Cleaning & Organizing
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General advice?

I'd like to start out with a disclaimer: I have not been on TN much/read many of the boards here, so some of this might be able to be answered by my just looking around a little more. I do frequent TK though.

 I am only 21 years old and just graduated from college in December. So, I am in the first six months of:

-Having my first job
-Living somewhere other than home/the dorms
-Paying bills
-Keeping house
-Learning to cook
-Living with my fiance
-Even seeing my fiance daily (we went to different colleges and started dating at the very end of high school, so have been in an LDR the whole time until January)

Besides all of that, I am also planning a wedding.

I am having trouble finding balance between all of these things. The apartment is always messy (I only ever clean when I am expecting guests and then it is tons of stress because I'm trying to do the whole apartment at once). I can't keep up with the dishes or laundry (part of that is because the apartment has shared laundry between all the buildings and I HATE grosses me out. Plus it's hard to find quarters).

I actually enjoy cleaning, I just can never muster enough motivation to do it. I think part of that is because I'd rather just hang out with my fiance since I'm still a little bit in LDR mode, where I feel like I need to see him as much as possible while I have the chance. I'm still not used to the fact that I get to see him everyday. I've been losing motivation to cook lately too, mostly because the dishes are always dirty so it's a ton of work, and also because I don't have many recipes and we're getting tired of what I've been repeating every week.

Anyway, I am looking for some general advice/tips on how to keep the apartment clean, balance everything, and most of all, how to stay motivated to clean/cook/do laundry.

Re: General advice?

  • I found this helpful on Pinterest:

    It's a weekly list of things to do each day (only 30 minutes of work each day) that should help maintain a clean living space.

    You mention that you're living with your fiance...does he do any of the cleaning/cooking?  If not, why not?  If you can somehow start a compromising system of "I'll cook dinner if you do the dishes"/"I'll clean the bathroom if you vacuum the living room" kind of stuff, it should put less stress on you to get everything done all the time.

    As far as wedding planning goes, I made a blog article with several tips if you're interested:

    I made it back when I was working for a gift site, so you can ignore the gift references and just focus on the tips section of the article as need be.  =)

    Hope this helps!  =)

  • Welcome to life! Smile

    You have to set routines for yourself.  Maybe you would do well by setting certain days for things.  Ex: 1st and 3rd Sundays are laundry days, Wednesday is bathroom day.  Subscribing to Fly Lady might help.

    Do you have a dishwasher? If so, automatically load it after you eat.  Unload it the next morning while your coffee is brewing.  Another option is to see if your FI will take over and have the dishes be "his chore" to stay on top off.  Both of you have to share this workload unless one of you is not working.  Too many times, as women, we try to be the traditional homemaker and a career woman but it is too much to do alone.

    As for the wedding, the best checklist I used was the one on the Bed Bath & Beyond registry site.  It really helped to keep me on track.  Remember to have fun b/c this is your special day and you won'y want to look back and regret being seriously stressed.

    As for spending time with are marrying him, you have the rest of your life to be together. 

  • When I lived in an apartment with a washer/dryer shared between everyone - there was always one person who left their laundry in the washer/dryer for hours.  I found it was helpful for my sanity to pack in up and put it in the car and drive to a laundromat.  Not only could I get all my loads done at one time, I would take that time to read my latest book, gamble (I only played scratch off lotteries when I did laundry - and not much, but it was fun to win a dollar or two). It was good alone time as well as a chance to get stuff done. I found (despite the fact that it ate up a good weekend night), that the laundromats are pretty empty Friday night.  Plus they have quarter machines and someone to complain to if stuff breaks.

    It other related advice, put those handy non-bleach! wipes in easy accessible places (i.e. under EVERY sink) not in a general closet. Then when you're brushing teeth, making dinner, etc. - wipe down the counters/fridge/sink, etc.   I love my Swiffer - I have long hair which gets everywhere.  In between massive cleanings, I just run the Swiffer over the tiled areas. Makes sweeping much easier and the broom less clogged with hair. A little in between cleaning can make the big stuff easier to handle.

  • Cleaning is much more managable if you stay on top of it, a little bit each day goes a long way.

    ie - Make your bed every day, put dishes in DW right away or wash and put in drainer, throw out junk mail immediately! Keep a calendar on the kitchen wall and write down dates you will do laundry, bathroom etc.

    I agree w/PP to check out Fly Lady - she has a website and a book (try the library) and suggests zone cleaning (1 zone/week).   Set your kitchen or microwaver timer for 15 mins every night and do a quick clean of whatever (sink, counters, dust, pick up clutter, etc). You can get a lot done in just 15 mins!

    Save an empty spaghetti jar and put your quarters in it - or get $20 worth of quarters from the bank to start for your laundry.

    Cooking - Check out your library for cook books and menu planning.  Keep staples on hand for making easy things like spaghetti, tacos. You don't have to have an elaborate dinner every week night - simple meals work best. A bowl of cereal or pancakes & eggs for dinner never hurt!

