My daughter’s favorite book to read at bedtime is about a little llama who doesn’t want to help his mama clean up. The little llama daydreams about what would happen if his mama never cleaned up anything around the house. The mama llama even throws wrappers everywhere, makes forts out of dirty laundry, and dances around on roller skates while the house descends into “clutter, chaos, and distress”, which my daughter finds utterly hilarious. Finally though, the little llama comes to his senses and realizes that it’s best when the house is clean, and decides to help his mama with the chores. My own little llama is only two-years-old, so while she tries her best to help clean up (she even has a couple of small “chores” of her own), she’s much better at making messes. And she even let’s me know when something has spilled, been squashed or squished, leaked, etc., by screaming “Mommy! Mommy! Mess! Mess! Mess!” at the top of her little toddler lungs.
Early this morning, I was in the kitchen making coffee, when she signaled me from the nearby sofa that something had happened. The Greek yogurt and fruit she had been eating was all over the sofa cushion, and worse, she had tried to wipe it up with a napkin, so it was pushed deep down into the fabric. It’s important to note that we just moved into our new house less than a month ago, and bought brand new sofas last weekend. No big deal. Instead of freaking out about the possibility of stains and rancid yogurt odors on our new furniture, I asked her to come with me to the kitchen to get our caddy. I took a few paper towels and wet them under the faucet, and then took the caddy over to the sofa. I wiped up the yogurt with the wet paper towels while my little helper giggled, and used some dry paper towels to gently blot up the water and the rest of the yogurt. Then, I sprayed the cushion with Vital Oxide to get rid of the stain and to eliminate the possibility of any lingering odor. Crisis averted! This was mess #1 of about 437 today.
If you’re a mom, it means that you have a lot of roles. You’re often the chauffeur, the chef, the cleaning lady, the teacher, the accountant, and the playmate. And if you’re a working mom like me, you have even more responsibilities on your plate! Learning to manage all of these roles really requires for you to search for different ways that you can be as efficient as possible. A cleaning caddy may not seem like that big of a deal, but as a busy mom, I feel like I’m always cleaning something. Keeping all of my supplies in one place helps me keep my sanity through all the messes and to stay on top of everything else I have to do. Cleaning is hardly anyone’s favorite task. But the right products and supplies make the job much more manageable. When it’s time to clean up, make sure you have the right tools for the job. In this article, I’m going to walk you through the steps for buying, stocking, and maintaining a cleaning caddy. Happy cleaning!
Step 1: Decide Where You Want to Keep the Caddy
Before you choose a cleaning caddy, have a general idea of where you'd like to store supplies. Make sure it’s a spot that’s easily accessible. Once you've picked the perfect storage spot, measure the length, width, and height of the space, and reference this while you’re shopping for a caddy so you can buy one that’s guaranteed to fit. I keep my caddy in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. Some people keep supplies in bathrooms, closets, and in the kitchen for easy access. Do what works for you and don’t overthink it!
Step 2: Pick Your Caddy
Look for a caddy that’s made from a durable water-resistant material and that has a comfortable, easy-to-grip handle. Keep weight and size in mind, too. Yeah, that big metal caddy with the chalkboard paint on the front is super cute, but it also weighs eight pounds when it’s empty. You don't want to build a cleaning caddy that's too heavy to tote around the house.
Step 3: Stock Your Caddy
Now that you have your cleaning caddy, it’s time to stock it! Here’s the thing – what you put in your cleaning caddy is totally up to you, but I’m guessing that you have a lot more cleaning supplies than you actually need. I also know that when you use supplies that are nice to look at and work well, cleaning is more fun. If you love pink, look for some pink tools, or even a pink caddy! To keep things simple and most efficient, I pare down my supplies down to the essentials. I also keep my family’s health in mind while shopping for supplies. Harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia-based cleaners, or products that contain any sort of “fragrance” are absolutely not allowed in my house.
This is what I typically keep in my cleaning caddy, which I use to clean up messes and also for general cleaning around the whole house:
- All-Purpose Cleaner & Disinfectant: The shining star of my cleaning caddy is Vital Oxide. This powerhouse solution does it all and helps me to clean even the toughest messes. The awesome thing about Vital Oxide is that it can be used on virtually any surface that needs to be cleaned or disinfected. It works great on furniture, toys, countertops, floors, cell phones, fitness equipment, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, pet beds, or anything really. It’s free from harsh chemicals and fumes and is gentle on surfaces. Vital Oxide works to eliminate stains, odors, mold & mildew, common allergens, and germs. It’s fragrance-free, dye-free, and an environmentally-friendly choice. It’s also safe to use around kids and pets, and it doesn’t leave behind any harmful residue. It’s literally the unicorn of cleaning products.
- Feather Duster: Use this handy tool to safely dust electronics, blinds, lampshades, light fixtures, art, photo frames, books, and more, without worrying about knocking anything over! This is one of my favorite tools in my cleaning caddy. When I’m cleaning, I sometimes give my daughter small jobs like using the feather duster to dust the window sills. She loves to help!
- Paper Towels & Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: While paper towels are great for quick messes and big spills, microfiber cloths make general cleaning so much easier. They don’t leave behind lint or streaks, just the best clean! I use microfiber cloths to dust countertops and table tops, to clean the windows (spray Vital Oxide onto the glass and then wipe with microfiber for a streak-free clean), to wash baseboards, wipe down the fridge, and more.
- Scrub Brush: A small to medium-sized scrub brush is perfect for scrubbing those tough-to-clean areas and help to remove dirt and grime all over the house.
- Vacuum Cleaner Attachments: I always keep my favorite vacuum cleaner attachments (the crevice tool, the dusting brush, and the upholstery attachment) in my cleaning caddy. This makes it so easy for me to grab my cleaning caddy and my vacuum cleaner and go from room to room, and it also helps me to stay organized. Those attachments can disappear quickly if they don’t have a designated spot!
- Lint Roller: This can be extremely helpful for cleaning furniture, light fixtures, and anywhere you see dust and lint that might need a gentler touch.
- Garbage Bags: A few garbage bags are a must in my cleaning caddy. They can be helpful for decluttering, and can also be handy when cleaning up messes that require a lot of paper towels to soak up liquid, you know, like spilled milk or a bowl of tomato soup that was knocked over. Big messes and spills happen often, especially with small children in the house!
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