Pre-Holiday Clean-Up Day 6: Doing Double Duty

Once again, work responsibilities forced me to put off yesterday’s task of cleaning up the kiddos’ bedroom.  But then I thought about it and realized that the kids are big enough to clean their own bedroom.  Why should I clean it for them?  Instead, I’ll guide them through their own clean-up (jumping in to assist only when necessary), and that will free me up to focus on the main bathroom.  For your own home, feel free to use the last 2 days before Thanksgiving to work on the most important spaces that need to be cleaned up ( you don’t have to do the same rooms as me), and don’t be afraid to get your family involved, especially if it involves their own rooms or belongings.

840The Kids Room

Sometime before Christmas, I will take time to de-clutter and organize my kids toys, but today is not that day.  Today’s focus will be for my 2 kids to tidy up their room, so they have room to play while on their Holiday break.  I’ll guide them down the same list we used for the Master bedroom speed-cleaning.  I’ll just give them one step to do at a time, and I’ll try to get them to race the clock for fun.  Here’s the list:

1. Make beds

2. Put all clothes on bed and sort.  I’ll help them with the clean stuff, but they can get the dirties into their own hamper.

3. Books and papers on bed to sort.  Throw away any trash.

4. Put away books

5. Put away toys (I may need to assist with this step since the toy space is getting crowded).

6. Vacuum floor

kids 045Cleaning the Bathroom

While the kids are cleaning their room, I’ll be working on my bathroom.  For most of us, the bathroom is not our favorite room to clean, but it also doesn’t take very long.  I expect that the bulk of my time will be de-cluttering my bathroom cabinet.  Here’s how I’ll be working through the room:

1. Cleaning the shower:  I don’t need to make special time to clean the shower and bath — I’ll just tackle it while I take my morning shower!  I keep a little scrub sponge in the shower caddy, and when I’ve got the conditioner in my hair, I put a little shampoo on my scrubber and quickly scrub over the walls and tub surfaces.  A quick rinse, and its all done.  You could opt to do one wall of the shower each day, and you’ll never have to work hard on the shower again!

2. The floor:  Put any dirty clothes in the hamper and collect any used towels and bath rugs for the laundry.

3. The sink:  After I’m dressed, I’ll quickly clear the sink of any toiletries and I’ll use a Clorox wet wipe to clean the sink surfaces.

4. Toilet:  I’ll put a little bowl cleaner to soak while I declutter my bathroom cabinet.  Once, I’m done with the cabinet, I’ll swish the bowl, and then use another Clorox wipe to wipe the surfaces of the toilet.  Always work from the clean parts of the toilet to the dirty parts (lid 1st, then under the seat).  Don’t forget to tackle the base of the toilet and the floor around the toilet.

5.  The bathroom cabinet:  While the toilet is soaking, I’ll quickly “pick” through my bathroom cabinet to see what items can be tossed out or put back in a better places.  On frantic mornings, things can sometimes just get tossed back in the cabinet, so I may need to just do a little rearranging, so everything will fit nicely.  After I’ve culled and tidied for a few minutes, I’ll quickly wipe the outside of the cabinet with another wipe.

6. Mirror and walls:  Clean off your mirror, and check walls for any splatters.  Also, wipe off the door of any fingerprints.

7.  Sweep and damp mop the floors:  I have a tile floor, so when I want to do a quick job, I just use a couple of Clorox wipes to wipe down the floor.  When I have more time, I’ll actually get out the mop and bucket.   You decide what will work best for you today.

8. Replenish the linens and supplies:  Make sure the toilet paper is stocked, and add clean towels to the bathroom.  Once the area is rug, you can put it back in your clean bathroom.

And we’re done!  That didn’t take long at all.  The bathroom is clean and ready for guests.  And my kids room is all tidied up.  Tomorrow, I’ll do a quick tidy through all the rooms I’ve tackled already, and then I can focus on getting the outside of my house ready for lights and decorations.  The holidays are almost here!


Pre-Holiday Clean-Up Day 5: Speed Cleaning the Bedroom

I had planned to start on my Bedroom 2 days ago, but life got in the way.  I bet you understand how that is!  No problem…I’ll just have to adjust my schedule for the next 4 days.  Today’s plan will be to Speed Clean and organize my Master Bedroom.  Day 6 will focus on the Kids Room (or room of your choice), followed by 1 day on the Bathroom, and then our last day will be devoted to cleaning up our outside areas.  We still have plenty of time to finish getting our homes tidy before Thanksgiving.

808Speed Cleaning Your Bedroom

When I was young, my father taught me an easy, focused way to clean my messy bedroom, and I still use his plan to this day.  Just follow these 6 simple steps, and your bedroom will be clean in a jiffy:

1. Make your Bed:  In any bedroom of the house, always begin cleaning by making the bed.  Your bed will be come a sorting station while you clean, so be sure to either make your bed, or strip the bed of its linens and take them to the washer.

8092. Collect all clothing:  Bring all the clothing stashed around your room to your bed, starting at the floor and then the surfaces of the room.  1st, separate the clean clothing from the dirty clothes, and then put the dirty pile in the hamper or take it straight to the laundry.  Fold or hang up the remaining clothing on your bed until the bed is clear.  If you find anything that no longer fits, throw it in a bag for give-away.

