Tips for Deep Cleaning Your House

Deep cleaning is one of those weirdly satisfying things for me. On the one hand it is deeply satisfying and on the other hand, ew. Kind of like popping a zit…just me? Moving on…

Our house has hit one of those, desperate for a good, mama cleaning times. I’m doing my mama duty and training my kids to clean, but they are kids and sometimes take advantage of mama’s ADD. Things get busy and sometimes I just don’t pick that battle. Just being honest.

If you are looking for a perfect mama, perfect kids, perfect marriage, and a perfect home, I can’t help you. What I use this space here on the internet for is to encourage other non-perfect mamas in their homeschooling and homemaking journey. Because we can all use more of that, right?

Today, I want to encourage you to deep clean your house. Or a room in it. Or one wall and pantry, like I did. I started the day thinking I was going to deep clean the whole dang kitchen. What I ended up getting done was the bar and pantry, but man, do they sparkle now!

As I was cleaning, I was writing a blog post in my head because that’s how I roll. So here are some tips for deep cleaning your house…or a room in it.

Tips for Deep Cleaning Your House...from an imperfect mom.

Tips for Deep Cleaning Your House

Occupy and/or Employ Kids

This is obviously your choice and may vary with each deep cleaning session. When I worked in my kitchen the other day, I chose to occupy them and that mostly involves my four-year-old. The older children often occupy themselves just fine.

I typically choose to have my children occupied when I have a deep cleaning session for two reasons. First, I tend to run through a range of emotions when I deep clean. Yes, I am happy, relieved, and satisfied at the end, but in the process I am often frustrated and sometimes even angry at the state of certain things. It’s easier for me to control these emotions when I have no one to lash out at.

Make it Enjoyable

This is particularly important if you are not looking forward to deep cleaning your house. Put on your super comfortable yoga pants, pour a favorite drink, turn the music up, and get going. Or, if you need quiet, make that happen. I know, easier said than done most days, huh?

Light the House Up

Turn on all the lights in the room that you are working in. Throw open the curtains to let the sunshine stream in. Light has the tendency to brighten our moods. It also sheds light on all the dirt and crud that needs cleaning.

Be Strategic

I am all about strategies. I love to create a plan. I’m not so great at the implementation part of those plans, my strength is in the researching and planning. This does me no good when it comes to actually getting the house clean. It seems no matter how many “tips for deep cleaning your house” articles I read, the house won’t clean itself. Shoot.

So what I have found that works the best is to keep it simple. Start in the corner of a room and work clockwise. This works for me because at the end of my session, something is actually clean. This works better than saying I will pick up the laundry and dishes throughout the room because that is 1.) never-ending and 2.) it doesn’t leave anything FINISHED.

To keep my momentum going, I need something FINISHED to look at.

Tips for Deep Cleaning Your House...from an imperfect mom.

Be Smart

This goes hand-in-hand with being strategic. Looking ahead to see if something needs to be done first or is a bigger job that can be broken down into smaller steps can be helpful.

For example, our kitchen sink is on the opposite wall of where I was starting, but there were more than one load of dishes worth of dirty dishes to be done (were there ever!!). We hand wash our dishes so I washed a sink full and set them to air dry while I started on the other side of the kitchen.

Focus

Don’t leave the room for every item that needs to be put away. I don’t know about your house, but things have the tendency to congregate in hot spots and all over the house. I am also highly distractible. So when I leave a room to put something away, I will notice all the things that need done in the other room. This inevitably leaves me mumbling like a crazy person in my head, sometimes an angry crazy person.

So, what I do is to put things that go in different rooms together in a spot away from where I’m deep cleaning. Then when I have a few items, then I will take them and put them away quickly. If things need moved in the other room where they are going (like books need re-shelving in addition to the ones I’m bringing back), then I set them all nicely together in one spot and return to my job at hand.

Resist the Urge to Start Another Project

When I was cleaning my kitchen, I came to my recipe box. Now, my recipe box is in need of a decluttering because I have a ton of recipes we never ended up using or we didn’t like. I could have started cleaning that out because it really was decluttering, but it would not have helped the overall project. The recipe box was going to take the same amount of space no matter if it was purged or not. So I left it alone and finished the wall I was working on.

Take Notes

Sometimes you will come across a project (like my recipe box) that legitimately needs done, but now is not the time. Or you will notice things like paint nicks that need retouched. Don’t stop your deep cleaning session to do this now.

