Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I did a presentation for my local church (Relief Society--the Woman's Organization at my church) all about cleaning and organizing and how to hate it a little less. I went through the series "How to Hate Cleaning LESS parts I, II, and III.'' I didn't have time for "Teaching Children to Clean," but it's here, here, and here. I DID have time for a bit about organizing paper and documents and all of that. I thought I would include it on my blog, so here it is:


USE YOUR COMPUTER: Scan and save what you can online and on your computer. Make sure you back it up. This works well for photos, receipts, lesson plans, ideas, family history, recipes, articles, even schoolwork. Pay as many bills online as you can. Don’t subscribe to catalogues—just go to the website.

PHOTOS: I keep digital copies on my hard drive, back up my hard drive, and keep a digital disk for each kid and one “real” copy of each photo. (Because I’m a freak. But it doesn’t take up much space.)

MAIL: Treat your mail with hostility. Do not let it touch the counter, like it’s carrying some sort of disease. Throw away junk mail right away (or set aside to shred later), open bills, file the statement, file the bill with envelope, throw everything else away. Put invitations/announcements in one place. Make this a habit. Shouldn’t take more than 1 ½ minutes. Don’t subscribe to catalogues—just go to the company website.

Schoolwork/Sentimental Cards: Have a predetermined space for each child, each school year. I keep one binder for each child, each school year. I don’t want them to have more than that saved each year, so I’m careful about what I keep. If it’s a large item, take a picture of it, then throw it away. If you’re having a hard time deciding if you should keep it or throw it away, think, “My son will move this project at least 9 times.” Is it worth it?

DOCUMENTS: There are documents you need to keep and get to quickly and save for a long time. Keep them in the same place. They are the information you need when you buy a house, start school, apply for a loan, etc. Birth Certificates, Insurance Policies, Titles, Tax Return Receipts, etc. Keep them in a fireproof container. Keep copies at a different location.


Clean out/replace your heating/air conditioning filters regularly.

Why? Clear filters are inexpensive and save you in utility costs.

Clean out your clothing dryer regularly and REALLY clean out the coil and pipes leading to the outside vent every six months—check every pipe.

Why? This can prevent home fires and increase the productivity and life of your dryer.

Run vinegar through your dishwasher and washing machine every 3 months.

Why? Hard water stains will clog the filters and it will increase the life and productivity of your machines and get rid of the hard water stains.

Keep the area around your water heater, heater, air conditioner (inside and outside) clean and free of clutter.

Why? This can prevent fires and accident (especially during an emergency).


If your house is clean

And everything has a place

And is in that place,

Then all you have to do is MAINTAIN,

Which is different than cleaning. . .



  1. Whatever happened to LOWERING the bar and being awesome? This isn't lowering at all, and I'm starting to worry.

  2. Ha~! So, this is an elaborate way to clean less! Let's Review: make your kids do it, throw stuff away so you don't have to clean it, and touch it once so you can go watch tv!

    I would never lead you astray.

  3. Ooh, do you do the RS circuit? We'd love to have you if you're game.

  4. Ok, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I have no idea how to clean my dryer coils. Hoping there's a youtube video out there or something. I could see myself doing more harm than good!

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  6. A wise person once told me, "Touch your mail ONCE." Pay the bill, put the invite on the fridge, or shred what you don't want. Then you won't have to deal with it again. I often open my mail while standing at the recycle container.

  7. For the dryer, I sucked out all I could from the UNPLUGGED machine. Then I removed the foily coily thinging and cleaned that out.

    Then my dad brought over a metal brush on the end of a long wire and plastic, elongated whisk and told me to use these items to clean out the pipes--vents--to the outside where my dryer lint goes (THIS IS A TRUE STORY) because he was afraid "my old machine and old house would catch fire" so I did. Well, I found pulling out old lint was easy to get out by hand, but it was a big job. BUT once it was done, I only had to run my dryer one cycle to get a full load dry, instead of the previous two cycles I had grown accustomed to.

    That's my story.

  8. I can never decide what documents I need to keep.

  9. Lisa, you would be so proud of me. We cleaned the house, er, apartment as a family last Saturday and I've maintained it to this point and I'm oh so happy about it! You are my inspiration--your voice is in my head: "Maintain, maintain, drink a Diet Coke, maintain..." I think I might just achieve sanity yet.

  10. Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation. It was everything we were hoping for and more. You are an inspiration!

  11. Lisa,

    We love your "How to Hate Cleaning Less" series and wanted to talk to you about featuring one of your posts on I don't see any contact info on your blog, so please send me an email at Hope to hear from you soon!

    Time Out For Women Coordinator

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