I found some of these housecleaning tips helpful, and thought you might, too! They are from here, a blog I follow for encouragement in raising families in our generation:
*Keep a tight lidded plastic container handy in your kitchen for throwing vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grounds and such into instead of the garbage for quick and easy compost. You don’t need any sort of fancy compost bin outdoors, just empty the container in a corner of the yard and cover with grass clippings or dried leaves. You’ll be amazed at the no smell and the refuse will turn into beautiful planting soil.
*Before beginning to prep a meal, fill the sink a quarter of the way with hot soapy water. Drop in used measuring cups or dishes as you’re done with them and when dishwashing time comes, they’ll rinse off easily. No dried on gunk.
*When your oven is clean and cool, lay neat sheets of aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the oven, taking care not to cover any heating elements. When oven messes spill over, just replace the foil.
*Cover the shelves of your fridge with Press and Seal plastic wrap. When they get gunked up, peel of and toss.
*At the thrift store, let each of your kiddos choose their own unique cup or mug. At home, this because their own cup to use every day. No more washing a sink full of cups at the end of the day and everyone knows whose is whose.
*Arrange the kitchen to keep like things together. For example, teas are kept in a neat basket inside a cupboard with a sugar dish and creamer set, coffee, coffee grinder and French Press are kept in a drawer together, baking ingredients and measuring cups are all together in a cupboard by the mixer… *Re-think your silverware and dish placement to make things easy for younger helpers. We skipped out on the traditional silverware divider drawer and instead keep our silverware in a caddy on the table. Plates and bowls are now stored within easy putting-away-reach in a low cupboard.
*Make a weekly or monthly menu. I check the sales flyers and my pantry and freezers before coming up with meals for the week. This is such a time saver.
*Designate one small laundry basket for each family member. I sort and toss dried clothes into each basket and everyone from the 3 yr old up folds and puts their own clothes away. When the baskets are empty, they stack inside each other. We don’t have a seperate laundry room so this is a life-saver.
*I scrimp on detergent by making it myself but I splurge on a name brand stain remover, which saves us money in tossing stained kid clothing.
*No need to seperate darks from whites in the laundry anymore. Throw in a color catcher cloth with each load. I rip the cloths in half to make them last longer.
*Throwing a dry towel in with a wet load of laundry will make the whole load dry faster.
Teach older children how to run the washer and dryer. From about age ten, our kids are responsible for doing their own laundry and have a laundry day assigned to them.
*Take time to make a cleaning schedule with three seperate colums for Daily, Weekly, and Monthly housecleaning jobs that need to get done. You may need to sweep daily, wash sheets and the shower weekly, or wash windows monthy. On Mondays check the weekly list and on the first of the month, mark your calender to check the monthly column and see what needs to get done.
*If the housecleaning is looking overwhelming, set a timer and spend five minutes on each room in the house. If you have children, make it a race against the clock.
*Don’t buy dry swiffer cloths. A microfiber cloth is a great re-useable swiffer cloth. By the way, swiffers are popular with toddlers and preschoolers in our house and they do a pretty great job with it. *Keep a dollar store spray bottle of diluted cleaner (we like Ecover’s All Purpose Cleaner) handy for spritzing and cleaning up messes. This is the spray bottle I hand to the kids with a cloth to wipe down the table after meals, clean up spills, wash cupboards and spray down the bathroom fixtures when it is on their chore list.
*If the markers or crayons aren’t washable, don’t buy them.
*Divy up the dishwashing and hang a list of day/dishwasher person right above the sink for a reminder. *Place a dryer sheet (non-toxic one please) or a paper towel with a drop of essential oil at the bottom of the kitchen garbage pail before putting in a new bag.
*A drop of baby oil on a cotton ball will polish up chrome fixtures.
If you observe a regular quiet time in the afternoon in your home, like we do during baby and toddler naps, you’ll find it handy to take five minutes to jot down a list of things to do for your older children. A half hour of reading then water color painting and playing a board game together (give them a specific one to play to avoid conflict) before tidying up is one idea.
When you have more time (smile!) make a more comprehensive list of things your older children can do during quiet time and let them take turns choosing an activity each day or each week.
*Sort toys by type into tight lidded plastic bins and store in a closet on shelves. Teach your kids that one bin comes out at a time. If needed, place a latch lock on the door until this concept is routine. Such a sanity saver.
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