And I don’t know about you, but my brain tends to really start working creatively when I’m cleaning. So I think of all sorts of blog posts (like this one), craft projects, and organizational projects when I am working. Like I mentioned, I am a highly distractible person so I need to put those ideas on paper as I go so I can get them out of my head and focus on my task at hand. Thus, the notes.

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Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drink water. Snack on vegetables. Just make sure you don’t end up thirsty, it will make you tired. And I do mean water, that actual stuff your body needs to function.

Resist the Urge to Multi-Task

This may sound a bit redundant, but if you are like me, you need the repetition. Focus on your task at hand, don’t try to do a bunch (or even two or three) things at once. Work on one thing until it is completed. Finished is the goal. Don’t lose track of that and end up with an even bigger mess than when you started with nothing to show for it.

Boom. There you go. Almost 1200 words giving you my best tips for deep cleaning your house or a room or a wall and pantry in it. 😉

You might also like:

Time Management Tips That Actually Work

Household Items You Can Replace With Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural, potent, and very useful. We have used them in our home for well over 10 years now…doesn’t seem like it is possible for it to be that long. My favorite thing about them is the ability to lessen our family’s chemical load.

Today I’m sharing ways you can do the same.

Household Items You Can Replace With Essential Oils | Vicki-Arnold.com

Household Items You Can Replace With Essential Oils

  • floor cleaners
  • disinfectant sprays
  • air fresheners
  • candles
  • dryer sheets
  • furniture polish
  • bug repellant
  • garden pest sprays
  • mold removal sprays

How I Use Essential Oils in Our Home

Floor Cleaners – I have a spray bottle that I fill with water and then add 20 or so drops of Purification. I simply spray our hardwood and linoleum floors and run my small mop over the floors. I personally love this bright, fresh smell more than Thieves. Thieves is more cinnamon and cloves smelling, which may be want you want.

Air Fresheners – I have actually used the same spray for my floors by spraying it into a stale room. You can use any other essential oil single or blend for this. More recently, I will pop some oil into our diffuser and diffuse something like lemon or orange.

If we are dealing with sickness, I’ll use something like Thieves, ImmuPower, or RC.

Disinfectant Sprays – Remember how I said essential oils are powerful? I will take the Thieves spray bottle and spray down door handles, light switches, and other common touch surfaces and wipe them down with a rag to get rid of the nasties.

Bug Repellant – We use a few different oils to try and keep bugs like fleas out of the house. With a dog that is both inside and outside, it can be ongoing in the summer months. We usually mix up our own dog wash (…my husband does it) and include various oils in it. This last time we used lavender.

We tend to use essential oils more for body care, but they are helpful in the home, too. I’ll cover body care in the future. Today I chose to go with the household items you can replace with essential oils because I am a part of a blog hop (yes, I’m doing quite a few of these lately, but that’s because they are fun!) put together by Kara from ALLterNATIVE Learning.

She has organized a huge collaboration for the month of April with a lot of bloggers because this is the month Earth Day falls in. It’s about raising awareness and helping families reduce their chemical exposures, teach children about good stewardship of the planet, and simply putting good resources into your hands.

She also has a great giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!

Printable Household Planners

Printable household planners can be a lifesaver. Keeping up with the organization of a household can feel overwhelming at times. There are things that need cleaned, meals that need cooked, activities that need to be attended, and holidays to plan. It’s a lot, yo.

If you are anything like me, digital planners and the like are fine and dandy, but they don’t really work for you. I’m a pen and paper kind of gal. I’m a lots of pens and lots of paper kind of gal. I’ve dived headfirst into this super awesome world of planners and I can not wait to tell you more about all that, but that’s not the point of today’s post.

45 Printable Household Planners | Vicki-Arnold.com

Printable Household Planners

Today! Today I have a list of printable household planners for you. And I’m a bit excited about them. I’ve tried to organized them to make it easier to find just what you are looking for. Let me know in the comments if you find one that is just right for you or if you are still needing something different and I’ll see if I can hook you up!

Complete Printable Packs

Daily Printables

Weekly Printables

Monthly Calendars

Cleaning Planners

Meal Planners

Money Management Printables

Outside the House Planning Printables

More Household Management Printables

Other Free Printable Collections

As is bound to happen in the research process, I came across a few other round-ups of free household printables. Here they are:

Printable household planners are a great tool for homemaking. Seeing things on paper often makes prioritizing easier. It’s also pretty darn satisfying to check things off a list. Give one of these planners a shot and see if it helps you feel more organized!

