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20 Ways to Keep the House Clean

Newcastle Hotel RoomCreative Commons License photo credit: bobbigmac

Note to readers:  In order for you to keep your house clean, it must first be clean to start with :-)

  1. Make sure everything in your home has a home of its own.  Things are much more likely to get put away if everyone knows where the item belongs.
  2. Have everyone do a sweep of the house before bed to collect any of their belongings and take them to their room.
  3. When you get out of the shower, wipe it down to reduce soap scum accumulation.
  4. While the kids are playing in the tub, clean the sink, mirrors and toilet in the bathroom (you’re in there anyway)
  5. Keep a hand vacuum easily accessible to clean up messes as they occur.
  6. Let your children help- even little ones can put away their own toys, use a duster, etc.
  7. Keep a basket or bin near the stairs to hold items that need to go up/down.  Make it a habit of emptying the basket on certain days or even better each time you use the steps.
  8. Fold laundry as you take it out of the dryer.
  9. Rinse off dishes as you use them and place them in the dishwasher.  Then when you have a full load, all you have to do is turn on the dishwasher instead of facing a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of an exhausting day.
  10. Make certain rooms toy free zones or make the rule that only one toy at a time can be brought in the area.  Especially for entry ways or rooms you may have clients come in, this is a way to keep down the clutter and have a presentable space for unexpected guests.
  11. Keep cleaning wipes in the kitchen and the bathroom so that you can give the counters a quick wipedown when you have a minute.
  12. Have a place for shoes near the front door.  Whether it be a bench that opens for storage, a coat closet, a shoe rack or a basket, have a place where shoes can accumulate without being tripping hazards.  In addition, this will make the mad dash out of the house much easier for the child who can never find their shoes!
  13. Buy furniture with built in storage.  Use a dresser to hold craft supplies, an ottoman that opens to hold magazines, etc.
  14. Speaking of magazines, only keep the current month’s issue.  Tear out the articles that interest you and throw the rest of the magazine away.  Better yet, give it to someone else and access the articles/recipes/tips you liked online.
  15. Resist the urge to purchase more stuff.  If you are already having trouble keeping up with the items you already have in your home, you don’t need more to keep clean and keep track of.
  16. Enlist help, whether it be a cleaning lady twice a month or delegating chores to your spouse or older child.  You are not responsible for keeping the whole house clean on your own. (or at least you shouldn’t be :-)
  17. Encourage each child to use the same cup all day.  Am I the only one that tires of washing cups?
  18. Make your bed every morning.  It will make your room look nice and could even encourage you to clean up the rest of the bedroom.
  19. When you touch an item- put it away.  Don’t pick it up and move it somewhere else that is still not where it belongs.  Don’t defer- just go to where it belongs and put it away!
  20. Accept the fact that you can’t be Martha Stewart, Supermom, CEO Extraordinaire and Trophy Wife all at once.  In fact, you don’t need to be any of the above.  Just be you.  And if you’re okay with a few dust bunnies in exchange for more time with your kiddos that is ok!  In fact, it is one of the perks of being a WAHM!

6 Steps to an Organized Refrigerator

Written by Neat Freak
You’ve been an absolute whirlwind, an organizing maniac, and your closets are getting whipped into shape like never before. Good for you! Life is so much easier when we’re organized. But, there is another “closet” in your house that’s not getting the same focus. Your “cold closet”… better known as your refrigerator.

Look at your refrigerator like a closet. It has drawers, storage bins, specialized storage spaces, and even a light. Your refrigerator already has everything that an organized closet should have. The drawback to any closet is the “dead” space. You know, the area in your closet that you can’t reach, or that things get pushed back to, never to be found again. The problem that is exclusive to your “cold closet” is that, unlike your clothes closet, when items get pushed into the “dead zone” and forgotten, they either freeze or spoil. How many frozen bags of lettuce and molding jars of diced tomatoes have you thrown away in the last year? Way too many, I’m sure. So, let’s get your refrigerator organized! Viewing your refrigerator as another closet, take these six simple steps and get your refrigerator working for you, not against you.

Step 1: Remove The Contents Of Your Refrigerator And Place In Cardboard Boxes
Collect some small to medium size cardboard boxes with top flaps still attached. Your friendly, neighborhood liquor store usually has empty boxes sitting around to give away for the asking. These boxes are heavy duty and small enough to handle. Now, sit down in front of your refrigerator and take the delicate perishables like fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, and cheese out and carefully fill your boxes. Put your larger items like gallons of milk or juice in a separate box. Put your smaller items, jars, and cans in a box. Put your containers of leftovers, cartons of cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. in a box. Keep a trash bag nearby and throw out, hopefully for the last time, anything that looks suspicious. If you don’t remember it, or it has definite signs of age or frost, don’t keep it any longer. Cover the boxes up with the flaps and slide them into a corner. Drape a blanket over the top of your pile to keep the food cold while you clean up.

