Author: <span>halliemordecai</span>

laundry room 2

Our laundry room has been on my to-do list for 19 months. It was a horrible golden color and was our catch-all for dirty clothes (of course), unsorted mail, shoes, puzzles, batteries, tools, cleaners, and dust. I finally went to Lowes and bought a gallon of Olympic “Zen” paint and got to work. Before work I cleared the room of everything, and as soon as I got back home I spent two hours painting. That’s all it took – two hours! 19 months…. I have always wanted a utility sink in a laundry room, and thankfully this house had the hookups already. It was a week long project because what simple plumbing project is actually simple and quick? But we did it!

laundry room

My least favorite house-hold task is laundry. I don’t mind the washing, because I detest piles of dirty clothes. Folding, however, is a beast. So my tendency was to let the clean clothes sit in the dryer as long as possible and close the door on baskets of clean laundry. Having a room that is an eye sore and full of clutter, is an invitation for procrastination and denial. Yesterday, I went back to Lowes and got this planter for $3.88 and planted a few Golden Pothos to make the room more inviting and zen-like (see a past article on house hold plants here: http://cleanchaos.org/cleangreen-decorating/). I’ve transformed the laundry room into a place that invites me in, rather than invites the chaos in. Redecorating and reinventing a space in your home doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, and it doesn’t have to wait 19 months. It can cost as much as a gallon of paint, a few hours of your time organizing and painting, and a new plant.

Happy cleaning (and laundering)!

 

Cleaning Decorating Organizing Uncategorized

 

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Our ever-changing living room

The past few months have been a season of preparation for the past few weeks. Twelve weeks ago my business started growing unlike it has in the past five years. Three weeks ago we welcomed our first foster placement into our home. Today my two sons started preschool and full time daycare. My heart is about as raw as it can be. So many exciting changes and transitions in every area.

Clean+Chaos

Expanding as a small business is exciting and at times all-consuming. It’s very difficult to say “no” while in a boom, so I have frequently felt like I was drowning in both gratitude and work. I now have someone helping bear the load which has been amazing. That has been a lesson in planning, letting go of control and trusting someone else. Hopefully in the coming months I will  have another person trained and cleaning on her or his own!

Because of the increase in business, my children have started full time daycare. I have a very emotional dialogue with myself about it several times a day. I love the flexibility to work as much as I need, but I miss their presence when I come home at lunch. I love being able to accomplish a task uninterrupted (this post!), but I miss their faces and water color messes SO MUCH. I think they are going to love it – the friends, the teachers, the activities. Still, it’s been a time of stretching for me to decide what my goals are, what is good for my children, what is good for my mental state, and what is good for my clients.

Fostering

I picked up our foster son three weeks ago today. It has been an amazing journey so far. At times it is stressful, and other times are unbelievably fun. Overall it’s been a lesson in loving someone who cannot (yet) love back, learning to be flexible in our schedules and expectations, and being patient with our sons as they process the transition in their own way. There are moments when I am overwhelmed with emotion and other times when I feel like I lack the ability to connect to anyone. We have no idea how long he will be with us. But we do not think past today as a foster family. We ride the waves and pray we stay afloat in changing tides.

Blogging

My husband in the process of building me a new customized computer simply because he is awesome . . . and because he’s an engineer and loves computers. But I am excited not only about my cleaning business expanding, but about my blogging increasing. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and until now has been greatly restricted by time. So here’s to happy cleaning and a lot more blogging!

Hallie

 

Cleaning Love Parenting

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It’s the season for travel, and it’s also the season for fruit flies and ripe produce. Most of the time when we are prepping for travel, our attention is solely on the packing, but there are a few cleaning tips that taken care of prior to travel will make your return a much more pleasant experience. The smallest bit of food, produce, trash or moisture left for a long period in a warm environment will lead to a less than welcoming homecoming. Make sure to prepare your home for your vacation as well as your suitcases.

