Tell me your cleaning tips & appear on The Art of Doing Stuff.

My sister in the pink tool belt is the type who loves to clean. So is fish pedicure sister actually. And my niece. My mother and I? We prefer to make the mess.

I like the end result of cleaning. The sparkle, the glow, the bugs turning around and marching out the back door.

To be perfectly honest it isn’t the cleaning I dislike. It’s the putting away. Laundry? Not a big deal. Putting it all away. Barf. Doing dishes? Don’t mind it. Putting them away? Hate it.

The more organized my house becomes the easier the “putting away” thing is getting. I have spots for places and try very hard to remember where they are. Books in the bookcases, extra dishes have been banished to the basement so I’m not wandering around the kitchen for half an hour deciding where I can possible fit the oversized bowl … and I cleaned out my closet and drawers so I don’t have to throw my clothes in the laundry hamper when they’re perfectly clean because they won’t fit anywhere else.

Come with me (in an imaginary way) for a moment as I scan my yet to be completed kitchen. On the island there are no less than 3 sets of Hex keys, a flashlight, a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, car keys and some black Isotoner gloves. And maybe Dexter. If I looked a little harder I would probably find Dexter.

That island was empty just moments ago. I actually woke up 2 hours early today so I could put things away before I started working but it’s all back. All of it. It’s like living with a teenager only I’m the teenager and yelling at me doesn’t work either. I’m going to have to take my iPad away from me.

However, like I said, even though I still leave things out, things are much easier to put away now that my house is more organized than it’s ever been. Which leaves me more time to clean.

I’m not going to tell you what I clean or how I clean it because that’s not what this post is about. Although this is one of my tips …


This post is about how YOU clean.

I’m looking for any of your tips, tricks or cleaning recipes.

I’m going to test the 3 that I think are the most interesting or useful and will then feature them in a full post on The Art of Doing Stuff along with a picture of you! Don’t worry. If you’re picked and you don’t want me to include a picture I’ll put up a picture of Dr. Phil or his wife and say it’s you. If you’re a man you get the Dr. Phil picture, if you’ve had so much botox your eyebrows live on the North Pole, you’ll get the wife picture.

Dusting, cleaning solutions, routines … any cleaning tip is accepted. It can be something you do because your mother did it, or a recipe you found on the Internet that works great, or just something you discovered on your own. Extra points for either exceptional results, or exceptionally fast results.

Start commenting about cleaning!

Have a great weekend.



  1. Tanya H. says:

    Someone has already mentioned the magic combo of Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and peroxide to address skunk issues…I haven’t tried that, but I have three sons who manage to make yellow sweat stains in the armpits/collar of every white shirt they own, and the paste gets rid of it.

  2. gabrielle says:

    if this is some kinda ruse to get me off the internet and into my spring cleaning, it’s not really working.

    Hard-water mineral deposits? Stainless steel smudges? Rust stains? Gucky film on used-daily lunch container? Anything else that persists, like junk inside antique canning jars?

    Bartender’s Friend. Home Hardware. $3.00 per can.

  3. Dianne says:

    I buy the cheapest battery operated toothbrush with changeable heads, soft, medium and stiff. It use it to clean in those hard-to-get spots – around taps, shower corners and grout – everywhere. I also use the ultra soft brush dry on furniture to get at those dust corners that are there and stick there tongues at you cause you can’t reach them even with a vacuum brush. Works like a charm and fits perfectly in my cleaning caddy.

  4. Kim Jordan says:

    My husband and I have owned/operated a Merry Maids franchise for over 20 years. In those years, I have trained countless people to clean homes thoroughly and efficiently. Of course, cleaning some one else’s home is different from cleaning your own home, but the basics are the same. Clean one room at a time, start at the top (ceiling fans/light fixtures, high dusting for cob-webs) and work your way down. Wearing an apron with big pockets to hold cleaning cloths will save steps as you start at the doorway and work your way around the room, cleaning/dusting everything as you come to it. Microfiber cloths are your best friend when used correctly. Finally, vacuum the floor, starting at the back of the room and vacuum yourself out the room. Vacuuming the bathroom floor first is the only exception to starting at the top and working your way down rule.

