Organized Cleaning

by Chris on September 20, 2011

Is there such a thing? Well, that’s my goal. Alice comes tomorrow, and I wanted to make the process as smooth as possible.

cleaning supplies

That–combined with my obsession with cleaning products and organization–meant that I went out and bought her all new supplies.  Having them all together really serves two purposes. It keeps all the supplies together so she’s not scrambling around the house looking for them, and it helps me to know when a particular product is getting low.

cleaning caddy

I think I’ll put her sponges and rags in another container because I’m still missing a couple of cleaners I like included. It’s amazing how many cleaning products we use and don’t realize it!

And this is where I tell you that I really do keep most of my products “green”. However, I cannot give up my Soft Scrub. It’s the ONLY thing that works on my sink to keep it clean. Please don’t hate. I’m a Shaklee girl, really. Except for Soft Scrub. And Mr. Clean sponges. I need to stop talking.

cleaning supplies

After reading all of your comments about your love of cleaning ladies (yay!), do you have any advice for me? Anything you or your cleaner does to make things easier or more efficient? I’d love to hear some tips!



Kelley September 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Get your hands up! Hand over the Soft Scrub and nobody will be hurt!

I can’t buy Soft Scrub here in the Philippines. waaaaaaah

Amanda @ Serenity Now September 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Definitely let her know what you want/need her to do! Otherwise, she may not focus on areas you really need worked on.

kp September 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I only use vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to clean (except for the occasional Magic Eraser). But if I could afford an Alice, I wouldn’t care what she used!

Chris September 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Great comment, KP! Agreed!

Miss Ash Tuesday September 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I use the same things (minus the lemon juice and plus Dr. Bronner’s)! Okay, so I don’t use the same things, but close. I love not worrying about toxicity.

I want an Alice! She’d probably think we were weird hippies, though. Oh well!

Jackie September 20, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I have had an “Alice” for years. There are many things I’d give up before I’d give her up. I have a stressful job and frankly, don’t want to spend my Saturday cleaning. I do/buy whatever products she wants to use. The thing I do for her every week is to make sure she doesn’t have to pick up or move around anything. She’s here for the hard stuff, not to load the dishwasher. I know she appreciates it because she’s mentioned it.

susie harris September 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm

We had a Alice growing up. My Mom always made me clean my room before she came. In fact I can remember my Mom cleaning before she came. We always asked..ha! She didn’t want anyone to know what a slob we really were..ha!

I wonder if Marc would let me have an Alice even though I stay home? I better not ask…unless..I plan to pay her. Wonder if she will work for gum? Maybe signs …ya just never know ;)
Enjoy! ps…we love Alice already. Her helping you, gives you more blog time which we love. Of the love!

Jennifer September 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I always tidy up before my cleaning girl comes….I don’t think she’d get much cleaned if she spent her whole time cleaning up our clutter. Plus, it helps me keep our house somewhat put together, since I have to declutter at least every other week! (she comes biweekly) My girl brings her own cleaning supplies, so I buy only stuff that I use to keep up in between!

Enjoy! It has been one of the best investments we’ve made for my sanity!!

Jessica September 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I also cannot give up my Soft Scrub. I tried. It didn’t work. Don’t feel bad……

Jenny September 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Great organizing! Enjoy Alice!

Marti September 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I have to have my Soft Scrub too. Can’t clean the kitchen sink or the bathtub without it. No tips, but I really like your tote. It seems to hold a lot.

Leanne September 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I actually am an “Alice”. :) The best thing you can do from my point of view is to have all your “stuff” in the general area it belongs. Organizing someone elses home takes a long time and is really challenging if you aren’t sure where things go. Having “stuff” out of the way means she can really *clean*. Also tell her what your priorities are – what would be most helpful to you. Some people are paid by job and others by the hour. If she is charging an hourly fee you definitely want her working on what you need most first. Do you have something that is sort of falling apart and you have to move it just so? Tell her. A window that will slam on her fingers? Tell her. ;) Certain areas where dust bunnies love to hide but you never get to? Your prized posession you would die if something happened to it so you don’t even want her to touch it? um… tell her. ;) If you have pets and little ones running around on wet floors they won’t dry well no matter how hard she works on it. If you have light switches or outlets that are hidden let her know where they are. The better she knows these details the more quickly she can complete her job. I love all the cleaning products you have and keeping them together is awesome. Go you. ;) Also… If you notice her doing something you really want done differently… kindly tell her. If she is a good Alice she will want to please you and will be happy to comply. If she has an attitude and wants to do things halfway – like wet mop without sweeping or vacuuming first… find another Alice. Have realistic expectations. Alice isn’t superwoman but she is being paid fairly to do a good job so you should be pleased with her work. I hope you enjoy the help! We Alices wish we could do the same! <3

