I do not keep a perfectly orderly house. However, I love to have people over without being embarrassed about how my house looks, so I have learned to do a quick good-enough pick up. This usually involves putting things in my bedroom and shutting the door, wiping down surfaces, a quick vacuum job and putting mix brownies in the oven.
Recycling and composting save a lot of room in our garbage cans. I have a recycling system that consists of six kitchen sized trash cans with lids lined up in our mud room. They are labeled: "Paper", "Plastic", "Aluminum", "Tin", "Glass" and "Corrugated Cardboard". Any paper that we don't recycle (junk mail/credit card invitations, old bank statements, etc, we burn in our wood stove (IMPORTANT: DO NOT RECYCLE FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS!!). We don't have curbside recycling here, so once a week or so, I take the recycling out to the dump, which is also an opportunity to watch the eagles. A local woman has a composting co-op here in Douglas. On Mondays, we put out our full compost pail, and she picks it up and leaves us an empty one. I am thinking I am going to try paper bags in our kitchen trash can instead of plastic bags, because our trash is no longer wet.
I use rags instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper ones. I put a stack of white terry cloth rags (old washcloths) in a basket on the kitchen counter, and put the roll of paper towels in the rag bin to remind me to use rags instead of paper. I also wash out my plastic zip lock bags and hang them to dry instead of throwing them away.
I am a terrible hoarder of magazines! See Magazines: An Addiction And A Giveaway . I do feel guilty about this, if that counts for anything!
I am a little obsessive about sorting laundry. Doesn't everybody have separate hampers for "Blue/Green, Red/Orange/Purple, White/Yellow, Black/Brown/Gray?
I am trying to eliminate commercial chemical cleaning products in my home. We all have asthma, allergies and/or skin conditions. I make my own laundry detergent . I do use Spray and Wash Stain Stick for grease spots, but if I figure out how to make my own, I'll let you know! I also make my own disinfecting cleaner by mixing 2 tsp. borax, 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 3 C hot water. I add a couple of drops of lavender oil to make it smell good and pour it into a spray bottle. I use white vinegar and water to clean windows and mirrors (when I actually clean my windows and mirrors!).
I hate scrubbing floors, but when I do, I use a rag and vinegar and water on my hands and knees. In between times, I use my steam mop. It feels thankless because our wood floors desperately need to be refinished, which will involve moving all the furniture, moving out and kenneling the dogs for a week. Not to mention a lot of sanding. Not something I am looking forward to!
(This is my house, not Martha Stewart's)