It’s nearing finals time here at the Almost Frugal household. I have four papers to write and six exams to study for, including the triple death crown of finance, accounting and economics. Gah! So what am I doing? Cleaning my house until it shines, of course.
I am a terrible procrastinator, and along with killing time, cleaning helps me to kill stress. Inevitably therefore, finals time becomes cleaning time. But I don’t have a lot of money to spend on cleaning products, nor are they really what I want to spend my money on! Here are my top five tips for a frugal clean house.
- Dilute your products. Research has shown that people, even when consciously trying to reduce the amount of product being used, typically squeeze the bottle for the same length of time. So a good way to reduce how much you are using is to dilute it a little. I like to buy large bottles of concentrated, all natural cleaner which I then dilute in a spray bottle. I use this for everything, floors, stove, toilet. Which leads me to point number 2:
- Reduce your selection. If you pick just one or two products, then that’s just one or two products that you have to buy and stock. As I mentioned above, I buy a good concentrated all purpose cleaner which works for most things. Then I have a gritty scrubbing product for the bathtub and sinks, the appropriate soaps for laundry and dishes, and vinegar for everything else. No special shining agents, or mold reducers, or things to reduce soap scum or make my grout glisten.
- Use natural cleaners. The basics work best. And, as I said above, you need a whole lot less of them. ‘Green’ cleaners now cost about the same amount as the traditional variety, but you can make do with fewer products. Not to mention the karmic satisfaction you’ll get from doing your bit to save the planet. Vinegar, the simplest cleaner of all, is also one of the cheapest. I can pick up a large bottle for about â‚¬1 at my local store; there are probably similar prices in your area.
- Clean efficiently. Time is money, especially when you don’t have a lot of either. Tackle one room at a time, or one area at a time or even one surface at a time. But do just that and nothing else! I’m a champion at starting one thing and then finding myself five minutes later doing something else entirely. It’s the ‘If you give a mouse a cookie syndrome‘ and I find that a whole lot of things get started but not much gets finished.
- Touch things once. It might be easier for example, to get the broom out to sweep up the messy floor immediately than putting it off until you have time to vacuum. Not to mention that if you do put off the cleaning, you then have to vacuum the whole floor, not just the area under the baby’s highchair. This goes back to the time is money principle, but it’s really about being more efficient with your time and your resources. Isn’t that what frugality is all about?
What have I missed? What are your favorite frugal cleaning tips?