  5. Annie says:

    I do a “pocket of pretty” – working full time and having a 10 month old baby means the house is in a constant state of disaster! I learned from an 80+ year old neighbor about a pocket of pretty. She had the most beautiful garden – always had. One day I saw her weeding a little patch and complemented her. She lamented that in her old age she could not keep it up as much as she had when she was younger. A couple of years ago she got so frustrated and almost quit gardening as she could not keep up with it all! She realized that was silly – she enjoyed it so much. So, she decided to ONLY focus on a pocket of pretty. The rest of the garden might be weed infested, but for that day she was only going to focus on this one little spot and make it a pocket of pretty. That is how I treat my house:) It make look like a hot mess but I promise somewhere in it you will always find a pocket of pretty.

    • Kim from 3 peanuts says:

      Love this Annie!!!

    • Lyn says:

      Great story Annie. My pocket of pretty is usually inside my drawers where no one can see it. Not kidding, I have drawer organizers in all my drawers and things are neat in there where only I can see the pocket of pretty.

    • Ceecee says:

      Awesome! And it would work great with the timer! I could create a “pocket of pretty” in 15 minutes, easy! Thanks!

  6. Mary says:

    My best tip (although I don’t always follow it) is to put everything away at the end of each day. That way, when you go to clean, you just dust, wipe, etc. if you think about it, half of the cleaning time involves putting everything away and clearing surfaces, then you go back and clean the surfaces. If the clutter is picked up, it makes it so easy and quick to just pick up a rag and wipe it off.
    I also save all those socks with no mates that show up in the laundry. With 5 people in the house, we have lots, so if there is a spill, a pet mess or dusting needed, I can use them and toss them with no thought and don’t need to wash them.

  7. Regena Fickes says:

    When I get around to deep cleaning my fridge, I use white toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean the rubber seal around the door. It gets really nasty and this cleans it and makes it smell nice as well. Love all the comments.

  8. Laura Bee says:

    Earth Wind & Fire.

    That’s about it. I suck at housework. But when I do it, music helps.

  9. Samantha says:

    I use a mix of olive oil and vinegar as a home made wood conditioner. Mix 1:1. It should be sprayed on a microfiber cloth and used as a rub. After dry dusting of course or you just end up making mud. Depending on how dusty the thing is your dusting. Ya. So then after applying it, take a fresh microfiber cloth and buff. Without the buff, this will make streaks and who wants to see streaks. Unless they’re running down your street but that’s a whole different cleaning issue. I also add a few drops of an essential oil that I like. I choose peppermint in the winter and orange in the spring. That’s just because its what I like. It does nothing to boost cleaning power. This doesn’t work well on laminates. Best for actual wood, really nice on antiques, but test a spot first. I don’t want to be in trouble if you ruin grandmas curio or something.

  10. Tara says:

    I can’t -not- respond to this request for tips as I create a wonderful product that helps reduce the amount of time you dry your clothes in the dryer: Wool Dryer Balls!

    Not only do they reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes by bouncing around – they soften your clothes, reduce static and are toxin free!

    No need for fabric softener or dryer sheets, combined with homemade laundry soap – they will have all the toxins out of your laundry routine!

    For all the details of their benefits and to answer a plethora of questions you can find more information here:

    I’ve been enjoying seeing everyone else’s tips – this is awesome!!

  11. Sheri says:

    My one tip is on cleaning the oven. Our oven has a self cleaning mode, but you have to take out the racks. A quick online search I discovered you can use dryer sheets, they “soften” the guck. technical term. Sounds good to me, so into the bath tub with old towels at the bottom, about 5 dryer sheets, 1/2 cup of Mrs. Meyers detergent, leave them over night, the next morning I used the dryer sheets to wipe off the guck. There were some trouble spots, but nothing a good scrub brush couldn’t handle. I was amazed. I can’t take credit for this one, those internet peoples are smart cookies.

    • Mary Werner says:

      Dryer sheets contain poison!!!!!! Be careful. Probably never a good idea to smell the fumes coming out of your dryer, either.

      • Sheri says:

        I only use Second Generation dryer sheets, all natural. I don’t buy the commercial dryer sheets, I hear ya on the chemicals.

    • Debbie says:

      I keep the racks in the oven. It discolors them a bit, but that’s okay. It beats cleaning them by hand. I’ve done this with four ovens (moved a bunch of times).

