Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life-changing Housekeeping Tips (No--really!)

Hi, everyone! I hope wherever you are you are having better weather than we are; we had hail the size of golf balls yesterday! Hypers!! Today, I thought I would share some housekeeping/cleaning tips that I learned from my "new" America's Housekeeping Book (from 1941) as well as share how my new schedule is going. Maybe you're way ahead of me in the housekeeping game, and already doing these things, (I hope so, for your sake!!) but after only one day of implementation, I can truly say that my housewife life has been changed forever (for the better!) by what I'm sharing with you. (No--really!!)

Today was bedrooms and hallway day, as well as monthly task day (plus the general light cleaning everywhere). I ended up having to take Fancy, one of my cats, to the vet this afternoon (poor baby has a nasty eye infection), so it worked out conveniently for me schedule-wise that I haven't even come up with my "monthly tasks" yet, which is what my afternoon was supposed to consist of.  (NOT that I would adhere to the schedule instead of taking my sick kitty to the doctor--that would be unforgivably atrocious!) But, if I hadn't needed to take her to the vet, I would have probably used the time to figure out exactly which tasks are ones that should be done on a monthly basis. Guess that'll have to wait a little longer... I did, however, manage to complete the thorough cleaning of my designated rooms today (which was no light task since one of my bedrooms had haphazardly evolved from a guest room to a junk/eBay/don't-know- where-to-put-this-so-I'll-leave-it-here-room...)  It's not exactly in June Cleaver shape, but it's 100% better than it was, and everything in there is now organized and clean. =)

I also wanted to pass along this housekeeping tip from my recent discovery, America's Housekeeping Book, as some of you said you were interested in hearing more about it.  (By the way, this book was suggested to me by Viv, from Almost Vintage  who sometimes posts on My 50s Year/The Apron Revolution which is a fantastic, vintage blog.  If you have never visited, you should--you will love it! Donna's blog is actually what got me blogging in the first place!)  A couple days ago, I shared my cleaning basket with you, and discussed how I couldn't believe what a difference it made to have all my cleaning supplies right there at-hand instead of making several wasteful trips into another room to retrieve something I forgot. Well, today I implemented another similar suggestion which also works wonders and is yet very, very simple: carry a large tray and a wastebasket with you (along with your basket).

Now, when I say to carry a cleaning basket, large tray and wastebasket with you from room-to-room as you clean, you're probably thinking that would be very cumbersome.  However, if you have a bed tray, or anything similar in size and shape, you can place your cleaning basket and your wastebasket on it and go from room to room.  Here's mine:

My new (old) bed tray is the perfect size for carrying my cleaning basket and make-shift wastebasket from room-to-room(as well as keeping my vacuum attachments in one place while I'm working so I don't waste time trying to find where I absentmindedly laid them down.)

Now, the tray itself has several helpful functions beyond just being a carrying vehicle.  For example, as you do thorough room cleaning or do your daily pick-up, place objects onto it which belong to another area and are out of place, replacing them in their appropriate areas/rooms as you work into them.  Instead of finding a couple things misplaced, and running to another room to put them back, then returning, then doing it all over again each time you find one or two things out of place, this saves time and energy. You simply pick things up and put things back as you come to them, instead of running every-which way every few minutes.  What a great idea!

The tray, as you are doing thorough room cleanings, also serves as a make-shift table.  For instance, when you remove knick-knacks for dusting or polishing of furniture, you can easily move them over onto the tray, as opposed to setting them on a couch, the floor, bed, etc (or moving them around on the furniture which you are dusting) and then setting them back. This is how I used my tray earlier:

Stuff that "adorns" my bedroom dresser, conveniently relocated for cleaning ( I like perfume...)

I found it much more practical to temporarily place everything on the tray, place the tray on the bed, then put things back in their place after I had polished the dresser and had dusted the bottles, pictures, etc. This saved much effort which would have otherwise been devoted to moving these things around, moving them back, then picking them each up individually to dust them off.  (Why didn't I ever think of this before??)

 All perfume replaced and freshly polished
Lastly, is the wastebasket, which is the clear/plastic container on the left side of my tray in the picture above, and which could also use some decorating of some kind. (Hmm...sounds like a good little weekend project...) Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "wastebasket," I always picture a small bathroom-sized garbage can, which is what initially came to mind when I began my search for the perfect container to use for this purpose.  Of course, carrying around a container that big would be very inconvenient; needless to say it didn't take me long to ix-nay that idea. So, that's when I thought, I have a small plastic bucket (that even has a handle) that would be plenty big enough, and still small enough to fit on my tray. Perfect!  Now, when I come across any throw-away items during cleaning, I just toss them in by bucket instead of making yet another wasteful trip through the house to the trash can. 

In retrospect, all these suggestions seem like they should have been obvious...but they weren't! I wonder if I hadn't gotten this book, would I have ever thought of putting all my cleaning supplies in one convenient, portable place, thus preventing many frustrating trips through the house for a forgotten item?? Or instead of making multiple trips to the wastebasket with various items, why not just take the wastebasket with me?? And let's not even talk about all the wasted time and energy running here and there to return misplaced items over and over and over and...  

So now I'm curious, are these things you all already know about and do? Was I the only one who was spending wasted energy and time with my inefficient cleaning methods?


  1. I do the basket idea (although I use a bucket) but the tray idea is something new and I'm definitely going to try it!

    One thing to keep in mind....while it's good to have a schedule to keep yourself on task and to know what comes next, one of the benefits of being a SAHW is you're schedule is flexible and you have time for people and unexpected things that pop up. That is a real blessing!

  2. I guess the only things I can think of are to have a routine for each day and each week - so that you know roughly what you are needing to do each day and during the day (I prefer routine to schedule as the latter makes me think if it's x o'clock I should be doing y, etc etc, whereas routine is for me, more of a, after breakfast, I make the beds, after that I clean the bathrooms etc, doesn't matter what time brekkie is, beds come next) - avoids clock watching or pressure.
    Love the idea of the tray - one of those things that I haven't ever thought of either, but as soon as you hear it you think, of course, makes perfect sense. Love Viv's blog/community, so much good stuff.
    Hope you have a great weekend

  3. Hi Liana!

    I'm so glad you are enjoying the book! One thing that I wanted to note is that it is Donna, not I, who is 50s Gal and has the wonderful Apron Revolution forum :) I am simply a poster over there and a blogger (almostvintage2000). Happy Cleaning!

  4. I think you all will really like using the tray if you can find something that is just the right size. And I just want to clarify that I'm not dogmatic about my "schedule"...I'm not going to kill myself and forego my life just for the sake of cleaning! Haha! I just feel that my housekeeping needs more structure, and this is a way for me to work towards that.

    Viv: thanks for clarifying! I was somewhat confused about that...sorry for the misunderstanding! Is Donna receptive to guest posting or do you all have your own little "community" of posters established? =)

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