Clean Fast, Knit More

Hi, Everyone! :waving:

I posted the following in a thread about “knitting addiction” and really started the ball rolling! :slight_smile:

[I]"The only thing I do faster than knitting is cleaning. Since I don’t want to live in squalor, I’ve researched or figured out every cleaning shortcut there is and even invented a few more. I have also become a master delegator! "[/I]

So this thread is about cleaning faster and more efficiently so that we can have a clean house AND more time to knit!!! And I know I’m not the only one with fast cleaning tips, so let’s hear from you!

First, knowledge is power. There are so many things to DO during the day that it’s really easy to get overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to get them done - and still have time to knit. The answer seems to be either sacrifice knitting time (NOT a good choice) or leave things undone that then make you uncomfortable. (also NOT a good choice!)

But that doesn’t have to be the choice. I tended to take all those undone chores that were calling my name and made little mental post-it notes. It doesn’t take long for your mind to get wall-papered with them and once you lump them all together it can look pretty impossible.

But one day, when there was a knitting project I REALLY wanted to work on, I realized I didn’t have to choose between them, I could do both if I just worked smart.

First off, my list of chores seemed endless and I felt they’d take all day. Then I realized I didn’t actually KNOW how long they’d take, I’d just lumped them all together and assumed a whole day’s work.

So I made a list of what I really needed to get done and got out my timer. I was AMAZED to learn that I could empty the dishwasher and put everything away (a job I used to HATE!) in UNDER THREE MINUTES!!! :woohoo: I could spend HOURS avoiding it and it only took me less than three minutes to do it! :doh:

Then, as soon as the dishwasher was empty, I put the soap in the dispenser for the next load (about 10 seconds!) The advantage to this was that, once the dishwasher was set up for the next load and was ready to go, it was so much easier to then put dirty dishes directly in the machine instead of the sink! And no more questions about whether what was in there was clean or dirty! All anyone had to do was look at the soap dispenser. If it was full, there were dirty dishes in there. And for some reason, once it was loaded there was such a sense of accomplishment in just being able to push the button, not wrestle with the detergent bottle!!! Silly, maybe, but very satisfying. :thumbsup:

I went on down my list, timing what I was doing and noting it down. It was truly a revelation!!! And a great game! As I went along playing “beat the clock” I found other simpler and easier methods for doing things as well. And I’ll share them as we go along in this thread.

But it starts with accumulating the knowledge of just how long it takes you to get specific chores done. And that gives you the power to accurately plan and confront your chores without overwhelming yourself!

So, you might want to play the “beat the clock” game. Just pick a couple of things, especially things you hate to do, do them and time it. Then you can ask yourself if it’s easier to use up the mental energy avoiding them or just go ahead and do the darn things!

Oh, and about my knitting time that day? That was the best part - I finished EVERYTHING on my list in ONE-THIRD the time I’d estimated and had 2/3 of the day for knitting!!! :woot: Besides which I was knitting with NO stress about undone housework! And THAT’S sweet!

Good luck! Happy knitting and fast cleaning!

Ruthie :knitting:

Some great tips Ruthie! I became a “Fly Baby” years ago. If you’ve never heard of Fly Lady, check out her site ( You’re right, that timer can really enlighten you.

Something else I do is keep new trash bags in the bottom of the can. When one gets full, you simply pull a new one from the bottom of the can. May not sound like much, but all those little things you can cut down on can add up to more than you’d think.

Great thread!

That is great Ruthie! My theory is not quite the same, but similar. I have really worked on spreading my stuff out. Instead of trying to cram it all in at one time. I have a schedule set up so that I know that I will get to each thing, it doesn’t have to be done today. Monday is grocery day and deep clean the kitchen. Tuesday is make sure the laundry is all folded and put away (I try to do a load of laundry just about every day). Wed. is for bathrooms. Thursday is my day off because of other obligations. Friday is my dust and mop day. That way, I don’t have to fret that I haven’t gotten to everything and can --with out guilt-- do pleasure things.

I am looking forward to more tips and such. I will add more if I can think of something.

Hi! :waving:

Wanda, thanks for the flylady link! I’ve never seen it and it’s GREAT!!! I’ll definitely have to spend some time there checking it all out! :muah: And your tip about the trash bags is terrific! It’s actually things like that that save the most time! Keep 'em coming!

And C. Amiga - Your scheduling is AWESOME. I know that’s helpful in getting worry-free knitting time!!! And a very wise method.

Thanks to you both for your tips. I’m really looking forward to reading the wonderful replies to this thread!

Happy knitting and fast cleaning,

Ruthie :clink:

I have no good advise for anybody because I absolutely hate housework and try not to worry to much about toys etc on the floor. But I will keep my eyes on this thread and read all the great tips and ideas.

I also hate to empty the diswasher, but isn’t it great when you can put the dirty dishes straight in there instead of looking at them piled up in the sink. now I have seen the flylady link I think I will go out and fill up my empty dishwasher with all the dishes piled in my sink and make my sink shine…

got me motivated.

