need to simplify home for cleaning....

anrsazAugust 22, 2009

How do you do this without it looking stark? We had to get rid of my cleaning lady because of expenses and I just spent 2-1/2 hours vacuuming and washing floors ONLY! This also included vacuuming my lamp shades :) but still. Yikes! I suppose that's the brunt of all cleaning.

Obviously I need to move things so there's not so much to clean around. But geez, there's magazine racks and baskets and bookshelves and an ironing board (where does one put this?) and tabletops. As for the kitchen I'd like to keep it functional, but easy to clean. Functional use means all my appliances stay out, but then it's hard to clean. Appliances would be good in the pantry, but then where does the food go? I also need to get things up off the floor.

Also how much of extra pillows/and bedding do you keep?

I'm really an organizing guru, but there's got to be something I haven't thought of yet. There's no way I can keep up with this if I don't change something.

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Boy, that is always the question, and you've partly answered yours. Isn't interesting, that things that seem so nice to look at, may appear differently when we have to clean them or around them?

You might like Don Aslett's book, Let Your House do the Housecleaning. It is all about how the design and materials and furnishing in our homes can work with us or against us re: cleaning. Most people aren't able to design and build the ideal clean-able house, but you can see where he's going. Most homes & furniture and decor styles give very little weight to the cleaning factor.

I'm working on it from a different angle--I want to re-hire a cleaning service and so not only is it too much for me now, I know that my family and I cannot "pick up" very much very fast or reliably to "prepare" for the service (and they typically don't do so well if things are too cluttered, so you waste your money) , so I need to simplify.

So, too many little tables, furniture with curlicues and fussy designs, too much stuff on table tops--choices, choices!

Don't you love the magazine decor pages with artful stacks of books on the floor by each chair, the large paintings or mirrors leaned ever so casually against the walls, the lovely tabletop tableaux of collectibles--hello... cleaning? Also painful are multiple finishes--tile, wood, ccarpet varying from room to room. I love fresh flowers and ccut them from my garden, but then inevitably they start to drop petals or pollen if I don't throw out just the minute past prime, and, though I usually put the vase on a tray for just that reason, I find myself saying,was it worth it? Also houseplants--if they tend to drop leaves.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Frankie that's funny. I just finished reading Don Aslett's book on "Let Your House do the Housecleaning". Unfortunately for now, we'll have no money to make some of these things work. I also bought his Packrat's book which I find very good, but he just doesn't tell you "how much" of what to keep. Isn't there a standard or book somewhere? LOL?

I'm with you on your angle; to prepare for the cleaner. Picking up seemed to be half the battle to get the cleanest house. I also find that I don't have a lot knickknack things to dust, but I do really need to find homes for things I have to constantly vacuum around.

I see those magazine decor pages and usually cringe at the fact of keeping all that clean (and the whites). BHG is known for that!

Other posts on hanging brooms and such is nice, but I don't have that basement wall. I have many little rooms which is just as bad as having a bunch of stuff.

I did like Don Aslett's idea for kids was a sheet and a comforter, dumping the blanket as it's easier for the kids to make. That was a great idea!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:47PM
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You posed a lot of "big" questions, so it would probably be helpful for you to break it down into more manageable bites.

For bedding, I personally keep 1 set of sheets on the bed and 1 hidden for each bed. That way, you aren't storing too much "stuff" but can still change out the sheets without having to immediately do laundry. Of course, if you have little kids or babies, you might want an extra set for those "oops" moments.

For counter tops, we put all small appliances away - except the coffee pot. We have to wipe the counters at least once a day anyway and we don't use any appliance more often than that. If you have the storage space, putting them away once is easier than moving them multiple times to wipe around. I don't know about you, but many people stuff their pantry's and shelves like they are expecting a military siege any moment. I think I've finally come to accept that saving a few cents on pasta isn't worth it if I have to store 10 boxes of the stuff. That storage space is more valuable to me than the grocery savings.

For ironing boards, right now I have mine hanging in a pantry. In my last house, we bought an over the door hanger and put it on the back of a closet door. When we actually had a "laundry room" it hung on the back of that door.

Simplifying can be overwhelming. I'd start with 1 room or even one closet. If you get 1 area the way you want, it frees up a little extra time for you to work on the next area. People usually get more accomplished that way then if they try for some grand, master plan to organize the whole house.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 10:19AM
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I must admit I have accumulated 4 sets of king-sized sheets but I would not do that again and will not try to keep more than 2 as they wear out. Here's the thing--it's much more efficient to wash and put back the same sheets by doing it on a day that you can do so--for us, a Sat morning usually means someone will have the time and energy to re-make the bed before night (or naptime!). Plus, the sheets just out of the dryer smell better than the sheets after being stored in the closet. So now I'm convinced we only need the one spare pair (if that; of course could use only one). We also lost "efficiency" when we had one DD with a twin bed and another with full--so required us to have different sheet sets. Even if you had 2 kids, same gender, even if wildly different choices of bedding patterns or colors, if the beds are same size, you can have a set or 2 of "neutral" sheets for either kid for emergencies, illness, etc.
Same really for bath towels--there's something to be said for not having 2-3 highly distinctive bathroom color schemes but having overlap. All of these things you kind of realize after your initial burst of decorating enthusiasm and the lure of the stores.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:20AM
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Having cats will force you to get rid of clutter, beleive me.

Let me explain. I only own 3 lamps and they are inexpensive ones so if they hit the floor, no big deal. I can't leave any clean laundry lying around or it becomes a cat bed and of course a fur magnet. Can't have any flower arrangements as they'll destroy them and they don't care if they are living or silk. Can't have knick knacks out because they will get broken. I cannot keep magazines or newspapers or they will be torn up and used for beds.

I love microfibre and with all the new styles and colors available now, all my new furniture will be stylish and easily cleaned of pet hair.

For more storage I would look up and see if there is space on walls to add more shelving to store things. Of course with limited space you can't keep things that you aren't using. I know because the house I live in presently has no storage to speak of so if I bring something in, something has to go out.

Also, be careful you are not using daily storage areas for long term storage items. I was making that mistake and realized it when I heard someone on TV mention it. Now my long term storage is out of sight so things I use daily can be easily retrieved.

So yes, my house is sparse when it comes to furniture/table decor, but that's a blessing in disguise.

As far as bed linens, I keep 2 sets, one on and one off. To store the one off I put the sheets and one pillow case in the remaining pillow case. Then when I need it I just grab the bag, as I call it. I agree that comforters and quilts are easier to manage than blankets. I'm a light weight quilt person.

For the ironing board you might want to consider a wall mounted one.

My number one motto is if I can't wash it I don't want it. That includes furniture, rugs, curtains and clothing. If dry cleaners were waiting for me to make money, they'd all be closed down.

If you could post some of your problem area's maybe we could help you with specifics. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 12:50AM
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I want to point out 2 things.
First, you will get faster with practice.
Second, if you clean more often (do a spot clean as you notice messes instead of waiting to get it all at once) it will take less time when you have a cleaning session.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 9:24AM
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Fly Lady ( is a source of good advice.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 9:56AM
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