How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Tools

Welcome to Part 3 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying! Follow the links to find part 1 and part 2, where I cover ways to stop psyching yourself out and how to use lists to keep yourself organized.

This time, I want to talk about making sure that you give yourself the right tools to accomplish your goals. For me, these tools include organizational materials, good cleaning supplies, sturdy appliances, lists (covered elsewhere) and charts. In fact, I've created another Anthropologie knockoff for everyone--this time, it's a chore chart (for adults!). Honestly, I don't know why I didn't make one of these sooner just for my own use, because I've been needing one.

Full-size printable download
at the bottom of the post.

Honestly, a chart is just a list by another name, so I'm not going to focus too much on that particular tool. Instead, I'm going to talk about the homemaking tools that I've found I just can't do without. Stock up on these, and homemaking will become just a little bit less of a hassle.

Let's leave aside kitchen tools for now. I've already shared the most important tools to have in your kitchen. What about the rest of the house, though?

Cleaning Products

This is job one. We in the Scrimp household like to keep it green as much as we can. If I had more time, I'd make my own by steeping herbs in white vinegar and decanting that into a spray bottle. But, since I don't, "green" for us usually means Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. Since the first time we used it, Mrs. Meyers has impressed Mr. Scrimp and me with its non-toxic combo of relatively good price point and reliable effectiveness.

I like the lemongrass scent.

I do also use Pledge furniture polish, because I grew up with it. However, I'm going to be switching to homemade soon (and sharing a recipe for homemade furniture polish with you when I do).

Here are the cleaning supplies I can't do without:

  • Mrs. Meyers Surface Scrub (for sinks, tubs, toilets, and dishes that need scouring)
  • Mrs. Meyers All-Purpose Cleaner (diluted to various strengths for floors and counters)
  • Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap 
  • Mrs. Meyers Laundry Soap
  • Lemon Pledge Furniture Polish

Household Accessories

An accessory here is anything that I wouldn't call a "product" (a term I reserve for soaps, polishes, surfactants, and the like) but that doesn't come quite to the level of an appliance (such as a vacuum cleaner).

Here are the accessories I like to make sure I have a good supply of. I can do without most of them, but having them all makes my life much easier and a lot of tasks much less time-consuming. Having my home pre-stocked with all of these saves me time when I need something immediately, and keeps me from having to improvise.

  • Clean sponges (for washing and scrubbing)
  • Clean cotton rags (for dusting, polishing, drying, and wiping)
  • A sturdy broom and dustpan 
  • Plastic shoeboxes or lidded containers for sorting and organizing
  • Tape (clear, packing, duct, electrical, double-sided, and masking or painter's tape)
  • Batteries
  • Staples and stapler
  • Command or other adhesive hooks
  • Lightbulbs (75 and 100 watt; we like it bright in our house)
  • Sandpaper in several grits
  • A mop and bucket
  • Recycled plastic containers (for sorting or storage of non-food items)
  • Decorative baskets
  • Clean aprons
  • Empty spray bottles and squeeze bottles
  • Extra coat/closet hangers
  • Superglue, wood glue, and white glue
Household Appliances

There are really no household appliances that you can't do without, but having the following sure does make housekeeping easier.

  • Iron and ironing board
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Dishwasher (I haven't got one of these, but I will someday!)
  • Fans (for keeping guests comfortable and ventilating stuffy rooms) and a space heater (for guests and chilly spaces)
Paper Products

There are people out there who don't use any paper products around the house, but I am definitely not one of them. Nor do I feel a need to be. I keep my use of disposable products to a minimum for reasons of frugality, but I still use them. Having your pantry stocked with a few essentials will make your life easier and simpler. No more running to the store every five minutes for something you forgot. Get it in stock and keep it in stock. 
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper napkins (we use cloth, but paper comes out for parties)
  • Paper cups and plates (again, for parties only)
  • Loose-leaf writing paper or notebooks 
  • Printer paper

Now... About That Chore Chart

Just about every job I've ever had included some sort of chore chart or to-do list, and I had one as a kid to help me learn how to keep things clean and get things done. I bet the same things are true of you. So, why wouldn't you have the same thing now, at home?

If it's just you keeping house by yourself, this may be less useful. But I like it because it lays out what needs to get done. No discussion of who. No discussion of why. No discussion of when. Everybody knows what needs to be done, you all check things off as you go, and at the end of the week you hope you got everything done--together.

Feel free to save, print, and share the downloadable chore chart  -- but make sure you remember to tell people about Scrimpalicious when you do!

1 comment:

  1. Great article with great content. I find your blog very interesting since it talks about the entire tips on how to cleaning our house using some necessary tools. With this, we could be able to make some good strategies on how to perform cleaning in our home by means of using different kinds of cleaning tools, and also with the use of some cleaning products that need to be use in cleaning.
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