to a feeling of control. I sleep easier knowing there’s a grease-free stovetop and a cabinet full of clean dishes ready to go.
Then there are the weekly cleaning must-dos:
- dusting everything (shelves, mantels, tables, etc)
- vacuuming all area rugs
- wiping down the baseboards (it seems like they’re little shelves for dirt)
- de-dust-bunnying the hardwood floors
- cleaning the toilets (it’s a dirty job… well actually not that dirty- you’ll see)
- scrubbing down the shower/tub
- doing the laundry (hurrah- that’s John’s territory)
- ironing (also John’s thing since my clothes are wash & wear, he does it watching TV)
I never end up doing all these tasks in one day though, I usually putter around while I’m on the phone doing some dusting, then the next day I’ll find some time to vacuum, etc.
Sometimes I’m not in the mood at all (I’m not a total freak) but it’s a lot easier to convince myself to do some isolated cleaning for a minute or two as opposed to tackling all of these projects at once, which would really feel like a much bigger deal than doing them as I go. And now for a few of my “shortcuts” when it comes to the weekly chores above.
As for dusting, I like using Swiffer Dusters (just the pads- they’re meant to be attached to a Swiffer but I use them with my hand to dust surfaces like the open shelves in the den, our coffee table, the fireplace mantels, and even the baseboards, etc). They create this awesome static-y cling that basically makes dust stick to them (no dusting spray necessary) and I just lift things up with one hand and swipe under them with the other and can basically dust the whole house with one or two in less than 20 minutes (I listen to my ipod as I go, so it feels more like dancing and less like cleaning). And that includes wiping down those dusty baseboards too! It really isn’t hard at all, and it’s so nice to see the things we love on display, so dusting them is well worth the effort! I’ve actually been meaning to try out some good quality microfiber cloths instead of the Swiffer pads (which I’ve heard are just as good at attracting dust like a magnet without any dusting spray). The bonus is that they’re washable so they’ll make for less waste, which always appeals to us! Update: Now we use microfiber cloths and love ’em.
As for vacuuming I’ve heard time and time again that something with a HEPA filter makes for much cleaner air and a healthier home. And until I can afford one of those amazing Dyson thingies, I use a Bissell CleanView Upright Vacuum that we bought on Amazon after scrolling through all the great reviews. I also love that we have hardwood flooring throughout the house so I only have to vacuum a few 5 x 8 and 8 x 10 carpeted squares here and there and I’m done with the vacuum.
But what do we do to keep the wood floors clean? We also love this cordless little Shark vac for smaller touch ups and hardwood stuff, which everyone else in my family also has and loves. It’s my number one shortcut to a clean house. It works best in corners, under tables and cabinets, etc… but that seems to be where the dust bunnies congregate so after I vacuum the area rug and use the Shark around the perimeter of a room and under the chairs, the floor is totally clean and ready for company. We still sometimes use the bigger plug-in vacuum to cover large areas of the hardwood floor, but for “maintenance” between the more major clean ups it’s truly amazing and leaves the whole house looking photoshoot ready (no cord = freeeeeeedom).
Oh and the toilets. I have to say that replacing both of our ancient models from the 70’s with new shiny white ones really started us off with a nice foundation for keeping them clean. The old porcelain ones seemed to get grody a lot more frequently, and the newer ones stay pretty clean week to week so when I spray them and scrub them down with one of those handled brushes (no hand in the toilet for me) they look great on a pretty continual basis. I think it’s another one of those chores that if you do it regularly instead of letting it get out of control it’s a lottttt less work. As for what I spray them with, I’m obsessed with Mrs. Meyer’s Tile & Tub Cleaner (the lemon verbena scent is seriously amazing and it’s eco to boot). Gotta love not even needing to kneel or reach inside the bowl. And I use the same spray in the shower/tub and gently scrub them down with a designated bathroom sponge (which I keep under the vanity with the spray) to fight back any grime before it starts.
