Get Ready to Clean {Day 8}

On Day 8 of 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero you are simply going to get ready to clean.

This is the eighth day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge.  To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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Last week we spent a lot of time thinking about food–making an inventory of what we had on hand, brainstorming meal ideas, planning a meal swap, & even re-creating our favorite restaurant meals at home–all based on the underlying premise that we make bad financial decisions when we are hungry.

But there are other pitfalls that can trip us up too.  We let our homes get chaotic and cluttered and dirty and then foolishly think spending money is going to fix the problem.  We buy ourselves new mops or cleaners or organizers, sometimes thinking they will make the mess waiting at  home magically disappear.  Sometimes we simply can’t stand the thought of being trapped in the chaos so we choose going out–and spending money–over staying in.

This week we are going tackle the chaos head on.  We are going to scrub and dust and sort and purge and really, truly get our spaces CLEAN.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, whether you own or rent, have a professionally decorated home or a jumble of mismatched secondhand furniture:  you will like your house better–and enjoy being home more–when it is clean.

But don’t worry, we are going to take it slow.  In fact today your assignment is to simply get ready to clean.  We are going to do a few things today that will make your big cleaning day easier, plus give you some time to get into the “gotta clean” mindset.  By tomorrow you will be raring to go, I promise.  Well, okay, maybe not raring to go, per se, but at the very least, resigned to the idea.  And, because I’m nice like that, I’ve even created a cute checklist to help you get ready.  Now if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!

To help keep you organized, here is the Cleaning Prep Checklist!

{Get your Cleaning Prep Checklist here}

The first thing you have to do today is tell yourself that tomorrow, no matter what, you are going to clean your house.  Repeat it to yourself all day long.  Then, for extra motivation, read  Why I Make The Bed (10 Reasons I Keep my House Clean) to remind yourself of the many benefits of a clean house.

Next, clear your kitchen counters and bathroom counters.   Use a laundry basket to collect all the clutter lying around the house and put as much of it away as you can.  This is a great task to have your kids help with!   Wash your sheets & any dirty dishes in the sink, and do any other laundry you have time for, then empty your garbage.

Finally, gather all the cleaning supplies you will need for tomorrow’s big cleaning day.  If you’re all out of something, DON’T BUY IT!  Try using a few of these awesome homemade substitutes instead:

These 10 items can be made into 10 awesome cleaners!

More homemade cleaning recipes:

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Have you ever found yourself spending money to avoid a messy house, or buying cleaning supplies instead of actually cleaning?

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{Go to Day 9}


  1. October 8 at 09:04AM

    Oh my gosh I cleaned house yesterday, even my 9 and 7 yr old were scrubbing the bathroom! Whew I was ahead of the game this week! I’m not following along exactly, but I’m trying my best and your ideas are inspiring me to strive to complete them. But come January, oh boy I’m going to redo this challenge.. full force!

    • Ruth
      October 9 at 06:09AM

      Yay Debbie! I’m so glad to hear that you are getting something out of these posts even if you are not following along to the letter. You definitely have to do what works for your life and your family right now!

  2. Kristi Tsardoulias
    October 8 at 10:11AM

    So, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole “Living Well and Spending Zero” month. I knew from the get to that my family would not be doing it this month or any month – unless it was necessary. See this is my philosophy: the majority of the time I live quite frugally – shopping clearance sections, using coupons, asking for discounts, etc – and I do that so that I can spend money on thing we want and stuff we want to do whenever we get the chance. For me the “spending zero” would cut into the “living well” part of my life. For example, every Friday evening after my kids’ activity is done, we go out to dinner as a family – and yes, often a coupon is involved 🙂 And all week, I look forward to that time we have together – to not go would be a disappointment to all of us. Now over the summer, when my husband had surgery we did not go out, grocery buys were limited to what was needed, and my stockpile was utilized. I prefer to live well, spend less whenever I can, and spend zero when necessary. Now to you and all the readers who are participating in the project, I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and yes, I still read your post everyday, but I’m gonna bow out of this challenge! Take care! Kristi

    • Ruth
      October 9 at 06:20AM

      Kristi, I would be fooling myself if I thought I could write a series that would apply perfectly to everyone’s life right this second! My goal for the month is to simply focus on areas where we can save, and to take an honest look at the reasons we spend. I am not at all offended that you–and everyone else–will have to make that work for your own situation! It sounds like you are doing great, and I hope that you can still find useful ideas even if this isn’t the right challenge for you! 🙂

  3. Angie D.
    October 8 at 01:58PM

    It’s been a week now, and checking for your latest post has become something I really look forward to. I appreciate that you’re tackling this from lots of different angles, because our lives are multi-faceted.

    I did a deep-clean of my kitchen this weekend and I’m amazed at how removing the chaos has improved my mood. Thanks for reminding me that I can feel that same peace in the entire house. The cute checklist and a day to mentally prepare help, too!

    • Ruth
      October 9 at 06:21AM

      Yay Angie, I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying the challenge! 🙂

  4. Sam
    October 8 at 08:44PM

    It is so weird to me that I am so excited to be cleaning my house. But it’s true! I think just knowing that I am not alone in doing this task makes it more fun.:) Looking forward to tomorrow’s post. Thanks for this challenge Ruth. It is really lighting the fire to get my home life more together:)
    P.S. Your house is SO BEAUTIFUL:)

    • Ruth
      October 9 at 06:21AM

      Thanks Sam 🙂 I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying the challenge!

  5. October 9 at 11:55AM

    Thanks for sharing my Stainless Steel Cleaner! 🙂 Happy cleaning, mamas!

  6. gina
    August 25 at 09:54AM

    thank you for being so honestly truthful, i have been married for 23 years and have 3 teens, and can totally relate with everything . so hard to be balanced about everything church, family life, exercising, praying, and i work 4 days a week with a 80 mile round trip drive, and have a elderly mother i shop for, take shopping and take 2-3 times a month Dr visits , sometimes struggle with depression, perhaps i’m a little too vain that i’m too heavy, of which i am, and that i can’t do it all. perhaps also my personal mental stability does not feel strong, and when things come along i feel guilty if amidst the storm i am content as if abetter outcome

  7. January 5 at 11:19PM

    Buying organizing/cleaning/decorating stuff when the house is a mess is a mistake I make a lot! But I spent several hours today organizing things and getting ready for cleaning day tomorrow, and the house already looks awesome–WAY better than it does most of the time. It’s exciting! I hope I have time tomorrow to finish all those tasks.

  8. Linda Lou
    August 20 at 10:22AM

    When cleaning I take a trash can or just a trash bag and throw out stuff as I go. I generally leave it in one spot in each room as I travel and “throw as I go!”. I also put away/back things as I go and try to pick up on my way out something to put back on my way back to the room I am working on. I put on 40’s music bcos it is is lively and fun to clean to!

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