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Gert’s Dirt: Less time cleaning means more summer fun

Donna Bellino

Now that nice weather has finally arrived, here are some ways to stream-line chores so you can get outdoors. By shaving minutes off of cleaning tasks throughout the day, you can free up a larger block of time later. That’s time you can spend with your family and friends doing fun summer things!

Start by making a list of the chores you want to get done, trying to focus your attention on the most important tasks. You may find, like I do, that the process of making the list allows you to prioritize and even eliminate some chores. More importantly, with a list, you are less likely to forget something and it will help you use your time more effectively. There’s also a great feeling of accomplishment that goes along with crossing off a completed task.

Try these tips:

• If you have a multi-level home to clean, fill a bucket or a bin with your cleaning supplies and keep one on each level.

• Lighten your laundry loads and save energy by re-using your towel. Just be sure to hang it up so it can dry thoroughly between uses.

• If you have items of clothing that should be hung up to dry, write a reminder on your washer in dry-erase marker. This way, you won’t tie up the dryer unnecessarily AND you won’t spend time crying over your ruined wool sweater!

• Save time on ironing. If you have shorts or pants with a cuff, slide a large bobby pin or paper clip over the cuff while it’s still wet from the washer. Remove the clip when you get it out of the dryer and the cuff will stay nice and flat. Removing items and folding or hanging them while still warm will lessen wrinkles, too.

• Use just a fitted sheet and a light comforter on the kids’ beds. It’ll make it easier for them to make their beds each morning.

• Make a list and plan your meals. Stop at the grocery store during the week when it is not so busy. Mornings are best. If you are not going straight home, grab the non-perishables like paper products, soap, dog food and canned items. That way when you go back on Friday evening, you won’t have to spend a whole hour there and it won’t take so much time to unpack and put things away when you get home, especially when weekend plans are waiting.

• Keep a laundry basket in your trunk to stow your groceries. It keeps the bags from tipping over and spilling and it is easier to unload everything when you get home. Take along a collapsible cooler when you go shopping, too. It’ll keep your supply of popsicles and ice cream frozen on those hot summer days.

• When you load the dishwasher with silverware, group together the knives, forks and spoons and place them in separate sections. That way when you unload, you can just grab all of each item at once and put them away.

• I love that gas stations have a convenient garbage can right there at the pumps. While you are pumping gas, rather than watching the numbers roll by, empty all the garbage from your car and throw it in those handy cans.

• Do it now! Don’t let chores pile up so that you have to spend your precious time tending to them on weekends. When something needs to be done, do it right then. Dishes in the sink and laundry in the hamper come to mind.

By using these helpful hints, you can save time and enjoy the summer months. They seem to go by so quickly here in Lake County!

Donna Bellino is a Registered Nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally Clean!