Spring Cleaning the House - How I avoid it

Spring time often feels like we are bears crawling out of our caves into the bright sunlight....my eyeballs hurt!!! It is such a lovely time of year, and then we notice all the winter grime that has built up in the house due to us being depressed by seasonal affective disorder, or just surviving the cold!. So out comes buckets, cleaners, brushes for a good old scrub down...the old "spring clean"  ........really is that what you want to be doing! wouldn't you rather be outside enjoying the sunshine! I certainly do so I actually try and avoid spring cleaning.  

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The Secret 

The honest truth, avoiding spring cleaning actually takes planning and organising and most importantly routine! So don't think you can avoid spring cleaning by doing nothing...well you can of course but you will be living in filth! 

So what is the secret to avoiding spring cleaning? Is it very simple, all you need to do is to have a regular and consistent cleaning routine. This means a daily, weekly, and monthly routine which you follow. The good news is that it is actually just a small amount of cleaning needed to be done on a regular basis. Essentially you can just build it into your normal daily routine and it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes each time.

If you are still with me, then read on McDuff and I`ll take you through my cleaning routine.

The Routine

First up this is my routine and so it is perfect for our house and family, you will need to work out what is best for you and your family.  I'll explain how I developed the routine and this should help you to develop your own.

Break it up baby! This is the key to developing the routine, breaking up all the cleaning jobs into tasks that you can then spread out over your time frames.  This is often what it referred to as zone cleaning.  I do not following this method exactly however it is a really good approach to developing a routine. There are really good blogs and videos all about zone cleaning. I have some blogs posted on my pintererst page here . A good You Tube channel to watch on zone cleaning is How Jen does it

This is my routine which I find works best for me. It did take some trialling and changing to get to work really well and just become part of our daily routine.

Daily

Morning 

  • Make the beds
  • Wipe down and clear kitchen benchs

Evening

  • Clean kitchen sinks 
  • Clean and clear bench tops
  • Clean and wipe front of fridge, microwave, dishwasher
  • Clean and wipe cooking hob and backsplash
  • Wipe around bathroom sink

Weekly

  • Monday - wash all towels and sheets/ dusting and mirrors
  • Tuesday - clean kitchen rubbish and recycle bins/refill all essential oil scent bags/wet floors
  • Wednesday - toliets/bathrooms
  • Thursday - vacuum
  • Sunday - fridge and pantry (I clean this when we do our shopping)

Monthly

I just extend my weekly routine to include

  • Cleaning of window sills and frames
  • Dusting of all window blinds
  • Window cleaning - kitchen
  • Skirting boards 
  • Stair hand rails
  • silver and brass cleaning

Six monthly

  • Windows 
  • silver polish
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Tips and Tricks

When cleaning in a room always wipe the door and door handles. e.g when I clean the toliets and bathrooms I include cleaning down the doors and handles.

Include wall hanging, picture frames etc in your dusting routine. Also dust along the tops of the walls and corners to capture cob webs.

Get yourself a cord free, hand stick vacuum. I have a Dyson and it's the best thing since sliced bread!

Be flexible as your life is busy and things change so adjust the routine as you need to. I always weekly plan and so make any changes to the cleaning routine that I need to. 

Try and try again. Getting the best routine will take some working out, so be prepared to adjust and change the tasks in the routine to get it working for you.

Biggest tip of all is to get into the routine of cleaning often and consistently. It just saves so much time because the cleaning itself takes little time as it is never very dirty! 

Document the task list and routine so you can share it with the family and "delegate" task to other members. 

Cleaning the windows is a half day job in my house so generally we do them six monthly, normally at the end of winter and summer. So yep, it's window cleaning time now...

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The only actual spring cleaning chore I do need to do is to clean the washing machine. Ours is a front end loader and they can get a bit grimy around the rubber seal. See this link from Clean and Sensible which has a great blog on cleaning a front end loader.  

See avoiding spring cleaning isn't that big a deal, just breaking the cleaning into tasks and spreading them out. Actually you can apply that method to any thing you want to achieve. The key is doing each task and sticking to it as it will save you time. I promise you that!

So off you go and enjoy spring with no spring cleaning!

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How I created my awesome cleaning kit and homemade cleaners

I expect that it's no surprise to my readers, and anyone looking at my site, that I am a bit of a cleaning freak. This, I blame on my first part time job while at High school. It was for a couple who owned a motel, which had a lot of fishing boat workers stay, a port town you see. So you can imagine the state the rooms would get in. Mrs Owner was a very particular cleaner and taught me how to really clean....."it's all about the detail my dear".  However we always had an arsenal of high powered cleaning products so that's what I learnt to use. It was not really until about 12 months ago that I awoke to the toxic elements in my cleaners!!!. That had to change!

