Organizing Cleaning Tips

These organizing cleaning tips that I will share with you on this page have been my saviour! Why? Well, as you may have guessed if you've read a couple of articles within this website - I am not a neat freak or even really a very tidy person by nature.

As a child, my room was always messy. As a university student, my flat was a bombsite (our lone flatmate who was a complete neat freak attempted to reign in the chaos but very rarely succedeed!) and even as a mother I still sometimes tend to messiness.

So this tendency to messiness is why I'm divulging my organizing cleaning tips. I've devised these cleaning tips because I like to feel like my house is well organized and clean and tidy but I don't want to spend lots of time on either organizing or cleaning.

In my world, organized and tidy are pretty much the same thing. Clutter and messiness signals chaos to me, to my family and to my visitors.

These tips are a combination of both organizing and cleaning ones - for me both of these go together. They are the tips that I use the most to maek me feel like my hectic life is under control. If I'm organized and there's no clutter or stuff lying around the house then I feel calm. If I know my house is clean too then I feel doubly relaxed.

I find that the nature of cleaning means that it's a job that requires you to do it properly BUT I see no reason why a quick clean can't be a good clean - then you can get back to doing the more purposeful stuff of your life!

Organizing Cleaning Tips #1 - Make Your Bed

Making your bed each day is an amazing feeling. As a teenager and a young adult I always wondered why people bothered to make their beds. I figured that since no one saw my bed and I was just going to hop back into it again, what was the point of it?

Now I know! Making my bed makes me feel all zen like. If my bed is made, I feel relaxed and I know that I have a haven to retreat too if the world becomes too much. I can actually see my bed from the hallway now so whenever I walk past it, I feel good and for some reason I always feel like half my cleaning is done. It's just a bed I know, but an unmade bed makes me feel chaotic.

Organizing Cleaning Tips #2 - Keep Your Dining Table Clear

If unmade beds make me feel chaotic, the same now goes for the dining table. It wasn't so long ago (2 years ago) that we didn't even eat at our table. It was a catch-22 really - we never ate at the dining table because there was always junk on it and there was always junk on it because we never ate on the table! Even when we did decide we would eat as a family, the table would usually be half filled with stuff (mail, newsletters, toys etc). The result of this was that it made family meal times seem chaotic and when you're not dining on it, a cluttered table looks messy.

Since we moved houses, one of my priorities is to keep the table clear. Our table is one of the first things you see when you come into our living area so if it is clear then for some reason, the rest of the room usually looks tidy too. Admittedly, the dining table often has the laptop on it since this is where I now work, but there is a shelf nearby that we relocate the laptop to when we need to.

Having a clean and clear table makes you feel like you could have a relaxing meal tonight and has the added bonus of making you feel organized and tidy.

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Organizing Cleaning Tips #3 - Tidy up before you go to bed

Waking up in the morning to a mess is terrible. Unless you've had a major party and can't even remember going to bed then there is no reason to have to wake up to a messy house.

When I was working, waking up to a messy house just increases that chaotic feeling in the morning before you go to work. It's already rushed enough without having to wade through other clutter and stuff to find things. Plus, if the house is a mess before you go to work, unless you have a housekeeper who will come during the day, chances are - the mess will still be there when you get home.

Don't do it all yourself - rope your spouse or the children into it too. This is our family rule now - we make sure the living area and kitchen are clean before we go to bed. We actually make sure that it's clean before we sit down to relax after dinner but it's the same rule really. My 12 year old son vacuums (the 2 year old wants to help) and my 6 year old picks up the toys and distributes them back to the respective rooms. I put away anything else that looks untidy.

Now when we get up in the mornings, life is a bit less stressed. Saturdays and Sundays in particular are great because rather than the first task being a tidy-up, the first task is now to decide on family breakfast.

Organizing Cleaning Tips #4 - Keep your cleaning stuff together

Having to clean the bathrooms, kitchen and toilets is enough of a chore without having to also search for the cleaning products. For some reason, I used to store them all separately - kitchen cleaning products in the kitchen etc. Now I just keep them all together as well as the sponges/cleaning cloths.

I wish I had one of those caddy's - as soon as I find one in a colour I like and for a price that is reasonably then I'll buy one but for now, I just carry them in a plastic bag.

Keeping your cleaning items together saves you a bit of time and hassle with not having to go back and forwards between rooms. It also makes me feel organized because if I need to quickly clean something, I know where the items is.

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Organizing Cleaning Tips #5 - Blitz the Once a Week Cleaning

There's no getting around it - unless we are lucky enough to have a housekeeper (but I guess if you're reading this article you probably don't have one) - we have to clean the house. I have major jobs that I have to tackle once a week (bedding, bathrooms, dusting, kids rooms etc). What do I do? Well as I said earlier, I can't give you any shortcuts but my advice is to just blitz it. By that I mean, work fast and efficiently.