Sarai September 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

I’m an “Alice”, too, and I echo all these things, Leanne! One thing that really helps me is that I have a daily and an annual cleaning list for the homes I clean. My homeowners know exactly what’s on those lists and can see exactly what I’ll be working on at each visit. If they have something extra they’d like to be done (washing some extra bedding or emptying the dishwasher, etc) they leave me a note with instructions on what to do. Also, if anyone in your family is home while your Alice is cleaning, stay out of her way. While it’s adorable that your kids might want to help her, and endearing that you might want to have a deep, heartfelt conversation, it’s not her job to be your babysitter or your therapist. Good luck and enjoy the help!!

Chris September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm

So true, Sarai! She’s coming today for the walk-through, but I told her that we’ll treat her as a ghost blowing around the house. :) I don’t want to pay her for us to visit, and I’m sure she’ll want to get her work done. Thanks for the advice!

Kerrye September 21, 2011 at 11:28 am

Super advice, “Alice” – says another “Alice”. More: Special instructions for your vacuum cleaner, if it’s new to her. And don’t worry about what she thinks about your stuff! Can I tell you a little secret? Every house I’ve ever cleaned has at least one picture frame with a broken stand, propped up against something. LOL! Do you have indoor pets? Make sure they are up and out of the way.

Bonnie @ HOUSE OF GRACE September 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

Great post! I am so glad that you love your Shaklee!!! :)
I need an Alice, lol!
Have a great night!
Bonnie :)

Laurie September 21, 2011 at 1:58 am

I look at it is this way… I tidy and she deep cleans. She is able to accomplish in two hours what would take me all weekend to get done. Money very well spent.

Linda @ Lime in the Coconut September 21, 2011 at 6:05 am

Ooooh I loved Hearing from Alice above! Great info. Enjoy that wonderful feeling of walking into your cleanes, organized and fresh smelling home! You’ll never go back!

Sarah September 21, 2011 at 6:41 am

I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Having a cleaning lady just sounds glorious!

Rachael September 21, 2011 at 7:09 am

It looks like you have a wood floor cleaner in there. What do you use? I’ve been trying to find a good product for this. Thanks! I’m so jealous of your cleaning lady. Would LOVE one! Maybe some day….

Comeca Jones September 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

Cleaning should be a breeze ya know.You have provided her with such a nice organized space to clean from.

Cab September 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

Wait!!!! Why are Magic Erasers not “green?”. They completely disappear and dint use any kind of cleaning product. What could be more green than that!?

Amy September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

Where did you find your basket? I’ve been looking for one to create a caddy for myself, but all I can seem to find are those college dorm shower caddies. Thanks!

Chris September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm

It’s actually a Shaklee basket that came with a bunch of products in it. I have a little “dorm” one, too, and it’s not nearly as nice!

Brook@BeingBrook September 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

We have only ever had a cleaning lady when I’m pregnant because I get SO sick and can’t do anything. So when she would come I would stumble to the next door neighbor’s couch for the next few hours while she did her thing.

If you pick up and tidy before she comes then you’ll end up with a shinier house. My cleaning lady was there for 4 hours. So if the house started totally trashed then it didn’t end up perfect because she had to spend time picking up. But if the house was already picked up then it was totally immaculate because she could spend the whole time cleaning instead of picking up toys.

I can’t live without soft scrub either!

Karina September 22, 2011 at 1:44 am

Yay! You will have to keep us updated. I hope its as terrific as we make it out to be in our heads! ;) Def, looking into getting myself an Alice (at least once in awhile)!

