September 11th 2012
archived under: 20 Chore Tuesday, Cleaning, Home & Garden

Hi Everyone! I missed 20 Chore Tuesday last week due to airline travel. I was going to post a link-up on Wednesday, but if you read my Airline Travel With Kids post, you know I was STILL traveling (Yes, I got stuck with the kids in Phoenix overnight.)

Well today I’m home, and still trying to catch up on chaos from the trip. My goal for today is to get things back to normal by doing an overall run-through of the house.

When I was a kid, I had (and loved) this book:

"Clean Your Room!" (Survival Series for Kids)

Sadly, it’s now out of print, but it was AWESOME. (Well, I was a bit of a neat freak as a kid, and my whole life I’ve loved “the right way to do things” types of books… so I might have been an outlier in LOVING this book.)

I still often use the techniques I learned from it. Here’s how the book instructed readers to clean up (As I remember it. Sadly I don’t have the book anymore.):

  1. Make your bed beautifully. Even if the rest is a wreck, that one step actually helps a lot and will give you hope!
  2. Start at the door, and go around the room picking up everything that is not where it belongs. Put all this junk on your bed. Now your room looks GREAT except for the pile of crap on the bed.
  3. I don’t remember if this was in the book or not, but now that all of your surfaces and floor are clear, it’s a great time to dust and vacuum. You can do this clockwise (or counter-clockwise, just pick one so you don’t skip around) around the perimeter too.
  4. Now put everything on your bed away. If you touch something, deal with it immediately. Just do it.
  5. Now your room is really clean!

You can use the same technique in any room of the house. In the living room, you can use the couch as your “bed”/working surface. In the kitchen, it could be your dining table. Or you could do what I do and use a laundry basket to collect all of the out-of-place items.

Ok… it might be crazy, but I just decided to order a used copy of the book. Because I really did love it that much. Aaaand…ordered!

Back to my 20 chore list for the day! We can just ignore that I’m ignoring the craft room/office, ok?

Pick Up (and put in a basket)

  • Kitchen/Dining
  • Living Room
  • Bedroom
  • A’s Room


  • Kitchen/Dining (also clean the counters really well)
  • Living Room
  • Bedroom
  • A’s Room

Vacuum/Roomba (Kitchen/Dining and Living Room are done automatically each night)

  • Bedroom
  • A’s Room
  • Sweep Kitchen/Dining

Bathrooms (both)

  • Clean toilets
  • Clean counters
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean tubs
  • Sweep & Clean floors

Put away (from the basket) – in “chunks,” setting a timer

  • 15 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 15 minutes

And there’s my “get the house under control again” 20 Chore Tuesday list! You might notice it doesn’t include any laundry. Well, I have laundry to do… but that can wait. Right now I’m feeling a bit tense because of the state of the house. It’s not TERRIBLE but it doesn’t feel good or comfortable to me at this point. After today it will again!

And now if you have a really easy method for cleaning your room/house, in case you felt clueless about where to start before.

SomebodyWithALotOfKids (1 comments)

That was a great list! I bought that book for my children, and they got it clean right away! Before, you couldn’t see the floor through a layer literally 2 feet high. I love this blog! Thank you more than I can say! I was a bit worried about mice and spiders. Thank you thank you thank you!

Joyful abode (191 comments)

I’m so glad it helped!!!

Good tips! I’m a neat freak too, while my sister happens to be the polar opposite. It’s total biology I think! We grew up in the same house.

Your instructions are pretty much exactly how I clean. Once you get everything up on your furniture, you HAVE to put it away, and that’s half the battle. And putting away everything you touch is my golden rule. I try to just keep moving and cleaning everything I see/touch until it’s done. Don’t stop or you lose momentum!

Any tips for helping toddlers learn to clean? That would be a good post. Sebastian will put things away perfectly only if I offer him some incentive – “We can eat dinner once these bowls are put away,” etc.

Joyful Abode (1044 comments)

Hmmm for toddlers? I don’t know. I make a game of it sometimes, and if she seems confused, I’ll help her and model what to do… seems common-sense. But I’ll have to pay more attention to what I do. Anneliese LOVES to clean most of the time though. Today I changed Joey’s diaper and the dirty one was on the floor (all wrapped up, not open and nasty) for a few minutes. She spotted it, put down what she was doing, and threw it away without prompting. So helpful!

Leasa (3 comments)

good tips! I can use some of those!

Henni (18 comments)

So good to have you back! Glad you made it home safely through all that chaos… I will link up later – totally overslept due to the fact that i woke up at 3:30 and didnt fall asleep again until 7:30… So now I have to write the post first ;-)
Oh, and I love that cleanup strategy!

Jessica (36 comments)

I loved that book too!!! And I don’t think anyone would have made the case that I was a neat freak as a kid. But it was really satisfying to follow that plan, and effective.

Christina Nelson (122 comments)

Clean up my OFFICE.
I think this has been near the top of my list for months. But boy has other stuff gotten done while I avoid it!
Steam cleaned carpets
Couch cushion covers cleaned
Laundry done and put away
Stairs vacuumed
Kitchen floor washed
Cat box cleaned
And that was only yesterday.

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