Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Cleaning Shortcuts


I have a cleaning tool that works wonders to quickly clear your house of clutter. In mere minutes it will transform your messy home into a place where you can have guests.

The best part is you do not have to go out and buy it. I am willing to bet you have this tool already in your home! You just need to assign it a 2nd job.

Are you ready for it?


A laundry basket!


Here's how you use it. About 15 minutes before guests are due to arrive at your home or whenever the stuff begins driving you crazy, you grab your laundry basket and begin throwing everything into it that looks like clutter. Piles of papers you need to go through, toys, art creations your children brought home, anything that looks bad sitting out or is not in its proper place. Then when your basket is full, or the doorbell rings, you go stash the basket in your master bedroom closet.

Now if you are super organized, you should, soon after guests leave, go through the basket and put everything in its appropriate spot. But, if you were super organized, then you probably have no excess clutter for the basket in the first place.

If you are more like me, then any time in the next 3 weeks that you or any member of your family are looking for something, consult the basket, chances are it is there. Then at the end of 3 weeks or so, anything left remaining in the basket can probably be thrown away!

This trick works great if you are trying to sell your house and must be constantly getting ready for potential buyers to see it! Two years ago when we had our old house on the market and 2 small children, whenever I left the house before a showing, I'd strap the kids into their car seats (to end their ability to create anymore messes) and then head back inside and toss everything that was out of place into the basket. Then I'd put the basket in the back of my SUV and off we'd go, clutter and all!


Now, if this speed cleaning method does not float your boat, I have another.

Schedule a pest-control spraying of your home and then forget about it until 30 minutes before.

I did this one day, and on a day that had a rough morning. It was lunchtime and even the breakfast dishes had not been done! Suddenly I remembered to consult my calendar and there it was, the appointment for 30 minutes later! I launched into a cleaning mode I have never again been able to replicate. Dishes were done, toys were put away, floors were mopped, beds were made, and the clothes that were waiting to be folded on the couch were thrown back into the dryer!

My house looked great in 30 minutes!! It was amazing! I guess the fear of a man who specializes in bugs walking through every room in my home and thinking it was messy was powerful motivation!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

30 comments:

  1. I ♥ my laundry basket! And my sister sent me a link to a For Better or For Worse comic strip the other day--Ellie was feeling unmotivated to clean up. So, she got on the phone. Little Michael asked her what she was doing. "Inviting someone critical over for dinner." ;) Works every time!

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  2. I totally do this when my car clutter gets out of control...I have a large laundry basket sitting in the garage right now, full of junk from my car. Great tip!

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  3. Oh my goodness, I love this idea and honestly have not thought about this! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Oh, the bug man thing is too funny!!

    I thought I was the only one who uses a laundry basket in this way. Unfortunately, I have many laundry baskets and they are usually filled with misc. rubbish instead of clean clothes... oh, well. Domestic Goddess I will never be.

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  5. This is my husband's method of cleaning up; he calls it the 'clutter bucket'. Unfortunately, ours always sit around for weeks too.

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  6. oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one who did this!!! It really does come in handy. Sometimes I just take it into a room with me while I clean and just put all the out-of-place items in it while I clean!

    Loved your one about the pest guy coming over. Once I forgot my husband's sis and bil were coming over and I just flew around neating and cleaning! Talk about motivation!

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  7. Ah yes, nothing increases productivity like the last minute. I hear ya. One tool that I have found that helps make me a little less messy and it goes along with this is having a timer. Making myself do a little in small increments of time allows me to focus.

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  8. Fabulous advice. I think I will try that soon.

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  9. And here I thought I was SO clever because I do this at my house! I use laundry baskets ALL THE TIME! Another thing I do: I start in one room and fill it up with anything that needs to be brought to another room in the house. THen I move onto the next room, unload the items in the basket that belong in that room, and then throw more items in it that need to go in another room. I do this from room to room, ending in the room in which I began. It saves SO MUCH TIME making trip after trip from one room to another!

    Great minds must think alike! :)

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  10. Great tip...will definitely implement it.

    TFS!

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  11. So funny! I'm guilty of this too! So glad I'm not the only one who declutters quickly with a laundry basket.

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  12. I use this tip all of the time! Except that the stuff usually stays in that basket for months instead of weeks! I think the one in my master closet has been there (shamefully) since November when we had my son's 5th birthday party!!! You are right that most of it can be thrown away by the time I get around to doing anything about it. Gotta go...that laundry basket is calling my name...!!!

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  13. So true how fast we can get things done when we realize people are coming over. I love the laundry basket idea. :D

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  14. LOL I can only imagine you running around like crazy before the exterminator came! =) Having guests over, especially ones who will be poking around your house, is a great motivator!

    ~Kate
    "Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"
    http://proverbs14-1.blogspot.com

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  15. Ha!! I actually do 3 quick pick ups throughout the day to prevent clutter build up. Kids are all trained to do this too but...Believe it or not...our exterminator sends us a card about a week before they come for our quarterly spraying. I like to get business out the way first thing so we are always the 8 am appointment. The last two times we went out of town, we returned home very late and dumped our suitcases and went to bed exhausted. We woke up late the next morning and were waiting for showers (with 9 of us that takes a while) and looking for clean clothes (suitcases filled with dirty) and making breakfast (dishes all over, a mess with people digging in the fridge that had been empty since we left)...and the exterminator showed up for our service. Of course it was completely unexpected since we hadn't gone through the mail that came while we were away!

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  16. ROFL!!! You are TRULY a woman after my own heart! I thought I was the ONLY one who threw things in a box, basket, etc. only to retrieve them weeks, months, years? later and feel like I went shopping!

    And I've never hired an exterminator. Too afraid it might be me us he goes for. No pest could make the mess around here WE do! lol

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  17. This sounds like me! However, my pile usually is just thrown into the closet. Putting it in a laundry basket will definitely help. Thanks for the tip!!

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  18. I used to use the laundry basket technique. Unfortunately those baskets never get emptied and instead the contents get tossed in to tubs, and those tubs end up in the garage and now I have 40 some tubs to sort through. I've since gotten rid of all but 1 laundry basket and now it holds clothes ONLY. If I let myself clean like that, I'll never do it right.

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  19. girl this is a great idea and doable I know been there but really like my do a little each day approach better LOL

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  20. you mean there's another way to clean??? LOL!

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  21. LOL...sounds like the way I clean...panic mode! :) I'm working on changing that...

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  22. Great tips! I use my laundry basket to clean out the car too, lots easier than making lots of trips in and out of the house.
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Liz

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  23. Great idea!!! I'll be trying this out!

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  24. Great idea! But first I would have to take the clean laundry out that hadn't been folded for several days.

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  25. I have never thought of this but love it!

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  26. Wow. That is a great idea. I have way to much clutter. Thanks

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  27. This is so funny...this hits a little too close to home. I use this trick a little TOO much-- let me just say I have more than one basket! You're right though, it works well!!

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  28. You are too funny....I am guilty of this too!

    :)

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