I’m guessing you’re like I am in the summer – the less time you have to spend indoors, the better. Those chores that you normally don’t mind doing the rest of the year seem to get in the way when the sun is shining and the beach, lake, cool forest, or backyard is calling your name.
How can tasks be done today, and every day, to speed up your departure to the great outdoors? How can you arrange your daily chores to get you and your family out of the house a little faster. Time to think like a professional again.
Let’s take meal time first. Any meal time is the same; the more prepared you are the quicker both the meal and the cleanup will go. For instance, always wash and cut your veggies as soon as you bring them home from the grocery store. When it’s omelet, salad, or dinner time you just grab your bag of veggies and they’re ready to use. The more you prepare, the faster you will have a meal on the table. Don’t forget to plan your meals so you’re not standing in front of the refrigerator wasting precious time trying to figure out something to feed the family.
Clean up after a meal can also get a kick-start. Begin your meal by running a sink of hot water to do the dishes. If you use your dishwasher, be sure it is always unloaded and ready to reload. Open the door, and pour in the dishwasher detergent. After your meal, have each person put their own plate and utensils in before they leave the kitchen. Your pots and pans that don’t go in the dishwasher are already soaking in your sink of hot, soapy water, so your final step is to give everything a quick scrub and lay on towels or in a drainer to air dry.
Wiping up the counters, sink, table, and floor can be done quickly and easily if you have one place for all your cleanup tools and potions. A plastic bucket filled with an all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen, plus all the rags and sponges required, is a must for a quick getaway to the great outdoors. Pull your bucket of goodies out from its hiding place before your meal and clean up as you go to make the quickest escape possible.
Oh, wait! What about the garbage? Somebody has to grab the garbage and haul it to the can before you depart. One time-saver here is also borrowed from the professionals. Keep a supply of garbage bags in the bottom of the can, under the bag in place. Or, if your bags tend to leak, insert two or three bags at a time in the can so you always have a bag in place when you remove one. When you are not so pressed for time, remember to insert a spare bag or two as you remove the full one.
Leaving the bathroom a mess as you hurry out the door only sets you up for frustration when you get home later that day, tired and ready for a hot bath or shower, only to find a cyclone has hit your bathroom. Now, instead of your nice bath, you have to clean up the trail of junk before you can even think about relaxing. Again, a few simple steps to avoid the mess will help in the long run.
Keep a plastic bucket filled with an all-purpose bathroom cleaning spray and some clean rags, paper towels, and sponges handy, and another bucket for gathering all the bathroom paraphernalia off the counter. Before you and your family depart for the day, designate one person, perhaps on a rotating schedule, to give the bathroom an all-over spray and wipe.
Gather up the junk, putting the things that belong in drawers and shelves away, then the other things that usually remain in sight in the paraphernalia bucket. Spray from the top of the mirror all the way down to the sink and countertops and wipe down. Spray the toilet and wipe down the lid, seat, and tank. This isn’t the time for a full scrubbing job, but you do want the basics clean when you come home.
Keeping your bathroom as clutter-free as possible will speed up this cleanup. Rethink all those cute little bathroom trinkets, bath oils, and other pretty things that sit out on your countertop. If you truly want to speed up cleaning the bathroom, get rid of the junk. Also consider pop-top toothpastes to avoid caps laying around, consolidating shower and shampoo supplies, and limiting the number of any other supplies you keep on hand in the bathroom. The less stuff to get hauled out, the less stuff to put away.
Now, each family member scoots into their own bedroom and gathers dirty clothes off the floor and tosses them in the hallway, and pulls up the covers and bedspread to make their bed look neat.
One person can now walk down the hallway, gathering all the tossed out clothing, and take it all to the laundry room. The remaining family members will do a quick once over in the living room, piling magazines, gathering up games and anything else that has been misplaced, and putting items that belong somewhere else in those areas.
When you’re done, take a step outside your door, turn around and walk back in. When you come home later, will you be satisfied with what you see? Will you feel like you can relax when you walk through that door or will you be faced with the mess you left this morning? If you look around and feel good about what you’ll be returning to, then by all means, run out that door and play!
Save your power-cleaning for a cold, rainy day. Today, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, just do what you must to maintain some order and a degree of cleanliness. You can be tidy and still get out there and enjoy the day.
Whether you’ve got a quick cleanup planned or a full-blown cleaning day planned, you can always use more ideas. Check out all the Spring Cleaning Tips For Mom and see if you can’t get out of the house faster!