15 Steps to Vacuuming Once a Month – Part 4

If you want to vacuum just once a month, you should follow the steps in my last three posts, plus the following:

11. Restrict eating to certain areas. We messy types need the freedom to chow down occasionally in the family room. But we should limit food that gets carried upstairs, into the bedrooms, etc. Make a house rule about where family members can and cannot eat—one that's realistic—and stick with it. I'm big on letting kids and teens manage the cleanliness or not of their own bedrooms (if you don't like their mess, close the door), but on this issue, the house rule should prevail. If they balk, tell them to do a google image search on rats and roaches. That should help them see the light.

12. Restrict messy projects to areas that can handle it. Are the kids getting glue on the rug? Glitter in the furniture crevices? Permanent marker stains on the butcher block counter? Put a stop to all of that by providing a project area that has good lighting, a sturdy-and-easily-cleaned tabletop with no grooves (or at least one that can be covered with a plastic tablecloth), and a non-carpeted floor that is easily swept clean. Insist that any project that involves glue, markers, or scissors be done there. The kids will adapt soon enough, and if you keep a rechargeable sweeper nearby, they'll be more likely to clean up after themselves. Whenever they sit down to work on any project, remind them of this motto: The project's not done till the mess is gone.

Just as a side note, you may want to allow less messy projects, such as simple coloring or drawing, to be done in a wider variety of locations. If so, think about getting Color Wonder markers and paper. The ink in these markers will show up on the special paper—but not on other surfaces.

Check out the Color Wonder markers and paper by clicking here. Color Wonder link to Amazon

15 Steps to Vacuuming Once a Month – Part 3

If you want to vacuum just once a month, you should follow the steps in my last two posts, plus the following:

8. Not to be mean, but it really helps to limit your pets to certain areas of the house. Our shih tzu, Belle, happily lives in one half of the downstairs, with toddler gates to prevent her from going any further. This prevents an accumulation of dog hair in every room of the house, and it also limits her movements when she tracks in dirt or leaves from out back. This might be harder with an older dog, but because we started Belle this way as a puppy, she's never known any better and is perfectly content in "her" part of our home.

9. When choosing new floors and floor coverings, think camouflage! Why install dark carpeting if you have a light-colored dog? Why have a beige mat at your back door if the dirt in your yard is primarily red clay? Think about the nature of the messes that accumulate on your floors—and then make your flooring choices accordingly, with the art of camouflage as your first priority.

10. Taking the above step to the next level, if you are doing any sort of renovation, remember that you should never choose flooring that you haven't first tested for its ability to hide dirt. In fact, the next time you replace a floor with linoleum or tile or even hardwood, try this handy test:

- Choose six patterns that you really like and that coordinate well with your decor
- Ask for (or purchase) 1' x 1' samples of all six patterns
- Put the samples on the most mess-prone areas of your house, such as the kitchen floor in front of the sink and stove.
- Forget about them for a week or two and DON'T clean them.
- At the end of the test period, take a close look at each sample to see which one hid its splotches and splatters best. Upon close inspection, you may be amazed to find that the one you thought was the cleanest is actually the dirtiest.
- Choose the dirt-hiding winner for your new flooring pattern.

A handy hint: In my experience, the best floors for hiding dirt feature a speckled mix of browns and beiges and grays. The single worst kitchen floor I have ever had to deal with was a "checkerboard" of alternating black and white 6" squares. Whatever hid on the black was clearly evident on the white and vice versa. What a nightmare!

Come back next week for more steps.


15 Steps to Vacuuming Once a Month – Part 2

Happy New Year Everyone!

Now, back to our topic. If you want to vacuum just once a month, you should follow the steps in my previous post along with the following:

5. Place a large basket or low rack just inside every exterior door of your home and encourage family and visitors alike to take off their shoes and leave them there as they are coming in, if they want. (Don't make a hard and fast rule of this, however, lest you embarrass someone who has holes in their socks!)

Shoe Rack

6. Keep "tread depth" in mind whenever you buy new shoes for you or your family, and remember that the deeper the tread the more dirt that will get lodged in there and probably end up on your floors. Obviously, athletic shoes are going to have some necessary tread depth, but all other things being equal, choose the shoes with the shallower grooves.

7. The most important step of all: Get a rechargeable battery-operated sweeper and place it in or near the most consistently-dirty floor in the house. Unless you don't cook, that will probably be the kitchen. Get another one for every other level of your home. (Which means if you have a two story house with a finished basement, you need three!) Store each one in a very convenient place and get in the habit of using this sweeper often to clean up the crumbs and other day-to-day messes that accumulate on your floors. I have tried several brands but most prefer the one you've probably seen advertised on TV, the Swivel Sweeper.

Swivel Sweeper
(This isn't a paid endorsement, in case you were wondering. There are a few small drawbacks to the Swivel Sweeper, but of the different brands I've tried, I still liked it best. In a future post, I'll elaborate on the pros and cons—and if you prefer a different brand, I'd love to hear the same back from you.)

Come back next week for more steps!