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I am the laziest cleaner. It’s a self proclaimed title but it’s true. That being said, I have kids, dogs, and life gets messy and needs to be clean so I’m sharing my lazy but effective cleaning lifestyle.
I see all these wonderful cleaning schedules floating around, and while in theory they seem wonderful, I just think they are too unrealistic for me and my family. I’ve tried a couple and it seems I know myself because I can’t keep up with it. I’m not saying I never clean or anything like that, I do deep clean every once in a while but I rarely set aside time just for cleaning. My house looks and is the cleanest just before we have guests, which isn’t all that often. I am more a “clean as I see it” kind of person.
Hopefully that doesn’t make you think that I don’t keep a clean house. I just have a million other things to do and want to do and memories to make with my busy little ones that keeping a spotless house is unreasonable for me and not a priority. I know other people do it and do it well but it’s not my strong suit. But there also can’t be grime or dirt rampant in my house, I know that and really don’t want that. We hardly have bugs besides the occasional mosquitoes that get through the door, and especially living in the south, I see that as a good sign I am doing things just fine. I have developed a little routine and tips for being a lazy but effective cleaner like myself. I’m going to sharing those with you today.
1 – Keep cleaning supplies in all bathrooms and kitchen.
I used to keep everything in one place and would round it up and move from room to room when I was dedicating specific time to cleaning. I hate it when I notice the mirror has a couple spots or counter needs to be wiped and I don’t have any way of quickly taking care of it. If I try to make a mental note to come back and do it later, it is usually much, much later. Having cleaning supplies handy helps me to take care of the problem the second I see it.
2 – Clean while your waiting for other things, whenever possible.
I try to clean my kitchen while I cook. Not only do I hate piling dishes on top of dishes, but I hate leaving the kitchen a huge mess. I’m already in the room so why not be as productive as possible so I don’t have to come back and do more later? I will start dinner, boiling, heating pans, whatever is needed and then wipe down the counters really well. Scrub a couple spots in the microwave. Start the dishes. Run or unload the dishwasher, etc. All in between cooking steps, etc. I usually cook quick and easy meals so that helps me to be able to stay on top of the meal while multi-tasking.
I also do this in the bathroom. I’ll brush my teeth and notice what needs to be cleaned. Then while the shower is warming up, I’ll clean the toilet, counters, mirrors, or whatever it is that needs to happen. It makes it so much easier to stay on top of cleaning. I usually only do one or two things in the room while multi-tasking so I can actually have it be done well.
Now when I’m cooking, I can’t be spraying harsh chemicals around food. I am really aware of where the food is and the cleaning products. I had been making my own cleaner with vinegar and water but my husband HATES it. He can smell the vinegar well after I can.
While we were doing our weekly shopping at Walmart, I found this Palmolive® Multi Surface cleaner. I love that it’s something I can use to clean the dishes and quickly switch over to wiping down counters or other surfaces. It makes it so I can very quickly get things done and move on. Palmolive® Multi Surface eliminates 99.9% of bacteria (*staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica and E. coli ((157:H7)) from dishes and hard non porous kitchen surfaces. Which makes it tough, even though I find dish soap to be so much more gentle if it touches my skin. With eczema I can’t be more grateful for gentle products and with my laziness a product needs to work so I don’t have to redo my work! Check and check! Plus it smells amazing. I found the Palmolive® Multi Surface on the dish detergent aisle.
3 – Line your shelves, cupboard, oven, etc.
Now this one does take a little work at the beginning but well worth it. I use contact paper in our cupboards and drawers and peel and stick cling wrap in the fridge. Wipe down the surfaces so they are clean to begin with and then line the surface. It makes it so much easier to wipe them down or just remove the lining and throw them away if a big spill happens.
We also keep a large cooking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. It catches spills and keeps the oven clean. I hate cleaning ovens! This helps so much. The pan gets dirty and needs a good scrub down every once in a while but it is much easier than scrubbing the bottom of the oven.
