Author Topic: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?  (Read 32145 times)

lifejoy

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Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« on: April 22, 2015, 02:22:54 PM »
Ok, this is a very embarrassing thing to admit, but I don't know how to clean.

Before the face-punches start rolling in, let me explain. I can clean, and I do (sometimes) clean, but no one has every shown me HOW. I had chores as a kid, and I know how to tidy, and I can use cleaners and cloths and muck around and make things clean. But I feel like I'm not doing it in an efficient or eco-friendly way. I take too long and I use too many paper towels.

Also - you don't know what you don't know. A friend of mine mentioned washing her walls, and I thought to myself, "What? People do that?" So I'm sure there are cleaning tasks that I haven't even thought of doing!

Please help me. Advice that I'm looking for would be things like: a supply list, weekly tasks / schedules, and other tips and tricks. Step-by-step details would be helpful. I've found info online and I have the Un-f*ck your habitat app, but it's not in-depth enough. We can afford a cleaning service, but I'd like to avoid it. I even considered applying to be a house cleaner so I could benefit from their training, but I think that's a little extreme!

Thanks in advance for your help! You're going to save me probably $100/month! :D

lizzzi

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 02:30:30 PM »
The first important step is to de-clutter and keep everything neat and tidy. Make your beds every day first thing, and keep up with your dishes after every meal or snack. If you do a load of wash, also dry it, fold it, and put it away. Coats, boots, schoolbags etc. put in the closet, not thrown all over the place. Just these few habits--and you're not even cleaning anything yet!--will let you get away with a lot.

lifejoy

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 02:38:40 PM »
The first important step is to de-clutter and keep everything neat and tidy. Make your beds every day first thing, and keep up with your dishes after every meal or snack. If you do a load of wash, also dry it, fold it, and put it away. Coats, boots, schoolbags etc. put in the closet, not thrown all over the place. Just these few habits--and you're not even cleaning anything yet!--will let you get away with a lot.

Excellent tip! I completely agree; you cannot clean if you haven't tidied first. The tidying I'm good on and know how, but the cleaning... I always feel like I'm doing it wrong.

4alpacas

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 02:42:16 PM »
It sounds like you might need something like the Fly Lady.  http://www.flylady.net/

I'm also a fan of Clean My Space.  http://cleanmyspace.com/

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2015, 02:43:53 PM »
Here's my tip:  buy a re-usable spray bottle (available at any hardware store and many supermarkets) and plain distilled vinegar (the uber cheap clear kind).  Mix up a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 4 cups water.  This is your basic, non-toxic, all-surface cleaner.  It's super cheap and it is so safe you can spray it on your salad (of course it's not a great subsitute for a real baslasmic... but just proving a point).  You can add a tsp. of lemon juice if you want to improve the smell (i generally don't bother, it dissipates very quickly).  Works on kitchen counters, windows, floor-spills, the refrigerator, etc.  You simply cannot go wrong spraying this on whatever needs cleaning first (and feel free to use a lot)  It's only when this fails that I go to a de-greaser (I use orange oil - more expensive but smells fantastic!) or detergent.

Then, instead of papertowels use a collection of rags.  We use old t-shirts and sweats that we tear into paper-towel-sized pieces.  After using them toss them into the bottom of your washing machine to be washed with the next load (whatever setting that happens to be... doesn't matter for rags).  We probably have 20-30 rags in rotation at any time.

+1 to lizzzi's suggestion that the best technique is to avoid clutter and try to tidy/clean things before they get too bad.  Everyone has to develop a routine that works best for them. I'm anal about the kitchen, part of having worked in one and having always been yelled at to keep my station clean, but for the rest o the house we choose one day a week, set a timer for 1 hour, put on some music and then just go town cleaning everything.  It usually takes less than the full hour.

epipenguin

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2015, 02:49:54 PM »
I couldn't keep up with the flylady stuff. But I find Apartment Therapy pretty good for cleaning inspiration and help. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/categories/cleaning and they have a schedule here: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-your-house-in-20-minutes-a-day-for-30-days-131142

Not that I always keep up with the AT schedule either, but eh. When I DO commit to 20 minutes a day it really works.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2015, 02:52:36 PM »
So I don't clean my own home, this is the thing I outsource.  I just hate doing it.  But I couldn't always afford to outsource it.  So here's my tips, for a zero to hero approach.

What other people said about the habits, true.  All the following take way less time if the room is already "put away."

Don't try to clean the whole house at once.  You want to at least split it up by type of activity, or one room at a time.  So for instance, I might vacuum all the carpet one day after work, 1hr tops.  That's all for that day.  Hardwood or tile floors would be another day.

Bathrooms would be about 1 hour on a weekend.  I do them on a weekend because I always feel gross when I'm done, so I want to do it first thing in the morning.  If your bathroom needs to be cleaned more than once a month, shoot whoever can't use it without making a mess.

The kitchen is just part of the meal time.  Cook, eat, clean, put away, all within an hour.  Easier with fewer people.  Easier once the kids can be tasked with cleaning and putting away.  Awesomesauce once the kids can also cook.

Things like dusting, I just get rid of anything that gets dusty.  Install some nice cabinet doors on any shelves.  The tops of stuff you don't use you have to hit, but you can hit the whole house of that stuff in an hour, one day after work.

There's also a difference between clean and pristine.  As long as you aren't attracting pests, and it doesn't stink, it is clean enough.

