Mrs. Clean

Tricks for maintaining a clean home.

When my children were growing up, our home was always bustling with kids, pets, visitors and activity. I knew I had to stay on top of things, but not drive myself too crazy. I adopted a “casually clean” policy. While I believe in having a clean house, I’m not one to have a perfect house. Though I like neatness and appreciate seeing my home in an orderly fashion, I’m not a meticulous housekeeper. I focus on the big picture— getting the chores done daily to allow more time to enjoy life.

Scatterbrained about where to start spring cleaning? It’s all in the way you look at it. You can tackle jobs little by little, making your home look good enough for you.

The following are some other things I’ve learned along the way in establishing Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and keeping a tidy home. While I’m retired now, I have cleaned my own home for more than 40 years. And believe me, after raising nine children, I know something about cleaning and being a busy parent.

  • Make a plan. Take moments each day to do chores right the first time. Cleaning is easier in the long run when you stay on top of things every day.
  • Get organized. There’s always going to be confusion when running a household. However, there will be less chaos if you take an organized approach to handling things. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Prefer to do laundry at night? That’s fine as long as the wash gets done. Also organize your priorities. If friends are stopping by unexpectedly, do what nurses call a triage: Prioritize things that need the most attention. Add shimmer and shine, beautify the bathroom, clean up the kitchen, cope with suspicious smells, dim the lights and break out the candles.
  • Designate certain days for cleaning certain things. Another key to organization is assigning a cleaning task to each day. This way, you’re not stuck inside cleaning all day on a Saturday.
  • Waste not, want not. I practice what I preach and encourage you to do the same by using the least amount of water and energy possible. I was born during the Great Depression and taught from an early age to respect money and our planet.
  • Avoid harsh disinfectants. The smell of cleaning products shouldn’t give you a headache. Read up on ingredients, making sure that anything you use is safe. If you must use commercial cleaning products with questionable ingredients, do so sparingly.
  • Keep the bathroom safe. For starters, keep medicine out of the reach of children. I also recommend the following pointers: Use a rubber mat with suction cups in the tub to prevent falls. Scrub it with hot soapy water, and hang the mat to dry weekly to avoid mildew growth. Keep hair dryers, curling irons and any electrical products away from sinks and tubs. Place bath mats on the floor in front of the tub and sink to help keep the floor dry. Watery floors mean slippery floors.
  • Involve your kids. Give your kids chores to do. Chores teach children to work hard— and they make your life a little easier. Make work fun for kids, inspiring them to complete tasks. I’d put a list of chores on the refrigerator. Whoever got up first got to pick the job he or she wanted to do, and the last child had to take what was left.

These are just a few tips to help you organize your home. Remember that you need not make yourself upset about housework. Why worry about it? Just do what you can and keep your home as neat as you like. It’s all about enjoying yourself along the way and taking good care of your family, your community and everything you love.

Tidying Up the Nursery and Bedrooms

  • Cribs, cradles and changing stations are bound to get milk, formula and much worse on them. Wash them down every week with hot water and a bit of mild soap. Don’t use any harsh disinfectants in rooms that baby frequents. You can use a bit of rubbing alcohol on stubborn spots, but never use bleach around baby.
  • Getting formula out of the carpet is one of the toughest stains to tackle. My advice is to wash formula spills quickly - or live with them forever! As soon as you see a spot, dab it with a mixture of two cups of warm water and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Continue blotting until the spot is gone.
  • To tackle mattress stains, apply a paste of baking soda and water to the spot with a soft cloth. Let it sit until dry, then brush the residue off with a hand broom or a clean cloth.