Another Pre-Holiday Clean-up!

It’s that time of year again, Thanksgiving is only a week away!  Things have been crazy around here so I haven’t had a chance to post much OR start my cleaning.  But I plan on doing most of it this weekend, so I thought I would share again.  I don’t have time to re-write everything so I am just going to copy & paste (I know, bad blogger!) the info here & make any changes that are needed.  I have been using this system I came up with for a few years now & it still develops a little over time.  I encourage you to join me & share your progress!  Who knows maybe I will make something & do some sort of give-a-way ;).

I don’t know how the time flew by, but it did & it is officially the Holiday season!  Amongst my lists & lists of things that I need to get done the number one thing is get my house ready & de-clutter!  Getting the house clean for me mostly has to do with de-cluttering again.  It happens twice a year ever year, luckily my kids birthdays & Christmas are 5-7 months apart!  Anyways the toys slowly creep up on my over those 5-7 months & then before any even where they will most likely be receiving lots more from friends & family I go through & get rid of the stuff they don’t play with.  The hardest thing is with the ‘Twinados’ the toys take over the entire house… honestly no matter how many or how few of them they have.

On top of this there is the sewing room… which, well is just that!  Sewing rooms aren’t known for staying clean & organized! lol.  So with Thanksgiving being a week away I have decide to focus on my big ‘Holiday Cleaning’ (pretty much the same as my spring cleaning!) & have decided to blog about it for two reasons…

  • to keep me accountable & motivated
  • to share my cleaning, de-cluttering & organizing tips with others!

My biggest advice, is to take it one day at a time!  Don’t try to do it all in a one or two days especially if it’s the first time in a long time… this is why I like to start 2-3 weeks before if I can.  Honestly I find giving rooms a real good cleaning boring & tedious and have lots of stuff I rather being doing.  Though I take my cleaning one day at a time their are two things in the house that MUST be done daily.  The most important thing is the dishes… if you just suck it up & do them daily it is much easier & when you have young kids its not something you can skip on.  Then second is the laundry.  Though I don’t always take care of it the same day if there is a full hamper I wash a load!  Laundry is one of those things that can get really out of control fast.  Between the 5 of us we go through 1-2 loads a day & that doesn’t include bedding.

THE PLAN…

Here is a more formal version of my holiday & spring cleaning clean-up plan! You will need a few supplies…

  • 2+ hampers or boxes
  • a garbage bag or garbage can
  • a note pad & pen
  • optional – timer
  • any other cleaning supplies needed

First thing is first… do the dishes (or load the dishwasher) & toss a load of laundry in… I do this every day before I start other stuff.  It took a while to get used to but it became a very good habit after just a few months.  If you have older kids you can always delegate!  I find this important NOT because you don’t want to do it all, but a lot of people I know & have talked to that have hard time staying on top of their house is because they grew up in a messy or unorganized house… if you teach your kids now it is a good habit for life!  Even at 2 the twins are starting to learn about cleaning up after themselves (though they just started to realize what we are talking about :) ) Something else I have found helpful is to write a list every night before going to bed… thus one of the reasons for the notepad & pen.  Sometimes it is simple like: sort laundry, clean bathroom, vacuum.  Other times it is detailed about a specific project: Bathroom… remove any dirty laundry, clean sink & counter, wash shower curtain, sweep & mop, clean toilet.  A lot of it just depends on the mood I am in & if I need the motivation of seeing all the things I have done checked off on a list.

Now we start room by room!  Just like when paying off debt… start with the smallest easiest room.  It is a great way to get into the swing of things & also being an easier & faster room to clean it gives an instant gratification which helps motivate you to keep going!  When that room is done move on to the next smallest & or easiest room.  When you get to the bigger rooms or bigger messes don’t tear it all apart at once, its just to overwhelming!  Normally this leads to it being left for ‘later’ or only done half-ass which just isn’t a good direction to start in.  So when you start in a big room micro manage your cleaning… kinda like going room to room go pile/area to pile/area. Now the actual cleaning/de-cluttering!  I bet you may have been wondering what these hampers/boxes are for.  I drag them around with me… if you want you can label them though I don’t find the need.

