Simple Laundry Saving Tip

Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets

Making small changes here and there can save you money. And after a little while, the savings really start to add up.

One of the ways that I save on laundry is to cut my fabric softener dryer sheets in half. I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl when I learned to do laundry. My mother would always remind us to tear the dryer sheet in half. The half of a dryer sheet still does the job, and I’m getting twice as many dryer sheets out of each box!

When I don’t find great sales on dryer sheets, then I’ll make my own dryer sheets.

Here are more ways to save money on laundry:

Tips to Save Money on Laundry
How to Make a Pre-Wash Stain Remover Spray
Homemade Fabric Softener
Make your own Dryer Sheets
Homemade Wrinkle Release Spray

What do you do to save money on laundry?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This is the last of the Spring Cleaning Series. If you’ve missed any of them, you can read them by starting with Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started.

The idea of spring cleaning your house every year can be overwhelming. There is so much to do, and it can take hours to do it. So this week I’d like to share ideas on how to keep your house clean all year long so that when spring comes, you will only have a few items that need a deep clean. Or better yet, you won’t have to worry about spring cleaning because you incorporated a cleaning routine through the year.

The key to a clean home is cleaning it consistently. Try to incorporate some of these tips into your daily routine to help you maintain a clean and organized home.

1. Set Realistic Goals and Create a Checklist
When trying to keep the house clean set realistic goals. With two young children, I know that I cannot clean the entire house in a single day, but I can accomplish one major task each day.

Begin by making a checklist of everything that you would normally do during your spring cleaning such as washing all the linens and drapes, wiping down baseboards, washing windows inside and out, cleaning out your pantry, washing your shower curtains, organizing your linen cabinets, wiping down walls and cleaning doorknobs and light fixtures.

Continue doing your normal daily routine, but add an extra hour each week towards accomplishing just one of these tasks on your list. Check off the item that you accomplish and press on to the next one. By devoting one hour a week towards your spring cleaning goals you will have a more manageable deep cleaning routine.

And it’s even easier if you break it down to a chore a day. Just one “10-minute cleaning frenzy” such as dusting the ceiling fans or cleaning all toilets can make a big impact in a short period of time.

Make sure to put your spring cleaning task on your calendar each week. You’ll remember to do it if it’s written on the calendar.

2. Use Baskets to Contain and Control Clutter
Clutter can make a clean house appear dirty, but by containing and controlling the clutter you keep your home looking great. Since it’s difficult to completely eliminate clutter, especially with children in the home, buy at least one nice basket for each room to use as clutter catchers. Simply toss miscellaneous items into the baskets until they can be sorted and put away. This will help you keep your house clean without cleaning all day. However, you need to make sure to sort and put away the items regularly.

One area in my home that tends to clutter easily is the kitchen counter. This is where mail, papers, notes, and projects are placed. I’ve noticed that if I sort the mail as soon as it arrives, instead of allowing it to accumulate, it helps to cut down on the clutter. I also have a basket in the kitchen that is out of sight where I can place papers and other miscellaneous items in it until I have time to sort through it.

If you spend a few minutes every day getting rid of junk and clutter, you will find that over time your house will be cleaner and it will be easier to keep it clean.

3. Don’t Put it Down. Put it Away.
Since it does take time to sort and put away the items from the basket, it will make it even easier on you if you remind yourself to put something away right then, rather than placing it down on a counter, dresser, or floor.

4. Pick Up As You Go
Make every trip through the house worth it by carrying an item from one room to the next room where it needs to go. If you are walking from the downstairs to the upstairs, take the basket of laundry that needs to go upstairs. I almost always have something in my hand when I leave a room so I can put it away in the next room.

5. Clean As Needed
If something needs to be cleaned now, then clean it. Don’t keep walking by the finger smudges on the door or food splatters on the counter. Just take a few seconds and clean it right then. By cleaning on an as-needed basis, the house will stay cleaner longer. Plus, you won’t need an all-day marathon cleaning session.