  12. Alison says:

    I keep extra trash bags in the bottom of all the trash cans in the house. It makes it easy to empty all the trash cans in one fell swoop and pull the new bags up at the same time. I hung a broom and dust pan on the back of each bathroom door for sweeping up hair and cat litter. That way I don’t have to hunt down my kitchen broom all the time. I cut up any t-shirts that are too stained to donate and use those for rags. I keep a spray bottle in the shower with a bit of bleach added to keep the male occupants athlete’s foot germs away. Crumpled up newspaper makes for good window-washing material. And like others, dim lighting helps make the dust go away and a pan with orange peel, cinnamon, or other spices simmering on the stove makes it smell delicious inside the house and fools others into thinking that dinner or dessert is on the way!

  13. Angela says:

    The one time I had someone clean my house, she used oven cleaner on the glass shower doors. Spray it on, leave it a while and sponge it off. Sounds crazy but works like a charm! I also use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean my hardwood floors.

  14. Heather says:

    Cleaning the kitchen floor – only done when you can really see how dirty it really is! My secret – flooring that disguises the dirt. I have sheet linoleum that a dog can barf on, spill coffee and or anythign else for that matter. Thats my secret – decorate to hide dirt.

  15. Rose says:

    I use a swiffer mop with a microfibre cloth dampened with just water on all my wood,laminate,and vinyl floors. I’m always amazed at how quickly the dust bunnies build up. Also, in my front entrance “landing strip”, I’ve got a tall round shoe rack that swivels and holds and displays about 50 pairs of shoes – awesome.

  16. Danni says:

    I can’t believe no one has said microfiber cloths! Those changed my life! Spray water, wipe clean, just about everything!! Windows, counters, floors, bathrooms… saw a demonstration at a home show, never realized!! If you use them RIGHT then they are amazing!!

    • CJ says:

      Absolutely, microfiber cloths are the way to go. I have one hanging in the shower, under the bathroom sink, several in the kitchen and laundry. I like to use one wet and one dry when I’m cleaning whole rooms. No chemicals needed and you can throw them in the washing machine and reuse.

      Anytime you use a cleaning surfactant to lift the dirt from a surface you need to clean that away as well as the dirt. Microfibre cloths eliminate that.

  17. Chrissuperfrickentine says:

    The most exciting thing about my comments is my name :( I have more of the same boring run-of-the-mill info…baking soda, lemon, vinegar, dragged cat, dog licks, spray bottle, lavender, tea tree oil, dryer sheets…wait I don’t that, um, ya-resolve spray, spray-in-wash, diluted fabric softener, etc. I coudn’t spend the time reading all the feedback because I’m at work and shouldn’t be doing this even like right now but I do like to keep, smell and wipe things with Lysol Wipes. They are handy! Later Girls!

  18. Linda J Howes says:

    Is it weird that I make soap but hate to clean. I am terrible at it, in fact, when I was young and had to start doing housework for allowance I bargained with my parents to let me do the outdoor stuff usually relegated for boys, hedge clipping, lawn cutting, snow shovelling, and my sisters could do the indoor stuff, dusting, vacuuming, etc. To this day they have nice clean homes and I live in creative chaos. However, all that being said, I did try for a while and it really helped but then I moved.

  19. Kathy smith says:

    Okay after 38 years I have perfected the way to clean that makes it sooooo easy. You will never have a day (or 2) where you spend the entire day.
    1. Get your mind set: do a little each day and pick up after yourself so that you won’t spend a lot of time putting away.
    2. Keep cleaning solutions handy so that you are not backtracking: keep paper towels or cleaning cloths with spray under your bathroom sink and kitchen sink.
    3. Promise yourself that by completing a task you will be able to move on to the next: my closet used to be the worst! Now I put clothes either in the laundry basket( they must be dirty) or hang them up .
    When the basket is full I do a load and along with my laundry are hangers to put all my clothes on after they are washed dried hung up and put away.
    I want to give you an example of my day
    1. Wake up put on walking clothes that I laid out the night before and push button on coffee pot (that I prepared the night before) let dog out ,get paper make bed. Make breakfast eat breakfast (read paper while eating) clean up dishes wash dry put away and clean out coffee pot. Walk dog. Take shower,clean shower with product and wipe down of course I’m in my robe lol. Get ready. Hair makeup then clean mirror ( if needed)
    Get dressed and hang towels. Go to my home office and work on computer (clean out junk emails) same thing with work ( do the things you least like to do first then you can enjoy the rest.) I used to hate to return phone calls but have learned that mornings are so much more productive once they are done. In a nutshell, make your life a little easier by doing a little but every day! When you cook clean up after yourself. Of course you still need to clean toilets floors , windows and dust but imagine your life less overwhelmed. And that my interesting friend is what makes life sweeter!

