January 22, 2012

Simplify Your Life Series: The Elements of Clean

If you're looking to simplify a little bit of your life or achieve a major overhaul then join me for our ten part series as we work along side Country Living's Simple Country Wisdom: 501 Old-Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Susan Waggoner.  I touch base on a few points in each chapter, expound upon them and share some of my own tips.  Grab your favorite cuppa and join along!  (Start at the beginning HERE.)

Behind the Scenes
The Elements of Clean

"The best, most efficient way to have a clean home", Susan Waggoner states, "is to keep dirt and mess to a minimum in the first place."  I wholeheartedly agree!  Here I'll share a few of her tips as well as my own.

Preventative Cleaning      Vacuum or shake entryway rugs and mats when you vacuum the rest of the house...if not more often.  (One inside the door and one outside the door is extra protection from the dirt!)  Keep shoes by the door not on your feet traipsing dirt all over the house wearing out the carpet and flooring.  Wipe your pooches paws when he comes in from nasty weather or a muddy yard. Clean carpets with a steam cleaner once or twice a year. 

How to Clean     Many people grow up not knowing how to clean. In our large family, everyone will leave as a grown up with full knowledge on the subject!  I have a lot of excellent helpers! Take a peek at some of their chores HERE.  There are three levels of clean. Level One: Tasks that need to be tended to every day or a few times a week.  Level Two: Tasks that need to be accomplished weekly or monthly. Level Three: Tasks that are done once or twice a year.  For levels One and Two visit my post HERE on organization and motivation for cleaning. I have a printable that I use to keep me on target of those day to day and week to week tasks.  I think of Level Three cleaning as Spring Cleaning.  I share my cleaning list with you HERE. Having a plan and sticking to it is worth it's weight in gold! Turn on the music to help boost your energy and make you more productive! (We love the "Sweet Caroline" station on Pandora.)  Complete a task during a television commercial!  Sometimes they can be super long and you can get a lot done!

Bathroom Trouble Spots   Keeping the bathroom clean at our house can be near impossible. If we stay on it, though, it can be done.  Prevent mildew in the bathroom with good ventilation.  Keep the shower curtain drawn to prevent mold from forming in the creases.  Rub ceramic tiles with car wax, let stand for ten minutes, then buff them as you would your car..they'll be nice and shiny! A toothbrush, an old rag, baking soda, and vinegar are the best defenses in the loo.  I have a homemade cleaner recipe HERE .

The Way with Windows    Washing windows can be tricky.  If your windows always seem dirty you may need to check the filters in the heating and air conditioning units.  You could be blowing dust back into your air.  Choose a cloudy day to clean the windows to prevent streaks. A squeegee is my best friend when it comes to washing windows. They come in all sizes and when using a squeegee you won't need paper towel!   For a quick and easy homemade window spray mix one-third cup water, one-third cup rubbing alcohol and one teaspoon white vinegar.  Use vertical strokes on one side and horizontal strokes on the other so you'll know which side of the window the streak is on.  If you have frost that forms on the inside of windows in cold weather you could either have too much humidity in the air or not enough insulation.  Try polishing the inside of the window pain with isopropyl alcohol.

Curtains and Trim      The fastest and most effective way to dust blinds is to put on a pair of cotton gloves, dust them with spray and glide your fingers over the slats.  Adjust shades and blinds to cut energy costs.  They can not only deflect heat from the sun, but they can provide an extra barrier against the cold.  Use light, bright fabrics for curtains in the warm weather to encourage air flow.  In cold weather, heavy drapes absorb the cold air around the windows.  If you can't afford two different sets make curtain liners of heavy fabric and thread them on an expansion rod to pop in the window in the winter.

Need more tips on cleaning?  Want more secrets to make a bathroom sparkle?  Want to know how to be the most efficient when tackling an entire room?  Hop on over to my Amazon store and order HERE.

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Join me in the coming weeks as we unwrap the present that is our lives.  The next step in our series is cleaning our homes.  Please share this series by placing the button in the side bar of your blog or share on Facebook by clicking the button at the very bottom of this post.

* photos courtesy of Country Living

This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop.

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