Tag Archives: cleaning

4 Things I’ve Learned and My New Cleaning Schedule

4 things I’ve learned in the past year:

1. Maintenance is key

2. Planning is important

3. Cleaning and decluttering go hand-in-hand (I didn’t want to admit that for a long time!)

4. Accountability is very helpful

My first real attempt at a cleaning schedule was about a year ago. And I think it was a good start. I also posted a couple of updates here and here. I have been meaning to revise it for quite a while and just haven’t been able to figure out the best way to organize it.

So I started searching around for what was already out there. I actually tried someone else’s cleaning schedule a couple of years ago and it just didn’t work for me at all, but what I found this time is very exciting because it is customizable! These downloadable forms are from Money Saving Mom, which happens to be one of my favorite blogs, too!

Here is the link to all of Crystal’s Household Management Forms.

The one I am using here is this one: Customizable Cleaning Lists.

And here it is with my personal customizations (you can also see Crystal’s personal cleaning lists filled out here):

I want to get back to using my timer for those 15 min. cleaning/decluttering sessions. The days of the week on the right side help me know where to focus that day, so that nothing gets ignored for too long (assuming I follow the plan).

And here’s the second page, which covers monthly/semi-annual cleaning:

I have been attempting to use this plan for a couple of months now, and while I haven’t been able to accomplish everything on the list in any particular week yet, I feel like I am on the right track. I have goals and plans!

Do you have a cleaning schedule? I’d love to hear about it!

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Filed under Cleaning, Declutter, Goals

Hi There, Kitchen Counters!

Tsh from Simple Mom was doing her Project Simplify in the kitchen last week, and I decided to join in. My kitchen counters were drowning in clutter and I needed to save them. And that is just what I did. I bet you would enjoy some before and after pictures. Here you go!

Before:

After:

Before:

Here are some of the things I had to deal with from the end counter there.

I had 4 mugs sitting on that counter holding pens, tools, and other miscellaneous stuff! I took it from 4 mugs to 1, although the paper towels are hiding the 1 mug in this after photo.

And let me tell you, I was serious about getting those counters clean. I took everything off the counters, including the microwave. This is the grossness that was behind and under the microwave and coffee stuff:

And here it is now:

Here’s another before of a little counter next to the refrigerator:

After:

Here are a couple more after pictures to enjoy:

I got a “Wow!” from Mr. RSS and it feels great to be in my kitchen right now.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Cleaning the Kids’ Room | Before and After

Two signs it’s time to clean the kids’ room:

1. Everywhere you look is a jumbled mess.

2. You can’t even get to the closet.

The Process:

I started by simply sending the kids (ages 7 and 5)  upstairs to clean their room on their own.  They worked on it for a while and made some good progress, but to really finish the job well, they needed my help and direction. It was a lot of work (because not cleaning it for many months will do that), but we worked together and made great progress! Take a look!

Before – Dare we enter? What is up with the trash all over the floor?

After – The box you see there is for toys.

Before – This rocker-glider was never supposed to be there for more than a week or so. I moved it in there when Mr. RSS was out of town and I was on my own with an infant plus the other 2 and it just made it easier at that time. That was almost 2 years ago… and here sits that chair.

After – The chair is back in the nursery, but really I think it just needs to leave the house soon…

The closet doors can even close. What a concept!

Here are some clothes that are getting donated:

Before:

After:

Did you notice that Gabe’s bed grew? He finally has a big boy bed, thanks to my sister. He’s super thrilled!

Books before – No, no, no.

Books after – Yes!

 What we’ve learned:

  • Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Keeping it clean or cleaning it when it’s just a little messy are much easier than waiting for it to be a big stinkin’ mess. Easier said than done. I think I’ll try a Saturday morning room inspection each week.

 

Other Updates:
  • We finally put up a Christmas tree and started decorating! Christmas music is playing and there is a fire in the fireplace. Bunches of boxes are out of the living room (but just moved to the basement). I’m loving the peaceful atmosphere. I took some before pics. Maybe I’ll take some after shots to show you this week for fun.
  • The kitchen is a mess. I need to tackle that tomorrow.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter, Kids

Hot Spot Check Up: Desk | Week 6

Every week I post about a clutter hot spot in my home. I’m currently working on my desk, including a box of paper clutter I filled up from the desk several weeks ago. 

OK! I’m feeling some good progress this week. Doing the hot spot check up with the desk has helped me to be more aware of all of the paper around the house. And we have been doing a good job of not letting the mail pile up. Most of it goes right to the recycle bin. Yay!

I worked on my paper clutter box for 15 minutes, timed.

