Monthly Clean Home Challenge: Set Yourself Up for Success

As I mentioned this morning, I am on a quest to maintain a clean home in less time.  The goal is simple and the first step in the series was to break down our cleaning tasks into manageable bits.  Four daily tasks, four weekly tasks and one extra task M-F.  Today I am chatting about the first extra task: Setting Yourself Up for Success.

Once I determined what I wanted to accomplish on a daily basis, I made sure that it would be easy for me to do those things.  That meant looking at the chores and determining what I would need to be able to accomplish those chores without excuses.

So the first day of the challenge is dedidcated to doing just that.  Making sure that all systems are in working order, and that my cleaning supplies are stocked.  Because I make my own cleaners, this is the day I dedicate to that.  If you don't make your own, it would just be the day to stock your supplies or to pick another thing on your to do list to tackle. 

I will admit, I have had a few instances of not wanting to make my own cleaners any longer, because some of the process seemed a little obnoxious in my quest to save time {although we were definitely saving money}.  So, I am always tweaking the cleaners we make and trying to get away with keeping it as simple as possible.  No more lemon zesting or 17 ingredient recipes.  I am basically down to using vinegar and water with an occasional splash of essential oil for everything I clean.

Back to the daily four and how I set myself up for success...

Keeping a clean kitchen:  Storing one bottle of all purpose spray along with a stack of dishrags under the sink.  I typically use microfiber for cleaning, but in the kitchen I stick with regular ol' dishrags.  I am old school and use a sink of shallow soapy water to wipe down the counter and table after each meal, as I often times have a few items to hand wash anyway.  At the end of the evening, I toss the rag into a wet sack {similar to this, often times used in diaper bags} under the sink to be washed at the end of the week.  Because we wash everything with our homemade laundry detergent that contains borax, and I add vinegar to the cycle, my rags always come out fresh and new.  I use the all purpose cleaner to disinfect as needed.

We also keep a broom and dust pan clipped up right outside of the door leading to the garage for our nightly sweepings.

Laundry:   This first task day is also laundry soap making day.  Yes, we still make our own soap and have been quite happy with it.  A little goes a long way, and we don't have to make it every month, but if supply is low, I start grating some soap.  I also whip up a batch of fabric softener out of vinegar and some lavender essential oil.  You can read more about our daily laundry process here.

Bathrooms:  In each bathroom I added a few magic erasers into the showers with the help of suction cup caddies.  I keep them on the back wall to prevent them from forming soap and hard water build-up.  This reminds me to do a quick shower cleaning every couple of days, which is much easier than a major shower scrub every couple of weeks. 

When it comes to counters, glass and around the toilet, I keep a spot under each bathroom sink stocked with spray cleaner and a stack of microfiber cloths.  I initially bought some shoe boxes to make my own cleaning wipes out of the cloths, however, I decided I would be making that far more frequently than just putting half distilled water, half vinegar in a cleaning bottle.  So that is what I use.  This is also what I spray in the shower while cleaning it with magic erasers.

I use the microfiber cloths to reduce the amount of disinfecting wipes and paper towels we purchase and waste.  I purchased the microfiber rags in bulk on Amazon here.  By keeping a bin of clean rags under the sink with another bin to toss the dirty ones {my great minded friend Ashley uses a similar system as well}, I am able to easily wipe up the bathroom each day without having to go digging for supplies.  I start with the mirror and a dry cloth and move my way down to the counter, sink, toilet top and then around the toilet last. All of the dirty rags from cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen are laundered on linen day.

The only cleaner I tend to purchase any longer is the toilet bowl cleaner.  I went back to store bought stuff because of how often I use it and because I feel it just cleans better than anything else I have tried.

And that is about it!  The vinegar/water combo paired with microfiber pretty much cleans all of our surfaces, however, I still break out the cleaning caddy once a week for woodwork, floors and other less frequently completed cleaning tasks.  Setting up our cleaning cabinet has also been really fantastic in our quest for a greener clean home and keeping the remainder of our supplies in one concealed space.

Making our own cleaners has given me a little peace of mind in knowing what we are using and does save us money, but saving us time it was not.  By dedicating one day per month to this task instantly doesn't seem as overwhelming {I am not having to whip up a cleaner when I feel like cleaning or throughout the month as we run out, I just stock them at the beginning of the month and am set}.  And by keeping it basic with vinegar, it really doesn't take that long, you just have to be able to get past the initial smell {which fades away quickly}.

Part of this month is all about me sharing my daily tasks, but I honestly learn so much from you all as well, so I hope you continue to chime in!  If you have cleaners that are super simple to make, please let us know!  How about other ways to cut down on your cleaning time, or ways to multi-task?

Update!  Due to the many questions I have been receiving about the products used within this series, I will be continuously updating the source list below:

These are all cleaners/products that work for us and our current home finishes.  It is important to research the cleaners prior to using them on your specific counter and flooring selections.

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