  20. Anne Jones says:

    I hate using chemicals to clean so most of the time I use a variety of combinations of vinegar, baking soda and Dawn (with tweeks of lemon or hydrogen peroxide) and a steam mop. My favorite tip is to use vinegar instead of fabric softener (no, your clothes will not smell pickle-ly)… plus I add some to the wash itself. Vinegar actually boosts your detergent, keeps lint and pet hair from clinging (and as a vet assistant my scrubs can be a ball of fur), makes clothes soft and removes any moldy smell if you happen to accidentally leave clothes in the washer overnight. It’s nothing short of wonderful!

  21. Tigersmom says:

    Oh, and I think that is a sock that you used to clean something that I think I should probably be afraid of with in the picture.

  22. Tigersmom says:

    “and try very hard to remember where they are” I feel your pain on this one. I am forever walking around looking for something and saying to myself, “I know I put it away…..where away?”

    My cleaning tip is baby wipes. I never stopped buying them after my son was potty trained, I just started buying them less often. I like Huggies. They hold up well and I doubt if the cheap ones would. I use them for so many things. I clean my microfiber fiber couch with them. It works like a charm. I have also used them to get spots off furniture in other fabrics with great success. They hold together in situations where a paper towel would just shred and give you something else to clean up.

    I use them to clean my dogs muddy feet and occasionally her behind when it needs it. (this is when disposable is a true ass-et, pun intended). I also keep a travel pack in the car for those times when a napkin won’t get all the sugar from a donut off my fingers (what? I like sweet sticky bread!). I have used them for getting spills out of clothing and ink off of all kinds of things. I don’t think I will ever stop buying them. I have two or three of the plastic dispensers around the house and just buy the big refill bag whenever I need to, which is surprisingly not that often.

  23. Beth says:

    I have a cleaning calendar, where each task is on there a few times a month, and each item should only take 15 minutes of the day. At least I only give it 15 minutes of my time after spending a full day at work, knowing that it’ll come up again in a week or so if I really only half-ass it. I really hate cleaning, so knowing that I can rock out 15 minutes worth while my husband makes dinner is good. I also like that we keep the calendar in a picture frame so when I’m done the task for April 4th, I can cross it off with a white erase marker and feel the gratification of it being visibly done (even if it didn’t make a huge difference on the house itself).

    My only problem is I’m not overly motivated, and horrible at sticking to something…. so each month, I get to about the 8th or 9th before I give up and stop doing it. BUT, I know that the 1st of next month will come up eventually so I pat myself on the back for giving it a good try and spend the next 2-3 weeks psyching myself up to start again.

  24. Darlene says:

    mine says it all in a plaque:

    You can touch the dust just don’t write in it!

    • Diane says:

      I remember seeing similar, but it was more along the lines of write or draw anything you want in the dust, as long as you don’t write the DATE! :D

  25. Carolyn says:

    The best advice a friend gave me for washing dishes, pots, pans and anything in between that got dirty/greasy from cooking (carving board, cabinets, wall, stove top, floor tiles…) is to mix in baking soda with some dish soap.
    I keep baking soda next to the sink in a recycled cheese shaker jar and just sprinkle it on pans after I’m done cooking and let it sit while I eat. soak in hot water with baking soda and dish soap and your Dutch oven comes out clean with no scraping needed! Just be sure to rinse well.

    It works great for cutting through kitchen grime of all kinds. Plus it is not very expensive and doesn’t scratch fragile items.

  26. Susan Whelan says:

    Get a puppy. Whatever you forget to put away will be eaten. You will declutter very quickly and dust just doesn’t have time to settle.
    I said I was too old for a puppy and I was right.

  27. Sally A says:

    I use the used dryer sheet for chrome too. Works great! Baking soda for my porcelain? kitchen sink. I knowl, pretty boring. I know that vinegar is good for cleaning, but I can’t stand the smell. I run it through my coffee maker every once in a while and that is super stinky. Am I using to strong a mixture? Also, am I the only one who can’t tell what Karen is holding in the picture? I give up.

  28. Tris says:

    I live in an apartment building and people throw away t shirts and towels in the laundry room all of the time. I yank ’em out of the trash can, run them through a hot wash/dry cycle and cut them up for cleaning rags. After one use, I can throw them away. There is always a stack of rags for us to use for big spills, cleaning anything nasty, etc. and the family is trained to use them instead of paper towels. As long as we live here, there will always be a stash and I don’t have to buy paper towels every time we go grocery shopping. P.S. vinegar and water to clean almost EVERYTHING except the micro suede…that gets a few hits of rubbing alcohol and a swab with one of the lighter colored rags.