I sometimes get lax in this. We had a spill and it was time to replace the liners in the fridge. I pulled them out and forgot to replace them. That was a month or two ago. While dinner was baking the other night, I realized it was time to clean out the fridge (which I try to do at the end of a week, just before grocery shopping so it’s as empty as possible. Is that lazy or efficient? I call it lazy, less to move and do!). After wiping everything down, there was a spill that just wouldn’t come up. I was cleaning with Palmolive® Multi Surface and followed the instructions and soaked a cloth and let it sit on the stain. After a few minutes, it wiped right up and my fridge smelled great! I put fresh peel and stick down and went on my way.
4 – Keep trash bags at the ready
With fresh fruit and veggies, I keep the bag I put them in at the store. When I go to clean and cut them up, I leave that bag on the counter to collect the unused parts. I will also pull out an old grocery sack and leave it on the counter for packaging, meat trimmings, whatever I am working on. It makes for super easy clean up.
I also do this when I dye my own hair or open a new toy for my kids. The amount of packaging and garbage you can accumulate in a few minutes is quite crazy. If I get interrupted in the middle of something and get distracted, I don’t come back to a mess. It keeps things tidy and clean with very minimal effort.
5 – Wipe up spills on the floor
From time to time, especially in the kitchen, things spill or drip on the floor. It’s easy to quickly forget about them and end up with a sticky mess. If I grab a cloth and wipe them up as soon as it happens, it stretches the time between floor cleanings just slightly. The floors are one area I haven’t quite figured out how to get away with less, it just has to be done and done frequently. I try to do them all at once so I can just knock them out but even then it feels like I am doing it too much for my taste. With little ones, especially a 9 month old about to crawl, those floors have to be clean.
6 – Get multiple laundry baskets
I hate laundry more than probably every other cleaning task. About a year ago, I decided to get a couple more laundry baskets for our closet. My husband and I sort our dirty laundry as it goes in the basket. I have seen specific sorting baskets before but they are usually attached to each other and I don’t want to drag them all to the laundry area when only one is full. They also seem to hold very little clothing. Having separate baskets, has really helped streamline the laundry process. We have 3 baskets for whites, colors, and darks. When one basket gets full, I just pull it in and start the laundry. If I could find a tip for folding and putting away the laundry, I’d be very grateful.
7 – Set a timer
When I feel really overwhelmed and know that serious cleaning NEEDS to happen and I’ve gotten behind on things, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. I like to set a timer for 15 minutes or whatever time I have and run through a room/house and do everything I can in that amount of time. It is amazing what you can do when you feel the fire lit under you. It usually cuts a huge chunk out of the task and makes me feel so much better. Then it’s easier to see what’s left. It also becomes a little bit of a game and competition. Even 5 minutes can make a huge difference in a room and then I can get on my way with other, more important things.
8 – Delegate
In my ideal world, I would just hire someone to clean for me. Until that day, I am finding that delegation is my friend. For some reason, I feel like I have to do it all. I have to be super mom and while my standards of clean might be more relaxed than others, I still put an enormous amount of pressure and unnecessary stress on myself. I know I do this but it’s just this internal battle I am trying to conquer. My husband doesn’t always notice things that need to be done. Sometimes it drives me crazy and I wonder why he doesn’t see it! But he often reminds me that all I need to do is ask.
He is right, there is no reason he shouldn’t help and I need to let him. I realize that some habits are hard to break but I think it’s never too late to change your ways or ask others to change theirs. My kids are young and while they are a little too young for heavy lifting and real chores, my son (2 1/2 yr) loves getting involved in cleaning. I can give him the broom and he “sweeps” for a good half hour or more and he does actually get up a little dust for me. While I have to actually go back and take care of what he cleaned, I think it’s important for him to know he is part of this family and cleaning is all of our responsibility. Plus while he likes it, I might as well do as much as I can to keep that enthusiasm. He can also wipe things down and clean up after his own messes, which I encourage as much as possible.
I think that about sums up my secrets. Be sure to check out the new Palmolive® Multi Surface cleaner. I’d love to know what you think of it, I think you’ll be impressed!