A Clean Life: Your Tools



Now that we’ve created our Clean Lists, our next task is super simple. (Woot!)

It’s time to take stock of our cleaning tools and supplies.

I believe that a lot of us get overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning tools and supplies that are available out in the world (and, perhaps, in our homes)…and I think we often fall for the “this will make life so much easier” myth that companies are selling.

But there are some realities about cleaning…some realities that, once I accepted them, made the whole process so much smoother.

Reality #1: Cleaning is work. This is why people who clean other people’s homes get paid to do it…because it’s work. There is no magical mop or brilliant broom that is going to change the fact that cleaning is work. Now, if you maintain a nice cleaning plan, cleaning doesn’t necessarily have to be hard work, but it will always be work…no matter how many gadgets and doodads you buy.  I think the more quickly we embrace this, the more quickly we can move on to the process of actually getting things done…and getting things done is awesome.

Reality #2: A lot of “stuff” will not help you clean. In fact, tons of cleaning gadgets can be a huge hindrance to cleaning. As with so many things in life, keeping it simple makes things…well, simple. And single-purpose cleaning tools (other than specific detergents and whatnot) that only serve one tiny function? Banish them from your kingdom! They take up precious time, space, and thought when the job can most likely be done with a multi-purpose tool.

Reality #3: You may need or want cleaning tools that don’t clean anything. What? This is more about “frame of mind” than “function.” If you don’t enjoy cleaning, think about ways to make the process more enjoyable. Perhaps your favorite treat could sit in view while you clean…and you can’t have it until you’re finished with the tasks at hand. Maybe you need your favorite music blaring into the atmosphere…or a podcast or audio book…anything that can bring some enjoyment to the process should definitely be put into play.



What Tools Do You Need?


As with so many things, the answer to that question will vary from home to home…but not by much. I’m going to share the list of cleaning tools that I keep (click on the image for a printable copy), and then explain what may be just a bit different for you.


A pretty basic list, right? That’s everything in my arsenal.

But some things may be different for you!

The first thing that comes to mind is a vacuum cleaner. All three of us have very long hair, and we kill vacuum cleaners at a rate that should probably be criminal. (Even when we clean those suckers after every use, the belts and filters and things just can’t handle the task for very long.) In light of this, we just stopped using the things. Who can afford a new vacuum every few months??? We don’t have a lot of carpeted area in our home, and for the areas that are carpeted, we’ve found that a broom is actually quite good at sweeping up hair and dirt…though it does take more effort. Add in an annual steam clean, and I feel like our floors are in pretty good shape. If you’re not a vacuum killer, you’d probably want to have one.

I did include task-specific cleansers, but I wanted to babble a bit about that. We do, of course, use laundry detergent and dish detergent, but you may have some other specific needs. We don’t have any marble or stainless steel or stone in our home, but those are some surfaces that can take a bit more love and attention. If you have anything like that going on in your house, make sure you tend to it lovingly (and as directed) so it will look great for a long time.

If you don’t like the baking soda and vinegar and salt and lemons in your cleaning (some people feel better about a commercial cleanser), you may want to add in some sort of scrubbing cleanser.

One more note! If you’re heading out to snag a new feather duster, I do suggest natural feathers. The synthetic, plastic-y dusters just don’t seem to work as well or hold up for as long.



Where to Keep the Cleaning Supplies?


Ultimately, the answer to this is: Wherever you need to keep them so that you’ll actually use them!

In slightly more detail, I suggest, whenever possible, that you keep your cleaning supplies in a central and convenient spot. (Mine are all in the kitchen…where our house also keeps the broom closet.) I’ve tried out the “separate supplies in each room that they’re needed” method before, and I found myself spending stupid amounts of time making sure various bottles were full and stacks of rags were available. One central spot makes “inventory” easy…and unless you’re living in some sort of gazillion-dollar-mansion (in which case you’re most likely paying someone else to do all of this for you), it’s not as though your kitchen or broom closet or bathroom or wherever you choose to store these things is going to be a million miles away.

Exceptions? Things that only get used in one place should probably be kept in a handy location for their task. For example, I do keep my laundry detergent in the laundry room…because that’s where I do the laundry. 😉



Should I Go Out & Buy All New Stuff?


Nope, nope, nope-itty, nope. In fact, depending on the state of your cleaning supplies, you’ll probably want to ditch some stuff. Simple and basic…that’s what we’re aiming for.

If you feel like you will truly and honestly be motivated to a fresh start by purchasing new cleaning supplies, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt anything…but make sure you’re ditching the old stuff…adding to your cleaning collection just makes for more mess. And make sure you’re not using it as a self-inflicted obstacle to getting things done. (“Well, I would clean my kitchen, but I haven’t gotten to the store to find the very most perfect unicorn-scented cleanser with sparkles.” Don’t do that.)



Your Homework: Survey Your Cleaning Tools


Yep, it’s homework time again, but it’s an easy assignment.

Survey your cleaning tools. Gather them all up into one central spot, and give your cleaning a good think.

Do you have everything that you need? Can everything on your Clean Lists be reasonably accomplished with the things you have? Is everything in functional condition? (Sometimes mops and things can get pretty raggedy.) Do you have more than you need? If so, you may want to start kicking some stuff to the curb.



Consider Doing a Nice

If you’re in the financial position to do so and you enjoy the shopping process, you may want to think about gathering a complete set of cleaning tools and donating it to a women’s shelter or homeless shelter for people who have been having a hard time but are ready to strike out on their own again. Purchasing all that you need for a new place when you’re starting with nothing can be overwhelming, so a set of cleaning supplies could be a huge, huge, HUGE help to someone.

It would also be a great gift for a young whippersnapper in your life that’s just setting out into the world. Granted, it might not be a gift that’s received enthusiastically, but it sure will be useful. 😉



And never, ever forget that you’re awesome. Awesome!

The next step of A Clean Life will be posted on Sunday (January 22), but I do hope you’ll join me before then to see some of the other shenanigans going on in my life…tomorrow brings Three Things Thursday, and who even knows what I’ll get up to the rest of the week? 😉

You can catch up on previous Clean Life posts HERE.






  • Judith F Watts January 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I am enjoying your posts. I am sure I will emplement some of your basic suggestions because they are very good. I have this problem of not sticking to one area and finishing it completely before moving somewhere else in the house. Nothing is ever 100% finished! Love y’all. Love your tubs!

    • Nerd in the Brain January 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I’m glad you’re liking the series! I sometimes get sidetracked, too…I think it happens to all of us to some degree. Maybe you could embrace that and do a bit in each room…and then repeat. Eventually things will get how you want them. 🙂 Love you, too!


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