Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Clean House

It's true that every family  is different, but every house  is the same.  It needs cleaning. Our homes are like our own personal castle. And a clean castle begins with gratitude. Why?  Because our actions begin with what is in our hearts.  If we're thankful for our homes, it will be reflected in the care we give it. It is housing the most important people in our lives, our families.  Take pride (the good kind) in giving your family a lovely, clean home.

Sow an action
Reap a habit
Sow a habit
Reap a character
Sow a character
Reap a destiny

Every day we should look around the home with which we have been blessed with a deeply thankful heart.  Gratitude really grows best in adversity. (Like plants grow best in manure.) I've experienced times of poverty as well as wealth at different points in my life. At extreme ends of that spectrum, I've been to food banks and vacationed in Hawaii. Which do you think helped me learn gratitude?  (I'll give you one guess!) 

So, the reason we must start with gratitude is that when you're thankful for something, you will take especially good care of it. 
The second step to a clean home is consistency.  We need to be good stewards to that which the Lord's blessed us with.  It's tempting to look around with envy at another's home.  Instead, look around your own home and make it the best it can be. When we're grateful to have a place to call home we are more likely clean that home on a consistent basis. 

The biggest enemy to a well-cleaned home is neglecting the daily work.  There will ALWAYS be daily dishes, daily sweeping, daily tidy up.  Neglecting the daily's will rapidly lead to existing in a hovel.  I say existing, because when a house gets to the "hovel stage" it's more like existing than really living.

When I tend to my daily work each day and my weekly work each week, my home is comfortable, clean, organized and welcoming. Doing a little here and there leaves me with time for fun, too.  Remember the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?  Apply it to housework, too.  Cleaning and organizing throughout the day prevents an overwhelming job at the end of the week. So tend to those daily's! :)

Going to Extremes

I've been a guest in homes at extreme ends of this spectrum and let me tell you, neither one was welcoming.  A house that is cold and museum-like does not feel like a home.  And a house that is in a cluttered, musty-smelling, and dirty mess invokes the compulsion to run, not walk, out the door. 

BOTH of these situations completely miss the point of Home. 

Clean and comfortable is the right and natural state of a home. Such a home is one of the great joys in life. One of the top jobs of "keeping" the home is keeping it pleasant and clean.  What a house is to a person, a body is to a soul. We all seek to take care of our personal appearance so we are presentable to those around us. Think of how a disheveled, bedraggled, frowzy woman is thought of.  Now translate that a smelly, messy, unkempt house.

I believe men naturally measure their value or prestige among peers partly by their households. A man's household represents all that is "his".  This includes the way his house, his children and his wife look.  

It's so important to make the time to keep the home that we share well-ordered, pleasant and clean. And keep our children well cared for, well-trained and happy. And let's not forget, keep ourselves groomed and perfumed.  This is always time well spent.  (Even if you are not a raving beauty, or have gained some unwanted weight [fat], you can still maintain a clean and pretty appearance. Shower, fix your hair, dab on a little makeup and wear clothes that flatter you and you're all set.)

Prov 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

A huge hindrance to caring for your home and family is facebook and twitter. If you can't tear yourself from these time suckers, at least moderate your use. Consider editing your account to eliminate alerts and then announcing to your friends that you'll only be checking once a day at a certain time of day or week. Then they won't wonder why you haven't responded as quickly as you used to. Better still, just delete your accounts and start living your life!

It's not all about you

It's important to keep your husband's needs in mind when you keep your home. For me, between my man and our sons, I do a lot of laundry. In order to keep them in clean jeans, I threw out the idea of a "laundry day".  Instead, when the laundry hampers are full, I do the washing regardless of what day it is. And that really works.

The following list of what and where to clean covers basic and detailed cleaning.  As you read over the list, think about your own home and which jobs your children can help with.  Feel free to print out the list.  :-)

If you're not used to giving your children regular cleaning chores, there is no time like the present.  Teach them how to do each job to your satisfaction and divide the chores up into different days of the week and you're on your way! 


