Some of us love cleaning, some of us hate cleaning. I fall into the latter group. I'm also a green freak, cheap freak and health freak. Kind of makes keeping house tough. But I also have a stubborn gene, which has allowed me to maintain my standards and clean my house. Here is my three-day plan to makeover your approach to cleaning.
Day 1: Stockpile: Toss the heavy-duty chemical, don't-breathe-in-while-cleaning supplies. After you've detoxed, go buy your new green, cheap cleaning provisions: baking soda, vinegar, lemons, limes, oranges, a bottle of vodka, some sea salt and a couple of scrubbing brushes. You're collecting safe and effective tools of the cleaning trade: Vodka is a great disinfectant that doesn't leave streaks; sea salt replaces abrasive scrubs; and vinegar can clean just about anything (and if you add some baking soda, you'll have a great big, bubbling scrubbing mix). Drop in the juice from the fruit and everything smells natural, healthy and clean.
Day 2: Make a list, check it twice: For my list, I use a little yellow sticky stuck to my computer screen that reads: Monday, bathrooms; Tuesday, bedrooms; Wednesday, laundry; and so on. You get the idea. Put it somewhere handy, and be sure to include dusty, musty things like bookshelves and annoying things like floors. I have dedicated Thursdays just to floors: They rate their own day.
Day 3: Got two minutes? Now it's time to clean. While you won't finish a whole room in two minutes, you can tackle part of it in two minutes, take a rest and then come back. Here's how I do it. Let's take Monday. I get my cleaning supply kit and head to the bathroom. I toss everything that's not nailed down into a "clean box" (did I mention you need an empty box to toss things into?). I pick up my mix of vinegar and lemon-lime spray (from a repurposed spray bottle) and spritz every single thing in sight. Then I let it sit, which is the secret to cleaning. The spray has to meet the dirt, have small talk, infiltrate and destroy. You should be done in about two minutes.
Day 3: Part 2: Head back to the soaked bathroom and with a reusable towel and brushes in hand, start scrubbing. You have two minutes, so make them count. When those two minutes are up, rest, and then go back to buff and dry, then put back all the goodies. Add a little charm to each room you've cleaned by adding a small bouquet of fresh flowers, or better yet, flowers mixed with some of your homegrown herbs, like sage and rosemary. Get seed packs for less than $1, and you'll have a free and never-ending supply of room refreshers that are green in every way.
Repeat this two-minute rule for every room. By breaking up your home into days of cleaning, you'll stress less. By using chemical-free cleaning supplies, you'll feel better and save money while saving the planet.