  29. Liesl Joubert says:

    Create a landing strip just inside your front door. I saw it at:

    You literally leave your cares at the door and keep your home organised at the same time.
    It can take any form you like, but at minimum you need a surface, a couple of coat/key hooks and an electrical outlet. Then you ACCESSORIZE! This I believe is the key.

    Mine is a narrow (1 ft x 3 ft) table with some baskets underneath:
    Come in, switch pretty lamp on, hang keys, drop bag & shopping on table, hang coat, kick off shoes (into shoe basket), kick on slippers (from shoe basket), sort mail, immediately recycle stupid marketing pamphlets (into recycling basket), empty pockets, discard any mess (into waste basket), put phone on charge.

    Its wonderful when you don’t have the above clutter all over your kitchen/dining/lounge room. You don’t track dirt and mess in, so your house is cleaner, or needs cleaning less often.
    Bonus: your landing strip works just as well for take-off too. Add a jar of sweets/mints. Add a perfume bottle, so you smell amazing EVERY time you go out. Hang your shopping bags on a coat hook. Hang a small blackboard for chalking reminders to yourself. Use one of your baskets as an outbox, for borrowed books/items that must be returned to their owners, for things you want to give away or donate.

    • Kim from 3 peanuts says:

      Another GREAt one. I think this probably works best sans kiddos though.. We have the shoe basket but they just drop everything else on the floor!

  30. Ember says:

    We learned from a good friend who was a retired vetinarian that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a spoonful of liquid dish detergent will make a paste that will remove
    skunk spray from your dog that was stupid enough to chase a skunk and get sprayed TWICE, dead-on in the chest. Just rub the paste in and rinse. Add enough peroxide to spray the mix thru a spray bottle and it will remove the skunk stench from your couch where said dog ran to hide after said spraying. Just explain to the security at the store that you are not buying supplies to make a bomb. Just let them smell your hand where you dragged dog off couch…after they revive from fainting…they should believe you. Baking soda added to your wash also helps remove cat urine smell from the towel left on the floor.

    • Sally A says:

      That’s hilarious! And a great tip! I love dogs, but they can be very dumb. My dog got stung by a wasp once, and instead of avoiding them, he would chase them. Dumb.

  31. Karen says:

    Used dryer sheets make the best polishing cloths for chrome and mirrors. After they’ve been through the dryer. Just rub them on dry and they remove water spots and sparkle up everything.

  32. silvie says:

    Pick up around the living room, kitchen, dining room – wherever, during tv commercials instead of being a total couch potato at night. It’s mindless work, so a good fit. It gives you 3-6 minutes of activity and sometimes you’ll get caught up in something way more productive. Also, after cleaning a toilet, set the brush down btwn the toilet rim and the seat to let it drain while you clean the rest of the bathroom. This eliminates the little puddle of skanky water in the toilet brush holder.

  33. Ramona says:

    Ok, I’m going to go and get all practical… It’s not exceptionally fast, but it does give exceptional results. I HATE the smell towels take on after months or years of use. (Yes, of course with normal washing.). They tend to have a musty-ish smell? I read this tip online, and I will use it forever! Wash towels the way you normally would. Next, run through a short wash (warm) cycle with one cup of vinegar (I pour the vinegar into the bleach cup). Then, sprinkle one cup of baking soda over the towels and run another short wash (warm). This takes that smell away, and as an added bonus, it reduces the fabric softener build up and the towels are more absorbent again. I do this about once every six months. I wish I could give credit where credit is due! Ah well, just have to ‘pay it forward’…

    • Lynne says:

      Baking soda in the wash and a vinegar rinse works wonders for getting rid of the yellowish buildup on white bed linens – for those of us who have oily skin.

    • Pati Gulat says:

      I use vinegar as a fabric softener and neither my towels nor my front loader get that musty smell…EVER. And you never smell the vinegar.

    • Rebecca says:

      This is a great tip! Thank you for paying it forward.

    • AngieC says:

      Brilliant! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve been having a problem with musty towels and have tried everything to get rid of the smell but nothing has worked. I’m going to try this tip this weekend.