The garbage bag/ trash can is an obvious one… that’s the trash container.

The 3 hampers or boxes each had a different purpose though you may only need 2. Hamper 1 is the Bye-Bye pile… this is stuff to donate, give to friends & family, freecycle or sell.  I have a new rule about keeping stuff to sell… if its something small it has a week to go or I give it away.  Its not worth the $2-$3 to have it sitting in my house!!!  There is some items that I will hold onto longer, but its stuff that I know I can get $20 or more for & have had a lot of interest in.  Even then after a few weeks that will go!  If you have the storage space to put stuff away for a garage sale then great!  But I suggest pricing stuff as you pack it & put it in BOXES… this will make it MUCH easier to set up at garage sale time.  If you are like me & don’t like taking stuff to the over-priced thrift stores then I offer it up on the local freecycle (which is an awesome site) first & then take what if any is left to the thrift store or local shelter!  I have also found people are willing to take things that you can’t take to the thrift store, but you don’t want to through away!  Specifically things like open lotions, bubble bath, shampoo & household cleaners… freecycle is set up to keep this stuff out of the landfills, & it helps you clean your house at the same time!

Hamper number 2 is my ‘lost’ hamper… this is for all the stuff that doesn’t belong in this room!  As I go room to room I take care of the things from the lost hamper & add more to it! EXAMPLE anything that is in the living room that doesn’t belong go in the hamper… then when I get to the next room… lets say the office anything in the hamper that belongs in that room comes out & then I fill it with other lost items and move on to the next room to repeat.  After the last room I then take the last stuff in the lost hamper  & put it way (it may belong in some of the first rooms you cleaned!

Hampers 3+ are optional.  Dirty clothes have a way of making it EVERYWHERE thanks to the ‘Twinados’  they love to get into the dirty clothes & pull stuff out & drag it around the house so I find it helpful to have one just for this, but  most of the this can just go in the lost hamper.  If there are other things in large numbers you tend to find some other suggestions of additional hampers are a toy hamper and/or a hamper for each childs room.

I also carry the notepad with me!  I use it when I remember I need to do something too.  Otherwise I will stop, leave the room & normally get distracted with something else & often times not return.  It’s also handy for writing down things you need from the store as well.

Now I don’t use the timer, but some people really don’t like cleaning for long with out taking a break.  Something I tried for a while and still use for other things is to carry a digital timer.  I would set if for 30 minutes… clean for 30 minutes & when it goes off I would stop… set if for 30 minutes & go do something that was more fun & when it went off I would go clean for another 30.

I clean in this order:

  • Do a quick load of dishes & laundry.  Do a quick once over any other rooms that have been cleaned & make sure they are as clean as the day you cleaned them.
  • Pick your room & collect all the cleaning supplies needed & gather your sorting devices
  • De-clutter (remove all items that do not belong & are no longer needed)  I know this can be hard but it feels SO good when it is done!  I always feel better when the stuff is going to people that need it.
  • I clean all the surfaces… It can be hard if you live in an older home or ex-rental… cause they tend to always look yucky, but it feels good to know you can eat off it if you really wanted.
  • Put everything in its place!  The dollar store is a great place to get containers of all shapes & sizes to help you keep stuff organized so it functions well. If after cleaning there isn’t room for everything re-evaluate, you need to do a little more de-cluttering.  You should have more stuff then will fit in a space, it just makes it too hard to clean.
  • Admire your handy work & then take a break for the rest of the day & make your list before bed! If you are on a roll you can always move on to the next room, but the important thing is to finish each room before tackling the next.

Once you have all the major cleaning & de-cluttering done the maintenance is easy & normally shouldn’t take more then an hour two a day.  It’s just getting to that point that is a pain!  The number one reason stuff gets out of control is too much stuff & everything not having its place.

When it all comes down to it just take it a room at a time & a day at a time… but make a plan & stick to it.  I will be posting updates as I finish my rooms :) .

So follow me & clean with me over the next week as I get my home ready for the holidays!  Have any good tips?  Leave a comment to share with all my readers.

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