I occasionally get into discussions with fellow moms about house cleaning and organizing, and we wind up comparing techniques and offering up our ” secrets.” Since I happened to be doing a lot of cleaning today, I thought I would offer a few of the “secrets” I have learned over the last few years that have made my life MUCH easier (and cleaner!)

–Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are AWESOME!! They easily remove not only grime and dirt on walls, but soap scum from shower doors and bathtubs, grime from floor tiles, grime from around drains, and even the smelly goop that seems to collect on the rubber going into the garbage disposal. About the only place I don’t like to use them is on mirrors and windows, as they leave streaks really bad.

–Monthly menu: Many women talk about creating a weekly menu, and I have heard many versions of this. After some trial and error, I decided to develop a menu for the whole month. Each week has 2 “FREE” days for either date night or leftover cleanup. This allows me several advantages: we only eat the same meal once a month, so we never tire of it; I rarely have one of those “I haven’t even thought about what to make for dinner” nights; I am able to save a lot of money by shopping more efficiently and using what I buy. Since we have gone organic, I actually shop at 2 different stores. I go to the the base commissary (cheaper prices on a pretty good selection of organics) and buy all my staples and non-perishables for the whole month. This includes things like bread (I hope to start making my own eventually) which can be frozen. Then, once a week, I go to the organic store for dairy and produce supplies. Since I have started this routine, I rarely throw any food out. Some additional tips are to buy one or two extra “quick” meals like spaghetti for an evening when something unexpected comes up and you don’t have much dinner prep time. Also, I have now progressed to having 2 monthly menus, one for warmer weather and one for cooler weather (has more soup nights). When we first started using the menus, I think I cut my grocery budget by about 35%. We then turned around and put that 35% back into the food so we could go organic. So we eat healthier, feel better, and waste less.

–Wipes: My latest discovery was something I read on a forum and decided to give it a shot. I LOVE it!! I put a container of Lysol cleaning wipes in each bathroom, and one in the kitchen. Everytime I see a mess, I grab a wipe and clean it up. I have always despised cleaning bathrooms, hated using papertowels or washcloths without gloves (especially on the toilets!), and procastinated way too long between cleanings. Now, it is so convenient that my bathrooms stay relatively clean.–even the kids’ bathroom, which used to get gunked up pretty quickly. Then once a week or so, I give a quick scrub with the toilet brush, wipe down everything, and move on. I can now clean all 3 bathrooms in my periodic “thorough” cleaning in about 15 minutes (not counting tubs, which take a bit longer). Plus, they always smell fresh without the fake perfume smell of other chemicals (yeah, I tried the Febreeze route for a while).

Those are my 3 favorite tips. If you have any you would like to add, feel free. I love hearing about anything that could make my life easier and cleaner!