    • Ramona says:

      This works well with any kind of stinky laundry. I use it for my baby’s cloth diapers, and sometimes my husbands work clothes need a good hit of vinegar & baking soda. I am going to see how well it works on white linens to brighten them, as well as trust the vinegar next time around as a fabric softener. I won’t use a softener sheet… Thanks ladies, for the input!

    • Ceecee says:

      You know what that smell is? It’s old gunk stuck to old detergent. Detergent sucks. Yes, dirt sticks to detergent, but detergent sticks to EVERYTHING! Just wash, once a month, in Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds or soap nuts or something natural (not borax – borax bad). That will remove the old detergent AND the crop of gunk it’s growing in it, which is what real soap does and detergent really sucks at. I keep Bronner’s Peppermint in a foamer at the kitchen sink. If I have to use regular dishsoap on something, I use the Bronner’s to get the dishsoap off it. LOL. It takes about a million gallons of water to rinse detergent sort of good but Bronner’s will rinse completely, in a heartbeat. I also use Kirk’s castille soap in the shower, for both body and shampoo. It also rinses in a jiffy, leaves no residue and won’t dry out your skin or hair, after an adjustment period. You can use Bronner’s bar soap, but it’s a lot more expensive than Kirk’s. Plus, you can get Kirk’s just about anywhere.

  34. Lisa says:

    My fav tip is to wax the shower…I’ve been doing it for yrs yes a looong time. I used to use the wax that u had to wax on wax off ….but now they have that new fangeled stuff u just spray. Sure makes that easier. Ya just have to make sure it is clean to start off and when u notice soap scum or whatever not sliding off re do it. ! or 2 times a yr. Just rinse when u r done and everything just comes right off. U can also use it on ur bathroom sinks even the stove top. Now if u r a fanatic I heard u can even do ur light bulbs to keep dust off and keep them nice n bright, but I don’t go that far. So nice when everything comes right off with out scrubbing. Oh and I love my roomba for the cat hair.

    • JB says:

      What kind of wax is this? Do you have a brand name? Is it in a spray can? Is it, like, floor wax or something? Dying to know!

    • JB says:

      I have no tips. But I will say that I thought I was the only one who HATES putting things away (laundry, dishes, files, anything)! I’ll clean (when I have to), but I hate putting things away. I never mind not having a dishwasher (I’m a renter, and you never know if you’ll get one in a new apartment. I don’t have one now.), because it does the work I don’t hate TOO much, but it creates even more need for putting away. Yuck.

  35. Carolyn says:

    My favorite tip for cleaning–hire it done!

  36. Glenda says:

    I listen to music too, Victoria! It really makes cleaning less sigh inducing.

    My helpful hint is that my cleaning music is limited to a 45 minute playlist. I rush around cleaning to some of my favourite upbeat songs and when the music stops, I stop. I find that 45 minutes is short enough that I will actually press play and pick up a feather duster, and long enough that there is a significant improvement in cleanliness.

  37. Teresa J says:

    I read this advice in a magazine somewhere …… Always leave the vacuum cleaner out and if you have visitors over and the floor is a mess, then you were just going to vacuum and if the floor is clean, then you just finished and did not have time to put the vacuum away.!! Hey, whatever works!!!

  38. Stephanie says:

    I’m so (deliberately) bad at cleaning my husband does it.

  39. Nora W. says:

    Thanks for your blog every day, Karen. It helps me start each day with a laugh or two. Can hardly wait to see your new kitchen!

    I LOVE household tips. I always think I will find the magic tip that will make housekeeping go away. Still searching for it! Here is my tip for the day. I buy extra loaves of bread when it’s on sale, and freeze half-loaves in recycled bread bags so they don’t get mouldy. (WAIT … that’s not the tip! Just keep on
    reading.) I use empty Kleenex boxes in my kitchen drawer for storing these recycled plastic bread bags (as well as extra plastic bags from the grocery store produce section) to keep them separate and tidy, and to prevent them from multiplying as they tend to do when I am not watching. And then they are ready to pop up, one at a time, when I need them. I think I learned about this on the internet.

  40. Michele says:

    Hi Karen, I’m a total freak when it comes to cleaning. I love to clean. My husband just rolls his eyes. My favorite trick? I use a sticky lint roller to remove the dust off if my lamp shades.

  41. Mael says:

    I invested in 2 roombas to deal with pet hair. They’ve made the single greatest difference in how clean my house looks and feels. I buy the cheapest vodka I can find in bulk, and use it to clean surfaces, even windows. It works as well as white vinegar, it disinfects, and doesn’t have the vinegar smell. Bonus, after serving guests two cocktails made with the good stuff, they won’t be able to tell if you switch to your counter cleaner. :)

    • Marsha Jean says:

      Does that work with gin and tequila too???