Here’s the before:

And I had the papers all nicely sorted, too. Then I ran out of time to deal with all the papers and unfortunately left them right where they were for a while.

When I got back to them, they looked like this:

Hmpf. I had to redo some of it to get it back to this (the box with the clown paper is the recycle box):

Do you see how close we are to the bottom of that paper clutter box?? Next week, baby. Empty paper clutter box. Come expecting to see it.

Then I filed the file pile. Yes!

I put Mr. RSS’s things on his desk. Yes!

And I put the take action pile on the desk with the other take action stuff. Ye….mmm….Okay.

But I did go through the take action pile a little and got rid of a few things. OK, I picked some easy ones!

Then I worked on the desk. Here’s how it looked before:

And after:

I even did some dusting on the desk! Woohoo!

Other Updates:

  • The yard sale prep is going really slowly. I hope to get more done tomorrow!
  • I started working on a cleaning and decluttering schedule for myself! I’ll be sure to post it when it’s finished!

 

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Filed under Before and After, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Play Date Clean Up | Before and After!

A couple of weeks ago I invited my MOPS group over for a play date. Doing things like that is a stretch for me, mostly because my home is not usually ready to be seen by the outside world. But I love having people over. I love connecting with people and having good conversations.

And I think it’s important to connect with people in person, and not just through email or Facebook.

I also know that inviting people over motivates me to clean.

I focused on the main floor of our home, which includes our living room, kitchen, and powder room. I was just hoping that there would be no desire or need for the guests to explore further.

I took lots of before and after shots, so here we go:

Before:

After (Yes, there is some hidden clutter here. I’m sooo sneaky.):

Before:

After (This project was done by the marvelous Mr. RSS.):

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

Closet Area Before (This is actually taken mid-clean-up):

Closet Area After (This is one of my favorites!):

And I promise I didn’t just jam everything into that closet!

Before:

After:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

And if you are looking for a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, my friend Kristen over at The Fugal Girl can help you out!

The play date was fun!

Reflections:

  • Starting early was important, and helped a lot! Of course, things weren’t perfect, and I acted like a crazy lady for the last hour before they arrived. I know if everything was maintained better, that would make it much easier…. we’re working on it… slowly… and that’s OK.
  • I didn’t know where to start, so I just started by the front door. It worked.
  • I tried to focus on having some cleared horizontal surfaces. I learned this from my sister, and Rachel over at Small Notebook wrote a nice post on the topic. Any cleared surface really helps!
  • I want my home to be welcoming, not scary. I think I achieved that goal.

Other Updates:

  • I swept the floor while I was on the phone this week, without even thinking about it. Strange, but good!
  • I’m thinking about an experiment where I make myself go to bed at 10:00 PM for an entire week no matter what and see how it impacts my productivity.

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!

 

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up 5: Kitchen Island

Here’s the picture for today:

Not great, but of course it has been much worse.

I generally like to keep things light around here, but I have to tell you that I’ve had a tough day today. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed.

I’m doing  a little better now. I’ve been praying about it all – that is so good for me. My sweet husband is a great encouragement to me, too. And I had some chocolate cake and tea (see pictured above).  Now I need some much needed rest. And I do have hope for tomorrow. Starting with right priorities, then one bite at a time, one step at a time. And not in my own strength.

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Filed under Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Life

Hot Spot Check Up 4: Kitchen Island – and a picture question

Here I am at the 4th week of my kitchen island hot spot check up, and as much as I didn’t want to start it, I actually don’t want to stop! If you want to catch up a bit, here are links to the first 3 weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 (scroll down for the picture)

The whole accountability/public humiliation thing seems to work for me, so I’m going to go another month and then maybe move to a different spot. We’ll see.

Sometimes I have really quirky blog ideas. Like maybe giving my kitchen island a blog of its own. Sort of like a 365 blog, except that I post a picture of my kitchen island every. single. day.

Quirky? Yes.

Crazy? Maybe.

A little obsessive about my kitchen island? Probably. Just a little.

Today I’m going to show you 2 pictures, both taken at approximately 10:09 AM yesterday. I often seem to have this debate with pictures that I take for the blog. When the light is low (indoors plus rainy day in this case), should I use the flash or not? Which picture do you prefer here:

Without flash:

With flash:

Sometimes I don’t have much of a choice because I can’t get the camera (a digital point and shoot) to focus in low light, but here I at least caught one shot that was decently focused. And then there’s the “flashy” one.

Either way, the kitchen island is not bad, eh? I’m happy with it.

And by the way, I’m feeling really motivated to do some fabulous before and after pictures sometime soon. I’m craving some big impact somewhere around here. There are lots of places to choose from!