Most things can be wiped down with a damp washcloth/sponge.  I use a separate one for the bathroom, disinfect it with a little diluted bleach. There's no cleaner you need, there are a few that can slightly cut down on the time.  A capful of bleach in the toilet bowl before I leave for work the day before I'm going to clean the toilet also helps.

If I find myself doing something like vacuuming more than once a month, it's time to find whoever can't wipe their feet at the door/take off shoes and shoot them.

Candace

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 03:00:30 PM »
lifejoy,

I'm like you. I had chores growing up, but never had to really keep a place clean. My parents always had a cleaning service once or twice a week. For most of my adult life, I hired a cleaning service too. About four months ago, we canceled it and have been cleaning the house ourselves. This saves me $1800 a year. I do everything indoors except the floors, because my boyfriend does all the outside work on the lawn and yard.

I'm sure there are plenty of things I could do faster and just as well if I knew the little tricks. Maybe we can learn together. One thing I can say: YouTube is our friend. You wouldn't believe the number of videos that purport to teach how to clean well and quickly.

One thing I improved on recently is getting a windshield squeegee to clean my bathroom mirror (well, my boyfriend's side was the problem). I was spending a lot of time, Windex and paper towels on trying to get the little yuckies cleaned off. The windshield squeegee is a lot faster and I end up using a lot less Windex. I still use maybe one paper towel to make sure the squeegee doesn't leave long marks where the stroke ended.

As far as washing walls, I only did that when I moved into my place and was about to paint a couple of rooms. The previous owner had a big dog and apparently never changed the HVAC filters. The walls were visibly dirty and cleaning before painting was a no-brainer. But I don't think washing the walls is going to be part of my normal cleaning, even spring cleaning. Perhaps I'll dust them if they start to look dirty.

I use a good stiff brush on the bottom of my bathtub, and a cleaner with some oomph. That saves time over elbow grease if I were using tools that weren't as good.

On my hardwood floors, I use Bona cleaner. They sell a thingie that holds the bottle, sprays when you use the trigger, and has a removable/washable pad to clean the floor. Kind of like a specialized mop. This may not be "Mustachian", but it is convenient and makes cleaning very easy.

If the rugs are more than slightly dirty, consider vacuuming before dusting. Otherwise, the vacuum may kick up dust and ruin your work.

Check the corners of your rooms for spider webs. Also light fixtures.

Like a previous poster, I clean a little most days of the week. This morning I cleaned all the toilets. Tomorrow I may start on the dusting.

That's all I can think of for now. I hope it helps.


RexualChocolate

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 03:04:49 PM »
100 a month, I'm assuming 5 hours a month at 20 an hour on top of what you already do?

Get a smaller house.

Some people legitimately like housework and yard work, I couldn't possibly be more bored. Make lifestyle changes to eliminate mindless tedium is much easier than learning how to clean.




Chrissy

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 03:12:44 PM »
My tips:

Clean from the top down, once a week.  High stuff first, like the medicine cabinet and tables.  Floors last.

Kitchen & Bath:  Let the spray sit.  Spray the sink, then the toilet, then the tub, little trashcan, scale (top down!).  THEN go back and wipe the sink, toilet, tub, etc.  Remember refrigerator/microwave/toilet handles.

Use a duster or a couple rags sprayed with Endust for living room/dining room.  One wet rag with water and a little vinegar can probably clean all the light switches if they're grimy.

Cabinet/appliance fronts, ceiling fans, table legs, bookshelves, floor boards, inside the oven, the insides of cabinets... once a year with the appropriate cleaner.  People call this Spring Cleaning.  I don't do walls (that's just beyond my limit), but, if I had to, I'd start with plain water in a bucket and a new foam mop.

Some people will tell you to clean twice a week, or to completely hose down the kitchen/bathroom daily.  Heck, my mother had a college roommate who changed her sheets daily, and ironed all of them too!  However, as a lifetime renter and a child of landlords, I can tell you that most people don't clean anything, EVER, and yet seem to live just fine.  So, if it's about avoiding illness, the best thing to do is wash your HANDS frequently, not your house.

My supply list:
Straight vinegar in a spray bottle for mirrors & toilet
Meyers Lavender household cleaner concentrate diluted in a spray bottle for kitchen/bath/diluted in bucket for floors
Softscrub & sponge for shower
Endust
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 03:19:52 PM by Chrissy »

acorn

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2015, 03:30:10 PM »
General gist of what I do
1. Declutter: most important part, less stuff you have, less to clean
2. Everything in its place: organize your house so everything has its own spot -> this will give you the default look of your house
3. Maintain: clean and put things back where they belong after each use (dishes, clothes, making the bed etc)

4. Surface clean regularly: I do laundry every 1-2 weeks, and during that hour while the washing machine is doing its thing, I vacuum the house and take out the recycling. A simple routine that's now a habit.
5. Spot deep-clean as and when I notice things are dirty: E.g. I'm cooking and suddenly realize the stovetop and sink have gotten gunky. So that evening after cooking, I spend an extra hour cleaning, degreasing, etc. If it's clean enough I don't bother deep cleaning. If it's an area of the house that I don't use (e.g. random shelves under the sink that I don't ever use), I don't see it, I don't know if it's clean or not (prob not but who cares), I don't bother cleaning.
6. Annual spring clean: once a year, as I declutter, I clean the entire house (wipe down walls, windows, mirrors, shelves, etc etc). after that I leave things be unless #5 happens

Of course,
(0. Downsize: smaller house, less to clean)