8103. Collect all papers & books:  Any books or papers around the room should be stacked neatly on your bed.  Grab a trash bag and dispose of any trash from your pile of papers.  If papers need to be filed, put in a container to be filed later.  Then put away all the books where they belong.  By now, most of the mess in your room has likely been dealt with!

4. Miscellaneous:  Finish clearing any left-over items from your floor and put where they belong (if it’s not too big of a job, include the floor of your closet in the clean-up).  Clear your night stands and dressers of miscellaneous items and trash.  Don’t worry about cleaning out your closet or dressers at this point, just get the outside surfaces clear.

8245. Surfaces and mirrors:  You should have the room clear enough to start dusting.  Grab a feather duster, microfiber cloth or even a lightly damped rag, and begin dusting the furniture in your room.  I like to work clock-wise around the room, making a quick pass over all the surfaces, including pictures and mirrors.

6. The Floor:  Last on your list are the floors.  If you have carpets, start your vacuum.  If you have hardwoods, dust mop and then damp-mop your floor.

You Did It!!

Congratulations your room is now clean and tidy!  Its going to feel great to sleep in your clean room tonight!  As a finishing touch, you might want to spray a little disinfecting spray or light a candle to leave your room smelling nice.  If you laundered your bedding earlier, now is the time to make up the bed.  Now, go grab yourself a little something good to drink and relax for a while;  you’ve earned it!!


Pre-Holiday Clean-up Day 4: De-clutter the Living Room

home 002Daily Tune-Up
Before we move forward with our cleaning/ de-cluttering, lets take a few minutes to freshen up the areas we have already worked on in the kitchen and living room. Check your hotspots and see if there are items that need to be put away, check for dishes that need to be dealt with and dispose of any lingering trash. A little daily maintenance will keep everything nice. Once that is tackled, head back to the living room. If you didn’t get a chance to start or finish your Speed-cleaning yesterday, go ahead and work on that today. Once your cleaning is done, you are ready to move forward with de-cluttering or any deeper cleaning.

I’m Ready to De-clutter

Today, I have 2 tasks I’d like to accomplish:lr 001

1.  A Quick Mini de-clutter of my CD’s, books and videos.  All 3 of these areas are full to the brim and I’d like to make some breathing room.  I’m going to quickly peruse each area and just pick a few items in each area that I’d be willing to donate to Goodwill.  My goal is 5 items from each category.  Once I’m done, my bag will go immediately out to the garage or trunk in preparation for a donation run.


living room 0022. For weeks I’ve been wanting to tackle organizing my red living room cabinet.  I use it to house my CD’s, work files, extra books, bible study binders, greeting cards and in-box trays for my papers.  I need to get it a little more organized and functional.  Rather than pull everything out of the cabinet and start organizing, I’m just going to pull one category of items out at a time to de-clutter, organize and put back in place.  If I have to stop and start on my project, it will be easier to put back quickly if I’m only dealing with a few items at a time.  I’d love to get the whole cabinet done today, but I know I have lots of family activities to attend to this afternoon, so I’ll just do as much as I can.  Any de-cluttering I can complete will be progress!

What will you choose to do today to make your Living Room a more comfortable space to spend time with your family?  What cleaning or organizing do you need to do in there before you can decorate or put up your tree?  Pick 3 things and move toward your goal.  You can do it!

Pre-Holiday Clean-Up Day 3 – Speed Clean the Living Room

LR 001Today’s room, the Living room, is likely the most important room to get cleaned and organized because that is where most of our holiday decorations go, and its the place that most of our holiday guests will spend the most time in. I’m hoping to get this area clean and clear, and then keep it cozy and tidy throughout the season with a little daily maintenance.  Day 1 will be focused on speed cleaning the Living room.  You can use Day 2 to complete your cleaning, or work on any sections of the room you would like to de-clutter or deep clean.

spring-cleanDay 1 – Speed Clean Your Living Room

I’m going to give you a focused approach to tackling your cleaning in the Living room.  The first steps focusing on putting everything away, starting with the floor, and then clearing your surfaces — moving clockwise around the room from the door.  Make sure to have a garbage bag with you and either a box or laundry bin to collect items that need to be putaway elsewhere.  Once we have everything in its place, we will do a quick cleaning from top to bottom, again working around the room clockwise.  Here’s a Speed Cleaning list to follow:

1. Focus on clearing your floors.  Garbage goes in your bag, other room items go in laundry bag, and the rest gets put away.  (If you deal with largest items 1st, room will feel cleaner faster, and keep you motivated).

2. Focus on surfaces: table tops, couches, end-tables.  Work clock-wise around the room, moving as fast as you can.  Any papers that aren’t garbage can be stacked in one area to be dealt with last, separate from the items in the laundry basket.

3. Return items from basket to their rooms.  For the papers — if you know what to do with them, quickly do it; otherwise put them in a place where you can file them or deal with them later.

