Keeping the home: three of five

Don't miss Parts 1 and 2:
Keeping the home: 1 of 5 (Thoughts on housekeeping and things I do to keep my home)
Keeping the home: 2 of 5 (The ABC’s – Organizational Tips)

Part Three: Step-by-Step-Overhaul–Room #1 The Bathroom

Let’s start with the bathroom. Please remember: this is not for the weary, the weak, or the wobbly! This is written for the wonder-women who want to dig in and dig deep…it is geared for the ladies who have not learned good habits (or followed them) and who are interested in making changes so that housekeeping is not longer overwhelming, but simply a matter of upkeep!

The bathroom is likely one of the smallest rooms in the house and should be less overwhelming to “overhaul.” Your bathroom may not require an “overhaul,” however to show detail, I will write from that perspective.

Deep Cleaning: As with each room we will discuss, the bathroom will be cleaned from top to bottom and organized in every nook and cranny. This kind of cleaning and organization may seem foreign to some, but will benefit your home for years to come, provided, of course that you spend a few minutes each day putting things in their place.

Remember, you will need an initial investment of time and effort in order to get to the maintenance stage. This is a beginning, this is not weekly cleaning. Once you have cleaned a room this way, it will require little effort to keep it in order, providing you have trained yourself and your family well.

  • I suggest that you remove decorative items from the bathroom as if you were going to paint it. This will allow you to clean the walls (vacuum for flat paint, wipe for other paint). Working from top to bottom seems to make the best sense.
  • Clean (dust or wash) all decorative items.
  • If you have a light fixture that needs cleaning, don’t forget to take it apart and wash the globe. Also vacuum or scrub any fan vents. These accumulate filth.
  • After the bathroom walls are clean, clean around the rim of the shower, clean the shower walls and clean the tub. Don’t forget the fixtures and any hard water deposits. You may also need to take down the shower curtain, if you have one, and wash it. If you have mildew, try Tilex. Just be sure to ventilate with a fan or window. I try to use mostly ‘green’ cleaners, but occasionally Tilex is the only thing to get the job done.
  • Next clean the toilet. Begin at the tank, work down to the bowl, and all of the surrounding areas. I use an easy to use toilet cleaner and brush for the bowl and paper towels (or rags) with a cleanser for the rim and surrounding areas. Clorox wipes are also good for the surrounding areas…I used them when I had lots of little ones for quick clean ups.
  • Next, do the sink: all the rims, fixtures, mirror, and anything that is kept on the sink as well. An all purpose cleaner works well for this.

For Organization: clean out any drawers and also under the sink.

  • To organize the drawers, use small containers from a dollar store to house small objects (girls’ hair items, grooming items, etc)—this keeps things from floating in the drawers and causing a mess.
  • If you have lots of items to store, consider a “behind the door” organizer of sorts, or adding a small cabinet.
  • Under the sink, it is helpful to have an open top container to keep cleaning items or extra items you store for later use (I use the containers meant for a dish drain–open square plastic containers).
  • I recommend taking everything out, wiping down all the surfaces and putting it all back in an organized way (First aid items together, grooming items together, new items to use when old ones are gone together…).
  • Finally, you are ready to mop the floor and return your decorations to the bathroom.

Your bathroom will be very clean and will rarely need this kind of overhaul again. From this point on you will do a bit at a time (i.e., remove shower curtain and do a deep clean in the shower one month, do walls another month—larger jobs in small increments as you see that they need refreshing).

Some maintenance tips for quick cleaning the bathroom and not letting it get out of hand again are:

  • Purchase disinfectant wipes (or make your own) for quick cleaning the toilet daily.
  • Keep cleaning supplies under the sink so you can clean the tub, sink, and toilet with surrounding areas every few days. Cleaning these items every few days will avoid soap scum build up, hard water deposit build up and a need for another overhaul!
  • Encourage those who shower to spray shower walls with a shower spray such as Clean Shower, Tilex, or Method (an environmentally friendly cleaner sold at Target) each day. This keeps the shower walls clean, including doors, and lessens any mildew buildup.
  • Assign someone the chore of cleaning the sink and mirror daily after teeth are brushed. This is a three minute job and makes things much neater in the bathroom.

If you have done your job well, and have trained yourself and your children to put things back where they belong and to clean up after themselves, you will never have a dirty disorganized bathroom again! Plan some under-the-sink maintenance periodically as you purge and/or gather new items.

After a job like this, you deserve a soak in the tub…add candles and your favorite music…bring a vitamin water and enjoy a soak in your lovely bathroom!!

Category: Musings
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