Category Archives: Cleaning

Minimalist Toddler Girl Wardrobe

In desperation, I paired down everyone’s wardrobes to almost minimalistic quantities.

Seemed insane, but now that it’s working so well, I think it was genius. :-)

Here is roughly what the two year old girl’s wardrobe is right now.

Minimalist Toddler Girl Wardrobe:

Make the clothes mix and match. Then you don’t have  6 play outfits. You have 36. :-)

6 Play Shirts

4 or 5 Play Pants

1 or 2 Play Skirts

3 Sweaters or Sweatshirts (Our house is cold)

1 or 2 Vests (I like vests for my toddler girls because they hold the shirt down and there is less baby tummy showing)

(Not Pictured)

4 Sunday Dresses



10 Pair Socks

3 pair pajamas

1 Coat, pair of mittens, hat, and scarf

1 Play Pair of Shoes

1 Dress Pair of Shoes (Ok. I love toddler shoes…we might completely go outside the line of this one…)


I don’t know what it will be like in your area. I can usually find great name brand toddler jeans, skirts, and dresses at Goodwill, but the shirts and tights I buy at Walmart or Target. My two year old is hard enough on her shirts that high quality shirts do not matter. Stains show up on Walmart brand as well as name brand. :-)

Pros of a Minimalist Toddler Wardrobe

  • Impossible to get far behind on laundry. 
  • Less Mess when the clothes get pulled out of the drawers. (And they will…trust me)

Cons of a Minimalist Toddler Wardrobe:

  • I actually haven’t thought of any. <:-) 
  • I do wash the kid’s clothes about every third day, but I have my own washer. If you have to take your clothes to a laundromat, that would be an issue.
  • Flu has hit us twice since I slimmed down on clothes, and it was not a problem. The first thing you do when your kid throws up is strip the child and hurl the foul clothes in the washing machine anyway!

So there it is! Be sure to check out the other lists in my Minimalistic Wardrobe Series.

- Verity


My Cleaning System: Part 3

Our house is about 1200 square feet. 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, 2 hallways, foyer area, and 1 ½ bathrooms.

My System:

I the morning, I try to pick up any clutter upstairs. Beds are made, toys are put away, anything laying around is taken care of. After lunch, but before the kids go down for naps I clean up as much clutter as I can. I do the dishes; have the kids help me put all the toys away, pick up anything that could hinder my cleaning endeavors—shoes, large toys, dirty clothes etc.  I put the kids down for a nap with a clean slate ready to go. This way I’m tempted to putts.  

First, I clean the downstairs bathroom because I can do it quietly while the kids are falling asleep. It takes about 7 minutes.

Then, I pick up anything extra off the living room floor and vacuum it quickly. 5 minutes

I pick up the mats by the front door and vacuum my way around the downstairs. When I get to the dining room I haul all of the chairs into the living room as well as other big things like the high chair, jumparoo, play house and so on. I do this with the vacuum cleaner running the whole time. It motivates me to hurry and lessens the chance of the kids getting up. Then I vacuum the dining room. The downstairs is vacuumed! That step takes about 10 minutes.

I go prep the mop and soapy water. Then I mop the downstairs. 10 more minutes

Downstairs total: About 30 minutes

I sneak upstairs and fully clean the upstairs bathroom. Switch towels, mirror, sink, tub/shower, toilet. 20 minutes max.

At this point, my daughter gets up! She and I traipse downstairs and I give her a snack to eat while I reassemble the downstairs.

My kids are both terrified of the vacuum cleaner. Why? I have no idea! So, they eat supper while I vacuum through the upstairs. Less than 10 minutes.

(You may have noticed I don’t dust weekly. The kids and I do it randomly about every 2 weeks. It takes us less than 10 minutes and it’s something we really enjoy doing together. I don’t include it in my weekly cleaning, though you certainly could. We also enjoy changing bedding together so I don’t include that either.  If I included those things to me weekly cleaning sprint it would only add about 15 minutes.)