Tile walls, bathtubs and showers cleaned
Shower doors cleaned
Vanity and sink cleaned
Mirrors and chrome fixtures cleaned and shined
Floors cleaned and sanitized/carpets vacuumed
Toilets thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
Window sills, ledges, and blinds dusted
Cobwebs removed
Doors and door frames spot cleaned
General dusting

Bathrooms Detail-Clean

Tile grouting scrubbed
Shower door given extra attention
Doors and door frames hand wiped
Knickknacks individually cleaned
Fronts of cabinets hand wiped
Baseboards and window sills hand wiped
Floors given extra attention
Faucets, sinks and drains toothbrushed

Kitchen & Eating Area

Counter tops cleaned and sanitized
Outside of range hood cleaned
Top and front of range cleaned
Drip pans or glass top surfaces wiped
Sinks cleaned and chrome shined
Fronts of all appliances cleaned
Floors vacuumed and damp mopped
Window sills, ledges, and blinds dusted
Cobwebs removed
Microwave cleaned inside and out
Coors and door frames spot cleaned
General dusting

Kitchen & Eating Area Detail-Clean

Inside of range hood cleaned
Drip pans or glass top surfaces cleaned
Doors and door frames hand wiped
Appliances cleaned and shined
Knickknack areas cleaned
Fronts of cabinets hand wiped
Baseboards and window sills hand wiped
Floors given extra attention
All kitchen furniture hand wiped

Sleeping & Living Areas

Flat surfaces hand wiped
Doors and door frames spot cleaned
Cobwebs removed
Picture frames dusted
Ceiling fans dusted
Lamps shades dusted
Intricate items dusted
Heavy knickknack areas dusted
Window sills, ledges, and blinds dusted
Wood floors vacuumed and damp mopped
Stairs vacuumed
Empty closet floors vacuumed
All readily accessible floors vacuumed

Sleeping & Living Areas Detail-Clean

Doors and door frames hand wiped
Window sills and ledges hand wiped
Knick-knacks individually cleaned
Furniture surfaces hand wiped
Baseboards hand wiped
Furniture and upholstery vacuumed
Carpet edges vacuumed
Floors given extra attention
Accessible areas under furniture vacuumed

The Right Tools

My husband places high priority on having the right tools for a job. Similarly, the right tools for keeping the home are just as important.  Home keepers also need the proper equipment in order to do a decent job.  So get yourself set up!

  • Vacuum Cleaner (Oreck is my favorite)
  • Wool Duster
  • Ostrich Feather Duster
  • Plastic pail/bucket with handle
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Your favorite style of mop and broom (Swiffers work well)
  • Dustpan and hand broom
  • Flat blade safety razor (specifically for cleaning/scraping glass)
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Microfibre dustcloths (good for floor cleaning, too)
  • Old rags
  • Stiff bristle brushes for scrubbing dishes, etc.
  • Empty spray bottle to fill with vinegar (Home Depot has some good choices)

My Favorite Cleaning Agents

Baking Soda & Vinegar for safe cleaning for almost anything but especially good for inside microwaves, countertops, cutting boards and any area involving food and eating.

  • For WOOD     - Murphy's Oil Soap for anything wood (a very diluted solution)
  • For GLASS     - Windex
  • STAINLESS - Bar Keepers Friend (works SO well)
  • GENERAL  - Mrs. Meyers, baking soda, vinegar, Oxi-Clean

My Favorite Products For Laundry

  • DRYER BALLS (for the dryer)
  • NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENTS (ALL free and clear, ECOS, and Kirkland Signature brand)
  • OXI-CLEAN (awesome in the tub!)

I fill the fabric softener dispenser in the center of my washing machine with vinegar. It softens the clothes, helps keep the machine clean and when they go in the dryer I don't even need to use a dryer sheet. No static! :-) And the clothes do not smell of vinegar at all, in case you were wondering!

I keep all the needed cleaning supplies under each sink in the house for handy access. Then whenever I need to clean or even do a little touch up, everything is handy.

Cleaning should not be an all consuming affair. Once your house is in order, cleaning can be done effieciently and quickly and need not take more than 1/2 - 1 hour daily. Which is why keeping up with clutter (i.e., eliminating it) helps tremendously because when you need to clean, you don't have to move a bunch of junk first. You can just start cleaning. You can do it! :) 

Ahh...I do love a clean house!

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