I see no need to deep clean the house regularly. I make sure the things I regularly use are clean. I don't care much if the things I don't use are spotless, I'll clean them if I use them. Don't waste too much time cleaning. 80/20 rule. 20% effort 80% clean house. I don't need a 100% clean house.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 03:31:49 PM by acorn »

TrumanGrad

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2015, 03:35:34 PM »
This book is awesome:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Comforts-Science-Keeping-House/dp/0743272862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429736906&sr=8-1&keywords=home+comforts

I agree, in addition I like the following book - it has great suggested checklists for what to do daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally. I believe you can also get free printable versions of the checklists on Martha Stewart's website.  The key with the checklists is to use them as starting points and then adjust to how much wear and tear your house gets so you can customize it for your house and lifestyle.

http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Stewarts-Homekeeping-Handbook-Everything/dp/0517577003/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429738375&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=Marthavstewart+homekeeping


AllieVaulter

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 03:40:14 PM »
There's also a difference between clean and pristine.  As long as you aren't attracting pests, and it doesn't stink, it is clean enough.

+1  I'll throw "and if it's not growing mold" on there too. 

Unless you are a heavy indoor smoker, or have muddy kids running around, or are planning on painting or selling your house soon, cleaning the walls sounds like a crazy person activity to me.  I occasionally have to spot clean a wall if my dog slips past me and shakes his muddy self off inside.  But regularly cleaning all walls...  I've got better things to do.  You clean walls before you paint (so the paint sticks better) or move (to get a full deposit back/sell the house for more money). 

Here's what I clean:

Kitchen - ideally daily.  It's easier to cook, I don't like gross things where I eat, and it helps keep away the ants.  Mostly this consists of cleaning dishes, & wiping down counters with a washcloth.  I also like to clean the kitchen sink because I heard once that it's usually dirtier than the toilet.

Bathroom - probably every other week (to stay ahead of the mold, it's wet here).  I clean the bathroom top to bottom, literally.  I start with the mirror, my washcloth/rag is clean, windex or vinegar/water mix.  Then I do the bathroom sink, scrub it with scouring powder, or baking soda.  I use a sponge, but don't use a super scrubby kind or it will scratch the metal on your hardware.  Then I wipe down the counter with the sponge & dry it with the rag from the mirror.  Toilet is next.  Usually I just wipe it down with the mirror rag on the outside (at this point I'm done with the rag & it goes to the laundry room).  Inside, toilet brush & cleaner.  Bath tub is last.  I use the same cleaner & sponge from the sink.  Usually, I just clean the tub, but if it starts looking rough, I'll clean all the way up the walls.  At this point I shower.  It makes me feel better and it helps make sure all the cleaner gets washed off.  If the floor is looking dirty, I'll vacuum.  If it's looking really bad, I'll mop.

Floors - I vacuum every other week, but mostly that's because I have a dog.  Before the dog, it was probably more like once a month.  I usually vacuum on the hardwood floors, but if they have something in particular on them (sticky spot, mess in the kitchen) I'll mop. 

Cobwebs - This probably only happens once a year.  I clean them as I notice them.  I'll see a big one and then notice a few others.  So I have a long stick that I wrap a rag around to reach up to the ceiling. 

That's pretty much all I do.  If I have guests coming over, I'll usually clean the bathroom and vacuum before they come. 

zinethstache

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2015, 04:00:27 PM »
DH is our trusty house keeper as he is FIREd. He "should" vacuum weekly because he insists on wearing shoes in the house even after working outside or at a property. I am ok with it as long as he keeps up the vacuuming, on a busy outdoor week the vacuum sits out and is used multiple times a week.

He takes the top down approach to the living spaces and he cleans the kitchen almost daily. I use our main bathroom so I never leave my "stuff" out, I've always used the "public" bathroom in the morning since I am up before him. I keep it clean all the time.

It is way easier to go into cleaning mode if you don't have to declutter first. We are not much for nic-nacs so dusting is pretty easy, we do cheat and use a duster gizmo that really picks up the dust. Don't forget to dust door frames, window frames, plants and picture frames. You would be surprised what collects in those nooks and crannies. we use the magic water/vinegar combo on the floors but haven't made it up in a bottle.

The bathroom is scrubbing bubbles, sprayed on and left, with comet in the toilet (no need to let this sit). while the spray sits, I dust and then clean the floor. Don't forget to dust the light fixtures, easy to miss, but very important. then I go back and clean tub, sink, toilet.

I do wash walls at times as well as use the vacuum attachment to vacuum them up high. We do have popcorn ceiling so that can get deep cleaned as well, yearly at most.

If you have ceiling fans, keep those dusted they are a great dust collector!

Another pet peeve is how filthy the laundry room gets. We own rentals, most with laundry and we always have to take the W/D apart to deep clean. I try to deep clean mine any time I see ickiness accruing. Seriously, go right now into your utility room and check the nooks and crannies there. If it is out in the garage, check it out just to see, likely there's a fine mess to clean up.

lifejoy

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2015, 04:04:02 PM »
This is really great, detailed information. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I want to make sure my future children know how to clean... but I can't teach them if I don't figure it out, first. :)

jengod

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2015, 04:36:52 PM »
http://www.home-ec101.com/

http://www.cleanmama.net/

Every once in a blue moon take everything out of your fridge, toss the gross old stuff and make a plan to use the other goodies, take all the shelves out of your fridge, wash everything in the sink, put 'em back, wipe down the outside. You will feel a terrific sense of accomplishment, believe it or not.