    • Arianne says:

      Ack I totally agree! We have three cats and a Labrador and I swear we could make a 5th pet EVERY SINGLE DAY by the amount of pet hair those four shed! We bought a Roomba Pet Series and it changed our lives! I love that little gizmo!

  42. Ella says:

    I sweep things under the rug. :) Srsly.

  43. victoria says:

    I like to put on my favorite upbeat music really loud and then I just kind of dance my way around the house picking up and putting away whatever’s in my path. There is no designated area, which makes it less boring. I might pick up a used band aid on the hallway floor and on my way to the trash I find a sock that needs to be put in the laundry or something else so I carry stuff with me and go with the flow! And dance while doin’ it! Works even better if I’m on a coffee high!

  44. Amber says:

    I hate cleaning the shower. Specifically, rinsing the wall tiles after I have scrubbed it (with a foam/Oxo dish brush with cleaner inside). Our tile shower does not have great pressure, and the showerhead does not move much. A trip to Target towards the end of last summer led to an epiphany. In the clearance section was a foam shark super soaker. Pull the tail back to fill with water and then push the tail to fire away. It makes getting everything off the shower tiles amazingly easy.

    The only downside – other than having to explain to visitors why we (30-something lawyers with no children)have a foam shark super-squirter in our bathroom – is that I have careful not to spray the water out with too much force. Sometimes I get overzealous and end up with super splash-back. That said, when it happens, so long as I don’t get soap in my eyes, it is still fun.

    • Karen says:

      O.K. I don’t even have wall tiles in the bathroom and I’m thinking of trying this. ~ karen

      • Jody says:

        I know the point of this is to provide our cleaning tips. I’ve got nothing special. I use an old sock of my sons over my hand sprayed with cleanser to wipe the wooden blinds. However if we can vote on the best comment I would say Amber, the Shark Lady wins, hands down!

      • Linda S. in NE says:

        Okey, Dokey…Contest is probably over…Amber (the shark lady) wins. Karen, maybe you could start a new contest. The idea could be to guess what carma’s “thing” is…and then we win that “thing”, if we want it!!

    • Mary says:

      I bought hand held shower heads for our tile bathrooms, then you have a sprayer for when you clean.

    • Mary Werner says:

      OK I’m getting one of these – even when I don’t have the energy for this “fun” my grandkids will! WOW you are a genious!!

    • Kim from 3 peanuts says:

      GREAT tip!!!!!

  45. carma says:

    i have the most brilliant and genius way of cleaning………….this thing that i have. and every time i clean it i think…my god this is brilliant, my god i’m a genius, why doesn’t everyone clean their thing this way, how come nobody knows about this amazing way to clean this thing, really i should not be so selfish, i should share my brilliance with the world and let others know they no longer have to suffer while cleaning their thing the way everyone always has,if you clean it like this you only have to clean it once or twice a year at most, maybe a quick wipe now and again in between. yes i really must start a blog and share my brilliance with the world.

    i kid you not, i think this *every* single time i clean that thing of mine.

    and do you think i can remember what the hell it is now? i swear to you i am not making this all up, no really!

    i’m brilliant i tell ya. truly i’m a genius. not that it does me a damn bit of good. i can promise you that being a genius is not all it’s cracked up to be….not when you don’t have a working or workable memory.

    the next time i clean that thing of mine, i’ll share my brilliance with you. by then your contest will be over. and by then i’ll probably forget that i promised to tell you what it is.

    sigh. such is the bane of my existence as a perpetually unrecognized genius.

  46. Jen says:

    Hmmm… I am looking forward to seeing these posts. I need all the help I can get.

    Between starting both the husband and I starting new jobs, my attending grad school, and other stuff…. well I think war zones might look better than here.

    If I have one tip, it’s to just stay on top of two things: Dishes and Laundry. By that I mean once they are clean, they go where they are suppose to. (Or near it, in case of my husband.)

    I don’t know why, but if they back up the rest of the house goes to heck in a hurry.

