Update: After a year and 1/2 after trying these products for the first time I still use and love them! They really do work for the long run and are absolutely worth the investment, so I wanted to re-post this 🙂
If you could be given any luxury service (personal chef, nanny, maid, hair stylist, makeup artist, assistant, personal trainer) for free for a few years, but could only pick ONE, which would you pick?
I know from a recent Facebook conversation that many of my friends would pick things like personal chefs or a personal assistant. A few would pick hair stylists or makeup artists or nannies.
There was one, though, that showed up over and over and over again. A Maid.
Me? I would choose a Maid (or a housekeeper if you’re being politically correct…is that more correct? Does it really matter? I wouldn’t mind being called a maid. But I digress….)
Hands down, absolutely, no questions asked. Whatever you call them, I’d love to have one. During the entire time we searched for a house I wore hubby out by saying over and over, “You know, if we could buy a really BIG house, I would much rather get a smaller house and a maid instead.” When we looked at the bigger homes that were in our price range when it came down to it all I could see was more space to get filthy that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to clean.
That is one of the many reasons we ended up in our Goldilocks house at 1,702 sqft. Our family of four fits perfectly in it with room to stretch and it’s the just right size for us!
However, as hard as it is to believe we’ve already been here for 5 months!!! While that’s amazing it also means that my ceiling fans are starting to look like this—>
Yepp, getting real with you ladies.
Now, you might be a little surprised if you’re new around here, because, aren’t I the gal with an entire section dedicated to organization? And it’s true, I am, but what’s really funny is this:
I love to organize but I do not like cleaning.
If you’re of the tribe that hates both, you might not have ever realized there’s much of a difference, but oh, there is! I could spend all day sifting through items, sticking them all into special boxes, and getting rid of clutter. When that happens I’m in my zone and happy place!
Show me the furry caterpillars of filth on the ceiling fan or the thick layer of dust behind the screen of my computer monitors….she types as she just now notices it and glares at it…willing it to disappear. Nope didn’t work, moving on…..
Where were we? Ah yes! So when I was getting ready to open my door the other day from picking up the kiddos, and saw a Maid’s Business Card stuck in it, I kept it. One, because I’m tickled pink that we live in a nice enough neighborhood that anyone thinks we can afford one, and two because I realllyyyyy truly would love to have one.
That being said, while I totally do believe in outsourcing tasks that you don’t do well/dislike in order for you to focus on the ones you are great at, a maid for us is just not in the cards nor in the budget at the moment. I have a feeling that you might just feel the same way, and be in the same position?
So what’s a girl to do? Well, that’s just what I put this post together for! I’ve managed to come up with a game plan that will make my cleaning game as effective and painless as possible until I become Insta-famous and use my earnings to hire that sweet maid whose card I still have.
#1 Get a Game Plan If you’re like me it takes awhile for you to see the mess. I work from home and as long as everything is tidy, I don’t really see the dirt and grime. That is until it’s REALLY dirty and grimy and I go “Oh GROSS!!!” and spend an entire day nuking the bathroom. Yeah, that never works well for anyone.
Thankfully my mom discovered and introduced me to FlyLady ages ago and I’ve relied on her since I got married. Her book Sink Reflections is one that I have read and re-read and always keep on hand to refer back to. Since I’m a weird combo of organized but not a cleaner, I’ve never had *much* of a challenge with keeping clutter free like the first half of her book is dedicated to. I also started in this mindset early in marriage, when we had no money. Because of this my life and home have never gotten into a state of CHAOS as she describes it (thankfully!!). It did, however, let me throw away those ring boxes from the fancy jewelry stores I’d been holding onto for years. I didn’t keep anything in them…but they just seemed, nice, you know??? Please let me know I’m not the only one who keeps weird stuff!
So anyways, the part of her book that helped me the most was the second half where she teaches you how to “Never Spring Clean Again”. She divides every home into zones and gives you detailed lists for how to get them de-cluttered and then deep cleaned, just a little piece at a time. If you’re interested you should purchase the book! I love having systems in place that are customizable but say “Do this, this, and this”. When you’re busy-crazy they’re so helpful!
Of course, they only work if you do! I’ve now divided up our home into the zones and am going to begin setting my timer for 15 minutes a day of Zone Cleaning, along with following her weekly plans. Once I get those in place and stick with them I’ll never have to see those fuzzy filth caterpillars again, Yey! I did use these systems to keep our apartment in Boston clean and they work great even if you have babies and toddlers!
#2 Get Great Tools
We all know the old saying “Work smarter, not harder.” This is my motto in every area of life. I want to zone in on the ways I’m wasting time and energy and start doing those tasks more efficiently. One way I find great new tools and systems is by paying close attention to whenever my friends start raving about something. However, at my core, I’ll always be the review blogger I was when I started this site. So although nowadays you pretty much only hear me raving about and promoting the brands I love, you can be sure I’m carefully testing out and trying multiple things and companies to see if they’ll be worth bringing to you all or not!
Lately one of the companies I’d been hearing a lot of buzz around was Norwex. Several of my friends were raving about their products, so I poked into a few parties to see what the fuss was all about. Ever the skeptic, one video seriously impressed me–you can check it out here–>
I love third party reviews and so when I saw this I was sure I wanted to try out the products. So when a friend from back home approached me and asked if I’d like to give them a try, I was super excited! Erica so graciously sent me all of the products you’ll see me trying out today!
