**Thank you to Clorox® Bleach for sponsoring this post. All thoughts, opinions and stories represented in this post are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that support TCM!
Ok, maybe not squalor but a lot of clutter and chaos, which has led to me avoiding doing any sort of household cleaning or organization. I basically just move clutter from one surface to another and spend most nights eating on the couch using a pillow as my table because there's no room on the coffee table, #truestory.
But now that it's 2017 and I am all about organization, that means cleaning too. I used to be a total rockstar at cleaning! When I moved in with E five years ago, I was always cleaning. The floors, the toilet, the shower/tub, the dishes, and the clothes! I did it all like a true wannabe Stepford Wife.
Fast forward to getting my first real #adult job (aka a 9-5) and I literally could not function. Slowly I fell deeper and deeper into my quarter life crisis, and didn't move from my bed and trusted Netflix unless it was to refill my ice cream cup.
E stepped up during that time and took over a lot of things around the house, but for the last two years I've been in business for myself, which means working from home. For some reason, I can't pull myself out of this funk I fell into while working a 9-5 which has left a lot of household chores still on E's shoulders. So this year I really want to get back to being an equal partner around the house and get organized with a cleaning schedule. If I don't have a game plan telling me exactly what I should be doing and when, I totally plop myself on the couch and don't move until I've binged 18 hours of whatever latest show there is.
The Game Plan:
Start by writing down each area of the home to tackle:
1) Get that dang Christmas tree down! I know a whole lot of you are like me and normally leave your tree up 'til April, but not this year! I tackled our tree before anything else.
2) The Kitchen. Ok, probably should've started with the bathroom, but let's ease into this whole yellow gloves thing.
3) The Bathroom. Seriously not looking forward to this one, but at least we only have one and it's small!
4) Cleaning out the closets. I still have Hollister and A&F tees from high school in there that just need to go!
5) The floors. Maybe I'll leave those for the cleaning lady…
*Since our apartment is literally just our bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and a main room that kind of joins to the kitchen, my game plan is shorter than yours might be. Make sure to write out a game plan for all areas of your home!
I would strongly recommend tackling one a week if you haven't cleaned in a long time. Once you've been keeping up with cleaning, I would recommend getting into the habit of doing one small 5-minute task a day (which is how I used to do it before I started failing at this whole adult thing).
How I Am Hacking Cleaning Around The Home:
1) Christmas Tree.
There's not much I can do about the Christmas tree situation. I kind of just had to do it. If I had a roomba, maybe that bad boy could've cleaned the mess under the tree… Or maybe next year I could line underneath the tree with newspaper like a pet pen?
2) The Kitchen.
Alright, this bad boy has a foul stench going on that no matter how many Bath & Body Works candles I light, I can't seem to cover it up! The main culprit is really our trash can. I've been making a lot of excuses as to “why I can't clean the trash can,” but I need to suck it up. Start by rinsing with soapy water (ideally outside, but we live in a second story apartment, and if I did this the restaurant below us probably wouldn't be happy with dumping this on patrons heads, so I am doing this in the shower). Next, I deodorized and sanitized with 1 gallon of water and 1/2 cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach and 1 cup of water by letting the mixture stand in the can for 5-10 minutes. Dump, rinse, and let dry before putting a bag in!
*I am scheduling this for one Tuesday every month
Next up is the cutting board. We actually have 4 cutting boards because I get so skeeved out by germs and raw meat. But when doing research for how to sanitize them I found that I could sanitize them with Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Seriously, why had nobody ever told me this before? I just kept buying cutting boards and running them through the dishwasher once a week (which inevitably led to a horrible smell in our dishwasher because #rawchickenbakinginaplasticboxDUH)
But now that I am #adulting, let's take care of those cutting boards appropriately: Start by rinsing with dish soap and water.
Then for plastic: Soak in a solution using 2 teaspoons of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. Let stand 2 minutes, then air dry.
And For wood: Mix 2 Tablespoons of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water to create a sanitizing solution. Apply the solution to the cutting board and let it stand for 2 minutes. Finally, rinse with a solution of 2 teaspoons of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. Do not rinse or soak overnight.
FUN FACT: You can reduce cutting board odors by rubbing them with halved lemons and then rinsing with cold water.
Cabinets: Don't forget to wipe those bad boys down! You can even use the same solution from the trash can adventure (½ cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water) to wipe down sealed or painted enamel cabinets. And don't forget all the handles on drawers and doors!
* Scheduling all the drawers and knobs for one day a month and all the cabinet faces another day a month since we have a lot more of those and really small knobs – remember to break it into a 5-10 minute task!
3) The Bathroom.
OK, TBH I have a history of letting mold grow in our showers. I know that is probably super gross to most of you, but I lived in a frat house and some other questionable places throughout my life and just got wayyyy to used to dirty bathrooms.
Shower curtain: Ok will someone get rid of these things? I hate them! All showers should just have doors! But since every apartment I move into seems to have shower curtains, I finally realized this year why some shower curtains are more expensive than others… Apparently, you can wash them! Not all of them. But some of them. I think… WHO THE HECK KNEW AND WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME? I digress, it's beyond easy. Just take the baby down, and throw it in the washing machine with 1/2 cup of Clorox by itself or with like colors & detergent (check your shower curtain for full directions – seriously this thing is just like a piece of clothing! who knew?). Then just hang it back up!
* I do this once every 3 months and am scheduling it in my planner!
Grout: True story, E and I thought our last apartment had black mold and that we were going to die. But it was just mildew and we were fine. I mixed 1/2 cup Clorox with 1 Gallon of water and filled a spray bottle with it. I sprayed all the grout then covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours (because it was that bad, this isn't necessary though), and then I just rinsed and had white and clean grout again! Totally recommend getting in the habit of spraying down your shower grout once a month to keep it fresh!
* I do this once a month
I am pretty good about keeping the rest of the bathroom clean, so I do the mirrors one day, the sink another day, and the toilet once or twice a month.
4. Cleaning out the closets.
If it's more than 5 years old and I've only worn it twice, I am tossing it. I still haven't actually done this though, so we'll see what actually happens.
5. The Floors
I really want a Roomba after watching the Rossen report on the Today Show a few weeks ago… but until then I am going to be sweeping weekly, and vacuuming and mopping once a month. Do you guys have any cleaning hacks for this?
In honor of Bachelor fever going around (don’t forget to join TCM’s fantasy league! Full directions are in the middle of this post); Did you know that you can add 1/4 teaspoon to each quart of cold water to keep your flowers fresher longer? Someone tell that to ABC handing out all those roses!
Oh wait… maybe that’s how they keep those roses looking so fresh? Totally explains the partnership with Clorox on those “Bleachable moments” last year!
How are you organizing around your home and cleaning schedule for the new year? Drop me a comment! Also, share any of your cleaning hacks!