Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WFMW: What Helps Me Clean House

I am one of those strange people who really loves having a clean house but can't seem to manage to do it. (What, that sounds like you, too? Go figure.) I get great satisfaction in clean, shining furniture, toys put away neatly, and upholstery with only minimal crumbs & cat hair.

I normally do just enough to keep the chaos under control & keep things sanitary. Every once in awhile, though, I'll buckle down and really CLEAN the house. I have to be in the right frame of mind to do it, and it requires a few other things as well:

1. Restraining/occupying Wendy. In my daily cleaning, I like to encourage her to help as much as possible. But when I'm in deep-clean mode, things just go better if she's happily strapped in her high chair & occupied with Play-Doh or buttons. She can still watch what I'm doing, & we still carry on conversations, but she's not going right behind me undoing everything or playing with the toilet cleaner.

2. Upbeat music. Last year for Mother's Day, James got me an iPod, and then for my birthday in June he got me an iPod speaker dock thingie for the living room. I have a playlist called "Upbeat" that I should have just named "Cleaning Music" - that's what I use it for. It's so much easier to do unpleasant tasks when the music is cranked! I vividly remember cleaning house as a child - my Mom would get out the Anne Murray & Neil Diamond records, and that's what she'd crank. (To this day, hearing Anne Murray & Neil Diamond makes me want to dust.)

3. Good-smelling products. Even though I don't have a very sensitive nose, one of my main motivators for cleaning is the fresh smell of the house. To me, a clean house smells like Lemon Endust. It's what my Mom always used when I was growing up, and the scent still says "clean" to me. I generally wash down our living room tables with soapy water (because toddlers are grubby) and then treat them liberally with Lemon Endust to restore some moisture & shine. If I ever find a candle that smells just like Lemon Endust, I'm stocking up.

4. Cookie breaks. Everybody likes cookie breaks. They're more important now that I'm pregnant & easily exhausted. I work no more than 30-45 minutes at a stretch without sitting down & having a snack or a drink of water. This helps keep me from getting too burned out and also helps keep my blood sugar under control.

These little things help keep me on track when it's time to clean. What do you do to stay motivated and get it done?

For more great tips, head over to We Are THAT Family for Works-For-Me Wednesday!


Amy said...

LOVE these ideas! I already use the upbeat music for my cleaning routine, but I'm definitely going to have to add the cookie breaks!

Thanks for the great tip!

Amy ~ The Salty Momma

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

I'm glad to know other people need to motivate themselves to get the house clean.

Wani said...

I'm all for cookie breaks!

Nikki said...

Wow. You sound just like me. Restrain the kids, motivating music, Lemon Endust, cookie breaks. I am motivated just reading your post. Now if someone could just pick up the clutter, books, toys, boots, etc in the way, I can get to the cleaning!

Aunt Murry said...

Hi! When I need to clean but jsut can't I make myself pick up 5 things or clean for 5 minutes. Then, I take a 5 minute break. I call it the rule of 5's - I think I stole it from Heloise. Actually I only manage to take one or two breaks before I forgo the time and just clean. However, if I am not into it, I have managed to clean for 15 minutes or I have 15 items pickup that were not before and I try again the next day. I also do some of my best work in my pj's. Thanks for the other tips!

Rachel said...

Great tips! I, too, use the upbeat music... It's called Cleaning Soundtrack!

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Yes! Number 1 is super important. Sometimes I feel like I am cleaning one area as they are messing up another - one step forward, one step back! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I hope a timer can work some magic in your household!

Anonymous said...

My kids are raised now (so I can't blame them for the mess anymore!) but for years, when I was in deep clean mode, I would crank up Gilbert and Sullivan light operas (like the Mikado), music I learned to love from my mother. It was lively and fun to sing with, so it kept me moving. It also kept my children out of the room (they HATE Gilbert and Sulliven!) When I wanted them to help, I'd play upbeat music that they liked (or at least tolerated! They know all the words to several Beatles, Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra albums .... LOL)
Worked for me!