TrMama

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2015, 05:10:25 PM »
If your problem is not knowing what to do you could also try the Motivated Moms app. It's just an app that gives you a little list each day of what needs to be done. If there are tasks that don't apply to your life, you just hide them.

Basically, my philosophy is that if I can't tell it's dirty, it doesn't need to be cleaned.

I agree that a household of adults shouldn't need to wash walls. I do it occasionally, but only in the areas where the kids have made some sort of gross mess on the wall.

Don't feel bad about not knowing how to keep house. I was speaking to a coworker a while ago and her mom didn't let her do anything around the house when she was a kid. Her only "job" was to study and do well in school. She now lives alone in a different country (away from her parents) and had no idea what she needed to do to keep her apartment clean. She ended up hiring a housekeeper, not just to clean for her, but to teach her how to clean. She is amazed by those of us in the office who live in big single-family homes with kids who don't have housekeepers.

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2015, 05:33:21 PM »
The best thing I did was buy a robot vacuum cleaner (ours is a Neato).  I start it almost every morning before we go on our long dog walk.  Come back an hour and a half later and the floor is clean.  We dust once in a while, and I'm good about keeping the house picked up, but the robot vac makes a HUGE difference. 

It also helps that my standards are low. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 05:49:16 PM »
I have come to embrace the fact that I am a filthy and nearly inhuman monster when it comes to cleaning.  In university I lived in a carpeted apartment with three other guys for three years without a vacuum.  We had ants.  It was pretty gross.  BUT - there is hope for ye.  My wife has beaten me into shape, and if it was possible with me . . . it is possible with you.


First, tidying.  It is vital and crucial that there is a place for everything.  If there is not a designated place for something, you need to make one or get rid of that something.  This way, when things get left out it's obvious that they're left out . . . you look at them and say "Damn, that should be on the shelf over there on the right".  9 times out of 10 you will naturally want to put the item where it belongs.  Otherwise it's cold and sad not living in it's home.  If you don't have a place for everything, then not only does stuff build up, but when tidying there is a great incentive/motivation to throw shit into a pile at the back of a closet somewhere.  This is PRETEND cleaning . . . it really just makes a bigger mess/problem for later.

Next, actual cleaning.  Decide what needs to be cleaned most often.  Usually this goes something like: Kitchen, most used bathroom, the living room, areas guests will see, other bathrooms, bedroom, closets, other storage space.  My natural habit when I start cleaning is to want to clean ALL OF THE THINGS until I collapse of exhaustion and die.  This is apparently the WRONG WAY to do things.  Pick one or two rooms/items for you and one or two from your partner, and do them each weekend for absolutely no more than a couple hours.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2015, 06:12:24 PM »
I'm so glad you started this thread - so many useful tips!

I would love to live in a perfectly clean and tidy house. Instead I reach a sort of balance between my high standards for cleanliness, and laziness/unwillingness to spend too much time cleaning. I suspect most people do the same.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2015, 06:18:20 PM »
Three more things:
1. If you shower, get a squeegee and squeegee the tiles after every shower.  This prevents the mineral buildup that makes showers look icky.  I have a cheap one from Dollarama that works fine and looks OK.
2. Canadians take their boots off at the door all winter.  If we do the same the rest of the year it really cuts down on dirt and grit entering the house.  This not only means less cleaning, it save the floors.
3. Do not get a long haired dog/cat/anything that sheds. I love mine anyway, but the hair this time of year is never-ending.  Angora rabbits are OK if you plan to carefully comb every day, and then sell the combings to your local spinners.

midweststache

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2015, 07:01:32 PM »
Daily:
- make bed
- put dirty laundry in hamper + cleanish laundry back in closet / drawer for reuse
- dishes (by hand or washer)
- quick wipe of kitchen countertops
- put clutter away as I go (definitely try to declutter first, as others have mentioned)

Weekly:
- Laundry (~1 load/week)
- vacuum or sweep
- Water plants
- wipe stove top - if it's really bad, I will give it a deeper clean
- quick clean of toilet (baking soda & castile soap + toilet brush)
- wipe bathroom counter / sink / tub
- kitty litter / garbage / recycling / compost + wipe down bins only as needed

When I notice:
- Clean fridge (take everything out, spray, wipe, put back)
- Wipe down appliances
- Clean range fan (ew!!)
- Spot clean walls & doors (don't think I have ever fully washed them in 8 yrs!)
- Dust
- Scrub bathroom tiles w/ baking soda
- Wash floors w/ warm soapy water

I have a photo board with daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning items written on construction paper and placed where the photos go. I updated it with dry erasure markers as I make progress.
 
Daily:
Dishes (including coffee maker)
Wipe down counters
Put away/fold miscellaneous linens

Weekly:
Vacuum
Toilet/Bathroom surfaces
Laundry
Dust
De-Fur the sofa from Fido

Monthly:
Bathroom (deep clean)
Floors (warm water)
Baseboards
Sheets/bed linens
Blinds

There's other stuff that I do as noticed.

We try to use natural cleaners (mostly baking soda and vinegar) but our apartment has a jet tube so I keep some bleach on hand to run through the jets and keep them clean. Once I year (usually about this time) I get a cleaning bug and do a deep clean of the apartment, but at about 850 square feet I can usually satisfy my deep clean craving over 2-3 days of work.