5 Good Reads On Organization

Organization is one of those things I often struggle with. I love the process. In fact, that is just about my favorite part of anything, the planning process. Brainstorming, creating systems, setting goals…I love all of it.

It’s the follow through that I struggle with.

Never the less, I press on! I read all I can about homemaking, cleaning systems, and organization. I set up my own systems and little by little, I improve. There are days I get frustrated with just how little it is, but the grace of God carries me through.

5 Good Reads on Organization - Simply Vicki vicki-arnold.com

My blogging friend Marcy over at Ben and Me started a monthly link up that I thought was such a great idea last fall. Then life happened and not much blogging was going on here so I haven’t yet participated. But I am today!

The concept is simple, share 5 good reads each month on the fifth of the month. Any subject. If I read it in the last month and believe it should be shared with you, it goes. I intend to keep my 5 on the Fifth posts topical. This month I am sharing 5 good reads on organization.

5 Good Reads on Organization

10 Minutes to a Clutter Free Morning – Becoming a Minimalist

What I love about this post is that it is practical, a checklist of sorts. Printed out, this would give a nice visual checklist that the kids could even help with at night. You know, since most of the items are directly effected by them…

8 Ways to Get a Handle on Paper Clutter – Clean Mama

Paper clutter is the bane of my existence. I organize it in piles which is moderately effective. I can pretty much find things when needed, but no one else can and if a pile gets knocked over, all bets are off. These are much better options.

8 Clever Ways to Organize With Ikea – Decorating Your Small Space

My husband sort of hates Ikea, he finds it claustrophobic. I, on the other hand, LOVE it. I love the little rooms and displays. I love the colorful prints and fun designs. I LOVE coming across posts that use their products, both in the way they were meant to be used and Ikea “hacks.”

7 Ways I’m Minimizing Decision Fatigue in My Daily Life – Modern Mrs. Darcy

I keep thinking that #1 would make life so much easier, but then I also think boring. I really, really like #5 and think that needs to happen. And I appreciated the linen discussion at the end. 😉

6 Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean – Clean Mama

I recently discovered Clean Mama and love it. I appreciated this list because it was equal parts encouragement that I am on the right track and keep going I can do better.

So those are my 5 good reads on organization for this month. I’m not sure what next month’s topic will be, but I have been reading a bit on homeschool already this month because of convention season starting. So there is a good chance that might happen.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out this one:

Organization ideas for the home - part 4 of 5 in the How Do I Teach Organization & Time Management Skills When I Have Neither? series

When Convenience Becomes a Crutch

When Convenience Becomes a Crutch | Vicki-Arnold.com

I make it no secret, I’m not the best housekeeper. I struggle to stay on top of things and sometimes with even the desire to do it because I get easily discouraged when I find myself doing the same thing over and over again.

However, I never let that stop me from trying to do better. And, believe me, I am better than I was years ago. I’m glad that God hasn’t given up on me through the years.

One area I struggle to stay on top of is my kitchen, particularly the dishes. Ever since we went camping in August, I’ve been pondering the idea of ditching our dishwasher. I never really felt brave enough until last week, when I mentioned it to my husband.

Our dishwasher is not terribly old (9 years), but it has never really cleaned our dishes really well. They had to be rinsed thoroughly before going in and if someone didn’t do this, it meant that dishes would have to be hand washed AFTER they came out.

So we ditched the dishwasher mostly, we have only ran it twice in the last week or so to help with catch up after the fridge was cleaned out and after company. For the rest of the dishes, we have been hand washing them. What happened kind of amazed me, but was what I was hoping for.

We don’t have more dirty dishes sitting around than usual and I’m making progress in training the kids to wash their own dishes. This means that the ever present stack of dirty dishes in my sink and on the counter next to it is slowly, but steadily improving.

Amazing!

As I’ve been doing dishes this week, I got to thinking. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt too bad.

When we had the option of the dishwasher, the dishes were never a priority to anyone immediately because we had to wait for a full load to run it. So the dirty dishes sat and waited. When someone didn’t rinse their dish, which was very, very often the case, those dishes then often enough had to sit with water in them to soften the hardened food in order to be rinsed to put in the dishwasher to be washed.

Just typing that is exhausting.

The convenience of the dishwasher had become a crutch, a procrastination enabler, if you will. So we ditched it and I think we will be better for it in the long run.

