Thursday, December 10, 2009

Essay Question/GIVEAWAY/Martha Stewart-like Blathering

I am so tired today. I woke up last night a total of SEVEN times, you guys. And only one of those times was kid related. First (cover ears, boys,) I woke up to cramps so painful that in my delirious, half awake state, I momentarily thought I was in labor. That was fun. Then when I finally got back to sleep, I had this dream that a kid I went to high school with had broken into our house and was SANDPAPERING MY HANDS. I know. I had been whining about my poor, cracked winter hands to Jim right before bed, so I think it must have been some kind of manifestation of that conversation, but seriously, brain, WTF? Then Jim's alarm clock went nuts, having apparently been messed with by a child, and started going off every ten minutes starting at five o' clock in the morning, even after being unplugged. This happened four times before Jim figured out what was wrong with it. THEN the kids woke up and stood at their door, yelling for me. This was about a quarter to six. And sooo...

So today's post is a boring question/contest idea that I've had in the hopper for awhile, but haven't yet been so brain dead that I had to resort to the topic of CHORES. Today is that day, however. Here's your task, my lovies- tell me how you clean: your methods, your schedule, or lack thereof. Favorite products, least favorite tasks, best time saving technique, etc. Who helps out, and how efficiently. I'd bet every single one of you has something to contribute, especially when you hear that I will be sending a random winner a box of my favorite cleaning supplies! (Underwhelmed silence. Crickets.) Um, and maybe something less boring, too! Chocolate dipped pretzels! Your own maid!

Oh, and I don't just mean this for people who have a set schedule and your house is always clean. This also applies to people who only deep clean a few times a year for company, so you have to answer too, even if it's just, "My idea of cleaning the bathroom is throwing away the shower curtain liner before it is completely covered in mold."

Examples of what you could talk about: Do you usually clean a task at a time, or a room at a time? Or, do you block an entire day and clean your whole HOUSE top to bottom? Do you have any sort of schedule for cleaning, and are there certain tasks, like window washing, baseboard cleaning, ceiling fan dusting, etc. that get done at certain times of the year, like "spring cleaning" or whatever? What method have you found to be the most efficient? Does your family all pitch in? If so, what tasks have you found to be good for kids to help with?

Answer one or all of these questions, or something else entirely that I didn't cover above. Whatever strikes your fancy. Contest ends on Saturday at midnight!

Oh, and I guess I should answer too. I do tasks at a time, rather than a room at a time. It feels more efficient, if I have the vacuum out anyways, to do it all at once. Same with dusting. If I'm in the wiping things down mode, might as well wipe everything down!

I used to do rooms at a time, and that felt more satisfying, for some reason. I liked knowing that at least one room, on any given day, was perfectly clean. It just wasn't very practical, though. I found I got way too caught up in organizing that room, and ended up MAKING a big mess sorting things out before I finally got it clean. I was also more prone to rearranging that particular room as I cleaned it. Big time waster. But if you're someone who hates cleaning, I would suggest starting with the room at a time tactic because of the fun factor involved in organizing and rearranging stuff. It makes the cleaning aspect seem part of the overall FUN of prettying up the room, rather than just bustling around the house with your Swiffer like a dang maid.

I do have a schedule, which involves the house getting dusted and vacuumed, the bathroom getting cleaned, and the kitchen getting mopped at least once a week. (I TRY to get in a second vacuuming over the weekend, too, but it doesn't always happen.) Sweeping the hardwood bedroom floors is in the schedule too but about half the time I skip it. The majority of the bedroom floors are covered with big rugs anyways, which DO get vacuumed every week, so I figure it's no biggie if the dust gathers at the edges a bit. I sweep the kitchen and laundry room with the broom as needed- which ironically is MORE often in the winter than the summer, thanks to Fonzie's incessant shedding.

