Friday, 27 February 2009

Cleaning the floors

Ok, today I'll write about cleaning the floors because I just did mine, and I feel fabulous. And tired.

Anyway, my floors are all tile. That's right: our landlord is Italian. So what I do is first run a vacuum over the whole apartment, and then I get to the mopping (Don't you just love the pinoclean scented boiling-hot water?).

My advice for cleaning the floors is this:
-Try to tidy up as much as you can BEFORE you start vacuuming or mopping. This stops you having to do what I just did, which is hold the vacuum cleaner at bay while you one-handedly put toys away and try to tidy your bookshelves.
-Always have the additional spots you vacuum already clear from toys, like the lounge. I like to vacuum my lounge (ok, a lie, I think it is necessary to vacuum my lounge, to get all the crumbs from the baby's biscuits off it) so I try to have all the clutter from the lounge put away before I begin.
-Try to wipe down your coffee tables or benches and even do a little dusting before you begin vacuuming. There's nothing more annoying than cleaning your floors and then realising you haven't dusted for a year and then when you try to dust you get dirt all over your fabulous new tiles or carpet.
-Try to have already changed your bed or put your washing on for the day before you start cleaning the floors. That way you avoid additional dirt spillage (or in our case, hair from my husband) from coming out of the bedding onto your floor, or grass and lint from your washing from littering the way to the laundry room.

And when you are vacuuming, if you're thinking about something that needs to be cleaned but you think you'll just leave it for today (AGAIN) -just clean it!! Pull out that lounge and vacuum behind it. If you see that your skirting boards need dusting, go and get that damp cloth and wipe them. The little extra bits and pieces that you do today will save you thinking about them for weeks, and then in a few day's time you can do a quick once over, knowing that the spot behind the lounge is already bare. I avoided cleaning the chocolate milk off the tiles under our lounge for a few days (I had already wiped the visible lot) and by the time I got to it it was a hard sticky mess, like a candy stuck to my tiles. It took a hell of a lot of hot water to melt it down, and by the time I did I'd ruined my mop. If I'd done it the day it happened it would have been much easier, and I wouldn't have been thinking about it for days. I call this the guilt of cleaning procrastination; It will eat you alive from the inside!

When I mop my rules are just this:
-Only mop what you've already vacuumed or wiped. Otherwise, you get those dreadful wet dusty things all over the place -annoying!
-Mop well, mop quickly
-And make sure your water is boiling hot! If you're mopping wooden floors maybe don't do it too hot, but for tiles the hotter the better. And the hotter the water is, the better it cleans and the faster it dries, so you don't have to tiptoe around hoping you don't skid over for too long.

In conclusion I'll just summarise. Tidy up and clean up before you vacuum or mop. Then vacuum and mop well. Don't avoid things you know need to be cleaned. And if you do do the floors and then realise things need to be dusted or wiped, use a wet cloth to grab at the dirt and put your hand under the edge of your benches to stop extra spills.

Happy mopping!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Tidying the Bathroom

We will start with the bathroom because that is where we all feel most vulnerable. This is the room where the truth really comes out.

The bathroom sink area

Don't you love walking into a good quality hotel bathroom? Isn't it the nicest thing to see a bench with only the soap and a handtowel on it and all other mess out of sight (or not yet created by you)? So why not have that everyday in your own home?

Here's how.

I'm not going to give you a list of things to take away, piece by piece, until you're left with a smaller pile of mess. I see no point in that. What I will say to you is this:
Put everything from your bathroom counter on the floor. Study it. Decide what looks pleasant and what looks nasty. Then decide what you never use, and chuck it out or put it Freecycle.

Then simply place the few things you love back onto the counter and put the things that look a bit nasty or embarrassing or just plain boring into the cupboards and drawers.

Here's what I kept on my bathroom sink when I cleared it yesterday:
-A vase with fake flowers (for that feminine touch)
-my husband's 2 favourite colognes (for that sexy touch)
-the stylish cream and green tooth brush holder
-a pretty square jar holding cotton balls
-my perfume
-some gorgeous body balm

And that's it! I put everything else either away in the cupboard or in the trash.
Now when I walk into the bathroom I see a pristine place to wash and clean myself.

Bathroom cupboards and drawers
The area under and around the bathroom sink is often full of clutter, forgotten items and unused medicines. Get rid of it all. What you should keep is your stash of toilet paper(of course), bathroom cleaning supplies, the beauty products you cannot use every day, things like bath salts and scrubs and fake nails, your hoards of perfume for just in case there is ever a stink plague and you need to cover it, and your medicines.

The best idea is to stock your cupboards in some kind of order. For example: keep the toilet paper next to the bathroom cleaning supplies, and keep your medicines in a drawer all by themselves. This helps for easy access and helps prevent a build up of new clutter when you're rummaging around for things you can't find. And I've heard this rule many times before, and it is so so true: If you haven't used it in a year THROW IT AWAY!! That rainy day is never going to come so just chuck it out and give yourself the piece of mind just knowing that you have 5cm extra space in your bathroom cupboard.

In the drawers you should keep the beauty supplies that you use daily and some medicine. I went for a long time showing off my beauty products to all my visitors. I'd have my Clinique face wash out there and my Clinique toner and all my perfumes and makeup bags cluttering the stage. Now, I've got my everyday makeup in a bag to be pulled out of the drawer in one easy swipe, and it can be returned with the same amount of ease. That's the tip to keeping everything all sparkly and new like a hotel bathroom: when you've used it, put it away! Everything should go back in it's place.

Bathroom clutter
The bathroom is a great place to find clutter of the clothing kind. There may also be newspapers and books there too (ok, I'm guilty).

So here's what to do.

When you've had your shower in the morning or at night, or you've just bathed the kids, look behind you before you turn off the light. Take the clothes hanging over the clothes rail and either put them in the wash or take them to be put away in the bedroom. And if you must read on the toot, make a place for the papers. I have a friend who even has a clothes rail next to her toilet where a magazine can be hung. Or you could put a cute wooden chair in there, as I have, and put a little pile of books on it to amuse yourself. And if you don't have room to do these things, simply take the books back out of the bathroom when you've finished with them. Try to leave the room as you should find it on a good day.

For all other clutter surfaces, such as the side of the bathtub or in the shower or around the toilet, use the method as described above: clear and start fresh, then chuck out what you don't need and store what can be used later under the sink.

Happy Bathing!!


Welcome to my new blog.

This is to be a refreshing space, a place to find ways to clean the various parts of your house. I have just turned an obsession with finding my place in life into an obsession with cleaning, and I feel much relieved, full of optimism and ready to tackle the jobs that need to be done. I hope that you will join me.

I will be posting as often as I can to let you know of my current cleaning and clearing situation, as well as to advise on the ways I see best to tackle individual problem areas.

Onward and upward: I can hear the clutter calling.

Make your home a space that you'll enjoy being in