Spring Clean 2011

In honor of Spring Cleaning, I am bringing back a favorite article to help. Hope these tips help you get your home clean this Spring!

While housework itself is not fabuloso, it is frugal. Cleanliness keeps many diseases at bay and provides pride in self and home.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of doing housework. As a result, I despise, no, loath, housework. I had much to do as a child, and when my sister, Jesse was old enough, much for her to do as well, though much less than I. When I was 11, she and I sat down and made a list of all the chores we had. We came to a startling revelation that we did all the housework. From that moment on, my hate-affair with housework started.

Other than basic instructions, my Mother gave me no real tips or clues to how to clean things. Over the years I gleaned information from my grandmothers, friends of my immediate family and my friends. Like a thirsty woman, I drank up knowledge about housework. Mentally filing away tidbits on making housework easier and quicker.

For you, my dear readers, I will try to present these tips. Be aware, there is no real order to them. Each are as valuable as the others. Use what you want, discard what is irrelevant to you. Regardless, I hope you find something to help you be more frugal with your time and efforts.

1. After each use of a condiment bottle give it a little rinse at the sink. This will help keep your refrigerator/shelves cleaner. Result? Simple. Instead of a bucket of water to clean, now only a cup of water. In addition, instead of hours cleaning, cleaning time is now minutes. Savings-Time, environment and effort.

2. Recycle means to use again/to find another purpose for and thus extend the life of. What it does not mean is you sort into brightly coloured tubs and leave out for a corporation to pick up and handle without another care in the world. Yes, that is part of it. But it means things you buy, before you plunk down money for them, can they be repurposed? Do they have multiple purposes? Once the item is consumed, is what is leftover dangerous to me and/or the earth? Have I gotten all I can from this as I stand over the waste bin ready to chuck it out? Savings-Time, environment, money and effort.

3. Housework is a job. Like all jobs should be scheduled. Laundry on this day. Vacuuming on that day and so forth. Regular maintenance will help prevent "housework overload". Even if you work 3 jobs and are raising kids by yourself, 5 minutes in a room in apartment or house will help keep things nice. Savings-Time and effort.

4. Old fashioned cleaning agents tend to be better and safer to use. While bleach is not environmentally friendly, it is darn good at destroying harmful bacteria and viruses. Also in ruining any black clothing I own. However, vinegar is just about the most perfect item on the planet as far as cleaning goes. Savings-Time, environment, money and effort.

5. Toothbrushes, brave soldiers in the war against cavities, are not retired to the landfills. Instead they are put to use in cleaning. Every sink in the home should be armed with a toothbrush. Every laundry room should have a toothbrush to help work out those stubborn stains. Only when the valiant toothbrush has died should it be given a hero's burial in the recycle bin. Savings-Time, environment, money and effort.

6. If you do not do any housework for a day or two, it is OK. No need to have negative emotions over it. The world will continue on. Days off are allowed. Repeat after me, "Days off from housework are allowed." Savings-Sanity.

7. Pretty scented cleaning agents are a luxury. Not a necessity. Most are not actually good for people with asthma and allergies. Most are not good for the environment. Want a pretty smell? Get a nice candle or open windows. Want a pretty smelling cleaning agent? Speak to an expert on essential oils. Savings-Time, environment, money and effort.

8. For an instant "House Is Clean" look, ensure doors and door frames are clean, counters are clutter-free and clean, tabletops (dining, coffee, side) are clutter-free and clean and any big spills much darker or lighter than your floor are spot cleaned. Savings - Time, effort, sanity.

9. Your way isn't the only way. This means, if your significant other cleans something, let it be. Seriously hun, put down the sponge and spray. Just because the chore wasn't done the exact way you do it, doesn't mean the chore was not done. Instead hugs, kisses and thank yous are in order. This also applies to friends helping out around your house. Once upon a time, I worked three jobs. OK it was really two jobs. I was gone from 8a until 11p each day Monday-Friday. I often worked 8 hours on Saturdays too. And Sundays I worked for 4 hours. I was tired. Really tired. But I did it all, work, housework, partying, friends. The problem was, things were starting to weigh me down. At this time I had a friend, Melonie. One day she just started doing my dishes. Being how I was, I tried to stop her. She stood up to me and explained how she was my friend. Friends help friend. She couldn't help me with my jobs. But she could help me with my house. Realization dawned on me as she shoved me to my bedroom insisting I have lay down for a bit. So what if she put my coffee cups with my drinking cups instead of the shelf above the coffee pot? Doesn't matter. What mattered was my friend loved me and was trying to help me succeed in the world. Unlike so many people that try to pull you down or hinder you. Savings - Time, effort, sanity

10. Learn, practice and prefect what I call "The Mama Whirlwind Maneuver". This is where, each day you dedicate between 5 and 15 minutes in each room of the house. Set a timer, watch a clock or use common sense to keep track of the time. Your goal is to make each room presentable within that time frame. Easy peasy. Just carry a clothes basket and chuck everything in the basket that does not belong in each room. Then at the end of the quick cleaning, put everything in the basket into its proper place. Should you not have time to hit every room just hit the big 3 - Kitchen, Living Room and Bathroom. I personally keep a spritz bottle with cleaning solution under my bathroom sink to give a quick cleaning. In addition you will soon find that items stop having to be replaced as they are no longer lost and your home will feel cleaner overall. Savings - Time, effort, money

Finally, and I think most importantly, have a schedule. That's right. Just like with working, housework is in dire need of scheduling. Some things need to be done daily. Others need to be done weekly. Some chores only rear their ugly heads monthly. And then there is the Spring Cleaning. For me there is Spring Cleaning and Fall Cleaning. Twice a year. Allergies and hygiene demand it of me. :D

I have provided some sample To Do Lists which are, of course, free to download.

A Week of Daily Schedule

Monthly Schedule

Now, remember with these lists:
a. Edit to fit your home and lifestyle.
b. Lists are only guides not the Holy Bible of Cleaning, if you miss/skip something see #6.
c. Time with children will always over-throw chores like an angry mob a bad ruler
d. It is OK to say "No" to someone if it will over-schedule you and send you into a downward spiral of "Hoarders".
e. Spring/Fall Cleaning lists are basically a combination of both lists. Many people also add outdoor chores to their Monthly and Spring/Fall Cleaning lists. I did not as this post is about indoor chores.
f. If you don't like the chores lists, you can always delete them from your hard drive.

A Week of Daily Schedule

Monthly Schedule


  1. I like the new look of your website! My favorite homemade cleaner is water and vinegar--I use it on everything!

  2. Thank you for your kind compliment! I agree with water and vinegar, an excellent general purpose cleaning agent.


Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Stay frugal!