What about you? Are there any conveniences holding you back?

How to Create a Custom Chore Chart

How to Create Your Own Custom Chore Chart | Vicki-Arnold.com

I have been on a mission this year to train my children better in certain areas. I personally struggle with discipline and my children have seemed to pick up this super awesome habit. So you can probably guess that the first step in training my children better was to work on creating better habits myself.

Why does parenting work like that? It’s really annoying sometimes. I personally think it would be better if that whole “do as I say, not as I do” thing actually worked. Eh, maybe not.

This parenting gig has a way of changing a person…and that’s probably what God intended. Anywho, on to today’s point…

How to Create a Custom Chore Chart

I have seen a whole bunch of different chore charts over the years. Some are simple like the ones I found at Dollar Tree that were a pad of basic, fill in the blank rows with columns for each day of the week. Others are pretty involved, with systems, rotating cards, and/or magnetic things.

When I was at my friend Tina’s house the other day, I saw a simple laminated graph on her fridge that was exactly what I kept trying to come up with. I knew what I wanted to put on this chart, but couldn’t figure out how to lay it out. Seeing hers made it all click. Mine is a little different, but that’s because it fits our family.

Here’s how I made it:

  1. Open your word processing program (I use Pages) and create a blank landscape document.
  2. Insert/create a table. You will want a table to be 7-8 columns by 2 + however many chores you have rows long (mine is 6 because I have 4 chores on it).
  3. If your table format hasn’t automatically done this, merge all the cells in the very first row together (select them and then in the formatting of your table, select Merge Cells). Type in your title, I chose Household Chore Assignments.
  4. In your 1st column, starting in the 3rd row, start adding your chores.
  5. In your 2nd row, starting in the 2nd cell, label your days of the week. I chose to do Monday through Friday separately and then put both Saturday and Sunday in one column called Weekend. You can do whatever works for you.
  6. Make your text/table all pretty. In my header, I centered the text both horizontally and vertically and chose a font that I liked in a bigger size. For I also centered my text for the chores and days of the week.

Below the chart, I used the space to explain what was expected for each job. I chose kitchen, cleaning, laundry, and feed animals for our chores because I like the idea of having a designated helped in these areas each day of the week.

For the cleaning chore, there is the general expectation of making sure the house (specific areas) stays picked up, plus each day has a daily chore. I put these in the cell that corresponded with the day I wanted them done in smaller text that I centered and then justified to the bottom of the cell so there was space above to write the names. If that is confusing, check out my chart below and you’ll see what I mean.

Finally, I laminated my chart! This is the first time I broke out my laminator after months of it sitting on my kitchen counter. I was pretty pleased with myself. Like all works of art, this will be hung on our fridge…ok, so not exactly a work of art, but hey. It’s still going on the fridge and I will use a dry erase (or possibly a wet erase) marker to assign the duties to the appropriate child.

That’s it! You can check out my chart below, but ignore the little line after the last word, the screen shot caught my cursor in Pages. That’s not actually on the finished chart.

I’ve uploaded it as a PDF so you can see it in full view, too. I just ask that if you like it and want to share it with someone else, please send them to this post so they can see how to make their own if they’d like, too. Meaning, don’t share the link that ends with .PDF, please.

My Custom Chore Chart | Vicki-Arnold.com

Sharing at A Little Bird Told Me

Home Organization Resources

Organization ideas for the home - part 4 of 5 in the How Do I Teach Organization & Time Management Skills When I Have Neither? series

Previously: why, how, and when do I start teaching?

Today I am going to do what I do best and round up some resources to help you organize your home life. And to make it easier and, um, more organized…I will organize them by home area.

Here’s where I insert a little plug for my organization board on Pinterest. You know, in case you want to follow along…

And here is where I remind you that this is NOT a checklist. You are doing this one step at a time! That means you bookmark, pin, or otherwise save this post and come back to it when you are ready for the next one. And if you have no intention of organizing a certain area, more power to you.

This post is not a guilt trip. I repeat, this post is not to make you feel guilty because you are not perfect. Don’t make me show you a picture of my kitchen floor. Alright?

General Organization Tips

Home Office: Papers & Bills

Kitchen & Pantries

Bathrooms

Bedroom & Closets

Books, Toys, & Craft Supplies

Laundry & Utility Rooms

Garages & Basements

Outdoors

Homeschool

In my resource hunt, I came across a monthly blog link-up that you might find helpful. It is a little like organizational heaven. It is called Organize It! hosted by Bowl Full of Lemons and 7 other blogs. The banner takes you to the main Bowl Full of Lemons blog, here is August’s link up.