6. Fill the Dishwasher Instead of the Sink
When sinks and countertops are littered with dirty dishes, the kitchen will not look clean. Fill the dishwasher instead of the sink. It is much easier to keep the house clean when dishes and other items are dealt with right away instead of hours later when food has hardened.

If you do not have a dishwasher, wash the dishes by hand as soon as possible, and do not bother drying them. Use a drainer or a mat, and allow them to dry naturally. Put them away as soon as they are dry.

7. Designate an Entry Area
Establish a point of entry for the family where everyone leaves their shoes, books, backpacks, purses, etc. Set up this area with hooks for the items that can be hung such as keys and jackets, and create shelves for the mail and shoes. This will keep everything together in one location so it doesn’t clutter up the house, and you’ll be able to easily find your keys when it’s time to leave.

8. Get Everyone to Help
Assign duties to everyone in the house in addition to their bedrooms. Everyone lives in the house, so everyone should help out. If the children play in the living room with toys, then assign them the living room to keep clean. Many times, the household chores end up being done by one person. However, if you make cleaning everyone’s job, then the house will stay clean more easily.

My house isn’t perfect and always clean. I’ve realized that I have to be realistic about what I can accomplish each day and what I consider to be a “clean home” with two young children in it. But I’ve noticed that if I take advantage of five minutes here and ten minutes there, then I’m able to regularly keep my house clean. And when spring comes, I don’t feel like I have to spend days cleaning and organizing my house because I’ve incorporated a cleaning routine throughout the year.

If you have any ideas to share about keeping your house cleaned and organized, please feel free to share them with everyone.

Here are other Spring Cleaning posts to help you save time and money:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products
Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips
Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks

If you missed reading the past spring cleaning posts, make sure to read Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started, DIY Cleaning Products, and Speed-Cleaning Tips.

This week, we will highlight tips that professionals use when cleaning.

First, it’s important to have a cleaning plan. Know where you are going to start, and where you will finish. The way professionals clean is that they start at the farthest point from the front door and clean their way out of the house. Having a plan focuses your efforts and prevents you from wasting time and helps you do a better job.

Professional House Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

  • Prepare Room – Before you begin deep cleaning your kitchen, take the proper steps to prepare. Dust all the areas of the kitchen to prepare the surfaces for your work. Then fill up the sink with a cleaning solution mixture so that you can easily soak your cloth often throughout the process.
  • Clean Dry before Cleaning Wet – Collect crumbs with a dishtowel or microfiber cloth before spraying and wiping surfaces, use a dust mop or vacuum on the floor before using a disposable wet floor cloth.
  • Let Cleaning Products Clean – Spray cleaners on all surfaces, and let them go to work before you apply elbow grease. Start at the stove and move around the kitchen, spritzing appliances, countertops, and cabinets. Return to the stove and repeat the circuit, simply wiping the surfaces clean.
  • Clean Top to Bottom -Wipe the exhaust hood over the stove before cleaning the cooking surface; wipe down counters, tabletop, and chair seats before sweeping the floor.
  • Clean Clockwise – Start cleaning one side of your kitchen and move clockwise wiping every surface in small sections all away around the room.
  • Clean Microwave and Stove – Save your microwave and stove for last since they are the greasiest. One quick tip for a stubborn microwave is to place a cup of water in the machine and boil it for a few minutes. This loosens up debris and grime in the microwave for easy cleaning.
  • Clean Sink Last – After you’ve scrubbed the microwave and stove clean, drain your sink, spray in some all-purpose cleaner and use a brush to thoroughly remove any trace of your cleaning solution. Finish cleaning your kitchen by sweeping or vacuuming the floor, then mop it.

Professional House Cleaning Tips for the Living Room

  • Start by dusting your living room. Work around the room in a systematic circle and dust every surface possible. From there, you can move on to cleaning the surfaces.
  • Remember to rotate sofa cushions often to encourage even wear and increase their useful life.
  • Always save the vacuum for last. This ensures that you’ll suck up all the debris that’s been shifted onto the floor during the cleaning process. Newer vacuums should not be pushing dust back into the air, either. If yours has this problem, consider investing in a new one or changing the filters and bags.

