Friday, 7 September 2012

20 Days To Organise & Clean Your Home // Week 1

Just a word of warning. This post is slightly epic. But I’m really proud of everything I’ve done this week, and I want to show it off!

day one

Our first challenge was the kitchen.  We needed to clean and declutter (focussing on the kitchen surfaces), and organise under the kitchen sink.

Pete and I actually had done a mini kitchen overhaul on the weekend, and gotten rid of a few things that we didn’t need anymore. The job still kept me fairly busy though, as I scrubbed and swept and got rid of even MORE stuff. It felt really good actually, and I was very proud of the end result.


Looking spick and span, and scrubbed within an inch of its life! (just FYI, I actually don’t keep anything under the kitchen sink except for the cleaning caddy I bought myself for this challenge so I didn’t need to do that part of the challenge).

Our five minute challenge for the day was to tidy one bookshelf. I chose the one that’s in my main living space. I was surprised how much I got done in the 5 minutes, including straightening things out and dusting my pretty things on top. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you give a set amount of time to it!


day two

Tuesday’s focus room was the main bedroom. Boy oh boy. This was one room I was seriously dreading. It was completely shameful. When we moved last year, I was still working and Pete did most of the unpacking and arranging of our home. Our bedroom got fairly left behind, and was never really unpacked properly. Then Pete started working full time too, and then Reuben was born.. and it just never got done, and it was really out of hand. I don’t think any of our friends have ever seen our bedroom, because I was too embarrassed to show them! So erm, there is no before shot for this room.

It was a big job. I got lucky, and both the kids had a HUGE day sleep, so I got almost three hours to just get in there and do it. I was actually surprised that that’s all it took. I must admit, I didn’t deal with all the clothes that were on the floor. They all got put in baskets and relocated for later. In fact, Pete has said that that will be his contribution to the cleaning of our room (suits me!). I got a broom and scooped up all the other clutter and stuff that was on the floor and under the bed and then I started sorting. I couldn’t get over how much of the kid’s stuff was in my room… clothes and books and toys. I don’t know how or when it got there, but I filled nearly two baskets with it! I also chucked away a heap of stuff, and did a whole lot of sorting. I can tell you I had mega hay-fever by the end of it. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to get such a big task done when I just put my head down and went for it. I even vacuumed and mopped the floor. The task called for cleaning, decluttering of bedroom surfaces and organising the bedside table drawer. Our bedside tables don’t have drawers, but I did organise my dressing table drawers instead.


I think this is the first time since we moved into this house that you’ve been able to see the surface of my dressing table. It’s so good to feel organised… and to be able to find my makeup in the mornings!


The kids woke up just before I vacuumed, and posed for a photo on my freshly made bed (including washed sheets, thank you very much!). I later went and bought two more pillows and put on the cases that go with our bedspread. In today’s post, Katrina had suggested that decorative cushions make a bed look fabulous… but at $6.00 for two, a couple of extra pillows have done the job just as well! And she’s right, it does make a big difference!

day three

Today’s room was the laundry. I didn’t get to it until much later in the day, as I had a big and busy day with two appointments for Reuben – one was needles and he was pretty clingy for the rest of the day!

I got there eventually though, and the job only took me about an hour – including all of the times I had to see to Reuben who wasn’t handling not being held.

Our laundry is downstairs under our house. It’s the first place we’ve ever lived where the laundry wasn’t just a tap and a sink in a corner of the garage, and I love it. It sometimes feels inconvenient though, and I feel like it would be easier to pop in and get stuff done if I didn’t have to leave the kids upstairs on their own to go down or lug the baby and the baskets of clothes down when I want to do work down there. So it probably does get neglected a little.. though I have been trying harder to keep on top of Mount Washmore!

I am in love with Katrina’s laundry sorting system, and maybe one day when we visit Ikea or somewhere similar I’ll be able to implement something similar, but for now I’m going to have to go with a line of laundry baskets up against the wall.

I scrubbed the sink, wiped the benches, cleaned the floors and walls, and sorted my piles. I even found some linen for the cot that I thought I had lost! When I was done it looked like this:


The ‘organise’ part of today’s challenge was to create a laundry routine. I loved Katrina’s idea of having some wall art in the laundry room as a reminder, so I made these:


So I guess the ongoing part of today’s task is to stick to it, and keep that laundry churning baby. Maybe once I feel on top of that I’ll get brave enough to bring out my cloth nappies again!

day four

Today it was time to hit the lounge room. I had done a reasonable tidy yesterday in preparation for a house inspection, but I knew I did have to do some decluttering and dusting.

Once Mayana was at kindy, I popped Reuben in his Jolly Jumper and set to it. I moved furniture and dusted and polished and vacuumed (floors and couches!)… I couldn’t believe the things I found behind and under the couch! Seriously, I have found so many things this week that I thought were long gone – it’s been great! The only task that I haven’t been able to do in each room is cleaning the light fittings and fans. We have twelve-foot ceilings, and I am about five foot flat and don’t own a ladder. I’m gonna leave that to my hubby to figure out!