Deep cleaning stuff, like cobwebs, ceiling fans, baseboards, windows, and cleaning under furniture, I try to do twice yearly and/or whenever I remember it. Each season (so four times a year) I make a list of the non-weekly chores I think it's time to get around to. On the winter list, for example, will be curtain washing, as I know it's been over a year since that's been done. Other things, like cleaning the fans, I do more often, so they're on a list at least twice a year. I don't have an EXACT schedule there; I just kind of know in my head how long it's been since the last time I did such and such task- or you know, I can SEE very apparently that something needs done!- and I write it on the list, hang the list on the fridge, and try to tackle one thing on the list each week during that season. (I will not be making the winter list until after the holidays, btw. That's just crazy. And also, while you're taking down the Christmas decorations and putting stuff back in it's place is a great time to get some of that deep cleaning stuff done anyways, like baseboard dusting and vacuuming under furniture.)

Whew. Anyone who made it through all that deserves a prize just for endurance. Sorry. Off to drink more coffee.


Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

I don't like being number 1... I'd say it's because 1 never wins, but that's not true, just seems that way.

If I had my way, I'd clean top to bottom, thoroughly in one day. Every room. I'd straighten, declutter, dust, vacuum and scrub.

Realistically, I get days like this once in a blue moon so I set individual tasks out for individual days. (Generally when I wake up, so I know how insane I feel).

And once a room is clean, I do what i can to keep it that way to possibly have a clean house by the end.

That never happens. Kids, you know?

My favorite cleaning supplies are currenly either Method or J. Watkins stuff from target. (They smell so gooood... and they're not toxic... and they smell so goooood!)

When I clean a room, it drives me crazy not to be able to really clean it all the way. If I straighten the kitchen, I want to scrub down the counters, wash the cabinet door handles (they're white), and wash the floor.

But again... kids! :) Bless 'em, but they are SO not conducive to cleaning anything.

As for family... sometimes Shaun helps, but we fight a lot if we're cleaning the same room because we do things differently. (Of course, I do it the right way). I keep telling myself to shut up, but the verbal vomit, it keeps a coming.

And the kids? Well, the 4 year old can straighten fairly well and the toddler likes to put things in boxes and use a rag to push dust around. So they help in their own way.


Ideally, in a perfect, lovely world, my house would be pleasant and clean.

Because I'd have a maid :)

Hillary said...

I'm like you in that I tend to clean a task at a time. The husband helps a lot -- he vaccuums and mops more frequently than I do. My big thing is keeping our white kitchen cabinets and counters clean. When they're spotty, the whole house feels FILTHY. But if they're clean, I can ignore the dirty floor. I don't know why that is, but it's the truth. Deep cleaning -- wall-washing, curtain-washing, baseboard-wiping -- happens when I can't stand it any more. Usually two to four times a year.

Pickles and Dimes said...

OK, first off: your alarm clock kept going off even while it was uplugged?!? Aieeeee!

My husband is anal-retentive about cleanliness (yay!) so we are a clean-as-we-go couple. However, we have 3 pets, so shedding is A Problem.

We do a "quick clean" every Wednesday or Thursay night. This involves lint rolling our furniture and a quick sweep of our kitchen, which is where our deck door is where we take Shorty in and out, so it gets muddy/dirty pretty fast. Jason tackles the downstairs and vacuums just the area near Shorty's blanket and I do the upstairs. It takes us about 15 minutes.

Every 2-3 weeks, we do a "regular clean." This involves everything, and again, Jason does the downstairs items and I do the upstairs. We: lint roll, dust, sweep, dry swiffer the floors, wet swiffer the floors, vacuum,clean the toilet and tub, the whole nine yards. It takes us about 2 hours.

I do one room at a time before moving onto the next; I tried cleaning by task before and just felt like it took longer for some reason.

LoriD said...

I'm commenting, but don't enter me in the contest - you don't want to be shipping cleaning supplies to Canada - mucho $$$!

The kids are responsible for making sure the den, living room and their own rooms are tidy before they go to bed - if they aren't, they have to clean it up the next day AND pick a chore (we have a numbered list of chores and numbered popsicle sticks - they pick a stick and have to do the corresponding chore). The chores are things like cleaning baseboards and doors.