There you have it: 1 hour to a completely clean house

- Lydia

Organizing: The Master List

I once asked an organized friend her secret of getting rid of stuff and staying organized.

She laughed. “Move every 2 years! We’ve done that. It works great!”

At the moment, we are considering a move. It may not even happen, but just the prospect has admittedly helped me view my stuff and house projects more clearly.

I went through each room, and wrote a comprehensive list of all the projects that need to be done. (All the of them – including the small, 5 minute ones and the larger 10 hour ones).

This mind clearing experience has made me wish I’d written this a long time ago! How many times have I felt overwhelmed about where to even start? How many 1 or 2 hour segments have opened up, and I squandered it because my mind blanked so I just jumped on Facebook instead?

Next house, I’m making this list in the first month. – Maybe before we even move in!

Here’s how to make the list:

1. Walk through each room and made a list of all the projects that need to be done.

2. Estimate and write the amount of time next to each one. (This way, if your kids are napping or your husband offers to take them fishing, you can check your list to see which project can fill that slot of time)

3. Write a shopping list on a separate sheet of paper so you can pick up any supplies that you need on hand for when the time to deal with it comes up. (Within reason)

4. Optional Idea: I also put used a code system to help me know at a glance what items needed to be done with or without kids. “A” notes that the project needs to be done by me Alone without the kids. “K” is for things that can be done with the Kids, and I put a “J” next to the projects that I need my husband to help me with. :-)

5. Optional Idea: Many organizing experts suggest organizing or renovating one area at a time so that you can see your progress. For this reason, organizing the projects by room may be useful.

Here’s a sample of my list from the kids’ room:

Kid Room

  1. Paint Touch-up                                                20m                   A
  2. Put up 2nd curtain                                           10m                   K
  3. Declutter closet                                                30m                   K
  4. Scrub woodwork                                              30m                   K
  5. Replace Wall Vent                                           15m                   K

(To Buy: Vent)

Using the List to make your life more efficient:

With exception of the paint touch-ups, these projects are actually all ones I can do with the kids. So I could easily schedule one morning to do these.

The paint touch-ups will need to be done without the kids. That will be a little more of a challenge. Summer is almost here, and my husband will often take the toddlers fishing with him to give me a 2 hour breather. If I paint as soon as they leave, the touch-ups should hopefully be fairly dry by the time they get back. Having my master list helps me to utilize his gift to me by using it more efficient.

- Verity

My Cleaning System: Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you cleaning methods at which I tried and failed. Then I started to think about what I wanted my house to be rather than the process of how to get it there. I realized that in order to achieve a clean house all at once, I needed to clean my house all at once. This is the method that works for me. It may not be your best method, but I highly recommend it. Here’s what I’ve learned and how I’ve made it work through job changes, and the addition of children.

At that time, I calculated that I had approximately 4 hours a day to do things (this was when I worked full time but before I had kids), so I decided that if I left Fridays open as my cleaning day it would be attainable. I chose not to do any real cleaning until the first Friday arrived. The first Friday came and I accomplished my goal—completely clean house. Then, I had to make supper and lunches for my husband and myself. I left for work feeling close to a failure and the kitchen was a wreck. The next week, I learned to start earlier.  I also discovered that if I was going to let the house go during the week, my lack of cleaning could not include neglecting clutter. On Thursdays especially I had to be sure and de-clutter or I would spend too much time doing that project on Fridays. As the weeks went on and the Friday cleaning became a habit, my confidence in my housekeeping skills grew and I felt more prepared to have guests into my home. Since I chose Fridays as a cleaning day, weekends were a natural time for company. Almost no prep, and we were ready to whip up a meal and open our home! Then our son was born…

After an insane amount of nursing problems, I had very little time to clean or cook or anything! For months, I did just a few jobs a day, but then he started to have consistent nap times, so I had 2 hours slots. For over a year, I was able to “cram” my 4 hour cleaning session into 2 hours. I still did it on Fridays. After our daughter was born (my “efficient” sleeper) I am able to clean the entire house in exactly 1 hour. I work crazy fast and there is no time for extras, but it works. I often wonder how many hours I wasted during those years of spending 4 hours on the exact same thing! Funny how kids push us to work harder than ever before. 

