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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Clean as You Go

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clean as You Go

I sometimes dream about a world that is just scrupulously know, like George Jetson efficient....especially in the kitchen and the laundry room. I made the mistake of letting my 11 year old fix a meal for us in the kitchen. I still can't figure out how so many utensils and dishes got dirty, nor how every ingredient that was in the pantry and refrigerator is now sitting out on my kitchen counter! Did he never learn the "clean as you go" principle?

If you don't know it, "clean as you go", means that when you are done with an item, you clean it, close it, bag it up, zipper it shut and put it away...simple as that. If you happen to be doing something that requires use of the same size item, you are that far ahead, because you are only getting one dirty and not two.

For example, if you are washing some veggies and then plan to stir-fry them up in a pan, you wash and dry the container you cleaned them in, right after you put the veggies into the hot pan. It then gets put away or ready for the next item you will put in there. Whatever spices, butter or oil you use, you take out what you need, and put the container right back where it belongs. When you put the veggies in the serving dish, you...this is actually an extra step for a "food stuck on" pan...I drop two drops of dish soap and some water in the pan and put it back on the in effect, I am pre-cleaning the thing. Clean the pan before you sit down to eat, and all you have to do after you eat is put away your eating dishes and you're done.

That's also why I use our dishwasher, last thing at night before we go to bed. I empty the clean dishes in the morning, and as the day goes along, dishes get rinsed and then put in the dishwasher, ready for the next cycle to start once again every evening. This also follows the "clean as you go" principle with no more piled-up dishes in the sink.

You can even do it in the laundry room. When someone takes something off, they put it directly in the laundry either the dark or light hamper. This works great in our new apartment, as everything is on one floor. No need to have multiple hampers where you move clothes crazy and inefficient does that sound? If I could figure out a way to get the clothes from the washer, to the dryer and then back to the closets and drawers, I'd be in some kind of household heaven at that point.

What do you do around the house in regards to "clean as you go"? How do you keep the clutter, piled up dishes, clothes and other things in check?



Blogger Linda said...

I'm the only one who regularly practices "clean as you go" in my house, though my hubby does do a few things. He generally wipes out the sink after he's done shaving, since he's the one who puts all the "mess" in there with the shaving dust.

I usually rinse the dishes out and put them in the dishwasher right away - that's a BIG one (no one else does it, though).

One thing I did learn about "clean as you go" is that when you have a hot frying pan, don't put water in it right away, no matter how baked on or fried on something is...because it will warp the pan. This is a big issue with flat-top stoves - T-fal frying pans do NOT survive the hot pan/water test well.

October 23, 2008 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Penelope said...

In June 2004 my husband and I bought a house, and two weeks later my husband left for his first tour of duty. He did not have the time to unpack all his stuff - and things remained the same until the summer of 2007 (he was never long enough in the country). Once we learned we would have to move in the summer of 2008, we got our act together and started sorting things out. The housing market was getting worse, and we realized that our house had to look perfect when buyers dropped by. We decided to get rid off all the clutter, plus 25% of our belongings. Once our house was on the market, we had to keep it perfect. We got in the routine of "cleaning as you go." At times I felt like a psycho mom (not always easy with 2 year old toddler). But in the end it paid off. We sold our house in less than 6 weeks - and best of all, we acquired some good habits. We now clean as we go. We also realized we can live with less stuff/junk, and whenever we buy something new, something old has to go.

October 23, 2008 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

I guess you could've written my article "A One for One Closet Exchange" then...

Thanks for sharing!

October 23, 2008 at 11:12 PM  

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