Some of you know that I recently completed a 28-day cleaning challenge.
I do, however, like cleaning products. This could be because I’m a big smell person. It could be because Target is a happy place for me, and cleaning supplies are justifiable. It could be because I love essential oils, and making my own cleaning products makes me feel like a modern-day Ma Ingalls.
So when I heard that one of the steps in the book I used as a guide was to make your own wonderful smelling cleaning products, I decided to just go with it. I prepared myself to do exactly what the book said – to not question it, and to take each day one at a time.
That’s pretty much what I did, but full disclosure: It wasn’t without a bit of questioning, some occasional whining, and two sick-days, when I literally felt too crappy to do my tasks for the day and I let my family just create messes around me while I ate soup and felt sorry for myself.
But here’s what I figured out – when you have a system, it’s a heck of a lot easier to clean your house, even when you’ve missed two days and everything seems like it’s fallen apart around you. (It’s also easier to shout orders from bed. Ahem.)
In fact recently a friend texted me to ask if she could stop by, and we weren’t at home. I told her yes, because she doesn’t really care what my house looks like anyway, but when we did arrive home, even knowing that she was going to be there in about 15 minutes, I didn’t panic. Instead, I lit a few candles, dragged my microfiber over the kitchen counters, and made tea.
I knew my house didn’t look perfect, but I also knew my toilet wasn’t scary, and there weren’t a million dishes in the sink, and we weren’t currently in the midst of a game of What’s That Smell.
So what I’m saying is, the challenge worked.
I feel better about my home than I have in a long time.
It still gets messy. The dining room table still gets covered in library books and science/art projects.
The kitchen still gets crazy.
My floors still get covered in animal hair.
But I have a system now, so none of that feels quite so overwhelming.
Want to find your cleaning zen too? Here’s what you need to know:
The book I used is called Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk. I initially bought it as an audiobook, but soon realized that I wanted to be able to mark pages, make notes, and take advantage of all the great forms.
Get the paperback, is what I’m saying.
(Also, did you know that you can return audiobooks to Audible if you realize they aren’t working for you? True story.)
Tell me about this ‘challenge’ business
First, I need to tell you guys something. The subtitle for this book is “The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day.”
There might have been a day when I was lugging a vacuum up and down the stairs, when I might have muttered something that rhymes with “pull-bit.”
BUT, that was in the midst of the hardest part of this challenge. Here’s the skinny:
- First, you learn about the things you need to do each day and each week.
- Then you make a cleaning kit. (This is the best part.)
- THEN you do a 7-day kick-start. (I know – stay with me).
- THEN and only then do you start the 28-day challenge.
But wait, you say. That sounds like more than 35 days until my house looks good.
Don’t worry. That’s what I thought too.
And spoiler alert: for 35 days, you will be working more than 10 minutes a day.
BUT, if you’re like me, you’re basically resetting years of accidental neglect. (What’s a baseboard?)
It’s going to be OK.
This is what you need to do (EVERY DAY):
Put on a podcast, pour yourself a lemonade or iced tea, and just do what the book says.
There will be at least one day when you want to give up.
You might cry.
You’re transitioning, caterpillar. JUST KEEP VACUUMING.
How do I get started?
OK … ready?
Here’s what you need to get going:
In addition to the book, which will be your guide through this process, you need some pretty basic cleaning supplies.
You’re going to want some microfiber cloths, which are my new best pal.
You’ll need the basics, like a broom, a mop and a vacuum.
And then you’ll need cleaning products. Some you can make – more on that in a minute.
I bought the following:
- a cleaning caddy
- a disposable toilet brush system (I am all about natural cleaning; but this is a miracle)
- dusting spray
- dry and wet Swiffer-style mopping pads (I use the Honest brand for wet mopping pads)
Then, I made some supplies!
Following recipes from the book, I made:
- an all-purpose spray
- a disinfecting cleaner
- a glass and mirror cleaner
- and a sink scrub
I got my glass spray bottles from Grove Collaborative (<— use this link and you’ll get a $10 credit, plus a free Mrs. Meyers hand soap), which is a company I love, because they deliver cleaning products to your door and have all kinds of hard-to-find natural products. You could also buy these.
I got the essential oils I used in my recipe from DoTerra and Grove. I recommend DoTerra brand or Aura Cacia, because I have used both. Just make sure you are using good-quality essential oils and never “fragrance oils.”
So that’s it! Are you ready to get started?
Get your kit supplies, get your book and get to work!
I promise, you won’t regret it! Your house is going to sparkle.
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