Professional House Cleaning Tips for the Bathroom

  • Keep a small vacuum near the bathroom and give the floor and any carpets a quick once over every day.
  • Use a small squeegee after your morning shower to slow the development of water marks.
  • Use a white vinegar spray on your plastic shower curtain once a week to reduce the mold buildup.
  • Use glass cleaner on tile walls and ceramic fixtures for clean, shiny surfaces
  • Wipe mirrors and doors using first vertical, then horizontal strokes. Swirling patterns show up when the sun hits.
  • Keep some potpourri, or a fresh candle, in the bathroom for a good scent.
  • A simple nylon netting over the drain in the shower or tub can significantly reduce hair clogs.

Website resources used: eHow and Molly Maid.

Here are other Spring Cleaning posts to help you save time and money:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products
Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips
Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips

If you missed the past few weeks of my spring cleaning posts, make sure to read:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing & Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products

Below are tips to speed clean your home in about an hour:

1. Stay Focused and Move Quickly
When it comes to cleaning fast, the key is to have a system and move quickly. Set a timer for 15 minutes at a time to clean the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and bathroom. When the timer goes off, move to the next room even if you aren’t quite done. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted and spend too much time cleaning one item.

If there is a major cleaning project that needs to get done, make a note to do it at another time. If an area in one of the rooms is already clean, don’t waste time making it cleaner. And if there is one dirty place on a large surface, clean just the spot not the entire space.

2. Keep Supplies Together
Make sure to have quick and easy access to your cleaning supplies, and place them in a container so you can move them with you from room to room. If you have to look for the supplies, you’ll be less motivated to clean.

3. Turn on the Music
Music makes a huge difference in how quickly you clean. Create a playlist of high-energy and fast songs that will make you move quickly, make you feel good, and make you have fun.

4. Make a Clean Sweep
If you are really pressed for time because company is coming over, then make a clean sweep through your house. Scan the room to see what’s out of place and stash unnecessary items in nearby drawers or closets. You want to clear the surfaces to make the room look tidier. Quickly dust, spray and clean the surfaces, empty wastebaskets, then speed-vacuum yourself out of the room.

5. Clean As You Go
This technique is also something you can implement daily to keep your house regularly looking clean. When you see a mess, quickly clean it up right then. This includes wiping up spills before they harden, and grabbing a handful of items off the floor or counter that belong in another room. I usually don’t leave a room without picking up an item or two and taking it with me to put away in the other room I’m headed towards.

An idea that works great is to gather up clutter, random items, and papers in one room, and place them in a basket. Take the basket with you from room to room as you clean and put the items away in their proper place. This saves time going back and forth between rooms.

Do you have any speed-cleaning techniques you use?

Here are other Spring Cleaning posts to help you save time and money:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products
Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips
Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products


If you missed last week’s post, then you can read about Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started here.

Unless you find household cleaning products on sale or get them for free, they can be expensive, and the money you pay out starts to add up. I’ve compiled a list of simple cleaners that use products from your pantry to make effective cleaning solutions.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)

Directions:
Add vinegar to spray bottle, followed by water, baking soda and essential oils.  Mix by gently shaking.

Homemade Windex
Mix the following in an empty Windex spray bottle:

  • 1/8 cup (1 oz.) White Ammonia
  • 1/4 cup (4 oz.) Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
  • 1 drop of laundry detergent
  • Water – to fill the bottle

Homemade Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach
Mix the following in an empty Clorox Clean-Up bottle or a spray bottle:

  • 1/4 cup bleach
  • 1 teaspoon liquid laundry detergent
  • Water – fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake

Tub & Shower Cleaner
Mix the following in a spray bottle:

  • 4 ounces white vinegar
  • 4 ounces liquid, blue Dawn detergent

Note: If you aren’t sure about measuring ounces, just do a one-to-one ratio of white vinegar and blue liquid Dawn detergent. I read one mention that 1/2 cup of each was enough to do the job.

