Day 29: The Fastest Easiest Home Reset Yet

Since I am going to be working on our bedroom for the next few weeks as part of Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure I skipped that item on my weekly plan. Instead we did another home reset for a playdate I was hosting.

Today my husband joined me this morning helping and in 20 minutes we:

  • Got all the dirty laundry into a basket in the bathroom
  • Did the dishes and started the dishwasher
  • Tidied toys
  • Picked up any clothes/coats/shoes lying around
  • Cleared the table and put down a new table cloth under our Halloween decorations
  • Vacuumed
  • And lit our nice candy corn scented candle

It was great! Not down to 10 minutes a day yet but 20 minutes is the equivalent of two days of 10 minutes which would have been the length of time since Monday’s home reset.

We were both pleasantly surprised how quickly our downstairs came together and was crowd friendly and baby-safe/clean. Doing a little bit of work often really does make things easier. Of course I always mentally knew this was true but now this month I have been living it and learning it by heart for my own home.


Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 28: Our Bedroom and the Style Cure

As I prepared to conquer my bedroom in two days a really good look at the room let me know that it wouldn’t be ship-shape in 48 hours or two 20-minute sessions. And while I’ve had other days where I can clean for hours today was busy and tomorrow is even more so.

So in 20 minutes , I:

  • Woke the baby (which always happens when I clean our room, I need a better system for this asap)
  • Hung up all clean clothes that were waiting for baby to not be sleeping in the closet
  • Tidied some trash
  • Emptied a toy box of everything that wasn’t toys
  • Hung up items that needed it
  • Sent some items downstairs that didn’t belong in our room
  • Found all the dirty laundry and started a new load in the wash
  • And the biggest thing I did the whole time was 20 minutes of thinking about the room and what I want it to look like someday soon. This is great timing because I’ve been getting subscription emails to Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure which is 22 days of working to clean out, design, and decorate one room in your house. So using my 20 minutes of tidying the room already I was able to think through the first three days of activities all at once, even without the field trip for style scouting (since that is sort of an ongoing fun project for me).

Have you ever participated in Apartment Therapy’s Style Cures before?

Also, once again I didn’t snap any great cleaning shots as I was thinking hard, tidying hard, and trying to entertain baby so please enjoy these cute Halloween costumes my kids have been wearing very often this month…

WP_20141028_007 firetruck1

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 27: Home Stretch AND Reset

Another home reset and you know what, I don’t dread these at all. I am so aware that the home gets used and used well and needs to be restored quite often, everyday really. I’d love to get where ten minutes a day could keep it tidy on top of deeper, intentional cleaning sessions. Have any of you got it to that point yet?

I’m also making plans for what will come after this series. My first plan is Be An Adult Week, essentially Anti-Procrastination Week! I know that I am a married adult woman with two kids and I do lots of adult things all the time like changing diapers, feeding babies/toddlers, driving around, and paying bills. But there are some things I don’t take care of fast enough or I put off way too long (anyone else a procrastinator?). So November 1st-7th will be my Be An Adult Week. I will be getting the car’s oil changed, printing photos for frames/photobooks/cards for grandparents, I will schedule dentist’s appointments for the three of us that have teeth so far, I will get some items dry cleaned, and sew up some household items that need a bit of work, etc, etc, etc. I have been storing up projects and to-do items in a storage basket over the past few days and will keep doing so over the duration of this 31 days so I will be ready come November 1st.  Do you have projects that need to get done? Would you like to be a part of  my Be An Adult Week?

So back to today, in 20 minutes I:

  • Emptied three more laundry baskets
  • Started a new load of laundry
  • Tidied our master bathroom and counter
  • Quick decluttered out bedroom floor (more work on this over the next two days)
  • Scrubbed two toilets and two sinks
  • Picked up dirty laundry that didn’t make it into hampers in our room

In 20 extra but needed minutes I:

*Quick mopped our tile floors since we vacuumed the entry yesterday (finishing off a bottle of cleaner, time to put the next least-full one from our stockpile into the downstairs cleaning kit bucket!)

*Emptied the dishwasher

*Refilled and started the dishwasher

*Quick decluttering of our kitchen countertops

*Handwashed dirty knives and spatulas


Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 26: The Last Plan and Rest Day of the Month…

Though I spent yesterday resting instead!

Besides today, there is just five days left in the week and Friday is Halloween, a favorite holiday of mine! This is the final stretch (at least for this month) so if you’ve been following along make sure that your plan for the next five days at least finishes up the unfinished jobs you have started. My house may not be perfectly spotless by day 31 (and really, it won’t be with two kids under two, two dogs, and two busy adults) but it sure looks better than we started. And we still have five more days to work hard as well as continue establishing the habit of 20 minutes of extra cleaning/chores a day.

