5 Cleaning and Organizing Tips for Messy Families (like mine!)
Sunday, September 9th, 2012
I’ve talked before about my messy home. I am by no means whatsoever a spectacular housekeeper. However, I have managed to stumble upon a few organizing and cleaning tricks that have made my life simpler – and less stressful – in great ways. Since I love y’all so very much, I’m going to share my favorites here today.
1. In the kitchen, we have a designated spot in a low cabinet for the kids’ cups, plates, and bowls. We also have a low bin filled with snacks that I can direct them to when they are “starving” and I’m busy elsewhere. The independence of being able to get their own cup of water or snack is a great confidence builder for them, and it is one less thing that I’m responsible for – making this one a total win-win.
2. I’ve gone through my fair share of stain removers, sprays, sticks, pens, and powders. The one that finally worked on everything (and I even mean those stains that have gone through the wash and the dryer and would have been deemed as hopeless) was a simple mixture that I can throw together anytime I’ve got a stack of stains to treat.
I mix about one part of your basic blue Dawn detergent with about five parts of hydrogen peroxide. This isn’t an exact mix – so just estimate. If you let it sit for a while, the blue tint will disappear from the mix, but you can also use it right away. Thoroughly douse your stains, let them sit for a few hours to overnight, then wash as usual. Stains gone!
As a quick note: I mix up a fresh batch each time I’m using it. If you let it sit for more than a day or two it isn’t as effective.
3. Baby wipes. I keep a pack of baby wipes just about everywhere (despite the fact we are well past the diaper stage). From cleaning little hands and faces to swiping sticky spots off the doors, getting spots off of fabric, or wiping down dirty surfaces in restaurants or public restrooms, they are one of my necessities.
4. Anytime we want to leave the house, there is a scramble to get everyone fully prepared. In order to simplify and eliminate time spent running from room to room as we’re trying to get somewhere, we’ve set up the area by our front door as the place for all those final steps (socks, shoes, backpacks, purses, papers, etc.).
As I oh-so-helpfully noted on the photo, we’ve got four bins on the bottom. One for each kid, with all their shoes, and the fourth holds socks for all the kids. Now there is no running around looking for a matching pair, or flip-flops instead of boots. Shoes all go into the bin as soon as they walk in the door, and they go on their feet just before we’re leaving.
This is also the place we keep hooks for backpacks, a dumping ground for mail, a container full of lollipops for *ahem* encouragement, and sometimes – apparently – an extra toilet seat that needs to be installed. You know, life’s necessities.
5. Finally, just like in the above example, I’ve found that baskets and bins are organizing gold. My children inherited their cleaning genes from their parents (not the best genes we had to give) and they aren’t too interested in spending much time on cleaning. Their toys get sorted into groups – little dolls, big dolls, things with wheels, play kitchen food, puzzles, horses – and then those groups each get a bin. We have bookcases with bins, toy boxes with smaller baskets inside, and plastic stacking bins. The junk goes in the container, the container gets put away. It simplifies the entire process, and encourages them to put one thing away before taking out another.
So that’s it; 5 things that make my life simpler and a little bit cleaner. What about you? Please share your best tips for keeping things organized!