Don't dawdle, don't take your time - put on some music and get into it. When I was doing Weight Watchers one of the exercises that burned calories was housework so I would put extra effort into cleaning. A friend of mine has very muscly arms - not from lifting weights at the gym (I don't think she's ever been to a gym) but from mopping. She puts lots of effort into getting her mopping done fast.

Organizing Cleaning Tips #6 - Spot Clean When You Need To

There are some cleaning tasks that you figure you can do every week and some that you think need to be done every day. That's fine, work out what tasks you think need to be done every day or every couple of days and quickly do it. For example, I clean the bathroom once a week but I like to wipe the basin and bathroom bench every couple of days. It only takes a couple of minutes but by doing this, it seems to make the rest of the bathroom look that bit tidier.

Organizing Cleaning Tips#7 - Use a Steam Mop

I only discovered steam mops when I was moving house and my friend brought hers over to use. Before that, I had always used the old school mops and bucket - you know the type, fill up the bucket with detergent, trudge it around the house with you, empty the dirty contents...

The steam mops are great! We have tiled floors in our kitchen and bathrooms and it is so easy to just whip it out, heat it up and then quickly mop the floor. As a result, our kitchen floors get mopped twice a week now and it literally takes 5 minutes. Prior to the steam mop, I would only mop every so often because it would just take so long and be so cumbersome.

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Organizing Cleaning Tips#8 - Quick Clean the Fridge & Pantry

This is the best way I've found to clean my fridge. You know that point after you've come home from the supermarket, just before you go to put the groceries in the fridge or pantry or cupboards? Well, that time is the best time to clean those areas.

For the fridge, do a quick check on use by dates or uneaten leftovers. I am really focused on using everything I have (might make that another website someday) so I only throw out items that aren't of any use (old cream is good for scones, old bananas are best for banana cake). I throw out all the inedible vegetables that have found their way into the bottom of the vege bin or back of the fridge.

After I've done that, I quickly wash the vege bin, wipe the shelves and pack the groceries away.

In the pantry it's pretty easy because that doesn't seem to accumulate as much wasted food. I wipe up spilled flour and rice and then put the new items behind the items that are nearly finished.

Organizing Cleaning Tips #9 - Do the dishes straight away

I used to hate doing this! After working all day and then cooking a meal, the last thing you want to do straight after dinner is to wash the dishes. Or so I thought! We used to clear the table but then we would all just sit down in front of the tv and relax - my husband and I would say to each other that we would do the dishes in the advertisements or when the kids were in bed.

As I've become more focused on prioritizing my time, I have made a point of ensuring that I relax with the kids after dinner BUT for me relaxing is much better if I know that I don't have any dishes to do once they go to bed. So, after we've had a nice dinner (at the table, another priority now), the kids clear the table and I get started on stacking the dishwasher and washing the pots. I admit that I do try and make dinners so that they use the least pots and pans possible - one pot wonders are my specialty but it doesn't really take much more time to wash a couple of pots. The kids know to scrape the plates and if the dishwasher is open they will stack the plates straight in there. By doing this, half of my job is done!

The old way of leaving the plates on the bench actually doubles up the amount of work because you have to re-handle those plates (remember, only handle an item once is one of my Gems!). Anyway, it honestly only takes about 10 minutes, I can usually coerce someone into drying and then it is chill out time.

Back in the bad old days, before we had a dishwasher, my father would make the children dry the dishes. He would use this time to test us on our maths and it would be a race for us all to try and answer them. We all excelled in maths and I'm not saying this is because of the dish drying "fun times" but learning basics like subtraction and multiplication like this, certainly went some way towards getting excellent in the basics. This could be an option for you if you don't have a dishwasher. If you're stuck washing and drying dishes straight after dinner, make it a fun family experience. We certainly remember those times with fondness!

Organizing Cleaning Tips #10 - Work from the outside in

My mother was and still is, a very fussy cleaner. She worked as a cleaner at our local primary school for many years and also cleaned houses. As a result, she was very fussy with her children when she made us clean our rooms or wanted us to clean the house for her during the school holidays. If she wanted us to clean the lounge we knew that she would check in the areas where we would least expect - behind and under the couch were her favourites. She was looking to see that we actually moved the furniture in our cleaning.

So what did we learn to do? Well, we learnt to work from the outside of the room to the center and this still holds me in good stead today. We start at the walls (looking behind the couches and chairs) and put all what we find in the middle of the room. We keep working our way around the room until we end up in the middle, with the pile of stuff we have accumulated. That stuff either goes back to the rooms where they came from or in the bin because it's rubbish.

Working from the outside into the centre is a great way to quickly clean the room and by doing it in this way, you are methodically going around the room so you know that you're not doubling up where you walk!

Hopefully these organizing cleaning tips help you with keeping your life organized. I know I've found them really useful - as I said earlier, these organizing cleaning tips are really about ensuring that you have a clean and tidy house but that you're not having to spend lots of time on keeping it this way.

For me, it means that I can get on with spending my precious time in the ways that I choose.

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