When it comes to wiping things down things like the counters and the sink in the kitchen and bathrooms, I love love love Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner (again in their intoxicating lemon verbena scent). It can be diluted a ton for many different tasks so we keep a bottle going forever by just holding it under the faucet and adding a few inches of water from time to time- it never seems to lose its potency. And as for dish soap, we’ve used Seventh Generation Auto Dish Pacs (good for the planet but still gets our dishes gleaming). Oh and even though laundry is John’s territory I’ll divulge that we use Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent without any dryer sheets or fabric softener. We’ve found that our clothes are just as soft as they were before we gave up the fabric softener and we’re saving money and using fewer chemicals which is always a plus for us.
Of course there are still seasonal chores like cleaning the windows (again I use Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner) and giving the floors a real scrub down (I like Method’s washable headed mop, called the oMop, with a bit of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner- and I’m sure to rinse and dry the floors thoroughly since our refinisher said it’s bad to leave wood floors wet) but those tasks are few and far between… and they’re not even that tough to tackle when the rest of the house is on autopilot.
So that’s the little cleaning roundup that works for me. Unless I forgot something. Did I forget anything? What about you guys. Do you have a specific cleaning schedule that you stick to like glue? Any tips and tricks for me that will change my life? Any other miracle cleaning products that fry your bacon? Let’s talk about keeping house.
Note: None of the products mentioned above have solicited these mentions. They’re just truly the things that I rely on to clean up, and I’m very thankful to have found them (and have inserted some affiliate links when applicable).
Psst- Wanna know where we got something in our house or what paint color we used? Just click on this button:
Jenn D says
Do you use the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner on your granite countertops? Everything seems to leave wierd marks on mine…
We usually wipe down our counters with a moist sponge or dishcloth only, but for sticky ice cream globs and things like that we definitely rely on some diluted Mrs. Meyers- and it never leaves weird marks behind. Hope it helps!
Jessica M says
Nice snapshot! We might try the Mrs. Meyer’s products! And we just recently took the plunge and purchased a Dyson – this was shortly after we adopted a rescue lab. Oh, the shedding! The Dyson is absolutely AMAZING!! I was sold on it since it is allergy & asthma certified, and since our 15-month-old daughter has some allergic tendencies, I thought we couldn’t be too careful.
Lets see, I work full time, have a part time job, have two shedding dogs and a house filled to the brim with useless items we have no place for…and a husband who doesn’t cook, do the laundry or clean…yeah there is no hope for my house!
that would be the time i tell my husband to get off his a$$ and help. no pushing around, that he needs to get up and help. that it wouldnt kill him to do some laundry or at least fold it. if he works, ok, but you do to! it would be only fair
Kudos on keeping up with the cleaning! We have hardwood floors throughout our house, and I couldn’t live without our Bona microfiber/mop and floor cleaner (http://www.amazon.com/Bona-WM710013273-Hardwood-Floor-Clean/dp/B000ARPH3I/ref=pd_sim_k_1).
The microfiber pad is amazing at attracting dust, and it feels really good to wet mop the floors every couple months, too.
I never seem to keep up with cleaning. I always spend the majority of my weekend tackling everything. The Dyson has been a huge help. We don’t have much carpet, but all the attachments make it so easy to do the steps, furniture, hard floors, etc. We have the purple Animal one and it tackles the pet hair great. With two dogs and two cats, the fur becomes a real problem.
My hubby got me an iPod for Xmas a few years ago and like Sherry, I used it when I was cleaning the house. It’s amazing how a little upbeat music helps a chore seem a little less awful. My spoonful of sugar, I guess. Anyway, he said Apple needed a new ad campaign: “Want a clean house? Get your wife an iPod.” I’m glad he noticed my efforts, but I’m not so sure I liked the caveman attitude…
That’s hysterical. Music does totally help!
