Maintenance Solutions for your Problem areas Part 1
There’s something to the saying that everyone has skeletons in their closets. What can be concealed tends to get overlooked when it comes to weekly cleaning. Invest in a variety of cheap, clear plastic bins with lids. The dollar store is a great place to go. You don’t have to spend much money to get your closets organized. The items you don’t need to get too often, or items out of season, should go up higher. Items you want access to more frequently need to be at your eye level or right below. As many items as possible should be stored in a closed clear container with a label of contents.
Maintenance Solutions for your Problem areas Part 2
Floors: No matter the area of the house, things tend to end up on the floor or on a surface it doesn’t belong on. We spend so much time picking up and putting things away, walking back and forth from room to room. By strategically placing baskets throughout the house we can consolidate items and get to them as needed. Get nice baskets that match your décor and don’t add to clutter. A basket at the bottom of the stairs is a good place to put items that need to go upstairs. A basket in the bedroom hallway is a good place too. If you need to you can put a small basket in each room by the door to quickly put items in. Then at the end of the day, or whenever is best for your family, those baskets get emptied and things get put away. This is really good with a house full of kids. You can get their stuff up out of the way while they are away and still have them responsible for taking care of it when they get back. It also makes for a quick clean when unexpected visitors stop by.
Maintenance Solutions for your Problem areas Part 3
Bathrooms can be a problem area, especially if your kids share one. If each child has their own space to put their hygiene items you will solve a lot of clutter problems and fights. Each child should have a container under the sink for their needs and perhaps a space in a medicine cabinet or other shelving area. I have also found that kids have different tastes in toothpaste or have different habits in how to use them. My kids each have their own toothpaste that they keep with their toothbrush. Individual hooks for their towels are also a must. For every bathroom it’s a good idea to keep a canister of disinfectant wipes and mirror wipes (or glass cleaner and paper towels). Have someone assigned each day to do a quick wipe of the sink, toilet and mirror and to take out the trash. It will keep it looking nice throughout the week and make the weekly big scrub quicker too.
Family Friendly Pantry
The food pantry is one of the most popular places in the house, especially when the kids get home from school! Keep your food pantry clean and convenient with these tips:
- First give a purpose to each shelf. Some examples are:
- Breakfast shelf (cereals, pancake mixes, syrup, etc…)
- Snack and bakery shelf
- Cans and drinks
- Packaged items and misc
- Bulk or larger items
- Paper goods
- Larger kitchen items (like your slow cooker or other things that might not fit in your other cupboards)
- Use clear containers to consolidate, keeping like items together:
- Containers with lids for: chips, crackers, cookies and other types of snacks
- Consolidate other items into clear containers, with or without a lid. Things like instant oatmeal, other packets of breakfast food, instant hot chocolate packets and more in one; dried items in their original bags can go into one larger container together(like bagged rice, beans or pasta); baking items like brown & powdered sugars, chocolate chips, muffin mixes; fruit snacks and other individually wrapped snacks; and so on.
- Keep less used or bulk items high. Keep a stool to reach items when you need it. With bulk items
- Put things you want the kids to have access at their level and items you don’t want them to get to (like your secret stash of chocolate) up high and out of sight.
- Do a quick check and rearrangement when you come home from the store with more food before you put it away.
- Most important: train your family where things go!
School work, and papers, and mail, Oh My!
Really the best advice on papers that enter the home is to first do a pre-sort. In minutes you can get rid of at least 50% of the papers that come through. From there make a sort according to what it is. If you get the newspaper, you know what you read from it. Take those sections out right away and put the rest in the recycles. Things that need attention right away should have a home. Better yet, if you can take care of it right there and then, DO! Write the check and get it all ready to be sent out. Even if you don’t want to send it out that day it can be placed in a ready pile. Kids come home with so many things from school. If it’s something you need to sign, do it right then and have them put it back into their backpacks right away. If it’s artwork, display it somewhere for one week. If it’s something they want to keep have them put it in their memory box then they become responsible. Things they like but don’t want to keep or large items can be digitally photographed and put in their special folder or thumb drive.
A Hill is Easier to Climb than a Mountain
While watching me clean up the kitchen before starting a large, messy project, my husband asked, “Why are you cleaning when it’s just going to get dirty again?” I paused and replied, “Because I don’t want mess on top of mess.” It made perfect sense to me. It’s much easier to clean as you go or clean up before another mess comes instead of having to clean up after 2 messes piled up. When we clean as we go and don’t let things start to pile up it’s much easier to set and accomplish our cleaning goals. It’s when things get out of hand that we start to feel flustered and overwhelmed. Don’t let it get to that point and if it already has, set goals for the whole family to help get it back to order.