Being clean. Lately that is what everyone is talking about! The corona virus really has shown us just how much we affect each other and how wide that affect is. It is truly mind blowing!
I am sure we have all upped our cleaning habits recently, which is great! Being consistent is key! Routines to the rescue! If you don’t have a daily cleaning routine, go check the Routines page here!
Here are a few tips to help keeps germs and viruses away. Add these to your normal routines.
When cleaning the bathrooms daily, pay special attention to toilet handles, faucets, drawer knobs and door handles. Those things can be done very quickly while cleaning the rest of the bathroom with a Clorox Wipe (IF you can find any). Be sure to change out the hand towels daily as well.
If you are one of the many that can’t find any sanitizing wipes right now, I will include a “recipe” to make your own! Might be a fun project while most of us are stuck at home with not much to do anyway.
Keep clutter to a minimum. Less stuff to have to clean! Now is a good time to get rid of things. Grab a garbage bag and see what you can find to get rid of. You may not be able to donate it right now but it can go to the car or garage for the time being. Try to keep flat surfaces clear so you can wipe them off frequently.
Put at least half the kid’s toys away. Clean them thoroughly. Rotate them daily or every other day, cleaning them each time. This way you aren’t having to clean ALL the toys each day and they are excited to have different toys every day. Also less to clean up! It’s a win win!
Use fresh kitchen towels and dish cloths every day. Use a sanitizing wipe on counters and faucet multiple times a day.
Don’t forget about you car! You go out, go to the store, you touch things, you get in your car and touch your steering wheel, door handle, the stereo, etc. Keep wipes in the car to wipe it down often.
Your cell phone and water bottle should be cleaned several times a day! You wash your hands and then pick up your phone which has soooooo many cooties! Don’t forget your laptop as well.
Then of course, is the most obvious…. wash your hands. I think we are going to need to stock up on hand lotion the way we are all washing our hands and cleaning lately!
Encourage each other in this time. Be kind and generous. Let us remember to be grateful, there is always someone worse off than we are.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Home Made Sanitizing Wipes
1 roll of quality paper towels. Cheap ones will fall apart.
1 air tight container, such as an empty plastic coffee can or old wipes container.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup Isopropyl alcohol (tip!!! Isopropyl alcohol might be hard to find right now, but your local liquor store still has Vodka!! It will sanitize as well!)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 T. dish soap, preferably Dawn
Cut your paper towel roll in half using a sharp serrated knife or electric knife. It’s a bit messy.
Depending on your container you may have to peel off a few sheets of paper towel to make it fit. It is ok if it’s a tight fit.
Combine the water, alcohol, vinegar and dish soap and pour over the paper towels in the container.
Put the lid on and turn it upside down for a few minutes and then turn it back over. As soon as the paper towels are completely saturated you will be able to gently pull the cardboard center out easily! Now you can pull your wipes out from the center.
Hi Friends! It has been so very long since I have written here. Six months in fact! I have missed it so very much! I have had so many things going on in my life that I had decided to put this on the back burner for a while, but I couldn’t stay away forever!
Honestly, I had been feeling like I am not very qualified to write a blog called “The Self Cleaning House”. I still don’t. Not sure how I thought I was! With a family of five, a large house, an in home day care with six children, two of them infants, doing laundry for two families, writing two blogs and starting an eCommerce store, and camping every weekend all summer, I feel very often that my house doesn’t reflect the image I would like it to. Yes, it’s tidy-ish. The bathrooms are clean and the laundry is done and well, the basics are done, but that is as far as it goes.
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell
Those daily routines…. I’m telling you, they are life! Without them my home would be in shambles right now. If you don’t know what those are, check out the routines page here. If you do, but need to dust those off and start again… DO IT!!
BUT…. my closet….not sure what has happened in there! The bathroom drawers… oh my! And then there is the garage….. so much. I want to cry every time I go out there.
Can you relate? I am hoping you can, because that is why I decided to jump back in to writing here as often as I can at least.
I hope that I can inspire you and ME to get to those things that are bugging you right now about your house. Yes! That thing that just popped into your head just now! See, I knew you had something too!. I know I am busy and you are busy. Crazy busy, in fact. Like, OMG, we have so much to do today we won’t be done with today until next Tuesday, busy!
