All posts by Joyce Amsden

How to beat the Dirty House Blues !!

It’s Saturday morning. You stumble into the kitchen and pour yourself a cup of coffee. You sit down at the table and push aside some remnants of yesterday so you can sit with your cup of ambition for a moment before the kids get up.

You know the house needs to get cleaned up. Monday will come all too soon and there will be no time until next weekend. But, oh baby, you do not want to spend your Saturday cleaning.

I’ve been in this position more times than I can count and I’ve come up with a few tips that might help you out. My occupation for about 5 years was cleaning houses and offices and that experience has served me well in managing my own home. Staying focused and positive is what it’s all about.

So let’s just dive in…

First thing you’ve got to do is clean up your attitude. 

Yup, that’s what I said. I know, I know, you hate to clean. But for now, put that on a shelf. That thought drains your energy. You can use your mind to much greater effect and use all that “I hate cleaning” energy to get ’er done. Put on some music you love. It will distract your mind.

Next, simplify. 

Move quickly around your home and do a general sort of picking up. Get things off the floor, sofa, table, desk, etc.

This is not time to sort. Sorting is too distracting you will never get the cleaning done. Make a pile of stuff that belongs to each person. Put the mail and various household papers in a box and deal with them later. Sort roughly if you must… school papers in one stack, mail in another, but don’t get hung up on tidying. We are aiming here for a general unearthing of the surfaces you are going to clean. Don’t take more than 15 minutes or half an hour to do this.


Wring every bit of water possible from a dampened dust-free cloth. With this slightly damp cloth, dust everything you can get to. Remember, for now you are done sorting and tidying. Just dust what you can.

Now I know you may still be  struggling with your “I hate cleaning” attitude?

Focus in on what you are doing. Look at the surfaces you are cleaning. Notice how your hand holds the cloth. Notice how it slides over the table, chair, etc. Notice how the cloth feels in your hand. Notice everything your body is doing. Really look at what you are doing. If you really focus in, you will forget about hating anything. You might even begin to marvel at the sensations in your hands, at the wonder of moving around, in the miracle of another day to live and breathe and love. Is this moment really so bad?

Now you might be thinking this sounds really weird, but just bear with me and give it a try. If you didn’t do it before, put on some good, upbeat music.

Now on to the bathroom.

Spray a little window cleaner, Comet cleanser or a bowl cleaner of your choice into the toilet bowl and brush it out. Spray window cleaner on the rim, the outside of the toilet, tank, base and surrounding floor and wipe it down with paper towels. Paper towels remove all those bits of hair and dust that stick like glue to porcelain. Spray some window cleaner in the sink and wipe off the sink and faucet with a fresh lint free rag. Spray down the shower and wipe it clean with a rag. If it needs a thorough cleaning, make a note of that and the need to get some turbo bathroom cleaner later. Your objective here is to not get bogged down. Your objective is to get the house reasonably clean in as little time as possible.

You can wait and mop the bathroom floor later when you mop other floors, but i find it easiest and most effective to simply wipe the bathroom floor down with window cleaner and a rag. I find it is too hard to get into all the nooks and crannies of a bathroom with a mop.

Now move to the kitchen. Do the dishes. Wipe down the counters. Wipe off the stove. Wipe out the microwave.

With all this done, you are ready to vacuum, sweep, and mop the floors. Vacuum or sweep hard floor surfaces, as you wish. Vacuum all the carpets and scatter rugs. Now mop the floors. Voila ! You are finished! And that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Now if the kids get up in the middle of all of this and they are too young to help, get them what will hold them over for a bit and keep on your task. A fresh diaper, a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal might be just fine for now. If they are old enough, see if you can enlist their help. If that’s just not going to work, get them in front of a movie, perhaps, for just a bit while you finish up. We will talk about enlisting the help of the kids at another time, because I think all of us struggle with that at one time or another.

There are probably things you have not addressed in this once over cleaning, but look around you. Things are considerably brightened up and you can make notes on more thorough cleaning that needs to be done and set aside a time for that. In a like manner, lets discuss another time… cleaning products — what’s effective, what’s “green,” what’s unreasonably expensive for what you get out of it, what is worth the cost.

Drop me a line and tell me if this helps, what you would like more information on, what problems you run into, whatever is on your mind…


Everybody got the Blahs? Try a Good Humor Marathon !!

Beat the Blahs with Comedy Movie Night !!

Need a family pick-me-up? A fun activity to bring the family together?
Has a rainy day day got everyone in a gray funk?
Here’s a great solution!

 Laughter !!

Get the family together for a movie night. Not just any movie night, but a

Good Humor Marathon

You will need:

— snacks

— beverages

— soft lighting

— a tv and movie player of your choice

— comfy places to sit or lie down ( pillows, comforters and sleeping bags are great!)

— some really funny movies (be sure to leave a comment with some of your favorites)

Go through your movie collection or borrow some from friends.
Or better yet, sign up for Netflix! I love Netflix. The cost is minimal for what you get. The movie selection is simply vast.

If you have available streaming Netflix, all the better!

Get everybody comfy and let the fun begin! In our house, we let everybody stay up as late as they wanted and watch as many movies as they wished. Often the kids would simply crash out on the livingroom floor in their sleeping bags. Our movie marathons were one of our favorite family activities and made for many great memories over the years.

Additional Ideas

  • Everybody make an agreement to turn off the phones for the evening.
  • For a few days before your marathon, put a voting box in an obvious place and ask everyone to contribute ideas for funny movies to watch.
  • Have everyone invite a friend over. Make it a party.
  • Check out the thrift shops and yard sales.  For under $20 you can go home with a working VCR and several movies.


Don’t forget to comment on this post – I will add a list of our favorite comedies!!


Why is this happening to me … again ??

I just finished reading an awesome e-book about spirituality and relationships.

Why is this happening to me…Again??
by Michael Ryce

The book is a dialogue between Michael Ryce and a man named Richard.  Richard is distraught because his wife is leaving him, as others have left him before.  Michael teaches Richard how to become aware of and disengage himself from the blocks that prevent him from receiving the love he so desperately wants.  He helps Richard rebuild his understanding of life and relationships.

Ryce presents a dynamic approach to problems of relationship that occur in daily encounters as we move about in the world.  The Techniques in the book are easy to understand and put to use.  Written as it is in dialogue form, it is easy to identify with and apply the information offered.

You can get the printed version from Amazon:

You can get the audio on 5 CDs or via mp3 download:

Or you can get the book FREE as a pdf download !!

This book will change your views on life and cannot fail to improve your interactions with friends, family, love partner, work associates and those who cross your path but for a moment.  It’s free… give it a try!  Let me know what you think!!