Helen Homemaker

I am not. But, when I actually put it into practice, I’ve got some fairly useful knowledge about stuff around the house.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a post like this so I’m just gonna share some of my household tips with you. Take them, leave them, tell other people I’m a dork, whatever you want to do, but here goes.

1. Leave a small bucket of cleaning supplies in each room, so you don’t have to carry items around the house. You can just walk yourself in there, spend 5 minutes cleaning, and walk out. No looking for supplies and carting them around from room to room. In the kitchen I leave spray cleaner, vinegar, baking soda, and mopping stuff. Under the sink. In each bathroom there’s a roll of paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner, spray cleaner, and my bleach mixture (see below). Clean the countertops, mirror, toilet wipedown, quick scrub and boom, you’re done. 

2. Vinegar and baking soda, it kills gnats in the sink drain, and also can unclog a mildly clogged drain. It makes this cool bubbly foamy reaction that kids enjoy. 

3. Bleach mixture. If you have boys, of any age who stand and pee, you should make this up. Keep an old spray cleaner bottle, put 1/2 cup (less if you’re afraid of harsh chemicals) bleach in the bottom and fill up the rest of the way with water. Squirt around the bottom of the toilet 1 or 2x a day. That weird pee smell from all the misfiring, gone. Also, it’s a good quick wipe for the toilet seat and the front of the bowl if you’ve got little ones potty training. They love to touch the toilet in all kinds of places the rest of us avoid whenever possible. It’s also fantastic to spray on the shower curtain every other day or so to prevent nasty mildew and stuff. 

4. Make your own laundry soap. Sure, you have to dedicate a little time to the process, but honestly, it’s so worth it. My own budget is stretched so thin, and with all these growing boys I’d really rather spend those extra dollars on another loaf of bread or other grocery items. I have a wonderful no-grate recipe that I have been using since last fall. I bought all my supplies  totaling around $12-15.  In October. Of last year.

5. Assign chores to the kids. And don’t pay them for it. It’s just household duties, that they have to learn. Also, one thing Steven and I can really argue about is dish-washing and who is doing more or less of it. (Also, gay marriage, but I have no tips for that one!) Settle the argument and assign the dishes to the 9 and 12 year old. Problem solved. One of them.

6. Learn that it’s okay to be that lady with the messy house every so often. It may make people who are judgmental uncomfortable, but it will make the rest of us feel good about ourselves and our own houses. And remember, people who drop in unannounced, get what they deserve. 

7. Eat leftovers. When I meal plan, I include the leftovers as meals. Walmart has these plastic containers with the lids ATTACHED (genius idea, by the way). I put individual servings of the meat/starch/veggies in those and freeze them. Microwave meals for work the next day, done. 

8. When making your grocery list, put the items in the order you will find them as you walk through the store. You know your store, your Walmart or your Kroger or whatever. For example, when entering my Kroger first thing on the right is produce, then bread, then meat, and so on. I know the path I walk through the store and I make my list accordingly. You’re more likely to USE your list that way and less likely to buy extra stuff. I don’t know if that’s scientifically true or not but it works for me. Leave your grabby shoppers at home, for me that means Steven. When I bring the kids, I keep gum or fruit snacks in my purse to let them snack on while we shop. Also, eat first and make sure they’re not hungry either.

9. Buy in bulk, but not everything. If you shop at a Sam’s club or a Costco or a mega place like that, bring your calculator and be prepared to do some math. (I know, UGH, right?!) Certain things you could buy a zillion of and you know you won’t be sorry, like toilet paper, baby wipes, diapers, etc. Some things at those stores though, are not a better deal. Think about what the cost is per serving. A bigger package doesn’t always mean a better deal. Also, some things aren’t a good idea in bulk. For us, for example, cereal. We change up the cereal we buy every week, based on sales and also on just what we want.  We don’t need 3 boxes of honey bunches of oats with almonds because by the time we got to the end of that supply, we’d hate it. I don’t buy that huge can of peanut butter also because I can’t get the pb out of the bottom of that can without getting it all over my hand and arm. Also we made fun of it forever the one time I did. I just can’t take it seriously anymore.

10. If you use those little pumps of handsoap in the bathroom and kitchen, buy that big bottle of soap and refill them. It’s still cheaper than getting them when they go on sale for $1. I use that sale item to buy the bottles when mine are broken or not usable anymore, then I just refill them all with Dial. Or the walmart brand GoLD SOAP or whatever funny name they call it. 

11. I don’t have an eleven. Also Steven wants to reset the modem because his laptop is running slow. That’s all I’ve got for now. 

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5 comments on “Helen Homemaker

  1. arkellogg says:

    They seem very useful. If I ever get around to cleaning, I’ll have to try one of these out.

  2. arkellogg says:

    They seem very useful. If I ever get around to cleaning someday, I’ll have to try one of these out.

  3. Denise says:

    these are great tips!

  4. Hi Beth! I love your tips, especially the one that deals with boy-pee! 🙂 Do you have one for dog?

    HUGS to you and your boys!

  5. Clarita says:

    This is WONDERFUL!! I especially love the bottle of diluted bleach in the shower to prevent mildew on the shower curtain – that is a pet peeve of mine and I didn’t know what else to do but wash the curtain! And to keep the toilet bowl fresh as well. I’ll remember this especially in a year or two when my little son is potty-trained. Ha! That is just great. I love tips like these!

    And numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8… well, all of them, actually. YES and amen!

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