It's time for a break

Is it just me or does the computer screen glow brighter when you just stare at it? Just sit and stare, that’s what I have been doing for about 10 minutes now. It’s not writers block. I wish that were it. I would be a Spotify sound track away from cranking out blog posts like a professional, which I am not...at all. The truth is, I am just tired. I am drained. I am checked out to anything other than the absolute minimum of adulting.  

I have been bogged down lately and I’m not sure if it’s just in my perspective, but guilt has only made that feeling worse. The hardest part is that people don’t really talk about it. They are all in this mindset to succeed and admitting that you might be struggling counters the feeling of success. Now I see this in my life more aggressively because I am a business owner and my everyday success, my very lively hood is a direct result of my efforts, or lack thereof. However, it’s not just business owners and it is not just monetary success that ebb and flow. It’s every woman out there. The working mom who is behind on laundry because she is just too busy, or the goal of a bed time story being nothing more than a memory from when you were still pregnant. It’s house work piling up and dodging Maire Kondo articles to avoid the guilt of your dresser drawers.  

The last two weeks have brought me to the conclusion that the more pressure with no compassion you put on yourself, the harder it is to break out of the rut. I am by no means the wallow in my struggles kind of gal. I do think that it is okay to struggle though. It’s okay to not have it all together and to step outside of your beautifully put together for a brief moment. Take some time to realize that life is crazy and having to maintain it kind of sucks. Even I don’t always want to clean my house and I’m the crazy cleaning lady. My advice, let it all go for a few days. Take some time to not do it all. Don’t clean, don’t do the laundry. Yeah, that’s right, bust out the old t-shirt and rock it. Feed the kids junk food and don’t give a shit. What is the worst that can happen? You will end up having to clean, or brush your teeth at some point? Might as well put it off for a little while. Have a break or even a break down. Just make sure no one comes over to your messy house so you can break down comfortably.  

Behind the Plastic Curtain

Oh, the shame! The embarrassment! The reality! Yes, even my home gets dirty. Not just messy, but caked on what-the-hell-is-that dirty. I like to think I keep my home above average clean. I have a decent routine down. After all, I clean for a living, so how could I possibly not see every speck of dirt in my house? Because I am human, and that means I make messes without always cleaning them up. Anyone else relate?  

So, let’s set the scene. Here I am cleaning the newly decorated main bathroom. The only bathroom in the house with a tub, also the bathroom most used on a daily basis. I’m feeling pretty good with the décor and the fresh touch up of paint. That is, until I pull back the shower curtain. What in the world is growing on it? How have I not seen this before? I shower in this? Where is my camera? Naturally I needed to document and share this with all of you. Ewe, your cleaning lady is so gross!!!! The thing is, I have so many conversations through the day with friends and clients that just assume I don’t miss things in my own home or apologize for the mess in theirs. It sometimes feels like people are embarrassed or that they think I might think less of them if everything isn’t perfect. Especially the women I talk to. There is this pressure to have everything in order and not a speck of dirt should someone pop by. Most of the time the person popping by is the cleaner, and then they apologize for having things to clean.  

Remember the most important thing, if you don’t have a mess, I don’t have a job. So, stop apologizing for contributing to my livelihood. Thank you. Thank you for hiring your cleaner, and for leaving something for them to do. Thank you for giving yourself a break and for not being the cleanest person in the world. No one likes that person if they do it themselves!!! We all have our icky, I just photograph mine. Bet you are feeling better about your bathroom now. Go ahead, double check your shower curtain real fast. Okay, feeling better?  

Good. Now let’s talk about how I cleaned that nasty shower curtain with one of my secret weapons. Toilet bowl cleaner. Oh, it’s a go to around my house. Toilets, grout lines, around the rim of the tub to remove the ring and yes, along the bottom half of the shower curtain to remove mold. I just squeeze a horizontal line along the length of the shower curtain above the dirty spot. Then I pull the curtain together and roll it up and sit it on the side of the rub. Let it sit 5 mins then just open it and rinse. No scrubbing or wiping required. Redemption! Until next time.  

Electric Stove Top Show Down

Here is a relatable topic. Electric stove top struggles. This is the struggle is actually real. Why must electric stove tops always be such a chore? I came across a post of a friend of mine saying she spilled milk all over her still hot stove top. If ever there were a time to cry over spilled milk, that was it. So, I thought I would chime in on a tried but true method to get up that stubborn muck that gets nice and baked on. The best part is its easy! 