The kitchen is cleaned daily after dinner (floors are spot-cleaned with just some all-purpose spray and a cloth). Bathrooms, vacuuming, etc. are done on the weekends. Depending how busy we are, we may not get to everything every weekend. When the kids clean, they just use a spray bottle with hot water and a few drops of citrus-scented essential oil.

Omaha Mama said...

I love this topic and will definitely be back to read comments!

I'm a horrible housekeeper and try to figure out, at least once a month, how to get bi-weekly maid services in the budget. It hasn't happened yet.

Deep cleaning is seasonal. Vacuuming usually every other week. Try to do floors once a week. Dusting far less. The house getting totally put together is usually only every few months when we are hosting/entertaining guests. (She says, with her head hung low).

I make lots of lists and goals to do better and am hopeful that some day my children will be more helpful. Hubs cleans the kitchen a couple times a week when I don't and also handles all of the outdoor/lawn/snow/seasonal stuff, along with renos and home repair.

My home is mostly messy, most the time.

Jess said...

OK, let's see. We have both undergone an evolution over time, culminating with having a house instead of an apartment, and are much cleaner than we used to be. We make an effort to straighten up and clean after ourselves on a regular basis, and then every few weeks we do a deeper clean. We have the Dyson Animal Ball (one of the best purchases we've ever made), and Torsten vacuums every couple of weeks. We like to use natural cleaning products whenever possible, so we use lots of Method and similar. Torsten is more of a Big House-Wide cleaner, while I'm more of a room-to-room organizer. We also have those Swiffer duster things, and they're pretty good, though not the be-all and end-all of cleaning supplies the way I'd hoped.

Brett_in_Deutschland said...

I live in a house with 3 other strangers, so I always make sure to clean up the kitchen and other shared areas of the house. Counter tops are priority #1, because that's where we handle food! I whip out my secret sponge, which is kept hidden from the roommates, apply a dab of dish soap, then go to town. Old fashioned elbow grease is the key to cleanliness. My room, however, is like an entire ecosystem of "me". I have no furniture, besides a fold-out table and chair (and a bed, of course), so most of my clothes end up on the floor, where I can design little paths and bridges to navigate safely through the space. Even though my room is messy, I still clean those darn counter tops!

I hope this was helpful! Do you want my address for the Martha Stewart prize?

d e v a n said...

I don't really have a schedule. Every day I clean the kitchen, do the dishes, countertops, etc. That is for my own sanity.
I also try to pick up the toys (aka throw them in the play room and shut the door).
Cleaning bathrooms gets done when I notice how dirty they are and get sick enough of it OR when we're having company. Same goes for pretty much everything else, vacumming, mopping, cleaning base boards. Except dusting. I never dust, except when I put away the Christmas decorations. So... once a year. hehe

Favorite cleaning supplies:
vinegar - I use it for everything.
Windex has a "green" window cleaning I love.
Scrubbing bubbles is the only non-green cleaner I use and only when the bathtub or shower gets really bad.

Jana said...

Considering that my daughter asks who's coming to visit every time she sees me cleaning, you can probably guess that cleaning is not my strong suit. In my defense, she's in school eight hours a day and doesn't see me when I'm vacuuming or scrubbing the stove. Or sitting on my rear in front of the computer while eating chocolate. Whatever.

I used to have a cute little cleaning schedule stuck to my fridge. And then kid #3 arrived and it went in the garbage. Now I do a chore when I think it needs to be done. Can't walk across the living room without little pieces of dirt poking my feet? Time to vacuum (the whole house). Bit of mildew on the shower door? Time to clean the bathroom(s). It may take me a while to get to a chore, but when I decide to do it, I do it 100%.

As for kiddo help, the six year old makes her bed every day, puts away her clothes on laundry days and is a great picker-upper/put-awayer. The three year old loves to clean the windows/glass doors, which is great, but since he's only like 3 feet tall, I still do most of them. He also likes to vacuum, so we gave him our old one to use when I'm using the newer, more efficient one. The one year old? He likes to transfer the laundry from basket to washer to dryer to basket.

