6/12/15

Keeping Clean: The right tools

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We're going to start with the basics here, folks. My first bit of cleaning advice? Get yourself the right tools. Pretty tools. Hardworking tools. Tools that will stand the test of time and clean till they can't clean no more.

I know what you're thinking. I know. Another blogger writing about the joys of cleaning, all because of a beautiful scrub brush. And ah, there they are. The photos of the rumply stack of linen towels, and the perfectly staged wooden-handled brushes, placed next to glass bottles of natural, homemade cleaning potions. The internet is a tricky place-- one pretty picture is fully capable of making you think that when some people clean, it's a luxurious and whimsical experience full of sweet, old-fashioned charm. We all know it's not. At least, not for me.

But, go with me here. Sometimes having beautiful, well-made cleaning supplies really can make all the difference, and the secret is this: if it's lovely, you might actually use it. Especially if you can leave it out in the open.

For example, I used to be the owner of a very basic yellow and black plastic broom. It was fine. It worked great. But it was just ugly enough that I didn't want it hanging out in my kitchen full-time. And because there isn't a closet nearby to hide it in, I kept it in the basement. Sometimes just going downstairs to fetch it felt like a chore. I didn't sweep nearly as much as I should have, and my kitchen floor would get really filthy. A few years ago I moved that broom to the garage and replaced it with a well-working, good-looking broom. And I love it. It's pretty enough to leave hanging on a hook in my kitchen, and close enough to grab whenever I need it-- sometimes twice a day, thank you Ralph.

So, am I really telling you that you'll improve as a housekeeper if your broom is pretty? Well, um, yes. Kind of. You know how long road trips are made better by some good chocolate and a thick magazine? Or how the first day of school is easier to stomach if you've got a special new dress to wear? Cleaning can be a whole lot more tolerable if your tools feel fancy.

But, fancy doesn't always = expensive. My soulmate of a broom that I mentioned above? I found it on clearance at Homegoods for less than $10. And I'm not saying that your cleaning tools have to be works of art to qualify for the job, either. My beloved steam mop isn't exactly eye-pleasing, but it has saved me from having to wash my floors on my hands and knees, Cinderella-style, with a rag and a bucket of soapy water like I used to. Now I zip around the house while that thing scrubs and disinfects my floors better than I ever could. I actually get excited to use it.

And that's the whole idea.

. . .

Some of my other best-loved cleaning stuffs: glass spray bottles for cleaning concoctions, and old jars for things like baking soda or laundry soap. Wooden-handled scrubby brushes for the sink and the shower. Wicker laundry baskets to take the place of  plastic ones (because if all those clothes are going to sit on the table for a few days, at least they'll be sitting pretty.)

Also:
my favorite kind of dish cloths, that slip slide over all my pots and pans and make the piles of plates in the sink disappear so much faster (if you have to do all your dishes by hand like I do, you'll love these.)
my steam mop (if you have a house full of hardwoods or tile, this will be your dream come true.)
a pretty broom (not exactly like mine, but looks similar.)

41 comments:

  1. Where did you find the lovely hooks? I would love something like that in the kitchen!

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    1. My husband made them! I've seen a similar style at Crate & Barrel, but I'm not sure if they're quite as long. You could possibly double up if you wanted more length!

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  2. What brand of steam mop do you use?

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    Replies
    1. A Bissel Powerfresh-- I included the link in the post above if you're curious!

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  3. I am a clean freak so I am a big fan of this series already :). I love your tip of using pretty tools. I think it is spot on!

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  4. Can't wait to keep reading this series. I'm a mostly-tidy person, but I have a toddler and often need motivation to stay on top of things! ;)

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  5. Just the other day I was looking at your Instagram and thinking how great it would be if you did a series on how you keep your house so bright and tidy! I find your pictures so inspiring -- and I really love reading about housekeeping -- so I am thrilled you are doing this. (And your tool tips are perfectly timed, as my husband and I have just bought our first home -- moving back to the Midwest from England -- and I need to start from scratch with cleaning tools and supplies!) Thanks :)

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  6. i think you are spot on (no pun intended)! ha! but honestly, mundane tasks/chores are totally more "doable" when you've got pretty and accessible tools. i've got the yellow plastic broom you described and it's a terrible eye sore!

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  7. New reader from Grace's and I love these suggestions!

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  8. Yes, new reader (but Instagram follower) here, too! So interested in the glass spray bottles you use. Do you feel like they might be impractical for a home with many little ones? Are they pretty resistant to drops or are they just regular old glass (thinking about our tiled bathroom, etc...) so excited for
    More!

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    1. Yes! I was going to ask about the glass bottles as well. I've been searching in vain for gold ones for far too long... (Another follower from Grace here! ;) )

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    2. Hi guys! I'm working on a very very short post about the glass bottles. Ralph likes to use them (when I let him) and so far, no breaks! He's pretty careful. They're just normal glass, so definitely breakable if handled too roughly, but the ones I use are so cheap I wouldn't be too upset if they broke. Stay tuned!

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  9. Hi! I just started following you on instagram and I'm already in love with your feed! You are so right about having pretty tools for cleaning around the home. I've been on the hunt for some good brushes in the sink as well as in the bath tub. May I ask what you use to wash your dishes with? I hand wash all my dishes as well. and in one of your pictures it has a dark bottle on your sink, is that your dish soap? if so where can i find one of those? thank so much again for sharing. so happy to follow along! xo patricia

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  10. Those are really good pointers on home cleaning, especially the point about having the right materials and tools needed. While some can make do with makeshift or substitutes, you really can’t get the same results when using the right cleaning materials and equipment. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Cheers!


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    ReplyDelete
  11. Keeping your entire room to be clean is so simple to achieved. What you only need to have is the right tools that can you use in your cleaning activities at home. In this way, you will be able to maintain good cleanliness in your different areas at your home.
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  14. Thanks you for giving these amazing tips! Can you suggest the best cleaning supplies in the philippines?

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  16. The way I see it, "tools make the user" as much as "clothes make the man." If you got the basics going for you and you know how to use them perfectly, you'll get the job done much more efficiently. Thank you for sharing this!

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  18. Good tools, I think every one should use this !
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  21. I make a habit of having pretty containers for all my cleaning products. I have them labeled and stored on a little shelf in my laundry room. I used to clean houses for a living, and I used a wooden garden tool box to store my supplies. I was constantly asked by homeowners where I got my beautiful supply container!

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    ReplyDelete
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