NCGal

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2015, 07:20:12 PM »
Thanks for the inspiring thread! I'm posting so that I can follow the conversation. But while here I'll mention a few sites I like with DIY cleaner recipes:
http://thefrugalgirls.com/homemade-cleaners

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/06/homemade-all-natural-cleaning-recipes.html

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2015, 07:25:54 PM »
I am a naturally "untidy" person who has learned to keep a pretty presentable house, so don't worry! It's a habit, like brushing your teeth, and anyone can learn it.

How to Clean A Room
I am a HUGE fan of cleaning a room in "loops". Always work top to bottom, and in a single, non-backtrack direction around the room.

Grab the following:
Disposable bag and box or fabric market bag
Duster thing
Cleaning caddy (Should include: All purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and scrubby powder at a minimum)
Lint free rags
Vacuum or Broom

1. Start with a "trash and put back" loop. Start at the door, walk the room with the trashbag and box or market bag in a loop (never backtrack!). Put all trash in the trashbag and all stuff that lives somewhere else in the box. Stop after one full loop, at the door. This should take like 3 minutes, tops.
2. Set down trash and "put back" stuff, pick up duster thing. Dust all high things in the room in a loop. This should take 1-2 minutes. Complete loop at door. Drop off duster.
3. Spray one rag with AP cleaner and one with glass cleaner. Loop the room cleaning surfaces, glass, mirrors, etc. with the appropriate cloth. This should take ~5 minutes. End at door.
4. The middle! If necessary, make bed, fluff couch cushions, etc. Then, grab vacuum or broom and clean the floor from the corner furthest the door, working backwards so you end at the door. ~3 minutes.
5. The put away! Go return anything out of place where it goes, drop the trash in the trash can, store your caddy, vacuum and duster and relax. ~2 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes or so. If it takes longer than that for any room that isn't kitchen or bathroom, you need to get rid of stuff.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 07:30:11 PM by Erica/NWEdible »


MsPeacock

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 08:12:25 PM »
The easiest way to clean a house is to keep it clean and picked up on a daily basis. I don't go to bed w/o wiping down the kitchen and putting everything away there. I am very much like this also:

Try experimenting and see what habits/routines you can develop. For me it's something like this:

Daily:
- make bed
- put dirty laundry in hamper + cleanish laundry back in closet / drawer for reuse
- dishes (by hand or washer)
- quick wipe of kitchen countertops
- put clutter away as I go (definitely try to declutter first, as others have mentioned)

Weekly:
- Laundry (~1 load/week) - Well, with 2 boys it is more like 6 loads per week - but same general idea. And they are starting to do their own
- vacuum or sweep
- Water plants
- wipe stove top - if it's really bad, I will give it a deeper clean
- quick clean of toilet (baking soda & castile soap + toilet brush)
- wipe bathroom counter / sink / tub
- kitty litter / garbage / recycling / compost + wipe down bins only as needed
Change bed linens is weekly for me. Also unearth papers on my desk and deal w/ them (pay bills, sort out stuff for later attention, etc.)

When I notice:
- Clean fridge (take everything out, spray, wipe, put back)
- Wipe down appliances
- Clean range fan (ew!!)
- Spot clean walls & doors (don't think I have ever fully washed them in 8 yrs!)
- Dust
- Scrub bathroom tiles w/ baking soda
- Wash floors w/ warm soapy water

Bigger cleans for me - e.g. unearthing the screen room when the weather warmed up, steam cleaning carpets, are done on an as needed basis - probably one big one per month. Occasionally I just get on a tear and have to clean everything top to bottom nad madly declutter and empty out closest and such and that might take a whole day or whole weekend.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2015, 08:38:26 PM »
Oh man, if you promise to keep me in fresh rags and an upscale vacuum I'd do your house for free. I love to clean. Starting a cleaning service is my plan-B if I ever get fired from my gov't job.

There's also this website. http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/. It was started expressly for people who struggle to understand cleaning. More accessible than the higher level guides like flylady, etc.

Carless

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2015, 09:10:08 PM »
The best thing for grungy bathtubs (I've found) is dish soap and one of those plastic scrubbies intended for dishes.  It's flexible enough to do corners and good at scraping the oily residue off.

BlueHouse

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2015, 09:56:24 PM »
Buy yourself a pair of big rubber gloves and use rags to clean everything. Don't even buy a toilet brush. They are gross and don't work. Use a rag and your hand and Ajax.

Dusting is really important so that you don't get a big job of cleaning grime later. If you dust the following weekly, you'll never have grimy surfaces that need deep clean.
Shutters, baseboards, paneled doors. Crack where walls meet ceilings and walls meet other walls. All artwork. Ceiling fans. Get a big lambs wool duster for the surface area dusting. Most other dusting can be done with a damp rag.  Change air filters regularly.


jengod

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2015, 10:09:54 PM »
Oh man, if you promise to keep me in fresh rags and an upscale vacuum I'd do your house for free. I love to clean. Starting a cleaning service is my plan-B if I ever get fired from my gov't job.

There's also this website. http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/. It was started expressly for people who struggle to understand cleaning. More accessible than the higher level guides like flylady, etc.

+1 for unfuckyourhabitat.

It really becomes a virtuous cycle when you stop avoiding housework.

Motivation:
https://medium.com/@erinfrey/making-your-bed-is-the-keystone-habit-for-having-a-positive-day-aebd3f22d1bb

Cressida

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2015, 10:30:02 PM »
This book is awesome:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Comforts-Science-Keeping-House/dp/0743272862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429736906&sr=8-1&keywords=home+comforts

Seconded.  That thing is a tome of amazingness.

Thirded. If you want to know the best way to do things, go there.