All you need is baking soda, spray bottle and a sponge. I simply sprinkle the baking soda all over the stove top and then spray it down. I am actually currently using the Method brand degreaser because I love it. I spray the degreaser right over the top. You can use any multi purpose cleaner or even water. Then you just take a non scratch sponge scrubber and give those burners some love.  

I actually cleaned my stove like this today and it took me all of 5 mins to have it sparkling like new. There lies the beauty of cleaning. It doesn’t always have to be time consuming to pack a big punch. I did it faster than my kid can eat a pack of fruit snacks. That has to be some kind of record.    

Clean that dirty mind!

Ever been accused of having a dirty mind? I believe you answered my question just reading that sentence. Dirty is how I make a living, or cleaning the dirty rather. I spend the better part of everyday cleaning, researching cleaning, writing about cleaning, teaching people to clean, cleaning, cleaning and cleaning. With all that cleaning I am in constant need of a deep clean of the mind. A mental checking in to make sure I’m sweeping out the stress and making room for crazy.  

 I get people asking me all of the time how I manage everything in my schedule and what advice I have for them to help them make time. Just like getting the garage ready for summer, you have to find your compartments and put things where they go. I personally meditate on a daily basis and squeeze in a few mins for light yoga to calm my body. And even though finding time can be a chore in itself, it is absolutely necessary. Balance is the key to maintaining motivation. For everything you do around the house, at work, for the family, you also have to do something for yourself. 

Prioritize your to do list. I always take the top two things I don't want to do and choose between them. Negotiate with yourself, as long as something that needs to get done, who says it has to be the worst thing? And who says it has to be everything? Do what you can, when you can. Life happens and if you don't give yourself time to breathe you will find that you suddenly hate vacuuming with the same passion as a parking ticket. Another little secret trick I have is making a list in reverse. Make a list of all the things you got accomplished instead of just a list of things to do. It’s the glass half full approach to sizing up your laundry list. The most important thing it you have to give yourself credit for all the things you do, even if it's not on a list. If you broke away and took 30 mins to eat ice cream and paint your toenails instead of dusting the living room, kudos to you. Welcome to living in the moment. Remember, life is crazy, you have to love it where it's at! 

Where did all the motivation go?

All the coffee in the world couldn’t get me to pick up a spray bottle. I had absolutely no motivation over the weekend! How many people can relate to this? I had to push with everything inside of me just to maintain so things didn’t pile up. So, how do I still find the energy when it takes more energy to say the word energy then I actually have? I fake it. That’s right. Fake it til I narrowly make it. I trick myself. I set very low expectations and make them feel like they are total victories. Yep, rocking the bare minimum and not ashamed of it. I pick a room and focus everything in it. Often times this means just moving stuff to a different room. Boom! Success. One room is clean. Whether or not I take a Netflix breaks between rooms is not the topic of this blog…..I do. Pick your worst room and just knock it out. If you can push through the main areas one room at a time, you will see huge progress with minimal effort. Or, just pile everything in your room and close the door. Who needs a bed to sleep on anyway? 

Maintain the Tidy

Danielle Barton February 22, 2019

How do you keep up on cleaning? You spend a blissful Saturday morning cleaning from top to bottom and you couldn’t be prouder. All of a sudden you have the motivation to join the PTA you are feeling so good. Fast forward to Wednesday and the house looks like ground zero! There are actually little things you can do to help maintain all of your hard work and keep that pile low for next week

In my house we employee what we call 5 min sweeps. For your old school live TV watchers, this is great. On each commercial we clean. It's amazing what you can get done during commercials. The best part of that is that helps with the guilt. Now you aren't just sitting there watching TV! We also try to make time for the 5 min sweep each time the kids go down for a nap or right after they go to bed.

Organize your mess. Yes, make a cleaner pile of dirty to be cleaned. I do this with dishes if we have more than one load that will need to be done. Before I clean anything in the house, I organize my mess. Yes, a little OCD, but way less intimidating when you get down to the actual dirty work. Laundry is the worst and this works the best there. I separate what needs to be folded by the person so I'm actually knocking out one whole room to be put away at a time.

I am the queen of clean as you go. If I'm walking down the hallway, I'm trying to clean. A girl doesn’t have time to just walk anymore, those walks can be turned into eliminating traces if tiny Tasmanian devils who spread their joy through the medium of a mess. I have to make every moment count. The important thing to remember is the world will not stop if you do. Take 5 minutes and tidy up so you can have the rest of the time to relax. After all, you deserve a nap too!