A Bowl Full of Lemons
Happy organizing!
Tomorrow we wrap up the series with an awesome time management resource!

19 Ways to Change Up Your Housework Routine

19 Ways to Change Up Your Housework Routine - Is your housework boring you? Try adding something different each day. Here are 19 ideas to try from Vicki-Arnold.com

Do you ever feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again? Housework especially can seem repetitious. So, let’s try something new. Make it a point everyday to find something to do that you will not have to do again for at least two weeks.

“Do I really have that much to do?” you ask. Probably. Here is a list of things to get your brain a-working. Some you may do more frequently, but you’ll get the idea.

Now, if you follow one of those super organized ways of managing household tasks beyond your basic cleaning routine, then more power to you, this blog post will bore you.

1. Clean your sink– No, I don’t mean not doing the dishes for two weeks at a time. I mean take the time to scrub the sink ’til it shines, around the drain, the faucet, the disposal, everywhere.

2. Clean your washing machine– When was the last time you really looked at your washing machine? Take the time to scrub the inside, clean the corners that catches dirt as you dump your clothes in. I did this recently and was ridiculously pleased with the results.

3. Vacuum the air returns & change/clean air filter for you furnace– Now, you may do this often, but I never even realized it needed done until we were 3 months into our newly built house and I looked up in horror at my cold air returns. Scary!

4. Clean the phones– Yeah, the thing that everyone has in their hands on a daily basis. Don’t submerge it obviously, but wipe that stinker down with some disinfectant or good ole soap and water.

5. Clean out your drains– BEFORE they start backing up. Baking soda and vinegar are good tools for this. So are husbands with a strong stomach.

6. Wash your windows/sliding doors– Inside and out, top to bottom. Clean the track, these can get shockingly dirty. Hose down the screens. It is amazing the difference a clean window will make to a room.

7. Clean your blinds/drapes/curtains– Personally, I recommend my Mom’s method of hosing the blinds down out in the sunshine, but if you want to clean them individually, slat by slat, be my guest.

8. Change your answering machine message– Be creative. This is a fun thing. We recently changed our message, the kids helped me. If you haven’t heard it yet and know my number, you should call. As my sister said, it is darn cute. {Confession – this post is from my very first blog a few years ago, the message on my machine is still the same.}{Update: We changed machines and sadly, our message is no more.}

9. Wash your cabinets– Wipe down the exteriors, dust the tops if they are exposed, wipe the shelves. It never ceases to amaze me how mucked up my cabinets get with grimy fingerprints and splashed food/drinks.

10. Wash the dog– Ok, admittedly, some dogs need washed a lot more often than two weeks, but it’s an idea.

11. Clean out your kid’s outgrown clothes– Purge your kid’s closets and dressers. Give some, if not all, the items to charity. You’ll have less laundry and feel good that you helped someone less fortunate. This is the perfect time to do this considering the seasonal weather change that is upon us.

12. Clean your ceiling fans– It is amazing how something in motion can collect so much dust!

13. Get rid of books you haven’t read in months or years– This one is a little painful for me, but sometimes our priorities change and books we once thought valuable are no longer.

14. Wash your shoes– Or polish or whatever. Just take a little time to spiffy them up.

15. Write & mail some birthday or just because cards– Who doesn’t like getting mail that doesn’t require payment or isn’t another piece of political jargon?! With all the technology we have today, sending a card stands out and is an uncommon personal touch that says you care.

16. Clean under your refrigerator– This requires a little muscle if you go all out and move the darn thing, but cleaning the outside and under parts of your fridge can actually help it run better/longer.

17. Clean out your pantry– Donate any items that you don’t need and toss anything expired. Maybe try some new organizing tricks.

18. Clean your dishwasher– Mine is looking quite disgusting these days. Those corners catch more crap than I don’t know what, but it’s a lot.

19. Clean under a sink– Pick one, I don’t care. Right now the one under my kitchen sink is particularly grody and crying out for help. How about yours?

Use the comment section and share some of your ideas.

Another way you can change things up a bit is to have a day for doing all those little things that you need to do, but never seem to find the time for. Skip some of your everyday chores to do this. It will give you a little break and you can get all those “little” things off your mind.

Here are some scriptures to help give you a little boost of motivation.