Of course, we don't always have time for the best way. My approach is to make a list of not-that-onerous tasks, figure out how often they need to happen, and then create a schedule to do one thing per day (probably at the same time you're doing other boring daily tasks like loading the dishwasher, scooping the cat box, etc.). Then make another list of more-onerous tasks and make a schedule for those too, but do those weekly, on a day you have time (like Saturday or whatever). For example, a not-that-onerous task might be "vacuum the bottom floor" and a more-onerous task might be "clean the fridge interior." That way the little things get done regularly, and the big things get done often enough.

That doesn't address your specific "how" question, but I think a system is the first step in making things manageable.

Regarding your specific "how" question, I rely on non-Mustachian disinfecting wipes. If I were on my own I probably wouldn't, but since I'm sharing this task with DH it needs to be as easy as possible (and I guess I'm reluctant to do more work than he's doing, which is what it is). Rags and AP cleaner are better for the environment and less wasteful, but also less easy. As with many things, it depends on your priorities.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2015, 05:42:34 AM »
Roomba. When keeping the floors clean is trivial, it's easy to throw a spare hour every so often at a bigger task - in our case, cobwebs in the radiators is something that comes up more often than you'd think.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2015, 02:44:37 PM »
As far as the actual how-to, your local public library probably has a great selection at 648.5.

MrsPete

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2015, 08:58:31 PM »
1.  I enjoyed the book Make the House do the Housework by Don Aslett.  Written by a man who took a janitor job to get through school, then ended up building a janitorial empire, it's entertaining ... but underneath the enjoyable narrative you'll find a wealth of tips on how to arrange your house to MINIMIZE cleaning.  A few of the tips:

- Every exterior door should be equipped with a several-steps long doormat OUTSIDE and INSIDE.  These mats will prevent dirt from coming into your house, meaning less work.
- In every room you should have a "messy spot", where everything messy is consolidated -- trash can, tissues, whatever.  This means you only have one messy spot in that room ... instead of that same mess being spread all over the room. 

2.  Make a schedule.  Maybe wash sheets on Mondays, floors on Tuesday, bathrooms on Wednesday ... AND make a plan to do one deep cleaning chore every week (perhaps cleaning out your closet, or washing the windows). 

3.  Hiring cleaning help isn't the worst idea in the world.


lifejoy

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2015, 10:23:36 PM »
Buy yourself a pair of big rubber gloves and use rags to clean everything. Don't even buy a toilet brush. They are gross and don't work. Use a rag and your hand and Ajax.


You have just blown my mind that I can toss my toilet brush! I hate having a toilet brush, I think it's vile... but tell me, do I throw the rag out afterwards? Or what?

It's this kind of stuff that is probably common sense to some that is BRAND NEW to me :)

lifejoy

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2015, 10:25:41 PM »
lifejoy,

I'm like you. I had chores growing up, but never had to really keep a place clean. My parents always had a cleaning service once or twice a week. For most of my adult life, I hired a cleaning service too. About four months ago, we canceled it and have been cleaning the house ourselves. This saves me $1800 a year. I do everything indoors except the floors, because my boyfriend does all the outside work on the lawn and yard.

I'm sure there are plenty of things I could do faster and just as well if I knew the little tricks. Maybe we can learn together. One thing I can say: YouTube is our friend. You wouldn't believe the number of videos that purport to teach how to clean well and quickly.

One thing I improved on recently is getting a windshield squeegee to clean my bathroom mirror (well, my boyfriend's side was the problem). I was spending a lot of time, Windex and paper towels on trying to get the little yuckies cleaned off. The windshield squeegee is a lot faster and I end up using a lot less Windex. I still use maybe one paper towel to make sure the squeegee doesn't leave long marks where the stroke ended.

As far as washing walls, I only did that when I moved into my place and was about to paint a couple of rooms. The previous owner had a big dog and apparently never changed the HVAC filters. The walls were visibly dirty and cleaning before painting was a no-brainer. But I don't think washing the walls is going to be part of my normal cleaning, even spring cleaning. Perhaps I'll dust them if they start to look dirty.

I use a good stiff brush on the bottom of my bathtub, and a cleaner with some oomph. That saves time over elbow grease if I were using tools that weren't as good.

On my hardwood floors, I use Bona cleaner. They sell a thingie that holds the bottle, sprays when you use the trigger, and has a removable/washable pad to clean the floor. Kind of like a specialized mop. This may not be "Mustachian", but it is convenient and makes cleaning very easy.

If the rugs are more than slightly dirty, consider vacuuming before dusting. Otherwise, the vacuum may kick up dust and ruin your work.

Check the corners of your rooms for spider webs. Also light fixtures.

Like a previous poster, I clean a little most days of the week. This morning I cleaned all the toilets. Tomorrow I may start on the dusting.

That's all I can think of for now. I hope it helps.

That is really impressive that you cancelled your cleaning service. I think if I had one, I would never be able to go back...

Case

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2015, 05:23:47 AM »
Here's my tip:  buy a re-usable spray bottle (available at any hardware store and many supermarkets) and plain distilled vinegar (the uber cheap clear kind).  Mix up a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 4 cups water.  This is your basic, non-toxic, all-surface cleaner.  It's super cheap and it is so safe you can spray it on your salad (of course it's not a great subsitute for a real baslasmic... but just proving a point).  You can add a tsp. of lemon juice if you want to improve the smell (i generally don't bother, it dissipates very quickly).  Works on kitchen counters, windows, floor-spills, the refrigerator, etc.  You simply cannot go wrong spraying this on whatever needs cleaning first (and feel free to use a lot)  It's only when this fails that I go to a de-greaser (I use orange oil - more expensive but smells fantastic!) or detergent.