I do the same thing. I have certain things to accomplish Mon-Thur. Fridays are MY day. It starts off with my S&B group and can go anywhere from there. It’s so nice to have a routine and do a little each day. Spreading it out is so much easier. Of course, this doesn’t always happen. Life still gets in the way at times, but it’s a good place to start. :slight_smile:

But I’ve just come to the realization that I don’t really need to tackle every room every week, and I tend to be much more ambitious the beginning of the week than later…So I now have a two-week schedule…
Also note I work the 3-11 shift, so I try to have everything done by noon, giving me some “free” time before I go get the sitter and head to work, plus I’m always working around my 3-year-old and trying to spend time with him, too…

Week 1
Monday: change all the beds and tidy up/sweep/dust bedrooms, laundry
Tuesday: Bathroom, litter box (Wed is trash day), hall, finish any undone laundry
Wed: kitchen, including mopping the floor (trash day, so the recycling bins are out of the way making mopping easier), cleaning the sink/stove
Thursday: DS#2 has his playgroup all morning, and if I have to work that afternoon, that’s pretty much all there is, oh and meal planning for the next week
Friday: grocery shopping, and the rest of the day is mine (if I’m not working)

Week 2
Monday: tackle the living room, sweep/dust/pick up toys/refold blankets
Tuesday: Dining room–sweep/mop, clean up the book shelves (mostly the kids’ craft stuff that’s ALWAYS being dragged out)
Wed. thru Fri.: same as above

I used to change bed sheets every week and be alot more frustrated when I didn’t clean the whole house every week, but I’ve recently decided it’s just not worth it! Every two weeks is plenty (plus most surfaces, floors included, are generally covered with toys, so how can anyone even tell if they’re clean or not?! LOL)

I tend to reward myself for chores. I’ll make my list, and then do one thing on the list - then reward myself with a chapter (or two) of my current book, or x amount of time knitting/cross-stitching. Then I tackle another chore - and reward myself. I can get a lot done that way.

I am a terrible housekeeper, so I am definitely going to keep an eye on this thread.

However, I do have a great motivator. I never indulge and buy myself things I want. I always talk myself out of it, saying that I don’t really need it and it’s a useless waste of money. So I have a Mommy star chart. (Don’t laugh!) I get either one or two stars depending on how well I did that day getting things done. (I get an extra half star if I don’t plop my son in front of the TV…much.) For every 10 stars, I get to buy myself something extravagant - which is usually something like a new lipstick or cherries from the grocery or a new sweater. It’s a really nice boost when I get to go shopping guilt-free!

world-class avoider here, and my house is a stye! So, this is really a great post. Thanks for the kick in the derriere!

You are all making me feel so much better about my messy house:) I live with a man who’s like that Peanut character, Pigpen. Everywhere he walks it seems like dirt falls off of him. He will walk over something for days (I tested this theory) instead of leaning over and picking it up. Plus, we have 2 big dogs with access to the back yard during the day via a doggie door, so at night when we get home, it’s a nightly ritual to drag out the vacuum and suck up all the dirt they’ve dragged in. Thank goodness I don’t have carpet anymore. We replaced it all with ceramic tiles which makes it a lot easier and it’s better for my asthma. We don’t have kids at home anymore so I’ve lost THAT excuse. We’re both up before dawn, out the door as the sun’s coming up, and don’t get back home again until almost dark. I’m usually so exhausted and brain dead by the time I get home, that I can barely stumble back to the room and change out of my work clothes. All of my major cleaning gets done on the weekends, and then I don’t do a lot of deep cleaning, just straighten up and such. That Fly Lady site looked pretty interesting. I’m going to clean my sink tonight…but I’ll put money on it there will be dishes in it in the morning. I’m the only one who knows how to put a dish in the dishwasher…that’s what I’m always telling Pigpen…what’s a girl supposed to do? Can’t live with 'em and can’t shoot 'em.

Some may think this is horrible, but I think I’m teaching my kids something that they will need when they are own their own. My kids clean - My oldest is responsible for his room, putting away his laundry (during the summer he has to do his own laundry), feeding and watering the pets, and taking out the trash. On occasion, he will help with vacuming and other cleaning chores. He’s 10. My youngest loves to dust and vacume (small hard floor vacume - he only does the hallway and living room, small house). He is starting to pick up his toys in his room and has learned to make his bed (it really is cute, and it is only a toddler bed). He is almost 5.

I do the hard hitting cleaning, but I have help from my little ones. They are learning something, we get our house cleaned faster, and have more time to spend together or play… sometimes they play together and I get to knit.

I saw in earlier posts that a lot of you don’t like to empty the dishwasher - I don’t either, hate it, avoid it, try to get someone else to do it. Sometimes I just have to do it. Fortunately, it doesn’t take but a minute or two.

My 11 yr old DD helps with weekly chores around the house as well. She is responsible for collecting the recycling bins and garbage from around the house, sweeping the kitchen and front hall floors, dusting the entire house, cleaning her bathroom and cleaning out her rabbit cage. I agree with teachermom, I think it will help her in the long run with her own home.