Directions:
1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into spray bottle.
2. Add the Dawn soap. It specifically needs to be the blue kind. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.
3. Spray it on, scrub, and rinse. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight, then scrub and rinse.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar

Directions:
Mix the baking soda and vinegar and pour it into basin. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse.

Mold & Mildew Remover
Pour undiluted white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle, and spray mold and mildew stained areas. Allow the spray to sit on the mold and mildew for 30 minutes. Apply the vinegar spray again to the moldy shower surface using just enough to wet the surface. Wet a sponge and scrub the surface to remove the mold and mildew.

Floor Cleaner
Mix the following in a bucket and mop:

  • 1 cup white vinegar (1/2 cup if cleaning wood floors)
  • 2 gallons hot water
  • Couple drops of essential oils (optional)

Tile Grout Cleaner
Mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well:

1 and 3/4 cups water
2 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon + 1 tsp ammonia
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Directions:
Spray the grout generously and let the solution absorb into the grout. Using a scrub or tile brush, scrub the grout vigorously where you sprayed. Use a clean damp rag to wipe each line of grout right after you scrub to pick up the dirty liquid. Keep a bucket of warm water nearby to continuously clean the rag. Mop the floor when you’re done to remove the baking soda residue that may be left behind.

Furniture Polish
Mix the following in a spray bottle:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Directions:
Shake well, and apply a small amount to a cleaning rag or cloth. Spread evenly over furniture surface. Turn cloth to a dry side and polish dry.

Safety Tip:
Never combine ammonia-based cleaners with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach, such as powdered dishwasher detergent. The fumes they’ll create are extremely dangerous. Before doing any mixing, read the product labels first.

Here are other Spring Cleaning posts to help you save time and money:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products
Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips
Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started

Spring is finally here and it’s time to spring clean our homes. I know this may sound a little odd, and it’s my Type A personality coming out, but I LOVE to clean! I especially love the final product of seeing something organized and clean. My family used to laugh at me when I was young because I would organize all of the clothes in my drawer, and then I would organize my sisters’ clothing drawers. Thank goodness I’m not quite that bad anymore, but I still do like things to be cleaned and organized.

This month, I’ll have a series of posts about spring cleaning. I hope to motivate and give you tips to spring clean your home. I’ll also give time-saving and money-saving cleaning tips that will help you out. So let’s get started!

1. Analyze Areas
Take a few minutes to mentally survey each room. Then in a notebook, write down the problem areas in the room that need improvement. These should be parts of the room that bother you, or that your family has a difficult time keeping neat and clean.

2. Be Realistic
You need to realize that you don’t need to get your spring cleaning completed all in one day or one weekend. With two young children, there’s no way that I can focus on something for more than 15-30 minutes at a time. I plan to do my spring cleaning over the course of the month.

3. Use a Checklist
This is something I enjoy doing. Make sure to check off each item as you complete the task. It’s a way to show that you’ve accomplished something, and I think it feels great to mark an item off the list.

Here are some cleaning checklists that will help you out.

Reasons to Skip the Housework Spring Cleaning Checklist
Honey Bear Lane Spring Cleaning Checklist
Martha Stewart Spring Cleaning Checklist
CasaSugar Spring Cleaning Checklist
Imperfect Homemaking Spring Cleaning Checklist

4. Get Started
Now, you’ll need a game plan to help you prioritize and stay on task. Pick a room a day and get it cleaned and organized before moving onto the next one. That way you don’t just transfer items from one room to another before deciding what to do with the items. Make sure to begin with the least favorite rooms first when you are most motivated. Once you complete the most difficult areas of your house at the beginning, everything else will feel much easier to finish.

Gather your supplies in a bucket and carry them with you from room to room so you don’t waste time running back to the cleaning closet.

5. Make Sorting Easy
Gather storage tubs or garbage bags and label them with the following categories: Keep, Throw Away, Recycle, Sell, and Donate. As you look through the items in your home, decide what you want to do with each item and place it in the appropriate pile.

6. Make Your Spring Cleaning Fun
Don’t think of spring cleaning as a chore. Instead, think of it as something that will help you feel good about yourself and your clean and organized home.