Then, instead of papertowels use a collection of rags.  We use old t-shirts and sweats that we tear into paper-towel-sized pieces.  After using them toss them into the bottom of your washing machine to be washed with the next load (whatever setting that happens to be... doesn't matter for rags).  We probably have 20-30 rags in rotation at any time.

+1 to lizzzi's suggestion that the best technique is to avoid clutter and try to tidy/clean things before they get too bad.  Everyone has to develop a routine that works best for them. I'm anal about the kitchen, part of having worked in one and having always been yelled at to keep my station clean, but for the rest o the house we choose one day a week, set a timer for 1 hour, put on some music and then just go town cleaning everything.  It usually takes less than the full hour.

Alright guys; chemistry 101.  Acetic acid + granite and other expensive mineral surface materials = damage.  I would not recommend this.  Diluted vinegar would take a while to show an effect, but I would not take the risk.

nereo

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2015, 07:22:17 AM »


Alright guys; chemistry 101.  Acetic acid + granite and other expensive mineral surface materials = damage.  I would not recommend this.  Diluted vinegar would take a while to show an effect, but I would not take the risk.
point taken.  I should have added that I haven't had the luxury of granite in my home.  With occasional use severely diluted vinegar won't do much to granite, but if you were using it every day and letting it sit then it could 'etch' the surface over many months. 

slschierer

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2015, 12:58:53 PM »
I struggle with this, too!!  My mom and grandmother keep pristine homes, and I cannot figure it out.  I do console myself with the fact that I live on a muddy mini-farm with 2 young children and a farmer husband.

Here are a few things that I do or use:
I am normally very opposed to direct sales marketing kinds of things, but I do own a few Norwex Enviroclothes and a Norwex polishing cloth.  These items are amazing.  They are anti-microbial and only require water to work.  Goodbye streaky Windex!  They work extremely well wiping down kitchen counters and tables, too.  They are not cheap, but they do pay for themselves quickly as you will not need to buy any cleaner.

I wipe down the shower/tub every day and do a deeper clean every 2 weeks.  We have clear glass shower doors, and I can keep them pristine if the last person to shower just wipes them down!

We have a lot of minerals in our water.  I have found that when the tub, sinks, toilets, etc. become stained, I can use just a little bit of the toilet boil cleaner "Works," and it takes the stains right off.  Be sure to rinse well, use gloves, and avoid the faucets with this cleaner.  It's very strong stuff.

For the goop around the bathroom faucets, just wet a paper towel with vinegar and wrap the paper towel around the faucet.  It will take the goop right up if you let it sit for a couple of hours.

Clean the baseboards with baby wipes.  It's gentle and can get into the cracks.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2015, 01:32:23 PM »
Oh, I just got granite* and I was cleaning it with my usual half-vinegar spray. What would be a better choice for granite?

*It came with my house. I would have been happy with laminate, but since it's there... But don't even get me started on the stainless steel. I never had to polish my old fridge!

4alpacas

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2015, 02:04:08 PM »
Oh, I just got granite* and I was cleaning it with my usual half-vinegar spray. What would be a better choice for granite?

*It came with my house. I would have been happy with laminate, but since it's there... But don't even get me started on the stainless steel. I never had to polish my old fridge!
I don't have granite, but my favorite cleaning blog has a recipe for natural stone.  http://cleanmyspace.com/5-diy-homemade-cleaners/

MountainFlower

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2015, 02:47:15 PM »
Here are my random thoughts:
- As Flylady says, even housework done incorrectly still blesses your home.  In other words, don't get caught up in doing it right, just start. 

-I often have to do things in 5 minute increments and call it good.  That might mean that a bathroom rarely gets cleaned at one time, but rather the toilet might get washed one night while the kids are in the tub, and the sink another. 

-Keep cleaning supplies everywhere!

-I love Microfiber cleaning cloths.  You can get a large pack of them at Costco.   Look in the automotive section for these things. You can clean glass with them without any cleaners.  It's awesome.   

Do most people clean their walls?  I do, but mine are log so they get really dusty.  I have never cleaned the drywall walls.  My mom used to make us clean the walls, but she was/is a smoker, so I can see why. 




Lis

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2015, 03:11:05 PM »
Buy yourself a pair of big rubber gloves and use rags to clean everything. Don't even buy a toilet brush. They are gross and don't work. Use a rag and your hand and Ajax.


You have just blown my mind that I can toss my toilet brush! I hate having a toilet brush, I think it's vile... but tell me, do I throw the rag out afterwards? Or what?

It's this kind of stuff that is probably common sense to some that is BRAND NEW to me :)

If you have your own washer, I'd rinse it out really well with hot water and toss it with the rest of your wash. But if you're like me and do your laundry as sparingly as possible (yay renting without washer)... my dollar store has 4-packs of those really cheap crappy sponges. At $0.25 each, I don't really feel that guilty tossing those out after. I wash my bathroom sink, then shower/tub, then toilet with it, and into the trash it goes. In college I used those disposable toilet scrubby things,but those were both expensive and not too effective (or maybe I'm just bad at cleaning toilets... is that possible?). Either way, as someone else suggested, pair that with heavy duty rubber gloves and your golden. I prefer to use a Lysol spray for the bathroom.

