Friday, March 18, 2011

Quick Takes: The Cleaning: Simplified Edition

Next month's Real Simple arrived in the mailbox today, and I immediately picked it up to leaf through.  The colors got me first, I just LOVED the 'springy-ness' of the hues on the cover.  And the 'spring cleaning shortcuts'?  Swoon.

Falling in with my theme of 'simplify' for the year, I am pulling together seven snippets of how life has simplified around here since the beginning of the year.  Some are lessons I should have learned long ago, some are ways that I'm keeping my sanity of cleaning out the house while being 8 months pregnant and chasing down the dirt tornado that is the Wee Ski 1.0
  1. My daily routines have been crazy helpful in 'keeping order' (as opposed to constantly 'restoring order'). 
    I fully credit the FlyLady for finally getting my daily 'chores' written down and pulled together...and credit Finian Road for the cute checklists that make me happy on a daily basis.  I've been able to go easy on myself on the days that I don't check everything off, but it also helps me to notice things that I put off routinely (like starting the dishwasher at night before heading to bed).  Being around the farm 'full time' has taught me how important order is to my sanity, since it's both my 'home' and my 'workspace' for Finian Road.
  2. I think I have finally mastered the Ski Laundry Monster.
    I credit the routines above, 'the soak', and realizing that often, I prefer to pound out three loads of laundry instead of one each day.  I really enjoy the days off from laundry while knowing that everything is taken care of.  Keeping just one laundry basket for clean clothes and immediately putting the hampers away after dumping things into the washer has helped force me to keep the 'flow' going.  And getting things put away immediately has been a huge help.  I thought it was hilarious this morning when I was hunting down blankets and towels to wash, because my cleaning checklist said I needed to. I had to stop for a moment and double check that I was really me.  I am really hoping that my laundry reward sometime this year is a remodeled mud/laundry room.  That would be heavenly.  Especially if I finally convert over to cloth diapers with 2.0.  :)
  3. I think I have also finally mastered the Ski Housecleaning Monster.
    Especially when I was working full time + after Thomas was born, the Merry Maids were my BFFs.  I had no shame in admitting that, and one of my favorite days to come home was Friday afternoons when everything smelled sweetly of orange oil and clean floors.  But as life settled in with Thomas and I was clearing the clutter in our home, housecleaning became easier because there was simply less to care for.  In my '2011 Sprouffske Family Binder', I have a page just for housecleaning (or as the FlyLady calls it, "Home Blessing").  I printed it on photo paper in the colors of the binder (because I am a Type-A freak like that) and dropped it in a page protector.  Each week, I check off the tasks with an orange dry erase marker.  And occasionally, the Wee Ski colors on it.  He wants to get his checkmarks in too.
  4. Putting away things right after using them is a good idea.
    I know, not rocket science.  But I'm not perfect, and I can't tell you how often I would walk past something out, and leave it there, intending to 'get to it later'.  And over time, it would blend into the scenery and then I wouldn't see it anymore except for the fact that I was now out of counter space.  
  5. Being proactive with planning ahead has made little things go much more smoothly.
    When I get big boxes of diapers, I immediately pull the packs out and put them on the shelves where they go in the bathroom.  But before putting them away, I take scissors and slice neat cuts into one end of each, so you can pull out a stash of diapers with one hand without having to tear open the bag with both hands.  Let's be real...when I'm out of diapers in the diaper organizer, I usually realize it during the world's worst #2 mess and I only have one free hand for fear of unleashing the mess all over the bathroom. For planning ahead -- I also love pulling Thomas's outfits together onto the bathroom counter before he gets in the shower, so when he is done, I immediately dress him (or Jonathan does on weekends) and he's good to go so he can play while we're still getting ready.  I know, again, this isn't rocket science, but it took me two freaking years to switch up that order.  So I'll soak in that joy for a little longer now.
  6. I love how Thomas loves helping.
    He honestly cheers for himself  ("yea! yea!" while clapping and stamping his feet) when he's put away something on his own, or he cleans the windows on his own (currently his favorite obsession -- Grandma Mauss would be so proud).  I'm working on being patient when I don't hear the spray bottle and realize that he has soaked my pant leg, because clearly, there's a stain he's trying to get rid of. 
  7. Super big fan of buying in bulk at Costco.
    Having been a member for nearly 15 years, I sing their praises on a regular basis.  But all of our household 'staples' are purchased in bulk and I love it.  I decant cleaners from the giant bottles into small clear spray bottles (found here) and they stash neatly under the sinks and in the weekly cleaning caddy that's stashed under the sink in the small bathroom.  And Thomas has a bottle of just water for when he wants to go to town with spraying.  Outside.  :)
If you've got "cleaning: simplified" ideas that you love...I'd love to know what they are!  I'm a big fan of the fact that most of the best ideas are begged for, borrowed or simply stolen.  :)


Family of 4 said...

we are using cloth now and I love it. We have 24 FuzziBunz and i just LOVE LOVE LOVE them. So easy to have all the same kind (even though I know some people might like to have a variety). There are so many blogs and sites about it, but if you want my 2 cents, I will give it to you.

shelley said...

Would TOTALLY appreciate your 2 cents about it! Especially about why you like the FuzziBunz and what's involved in the 'behind the scenes' to make it all work. :)

Rebecca said...

You have so much energy! If you weren't 8 months preggers I'd be askin' you to bring your checklist to my house & get busy. You are an inspiration to me, although I just don't have enough gas in the engine. Baby steps for me.

Mama Laundry said...

Oh my word! You are a busy girl! ;)

Thanks so much for including my 'The Soak' link. So kind of you! But I'm even happier it's been helpful.

You are welcome to pick my brain if you have cloth diaper questions! I have several different kinds because I wasn't sure which ones I would like. But if I could do it all over again, I would do as your other commenter and choose only one style. Much simpler.

Thanks again :)


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