    • Hope says:

      SO agree! Many mom’s wait till their kids / partner are able to unload the dishwasher because it is a simple job ….DON”T !!! Time it!!!! it’s a 3 minute job when done by a “professional” and everything is returned to the exact spot where it is needed whenever anyone cooks. THEN…. let anyone old enough to deal with the stove cook and expect them to clean up after themselves, or put their dishes in the dishwasher when they reluctantly and after many years of nagging bring the dishes to the kitchen from under their stack of gaming devices or under their beds. Having an empty dishwasher is the key to a tidy kitchen at our house. (Only eating in the kitchen is a rule I would have loved to enforced but dad thought any food just tasted better when eaten by the flickering light of the TV)

      • Mary says:

        great tip! Maybe, I shouldn’t have been so quick out of the gate by commenting that Karen should pick comment no. 1. :-)

  47. Laura says:

    hopefully that link works =) My fave recipe is for laundry sauce (soap) Saves a ton of money, and I really like how easy it is to make.

  48. SK Farm Girl says:

    Here is the best cleaning tip EVER! Well, I can’t take full credit for this tip as it was my ex-mother-in-law who gave me this tip. It’s fast. It’s effective. And it costs nothing. In the (nearly) famous words of my ex-mother-in-law, “The best way to dust is to not dust. However, don’t ever move the doilies or the junk on the table or the dust imprint will show. And ONLY have company over in the evening and make sure half the light bulbs are burnt out! (That way the lighting is poor and the dust doesn’t show!)” She and I didn’t always see-eye-to-eye, but I sure saw the value in some of her advise – LOL!

    • Pam'a says:

      An extra frill to add to that inspired idea came from one of my favorite Heloise columns ever: “If I haven’t had time to clean up and friends pop over, I have a stash of Get Well cards I put out.”

      I imagine they’re extra-beautiful with dim lighting. ;)

  49. theresa says:

    I vacuum the bathroom before I clean it…I use to get really frustrated with all the hair. Husband, two cats, two cardigan corgis and me shedding all the time meant that no matter how I tried to collect the hair I seemed to always be re-depositing it as I got on with the scrubbing and polishing and wiping. So after we remolded the condo and I got a Dyson animal to suck up the cat litter (their toilet was next to ours) I just kept going and FINALLY got rid of the hair. I wait until everything is dry and hit the outside of the toilet and the tub rim and every blessed corner and crevice. And then I just keep going around the house to the kitchen–honestly my dust bunnies could audition for Cadbury’s!!

    • Debbie says:

      I looooooove my Dyson Animal. When we were in the process of moving, we saw a home that had a narrow spiral staircase as the only staircase to the upstairs and wondered aloud how (at my increasing) age, I would get a vacuum up and down the steps (central vac was in the home we were leaving and not an option to install in our new home). My wonderful real estate agent had a simply wonderful solution – he said to buy two vacuums. Thanks to Costco coupons, I saved a bundle and in our new home (not the spiral staircase house), I have an upstairs and a downstairs vacuum. I clean much more often since I don’t have to lug anything.

      Sheepishly she says – I also have a Dyson stick vac and pretend I am the lithe, pretty woman in the commercial when I lift it overhead. It is awesome and the charger hangs on a wall in a closet. I am a happy, happy person.

  50. Gwen H. says:

    My cleaning tip: Organize all of your cleaning supplies in a bucket. Take it to the particular room. Set the timer and clean until the timer rings.

    • Janet says:

      This is a great tip! I think it will help me stay focused on the task at hand if I know I am on a time limit.

    • Mary says:

      I agree that this is a great tip. Karen should pick you. :-)

    • Ceecee says:

      I do that thing with the timer, too. I don’t mind cleaning, I just don’t realize it needs to be done until the doorbell rings.

      One tip, for single people, pack away all of the dishes you don’t use. That way, there’s never more than a one sinkfull of dirty dishes. Plus, you gain a boatload of spare storage in the kitchen cabinets.

      Also, TubTrugs (or some similar flexible bucket type thing). TubTrugs are awesome! I’ve even filled one with dirty dishes and stuck it in the pantry, during a doorbell ringing incident! They are SO handy. You can clear an EXTREMELY messy room in about 5 minutes. That’s “clear”, not “clean”. You still have to redistribute the items into their rightful places.

      Also, the dishcloths with the mesh on one side. Couldn’t live without those after using them for a month.

      Good microfiber cloths – I can do all of my windows, inside and out, in less than an hour. No cleaner, just dip in water, wring it out really well, and clean. Rinse it in the same water, wring it out again, and keep going. It traps dirt inside of it, so it will continue to clean, even when it’s dirty, if you rinse the loose stuff out and wring it out well.

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