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More Household Hints for Cleaning and Organizing.

I was working with a client this week to organize her home, when I realized something. I think this IS important, and although I hadn't really thought of it as a organizational skill before...I realize now it is one.


This individual had bought several "organizational" containers with the purpose to use them to organize her home.

However, they were big bulky tubs of plastic and they do keep your mess contained...but you still have a mess in the tub!

That is why in my laundry section, I tell you to hang up ALL the clothes. I even hang up khaki shorts, tee-shirts, etc.

I have small plastic tubs in the laundry room, one for each person, to put in socks, undies, pj's, and so forth.

When the clothes are all hung, the children can see their clothes and get what they want.

When they are in drawers, boxes, or large tubs, the children sort through everything, grabbed what they want, and usually mess up the drawer.

It is the same principle!! When an adult has a tub of papers or craft supplies they will mess up the tub of stuff while looking for one item.

I use and have used many different storage strategies. Here are a few:

In one house, on the back of a book case, we put pegboard. Then in thick plastic bags I put the crayons, scissors, markers, pens, staples, tape, etc. They were hung high enough that the small children could not reach them

The house I am in right now has a buffet with several drawers. I still keep the items in plastic bags, but they are in the drawers.

Canned goods can be hidden in armoires, buffets, closets...but build shelves that are close enough together so space is not wasted, but that you can reach to the back.

One house had built-in cabinets in the living room. That is where I kept all my canned goods. Veggies on one side. Fruits on another.

I really like shelves with doors. You can stack stuff where you can see it. Put smaller stuff in plastic tubs...but still on the shelf where you can see it. Then you can close the doors and on the outside it looks like a pretty piece of furniture.

In Houston, my laundry was in the dining room, so I went to Salvation Army and bought two large antique closets. One, we made it where you could put the laundered hanging clothes; the other had tubs for the children's clothes and a large basket on the bottom for dirty towels.

I also had two wooden hampers that had lids. One was for white clothes and one for coloreds.

For tools inside, in one house I had two drawers in a buffet. Another house, I had them in a box in a cabinet, and in this house we have them in a tool box in the laundry room.

Have a place for every thing!! Have medicines in one place. First aid stuff together. Craft stuff in one place. Office stuff in the office.

Even in your bathroom, separate stuff and have a place and container or shelf for each set of objects. Hair stuff together, make-up together.

If there is no room...find it! Is there room on the wall? Put up a hanging self? Is there room behind the door? Will a small bookshelf fit somewhere? Will an armoire fit in the room?

Also, do not go and buy new stuff. You can find beautiful, well cared-for furniture on craigslist, thrift stores, used furniture stores, garage sales, etc.

Try to see your house through new eyes. Is there space between the couch in the living room and the table in the connecting dining room? Will an antique closet look nice there? No one has to know that your plastic ware or your pasta is in there!!

Okay-- there is a second part to this!! You also have to realize that each house or apartment will ONLY hold so much stuff!!!

If you have unpacked boxes or tubs full of stuff. You have TOO MUCH stuff!!

Time to de-clutter, throw away or give away. DON"T think about it, just do it!! You will feel so much better after you do.

When you are surrounded by clutters your mind.

Children are better behaved when there is order in their lives.

Do it for them.

Do it for your own peace of mind.

Whenever you brush your teeth, wash your hands, etc.

Grab the hand towel, a paper towel, a tiny sheet of toilet paper and quickly wipe splatters from the mirror, chrome, or edge of sink.

This will keep lime or water spots from hardening, keep your chrome or brass shiny clean and keep dirt and grime from building up around where the faucet goes into the counter.

My husband taught me this and I do it at home, at the church, or when I visit a friend.

It really is very simple, but extremely effective at keeping a sink area clean and shiny.

I try to do one intense cleaning project each week. And by intense, I do not mean time consuming or huge. What I mean is that I clean or organize one area really, really well each week.

When I grew up, we were messy all week long and then cleaned on Saturday. Basically the premise was; Saturday is cleaning day so why worry during the week?

Better is prevention. If each day and each project is relevant and we work to stay organized and clean at all times, clutter and disorganization will be kept at a minimum.

We also had Spring cleaning each Spring when we really cleaned the house.

