Posted by  | Tuesday, May 13, 2008  at 2:53 PM  
I'm actually one of those organized people who, most of the time, enjoys housework. So, I've found myself in a bit of a quandry now that I'm living overseas and a full-time language student: we have a maid who comes once a week to clean the house from top to bottom. This doesn't complete my work since we live in a land filled with sand and dust, and, ofcourse, things like dishes and straightening up toys is never-ending, but it does help. I used to really enjoy (and relax) when I was scrubbing the house from top to bottom. But I simply don't have time to do that right now, and since house help is affordable where we live, we figure we are helping the local economy by employing a sweet national woman once a week :). Here's how I organize cleaning the rest of the things:
  • Dishes: I do them after every meal so that they don't pile up. When Lydia was younger I would gather toys for her to play in the kitchen with me. Now, she sometimes will play in the kitchen or other times with toys in her room.

  • Laundry: We have a front-loading washing machine (which is smaller than a top-loader) and no dryer. So, to keep up with the wash, and to ensure there is room on the line, I do one load of laundry everyday. Unless it is something that will bleed, I wash everything together. (I even throw clothes or towels in with cloth diapers.) The only item I wash separately is our sheets once a week. I wash them all together and I wash them separately from other items so I can wash them on hot. Everything else I wash on cold. As I hang them out on the line, Lydia will assist by handing clothes to me from the basket.

  • Picking up toys: We do this throughout the day as we play, and Lydia helps. When she was younger I would have to model for her what I was saying, (ex: "Take ____ to your room") and I would do it after I said it so she could learn what I was saying. Now she always helps in clean up. I've also noticed that this helps control the messes she seems to make. For example, she used to take EVERYTHING out of her draw in the kitchen (filled with my kitchen things that are safe for her to play with) and strew them all over the floor. Now that she knows she is a part of pick up, she usually doesn't make such haphazard messes.

  • Shoes and clothes: I've taught Lydia where to put her shoes when she comes in from outside and now I'll find her organizing all of our shoes. I keep her bibs, wash clothes, and towels in the bottom drawer and she helps put these items away as well as get them out when they're needed. I'll even find her taking Josh's socks to the dirty clothes bin if he left them in the living room the night before :). Lydia LOVES having these responsibilities, and I'm always looking for ways she can help as I'm doing house work.

  • Folding clothes: I usually fold clothes where Lydia is playing so that I can play and talk with her at the same time. As I come across items she can put away (like her bibs and wash clothes) I will have her put them up. She knows where the laundry basket goes and loves to carry it back to the bathroom (it's almost as big as she is) and carries it with such pride!

  • My advice: Involve everyone in the house! Housework may take a little longer, but I know in the long run it will save a lot of time by teaching Lydia from early on how to help out around the house. Josh also helps with dishes, picking up, and other things that need to be done.

  • Clean as you go: I don't save any of the housework until after Lydia goes to bed - we do it all throughout the day. It's just a natural part of our day and she is involved with me. That way, at the end of the day I can relax too.

I recently got the book The Naturally Clean Home and it gives recipes for over 100 cleaning products - from carpets, bathrooms, laundry, kitchens, wood and more. I haven't had time to really dabble with it, but I know cleaners are so toxic and I'm excited to be able to start making home versions that are non-toxic. I'd love to hear if anyone has experience with this as well as what recipes you make and use!


Leah said...

A friend of mine recently switched to homemade cleaners because of her regularly occuring migraine headaches (they thought it might be triggered by chemicals in her home). She loves making the cleaners, and has inspired me to try myself--I made my first 'batch' of everyday cleaner last night and will use it this morning. This is the link to the recipes my friend (and I) used:

KC said...

I have a tip for picking and straightening up. Maybe everyone else already does this, but I just discovered it. I usually pick up as I go throughout the day, but sometimes it backs up on me and it seems that there is stuff everywhere. I found that it takes FOREVER if I do it piecemeal (putting one or two things away at a time). So I get a basket and start in the room with the most clutter, putting everything that doesn't belong in that room in the basket. I go about the house gathering stuff and when I come to a room where something in the basket belongs, I put it where it goes then. This way you don't run all over the house a hundred times over and it goes much faster.

The Fladung's said...

I use Method brand cleaners--available at Target and pretty affordable--and I LOVE them. They have the equivalent to bleach wipes, and I've been impressed with each of the products that we've used. We buy Method everything--toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner, all purpose cleaner, laundry detergent--the only thing they don't make is a dishwasher detergent. If I am around harsh chemical cleansers I, too, get a horrible headache, so Method has proven to be a great choice for our family. Method also makes all natural baby care products that are a bit more affordable than other brands...

Hollie said...

So, you wash your regular clothes with your diapers? What detergent/soap do you use? Do your clothes ever smell? How many times do you wash that particular load? I find that if I only do one wash/rinse, the diapers still smell AND the soap doesn't all get washed out. I have to do numerous cycles for each load, so that's the main reason I do my diapers separately. Assuming you wash in the morning since you hang your clothes out to dry, do you wash the previous day's diapers? I'm wanting to try this out.

Love your method!

I'm off to check out the link about the cleaners.

I just bought my first Method dish soap the other day and I am really pleased with it. I'll have to try the other products. Do they have an equivalent to comet? I love the powder for toilets and tubs because it's abrasive and can scrub well.