As for cleaning products? This is so un-green of me, but I use whatever's on sale or I have a coupon for. But I'm definitely interested to read about others' favorite products and give them a try. I guess I have a bit of green-guilt.

Scottish Twins said...

In my perfect world, cleaning goes like this:

In the real world I live in only half of that list gets done in any given week.

I do a task at a time and get a satisfying feeling when I get to crossit off my list on the fridge once I finish it.

The things I do every day (or try to): water plants, wash load of diapers, sweep kitchen, dust family room, sanitize kitchen counters, and sweep the main rooms of the house. The normal laundry and dishes also get done.

Lately I'm lucky if three of the things on that list get done in any given day.

Then I have my weekly chores - cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, etc. These things have been getting done lately on Wednesdays, when my mom watched the kids for me. There is no way I can get any of this done with the two monsters running around.

But you've seen my house and know my low standards. As long as we can't smell it I'm usually ok with it. I can overlook A LOT! lol

Scottish Twins said...

Oh yeah, don't enter me into the contest either. I plan on coming over and stealing chocolate dipped pretzels anyways :)

sagessa said...

I'm a list maker.

Since cleaning anything is the task that I dread more than any other, I have to make lists in order to make sure that things get done. I sit down and make a very detailed list. Each room gets listed separately, with each task that needs to be done (i.e. vacuum: living room, master bedroom, Alex's room, guest room Very detailed). As each item on the incredibly detailed list gets done, I mark it off. If the list didn't exist I seriously wouldn't get anything done (Sad, I know.)

I mix it up as to whether or not its a task at a time or a room at a time. Its basically whatever I feel like doing, so if all the things I feel like working on are in one room, that's how I do it. If not? meh, the whole list gets done eventually.

I have no favorite cleaning supplies. I tend to buy whatever happens to be on sale or what I have a coupon for.

Oh, and when I want Jym to help I just hand him the list and tell him to pick something off of it. When he gets done he gets (hee hee, gets... like its a prize) to pick another one. That way stuff gets done and he doesn't feel like he's getting ordered around.

Anonymous said...

Not a "cleaning product junkie" at all, but I LOVE:

Mr. Clean Erasers
they work to clean so many
marks and spots that won't
come out with anything else

Swiffer Wet Jet
the best thing anyone with a
a shiny white tile floor could
use for cleaning . . plus the
wonderful fresh smell

Mimi said...

My house is a wreck. But we do at least try to pick up toys every night, and do some cleaning on the weekends. The only thing that I've gotten my kids to participate in is dusting if I give them each a Swiffer dusting wand. They kinda, sorta dust some stuff before using the wands to poke each other.

Sage said...

I have a housekeeper

CAQuincy said...


I have a mish-mash way of cleaning. Some stuff gets sort of done on a schedule. I try to do one load of laundry a day. I try to mop and vacuum once a week. I try to clean thoroughly clean the bathrooms once a week.

I used to do a room at a time, but I found I don't get quite so overwhelmed if it's a chore at a time (mop ALL floors at once, sweep ALL rooms at once).

My kids have weekly chores, but I am horrible about reinforcing it. Because I sometimes find it's just easier if I do it myself! Then I get overwhelmed and get stabby and shouty and then I make yet ANOTHER chore chart! hahahaha. Anyway, the oldest is supposed to clean her guinea pig cage and room once a week. Middle child has to clean his bunny cage and room once a week. Littlest is supposed to help her sister with their room. I find she is more helpful with the day-to-day chores, though. She likes to sort socks, and if I give her a washcloth, she will go and wash EVERY SURFACE of the house with nary a complaint. God, I love that kid! All are supposed to help pick up the den (their toy room). I refrain from mentioning how often that gets done--at least to MY standards. *ahem*

My husband does NO housework. NONE, ZILTCH, NADA. In return, I basically refuse to help outdoors. Fair, right?

Most of the housework is done on Sunday, but I do try to get most of the clutter picked up and the living room vacuumed on Friday afternoon. I feel I can cope with a busy weekend better when at least the living room is decent.