 

My Cleaners

General purpose cleaner, Jiff , window cleaner, toilet cleaner, and shower cleaner were the products that I used. Therefore I needed to look at replacing all of these, and I wanted to make them myself. After a bit of online research I had my cleaners all sorted.......actually it was really simple all I needed was two ingredients, Baking Soda and Vinegar. You can essentially clean everything with these two ingredients. I sourced my ingredients from Figgy & Co to make up my cleaning products:

  • General Cleaner / Figgy Disinfect Spray- 1/3 Vinegar to 2/3 water

  • Scourer / Figgy Cleaning paste- Baking soda in a jar with drops of Lavender Essential Oil

  • Tap cleaner - Water with Tea tree Oil

  • Deodoriser Spray - Water with Lavender Oil

  • Toilet Cleaner - Figgy Toilet Cleaning powder

  • Polishing oil - CO Products

I use the general cleaner for all surfaces including mirror and glass, also it's my floor cleaner. It is very effective, just spray it on the surface, but don`t over apply, wait for a few seconds (which apparently you should do with all cleaners) and just wipe off. I use a damp or dry cloth, just depends on the situation. As an example every night after tea I have a kitchen cleaning routine where I just use my general cleaner and a damp cloth to clean all the surfaces, sink, microwave, hob area, fridge and coffee machine. Then for glass and mirrors I use a dry cloth with the general cleaner.

The scourer I use for scrubbing the kitchen sink, showers and bathroom sinks once a week.  I sprinkle it over the area then spray the general cleaner on it a bit as the Vinegar in it helps "activate" it. Then just get a scrubbing brush and scrub away. It's not hard work with a brush and only takes a couple of minutes. The tap cleaner is used on....you guessed it the taps. I just spray on after cleaning the sinks and surfaces then use the toothbrush to get into joins etc on the taps. You see this is all about the details here folks!!! 

I also use the Deodoriser spray for scent and not as a cleaner. So I only use it after all the surfaces are cleaned. I tend to only use on desk and table tops as it leaves a lovely smell.

My two products that I buy are the toilet cleaner and Polishing Oil.  I use the polishing oil once a month on my wooden furniture as it provides moisture and seems to reduce the dust build up. It has linseed oil in it which is why it's so good. Also as a handy hint it is great on stainless steel. I have used it for years on all stainless surfaces in the kitchen, including the fridge, it's great and it's cheap and you can get it at any supermarket and online at CO Products.

Now I only essentially use two products made from two ingredients which I buy from Figgy & Co online. OMG the savings. I can not believe how much you save. 

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There some great natural cleaners that you can buy if you don`t want to make your own. I would look at Eco Store . They have great cleaning products that are made here in NZ and are certainly chemical free and have a lot less impact on the environment. They have a great Website and online shop.           

Also check out Figgy & Co fantastic products made by two talented women and made here in NZ too, they are a newer company so would appreciate the support and they are also online. Plus they have a free recipe booklet that you can get to make your own products...fab really.     

My tools

All good tradies have great tools. I am still perfecting mine, well mainly the scrubbing brush as I am still to find a good one and not a cheap plastic number!  The tools I find really helpful are toothbrushes, good scrubbing brush and window wiper. I came across this great idea of using toothbrushes from a Youtube channel, At Home with Nikki. These are great for cleaning in those hard to reach places. 

 

Facecloths are my cleaning rag of choice, these are easily reused over and over again. I just soak mine in Eco Store stain remover and hot water before throwing them in the wash. 

For my windows, inside and out, I simply use a bucket of warm water, a cloth (old cotton tea towel) and the window wiper. No streaks, just beautiful clear and clean windows. 

Another couple of helpful tools are Blind cleaner and Lint roller. These I do get from the $2 shops however they are reusable so not too wasteful. The Blind cleaner is essential if you have venetian blinds, just pop them in the wash afterwards and good to go again. The Lint roller is perfect for getting dust off surfaces like Lamp shades, duvets, decorative pillows, also really helpful when ironing (well that's if anyone Irons anymore?) It's certainly better than wrapping inside out cellotape around your fingers.

 

Lastly in my kit I have a couple of reusable microfiber cloths that attach to a duster and a floor cleaner. This is all I use to clean the floors and dust weekly, quick and easy.

My Caddy

A one stop shop was essential for my kit. I wanted a container that I was able to pick up and take around the house.  It actually took me a while to find one, I did not think it would be such a hard job. I eventually found one big enough to store what I needed and easy to take with me. This one at Bunnings is similar to what I have, again it's not expensive. 

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As a final note I do try and make my cleaning kit "pretty", what I mean by that is to coordinate my colours in my products and tools. I know that sounds stupid but let's face it cleaning is a job we all avoid. So why not make it more enjoyable, by having a kit that is nice to look at, you never know, it might make you a bit more motivated.

I would love to hear what's in your kit, have you got any Grandma remedies that work wonders? 

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