MUST DO’S

  • Empty sink of all dirty dishes (and run disposal)
  • Remove produce from counters (discard, give away, chop and freeze)
  • Empty trash cans (kitchen trash, bathroom trash, diaper pails, etc)
  • Flush toilets
  • Run dishwasher so no dishes are left unclean
  • Make sure there is no trash or places of sitting moisture (water in glasses, food wrappers under beds, wet laundry, etc

SHOULD DO

  • Wash and dry all dirty laundry
  • Empty fridge of food that will perish while you’re away
  • Pour a little vinegar down your sink and rinse
  • Turn the AC up (but not off)

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YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID

  • Put clean sheets on bed and make them
  • Wipe down counter tops and surfaces
  • Straighten up living spaces and bedrooms
  • Vacuum

The last thing you want to come home to after a trip is work. A few things to work on the night before and morning of departure will ensure a better homecoming. And of course, if you are lacking time or energy to do these things, then make it a point to schedule a cleaning while you’re away! You would not regret scheduling a professional cleaning for the week of your vacation.

Fun travels and happy cleaning!

Cleaning Efficiency Stress

When I first started writing this blog I was asking friends about areas that were most frustrating to them to clean. One mama wanted to know what I recommended on wood floors for kids who throw food. At the time, my youngest wasn’t a thrower, but I have since been initiated into the club. We eat rice a lot in our family. My husband and my youngest LOVE jasmine rice. Sticky rice, spit out gold fish, dirt, playdough, etc are daily added to our floors.

IMG_5749I found my new favorite mop for less than $24 at Walmart – it’s the Rubbermaid Reveal spray mop, and it’s great. You can fill the bottle with your favorite cleaner, and that’s the reason I chose it. I am always changing cleaners that I use and didn’t want to get something that would force me to commit to its refill. The cloth is attachable and washable, and it’s so easy and perfect for all floor types – laminate, wood, tile.  It’s ergonomic, affordable, effective, and you can use it for spot cleaning or whole area cleaning. You can find it here.

IMG_5743I chose Mrs. Meyers Clean Day for the cleaner. I like to get the concentrate all purpose cleaner and it only takes a *tiny* amount diluted with plenty of water. It’s on Amazon here, although I found it at Target for less than $8.

IMG_5744Go ahead, son, throw that rice. I wanted to use my new Reveal anyway.

Happy Cleaning!

Cleaning Floors product reviews

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For years (YEARS!) I hated cleaning stainless steel. Many of my clients have stainless steel appliances and while I think they are the most beautiful of appliances, I also found them to be so very aggravating. Stainless has come along way in the last few years and many appliances offer a special smudge-proof coating now that in my opinion is totally worth it.

This past year, however, I’ve had a deep love develop for stainless. For one, I  have found a safe and natural stainless cleaner that I actually love. For a while I had to choose between harmful cleaners (seriously, some commercial stainless cleaners had cancer warnings on the can… no, I did not use them) or poor cleaners.

I’ve had a couple people ask me about what I use, so I wanted to post a short response:

Microfiber cloths and (drumroll…)

IMG_5745I buy Einshine at Earth Fare for around $8, but you can find it on Amazon. It lasts a long time, you only need a small spritz or you’ll be wearing your arm off rubbing it in.

The Trick: Initially when working the cleaner over the stainless, I actually go against the grain and once it begins to disappear, I rub with the grain, so as not to have streaks. Another trick is to clean often. The longer oils sit on stainless, the more work it will take. Just remember, soft cloths, safe cleaners, and frequent cleaning.

Happy cleaning!

*The fridge above is a client’s fridge I cleaned yesterday. So beautiful 🙂

Cleaning Efficiency Hacks

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetStreak free shine!

It’s a guarantee on almost every glass cleaner, and for the most part, it’s true. I’ve discovered the trick to streak free shine is in the method, not the solvent. I choose not to use any cleaner that has ammonia (Windex), but you can use what you like. Honestly, you can even use multi-purpose cleaners for glass a lot of the time, since most are just water and surfactants. I like to use Method Glass Cleaner or Trader Joe’s green Multi-Purpose Cleaner. You can also use vinegar. There are two tools I keep on hand for mirrors and glass: a squeegee, and the hardest, cheapest, least absorbing paper towels. I’ll explain…

Squeegee:

My preferred brand is Ettore. I’ve tried several, but for me this brand works best. And it only costs $3-$5, depending on the size. I have several sizes, but I find I only use the smaller one, so I would go with that. A squeegee is perfect for large bathroom mirrors, glass shower doors, and outside windows. Just spray, swipe, and wipe off any moisture in the surface corners.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetPaper towels:

My husband will go to the store and come back grinning with nice, soft, absorbing paper towels, and I fall to my knees and wail. No, it’s not that dramatic, but it is on the inside. The softer, more absorbent the paper towel, the more likely it is to leave behind fuzz, causing smudges and streaking. The cheapo paper towels are great at leaving behind nothing. You can also use newspaper, but who regularly has that on hand?

