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Cleaning: Routines/How-to

Recommended site:

Recommended books by other COH:

Sink Reflections, By Marla Cilley
FlyLady helps you create doable housekeeping routines and break down overwhelming chores into manageable missions that will restore peace to your home–and your psyche. Soon you’ll be able to greet guests without fear, find your keys, locate your kids, and most of all, learn how to FLY: Finally Loving Yourself.

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, By Cheryl Mendelson
Home Comforts addresses the meanings as well as the methods of hands — on housekeeping to help you manage everyday chores, find creative solutions to modern domestic dilemmas, and enhance the experience of life at home.
Further topics include: Making up a bed with hospital corners, Expert recommendations for safe food storage, Reading care labels (and sometimes carefully disregarding them), Keeping your home free of dust mites and other allergens, Home safety and security, A summary of laws applicable to the home, including privacy, accident liability, contracts, and domestic employees and more in this practical, good-humored, historic, philosophical, even romantic, guidebook to the art of household management.

Good Housekeeping The Complete Household Handbook: The Best Ways to Clean, Maintain & Organize Your Home
By From the Editors of Good Housekeeping

The Good Housekeeping Hostess: An Old-Fashioned Guide to Gracious Living
By From the Editors of Good Housekeeping

Sidetracked Home Executives(TM): From Pigpen to Paradise
By Pam Young, Peggy Jones

Making Peace with the Things in Your Life: Why Your Papers, Books, Clothes, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You and What to Do About It
By Cindy Glovinsky

Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens
By Cheryl Mendelson

Clutter’s Last Stand: It’s Time To De-junk Your Life!
By Don Aslett

Not For Packrats Only
By Don Aslett

Clean Like a Man: Housekeeping for Men (and the Women Who Love Them)
By Tom McNulty
Most men have a problem with cleaning house: They don’t know how to do it, and they don’t particularly want to learn. The results are usually a messy house or a bitter spouse or both. Clean Like a Man is the solution. Written specifically for the attention-challenged and motivation-impaired male, it’s the first and only housekeeping primer that tells men how to clean the house their way: getting everything done quickly and easily, without getting to Felix Unger about it. It’s such a great approach to housekeeping that women will love it too.

Do you have advice to share with other COH on household cleaning/routines?

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  • anonymouscohfriend

    Flylady is a good place to start if you or a loved one has hit bottom

  • I too want to recommend Flylady! It’s fantastic!

  • Jacki

    Confessions of an Organized Homemaker is one book I’ve found immensely useful, while I’ve found flylady a bit annoying. 😉 Personal preference. COAOH is useful for establishing a customize-able  housekeeping routine, as well as giving tons of info on organizing and managing many other aspects of life.

  • Karen Ward

    My mom is a piece of shit hoarder. I hate her and the heartache she’s caused my family.

  • orangedesperado

    Unfuck Your Habitat is a tumblr site with lots of encouragement, before and after pics and tips. There are also gentle reminders every day to make your bed, wash your dishes, set out clothes for tomorrow before you go to bed, etc. It is good at helping people establish positive routines, and positive feelings about cleaning and order. 

  • Jenny Islander

    When I’m really stressed, ISTM that both the grime of an uncleaned house and the systematic work it would take to make the grime go away carry the same emotional weight. I do this when my days are like that:

    *Never go from room to room empty-handed. Always look around for something in this room that belongs in that one. Trash? Dirty clothes/dishes? Something you put down while you were in a hurry? If there really isn’t anything (hooray!), take this moment to throw a damp towel on top of that sticky spill–you can wipe it up when you come back in, after it’s soaked for a bit.

    *Never leave the house empty-handed either. Bag of trash? Something to mail? Something to donate? If there really isn’t anything (hooray!), grab the broom and dustpan and sweep for a minute before you leave–dirt does tend to collect near the door–or run some hot water into the casserole dish in the sink or something.

    *Speaking of dishes, the few minutes while you wait for the microwave to do its thing or the tea water to boil can be used to put away some dishes or wash some.

    *And if you can’t stand looking at that one thing that’s been soaking for ages and is still crusty, but you don’t have time to get in and scrub it–then it’s perfectly okay to dump out the grody old water and run nice fresh water into it. Water is your solvent buddy. The only thing water cannot eventually remove, IME, is animal fat.

    *A good hard-working apron is a homemaker’s best friend. Make sure it has large pockets. Miscellaneous stuff goes into the pockets all day and gets emptied out in the evening or at wash time. (Two aprons would be good: one to wash, one to wear.) Especially useful if you have children whose stuff tends to migrate all around the house.

    The thing is, the above list isn’t a schedule or a system, so it doesn’t kick off the “oh no I can’t do this huge thing” circuits in my brain. It’s a set of habits. Work on one habit for a while, until it just doesn’t feel natural to go from room to room without looking for something to put away/dispose of, then add another. And this is how I keep my house (mostly) from descending into utter chaos.

  • Tessa Rose

    I like what Jenny said. I have habits like swishing out the toilet frequently … I keep a bottle of detergent and paper towels on the back of the toilet. And wiping the bathroom sink dry after using it. If you get into this habit, the sink will never need to be scrubbed, and always look nice. I want the house pretty minimalist, so I can clean it quickly and easily. Every time I pick something up, I think: Do I need this? Love this? Does it have a place? Should it be in this room? Should it be in this house? If a drawer or cupboard is crowded, I toss some things in the donate bin. Is this thing essential to my life or just in the way?

    • howdoiorganize

      Glad to read your helpful tips. Is there a way to rewire our adult brains to reduce shame & not feel idiotic that organizing a home is soooo stressful & mind-boggling? I’m not brave enough yet to have someone help me; friends have volunteered to help but I don’t follow-through…

      • Jenny Islander

        Hey, Jenny Islander again. In case you still read here: I don’t cuss often, so when I do I really make it count. Basically I got past the shame like this:

        First I locked myself in the bathroom, looked in the mirror, pretended my reflection was the people who heaped shame on me for not being able to keep my nutball mother’s house clean, and had my reflection say all the things they said to me.

        And then–I was alone in the house, mind you–I looked at the imaginary people in the mirror and said, “FUCK YOU.” I was a child, I had depression, I had no help, I had no training in what clean even looked like, and I was living in a house that was literally rotting around my ears; how dare those people call me a slob? I did the best I knew. Fockmall.

        I scrubbed my kitchen floor today. It was a gross mess. I should have done it sooner, I should have swept and spot-cleaned every day so it wouldn’t get this bad, yadda yadda yadda. When the shame bit deeply, I started singing “Fuck You” to the memories of being shamed that were unspooling in my head. I chose Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for the tune. It’s on Youtube if you want to play it now. It’s a great “Fuck You” tune. Basically I used up about a month’s worth of cussing getting that floor clean. But it’s clean now!