Move over, Makeup!

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I’ll be honest,… the ickies and stickies of little ones run rampant in my home. I ran into a Halloween makeup mishap (yes… we are far removed from Halloween, but that dreadful costume makeup somehow surfaced) with my one-year-old recently that made me dig into my bag of tricks to clean up. There was the pencil eyeliner on her face, head, arms and entryway rug. And I may or may not have been responsible for mascara on the carpet… but we are talking about the kids here.

In all of this, I was left with a giant disaster in the hardest of places to clean- the carpet! This will work with most types of makeup and on most types of materials. Mine just happened to be cheap Walmart oily, waxy, messy face paint crayons on the carpet. They wiped off the door super easy with just a multi surface cleaner. The carpet however, took a little finessing. I use rubbing alcohol. Its my dirty little cleaning secret for a bounty of things. Once you remove the excess with a putty knife or any like object, if by some magic you didn’t get in deep into your carpets fibers, you can just dab a cotton ball or cotton pad (cotton balls hold more alcohol, so they tend to work better) and wipe it in one direction until the stain is gone. If you did what most of us do, and gave your carpet a drug store makeover, then you are probably going to have to go at it a little harder. Get your blot on. Just keep blotting, just keep blotting. Try to remove as much of the stain as possible, but do not saturate the carpet.

In case of some incredibly unfortunate stain related disaster, that stubborn color has not lifted, go to Defcon Dawn! Or any detergent of your choosing. I just really love saving baby ducks! Just slap some detergent on that bad boy and go right on back to blotting. This should take care of the rest. Make sure again that you are not getting your carpet too wet. It will break down the fibers and the backing. Once the stain is gone, grab your water filled spray bottles, do not spray any on your hair(shout out to my curly haired girls- I feel your pain!) rinse with the spray bottle and blot as dry as possible. You can let dry normally, but the carpet can get a little crunchy. So I keep a towel pressed against the spot until dry. After that, vacuum and done! Two things to remember. First, never lift a stain in circles or back and forth motions. It only rubs the stain in deeper. And also, carpet is a pretty durable fiber. Most of them are treated to help make them that way. If you are cleaning a rug or upholstery, make sure to check to see what chemicals you can and cannot use on them.

Also, this blog may make it seem easy. It isn’t always. Sometimes you are going to think your carpet is a total loss. In those cases I find some comfort in plotting sweet sweet revenge on my kid. Something along the lines of caramel onions or freezing her cereal… or any of the other awesome mom boss moves you see on Facebook. This might help you too! So, feel free to take a video and share it to my facebook page! I’d love to see your success! Most importantly, hide the make up!!!

 
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Who doesn't love a good clean?

Are you a part of that tiny mythical group of cleaning lovers? You know… the girl who gets made fun of because scrubbing floors and scouring soap scum is more relaxing than day at the spa. You will be happy to know you are in good company… even if our circle is small. Some days my cleaning can end like a bad crime movie… “Ma’am, drop the bottle of cleaner and put your hands where I can see them” But, I can’t help it. I love to clean.

I can’t help it… I love to clean.

I can’t help it… I love to clean.

There is something therapeutic about cleaning from start to finish. Its relaxing and meditative. More than anything, it is instant gratification. When I step away from a cleaning task, my results are right there, sparkling like lavender scented affirmations that I am an accomplished human being. With two small children and one large dog, those can sometimes feel like the most productive 15 mins of my day.

Cleaning for me is a natural passion. Something that I have been lucky enough to turn into a business, but, even more than that, it’s a lifestyle. I get to meet so many women- some like me who want to take this love and turn it into a career, and others who hate cleaning, but still have to do it. Let’s face it, everyone has to clean at some point in their lives. So, I figured, let’s band together… from one’s love to another’s misery, the yin of cleaning to the yawn of ‘I'd rather be drinking wine'. I wanted create a space to share with others the areas I shine in. From deep cleaning to simple tips and tricks, I want to make cleaning easier for everyone no matter what end of the broomstick you fall on. So, follow my weekly posts to polish up on your scrubbing skills.

And just like a toilet can never be too clean, a person can never be too knowledgeable. So please dish your dirt and leave any questions you have for me in the comments below. You can also follow me on Facebook and follow the link to my website to learn more about Clean Break.

 
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