Cold weather is beginning to kick and it is time to start preparing for the days that lie ahead. There are two things I do that help us get ready for the majority of time indoors.
In spring and fall, I do a deep clean to get us organized. This should be a family event with everyone pitching in. The last thing you want in the winter is to be stuck inside with clutter. A weekend or two will give you plenty of time to reorganize. E= It is fact that children, pets, and adults all are happier and more content in a clean and organized home. Attitudes and behaviors are a great self focus. But, family functioning involves more. That includes being organized and clean.
Another great thing to do is get on a schedule. Plan some fun family events and some times alone. I have shared with you my cleaning tips along with my family fun and alone time ideas. Being trapped indoors can be stressful. You want to make sure you have balance.
Clothes and Closets
Focus on your closets and clothing. Throw out old socks and underwear. If there are clothes that do not fit or things you do not wear, put them in a pile.
After doing this, organize and clean your closet and dresser drawers. Be sure to clean up the floor of the closet and underneath and behind your dressers. I always take this time to get behind and underneath everything. Dust and debris quickly build up in these areas.
Go through the pile of clothes and decide what is worth selling and what needs thrown away. I always put our clothes up for sale on Facebook in the Marketplace and on our local rummage sites. I have tried various places and have the most luck there. My rule of thumb is if it does not sell in a couple weeks, it gets donated. My goal each season is to clean out, not pile up.
Have your kids and husband do the same thing with their clothes if they are able. Lessen your load as much as possible.
I also go through all of our jackets and sweatshirts at this time. I make sure they are washed and clean. I begin putting our summer clothes away and only leave out a few summer outfits. Set up your space for the colder weather.
Last, I make a list of all the things we need for the season. Oftentimes, my kids will need a new wardrobe because they have grown so much. Make a list of only your needs for now. Focus on chipping away at the list while you are out shopping. I always look for sales and deals, but only go with what is on my needs list first. I have no issue with stopping by places like Goodwill and garage sales. I check look online at stores for their weekly sales. The goal is to save as much money as I can, yet buy quality clothing that will last. I never go for things I want until I have bought what I need on my list. That way, I never overspend.
For some tasks, it is easier to just focus on the room. For others, it is best to get things done at once. Here are some areas I do all at once:
Baseboards/Walls/Light switches/door knobs
Vacuum/mop under beds and furniture
Organize garage and shed-put up summer toys
Clean up yard and outside of house
Wash all comforters
Dust wall hangings/decor/tops of doorways
*Make as much of this a family event as possible. If kids are old enough, you can have them clean out under their beds and help with some chores. When doing windows, I make sure to clean the ledge really good and the frame. You would not believe the dirt that builds up in those areas. If you have stairs, the banister and railing are another thing that gets dirtier than they look. I always clean my spots on the wall, doorknobs, and light switches. Wall hangings, decor, ceiling fans, and tops of doorways are another focal point. Those also accumulate unseen dirt. I prep my yard for winter by preparing my plants and washing my siding. I put the summer items up such as water toys to reduce clutter in the garage and shed.
Room by Room
The rest of my duties are just me going in each room and cleaning it out. Do not forget areas such as sun rooms and laundry rooms. Include hall closets and pantries. Make sure you cover each part of the house.
I focus on one room at a time. I have family help where I can. I clean out drawers, clean behind things, and leave nothing untouched. If I am in a kitchen or a bathroom, I scrub around the sink/faucet/toilet area really well. I organize all my shelves and cabinets. I completely empty my fridge/freezer and scrub it down. I pull out my stove, fridge, and microwave and clean behind it. I file and organize my bills and important paperwork.
To ensure you miss nothing, look over the room and make a quick list before starting. The goal is to pay close attention to things you do not normally clean. You want to organize spaces and free them of clutter. It is hard to keep a home clean with added nonsense laying around in every corner.
My cleaning supplies
Melamine sponges: These are great for cleaning walls, spots, and set in stains. Although expensive, I always use them when deep cleaning my house. I always have a couple handy for my daily tasks as well.
Scrub sponges: I use these for dirt and grime build up. I always buy once that are brown or white. The ones that are green tend to leave stains when you scrub.
Microfiber towels: This is a product that you want to spend a little extra money on. Do not buy the cheaper versions. They do not work half as well. My towels came in a three pack for 10 dollars. They are excellent for grabbing dust off of tvs, computers, and blinds. I also use them to clean stainless steel.
Scrub brushes: I buy a variety of sizes and styles. The ones at the dollar store work just fine. I use these for cleaning around sinks and in corners. They are great for scrubbing around the tub and toilet. I also use them to clean my siding and my stone floor. Another handy idea is to hang on to old toothbrushes.
Lysol with peroxide: I use this for scouring my bathrooms. Due to hard water, I must use a product that has more chemicals than I desire. I have yet to find a green cleaner that does its job in the bathroom. If you know of one, let me know in the comments section!
Disinfecting wipes: These are higher in chemical content than I desire, but I like the convenience and the disinfecting properties. I know you can also make these yourself with paper towels and vinegar. Pinterest has a ton of unique ideas on this. I do not go for name brands here. These are handy for everyday use. It makes it really easy for me to wipe up things quickly when on the go. The cost is higher than most products, but the convenience is worth the added money to me.
Puracy: This is a multi purpose cleaner that works wonders. You can also use it to clean mirrors and windows. It is low in chemical content. I typically buy a spray bottle that is ready to use along with a bottle of concentrate. It costs around 30 bucks for both. The price is high, but the 2 products will last you roughly six months.
Aunt Fannies Floor Cleaner: I love Aunt Fannies products. All of them are vinegar based with essential oils. They have a variety of items for sale. I typically buy the lavender scent. The product cost is roughly 8 dollars. The liquid is concentrate and lasts me three months. It is chemical free and safe for pets and children.
Seventh Generation: I use their toilet bowl cleaner and their dishwasher liquid. They are comparable to other brands in the store and are lower in chemical content.
*These are just a few of my cleaning favorites. These products will get the job done with less chemicals than the norm. I used these items to do all of my fall cleaning.
Do you want to know more about the products in your cleaning supplies. Are you interested in safer alternatives? There are two excellent apps for your phone that are free. Check the information out on my green cleaning blog post.
My seasonal cleaning takes me about two weekends to accomplish. It is worth every bit of time we spend. It keeps our house organized, it reduces clutter, and it cleans up areas we do not normally tackle each week. If you are new to this, it may take you a little longer. By doing this each season, you are reducing the time you spend by solely spring cleaning. A year to allow dust and debris to accumulate is a long time.
When cold weather kicks in, a lot of time is spent indoors. Keep up with your space as much as possible during these months. Try to maintain organization through the house. It makes living more comfortable. Have children participate in chores if they can. You should not have to do this alone. Make it a team effort. After all, this is for the whole family and each member helped create the mess.
After you are done, plan your fun!
Family Winter Fun:
We have a variety of things we do both indoors and outdoors as a family in the winter. Take a drive in the car or grab a sled and enjoy the snow for a moment. We always try to go to the indoor swimming pool at the YMCA as well. We love to swim in the summer. This gives us some time to enjoy it a little in the winter as well.
Think of some of the things you can do to get outside some.
Indoor activities can include things like game nights and movie nights.
Try and set aside a least two weekend days a month to do something enjoyable together.
When you are in the house together often, you wear on each others’ nerves. A good thing to do is set aside alone time. There is nothing wrong with sending kids to their room at a certain hour where they can play quietly and spend time to themselves. They actually need a break too and will eventually appreciate it.
Take this time to do something you enjoy. Read a book, get involved with a craft, or do something you enjoy. Do a Bible study or take a hot bath.
My husband and I even spend time alone. It is nice to just unwind and relax.
Plan a winter time schedule. This way you can enjoy one another through the entire winter.
I never leave a post without telling all of you that without my relationship with Christ, nothing would be easy or possible. Things can get quite hectic around here. God is the best therapist you will ever find. Know and Grow with God today!