At this point in our lives, I nanny from home on Wednesdays and my husband teaches piano lessons from home on Thursdays. I changed my cleaning day to fluctuate between Monday and Tuesday which allows us to relax over the weekend and make a mess without worry. This also helps me to jump start my week. We have been very happy with this method. If someone does come over on the weekend, I take about 10 minutes to vacuum the downstairs and quickly wipe down the bathroom. That’s it and we’re good to go!

You might be reading this and thinking that it seems silly to give so much thought to when and how I clean—I don’t blame you! But I think it is crucial to give careful thought to how we’re going to do things, otherwise we’ll never achieve the end result we want. Think of how you want your house to be and then make a plan of how to get it to that point. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

“Even if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you’ll land among the stars.”

Tomorrow I’ll share with you exactly what I clean and when. Also some tips to make it go faster and how to prep for cleaning without actually cleaning.


Cleaning: My System Part 1

The Scene: 

Your house is a wreck. You just put your children down for naps and you are exhausted. You head down the stairs to face the mess and are so overwhelmed by it you spend most of naptime wandering, eating, trying to figure out where to start. Before you know it, the baby wakes up and you accomplished very little.

How many of you have faced days like this? I sure have! Multiple times. I’ve had people ask me where I start when I’m facing a large mess, so I started to think about it. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

The Plan:

First, if you have enough time, start with the dishes. I’ve observed that if you will be cleaning for any length of time (more than 20 minutes) you will probably be snacking or preparing food for others along the way. You might be unloading the dishwasher or trying to complete a kitchen project and dirty dishes will only slow you down. We all know what it’s like to move them and rearrange them to make it work, but it’s only a waste of time. Buy cute dish gloves, put them on, and knock those dishes out in 10 minutes or less. Then move on to the rest of the house!

Start with the living room. It’s the most important/showy to keep up with. Look at the mess. Force yourself to view the items as groups. Before you pick anything up, mentally assess your groups. My groups are usually things like, kids’ dirty clothes, garbage, dirty dishes, toys that go upstairs, toys that go in the living room, and things that go to my husband’s office. This step should take less than 10 seconds. Then I decide which group (or item in a group) looks fun. This might sound weird to you, but there is always 1 item that is easy and you know exactly what to do with it without thinking. Sometimes it’s as simple as picking up a coaster that fell on the ground. Start with your fun or easy item. While you’re down there be thinking ahead to the next fun or easy item. Your excitement at taking care of these fun items will continually push you to conquer the next group. Don’t allow yourself to stop thinking in terms of fun or easy because even once you knock out several of those items there is always another that is more fun than the next. Do this until you are finished.

Don’t allow yourself to become bogged down by taking things all the way to their home. Make piles. All things that go upstairs, I place in piles on the landing. It’s not unusual for my landing to be FULL when my kids get up, but it saves time so I’m not running up and down the stairs or getting distracted. While my kids are eating their snack, I take it all up and disperse it quickly to its correct locations.  Papers that need to be sorted go in piles on the dining room table. I will sort them later in the day. Not when I’m trying to quickly clean up. Just don’t forget about them!

When the living room is done, move to the dining room, hallway, etc. however your house is set up. Keep going until the clutter is in piles and taken care of. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down or distracted. If something is slowing you up, set it aside to do later in the day and find the next item or group that looks fun and easy. Keep moving and you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can clean up a messy house!

The Recap:

  • Do the dishes
  • Assess your groups
  • Find 1 fun or easy item or group
  • Make piles
  • Always think ahead to the next fun or easy item or group
  • Don’t get distracted—keep going until it’s done!
  • Go back the time consuming items later

Happy Cleaning!!