The biggest yuck in the lounge room was the weird corner I have between our two couches. We have our DVD cupboard in there, and it’s also where I keep Mayana’s crocodile beanbag, Pete’s heated throw, and let’s face it – a whole bunch of my crafting (crochet) crap. One of the goals that I had for this overall challenge was to organise my crafting supplies and get rid of excess stuff. I have a box in the lounge room that is meant to be for my current project/s (there’s never just one!), but of course it is always overflowing with other balls of wool that I ‘might use soon’. I do have a set of drawers in my making room that is meant to house yarn that is not being currently used for a project, but for whatever reason (presumably laziness) it never quite gets there. So today, I attacked that damn corner. I found partly finished projects, completed projects, wool that could go back to the making room (two plastic bags full!! eek!) and lots of bits and pieces that I really didn’t need anymore. Now I really do only have my current projects in my crochet box, and it’s the only thing in my corner … no more bags full of escaping wool.. no more mess! It looks great, and I feel more organised, and I guess that’s the point.


In case you’re wondering, the two black tubs in the corner of the top photo belong to the kids. Whenever I find anything of Mayana’s lying around the house, it goes in her crate. The idea is that she is meant to clean it out each afternoon/evening or whatever’s in it will mysteriously disappear (I’ve threatened the bin but that probably isn’t true). Reuben’s box usually holds only a couple of things that I use to entertain him when he plays on his mat through the day. As you can see both of the boxes are today overflowing with the things I have found in my bedroom and the lounge room that belong to Mayana. She’ll be going through that when she gets home from Kindy.


And there’s my previously horrid little corner. Cleaned out, vacuumed, dusted and looking spick and span.

day five

I can’t believe I’m one week through the challenge! It’s exciting knowing that I’ve got the weekend ‘off’ to spend with the family, and enjoy our sparkling home.

In between baking a cake to take to Pete’s work, I spent part of the morning decluttering the pantry. I actually did a major pantry overhaul only a few weeks ago, so really today I was just honing my storage system and doing a general quick tidy. I adore my pantry, and it feels good to have it neat!


Today’s cleaning task was the floors. Vacuuming and mopping. I have to tell you, that with a home whose floors are polished wood throughout, I was not so excited about this challenge. I’m not the hugest fan of mopping. I also had a few other things on today, and a baby who had decided after a fantastic week of day-sleeps that sleep is, in fact, for the weak. Fun times.

But after a healthy does of procrastination I bit the bullet and got to work.

I vacuumed the entire house first (well except the playroom. The playroom needs some work before it’s ready to see a vacuum cleaner… what was that about the weekend off again? *le sigh*). Vacuuming is an okay job with our fabulous Dyson. An added bonus was that the sound of the vacuum cleaner seems to put Reuben to sleep… and that’s a pretty good incentive on days like today.

For mopping, I used Katrina’s idea and used hot water and about half a cup of vinegar. I also added two capfuls of eucalyptus oil, partly because it smells flipping awesome, and partly because it gives a really nice shine to our polished timber floors. We for some reason don’t have an actual mop bucket (might have to rectify this) so I got creative and used the baby bath instead… whatever works huh?


So I mopped myself into the computer chair and I’m typing while the floors dry. Now the floors are shining and there’s a delicious smell of Eucalyptus in the air and I’m sweating like a pig and feeling like I just did a crazy workout but also very satisfied.

the verdict

I’m feeling really happy with myself and my house after this week’s efforts. My husband has been really impressed when he’s come home from work each day, and we’ve both looked forward to the afternoon’s emails telling us what’s on for the following day. I know some people have been after a list with everything that’s coming up, but I personally enjoy the anticipation of working day to day. I am really glad I’m a stay at home mum at this moment, I’m almost positive that I would not have the energy required to complete this task if I was working full time at the moment.

Even our three year old daughter has gotten in on the act, and has added a few new chores to her repertoire this week. Now not only does she help with unstacking the dishwasher, she also puts her own plates and cups and utensils in there after she finishes eating. She also now has the job of doing the dustpan and brush after I’ve swept. Today she even sat down next to me and helped me fold some of the clothes I’d gotten off the line! What a little star!

I feel like I’m doing a great job at maintaining what I’ve done so far. I’ve kept right on top of the kitchen and the bedroom and they look as good today as the days that I cleaned them. I’m also getting into the swing of my new laundry weekend.

I think this challenge was exactly what I needed to get motivated. Having this seemingly mammoth job of spring-cleaning a house broken down into daily tasks makes it seem much more manageable and less overwhelming. So thanks very much, Organised Housewife. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.


  1. Sounds great Zoey, well done! Your house will look amazing after 20 days of that kind of work!

  2. Your house looks lovely. I too have a laundry downstairs and I haven't pulled the cloth nappies back out yet either - you are not alone!

    I don't think I could handle washing everyday though. I only wash on one day of the week? Won't washing everyday increase your water bill?

    1. Hmmm I'm not sure Chelle. As far as I am aware we don't have to pay the water bill because our landlord has not installed water-saving devices at all in this property (eg water-saving showerheads, dual flush toilets etc). In any case, I definitely have a full load to do each day! Maybe it will settle down now that Reuben has stopped vomiting though? Once I've gotten to the bottom of those laundry baskets and I'm in a bit of a rhythm I'll be able to reassess what I need to do. Having said that though, When I was only washing for one or two days of the week, these were the loads I was doing anyway. So it won't make too much difference doing five loads over five days instead of over one or two days :)


Thank you!!


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