Camera Crews and Cleaning House

Because my kids do most all of the house cleaning around our home as part of their “allowance” responsibilities, I really don’t do much house cleaning anymore. Yes, this is nice but trust me, standards must be lowered when it comes to teenagers doing “housework.” At least I’m not doing it!

It’s best if I don’t wear my reading glasses around. That way, I can’t actually see anything up close. (You know what I mean here!) What I’ve come to realize is that my house does get a super-clean-up for the following 3 events:

  1. When out of town guests come for a visit (remember the 14 we hosted for Thanksgiving?).
  2. When we do a home exchange (remember me scrambling before our last trip?).
  3. When producers call me and say they would like to film on location at my home (those lights are bright and really highlight the cobwebs!).

That’s it. Three times. And the last one? Number 3? Well, we just had a film crew here on December 20th. Yes, we had quite the to-do list to get ready for them!

Yahoo Finance contacted several months ago and asked if they could do a story about how much money our family had saved by going “green” and of course I said, “YES!” I wrote up a post about all the ways going green had saved us and then I had my husband do a spreadsheet analysis of dollar savings. I am sure we underestimated but regardless, we high-fived and butt-bumped about how much we have saved over the years. Then, we got down to the business of our to-do list.

We cleaned. We checked things off the to-do-lists. We added things that we had ignored for years. We finished the chair in our bedroom. It’s amazing how long you can can go without a seat when it’s covered in clothing.

We painted the laundry room floor where I had moved the washing machine.

We bribed our children. Wait – the Yahoo producer bribed our children. She told the kids they could skip practicing their piano for not one but two days if they would agree to be filmed. And, yes, my husband and I totally went along with this.

It was my son’s turn to do garbage and recycling and he did it on camera. Bless his little 16-year-old heart. My 14-year-old daughter refused to be in front of the camera but she was filmed playing the piano and you can see her during lunch. These are both back of the head scenes. Fortunately, her head looks good from behind.

The Yahoo Finance folks wanted to film us riding our bikes and I was not thrilled with having to do this in the rain. I am a fair-weathered bike rider and my hair was camera ready not ready for bike helmet head! Plus, my 20-year-old Subaru is mighty warm and dry in the rain. I will walk anywhere in the rain but bike riding is for the super-hearty-hard-core-bike-riders and not wimps like me. But, there we are putting on helmets and mounting our bikes. We only rode to the end of the driveway.

It was fun and we all agreed that getting our house picked up and cleaned before the holidays was a nice benefit of all the filming hub-bub. Please schedule an out of town visit or agree to do a home exchange or tell Oprah to come over for coffee. It seems a major event is needed so that we spiffy up around here.

Special thanks…..

  • Thank you to Sarah Lybrand and the Yahoo Finance gang for making the trip out here. It was very nice of you to remove your shoes while filming. You all had cute socks!
  • Thank you to my husband for appearing with my in front of the camera. Brad is such a behind the scenes guy and was so nervous. He did a great job. Look out Kelly and Michael – there could be a new morning talk show!
  • Thank you to my kids for being so helpful with getting everything set for the big filming day and for cheering me along. I’ve already forgotten about all the times you said, “Is this because of the filming?”
  • And last but not least – thank you, dear readers, for reading Go Gingham and leaving such insightful and helpful comments and sharing ways that we can all live well on less.

What are reasons you clean your house?

Go  Gingham related links:

Where frugal and green living come together – more ways we save!
Frugal grocery shopping – without coupons!
Why I use an inside laundry line and not an outside laundry line
How to install an inside your home laundry line my son helped me install ours
Parenting: Children’s Allowances have kids? They need chores!
11 reasons to meal plan every week – save money, save time and reduce food waste

Yahoo’s related link:

Here’s the Yahoo Finance segment: How we save $5K/year by being “green”

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

28 Comments


  1. good story – that’s totally true around our house – we need to have parties or friends over in order to get the house really picked up and clean! One year it was my new year’s resolution to have one party a month in order to force myself to have a clean house all year. It was a pretty good year for that!
    And many of my friends have cleaning ladies – I don’t and my nearly 5 year old and 6 year old are good help with cleaning. I joke that by the time I can afford a cleaning lady, I won’t need one because my kids will be doing it. You’re good inspiration for me! Plus, I think it’s good for kids to help out around the house.


    1. Stephanie,
      I like the idea of having a party a month to clean. I like to have meetings at our house for the same reason.
      You are right about your kids doing the cleaning – and you’re smart. That’s how my kids got their “training” on doing chores. At those sweet ages, they’re actually excited to help and it’s a good time to get them started doing it all! I think it’s good to have them help around the house, also. What else are they doing??
      Thanks, Stephanie! Good job.


      1. They help with laundry – the gather their laundry, put in the washing machine, gather their towels, strip and make their beds back up. They are learning to fold laundry and put it away (which is my least favorite task). They unload the dishwasher (which prompts the most complaining). They water plants, clean toilets and countertops, and can mop with a swifer-type mop and spray and vacuum. I’m actually hard pressed to think of something they AREN’T doing right now – I guess cleaning the tub and shower is something I don’t think they are ready for. I have them help with some cooking things but mostly on the weekends when we have plenty of time.
        I’m for sure going to have them cooking a night per week like you have with your kids – I think that is a great idea and is such an important skill for kids to develop.
        I think people just get lazy when training their kids for chores since they take a lot of redirecting at first. I’m not sure, it begins to pay off so soon, it’s really too bad other parents give up on it so easily.