You can also use microfiber cloths:

Microfiber cloths can be great at cleaning glass, but you must adhere to a couple rules of thumb:

1. Only wash with other microfiber cloths. Microfiber cloths are a magnet for fuzz, so washing them with any other material will render them useless as they will leave behind fuzzy streaks.

2. Wash only with water and no detergent. You can add a little vinegar if it needs something stronger.

 

Cleaning screens:

If you are wanting to clean tv, gadget, or computer screens, the safest thing to use is isopropyl alcohol mixed with distilled water. Just a couple drops to remove smudges and wipe with a microfiber cloth.

I clean our bathroom mirrors once a week and wipe down our smudgy, toddler-peanut-butter-kissed doors and windows several times a week. After wiping down the table and kitchen counters, it just takes a 2 second swipe across the glass and then . . . there it is! That streak free shine 😉

Happy Cleaning!

 

Cleaning Hacks Uncategorized

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWet wipes. I love wet wipes. Only for certain jobs, but for those jobs they are perfect. I have 3 places around the house that I always keep a tub of sanitizing wipes: the bathrooms, the laundry room, and the kitchen. This makes specific cleanups a cinch.

  • Bathrooms – I wipe down our toilets a couple times a week. 15 seconds  max, and bam! Pristine porcelain. I also wipe the bathroom sinks with them. I can be brushing my teeth, notice the sink is getting  icky, and wipe it down while I brush. It is true, the more you do something, the easier and faster it becomes. I spend under 2 minutes on most jobs around our house.
  • Laundry room – this is a perfect place for wipes. Laundry rooms can get VERY dusty. Dryer lint and detergent-spills build up on top of machines, and floor boards. Toss in a load, swipe the dryer top, hit start and there ya go! Honestly, go look at your baseboards in your laundry room – I promise you they will be dustier than anywhere in your house. You’re welcome.
  • Kitchen – I actually do not like to wipe counters with wet wipes. I prefer a cloth and spray for that. However, I LOVE them for swiping over the floor after my sweet baby eats his jasmine rice and ground beef. It makes cleaning up after a self-feeder a breeze. Wipe floor, wipe seat, dump and wipe tray – 3 times a day.

If there are supplies you use multiple times a day and at different places, create stations. It’ll encourage you to do it more often and it’ll save you time.

Happy cleaning!

Cleaning Efficiency Hacks Parenting Stress Uncategorized

 

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There is a forecast of possible snow this weekend, a high in the 50s on Sat. In preparation for winter weather, I like to do a couple of specific cleaning jobs, to help carry us through the cold months.

  • I first make it a goal to switch all of the fans – there is a switch on the motor of your ceiling fans that will cause the fan to rotate the opposite direction. The result is air circulation, but not wind in  your face. I also make sure to go ahead and dust all the fans.
  • Speaking of dust, the change of weather is a perfect reminder to switch out air filters in your return vents. I try to change ours every couple months, and before you start blowing the heat, it’s good to have clean filters. The dry heat is stuffy enough, without added dust. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI changed this 6 weeks ago. Yuck.
  • While I’m at it, I go ahead and clean out the boys’ humidifiers. I put a drop of bleach and fill with water, rinse and let air dry to help kill all mildew and bacteria. If you run your humidifier a lot, make sure to clean it regularly or it can spread mold spores. Also, make sure it’s not causing too much moisture in the air – there should be no evidence on walls or carpet of water. I try to use ours only when the heat is running it’s highest or the boys are congested.
  • Lastly, I try to think of things I’ll be too cold to do – straighten up the garage, do a little preparation-for-winter yard work, etc. I am a Southern girl, and cold jobs are undone jobs.

Stay warm and happy cleaning!