Other than these sketchy means, I'm pretty much a "let-it-go-until-company-comes-over-than-clean-like-the-dickens" kinda person. I learned it from my dear Mother. (It's a big joke when we're planning visits--I'll call and ask her..."so have you started cleaning your house yet?" and vice versa.)

Favorite supplies? Hmmm...Comet OR Scrubbing bubbles for the bathroom, plus Lysol bowl cleaner. Pinesol OR Mr. Clean multiple surface stuff for the floors. I like to use the Swiffer duster, but I can't always justify PAYING that price for them. I tend to just wipe off the dust (um...and rather too infrequently) as our furniture is awful and the varnish is coming off, and well...why bother?). My husband just bought a little Bissell vacuum for quick clean-ups in the dining room (we don't have a dog, and the CRUMB ACCUMULATION, OH MY!)--it's the BEST. VACUUM. EVER. We use it to clean up after the critter cage changes, too (when more litter gets on the floor than in the actual cage). Otherwise, I have a Dyson--and an older one, too!--and yes, indeed, I do love it.

Fran said...

My answer WAS going to sound so much like Jana's it's funny (even more so since we are friends)! My house is a giant toy box basically and I guess you could call it seasonal cleaning because we have birthday parties in May and September and deep clean for them since my MIL usually comes (eek!). My husband refers to these cleaning frenzies as the "white tornado" which was cute at first, but now not so much.
Moving on, we have a shedding dog whose black hairs are very noticeable on our, let's call it tan carpet so vacuuming is at least an every other day thing but usually just the livingroom and hall.
Our boys share a room and when it is cleaned (by them) they vacuum it. They are fairly good helpers but must be told each. step. of. the. way. what to do. Irritating much?
My 2 year old likes to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer and will take anything you give her to the trash when asked. Other than that she is the chief mess-maker.
As for products, I like the magic eraser, doesn't have to be Mr. Clean brand. I use vinegar and baking soda a lot too because they are cheap, not because I am granola. My boys' bathroom smells horrible no matter what I do. We need to replace the flooring, but I have found that the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel provides for odor control, but you still have to scrub the bowl once in a while.
Thanks for this idea, I have gotten some good tips by reading the responses!

Marie Green said...

Cleaning is actually a favorite topic of mine, and I'm not even joking. It's just that I honestly wonder how other people DO it, especially others who don't force/encourage their spouses and older children to help.

Our schedule is:

Friday night or Saturday morning (usually Sat. morn), we set out to clean the whole house. David vacuums while I do the rest, which is timed about right. Here's what I do while he vacuums:

1. pick up all toys/clutter and return to rightful place (often "upstairs toys" are down or pieces from a toy is sepearated from it's family)

2. Clean the bathrooms: countertops, sink, faucet, mirrors, and toilet. Although we try very hard to be "green", I use chlorox wipes for all of it except the inside of the toilet, which I clean the regular way: toilet brush and cleaner)

3. I dust. But usually not the whole house. I triage the dusting.

4. Dump all the little garbages around the house into a big one and take it out

5. mop the kitchen floor and whatever other floors need it. I only do the kitchen weekly; the rest are on a "as-needed" basis

6. I try to squeeze in one "deep cleaning" item. It might be that I wash thoroughly behind the toilets, or that I dust all the picture frames, or that I wash the finger prints off of the couple of walls that get the worst.

7. Sometimes I wash a few windows too.

We have a big house (though our 3rd floor, or attic, is finished but we don't clean it weekly), so all of this takes us about 2-3 hours.

The rest of the week, I keep the house as tidy as possible. I usually run the vacuum over the worst of the floors midweek, and the kitchen and toys are always cleaned up before bed.

One final note: I think it helps to have help (I would be so resentful if David lived here but didn't help me clean) and also to have a "cleaning day". When I'm walking around my house on the Thursday and everything seems utterly messy and overwhelming, I can then think "but we are cleaning again soon". Without a "cleaning day", I live in a constant state of utter "MUST BE PERFECT"-ness.