Cleaning, Homemaking, Organization

5 Tips for a Tidy Home

Are you tired of tripping over toys and overwhelmed by your constantly cluttered counters? Don’t believe that little voice in your head that’s telling you “You don’t have time to clean” or “My house will always be like this, I’m just not an organized person.” You do have time to clean and you can be an organized person – you just need a new strategy for keeping a tidy house!

If you consistently apply these five tips, you will begin to develop new habits that will help you create and maintain an orderly home. According to science, it will energize you, increase your productivity, decrease your stress, and improve your overall well-being. When your outside world is organized, your inner world reaps the benefits. Happy cleaning!

1. De-accumulate

This step is probably the most challenging, but it’s essential. Most of us have too much stuff in our homes: stuff that we don’t like, stuff that we don’t want, stuff that we don’t need, and stuff that’s broken that we need to throw out, but don’t. The more possessions you own, the more clutter you will have, and the harder it will be to keep your place tidy.

The solution to the problem of too much stuff is to de-accumulate. Grab a friend (preferably one of those no-nonsense type of friends), grab a trash bag, and grab some boxes. Then pick a room (or even corner of a room if it’s really messy) and start sorting. Throw out the trash and broken things. Then, put the things you don’t absolutely love, want, or need in boxes and donate them to charity.

Having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to get rid of? Use common sense and your friend. Use common sense to tell yourself that if you haven’t used something in a year (or if you forgot you even had it), you probably don’t need it. Use your friend to help you decide on the more difficult items, because unlike you, they won’t have a personal attachment to it. Believe me – they will have no problem telling you that don’t fit in that sweater anymore and you really don’t need 30 coffee mugs in your cupboard!

2. Have a Specific Place for Every Item in Your House

Once you’ve sorted your things, you need to find homes for the possessions that you love, need, and want. Why? Because it is so much easier to keep your house tidy when everything has a specific place to come from and go back to.

One of my problems is having stacks of paper accumulate in the kitchen. It drives me crazy! But the reason that it happens is because I don’t have a specific place for things like incoming mail, receipts to be recorded, to-do lists, etc. I used to have this problem with my daughter’s toys. Because I didn’t have a shelf designated for toys, they ended up all over the place. So, my advice to you is to find a home for every single one of your belongings.

What about those things that are hard to classify or that you’re not sure if you should get rid of? Sometimes it’s handy to have an extra tote for items that defy classification or a drawer for stuff you’re not sure you’re ready to get rid of yet.

But, my question to you is; if you don’t have a home for it, do you really need it? If you must have a “junk drawer,” make it a habit to go through it occasionally and reevaluate if you should be keeping all that stuff anyway. Just sayin’.

3. Put Everything Back in It’s Place When You Are Done with It.

What is wrong with this picture? Nothing? Look again! There’s a homeless book on the desk! That’s a big no-no. If you’re anything like me, you know how tempting it is to simply walk away from something when you’re done with it. “Eh, I’ll get it later,” you think. And then later never comes. Pretty soon your house is full of dirty socks, unwashed dishes, and random pieces of paper and you feel overwhelmed because it looks like a tornado hit!

Don’t fall into the sneaky trap of laziness – it only makes more work for you in the end! Instead, make a habit of putting things away when you are done with them. Every. single. time. No matter how small the item is, put it away where it belongs.

Okay, but let’s be real. Sometimes you have to leave your stuff where it is because there’s a minor commotion going on in another part of the house. Maybe your toddler discovers toilet paper for the first time or someone dumps the fish bowl out in the living room, who knows? After you’ve calmed the chaos, try to pick up where you left off. If you can’t, don’t worry because I have another tip that will help you out with those little messes that pile up despite your best efforts.

4. Clean As You Go

This method is handy when you’ve got a busy household and things just aren’t making it back to home base. It’s really simple: clean as you go. Find some dirty clothes in the bathroom? Put them away on your next trip to the laundry room. Spy a toy under the kitchen table? Give it to your toddler to put away. Making dinner? Wash those dishes while your casserole is cooking. The trick here is to always be on the lookout for things that need to be returned to their homes and to put them away on your way to do other things. It will help you stay ahead of the mess.

5. Make a Final Sweep Before Bed

Before my husband and I got married, my pastor reminded us of the Scripture “Never let the sun go down on your anger.” It’s great advice for marriage and it can be tweaked a little to help you keep your house tidy: “Never let the sun go down on your messes.” If you’ve got kids, chances are good that despite your best efforts to put everything away and to clean as you go, you will still find stray toys strewn around your house at the day’s end.

I know you’re tired and you can hear your pillow calling your name from the other room, but turn a deaf ear for a minute. Rally the troops and have everyone pitch in to do a final clean. Gather up those remaining toys, books, and pencils and tuck them in for the night. Locate any Legos lurking on the floor because, trust me, you do NOT want to step on those in the dark! Do the dishes, wipe the counters, and sweep the floor. You’ll feel much better if you wake up in the morning to a clean house, I promise.

What are some strategies that you use to keep your home tidy? Share your tips below!

Cleaning, Homemaking

How to Clean Up Spilled Cooking Oil

“Watch out for the spill,” said my husband as I walked into the kitchen that morning. I looked down at the floor. “No worries,” I thought as I side-stepped the mess on the way to the bathroom. It was a big spill, but nothing an old towel couldn’t handle.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “When I was opening the coconut oil this morning, it slipped out of my hands. I was going to try to clean it before you got up.”

“Oh.” That statement gave the mess new meaning. “Guess it’s not going to be as simple as grabbing an old towel,” I thought to myself. “How are we supposed to clean up all that cooking oil?”

We started with paper towels. They helped a little bit, but were mostly useless because there was just too much oil. Then, I had an idea.

“What about baking soda?” I wondered. From my adventures in laundering, I knew that baking soda could be used to remove cooking oil stains from clothing. To remove an oil stain, all you have to do is some apply baking soda and wait for it to absorb the oil. Then you brush it off, dab on some detergent and rinse out the remaining oil.

I decided to apply this bit of laundry logic to our situation. I sprinkled and waited, fingers crossed. And it worked!

The baking soda absorbed the majority of the oil, leaving nice little clumps which could then be swept away. We finished the job with an alcohol-based degreasing spray. Though it first seemed like an impossible task, we managed to clean several cups of coconut off the floor and counters, all before the baby woke up. Success!

How to Clean Up a Cooking Oil Spill

Hopefully this scenario never happens to you, but in case it does, here’s a four step process for cleaning up spilled cooking oil, whether it be coconut, olive, avocado, canola, or peanut oil.

  1. If you’re cooking and spill the oil near a burner that you’re using, turn it off and wait for the area to cool.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the oil spill and allow the oil time to be absorbed. Sweep, vacuum, or wipe away the clumps of baking soda or cornstarch.
  3. Break out your heavy duty dish soap or a spray cleaner designed for greasy messes and apply it to the remaining oil. Let it sit for a minute or two and clean it up.
  4. Celebrate, because you did it!

Have you ever had a cooking oil incident? How did you clean it up?