Monday: Home reset

Tuesday: Time again in our bedroom

Wednesday: Time again in our bedroom

Thursday: Back in the kitchen, hopefully one last time

Friday: And vacuum all the floors and swiffer mop those that can be swiffered!

Though my house is looking better and I am feeling more in control of it I still had a moment today that felt like Point-House, Zero Points-Jennifer.  I wanted to clean our couch, la-z-y boy, and dining room chairs yesterday and thus today since I rested. I clean these microfiber covered furniture with ethanol in a spray bottle, a sponge, and a scrub brush. But I couldn’t find my spray bottle of ethanol…even after making my cleaning kits and finding the cleaners all over the house. I know it still is in the house somewhere, but I haven’t seen it and can’t find it now. Argh. Drives me nuts. But at least we are finding more items that we’re searching for than we used to and more items are finding forever homes, at least as long as this home is ours.

So since today wasn’t a rest day, in 20 minutes I:

  • Started a load of laundry
  • Cleared out the front entry area: mostly hanging coats, gathering shoes, a bit of trash collecting
  • Vacuumed the stairs and front landing and entryway
  • Put some kitchen items we are selling today in the clean entryway
  • Carried up things that belong upstairs and carried down things that belong downstairs

And during the 20 minutes, my sweet husband:

  • Started a load of dishes
  • Took out the garbage
  • Tidied the living room of toys
  • Sorted through random paperwork and mail from the week that we hadn’t got to already

I love when he is available to get in on the 20 minutes because we get twice as much done. Our downstairs looks pretty great right now!

Tidy Toy Shelf

Tidy Toy Shelf

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 25: A Rest Day Early

I am trading tomorrow’s planned rest day for today. We did dishes and laundry and the normal lots of diapers, lots of nursing thing today. But besides a beautiful wedding, not much else. Tomorrow has more free time so I will take today’s tasks and some things I need to wrap up and work on them tomorrow. But today I simply enjoyed my family and tonight I am going to take the first evening in days to just rest with my husband. Till tomorrow then friends, and please enjoy this sweet and rare photo of our family with two boys under two.


Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 24: Miscellaneous Deep Cleaning

Today is a random mix of miscellaneous deep cleaning, but sometimes housework is that way. Speaking of random, my husband did another home rest for us on Wednesday just two days after the last one but we needed it. Counters clutter so quickly, toys get strewn about, dogs shed hair everywhere, baby spits up, laundry piles up…housework lasts forever.

I had to break up my cleaning times and I definitely didn’t get everything I wanted done with off kilter baby naps, a busy morning, a family visit, and heading out this evening to celebrate my sister’s birthday. I didn’t get to clean my washing machine because it was in use all day or to cleaning behind my kitchen appliances. But I did wipe under the oven and fridge and then bleach wiped the other edges of the kitchen where the stickiest/dustiest spots lie. I did attack major mildew spots around the house, Seattle is wet and mildewy (especially in the fall and winter).  And I did a ton of laundry to get caught up after a few other busy days.

The best cleaning list in my new opinion is a flexible list. It’s good to make weekly plans of what you’ll be tackling but you need to give yourself grace and room to clean more or less as life allows.

As I have been decluttering and cleaning through the house I have been coming up with other projects that need tackling around here; some decorative, some fixing, some purchases that need to be made (new fire extinguishers is one example), etc.

So tell me, how do you keep track of all the things you need to do to be an adult?  I am really interested in creating a command center though it may need to wait until next month but don’t want to invest time and money if that system doesn’t actually work for us. What works for you?

And since I didn’t take any nice photos of my cleaning projects today, please enjoy this one of little baby’s super blue eyes!


Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 23: Toothbrushes and Tiles

A friend was seven months pregnant right before I found myself pregnant with our firstborn. So I tracked the end of her pregnancy closely because I was all awash in pregnancy hormones, hopes, and dreams. Amidst nesting and an excitement to meet her baby in person, she cleaned her whole house and one of her tricks was how to clean bathroom tile better than any other way. Her advice, mixing dish soap and vinegar and using a toothbrush. Seven months after the birth of her baby, I found myself in the tub scrubbing my tiles and grout with a toothbrush dipped in dish soap and vinegar and it worked beautifully.  Then I had that baby, 21 months passed, and even another little boy joined our family.

Today was definitely a good time to clean the bathroom tile grout again. And I pulled out my trusty cleaning toothbrush, some dish soap I needed to use up, and my big bottle of vinegar (seriously, the cheapest cleaning agent) and got to work with a podcast blaring!

I scrub vertically and then horizontally and then I use a washcloth with just dish soap to wipe all the tiles and get rid of any last marks before spraying each shower wall down.





I also washed our window treatments today though I had to run to the store first to get non-chlorine bleach (which isn’t marketed as non-chlorine bleach at all!).  Things are looking better and brighter around here!

What did you do today?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.