As for being bored while cleaning - totally get it. I grab my headphones, load Pandora on my phone, and I literally dance while I clean. Yep, I'm that weirdo that tries to salsa with her vacuum and karaokes while doing the dishes. It's actually kinda fun now.

horsepoor

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2015, 03:22:41 PM »
I'm going to come back and read this whole thread for my own edification later, but thought I'd drop two tips.  Sorry if they've already been mentioned.

Pop your kitchen sponge (nice and wet) in the microwave for ~3 minutes.  This will kill bacteria on the sponge, and steam up the microwave so that you can then easily wipe down the interior.

Newspaper makes the best glass cleaner, along with a water/vinegar solution.  Seriously better than paper towels, and generally free.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2015, 04:05:03 PM »
I'm trying to go minimal on my cleaning products too. 

Vinegar and water - light cleaner
Fabuloso - mad cheap all purpose cleaner for floors and heavy cleaner, also it smells GREAT
Pledge or Endust - wood stuff and dusting
Baking soda - when I need a little grit

galliver

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2015, 05:32:11 PM »
Not sure if I'm the right person to give advice given the state of our bedroom...but I'll blame the Boy for that. I'm not gonna be the one to put away his stuff. ;)

My process tends to go from the most noticeable/in the way to the deep-cleaning stuff that you have to look for to know about (and no one will).
First, declutter. For us, stuff builds up on tables (coffee/dining/desk): mail, papers, books, electronics/cables, scattered coasters, etc. In the kitchen, this is putting away clean/dry dishes and washing the next batch. In the bathroom, anything that got left out on the vanity.
Next, clean surfaces, top to bottom. Damp rag for dust/crumbs, vacuum on floor. Vacuum spiderwebs in corners or ceiling. In kitchen, wipe down counters and stove, with cleaner if there are spots and scrub kitchen sink (it's a kind that gets extra grody really fast...enameled, I think). In bathroom, Windex mirrors, wipe vanity (maybe with cleaner), wipe handle and rim of toilet with cleaner,  inside with bleachy cleaner and brush.
Finally, deepest level/special project: mop floors, clean all around toilet and bathroom floor, wipe baseboards and/or cabinets, scrub kitchen counters with Comet and brush (they are tile), scrub tub, clean out pantry or fridge or closet, clean oven, take off burners and wash/scrub drip pans...those sorts of things.

I usually do "first-next" kitchen cleaning daily, we pick up and vacuum every few days-week, go through the "next" list weekly, and handle deep/special projects monthly or less, as needed.

My arsenal is probably unmustachian but bf and I both hate the smells of vinegar, straight bleach, and ammonia. So I keep: dish soap, Windex, Fantastic, Meyer's Basil All-Purpose Cleaner, Pledge Squirt-n-mop (doesn't leave a sticky residue), Comet, and Chlorox or Lysol (I forget) toilet gel. Oh, and we have tiny things of Goo-gone and Wine-out ($1 ea from Target). 8 months since we moved in and stocked up on all this, we've only had to replenish the floor cleaner, everything else is half-full, and each of those is <$5.  And of course, we have the household staples not exclusive to cleaning: baking soda, bar soap, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover. I use rags for a lot of things (old sheets and towels, cheap washcloths if I run out), but paper towels for mirrors and toilets. I also wash the rags separate from clothes--threw in our bathroom rug with the batch this weekend. Although frequently, I just keep downcycling them (counters to floors to bike to trash).

Handy tips (I think...):
-In my experience with vacuuming, frequency is more important than thoroughness. And if you have a big, bulky cleaner, you'll be disincentivized to take it out. At our new apt we got a http://www.amazon.com/Electrolux-Ergorapido-Handheld-Cordless-EL1022A/dp/B005DSK72A and it sits in its charging cradle in the living room and it takes literally a minute to grab when you notice a mess. It's also super maneuverable. Wish I knew this when I lived with a dog (roommate's). *side note* this particular model sucks at carpets, but you can probably find something similar that doesn't, if you think this strategy is right for you.
-A waterpik water flosser, if you have one, makes a great scrubbing tool, esp for tight crevices. I get it out to get the scum out of the rim of my sink, stuck food from the corners of my Ninja chopper, tough mold off the tub tiles. Since the device stays 6" from the mess, I have no qualms sticking it back in my mouth, either. It's like a mini power-washer. Just be careful of anything that can break/flake off (e.g. grout). http://www.amazon.com/Waterpik-Waterflosser-Cordless-Rechargeable-WP-360W
-I want to second the idea that you shouldn't try to do everything in one sitting, but focus on 1-2 rooms. I start cheating when I get tired. Better to clean it right the first time...the next day.
-I second the idea of music. :)

FatCat

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #47 on: April 27, 2015, 06:43:40 PM »
3. Do not get a long haired dog/cat/anything that sheds. I love mine anyway, but the hair this time of year is never-ending.  Angora rabbits are OK if you plan to carefully comb every day, and then sell the combings to your local spinners.

This is good advice. Some people don't think about this when picking out a new pet. A lot of dog breeds barely shed.

I have a huge fluffy cat that's more hair than cat. She gets shaved off when she starts shedding in the spring. This helps tremendously with house keeping.

turketron

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #48 on: April 27, 2015, 07:25:56 PM »
+1 for unfuck your habitat. I'm admittedly pretty terrible about cleaning myself so I'm taking in a lot of these responses for future use as well.

tomita

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Re: Avoiding cleaning service: How to clean my house?
« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2015, 08:48:06 PM »
water+amonia for windows (any glass) is the best
wipe with squeege or newspapers