It’s that time of year where we start packaging up loads of trash bags with items we’ve managed to collect in our house but never use and dust out every nook and corner in our home to make it squeaky clean. Spring Cleaning. You may remember, when the beautiful Hannah Renee asked me to join the Let’s Be Honest Mamas panel. This time around, I was so excited to team up with her and a handful of other beautiful mamas (all at the bottom of this post) to share about living simply and our spring cleaning routine. You can read our previous Let’s Be Honest Mamas panel here.
For full disclosure, I can’t really say that cleaning is something I get excited about, but I am very passionate about living simply. And I guess those two things can somewhat go hand in hand. Read my answers below regarding Spring Cleaning and Living Simply.
I would love to say I have an routine that I follow every year, but I really just wing it based on what we have going on or what needs to be done. This year, we’ve changed our health lifestyle, so a good pantry clean out, workout room organization and a new fresh garden are called for. I also like to do a deep cleaning of our bathroom cabinets and closets to purge those items that are just sitting around, collecting dust. Getting rid of old makeup or articles of clothing I haven’t worn in over a year is something I will do as well. It feels better to start fresh. This past year, I have really tried to be more intentional about what we buy, so I actually feel like we have less junk to get rid of than normal.
There are two verses that immediately come to mind as it pertains to living simply:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Living simply to me is not a matter of how much organic product I have in my house or how minimalist and capsule like my wardrobe is. It’s living in contentment with where I am. My house will never be as clean as those portrayed in a magazine and I will never master the art of having things put away all the time, because it doesn’t feel like we’re “living” in our home if I did those things. Additionally, I have a toddler too, so that doesn’t help… Overall, I want to live simply by being content with where we are and what we have. Sure it would be great to have an immaculate home and a closet the size of my bedroom, but I have more than I need now. For me, living the simple life is being grateful for what I have and being a good steward of those things. I certainly don’t always get this right, but I hope to keep progressing towards a life that is free from want.
Okay, I feel a little silly for answering this after my last answer, but these are all things I COULD live without. They just make things a whole lot easier on me.
- My Essential Oils. I use these babies every day. Everything from cleaning surfaces, purifying the air, deodorizing mattresses / furniture and even washing fruits and vegetables. Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint and OnGuard are the ones I usually use daily, but there are so many other really beneficial ones to use too.
- Roomba. Since we have a dog, I think I would absolutely go insane without this thing. We have it run almost every day to help pick up dog hair and dust mites. We have hardwoods our the main level of our house, so this helps make the first go around before I swiffer the floors.
- Speaking of Swiffer. My Swiffer is probably what I use on a weekly basis. I use it to both sweep and mop, using different pads. It’s super simple and seems to clean the most thoroughly.
- Vinegar and Honest Products. A few years ago I cleaned out all our cleaning products that had chemicals I was afraid to use around Cove, and now we only clean with natural products and mostly those that are unscented. I like to start cleaning with vinegar wherever I can, because it’s the most natural to us, and then I use Honest or Mrs. Meyers for the rest.
- I also really love our new storage containers from OXO. We just got them and they have been super helpful as well as atheistically pleasing in my pantry.
Since I want my house to be a place we live in and not a staged home (which if I am being honest, took me a while to wrap my head around when we first had a baby), I try to leave things as they are until the end of the day. After Cove goes to bed I will pick up all the toys, fluff the cushions and sweep up the floors. But if you came to my house around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, you would probably wonder how we walk on the floors. I was reading Magnolia Story a while ago, and Joanna said something that really resonated with me regarding having the ‘perfect’ home.
“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.” – Joanna Gaines,
I try to make sure I leave room for messes. That Cove remembers the time I spent playing with him more than the time I spent getting frustrated because there are crumbs on the floor AGAIN or the countertops have once again found a layer of grim on them. After Ian and I put Cove down, we’ll take a quick pass upstairs and downstairs to put things away as we can both relax for the evening. Once a week, I’ll take an evening to do some more heavy duty cleaning. Currently, Cove really likes to participate in the cleaning process, so sometimes we will pull out both brooms and he’ll swing his around and “cleaning up” and I will actually sweep. I hope he continues to enjoy helping me. We will for sure have him doing chores once he gets older. We already teach him to clean up his toys after he’s done playing and he does a great job.
Cleaning is definitely progressional for me. I don’t spend an entire day cleaning, but I will tackle a few projects a day until they are all done.
- Wipe the countertops
- Put away the toys and things lying around the house
- Fluff the pillows and cushions
- Clean the bathrooms
- Wash sheets
- Sweep / mop all the floors & vacuum the rugs
- Iron clothes
- Wipe down baseboards and blinds
- Deep clean bathrooms
- Vacuum furniture and wash / deodorize slipcovers
In addition to the questions above, I wanted to share a few of the ways you can use essential oils to clean with.
Deodorizing/Cleaner Mix (All Natural – Mattresses, fabric furnitures, rugs and even Cove’s carseat – which gets so filthy):
- 1 Cup of Baking Soda
- 4 Drops each of Lemon, Eucalyptus and Lavender
Whisk together and sprinkle over surfaces and let sit for 30 minutes – 1 hour and vacuum off. Sometimes I will spray water before I sprinkle this and scrub the area for a deep clean then let it dry and vacuum out.
- Equal parts vinegar and olive oil and then 10 drops of Douglas Fir essential Oil
On Guard Cleaner Concentrate works well on all surfaces. Clean countertops, bathrooms, floors. You can even use it to wash veggies and produce.
I would love to hear what other tips you use for natural and simple cleaning / living. Be sure to check out all the other lovely ladies on this thread. They are so inspiring, and I feel so lucky to have met them all.
Hannah Renee hannahreneeblog.com // Amanda Krovic amandakrovic.com // Kacie Ellis elementsofellis.com // Amber Hill amberlately.com // Tanya Taylor hislittlelady.com//Carl