        1. Stephanie! Great job. That’s a lot for your kids to be doing (but not too much – ) and I agree. It’s easier to just do things ourselves but if parents can stick with it when kids are eager to help and learn (even though they’re not really helping…) the pay back is huge in a short period of time. Good job sticking with it and pat yourself on the back!! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Isra! Yes, I do understand the doing of tasks to clear the old mind! It’s true, sometimes doing those activities is a good way to tick items off the to-do list.
      Thanks for leaving a comment.


    1. Oh, thank you, Julie! It was very fun and our house did get cleaned up. Thanks for sharing…. 🙂


  2. In my case, our house finally gets a really thorough clean this month because we are moving – though I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to induce cleaning – much too stressful.
    lightlycrunchy recently posted..every silver lining has a cloud


    1. Hi Heidi,
      How is that move coming along? Well, I hope. I see the benefit in moving if only to force me to go through everything. I try to be on top of it but it’s not always easy.
      Good luck with all of the details of moving, Heidi!


  3. Nice bit on Yahoo. Ty found it first. Whole family enjoyed watching it. The kids wanted to know how we met, and of course, I loved regaling them with stories of MOMS club.


    1. Thanks, Melissa! Yes, those MOMS club days were good ones, weren’t they? I treasure the connections and we had good times!
      Thanks for leaving a comment.


  4. First of all, you and your family are picture perfect! I loved the story. It was very motivating. And your house is sweet~I love your sense of style. You should definitely publish a book!!!


    1. Susan! Yes, please, let’s get me a book deal!! 🙂 Seriously, thank you for your nice compliments. Very sweet. Glad you stopped by…


  5. I also clean mainly when we host an event. I have found that frequent hosting of events not only boosts my social life, but helps me keep a cleaner house!

    Because I work in “quality systems”, I find myself trying to determine the “root cause” of uncleanliness and trying to eliminate it. For example, in snowy weather, I put extra towels at the entrance doors so wet shoe prints end up there rather than on my hardwood floor. Then at laundry time, I do what I call the “uber-dirty” load which includes these towels and other items I don’t want with my clothing (i.e. any rag I have wiped up cat barf with).

    I also try to do one “uncommon” cleaning project each week. This includes things like: washing the shower curtain, wiping baseboards, cleaning the front of kitchen appliances, washing windows, etc.

    My least favorite cleaning task is the hardwood blinds. I try to do them once a year, but it’s a challenge each time.


    1. Liana,
      It seems like an “event” is good thing to schedule to get the house cleaning done!
      I don’t like cleaning the wood blinds either. That’s a job I gladly pay my kids extra to do.
      Thanks, Liana!


  6. My kids are getting older. I’m looking forward to having them be able to them being able to help around the home more! We have been making some changes in our household, trying to be more frugal. I have cut my house help down to the occasional deep cleaning. Other than that, it’s our family. We’re learning to get it done, but yea, like you said, I can’t look too closely.


  7. I clean my house regularly because I have discovered a strong correlation (for me) between a messy, dirty house and a very bad mood. Some years ago, I realized that when my house is dirty, I feel stressed, depressed, and dissatisfied. (And I am not generally any of those things under normal circumstances.)

    Interestingly, when my house is dirty, I am more apt to spend money to “improve” it. I have even, on more than one occasion, looked around my dirty house and thought, “I hate this place! We need to move!” (No mere new throw pillows for me; I need a whole new house!)

    Luckily, I figured out that all I really need to do to feel better about my house is clean it. Once I do that, I am back in love with it (more or less). And I just feel better about pretty much everything. So – I make the effort for my mental outlook as much as anything.


    1. Amy,
      Hats off to you for realizing all of this! I love your attititude of going big – we need to move! 🙂 Great job recognizing what your points are that make you feel the need to shop and “improve.” A positive mental outlook is huge! Thanks for leaving a comment.


    1. Thanks, Annie! It was a big motivator around here but it seems that what I need.


    1. Marvin, I agree! It is such a good feeling knowing that kids can help busy parents and good for them to have those skills.
      Thanks for leaving a comment.


  8. What a fantastic piece on Yahoo! Yay Sara! I love that it starts with the chickens – and they look as good as y’all do! I didn’t know about the “time of use” utility thing. This is a great piece, I look forward to telling everyone about it.


    1. Oh, Corrine! Thank you. Yes, the chickens were very much the “divas” of the piece. They love any attention but didn’t love the camera crew in the backyard. They acted like a bunch of chickens! 😉


  9. I love this post. Thanks for sharing this. I wish you all the best Sara! 🙂
    Lydia Bridges recently posted..KeeMe App


  10. Cleaning for guests is motivating. I thought there was the potential for a visitor this weekend, so we spiffed up a bit. I have to tell you I made your mop cover design from an old T shirt and LOVE it! My teenager & I had a good laugh at how much I enjoyed it. I have another great mop with a similar cover, but now I can use the small mop for the tight corners in the bathroom and in the kitchen. Quick, easy & effective. I also sewed a couple more covers from the body of the T shirt; I’m not sure they will stay on, but I thought I’d give it a try. Thanks for spreading joy, Sara!


    1. Michelle! I love hearing this! So glad you made the covers. I need to make a few more. When I hear the my kids can’t mop the floor because there aren’t enough mop covers, I know there’s a problem. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. Also, it’s always good to laugh with your teenager 🙂

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