You mean I'm supposed to clean it?

If you're looking for someone who was born organizing the toys in her crib to tell you what to do, you're in the wrong place. My grandmother was that type of person, my mother was not. I am not. Cleaning is not something that comes naturally to me and is something that I will probably always struggle with.  It was manageable for me when I only had two children and myself to clean up after, but now? Now I've got my own baseball team tromping through the house, with my husband, a cat and a dog to clean up after as well. It easily gets overwhelmed and if I don't stay on top of my game I'll find myself in tears on the stairs pissed off that nobody understands how hard I work and they're taking it all for granted.   So instead what I'm going to give you are the tips and tricks that keep my house running smoothly, even when it's not something that comes easy to me.

First things first. There's this amazing book called Bonnie's household organizer.  It's outdated to be sure when you think about it. At least once she mentions a friend getting a twelve foot cord for her telephone to get more stuff done. (*snicker*..telephone cords. I remember those!) The tips are really good anyway though so I'm going to breakdown the big ones for you.

1. Get yourself an organizer. Not a binder, well I mean you could use a binder but I literally have a desktop organizer that I carry with me everywhere so I can schedule appointments when I'm out and keep track of all of that stuff. Otherwise I'm likely to forget when I'm supposed to be where. I may misplace that
appointment sheet and not realize it until I'm getting an angry call. If you're a military spouse this is very important because I don't know about your spouse, but mine gets kind of pissy if he gets reamed because I forgot I had a pap smear scheduled.

That's the one I have right there. I also invested in some extra tabs, and a notepad but the basics are all there. This one even has flap on the front big enough to carry a dvd or a small book.  I have mine divided into several tabs including daily, weekly, monthly, finances, and menus.  This also contains all of my cleaning routines as well and my running list of to-do's because I will forget what I knew I had to do in a heartbeat if I don't write it down.

Okay, so down to the actual cleaning (which btw gets written in the organizer).  I have a fancy apron. I know, big shock right?  I have a beautiful strawberry print apron I got from three years ago and it's held up beautifully.  The important thing is that you have pockets, and it keeps stuff off your clothes. It's also kind of like an on switch in my mind.  Anyway, so after I have the apron on I set my timer on my phone for 5 minutes and set out doing what Betty calls Minimum Maintenance in each room. It's basically five minutes in a room picking up, straightening up, tossing garbage, etc. if you finish, don't dig into deep cleaning, just go to the next room. This keeps your house pretty surface clean. The kitchen can take longer and that's fine. mine is a 15-20 minute job usually.

After that we go into my weekly list. There are jobs that have to be done frequently, but not necessarily every day. For instance, Monday is my bathroom day, major picking up after a long weekend and vacuuming. if I tried to do everything on Monday I'd burn out; incredibly fast. Thursday am is trash pickup so Wednesday is for getting all the garbage out of the house (broken toys, half a guidon post *cough* things like that). I only have one cat so while the cat box doesn't need to be cleaned everyday, at least two to three times a week, etc.  That's my actual schedule on the right there and it follows the Clean Mama Blog perpetual cleaning calender pretty well.
After this we dive into our monthly cleaning chores. This is where we pull the flylady out of the hat. Now I love flylady, but her system was still too complicated for me. I got bogged down in this epic control journal and this forever long list of routines, I don't need to check off routines. I've discovered if I have to mark off every little thing and I misplace my dry erase marker, I feel paralyzed. I know, I'm odd.  But the zone cleaning is perfect for me. See, each week of the month is broken down into a zone. There are five zones.
The first week of the month is zone 1 - dining room, entry way and front porch. (this starts on the  1st regardless of what day of the week the first falls on. )
zone 2 is the kitchen
zone 3 is the bathrooms, laundry rooms and kids rooms
zone 4 is the master bedroom and bathroom
and zone 5 is the living room and office. Zone five is the last week of the month and ends on the last day. Most months this means that both zone 5 and zone 1 are in the same week.

Each of these zones has a detailed cleaning list of things that I would never think of. Things like, cleaning the oven, washing shower curtains, scrubbing baseboards, vacuuming vents, etc.  I don't spend long on this part of the list, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes a day. But it's the consistency that keeps it humming along. Clean Mama's blog also has detailed cleaning lists you can print off if you like, or make up your own. Hell, even Martha Stewart has some detailed listings. But that's my routines in a nutshell.
And for the fun of it, here are some small extra things I've learned over time:
1. Press n Seal is epic. After you clean your fridge, line your shelves with it. When it's time to clean your fridge again, just pull off the plastic wrap and throw in some new ones.
2. to clean microfiber couches, just mix some warm water and a tablespoon or so of laundry soap and spot clean with a rag.
3.  Vinegar gets rid of pee smell in clothes. Just throw it in a downy ball and toss it in your wash.
4. You can make your own waterproof pads for potty training kids by sewing some flannel and a cheap dollar store shower curtain liner together. The flannel keeps it from shifting and the curtain protects the mattress.
5.  Make yourself a cleaning board! I'm fixing to do this soon so I'll post up some pics of my project. I actually have to go to walmart tomorrow to get the supplies since I'm doing boards for my kids too.  I need some poster frames and gift wrap and things like that so we'll do a tutorial on that tomorrow.
In the meantime I hope this is a bit helpful for ya'll. it's nothing amazing and by far nothing I came up with on my own, but it works for my family.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, you can Email me or check out my facebook page.



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just your ordinary run of the mill mom of six, military wife and fitness freak. :)
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