For me, I try to do a little each day. The kitchen is the room in the house that requires constant cleaning of some sort and I do a load of laundry pretty much each day.

Thats it for me. But I’m always looking for faster better ways.


teachermom–you have wonderful ideas for your kids. my mom did the same thing. when i was about 10 my job was to empty the dishwasher. when i turned 12 my job was to plan and cook one meal a week (with some help). i recommend the cooking thing for all moms.

What helps me clean is blasting a cd I love and dancing around while dusting, or scrubbing to the beat. Just putting on some upbeat music cut my cleaning time in half. I’m able to clean my small house in about one hour. It used to take a few hours. Now i just need to learn how to keep the bedroom clean and all would be wonderful. :roflhard:

I have a dishwasher, but don’t use it because it freaks my dog and she won’t go into the kitchen (where her dishes are) for at least a week after it’s used. So, we hand wash. Which I don’t really mind because it’s just the 2 of us. Dishes are always done right after a meal so there’s never anything (or a lot anyway) in the sink. If we dirty dishes in the evening they get cleaned the next morning after my dog eats breakfast because I always clean her dish right away even though its stainless steel. I’m cracking up to hear you all say you hate emptying the dishwasher, because it’s funny how my DH can find the dishes in the cupboards he wants to use, but he can’t seem to figure out how to get them from the dish strainer back into the cabinets?!?!? Curious, no?

Quick tip - to clean a microwave. Take a small glass dish, put water in with the squeezings from half a lemon (or lime, or orange) and run in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Carefully take it out. The steam will have made any nasty bits easy to just wipe off. It’s awesome!

Another tip - Use water and white vinegar to clean floors or walls or windows. Doesn’t streak and doesn’t foam up so it’s not a big project to do a wipe down.

Another tip - Calcium deposits on water tap/faucets. Wet paper towel down with white vinegar and wrap around the offending spot. Leave it for a few hours. When you take it off the calcium is gone.

Sunshine’s mom I like the idea of the paper towel and vinegar. we live in a really hard water area so I will try that on my taps.

Great thread. I too aspire to be more efficient around the house, and you just can’t have a clean house if you don’t de-clutter first. It seems a never-ending process, and since my mother moved in with us last year it’s actually HELPED to have all her stuff here because then we really had to get rid of the excess junk.

Cleaning-wise, I try to think efficiency first, and someday I hope my house WILL be clean enough for me. I’m a Monk fan and I always wish I could someday have a house as clean as that!:teehee:

To be efficient I make sure I have cleaning supplies under every sink, as well as sponges and cleaning rags so I don’t have to go all the way to the kitchen when the bathroom dog dish or sink needs a scrubbing.

We have 5 dogs currently and it seems every week SOMEONE throws up on the carpet. So now I keep a rolled up towel under each end of the couch, that way we can get it under the dog just in time and then throw it in the wash.

I too like to put soap in the dishwasher as soon as I start loading it. Not only is it ready to go when it’s full, but no one ever has to ask me if the dishes in the machine are clean, they know if the dish dispenser is closed the dishes are dirty.

Knitting-wise, I have all my current WIPs in ziplocks hanging on the back of a kitchen chair. Now they are always ready to work on or take along, and they aren’t cluttered on the coffee table.:x:

From personal experience I think it’s IMPERATIVE that you teach your kids to do chores, clean, organize, etc! Just as it is important to teach them to think about money wisely.

Our human nature is to be messy and wasteful, you don’t see anyone having to teach their kids to do that do you? ;). So don’t expect them to grow up knowing stuff if you don’t teach it to them first. I applaud you guys for doing it right!:hug:

Another tip for those using vinegar, fill a mason jar with white vinegar, then add some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves (you can probably use whatever whole spices you wanted, those are just the two I’ve used with good luck) and let it sit and steep. Then I use this vinegar to mix about 1/2 and 1/2 with water in a spray bottle–instant all-purpose cleaner that is ok for the kids to use, and is really cheap to make.


You are all so terrific! What great contributors!

To teachermom and the others who are raising their children to contribute with chores…:yay: :woohoo: :clink: :muah: :hug:

Children are so beholden to their parents. Every piece of clothing, every morsel of food, toys, books, transportation is provided for them- what a great weight of obligation that puts on the little folks! And without great moms and dads who allow and expect the children to contribute back, how could they EVER feel confident, responsible or balanced. Congrats, all, you’re giving your children one of the most wonderful gifts you possibly could!

Thanks, too, for the wonderful vinegar tips. I’ve used it for years to wash windows, buffing the windows with sheets of newspaper (black ink pages only). It really gives a great streak-free shine.

But through this thread I’m discovering lots of new uses. Tomorrow when I go shopping I’m picking up a super-size container of white vinegar and trying out all your suggestions! :thumbsup:

I’ll have more tips to share soon. I want to get some pictures of a couple of my “speed cleaning” contraptions!


Happy knitting and fast cleaning!

Ruthie :slight_smile: