As a practical cap to the housekeeping series, I’ve been making two lists. Housekeeping ideas that work for me and things I haven’t figured out yet. Want to add to either list? (Or solve my quandries?)
Housekeeping Ideas That Work For Me
- Keeping two or three liquid detergent measuring cups next to the detergent bottle. That way I can throw the sticky used cup into the wash and eliminate soapy drips. I keep at least two because sometimes the cup goes through the dryer as well and I need another cup for the next load.
- When putting away clean dishes, keep all the cupboard doors open until all the dishes are put away. Saves a lot of effort. And, after awhile, you become adept at dodging open doors.
- On swiffer/clorox mop, use an old washcloth or rag instead of pricey disposable pads. Throw into the washer to await the next load.
- Wash, dry, and put away dishes right after eating. Instead of 15 minutes to unload the dishwasher, it is two minutes per meal. Also, we don’t use a dish drainer as both resident adults tend to pile it high…and it’s a pain to scrub off the hard water stains, and it’s ugly.
- When drying dishes to put away, stack together all the dishes that belong in one cupboard. When all the dishes are dried and sorted, you only make one trek across the kitchen for each cupboard (instead of going back and forth and up and down).
- Fill a 64 oz pitcher of water every morning to make sure you get enough water over the course of the day. Add a little unsweetened cranberry juice for health or lemon for taste.
- When squeezing a fresh lemon, squeeze any extra juice into an ice cube tray.
- Always clean out the fridge the night before the garbage is collected. Keeps your fridge clean, and keeps leftovers from smelling up the garbage can. My Grandma uses that day for making what she calls “cream of leftovers”.
- When picking up around the house, work room by room. Start in the main living area and put things that belong in different rooms in piles (I use the dining table). Then, as you go to clean the individual rooms, take the according pile with you. This saves many many extra trips around the house. And keeps you focused.
- Keeping the toys in an off-limits area and bringing out baskets of toys to play with and then return when finished.
- A large rock in a kitchen cupboard comes in handy for breaking up frozen, consolidated items like grated cheese, peas, and berries.
- When at home all day, follow the example of the prophet Daniel and pick up three times a day. (Okay, so he was picking up spiritually, but it still applies). This keeps you from spending all your time and energy following people around and picking up after them. And it keeps the end of day clean-up manageable.
- Keep dishes down low where your children can access them to set the table and put them away. Even Amelie has been able to put away dishes for months, and she’s not two yet.
- Fold kids clothes in coordinated sets. Even if the shirt matches with three pairs of pants, it’s easier on everyone (namely, husband and children and me) if you can just reach in to the drawer and grab an entire outfit. During the winter I fold pants and shirt inside the coordinating sweater.
- When you have a few slices of fresh tomato left over (and don’t want to let them become mush in the fridge), don’t toss them into the trash–cut them up and put them in the freezer. Next time you are cooking a tomato-based dish or soup, use the frozen tomatoes.
- I buy a bag of fresh chopped onions and put it in the freezer. Anytime I need to start a dish with onions and don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to chop some, I use the frozen ones.
- Establish a baking cupboard. Put sugar, flour, mixing bowls, measuring cups, bisquick, etc. in one cupboard, preferably over the deck where the mixer is. Having everything handy makes baking easier and quicker.
- (added on edit) Put away the food and wipe down the table, decks, and stove before doing the dishes.
Things I Haven’t Figured Out Yet
- Finding a place for a “launch pad” or “catch all”. A place for things that are in transit (stuff that belongs to other people, stuff that needs to have a place found for it, things that need to go with us on our next trip out, etc.) And once this place is found (out of eyesight, but somewhere convenient, preferably), how to keep it from just being a pile of junk and general catchall.
- How to mop the floor, vacuum, and clean the bathrooms without actually doing any of the work. Or paying someone else to do it.
- How to store bread in an easily accessible, but reasonably organized fashion. Front-opening bread boxes are not an option.
- How to get dirt out of the corners of windowsills.
- How to store bagged freezer fruits and vegetables in a way that it is easy to see what there is in the freezer, easy to access, and easy to scoop out.
- How to store kids shoes. I don’t want to store them with the clothes because feet grow at a different rate than bodies. I also don’t want to have to dig through fifty thousand pairs to find all the size 10s.