Krista said...

This is my diaper system: I rinse all diapers with the diaper sprayer and then drop them in the dry bin. I wash every-other day (you shouldn't leave diapers more than 48 hours in the dry bin). I throw them all in the washer along with the tote bag lining the diaper pail, and then add our clothes and/or towels to fill the machine. Right now I'm using this detergent
because I'm testing it for a friend. I've been using it since November and LOVE it. I'm sure it's pricey but I will say you only use a very small amount and it is lasting forever. I only use it on my load with diapers and the diapers (and other clothes) smell SO good. I really like this stuff. I just wash a normal cycle (since the diapers have already been rinsed by the diaper sprayer), but I do do an extra rinse cycle at the end.

Before I started using this current detergent, this is what I used:

I really like this stuff too. I just got sick of regular detergents leaving a residue on my diapers and having to strip them, or do lots of other stuff with the laundry like extra washings, vinegar, etc.

Good luck - hope this helps!

The Fladung's said...

Hollie--Method sells a tub and shower cleaner that is a paste like substance and it's labeled "abrasive cleanser" on the bottle. They don't sell a comet type powder abrasive that I'm aware of...but hopefully as "green cleaning" gains popularity and momentum they'll have something like it on the market soon! Hope this helps!!
--Tamara Fladung

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Krista- At what age did Lydia start helping out with clothes and dishes and chores?

All-I'm so excited about the Prayer of Hannah blog. I have a link to y'all on my blog! ... check us out. Each of you are so encouraging! Please keep up the awesome work!

I'm especially excited about this week and next week! I just emailed Hollie a few days ago about struggling to stay on top of housework and my scheduling being messed up. Carli is 19 months and very active and I am 11 weeks pregnant with our 2nd blessing and very tired! I don't remember being this tired with my pregnancy with Carli! I have been napping with Carli and not getting so much done so I am very excited about housekeeping tips (especially if you can share how things changed for you during your pregnancy(ies) and / or with newborns.)


Shannon said...

Krista, your last tip is such a good one. I'm so bad about leaving housework until the girls go to bed, and I'm just pooped, and (honestly) a little perturbed to be doing more work. It is definitely something I'm going to try to get done throughout the day now.

Does anyone have after-dinner tips? Once our mealtime ends, we're usually so busy getting the girls ready for bed, and then when we've finally laid them down, there's dirty dishes and a dirty kitchen to deal with and we're just so tired. Does anyone have a better way to deal with this?

Shannon said...

When I was pregnant with our 2nd, I too was way more tired than I was with our first (because I was chasing the first one around all the time.)

There were days on end that the housework just didn't get done, and thankfully my husband was very understanding and helpful. You are still probably in the stage of your pregnancy where you're most tired. Hopefully more energy will come soon. Until then, just know that resting as much as you can is good for you, and the baby!

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

It really helps me A LOT when Curt bathes Carli after supper. Since I have been home with her all day and he has just seen her at the table, he gives her a bath on most nights while I put away supper and do the dishes. Then one of us puts her to bed and we have some time together... most nights! Hope that helps!


Krista said...

Ever since Lydia's been walking (around 10 months) I've tried to involve her in house work. She's gotten increasingly better at it as she's grown (now 20 1/2 months) and I give her more responsibility. She LOVES having responsibilities too. She helps make juice, I'll sit her on the counter to help me prepare veggies and cook, she helps me put on make-up in the mornings (she hands it to me and then puts it away), will take things to different rooms (clothes, etc.) and picks up her toys. Whatever I'm doing, I just look to see if there's a way she can help out. When she gets to help, she's tickled pink.

Miranda said...

I wanted to let everyone know about some GREAT cleaning products from a company called Shaklee. They also have a paste that works great called "scour off" - just like comet. You can get a ton of use from their basic H when mixed with water for cleaning and they also have a germicide, etc. They have been seen in lots of magazines and on Oprah. Here's the site and if someone ends up loving it they can become a member under me for a discount on products ( Hope this helps!

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...

I checked out the link you posted for making your own cleaners. I'm excited to try them out. On the first one it calls for "home soap" do you know what that is?

Christina said...

Home soap is one of lakewinds products. If you search for home soap on their site you'll see it. It's probably a really gentle, basic soap that is in liquid form. If you don't want to order from lakewinds, they sell Dr. Bronners at Whole Foods or Earth Fare if you have one of those?? Any natural foods type store should carry it.

I love natural cleaning with vinegar! I got into vinegar when I started buying it in bulk for washing my diapers!!

Courtney said...

I have a friend who says that you should put a cup of vinegar in each load of clothes, she even had someone who cleaned for her who only used vinegar. I know that vinegar is also great for just everyday cleaning (thanks to Sarah Snowe on the discovery channel), I haven't tried this out because I HATE the smell of vinegar... does the smell just go away or is it really not that bad when you clean with it. I am currently doing all of my cleaning with the new Greenworks cleaners and I LOVE them and the way they smell too.

Leah said...

I bought Dr.Bronner's liquid soap from to use as the 'home soap' called for in a couple of the recipes. I bought the "baby mild" formula, which is unscented and extremely gentle, but you can get it in various scents. I liked the prices at the website, and it saved me a special trip since I don't regularly frequent whole foods stores (but probably should:-)

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