    Most importantly - talk w/your fiance about how to divide up chores and he should also be sharing in the cooking!  If he was away at college he knows how to do laundry, grocery shop etc. 

  • Thanks for all of the advice, ladies!

    I'm not sure how to convince my FI to help out more. He doesn't have a job and since it's the summer (he's still in college), he should have plenty of time to help out, but he just doesn't. His chores are folding the laundry and vacuuming, and he occasionally helps me pick up clutter around the apartment, but that's all. As far as actually cleaning, he's helpless. We have guests coming tonight and I set him with the task of some small cleaning jobs while I'm at work today (sweeping and mopping the kitchen, putting away dishes from the dishwasher, etc), and he acted annoyed like he had better stuff to do with his day. Even when I can convince him to help me out, he doesn't know where anything goes in the cabinets, and when decluttering, he sometimes just picks stuff up and puts it in a pile somewhere else instead of putting it away.

    Maybe I'm just being too much of a control freak.

    As for cooking, he knows how to make one thing, and besides that it's all up to me. I really don't know how he made it through living on his own when we were LD. I guess a combination of eating only hot pockets and taking his laundry home for his parents to do.

  • I suggest you have an honest conversation that marriage is a partnership - where both partners have to work together to achieve the goals of the marriage, this includes housework etc. It will only become more demanding (if) you have a family.  Find a time to discuss when he's not occupied with something else, relaxed.  Do some cleaning  together and he'll learn where things go.  Too often men let women pick up these tasks because we do it and never let them learn. good luck!   Putting dishes away is pretty basic - he knows where they are to get them out right????

    I could say leave his clothes and things for when he gets around to it, but a conversation is probably better first!

  • You just need to get into a routine of KEEPING things clean, it's much easier. I'm usually the same way. I "work" from home (i.e. I'm trying to start a business) and I still get backed up on cleaning. For the past few days I've done little things everyday: I don't go to bed with dishes in the sink. Throughout the day as we use dishes, they get rinsed and go in the dishwasher. If it's full before we go to bed, it gets run while we're sleeping and dishes put away ASAP in the morning so that when we use dishes the next day, there's an empty dishwasher to put our dirty dishes in when we're done. Once dishes start piling up in the sink, I lose all motivation to do them.


    Another thing I try to do is I try to do a load of laundry almost everyday. I just throw it in the washer in the morning, throw it in the dryer later in the day and then fold and put away before bed. It's harder in an apartment sharing with others, we did that for a year. We generally just did several large loads on weekends.


    I guess I'm lucky in that my husband helps out a ton and always has in the over 5 years we've been together. In fact, as far as day to day keeping tidy, he's better than I am. But I'm the one that does the deep cleaning, so we have a pretty good dynamic.


    I'd definitely get your fiance involved. Marriage is a partnership and unless you have some sort of agreement that you clean and he brings something else to the table in trade for you taking over his share of cleaning, he should definitely be helping out.

  • I remember those wasn't that long ago. :) My #1 quick methods (especially when guests are coming, makes things faster.)

    1. The bleach wipes under the sinks, as PP said.

    2. Empty garbage bags in each garbage can.

    3. When doing the clutter clean up, make little piles.. Ex. 1 pile for Bedroom, 1 pile for Bathroom... Then throw it in the laundry basket on your way to the respective room, instead of 100 little trips.

    4. The dishwasher loading/unloading thing as its used/done.

    I'm a control freak, I get it. What I found works with H... let him do the things he enjoys/doesn't hate. If he doesn't feel like he's being forced to do them, he'll do a better job. H HATES loading the dishwasher, but doesn't mind unloading.  


    ETA: 5. Use the stove-top liners. Seriously best invention ever.  

  • First off, RELAX. No one expects you to be super-woman. I was in the same boat as you, but I have a few tips that have helped me out this first year of marriage. First make a calendar...a huge on to put on the wall so u see it everyday and cant ignore it. Be super anal and make a will seem silly at first, but it really helps. Break down your day into 30 min blocks so you can get things done without spending hours on each thing that builds up. Clean everyday for about 30 mins (big things like cleaning the shower can be once a week or as necessary), each day of the week pick a different room to do. Also, schedule laundry 1-2 week, depending on the person. Try to overlap your time. For example, start the laundry then clean the kitchen, switch it to the dryer and prep dinner. Try searching foodnetwork or other sites for food that is freezable or can cook in the crockpot. This way you can prep all of your food for the week in 1 day and freeze it in ziplock bags or something (these are my favorite because you dont have to wash them!)...then all you have to do is only have your reheat dish, and the dishes you use to eat! Also, do the dishes and wipe down the counters right after you eat...dont get comfy because then you wont do it! and it will be worth it the next day :) also get some help from that future hubby of yours, even little tasks like sorting laundry or picking up/throwing away mail that somehow always ends up on the table...those things really help!
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