But….. we got this! We can fine tune routines and knock things out in little five minute increments. So, without guilt and shame I am going to jump back into writing and sharing ideas with you. It helps to keep me accountable but I am also going to remember to try to give myself GRACE! You do the same!
I promise to be back again soon with ideas, encouragement and updates on that garage of mine!
Love you all! E
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
It was Friday late afternoon. It had been a long tiring week and I was very much looking forward to 5:30 pm, a glass of wine and pizza that I didn’t have to make! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook but at the end of a long week of toddlers, chicken nuggets, diapers, and toys I am quite ready to have dinner delivered and put my feet up!
I was clock watching, getting kids snacks and preparing for parents to arrive when I received a text message from our landlord. We don’t hear from her much so I was surprised. She lives in Alaska and we live in Idaho. We take care of the house and don’t bother her unless we have to and she doesn’t bother us unless necessary as well. It is a good situation and she is a great person.I read the text…. “I am in town and would like to come by to see the house tomorrow morning if that is OK?” She hasn’t been to visit or see her property in about three or four years so I totally understand her wanting to drop by…. but, tomorrow?!!! Yikes!! Terror struck me and my mind started to race. What all needs to be done? Should I clean and organize the freezer? Clean the tops of the kitchen cupboards? Disinfect the garbage cans? Whoa…….. breathe…..
Ok…..what really needs to be done? I looked around. I decided the carpet needed to be vacuumed, dusting should be done, entry rugs shook out, the kitchen and entry should be swept, and a little extra tidying up in the bedrooms. My family pitched in and we had all that done easily in a half an hour! By 6 pm we were having wine and pizza!
The house looked fantastic! I didn’t go all crazy and do things that didn’t need to be done and with just a few minutes of normal cleaning it looked great. You know why it only took a little effort to make the house company ready? Routines!!! The bathrooms were clean, there were no piles of laundry, dishes/kitchen was done and beds were made, the house was tidy, the kitty litter and garbage had been taken care of. The house look good and smelled good!
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Thank you, routines, for giving me a self cleaning house that allowed me to have wine and pizza on the Friday night before my landlord was to come see our home! Side note…. the landlord couldn’t fit stopping by into her schedule before leaving town so she never did make it. If you all want to stopover…..my house looks great!
I am tired. At 52 years old and still taking care of 6 toddlers and babies and my family every day, I am exhausted at times, ok…. most of the time!
We have all been there! I remember stumbling into walls I was so tired when my babies were young. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for 48 hours!
Clearly, that isn’t a possibility. Life goes on and so must we! We will survive. We have homes, children, laundry, work, meals, and relationships to tend to.
So how do we keep going when we really just want to nap or put our feet up? How do we keep from being overwhelmed and frustrated?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Doing daily routines is a huge lifesaver during times in your life where you are sleep deprived or overworked. You do those on autopilot. For all the other things that need to be attended to…..do them one thing at a time. One load of dishes, one room tidied up, one meal made. Put one foot in front of the other and try not to think of the whole picture, just what needs to be done next.
We often give ourselves too many outs, too many breaks. We are capable of far more than we think. Yes, it is really easy to say “I worked hard all day. I deserve to sit down and watch my favorite TV show instead of doing the dinner dishes.” but is that really doing yourself any favors? It’s not! Those things left undone will still be there when you are ready for bed or when you get up in the morning. It will put you that much more behind the next day and the next. It will snowball, get you down, make you depressed, make you make bad choices, make you grouchy and more tired.
I am not suggesting that we live on four hours of sleep and never stop working. Most definitely not! Sleep is very important for your health. I am talking about those times you know you should be folding clothes while watching that TV show. The times when you decide to just read one chapter of your book before starting dinner dishes….and then dishes don’t happen. The days you hit snooze too many times and decide not to do your morning routine.
Have you ever read Little House on the Prairie? Have you ever read the whole series? I know they are kids books but if you haven’t read them, read them. Read them to your kids. I have read them multiple times. I read them to my kids… maybe more than once. I am reading them to my granddaughter. They made a huge impression on me when I was a child. So much so that a few years ago when we had the chance we took the family to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Missouri. It was a wonderful experience.