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday, over at We are THAT Family.

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up

Hot Spot Check Up 2: Kitchen Island, and Thanks! (I’m talking to you!)

Time to check on the island! I decided that I would give myself a deadline and take a picture at 10:00AM today.

Just for fun, I took a picture last night at 10:00PM. Here it is:

Let's just say we really know how to fill up space around here.

And here’s today’s “official” picture:

Better than last night, not better than last week.

 On a happier note, I’m celebrating 6 months of blogging, and what I really want to say, is…

Thank You!

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you for commenting!

Thank you for your encouragement, your advice, your comradery.

Thank you for putting up with me!

I am blessed by you!

I have learned so much in these last 6 months of blogging, and you, dear readers, are a big part of what keeps me going! 

Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me.  It means a lot.

What would you like to see in the next 6 months? Is there an area/topic you would love to see me tackle? I would be happy to hear if you have ideas or requests for future blog posts.

And if you want me to just keep trucking along doing my thing, that’s good too!

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up: Kitchen Island

I do love my kitchen island.

And I love to put stuff there.

Lots of it.

Everyone does. If you came over, I bet you would put something there.

It’s a big clutter hot spot for me. It’s a nice big flat space and it’s just out of the reach of our 1-year-old. It’s a  great work space. It’s just begging you to put something there.

The problem is that too many somethings are put there and not cleaned up and put in their proper place, and then other somethings get put on top of those, and so on and so forth…

The status of my island makes a big difference in how my home looks and feels. My post Island Watch 2011 gives a pretty good summary of how bad the island gets – with pictures of piles of clutter.

I am going to post a picture of my island every week for the next four weeks (I think every Wednesday) to help me keep it under control. It looks like it might work, because I stayed up last night and cleared it off.

So here’s a picture of the kitchen island today:

Other Updates:

  • The kids and I picked up the kitchen and living room, we swept the living room, and the kids picked up the basement/play room/family room themselves. Yay!
  • I still need to clean out the fridge and finish the kids’ clothes project.
  • I still need to go through those “hiding” baskets and boxes of clutter. My goal is to get through one basket by Monday.

What is your worst clutter hot spot right now?

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Filed under Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter

Seeing the clutter with new eyes | Dinner guests

Well, I have a cleared island, and a mostly decluttered kitchen and living room, but I’m not that happy about it.

Can you guess why?

A bunch of the clutter was just moved to a different location.

What is it about guests coming over that changes the way I see? I suppose I see the clutter through their prospective eyes.

We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Yay!). So, I started thinking about cleaning up over the weekend.

I got a bit more serious and actually worked on it on Monday with the kids. It seemed like we accomplished quite a bit.

We cleaned the kitchen floor!

And the kids liked it!

 We decluttered and organized the children’s books in the living room!

We eventually got rid of that dirty sock, too.

We moved some of these books to another room, put some in a give away box, and put the rest in one red box that we keep in the living room (you can see it by the fireplace in a picture at the end of the post).

We cleaned out and organized the shoes, etc. that were pouring out of the coat closet!

Yes, most of those shoes were mine! I admit it!

We took most of them to the bedroom closets upstairs, and one pair is heading out the door. We are trying to just keep 1 or 2 pairs each in this closet.

That empty spot is for one pair of my shoes. Just one!

 Monday night I even made a ‘To Do’ list for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I spent the day working on decluttering and cleaning (and of course making dinner), but it seemed to be going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At about 3:00, I realized that there was clutter everywhere. I was seeing clutter and dust that I hadn’t noticed in….months. It was worse than I thought.

Around 4:30 I started doing bad things with clutter. You know. The crazy desperate clean up. Throw everything into a container and hide it somewhere!

Trash, papers, toys, food….all together in laundry baskets in my husband’s office . Oh joy!

Hiding clutter. Nice.

 And check out this before picture of our fireplace.

There really is a fireplace behind there. For fun, look for Christmas items still there in August!

A lot of this is evil paper clutter that I thought surely I would sort through and organize if I put it right there in the living room!!! Nope. Apparently not.

This next picture shows the recycling that went straight from that pile out the door!

This recycling was just sitting with the other clutter. You know, just hanging out.

And now for the “After” picture. The “After-hiding-a-bunch-of-the-clutter-in-another-room” picture. Let’s try to get excited…

Still not perfect, but much better than before!

I know from my past that I really need to dig into those laundry baskets and boxes soon and not just ignore them. At the same time, I need to maintain the order that I have. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I am going to fight for it!

By the way, we had lots of fun with our guests!

Do you know what else is fun?

I told them about my blog.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.

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Filed under Before and After, Clutter, Declutter, Kids