My Story: The "I Hate Housework" Clean House

contributed by Barbara

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My Story: Easy Clean

Housekeeping Helps

I don't enjoy cleaning, but I do like my home to look clean at all times. Perhaps you feel the same way or you just have limited time to clean. Either way, some of my easy tips may be just what you're looking for!

I have been amazed to find that people think my house is clean even when I haven't vacuumed in two weeks, sometimes more. I think there are two reasons for this. One, I keep clutter to a minimum. Seldom there are dishes in the sink or piled on counters and the counters are cleaned when they are used. Two, I do a lot of quick cleaning as I go.

Since there are a number of articles on managing clutter on this website, I will focus here on cleaning hints.

My floors and carpeting always look clean. A major reason is that I learned from my Indian daughter-in-law and her family to always remove outdoor shoes when entering anyone's home. When I attend a party at my son's in-laws' home, there can be up to fifty pairs of shoes in the foyer!

Not only do I always remove my shoes when I enter my home, I ask my guests and workmen to do the same. My family keeps slippers near the door. I keep slipper socks in a drawer near the door for the convenience of winter guests. You can knit or crochet slippers from leftover yarn, buy stretchy slipper socks on sale, or use the ones that airlines supply on long overnight flights. They can easily go in the wash after one use, but most people refuse them anyway.

I eliminate the clutter of shoes by placing a boot tray near the garage door. For convenience, I store my winter boots and shoes in the utility closet near the garage. You could also spend a little more for a small shoe cabinet of the type sold for closets, or even an old painted bookcase. (As a bonus, shoes last longer too.)

Not only does the carpet stay cleaner, but fewer allergens are tracked through the house and gritty dirt cannot scratch wood, vinyl and tile floors, so replacement and refinishing are needed less often. Less dirt tracked in means a cleaner house, less time vacuuming and less need to shampoo the carpet. As a result, my beige carpeting needs shampooing only once every couple of years.

I get the most out of my cleaning time by being organized and prepared. My townhouse has three floors, so I keep a vacuum cleaner and duplicate cleaning supplies on each level. It's easier to do quick pickups when I don't have to fetch and lug the heavy machine up two flights of stairs. A combination stick broom/hand vacuum with a removable handle and crevice tool is wonderful on the kitchen/living room level for all sorts of quick chores.

In the long run, I find that duplicate tools and supplies are just as economical as one set, because together they are not replaced any more often than one tool would be. In fact, the lightweight tools I keep on two floors cost much less than the heavy vacuum cleaner and last just as long, while extending the life of the heavy duty, more expensive vacuum.

When I vacuum, I carry along a sponge and a container of carpet shampoo for spot cleaning. Dirt may not come in from outdoors, but tea, coffee and other beverages seem to land on the carpet with amazing frequency. (If only we did all our eating in the kitchen!) The spots seem to be most noticeable when I vacuum and it's easy to clean them then. The dirt doesn't build up, which is another reason that overall shampooing is seldom necessary.

My kitchen tile floor is easy to clean, but I don't like to mop. I keep a rag in a plastic container under my kitchen sink. I can quickly touch up any spots with plain water and postpone mopping. The same thing can be done with vinyl floors and bathroom tile. My friend prefers to keep her mop in a bucket in the kitchen pantry, with the same easy results.

Speaking of the bathroom, I find I seldom have to do an overall tub cleaning because I rinse the shower walls and tub every day after the last person is done. A quick spray of shower cleaner from the discount store (or homemade) on walls and curtain is sufficient to keep them looking nice.

I also keep a glass cleaner and an old washcloth or rag under each bathroom sink for quick mirror and fixture touch-ups. In 30 seconds, my bathroom looks fresh. The same rag can wipe the toilet seat as well.

Two or three minutes spent tidying and cleaning each day mean I can have a clean house with only 30 to 60 minutes of concentrated cleaning time every week or two. And the house is always ready for guests.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by

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