I do not need to do that because I do it little by little throughout the year.

Take a drawer, or a cabinet, or one section of a closet. maybe one part of your files or even a box of stuff that needs to be filed.

It doesn't have to be a big project...not much time? Just clean the silverware drawer.

The point is to spread out a big huge project, i.e., Spring Cleaning, and break it down into small easy to manage components.

I keep individually wrapped

wipes in my purse to use for a multitude of reasons.

The other day, I went to the

bank to open an account for my daughter. Of course, this is a

process that takes awhile and

one is just sitting there,

answering an occasional


I used the time to clean out my purse. I went through and

threw away unneeded papers,


I reorganized miscellaneous

items, cleaned the wallet, and

put things in order.

I always purchase purses that

have three compartments. I

keep papers in one.

I keep my wallet and keys in another and the middle

compartment has personal

items such as lipstick, comb,

mouth freshener, and so on.

I also always make sure that

the purse has a zipped pocket

in the middle compartment

where I can put personal

hygiene items.

Using time that is usually

wasted is a key to becoming more efficient.

I was careful in my cleaning and discreet about doing so.

If we had been sitting in a

public area and not back in an

office, I probably would have

not done so. However, I always keep a book and a notebook

with me so I can always use

(wasted/waiting) time to read

or write.

Toys, toys, toys. The never

ending dilemma of toys. What

to do with them. How to control the mess.

First of all, there are 3 main

rules at our house:

No shoes in the house.

Food and drinks are ONLY allowed in the kitchen and dining


Toys are only allowed in certain areas, and only so many toys

are allowed to be played with at a time.

Almost every mess in a house is due to the breaking of one of

these rules.

You let the children eat cereal

or popcorn in their room or in

front of the TV. They promise

to be careful, sit on the floor,

BUT something always happens and somehow the food ends up on the couch, under the couch, in the cracks of the couch, in a closet, in a drawer...

I've been there, done that, and you always end up with more

work for mom.

I do not know why us moms

think it is easier to clean up all

these messes when it is

actually easier to just say:

This is our family's rule. NO, you cannot eat in there. And viola,

the house stays clean.

Same with shoes and toys. If

no mud is tracked in. You do

not have to clean those muddy footprints off the carpet.

If only a certain number of toys are out. The living room can be quickly cleaned up for company.

Get tough moms! Stick to the


After 2-3 months of SERIOUS

commitment to the rules, your

children will realize you mean it and stop bugging you.

One more tip. About every 2

months, go through the toys

and get rid of broken, missing

parts, etc.

I use a box and a trash bag. I

put stuff in the box that I can take to Goodwill. The trash bag is for trash. De-clutter. Toys

have a way of multiplying while you are asleep.

You have to go in and keep

cutting them down or they will

take over your house, your life, and the life of your child.

When this happens you will

know it, because you will have a whinny child who claims

they're bored all the time, and

you will not be able to sleep,

because your house is so


Remember, material

possessions don't build

character. Make sure your child does not have too many.

Keep life simple. Also, I will ask

the children from time to time

to choose some items that they want to give to the poor


They delight in this and will

even go to their closets and

bring clothes that are too small, etc.

If they want to give something that means a lot to them. LET

THEM. What great generosity

you are allowing them to



Today I was brushing my teeth and as this is a cleaning tip, I thought I would pass it along.

Once or twice a week, I brush my teeth with pure baking soda.

We keep some in a glass jar in the bathroom.

Wet your toothbrush, then dip the bristles into the soda. Coat them well. Brush really well. Spitting as needed. (also, when you spit...have the water running and your sink will stay cleaner).

Afterwards, I then brush again with toothpaste as to rid my mouth of the yucky baking soda taste.

Then in a medicine cup, I pour about 1-2 teaspoons of Hydrogen Peroxide Solution and put that in my mouth.

I hold it in my mouth as long as I can. (I usually put it in and then go start to dress so I am not wasting time).

Depending on the day. I repeat this. Not only do the soda and peroxide clean. They kill germs, and whiten your teeth. They also oxygenate your gums and make them healthier.

This is also a great first aid tip as these steps help to rid your mouth of cold sores, inflammation of the gums, or abscesses.

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