Cleaning Efficiency Hacks Uncategorized

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis is a post about me, about my family, about this past and coming season of our lives. John is nearing 11 months. The fastest, richest, hardest 11 months of my life. Having 2 babies close together, as many will testify, is hard, good, and hard. The good is really, really good. The hard is really hard. But what a gift to have 2 boys. They are my happiness, my joy. There was a season with Jeff right after he turned two, where for about 2 months our relationship was something like, “One cannot live while the other survives.” It was ridiculous. 2-year-olds are fierce. It was all fighting all the time and I was becoming someone I hated. I got to the point of breaking down in front of so many people that prayers were regularly being sent to heaven. And then it happened . . . one Wednesday morning, Jeff woke up, and he was Jeff. He has been so amazing the past month – creative, helpful, sweet, obedient, he EATS, he shares, he sleeps. He has his moments, but I do too, so no faulting him there.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetHere he is a couple weeks ago right before he went to bed. He saw me unloading the dishwasher, and he came up and started putting all the silverware away. All on his own. Is dishwasher unloading a love language? I felt so loved, so proud. I danced with him after taking this picture.

We put our house on the market. It’s kind of crazy. We have talked about it here and there, but not seriously. We’ve only been in our house for 2 1/2 years and we LOVE our house. Long story short, we were casually looking at houses closer to Ben’s work – he’s been traveling so much that it’d be really nice to be closer to him when he’s in town, not to mention in the school district we will want to be in as Jeff nears preK – and saw one we liked. We decided to put it on the market just as a “if it’s meant to be, great, if not, then we’re happy here” type thing. When you start looking at houses you start having conversations, the conversation. You have to know how many rooms to get. Do we want more children? One day? Are we complete? How does anyone ever answer that question?

For now, I am content. In the past month John has just started sleeping through the night, so with that comes a more normal mommy. Waking every 2 hours for 10 months makes a mommy  . . .  uh, not her best. Ben and I have been having fun! When your babies sleep through the night, it unlocks a freedom on your marriage.  He deserves an accolade here. He has been a champion husband. Unbelievably helpful. Always ready to come home and dive into the craziness. He’s been sweet, romantic, hardworking, forgiving, encouraging, and inspiring. We have gotten so good at teamwork. Maybe a little too good at teamwork, as we’ve also developed a “high five, partner!” mentality. I will confess I have to really work at getting in the romantic mode, but  you can’t be good at all things all the time. I do realize my need for growth, and I am thankful for his friendship, love and steadfastness through all my young mother seasons.

I have been cleaning a lot. The more I work, the happier I am. I love working mornings and being with the boys in the afternoons. The more I work, however, the faster the days seem to pass. Some weeks go in a blur and I just pray my boys know I love them. I also pray it will feel slower to them. Breakfast, work/daycare, naptime, outside, dinner, bath, play, bed . . . over and over every day. I do not feel like time is going to be slowing down anytime soon, but I do feel like our family is entering a new season. One where I feel good. One where I am not afraid to mess up as a mom and forgive myself. One where I can pursue my husband as my babies pursue dreamland. One where I can BLOG. I have lots of blog posts on the queue so subscribe! I  hope they will be helpful!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetHappy cleaning, friends!

Love Parenting Uncategorized

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It’s been a whole month since I last blogged. Mainly because we’ve been so busy that this is what we look like when we come home each day. Jeff was so tired this day that he didn’t make it past the doorway. Me too, baby.

Over the past month I’ve actually had a rekindled love for the always-used, often-overlooked . . . dish soap. I’ve been cleaning everything with it. EVERYTHING. A couple drops of plain dish soap and warm water + an old wash cloth = a super effective cleaning agent. I’d almost recommend it over other cleaners. I prefer the original blue Dawn, with no scents, lotions, or other add-ins. It only takes 1 or 2 drops, as it’s super concentrated, and you don’t want it too soapy, especially when cleaning floors.

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Areas to clean using warm water and dish soap:

  • Stove top and oven knobs
  • Cabinet doors
  • Baseboards
  • Outside windows (squeegee dry)
  • High chairs
  • Kitchen table
  • FLOORS (especially vinyl or linoleum – great for stuck-on food)
  • Outside of toilet
  • Tops of washer & dryer
  • Patio furniture
  • Play yard toys

The list could go on and on. It really is my current cleaning addiction. Simple, cheap, super effective.

Happy cleaning!

Uncategorized