Step 2: Wash The Refrigerator Thoroughly
If you’ve only been wiping up spills in your refrigerator as needed, now is the time for a full-out cleaning. I prefer mixing a half and half ratio of white vinegar and hot water. It’s safe, inexpensive, and it works. Some people prefer mixing a solution of baking soda and water which is an excellent cleaning solution, as well. What you don’t want to use is a strong smelling, heavy-duty industrial style cleaner. Your cleaning solution must be food-friendly. Start by turning your refrigerator temperature control off, since you’ll be working with the door open and you don’t want it to keep running. Remove the drawers and all the racks that you can, and place them in a sink or tub with dish soap and hot water to soak. Now, starting at the top, use a clean, absorbent cloth to wipe down the entire inside of your refrigerator, top, sides, bottom, and door shelves, rinsing out your cloth and changing water when you need to. Don’t forget the drip-pan underneath your refrigerator. Remove the grill in front of your drip-pan, wipe off the grill, pull out the pan and wash it as needed. If it’s been collecting dirt for some time now, you may want to add it to your soaking items. You’ll also want to wipe up underneath your refrigerator now, since the drip-pan has been removed and you can get at the floor. Scrub up your drawers and racks, rinse them well, and wipe each one down with a fresh vinegar and water mixture to remove any soap residue, and reinstall them in your refrigerator. Don’t forget to put your drip-pan and front grill back, then turn your refrigerator temperature back where it was and shut the door.

Step 3: You Have Time For A Break
Scrubbing out the interior of your refrigerator takes some effort. Some would say it’s back breaking work. No matter how your muscles and bones react to this physical effort, whether you feel pretty sore or it wasn’t so bad, you deserve a ten minute break. And this is the time for a short break, since your refrigerator needs to come back down to the temperature you set. Your cold food will stay cold in the cardboard boxes for a few more minutes, so pour yourself some coffee, tea, a soft drink, or water, and put your feet up. Okay? Feel better? Great! Back to work!

Step 4: A Whole New View Of The Interior Of Your “Cold Closet
Open your refrigerator and take stock of the interior layout just like you would with any other closet. Assigning specific spots for the food items you store most often will stop the constant shuffling around, and eventually discarding, containers of food. For instance, if you keep a couple gallons of milk on hand at all times, make a spot for them now. If you normally have a dozen or more eggs in your refrigerator, a narrow spot between a top drawer and a shelf might be just right. If you have an egg keeper in your door, it’s really okay to use it for eggs as long as you are not storing them outside their carton for long periods of time. Just like the other closets in your house, it’s all about “a place for everything and everything in its place”, using storage pieces specifically designed for certain items, and storing like-items together in bins. This is where it gets tricky… your “cold closet” has areas that may not be suited for all storage. If food freezes when it gets shoved to the back of your refrigerator, look for small plastic bins that fit in those Arctic areas to gather less fragile items together, saving the room in front for your more delicate food items. Now that you have gathered some little storage items together and assessed your needs, you are ready to organize your refrigerator.

Step 5: Putting Your Refrigerator Back Together
Drag your cardboard boxes back over to the refrigerator. Open the boxes of the delicate items like fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and cheese and immediately place them in the drawers or areas where they are intended to be stored. Close the drawers tightly and continue. Grab the large items like milk and juice and place them in the spots that you’ve designated for their permanent home. If you store bread or other large items, put those in their spot. Now, you should be left with your smaller items. Close the refrigerator and have a seat next to your boxes of food and small plastic storage bins. Start sorting your smaller food items according to use and placement. For instance, if you have a collection of hot sauces or other condiments that you don’t use that often, place them together in a small plastic bin that you can push to the back recesses of your refrigerator. Continue putting less fragile and seldom used items together and placing them in either small plastic bins or directly in the back corners of your refrigerator, wiping each container with a damp cloth as you go. Gather those little leftover packets of seasonings together in a small food storage container and slip it in your door shelf. Place your salad dressing bottles in the door shelves, along with any other larger jars or cans. Now, you should have open space in front of all those little bins which were filled and pushed to the back. Your cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and all those leftovers stored in zip lock bags and containers now have a place to go where they will not freeze or get lost!

Step 6: Train Your Family
Now that everything is safely tucked away in your refrigerator, with a space designated for everyday items, you need to train your family to put the milk, eggs, etc. back where they found it. Simple concept, but if not followed, it can turn the best organized homes upside-down again. Bring your entire family on board and you will have better success.

Now that your “cold closet” looks and operates like the rest of the organized closets in your home, you should no longer be surprised by those fuzzy containers of who-knows-what that used to lurk way in the back of your refrigerator. With everyone’s cooperation, your newly organized home will remain neat and orderly, even the busiest closet in the house… your refrigerator.



This community is Brand New and just getting going, but the point of it will be to share tips and ideas for those who take care of House and Home.  This could be anything from spot treatment to laundry, organizational tips, cooking recipes, or various other ideas that are shared.  Check back for additional entries and information to be added to our collection.  We will be organizing things with tags so they are easy to locate regardless of when you look for them.

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