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When I decided to start on this month of working on my cleaning habits I didn’t just want to pool my ignorance. I wanted to get some advice from people who knew what they were doing, so I googled the topic and consulted my local library. After some research I was able to get some books into my possession. These are a combination of books that were recommended and the ones that I happened to retrieve from the library before the request period expired and they were returned to the shelf. Planning and chance often coincide in some of the best things in life, so I am going with that idea when it comes to the books I consulted for this project.
The first one I read was Clean My Space By Melissa Maker. She also had a series of youtube videos so I checked some of those out as well. The videos are pretty adorable, and somehow, in her videos, she makes her space literally glow. It is pretty amazing.
One of the first things she recommends is to take her MIA quiz, which is intended to let you know which parts of your house you really can’t stand to see messy. Most of us could probably figure this out on our own, but I am a sucker for anything quiz-like so I tried it. It pretty much told me what I knew so I moved on. I skimmed over her cleaner recipes, and her recommendations for cleaning tools, and took note of where those were for later. Then I got to know her Three Wave System. It looks pretty much like this:
The Three Wave System
- Tidying and organizing
- Cleaning, first top, then middle, then bottom
Maker took this system and ran with it in her book. The system is applied to every room in the home. It is not hard to imagine how that could be done, so after a few room breakdowns I skimmed the rest of the book and felt pretty good about it. She did offer some tips on things I should be cleaning, but didn’t always think of, like all of the dust a 5’2” person never really sees way up high. I think it was a good book to start with and got my cleaning juices flowing, but I must say that I found her videos more to the point and more fun.
The second book I consulted was The Cleaning Ninja by Courtenay Hartford. I sure like quick-cleaning formulas, as well as sympathetic Mom-authors, and Ninjas. They’re pretty cool. So this book seemed to have a lot to offer from the start. I took more notes on her short 8 minute cleaning strategy than any other detail in the book. Obviously I know myself well enough to understand my cleaning attention span. I have had my share of short notice customer appearances in our home for people who need to try out a circus apparatus in the living room, so I am pretty adept at calling all kids on deck and shouting out orders to whip our main areas into shape. I could see where having an 8 minute plan in those tense, pre-visitor moments could definitely help ease the stress. I jotted down some of her tips, but there are an awful lot of them, so I skimmed the ones most relevant to me, like putting a dry towel in the dryer to shorten drying times and investing in white vinegar. The rest I will google on a ruined shirt, or stinky sink basis. While I really do like lists, I also know that I have been through just way too many cleaning lists to spend much time on hers. I won’t go through a monthly list even though I should and I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I am just going to start with getting that daily cleaning habit down.
Clean house in 8 minutes strategy
Minute 1: Make the house smell pretty
- Light a candle
Minute 2: Clear off the counters
- Trash first
- Dishes, fill washer, or fill the sink with dishes with soapy water
- Put papers in basket, or stack or throw in bedroom
Minute 3: Clear kitchen table
Minute 4: Clear junk from living room
- Dishes First
- Big things next
Minute 5: Bathroom hand-towel wipe down
- Grab current hand towel and wipe down sink
- Put out new hand towel or large towel
Minute 6: Quick scrub toilet
- Squirt something in and scrub
- Wipe off top and seat of toilet
Minute 7: Dust all surfaces
- Grab feather duster or something and run through kitchen and living
Minute 8: Wipe things down
- Wipe things down guest might touch starting in kitchen, like table and chairs to remove stickiness
- Wipe down some shiny or nice things to draw attention from the bits of clutter that remain
One thing she (and many other cleaning gurus, I noticed) wants you to remember is to MAKE THE BED! I can see where she is coming from. If you have a nice comforter and your bed takes up a good portion of the room, a nice smooth soft surface would go a long way to making that room look neater than a rumpled surface. When we invest in that comforter I will probably follow that advice.
She also had some good tidbits like cleaner recipes and trouble spot tips. These are a few of my favorites.
For kitchen cabinets: solution of one-half soapy water and one half white vinegar. Wipe down the outside of three or four cabinets with this and wait 30 seconds. Go back over them with a damp cloth to soak up the water on them and don’t scrub.
Blackened food in the bottom of a pan: soak them overnight with water and a dryer sheet, then wipe out in the morning
Baking sheets: paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Rub on and leave overnight.
Add one large dry towel to dryer loads to help soak up moisture and speed drying
Clean washer by putting two cups of vinegar into the tub on the machine and running it on a hot cycle. Then run an empty hot cycle to rinse it out.
Whether I will get to use these is another question entirely. I did think about the washer cleaning with vinegar the other day when I was transfering my clothes over to the dryer, so that was a step in the right direction. Now I know where I wrote the note containing the directions for the process, so who knows, it may happen.
I noticed that the author has a series of videos on youtube as well, but they are primarily step by step directions for things like making drawer dividers and pumpkin spice dog treats, with elevator music in the background. They weren’t particularly endearing or inspiring to me.
I am still reading and learning so I am sure there will be more book updates and reviews to come. Stay tuned.