I had been eyeballing a Dyson for the longest time but the cost was so daunting! So when our relic of a vaccum finally bit the dust we did a bit of research and picked up a Dyson on Craigslist for $100! Which was a savings of about $500. We did have to buy a few replacement parts on the Dyson website but apart from that we saved over 75% and it works like a charm!
ah, i always wonder how your house is so clutter free. my bf’s and my house is ridiculously cluttered. it drives us crazy. zero closet space and no basement/attic has really cut into how we store things so it just sort of starts to pile up or gets thrown in our spare room. its lucky we dont get many guests because they wouldnt have a bed to sleep on.
I use a wet microfiber cloth for cleaning nearly everything. The big bonus for me is – I can use pure water without any cleaner at all for most every-day dirt and dust (let’s say 90%). I even found out that things like dried food spills on the kitchen counter you need lots of elbow grease and cleaner to remove with a normal towel are gone within seconds, even without cleaner.
With a special microfiber towel for glass and mirrors, I don’t need glass cleaner anymore – just wipe with a wet normal microfiber cloth and dry with the special glass-cleaning one – and no stripes at all.
When I do laundry, I throw all my microfiber towels in about once a week (can be washed hot) so they do not start to smell as all the scent from the cleaners is missing.
Hope it helps (and – not associated to any microfiber-towel-producing company ;-) ) and greetings from germany!
kelly muys says
We’re a huge fan of Swiffers, too.
The cleaning (and renovation!) supply that I cannot live without? My Magic Eraser. Best product EVER.
As a mom of two kids aged 7 and 3, all I can tell you is: enjoy your clean and tidy place while it lasts!!! :-)
Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog says
I agree– doing a bit at a time makes all the difference. I also love the trick of all tricks for keeping clean… inviting people over!!
me and my husband live with a dog (dirty labrador, and 3 dirty dirty cats) in a big house with a garden in poland.
your cleaning routine is soo simple , our is soo much complicated..
everyday vacumming, twice a week cleaning all the floors ( also wooden) – with water as they are simply tooo dirty to leave them ( see point about animals) -i hate it!
laundry 2 times a week ( a few loads – i clean all the animals beds, rugs once a week , and change bed sheets once a week as well).
toilets once a week, dusting once a week,clenaing cats toilets twice a week (or everyday ) daily clenaing kitchen . shopping once a week.everyday cooking -all meals from scratch and all lunches to go.i also bake once-twice a week a cake and bread.
we also have room for almost everything (its sooo much easier like this).
yeah …and we both work full time not from home so we had to do some major scheadules for everyhting…anyway soooo jealous ur house always looks sooo grat!
i love your blog, house and i am addicted to it!
Just wanted to pop in and say, we did a lot of research and decided to NOT buy a Dyson. There are plenty of Hoovers and other major brands that sell HEPA-filtered, cyclone-technology, bagless vacuums for a quarter the price, and if you get them off the shelf in Best Buy or Target they feel so much more sturdy and well-made where the Dyson feels like a cheapo, plasticy thing that might break at any moment. I also read tons of reviews (and heard from one close friend) that said the extension for pet hair didn’t work at all because it was too weak. The only redeeming factor was the Dyson Ball, which did steer extremely well, but when you only have a few squares of carpet you hardly need that. We are convinced that a $200 Hoover is a much better value than the Dyson.
Thank you for the post on cleaning. I’m trying so hard to get to this point, and we are getting an Italian Greyhound soon so that will hopefully jump-start me. Our living room is almost finished – just waiting for a few more items in the mail, then need to hang photos – and I want to decorate with some accumulated knick-knacks, so it’s encouraging to know that even decorating superheros like you have to dust on a regular basis! Here’s a small follow-up: do you dust your plants? I have a huge Peace Lily, and I have to dust its leaves, which feels so silly! But I love it, so I keep dusting.
How about a post on buying home furnishings sight unseen online? I just bought this rug and it’s totally different than it looks on the screen. Luckily we still really like it, and we were expecting a difference from reading the reviews, but still – any tips and tricks to share?