Whenever I am tired and really just don’t wanna anymore, I think about all the things those people did and how hard they had to work just to survive. They couldn’t go through the drive-thru for lunch. They couldn’t even stop at the grocery store after work! Every single thing had to be planned, not days ahead but whole seasons and years ahead! They didn’t have a washer or dryer for laundry, Heck, they didn’t have the luxury of a couch to sit on and TV to watch while they folded their laundry! They would feel ashamed to be as lazy as we are now. We are capable of SO MUCH MORE! Modern convenience has us convinced and conditioned to feel we deserve to sit down and put our feet up.
A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep–So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:10 and Proverbs 24:33
(Just a quick side note… did you know that the above verse is in the Bible TWICE?! The exact same wording. I am thinking we are to take notice of that verse!)
I am sure that if our lives depended on it, we would be up before dawn putting wood in the wood cook stove and starting those beans to soak. We would be milking the cow and feeding the horse. We would be canning all day during harvest and skinning deer and drying meat in the winter. Sewing clothes by lantern light would be our downtime. If our survival was at stake we would take far fewer breaks and find a strength within we didn’t know we had.
Next time you just don’t wanna…. remember, you have a TV and a couch. You have time and you are capable of so much more!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
If you are interested in purchasing the “Little House” series, click on the image below!
The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.
Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.
Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!
I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.
I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.
I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.
I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.
I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”
It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!
When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.
We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
Isaiah 32:18 NKJV
I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.
We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.
Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!
The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).
Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.
Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.
I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.
Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.
Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.
You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.
Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.
Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.
If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!
It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.
Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.
Kids respect what you inspect. You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.
Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!
I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.
Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?
When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!
When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.
By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
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We all know someone whose home we are in awe of. That home that always seems to be perfectly clean no matter when you drop in.
How do they do that? What kind of magic is it?! Their magic is in their habits!
Here is a list of habits that I have compiled that people with clean homes do. If you would like to have a home that is always in a state of “near company ready”, try adopting these habits.
Put it back, don’t put it down. When working on a project or even just writing a note or curling your hair, put it all away before you walk away.
Declutter. Live more with less. A home with less “stuff” gets less messy. You can’t clean clutter.
Everything has a home and everything in it’s home. If it doesn’t have a home, either make a home or toss it. Just like habit number one says, put it back. Always return things to their proper home.
Always make your bed. There are so many good reasons to make your bed, but most importantly it makes the room look better even if that is all that is done.
Empty the dishwasher ASAP. A dishwasher full of clean dishes is a sure fire way to have dishes left in the sink.
Never leave dishes in the sink. See above! Dishes in the sink spreads to dishes on the counter, none of which looks tidy. Your sink is just like your bed but in the kitchen. If it looks nice it helps the rest of the room look nice.
Never leave a room empty-handed. When walking about the house, always take a look around before leaving a room and notice if there is something that needs to go to the room you are going to. I have a saying…”Always improve the room you are in, even if it’s just a smile.” If you can’t find anything out of place in a room, just smile and make it a happy place to be!
Do it now! Don’t wait to pick up that receipt that fell on the garage floor, do it now. Don’t wait to hang up your coat, do it now. Don’t wait to sort through today’s mail, do it now… most of it goes in the trash anyway! Most things take far less time to do than we think.
Work smart, not hard. Clean the shower while you are in it. Keep cleaners where you will need them. Clean the fridge one shelf at a time instead of all at once. Use a shared app with the family for groceries and to do lists. Cozi is my favorite! Check it out here!
Do a load of laundry a day. Small loads of laundry done daily are much more manageable than mountains of laundry done on the weekends.
Reset. Before bed, before leaving the house, after the kids go to school or go down for a nap, Reset! Reset the room. Fix blankets and pillows on the couch, straighten books on the coffee table, put the slippers or shoes in the basket, and straighten the rug. Make it a beautiful place to come back to.
Respect your home and the people in it. Even if you don’t care about your coat on the couch or dishes in the sink, someone else does. A clean home is a peaceful home. Respect each other by picking up after yourself and helping out. Teach your children this from the time they are young. Even if it’s not our favorite thing to do, we do it to show respect and kindness to each other.
There ya have it! I hope you can pick up a few of those habits to help you have a super clean and happy home too!
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Below is a link where you can check it out! Please feel free to message me with questions!