- August 14, 2009 at 11:24 pm #275174
I just got this in my e-mail “The Beam” Sonlight Home School newsletter. It looked like some great ideas for organizing my home. I’ve tried to do so for years but never have succeeded but saw some things here I’ve never tried so will try again as soon as things settle down this Fall!
Thought you might like to see it also!
How do I make my house need minimal upkeep?
[In response to requests for housekeeping tips, Chocolate Fever shares some tricks.]
A: A long time ago, when I was overwhelmed with keeping a house and raising a family, I wanted to do a better job so I did what all homeschoolers do (although I wasn’t a homeschooler yet!): I went to the library.
I read all the books I could get on housekeeping and how to clean. There was one particular book by Don Aslett that I found intriguing. He talked about setting up your house so it was easier to clean.
I have since taken his ideas, changed them to fit my life, and implemented them. He has a lot of good articles on his website.
I once read somewhere that the most one person could maintain on their own was max 3000 square feet. My house is that size, plus an additional 1000 square foot finished basement, so I have hit my limit. I have never hired help.
My children help, but in the end, it is my home and I oversee everything.
A random list of some things I do:
No clutter or knickknacks. For example, Don Aslett said don’t put framed pictures everywhere that you have to dust. I agree. All my pictures are framed and hung on the wall.
Therefore, it doesn’t need to picked up to be dusted. I don’t even have anything on my mantle.
No shoes worn in the house. This is easy enough to do since it is our culture.
Food is only eaten in the kitchen and dining room. Therefore, nothing to clean up elsewhere.
After each meal, I vacuum quickly. Takes me 15 seconds.
I clean my kitchen as I cook. I don’t leave piles everywhere.
Mail gets sorted as I walk in the house. Junk goes immediately in recycling bin, bills on top of my computer and I take care of it before I surf the web, and anything I want to browse (sales circular) I leave right on my kitchen counter cause it will drive me crazy to see it.
My kids shower each night. It keeps the beds cleaner and they sleep better.
All our beds are the same size, so I have several white fitted sheets that fit any bed. Each person has a nice comforter on top. No fancy bedspreads or pillows.
no stuffed animals!!!
all crafts, cds, batteries, and any other items that easily spread everywhere, are organized and kept in plastic shoeboxes. therefore nothing gets dusty and the tops of the boxes just need a quick swipe. for example, my one friend sews a lot.
she has all her spools of thread on a nice pretty rack. but they get dusty and she has to clean those things. i use clear rubbermaid boxes everywhere.
all the kids toys are organized that way. all school supplies, all craft items, all office supplies. i don’t use pretty wicker baskets nor do i decorate paper shoeboxes for this use.
if it is clear, i can find anything i need in an instant, they stack easily and are durable.
i only allow myself two hobbies and i make them useful (i took up cooking). not that i don’t like to try new things, but i’d rather do a few things super well. it also helps in minimizing clutter and saving money.
my husband does the same.
i also only allow my children a couple toy lines and just expand on those. for example, their first love is legos. therefore, that is most of their toys.
sometimes, they go to another kid’s house and see a new type of toy, and they may ask for it, but i say no. i tell them to just play with their friend’s.
i am ruthless with decluttering. i do have a different view on this coming from an immigrant family. i have no family heirlooms to speak of.
nothing fancy worth keeping. no grandma’s china or furniture. i have kept it that way.
the only thing i would save in fire would be my kids’ pictures.
i once had this precious item from my childhood. it was hard to get rid of, but i didn’t want to burden my kids with it either (so that they couldn’t throw it out cause it was mom’s). it was broken and useless, so i forced myself to chuck it.
i miss it but don’t regret it. i was once supporting a friend thru her mom’s death and her mom’s stuff was such a burden. this woman lived by herself in huge house and never threw anything away.
she saved her kid’s old mattresses. a lone glove, every bit of artwork. trying to clean it all was a nightmare, and it was so wrong cause in the end, my friend couldn’t even open the boxes anymore and just threw it all away.
and i was thinking, i will not do that to my kids. my husband tells my kids and friends, don’t sit still too long cause mom/ruth might throw you out!
i have a section in my laundry room where i put anything i need to get rid of. once it gets full, i get rid of it. this keeps the rest of the house orderly.
each night, i collect the dirty clothes, take them to the laundry room and sort into their proper box. i have rubbermaid boxes i use for sorting dirty laundry. each box, once full, is the perfect size load for my washer.
as soon as it’s full, it goes right in.
doing all these things, i can go through my house, dust, vacuum and clean bathrooms in three hours.
lest anyone think i live in a sterile and plastic house (haha): this set up allows my kids and their friends to play easily here. i don’t mind them running and throwing balls around cause there really isn’t anything to break and nothing is too precious. if it is something i don’t want broken, i put it away.
my kids love to play war and dodgeball, and they do.
- August 17, 2009 at 3:02 am #424287
Thanks for the info. I have tried to adopt some of these policies myself recently since I started working a part-time job & my housekeeping time has been cut in half. Yes, it is very hard to part with some “treasures” so I take a digital picture of it and write any pertinent information about it in the tag or notes section.
I’m also a big fan of the rubbermaid container system 🙂 It makes things easier to find when you need them quickly.
- August 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm #424300
Nice article. I also love the rubbermaid idea. I have them in everyroom of the house.
At least in the closets I do. And I don’t have alot of knick knacks either, I hate dust things like that.
- August 18, 2009 at 3:43 am #424325
Very good article…I like the rubber maid idea also–a great idea for the laundry room…
Thank You again for posting this..
- August 18, 2009 at 5:12 am #424327
I need some serious help with this. I was sick all last year and could do almost nothing. Now I am overwhelmed with the clutter.
I need to “just do it” (like nike’s) Would be happy to hear any 0ther tips on housekeeping as well.
- August 20, 2009 at 1:42 am #424367
I am doing all of this de cluttering now.
I take 3 big boxes in each room every day, one is throw away, one is keep and one is donate.
I am going through each room this week to do this.
I have a lot of clothes to go through the kids need to donate.
Minimalist is the best way. nick nacks are going. I am donating them.
I am hanging pictures and putting all my papers in a big rubbermaid container and going through them all.
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