Can’t wait to send you the before and afters of my finished living room! It should be only another couple of weeks until it’s DONE! Thanks again for all the inspiration and encouragement. I never thought I could love a design blog, it’s so against my nature, but you two are the antidote to the common design blog.
Aw thanks Meredith! We’re blushing over here. As for your question about purchasing things sight unseen online, we do what it sounds like you do. We read the reviews! If anyone says something is scratchy or terrible it’s out. Conversely if everyone raves and it has five stars we feel more confident.
And of course we read the return policy. That helps put our mind at ease that if anything we snag doesn’t fit the bill we can either bring it to our local store, send it back on their dime, or even arrange for a paid-by-them pickup (we ordered a sofa from Target a loooong time ago, boy was that a mistake, but they picked it up and refunded everything).
It also can help to search ebay or amazon or even flickr for the furnishing or accessory, since someone might have photographed it in a different way so you can see it a bit more thoroughly (rather than just depending on the perfect retouched photos from the original vendor). Hope it helps!
Just thought I’d chime in about granite cleaning…Method makes a granite cleaner that smells wonderful and leaves them shiny & clean!
My husband and I have also looked longingly at Dyson models, but cringed at the prices. I recently read an article that explained the the factory-reconditioned Dyson models at much lower prices (link below). This had our attention at “saving hundreds of dollars”. Anyone out there have any experiences with these recycled-for-a-new-home models?
PS The Kurv many of us know and love is cheaper on Amazon (by $25!) if you buy the red model. Why? Who knows? Who really cares about the color your vacuum? As we see it, the Dyson models are Big-Bird-Yellow and Barney-Purple. Embrace the spicy red color and get a great deal!
Nicole B says
I love seeing into other people’s cleaning habits! As a mother with two little boys, I find it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with it all. We make sure we have a tidy time for all of us and even the two year old can help clean up his cars! One big thing we have done is “banished” toys from certain areas…. meaning, you bring a toy there and are done with it, you take it with you. That way our master bedroom doesn’t get overwhelmed with the boys stuff. In the living room we had a toy box so at the end of the day all the toys would get stuffed in it and weekly we would clean it out. With the toys under control, my life seems so much more simple!
We have two children and an ever-shedding chocolate lab so it is a constant struggle to stay on top of things. You have to pick your battles. While you will never find a dirty counter, floor or bathroom in my house, you may very well find Polly Pockets in the fridge or Barbie in the dishwasher. (What Mom? She was dirty.)
Nicole B says
PS… I have the Dyson Animal and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It was worth every single penny. It has never clogged, has been man handled and stood up amazingly well, and can suck things out of our carpet that our previous Hoover couldn’t. AND… it works amazingly well on cat hair.
Getting a cordless vacuum was the best thing I ever did to keep our house clean. We have an electrolux ergorapido. The hubs was skeptical, but not having to plug in a cord means that I can grab it and quickly vacuum pet hair under chairs and coffee table, the doormats, the little lip under the counters, etc. I do it almost daily and it takes only a few minutes. Of course, we still have a regular vacuum for major cleaning, but this makes a huge difference.
We have this electrolux as well! My aunt and grandmother have one too. It’s amazingly easy to maneuver and makes vaccuuming upstairs a lot less daunting when I don’t have to lug a huge vaccuum. My fiance even thinks its so fun to swivel around he helps with the vaccuuming now :)
Oh my gosh, I totally just bought a kurv from Amazon. We just moved into a new house (all wood floors on the main level) and I think it will be the perfect solution to keeping things semi-tidy amidst busy weeks.
PS: I LOVE you guys. I keep on referencing you two like I know you, and I think my boyfriend is getting sick of it:). “Well, Sherry and John recommend a more cohesive paint palette throughout the house. Sherry and John painted horizontal stripes in their bathroom- I promise it’s cute! Sherry and John use Meyer’s cleaning products, so should we!”
My husband and I are moving into our new place in November… after reading this I want to adopt your cleaning schedule! Its so much easier to start fresh in a new place, when you do something from the beginning you are much more likely to stick with it. Thanks for the tips!!!
