Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How To... Clean Up Your House

So, Christmas has come and gone and in the space of about 4 days, my house has gone from 'we're expecting 20 people for Christmas dinner so the house better be clean' to 'Andrew has repeatedly told me to relax, don't worry about the mess. We'll clean it later.'

You know, we've been married for 6 years now, so my hubby knows a lot about me, but I guess he still hasn't figured out that it's the mess that stresses me out. When I see stuff laying around, and dishes piled up on the counter, and recycling piling up next to the front door, and toys strewn about the house... how can anyone kick back with a book on the couch surrounded by such chaos and be expected to relax? Now granted... I'm not the tidiest person in the world. But I'm definitely starting to feel the effects of 4 days without tidying up. So, I thought I'd do a little blog post about how to handle the post holiday clean up.

Step One: Gather your supplies.

For me this includes a garbage bag for garbage and items that can't be salvaged, and a box for items that I want to donate. depending on the room, I also have a vacuum cleaner, a swiffer and mop, and an all purpose green cleaner and cloth. I also have a huge glass of water with me. Cleaning makes me thirsty. Now put on some Tunes.

Step Two: Pick a room and start there.

I'm choosing to start with my living room because that's where I'm sitting at the moment. Survey the room and take in the mess. Then open all the windows. A cool room motivates me to clean faster and the fresh air is invigorating.

Step Three: Remove things that don't belong.

As I look around my living room, I can see laundry piled up on the corner of the couch, my Christmas craft project that I didn't finish in time for Christmas, dishes from breakfast, an air mattress, and packing material from opened Christmas presents. It's time to move all these items out of the living room and put them where they belong.

Step Four: Put away the things that do belong.

I can see toys strewn about the floor, DVDs that need to go back on the shelf. I have already made a mental note of the toys which will be going into the donation box. The boys were so blessed this year and received so many wonderful new toys. However, we have a little rule that we can only keep so many toys that can fit in our two toy shelves, so some things need to go.
You could stop now, and you'd have a 'tidy' house with everything in it's place. But we're going for a CLEAN house, so it's time to bust out the cleaner.

Step Five: Break out the green cleaner.

At this point, you should have clear floors, shelves, and seating area. Now, it's time to clean any messes you might have missed. Rueben has a penchant for dumping out his milk, and I don't always catch all his little spills. He also decided to draw all over the wall last week so it's those things that we need to clean now. Cleaning tip: If all else fails, use a baby wet wipe. Those pencil crayon marks came right off the wall with a wet wipe, some baking soda and a little elbow grease.

Step Six: Clean the floor.

Nothing says clean like a sparkling floor. Even in my messy house, if all I do is mop the floor, my house looks ten times cleaner. So that's the last step for me. In the living room we have an area rug, so if I just want to do an OK job, I vacuum. If I want to do a good job, I roll up the carpet and sweep under the rug. If I want to do an amazing job, I'll move the couches too. oh look, more toys to put away!

Step Seven: Repeat then relax.

Depending on how long it's taken me to do all those steps above, and how much time I have left before Andrew comes home with the boys, I might tackle another major room like the kitchen, or do a few less messy rooms, like the library and the dinning room. Afterwards, I brew a fresh cup of coffee, shower (all that cleaning is like a workout you know!) and plop down on the couch with my current read.

See, I went from this:

To this:

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