Back From Vacation Cleaning & Organizing

July 24, 2012 by Amy Clark

It is hard to believe that summer has come to an end and that it will be time to get back into our daily routines again.  In our house, I admit, we have abandoned most of our cleaning and organzational projects in favor of having fun at the pool and vacationing. Unfortunately, it is back to reality this month and getting our home back in the swing of things is top on my priority list so we can stay organized this school year.

Here are a few cleaning projects that you might want to tackle when returning to your own cleaning routines:

Start With Your Floors– After fun filled days at the beach and kids running in and out as they play outside, a lot of sand, dirt, and grime can wreak havoc on your floors My advice for cleaning these will depend on the type of floors that you have in your home and the tools that you already have in your possession.

Begin by removing all throw rugs and mats and either shake them out or throw them in your washer to clean these. Next you will want to sweep or vacuum the kitchen and (depending on how your home is set up) the entry hallway.

For carpeted kitchens and entryways, you can steam clean your carpets for deep cleaning. If you do not want to buy the commercial cleaners,  I recommend simply filling your steam cleaner tank with the hottest tap water possible and throw in a cup (or two for a large tank) of white vinegar. Begin steaming as you do with the commercial cleaners and stand back in amazement as you notice that this inexpensive solution works just as well as the pricey cleaners. Don’t worry, the smell will dissipate and you will be left with fresh-smelling carpets.

For mopping, fill a bucket with warm water and a small amount of cleaner or vinegar. Start in the farthest corner from the entrance and work your way backward toward the door. Mop as you go along, but be very careful to wring it out well to avoid sopping water from seeping into the floors. As soon as your water becomes murky, make sure to dump the water into the toilet and then get a fresh bucket of cleaner. Once, the floors are done, fill a bucket with clean water (no cleaners or vinegar) and go over it once more with the clean water and a mop.  Bring your rugs and mats back in and replace them on the floor.

Tidy Your Surfaces– Dust and grime can build on surfaces so this is a great time to restore the shine on your surfaces. A lightly dampened microfiber cloth is my choice for dusting surfaces. If fingerprints are littering you walls, the same dampened microfiber cloth (dampened with water or an all-purpose cleaner) is a great way to buff out the fingerprints and restore order to your walls. When using an all-purpose cleaner on your walls, be sure to spray this on your microfiber cloth rather than your walls to prevent any splatter marks from cleaners occurring.

Get Your Pantry Ready For Back-to-School- Pantry organization is key to good menu-planning for weeknight meals as well as getting the family off to a great start for their day and making lunches. Begin by removing all of the items from your pantry and placing them on cookie sheets. As you pull items, check the expiration dates on the food and toss anything that is expired. Group the items as you go along and, if it is helpful, begin an inventory sheet of what you have in your pantry. This will help you for your next grocery day and for planning meals from your pantry.

Make sure to condense those boxes as you go along and then decide how you will put them back into your pantry. Grouping like-minded items together (baking supplies, pastas/rice, spices) and putting them in plastic containers or just grouping them together inside a shelf can help make items easier to find. If you have a lot of Mason jars, use these for pastas, rice, and to store some of your baking supplies. Clear containers and jars make things easier to see and know how much you have!

I love to nestle baskets in the bottom of my pantry for easy grabbing for lunchbox preparation and after school snacks.

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.