Play some fun, upbeat music while you dance around the house with your spring cleaning supplies. Set the timer to give yourself time limits for completing small tasks, and try to complete the tasts before the timer goes off.

7. Give Yourself a Reward
Once you’ve finished cleaning or decluttering for the day, congratulate yourself for a job well done by rewarding yourself with something like a movie or dinner out.

Remember that getting started is the hardest part of spring cleaning.

Here are other Spring Cleaning posts to help you save time and money:

Spring Cleaning: Organizing and Getting Started
Spring Cleaning: DIY Cleaning Products
Spring Cleaning: Speed-Cleaning Tips
Spring Cleaning: Professional Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your House Clean All Year Long

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.

Tips to Save Money on Laundry

Laundry–the never ending process that keeps building up. The piles just seem to grow bigger every day rather than shrinking down when you complete a load or two. Since laundry has to be done regularly, you might as well save some money while doing it. Below are washing tips and techniques that will help you save money over the years.

1) Laundry Detergent

  • Buy Store Brands – Name brand detergents are often more expensive than store brand equivalents, even though both do the same job.
  • Purchase Powder – Powdered laundry soaps generally cost far less than the liquid. To avoid powdery residue on your clean wash, fill your washing machine with water and soap before adding your laundry. This method also helps liquefy the detergent powder more evenly into your wash.
  • Add Baking Soda – Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and works wonders on clothes that smell. Add a quarter cup to your washing machine’s rinse cycle to use as a fabric softener or odor remover. To pretreat spots, make a 50/50 paste mix of baking soda and water to place on clothes before they go in the wash.
  • Add White Vinegar – White vinegar is a great cleaning tool for getting rid of bacteria, germs, and mold. It also helps to deodorize smelly clothes.
  • Brighten and Whiten Laundry – By adding laundry detergent, 1 cup of white vinegar and a quarter cup of baking soda, this will whiten and brighten your wash. To remove leftover soap residue, add a half cup of white vinegar to the wash rinse cycle. Your clothes will smell clean and fresh, and you won’t smell the vinegar after your clothes are dry.

2) Washing

  • Wash Only Full Loads – If you do half-loads, you may use less water, but it consumes the same electrical power as full loads.
  • Wash in Cold Water – By washing in cold water, the average family can save about $70 per year on their energy bill. As much as 90 percent of the energy used on washing clothes is just for heating the water. Save hot water washes for towels, socks, and underwear.
  • Use the Shortest Washing Cycle – Choose the shorter washing cycles for lightly to moderately soiled clothing. Leave the normal to heavy wash cycles for the heavily soiled clothes. This will use less energy since the machine runs for less time.
  • Switch to a Front-Load Washer – When you are in the market for a new washer, look into purchasing a front-loading washing machine to save on water, energy, and detergent. They require about 40 percent less water per load, consume up to 60 percent less energy, and require less detergent to clean. They are also more effective in removing water during the spin cycle, which means less time in the dryer. Front-load washers are more expensive to buy than top loading machines, but the savings add up over the years.

3) Drying

  • Remove Lint – A full lint trap doesn’t allow the moist air to escape properly, which slows down the drying cycle and uses more energy. So make sure to keep your dryer lint free.
  • Hang Dry – By using clothing racks in place of a clothes dryer you can save on energy costs. Clothes will last longer and fade less when hung out to dry. Alternatively, place clothing in a dryer for just 15 minutes on high heat to fluff, then pull out the still damp laundry and hang it to air dry.

4) Ironing

  • Less Dryer Time – Remove your clothes promptly from the dryer. Clothes left in the dryer have more wrinkles, which will require more ironing time. And if clothes are slightly damp, it helps to lessen ironing time as well.
  • Use Foil – By inserting aluminum foil between the ironing board and cover, it helps to conserve heat and make the job go faster.
  • Use a Spray Bottle – Purchase an inexpensive spray bottle and spray water on clothes to moisten and soften the wrinkles, which also requires less time to press.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.