Category Archives: cleaning

Favorite Links : Cleaning Edition

Cleaning isn’t something I enjoy, for the most part.  I’d rather be curled up with a good book, or my laptop, or a bowl of ice cream.  Cleaning is typically something I only appreciate doing when someone on the phone has put me on hold or I’m trying to avoid something else that I dread doing more.

While I hate the act of cleaning, I love the feel of a clean house.  Below are links to some pages that have either time savers or organizational techniques that motivate me to clean (for one afternoon, anyway).

Create a Cleaning Calendar for Household Chores – Organizing Your Way
This worked really well for about a month at my house.  After that, I lost steam.

Quickie Cleanup – Young House Love
If you have an extra 45, 30, 15, or even seven minutes on your hands, Young House Love gives easy (and inexpensive) cleaning ideas.  I wouldn’t try to do this as a program on a regular basis, but it gives a little variety to my cleaning routine.

Intentional Cleaning by Steady Mom
I love this post.  One paragraph sums it up for me: “My current cleaning motto is “work smarter, not longer.” I aim to focus on what matters – cleaning for order, peace, and hygiene. Anything else is an unnecessary distraction.”  She made a list of what needs to be done to keep the bare minimum of peace, order, and hygiene.  Sounds like what I need to try next!

Cleaning Playlist

In order to motivate myself during the cleaning that I’ve pledged to do more frequently, I’ve made a cleaning playlist.  It consists of the following songs…

Fireflies” by Owl City

Hey Soul Sister” by Train

…and that’s it.  My “playlist” actually is two songs that I listen to over and over again, but that’s okay with me (for now).

I have a rarely-used iPod, so on Sunday I dug it out of the electronics drawer, charged the batteries, and bought the two songs on iTunes.  Sure, we have other songs I could have added that were already on the computer, but I thought that this would be a fun treat to cheer up my cleaning routine.

It definitely worked, but a day later I did get a teensy bit sick of listening to the same two songs, so I made a new station on Pandora (possibly the best internet site in the world, aside from Mint.com and Google Reader).  Pandora relies something called the Music Genome Project to create personalized radio stations that play only songs that you’ll like.  I typed in the two songs from my playlist, and it came up with a few songs that had similar characteristics.  I then rated songs (thumbs up or down) from there.  I wouldn’t say the station’s perfect – I still give out plenty of thumbs downs – but the more I listen and rate, the closer the station matches my tastes.

Another one of my trade secrets is the Playaway audiobook.  Playaways look similar to an iPod, but contain an audiobook.  I check them out from the public library and use them while on walks, gardening, or cleaning.  Right now I’m listening to The Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  It makes the time fly!

Life of Pi Playaway

Goal Update

It’s about time … *shudder* … to check in on my goals.  All of my goals.  Which I have been “working towards.”  In theory.

It’s not so bad, really.  I think I’ll find that I’m not doing quite as well as I thought, though, which is the reason for the shudder.  Here goes nothing…

1)  Make delicious, home-made dinners a non-event

OK, this is the goal that I’m probably doing the best on (so I’m really glad it’s first!).  I’ve gone from burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and soggy PastaRoni to oven fried tilapia and martini mac and cheese.  My current goal is to find some lighter recipes to try.  Grade: A

2)  Buy and make quality pieces for our home

I’ve given more thought to the amount of time any given item will last, and if it’s worth putting in a few extra dollars for a better product.  Sometimes it’s not – a book at Half Price Books will be the same as a book at Barnes and Noble – but if it’s something that will be an obvious quality difference (for example, the watch H wears daily), I’d rather buy one that will last.  I try not to balk at spending more on an item I know we can get for less, and instead focus on the quality.  We haven’t had any major purchases in the past few months, though, so I’ve only put this into action on a small scale.  Grade: B

3)  Continuously improve our marriage

I read The Five Love Languages (and I’d highly recommend it to any person, married or not), and I’ve put a good dent in my second reading of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus.  In a stroke of what can only be called brilliance, I put that book on the shelf behind the toilet.  Best marriage move  yet.  That may be an exaggeration, but it really has been a success – I could never convince H to read a marriage book so frequently otherwise.  Grade: A

4)  Be confident in my appearance

On the positive side, I’ve started wearing makeup on a regular basis, and I’ve started styling my hair once in a while instead of pulling it back every single day.  I haven’t been able to lose the weight that I wanted, though, so I’m disappointed most of the time  I look in the mirror.  Grade: D

5)  Be proficient on the sewing machine

I haven’t spent much time on this goal, so there’s not much to report.  I’ve only done one sewing project in 2010 (an apron), and it turned out well.  It’s nothing that I couldn’t have done in high school, however, so I’m going to have to give myself poor marks for this goal!  Grade: F

6)  Keep an organized, clean home

I’d say the house is organized.  We have a place for everything, anyway.  Everything in it’s place?  Not so much.  H is organized.  His jacket is never on the floor, his books are never left lying about, and his keys are always on the key hook.  I am a little more scatterbrained.  If I can see my desktop, it’s a good day.  I am working on it, though.  Whenever I get a spare moment, I play a game where I put away five things in every room.  (We only have six rooms, so it doesn’t take long.)  It’s made a difference.  Cleaning doesn’t happen quite as frequently as it should, but it could be worse.  Grade: B

7)  Act instead of plan

I used to waste a lot of time blog surfing.  I truly mean waste, too – I was subscribing to every semi-interesting blog that I came across, which quickly snowballed into over 250 subscriptions.  I’d fill up to 1000+ items in three days if I didn’t keep on top of it .  I’d spend hours just hitting next, next, next, next, on Google Reader.  I am very proud to say that I’ve kicked the habit!  I do still love reading posts, but I found a way to dramatically reduce wasting time on blogs that I wasn’t getting anything out of.  This left me with quite a bit more time to live in the real world, and I am getting only quality, interesting information daily.  Grade: A

8)  Keep a healthy household

After hundreds of dollars in dental and eyecare bills, I’d give myself an A just to make myself feel better about spending so much.  And that’s AFTER insurance.  We also joined the YMCA and have been regularly attending.  My $1 per half hour plan has been largely successful.  I’m still using and loving it, and H has made such a good habit of working out that he doesn’t even need to use the program anymore.  We’ve cut out chocolate and chips for Lent.  Next up: portion control and cutting the calories!  Grade: A

9)  Be confident in our finances

I use Mint.com to track all expenses, and I know where nearly every dollar goes.  That’s not to say that I rigidly follow our budget, however.  Something always seems to come up that we weren’t expecting, or that I thought would cost less.  I also would like to have a better “big picture” idea of finances.  H typically handles all larger transactions (stocks, mutual funds, etc.), and I do day to day items.  It would be better if we had a little more overlap… or at least if I had a better idea of our finances on a whole.  Grade: C

10)  Be a friend

After a long hiatus, I’ve made friends with Facebook once again.  As much as I dislike it in theory (more on that later), it does have quite a few redeeming values, and at this point I’ll use it for the purpose of being a better friend.  Also, another good mark: by the end of this weekend, I’ll have spent time with three different groups of friends – a really good weekend for me.  I’m still not making the grade, though.  One of my best high school friends moved into a duplex about a mile down the road two months ago, and I’ve seen him ONCE in all of that time.  Grade: B

11)  Give back to the community

Big fat failure.  Nothing else to say about this one.  Grade: F

That wasn’t so bad!  I think I need to check in on my goals every month – it has been eye opening, and it’s motivated me to get up off of this couch and get going!