4.  Grab a feather-duster or rag, and start dusting all the surfaces in the room.  I bring a wet rag with me as well and wipe off my leather couches with me as I get to them (If yours aren’t leather, vacuum them at the vacuuming step).

5. Tackle any cleaning of glass, mirrors, and door knobs.  Anything icky.

5.  If you have hardwood, sweep or dust mop your floors.  Follow by vacuuming any rugs.  If you have just carpet, skip straight to the vacuuming.  Work swiftly.

6. Optional – Spot mop or wet mop the hardwood floors if you have them.  Then you are done!  Take some time to relax and enjoy.

My Goal for Today

Due to work, I’ll be doing my speed cleaning this evening (possibly after kids are in bed).  I plan to complete it in an hour or less.  I’ll put on my favorite cleaning music, grab my supplies and get moving.  I hope you will join me today or tomorrow to tackle your own Living room.  It will feel so good to wake up to nice fresh Living room tomorrow morning!  Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of my clean Living room and some fun de-cluttering.  See you then!

Pre-Holiday Clean-Up Days 1 & 2 – Kitchen Duty

clean 012 We are starting on our Pre-holiday Clean-up!  First room is the Kitchen.  We are spending 2 days in there, so if you didn’t get a chance to start with us yesterday, just jump right in.  We’ve still got plenty of time to make a nice start for the holidays.

Day 1 in the Kitchen

Yesterday, I was able to do a nice tidy of the kitchen.  And just so you know that my kitchen isn’t always spotless, I’ve posted a “Before” photo to prove it!  My focus yesterday was just to do a general cleaning of the kitchen.  I put away food that was out, tossed the trash, dealt with dishes and cleared my bar and table of all my work papers.  Our 1st pass in each room we work on will always be to get everything put where it belongs.  Then we can start on deeper cleaning or de-cluttering on a different day.

If you have yet to complete your general tidy of the kitchen, you might consider using Flylady’s fabulous Crisis Cleaning podcast at  It focuses on 3 rooms, but when I really need a boost, I’ve been known to repeat the kitchen part of the podcast 2-3 times.  Just work until everything is back in place and dishes are clean.  We are working from the outside to the inside in each room.

clean 013Today’s task for Day 2:

Before starting on today’s tasks, I made sure to do a quick 10-min. touch-up of the kitchen.  I made sure breakfast dishes were dealt with and that my surfaces were tidy.  As we go through the week, if you do a little tidy of the past areas each day, everything will stay nice and you can continue forward.

Today I will be focusing on cleaning a little deeper.  I have chosen 3 tasks I would like to try to complete: (1) Clear top of the refrigerator, (2) clean my ceiling fan (3) and spot clean the area rug under my kitchen table.  If time allows, I might clean out my refrigerator or do a little de-cluttering in the pantry, but I want to keep my goals realistic.  I can’t deep clean everything today, so I’ll focus on just 3 things.  I can always do a little more if I have time.  I challenge you to pick 3 reasonable tasks to complete in your kitchen.  If you are still getting things tidy, keep on going!  Just having a tidy kitchen will make you feel great and get you moving in the right direction.

Tackling the Pre-Holiday Clean-Up

Christmas wreathHello Friends!  In America, we have 10 days, including today, until Thanksgiving Day.  Rather than hitting the stores on Black Friday, I traditionally use that day to begin my Christmas decorating.  In the past I’ve just done a clean-as-I go approach to my decorating, tackling the cleaning in each area before immediately decorating each area in my home.  This year, I thought I would try something different — I am going to take the next 10 days to tidy, deep-clean and de-clutter my home in preparation for the  holidays.  Not only will this leave my house sparkly and fresh for Thanksgiving, but it will also have everything clean so that I can freely decorate away on Friday without the hassle of dusting and organizing at the same time.  Would you like to join me??

The Plan

My home has 5 main rooms (not including the laundry area in the garage), so I plan to tackle each room over the course of 2 days each.  The bathroom likely won’t need more than 1 day, so that will leave me either a bonus day for one of the rooms, or I can use that day to prepare my porch or do a little de-cluttering in hidden areas.  Your home is likely a different size than mine, so adjust the order or time spent per room to fit your individual needs.  Here’s what I’ll be working on:

Day 1 & 2: Kitchen

Day 3 & 4: Living Room

Day 5 & 6: Bedroom

Day 7: Bathroom

Day 8 & 9: Kids’ Room

Day 10: Bonus Clean-up/ De-clutter or Outside Areas

Working Through The Rooms

When tackling each room, focus on working from the outside in.  Always work on the exposed areas of the room that everyone can see, before tackling hidden areas like inside your cabinets or closets.  On Day 1, start out with just a nice general clean-up of the room —  clear the floor, clear your hot-spots.  Get everything put where it belongs.  On Day 2, you can either finish this task, or you may start deeper cleaning like dusting, or de-clutter a few items you no longer need.  Since we are limited on time, focus any de-cluttering to just “picking” individual items from your spaces, rather than emptying everything out of a cabinet.  That will make it easier to create space without making a big pre-holiday mess!

Tomorrow, I will post on my own kitchen progress, and continue to share tips throughout the process.  I hope you’ll join me on creating a sparkly environment for your holidays!