She sent me a few other videos, and the one that really intrigued me at first was the claim that I could get my windows and mirrors streak free using just the EnviroCloth®, the Window Cloth, and water. If you’ve been around for any length of time you know that I started moving my family away from using harsh chemically based ingredients as much as possible ever since Amber was a baby because of her ongoing battle with eczema.
It was funny, because right when I was writing this a gal reached out and sent me this article about how bad traditional cleaners can be, especially for allergies. I have to admit, though, that many times I still rely on traditional medicines, and cleaners. Because, most importantly of all, I need something that works, and works well and fast.
I’ve tried lots of DIY and homemade cleaners, some have done great and others have fallen flat. I was excited to give these Norwex items a chance! The first place to tackle? The china hutch!!!
So cleaning the glass on this has always been a nightmare for me. I absolutely love my beautiful hutch that was graciously gifted to us as newlyweds. No glass cleaner, store bought or homemade, has ever been able to keep the glass streak free, though. You can see above what “clean” usually looked like. Such a pain! So I tackled it, inside and out, with pretty low expectations.
HA! I couldn’t believe it. The only way you can tell that there’s glass there now is the reflection of my china–and it’s like that in real life too. Super impressed with these two items I was like, well…..let me come up with something that there’s NO WAY they could clean. Especially since she also sent me Cleaning Paste. As I was cleaning my glass I noticed my amazing silver tea set was getting tarnished. In the past, I’ve always used a polisher which contains known carcinogens (I know, nasty!!! But it’s the only one I could ever get to work!) So I decided to put these to the test again!
The skeptic in me was starting to believe. So basically I then went through the whole house trying to find things that looked like they needed cleaning to see if it would work, haha!
Pretty cool, right?! They really did work well, and quickly! I really wasn’t putting a lot of “elbow grease” into cleaning these either. I’m a big believer that you should use tools that work harder than you do!
You can see above — the one side I used the paste and the cloths, the other side is still super yucky! Plus–aawwww!!! Chubby baby Amber!!!!
Time and time again, from the bathroom with the body cloths to my glasses with the optical cloth, I came away impressed!
I got onto Facebook and messaged this to Erica,
“So I have been using the products this weekend and Holy Cow!! I’m impressed and that is NOT easy to do!!! So excited to share some of my photos!!! ”
After my first package arrived she also wanted to send me the dusting tools–which are super fun and great, too! It’s like she knew my ceiling fans looked like that ^^^ without me even having to tell her!
Which also nicely brings us to my next point:
#3 Ask for Help
While you might not be able to hire someone to come and help with housekeeping right now, chances are pretty good that you don’t live in your house alone! This is the part of the post where I tell you that you shouldn’t be doing it all, alone, no matter how much you’ve told yourself you should.
Also! If you have very little children then just give yourself a big ol’ dose of grace, and know that NO ONE expects you to have a spotless house. Please find a good local moms group, get involved, and feel free to send SOS messages when things really get out of hand. Swap watching kiddos so you can each get the house clean, or trade your product or services for something that they offer! And remember, If anyone offers to help *accept it*!!!
Now for those of you, like me, who have older kiddos, be sure you’re having them pitch in! One reason I really love Norwex is that I can feel super good about having the kids help clean out because there aren’t any nasty chemicals in these items!!! In fact, Norwex has entire line of products specifically designed for kids that include kid-sized dust mitts! If you’re not sure where to start hop over and pin my 15 Beneficial Chores Your First Grader Can Do post – some of them you can also have your preschoolers start helping with, and ALL can be done by kids ages 6 and up!
I’ve shared over and over again but it really is true–my kid’s attitudes and personalities are just so much better and happier when they are contributing to helping out around the house! It’s when we start to let things slide and they have fun, all the time, that entitlement issues and unhappiness and bad attitudes abound. Teach them young that you all work together to keep your things nice! I’ve shared before how the ticket system works great in our house, and we’ve been doing it so long now that we’ve stopped using tickets. Now the kids know what chores they have to do each day, and which are extras that will earn them screen time.
Also, if you work from home or outside of the home full-time, it’s definitely more than fair to ask your husband for help and break chores into a game plan between the entire family. Because I still work part time without a long commute, (while hubby works full time with a long commute), the kids and I do all our cleaning. Hubby loves “new toys” though, and he played around with the next product when I got it in and even made a comment how much he liked it for dusting (without even knowing I’d been sent it to review!)
This awesome product is the EnviroWand™ with Two-Sided Sleeve. This was the handy tool that finally killed those ceiling fan dust bats (because if they’re on a fan they wouldn’t’ be dust bunnies..right??) anyways, I loved it! Instead of just knocking down the thick fluffy caterpillar-like yuck I was able to bend it to dust the top and the sides, and it trapped all the yuck in its fun fur (technically called nubby chenille microfiber).
I’m a shorty (5’5″) and I was able to reach and dust the ceiling fans in our high ceilings no problem with it, so nice!
See?? All beautiful and spinny once more!
Just as I told Erica, I’m so impressed with these products, and that truly is not easy to do! I highly recommend them and hope you’ll all be able to get at least a few of them, so that you can have the next best thing to your own personal maid!
Don’t forget to check out the catalog! Also, if you want ALL.THE.THINGS. (because, why wouldn’t you after this post???!!!!) You can have Erica host a party for you and you can earn free products! Check out her website for details!
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