Inspiring post! I’m working on getting to this point…having a two-year-old son and a Great Dane makes it a bit more difficult, but I’m doing better, and it really helps that I’ve been diligently decluttering.
One question – what do you do with your dirty laundry? Hampers in the closet and/or bathroom? We constantly seem to have little piles of dirty laundry in the bedrooms, bathroom, and laundry room. Ugly, and it makes washing clothes such a chore because I have to go on a scavenger hunt for dirty clothes first.
Good question Stacy! We have a cute little brown woven hamper (from Target) in the bedroom that we fill up and each week John carries it into the laundry nook and separates everything into lights and darks. Two loads of laundry later it’s just time to fold and put everything away. Hope it helps!
Karla D. says
I really enjoyed reading your cleaning post. I think we have similar cleaning styles. I typically do all of the cleaning in our house and my husband helps out with the dishwasher loading/unloading and he thankfully does most of his own laundry. Now if only I could send him to cooking school! lol. I feel very fortunate right now that he cleaning is fairly easy in our home as we do not have any children yet and we’ve made a collective decision to no longer have pets. After I moved from Canada to the U.S. and my best friend took my cat (hubby is allergic) we decided not to have any pets in the future. Upon returning to visit my kitty I realized I am slightly allergic to her too and never realized it before.
One thing that really cuts down on cleaning the floors in our home is that we have a ‘no shoes’ policy in our home. This is very common in Canada where I grew up (as well as Europe and Asia actually), it’s far more hygienic and lessens the amount of time you spend cleaninig floors. Recent studies on what we pick up on our shoes (staph bacteria, fecal matter, etc) means far more bacteria in homes and where the kiddos hang out if you wear shoes on your floors and carpet. We take them off at the door and we’re also rarely ever sick.
I feel like cleaning when you work from home is far easier than trying to fit it into a busy schedule at night. If I work from home on certain days, I tend to get some laundry done, the bathroom cleaned, the dishwasher unloaded, etc. But if I sit at work all day, then come home — last thing I want to do is clean! And come weekends, I want to focus on my projects! You make it sound so easy, if only it was! Haha! ;)
Trisa Perry says
Am I the only one dying with envy that your husband not ONLY does most of the cooking, but laundry AND irons?!! I HATE ironing! I have learned (took over 20 years…) that it is so much easier to just put things away when you’re done with it, then to have to spend hours putting everything away later.
I was wondering about rugs. our kitchen/dining area is tile, but I’d like to get a rug under neath the dining table. It’s not a formal area, but the place we eat every day. Are there types of rugs to stay away from since they’re hard to clean? Some that are better than others. we have 3 kids…normal, messy kids, so something cleanable would be awesome.
Yeah, John’s a fabulous hubby! I think he gets it from his father who’s also super amazing about helping out around the house. That combined with growing up with three sisters helped John to see that men should help out too, and not just leave it all up to the ladies. He also really likes to cook (he’s creative so it’s another “outlet” for him) so for that I’m eternally grateful! Anyway, about your rug question, I would avoid any cotton, polyester or wool rugs that are light in color under the dining table. Something dark would be great, and anything that’s a natural fiber (light or dark) is super easy to clean since crumbs shake right out and even things like liquid spills can be wiped off the fibers since they’re coated like straw (much less absorbent than softer materials). Hope it helps!
I am pea green with envy over your very tidy house, but I myself hate cleaning. Like your John, my hubby thankfully does a big share of our housework (laundry, dishes, little tidy-ups, trash removal). We recently moved into a new house that is all hardwoods and tile. LOVE IT! However, I did not anticipate the amount of dust. Also adding to this is our cute puppy girl and our 2 kitty girls. I try to vacuum a few times a week but I feel like I could do it every day and it would still look messy. I have a hardwood floor vac, but I always feel like it’s never actually clean. Any suggestions??
The Kurv! It’s the dust bunny cure! Just slip it around corners and under chairs and stuff and the whole room instantly looks a lot cleaner! You can check the write-up above for a link to the cheapest one we could find on Amazon. Hope it helps!
I just was enlightened/informed of this blog from a friend. Although I do not have a house (we are presently renters), I do have dust! And lots of it! And cat hair! We also had the Kurv and loved it/raved about it, until sadly-it could no longer stand up to the fur balls and dust bunnies! RIP Kurv :( Apparently they do not make them anymore so we were forced to get something else. We ended up with the Shark Pet Perfect II cordless handheld vacuum and love it even more!!! We also have a Shark Navigator Lift Away vacuum which is excellent with pet hair, it has a switch to move from hardwoods to carpets and loads of attachments. Both of the products I have mentioned, are light weight and affordable and have made our lives a lot easier and cleaner!
Question, what type of microfiber cloth do you recommend? Thank you for blogging about cleaning :)
Thanks for the tips Liza! As for microfiber cloths, I just grab them at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods when I see them! Hope it helps!
I got a HEPA filter vacuum (because I have asthma) at Walmart for about $100 and it really works well. Plus, it’s geared towards pet owners so it has a little attachment designed especially for picking up pet hair. From what I’ve read, the Dyson vacuums pioneered new vacuum technology, but that a lot of other vacuum manufacturers used the idea after them, so it isn’t necessary to spend so much on a vacuum cleaner.
LOVED this post! I have a hard time staying on top of everything around the house (especially in the middle of all the house renovation projects), and this was inspiring.
My secret for our hardwood floors is our Roomba. We have DARK hardwood floors with a WHITE springer spaniel who sheds like nobody’s business! We scored the Roomba for half price on Woot.com and it was worth every penny.
We started using the ACT Natural microfiber products a few years ago and they are just as great as the “Queen of Clean” said they were! I got a starter kit with a dry mop, wet mop, mop base, window/glass cloth, and general cleaning cloths. After 3 years of use, our cloths/mops are still going strong.
p.s. Have you tried the Charlie’s Soap yet??
We have yet to try the Charlie’s soap. We always wait to run out of stuff to get more (our little house has no room for extras) but it’s definitely on our list! Can’t wait…
I have two boys–4 and 1, and there a lot of messes made and tidied every single day. If there is a place for everything it works, though, even the baby knows where to put his toys. We have wicker baskets in our family room/living room. When the basket is overflowing, the toys need to be sorted out and find new homes (upstairs usually). We are lucky enough to have a dedicated play room with plenty of space for toys and books. This way their bedrooms are very bare, just a few things in small baskets. Also I love my label maker. Helps us remember where everything is supposed to go–toys, toiletries, groceries. And my 4 year old is beginning to read them too.
You guys are always into simplifying which I love. You mentioned microfiber and I thought I would mention a system I use. I bought it at a home show 3 years ago and am still in love called StarMop. These babies are good for both dusting and cleaning. This was before microfiber was everywhere so I am sure you can get something like it anywhere these days. I use it for my hardwoods, and the cloths for cleaning surfaces. All you need to clean is vinegar and water…. it is a natural antibacterial and makes your hardwoods shine. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water on each floor of my house along with a few cloths. These babies can be cleaned in the laundry (no fabric softener or dryer sheets). For windows you can use just water if you like.
I just thought I would share because before this I had no idea vinegar and water was all you needed (I use apple cider vinegar).
My biggest pet peeve about a clean house is having a clean kitchen. We run the dishwasher every night so there are no dishes in the sink, and as soon as I get home from work the first thing I do is unload it and load any breakfast/lunch dishes. I also wipe the counters and the stove every night. The floors in our kitchen tend to get dirtier than anywhere else in the house, so I sweep those as needed, and mop once a week (with a wet Swiffer).
Another trick I use for a quick clean is to just put away clutter & vacuum. I just feel like when you vacuum, the whole room instantly looks better.
East End says
Sounds like John has a pretty full plate!
Glad to know that someone else’s hubby does the ironing! My husband is great–he irons all of our clothes and happily does the flats as well (I have a thing for ironed pillowcases and napkins–since we only use cloth napkins they need to be done weekly). He does it while watching action movies–I just go upstairs and read!
Oh and you are so right about keeping up with things like toilets–and that new toilets make a HUGE difference. We replaced our old (one was original to the house–1929) toilets with new ones last year. Much easier to keep clean and use less water as well!
Ellen C says
We have the Dyson Animal at my house and it is the best. Doesn’t clog, doesn’t loose suction, and the handle is easily removed (in one quick step) and used as a vac itself. I also love that with one simple push of a button you can go from carpet to hardwood without damaging the floors. Worth the price for us!
Hey guys! Love reading the blog but just had to add my 2 cents regarding vacuums. I’m involved in quite a bit of animal rescue so we always seem to have foster critters in and out – and we have 6 pets of our own! We were going through several vacuums a year as the animal hair was burning up the motor (crazy, but it happens!). So we did lots of research before we bought and finally decided on the Kenmore Progressive with Direct Drive 35922, which beat the Dyson DC17 Absolute Animal in tests by Consumer Reports. The HEPA filter is wonderful as I, believe it or not, have mild allergies to cat dander and we love the fact that it’s not a bag less. We sweep the whole house (approximately 1200 square feet) a minimum of once a week and the Kenmore is a champ! We can see a major difference in the feel of the carpet, too – it’s much softer! The idea of the Dyson’s swiveling ability is appealing…but clean floors are more important to us!
One of my favorite cleaning tools is a Heloise scrubby. You can make them yourself (directions here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20040318/ai_n11446357/).
My mom ALWAYS had these around the house and I literally don’t know how to clean without them. Sponges just don’t get into nooks and crannies like these things do. Plus they last forever, just soak them in some bleach every now and then and they will last at least a year. I even toss mine in the washer with kitchen towels every now and again.
I also like to get different colors of nylon to make festive scrubbies for every season. And its always great to be able to make your own stuff!
Megan @ The Souther Nest says
What a great post! I too struggle with the decision to do little things as I go or one major clean on the weekends. I usually do rooms that we use the most every week, then the others (guest room, dining room) every other week.
Also, I have been dying to buy a phone headset so I can clean as I am yapping on my weekly phone call to my mom!
This makes me want to clean! ha ha. Seriously. I don’t like cleaning that much, but I love a clean house. I’m a little obsessive about it. Thanks for all your tips.
I LOVE MY DYSON! Definatley worth the loan you have to take out to get it (I kid, I kid).
I don’t know if you have heard about the shark steam mop, it does AMAZING things for our hardword, and it’s completley chemical free, that’s what we love about it.
I know you said you don’t use dryer sheets, but I keep the used ones for dusting — that way I’m not buying Swiffer cloths anymore, they still work well (I mean, I’m not a huge duster so it builds up), and I reuse them so it’s cheaper and at least slightly more environmentally friendly.
Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds says
Thanks for the great organizational tips. I drive my husband crazy by never putting things away, but I have definitely found that having a designated place for items helps with this and cuts down on my messiness. I’ve slowly been organizing and designating “homes” for our stuff throughout the house and it’s helping to keep things neat. Hopefully someday I can be as neat as you guys! I feel like I need a support group for my messiness!
Have you guys tried making your own household cleaners? This is something I’ve been playing around with and so far it seems pretty effective, cheap, and all natural.
We have used things like vinegar and warm water with definite success. I’m just a “use everything up before buying/making more” girl, so maybe once we run out of Mrs. Meyers we’ll go the natural route. It’s definitely cheap and DIY- two things we love!
heather s. says
I, too, have a Dyson and LOVE it. My daily routine is similar to yours when I work from home, however when I commute two hours a day I don’t really feel much like cleaning when I get home. I love microfiber cloths and use those rather than swiffers anymore since I love that you can toss them in the laundry and there’s no waste. My biggest problem is keeping up with the ironing.
Good work keeping your home nice and tidy, guys :)
I know it probably gets old to hear all of the commenters with children say “enjoy it while it lasts!” and things like that – implying that your house will be a pigsty when Petite Petersik joins the gang. I don’t think that’s (necessarily) true, but it is a **completely different ballgame** when a household grows. For one thing – ALL of the rooms get (heavily) used on a regular basis, which means that they ALL need regular attention. Gone are the days of the guestroom that offers extra storage and needs its sheets changed once in a blue moon. Things like that.
There’s just no room to slack if you want a house as neat and clean as yours with children. Things like vacation (and the laundry that results), sickness, and unforseen projects (like HUGE garage organizing effort that followed the discovery of MICE last week) can cause MOUNTAINS of work very quickly. It might take weeks to recoup. No joke – after spending 4 solid days focusing on the garage, I’ve been doing at least 3 loads of laundry *per day* to try to catch up. There’s just no room to slack at all. If **many** things do not happen each and every day (I sweep my entire kitchen floor 4x daily) things get out of control super quickly. Most moms come to terms with the new normal and try not to stress over the fact that their homes are NEVER photo ready :)
It can be done with a house full – but it takes some serious work. Delegating to the little guys asap sure helps, though :)
“Where no oxen are the manger is clean, but much increase comes from the strength of an ox”. Paraphrased – sure the house is messier, but there are far more blessings than negatives with a home full of kiddos!!!
We got a Kurv when it was on Woot.com, and I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but it blows the dust bunnies AWAY instead of sucking them up! Maybe Golden Retriever hair is just too much for it to handle?
Hmm, that sounds super defective Elizabeth! Maybe you can exchange it? Or you could go to their website and maybe there’s a troubleshooting page? We’ve heard of people not putting them in the charger correctly (if you rest it in the cradle but don’t see the green light it’s not charging right) or even that they plugged it into an outlet in their house that’s super weak (apparently some outlets get less voltage than others) so maybe those things will come to the rescue? It’s super powerful for big dust bunnies around here so I can’t imagine dog hair would be a problem (of course you have to empty it after a while though). Anyway, hope it helps!
Thought you might enjoy my blog post about our green, homemade housecleaners. We’ve been using them for about two weeks now and they’re awesome. Since my husband and I both work outside the home, I have Fridays to be the homemaker around here. It only takes about 1.5 hours to clean our home. This week, I got completely ready for the day before I cleaned. I didn’t have to worry about bleaching my clothes or smelling like chemicals. Truly awesome. Here’s the link to the post….
Loved this post! checking out some of the links right now.
I think my most favorite cleaning product is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I have a white porcelain sink that tends to get discolored if dishes or splattered liquids like coffee or wine are left to sit for longer than an hour. A regular sponge just doesn’t get it clean but the magic eraser works wonders with minimal scrubbing pressure. Love it!
Also, you have a wonderful hubby. It’s a war in my house for my husband to do anything other than lawn and trash duty, or the occasional dishwasher load and unload.
I do a basic weekly cleaning session that keeps most things in check, and then the occasional deep cleanings when called for once or twice a month.
I cook dinner each night and my husband does the dishes. Then the next night when I’m making dinner again I will empty the dishwasher if it’s been run, so it’s all ready for his next round of dishes.
I have a “thing” for white furniture. At least 90% of ours is white, including a white slip-covered sofa and chair in the living room. This can mean trouble with a black cat that enjoys rolling in the dirt as soon as he walks outside. I have a towel on the sofa and one on the chair covering his favorite spot to sit. Then, when we’re going to have guests stopping by I just fold up the towels, a few swipes with the pet-hair lint roller and we’re all good.
My biggest cleaning tool is vinegar. I use it for the shower door, taps, windows and mirrors, and the toilets. I pour half a cup white vinegar in the toilet and let it sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom. Then a scrub round with the brush, a flush and it’s done.
Jackie W. says
Dyson is made with all plastic. Go with an Oreck when you upgrade.