Dream Mom September 22, 2011 at 3:38 am

I use white vinegar, baking soda, lemon and salt to clean with…the white vinegar is a disinfectant and the rest clean everything. I’ve been reading many books on green cleaning over the past two years (housekeeping is a hobby of mine, lol) and now clean everything with these. I use a steam cleaner to clean my floors (Eureka Enviro Steamer). I’ve learned how to really clean a stove using salt and baking soda and have it turn out wonderful. I use microfiber rags and color code them by room.

One of my clients has a cleaning lady and since she is there on the days I am (I am a Professional Organizer.), I watch her clean. She does a great job and I loved how well she cleaned the baseboards so I asked her how. What I like best about her is that she is very thorough and after months of coming twice a month, she still does a great job. Some maids tend to drop off and not do as great of a job after a while. I think the main thing is to tell her what you want done meaning what is important to you. Also, you can define what it is you want done-deep cleaning (ceilings, windows, etc. or what I call “maintenance cleaning” which is your basic cleaning of floors, bathrooms, etc.) If you have a cleaning schedule already, you can share that with her letting her know what you want done. (Many services have a list of fees for “extras” like cleaning the inside fo the refrigerator, etc.) That’s also a good time to give her all of the jobs you hate doing, lol. Colin Cowie has a book called, “Colin Cowie Chic” and in there has some tips for housekeepers. He shows them exactly what he wants done down to taking pictures of how he wants the sheets on the bed. He talks about communication being critical to having your home cleaned the way you want. He even sends his housekeepers on vacations as gifts since they are so important to him!

I also read about cleaning services-there are some that clean with green products and some use essentials oils with their cleaning products for a fresh clean scent (essential oils can be synthetic or organic). The key is finding a cleaning service that shares the same values you do, especially if green cleaning is important to you. Many will choose products that get the job done the fastest, which often means harsh chemicals. Also, maids will sometimes tell you what products they want and then you purchase the ones they prefer so it’s good to be on the same page.

Overall, it should be exciting and wonderful to come home to a clean house. I’ve always loved the Merry Maids commercial where the woman comes home to the clean house and screams (because she is so happy it’s clean and the maids have been there) and then all of a sudden, two maids heads pop up and she’s embarrassed she screamed out. It’s my favorite commercial. I think every woman gets excited to come home to a clean home after work. Now if you can get someone to have a hot meal ready too, you’ll have it all, lol. P.S. One male friend of mine even had his maid bake him a “boxed” cake mix so he had his cake too.

Good luck. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

Lydia September 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm

On behalf of house cleaners everywhere, THANK YOU for making such a convenient cleaning supply bucket! I am currently working my way through undergraduate school, and (along with being a tutor, nanny, and furniture re-upholsterer) help clean two different houses. As a housecleaner, there is NOTHING worse than scrambling for supplies in the recesses of the pantry cabinets … or habitually running out of Windex and being faced with that awkward question: Do you abandon your post and go searching for the lady of the house? Or systematically re-clean the foyer until she walks by? In all honesty, your cleaning lady will be SO pleased! Thanks for being such a thoughtful homeowner! :)

Chris September 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time, Lydia! Thank you SO much for letting me know that. Not having a cleaner before, I didn’t know if it would be silly. I’m so glad to know it’s a convenience!

Julie Blanner September 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I love Mrs. Meyer’s and it leaves your home smelling great as well! Nothing cleans a white tub and grout like Clorox Foaming Bleach for deep cleans.

Kellie October 6, 2011 at 7:43 am

I purchased some microfiber cloths at Wal-Mart, but know there must be more durable cloths out there. Any suggestions?

Someoneisinthekitchen October 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Cinderella used to come to my home. Sure wish she could make it twice a month now. Perhaps after I get my bills paid next year she will enjoy working here.

Chris October 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I haven’t posted about it, but I fired (sounds harsh) my Alice months ago. I’m flying solo right now, and it’s horrible!!! I keep telling myself to get a new one, but I think I’m just glutton for punishment. :(

Clean Popo November 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm

It makes it so much easier to get the job done when the tools are organized. Nice post!

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