Category: <span>Uncategorized</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

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

FullSizeRender

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

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As a service to Clean+Chaos followers, I wanted to debut distinct cleaning profiles with personalized cleaning plans. The first cleaning profile is for families with young children.

Things to remember about the profiles:

  • This is not a strict schedule; set daily goals.
  • If following the full plan is initially overwhelming, work on adding one practice into your daily schedule, and increase each week as you feel comfortable.
  • These cleaning plans are not meant to get your home in perfect order, rather to make regular maintenance easier and faster.

Strategies to make following the plans easier:

  • Minimize clutter. The more time you have to spend picking up clutter, the less time you have to actually clean. With little ones, messes occur at every turn, and as they grow their messes multiply. However, it is possible to get a reign on the “stuff”. Storing clothes and toys for alternating seasons, and donating excess toys, clothes, towels, tupperware, etc. are good places to start. Check my post on paper clutter for tips on managing incoming mail. Most of us have way more than we know what to do with. Minimizing is liberating!
  • Aim to keep AT LEAST the dining table and kitchen counters clear of clutter. I try to only have out on the kitchen counters things that are used so regularly it would be silly to have elsewhere – coffee pot, utensil holder, sugar and tea canisters, bread basket, and fruit bowls. Everything else has a home elsewhere – cabinets, pantry, drawers, magnetic strips. You can decide what needs to be out on your counter. I’ll be posting on another profile on how to save space in the kitchen so follow Clean+Chaos!
  • Create CLEANING WIPE STATIONS. I am going to blog on this, but if you have babies who throw their food or constant messes in bathrooms, you maybe benefit from the cleaning wipe stations. I keep a box of disinfecting wipes where messes tend to occur so you can swipe and go.
  • Prepare anything that needs to be ready for the morning the night before. For example, pack kids’ lunches, set the coffee timer the night before, and set out clothes for kids. These things take only a few minutes to complete, but they allow for a much better morning. It also gives you time in the morning to clear the sink before you leave for work or playgroups.
  • The kitchen is the nucleus of the home. Keeping it clean is key to a clean home.

 

Cleaning Plan:

 

 Daily Tasks:

  • Empty sink of dirty dishes (wash or load dishwasher).
  • Wash & fold 1 load of laundry (saving it all up for one day usually means hours of washing and folding, where doing a load daily means just a few minutes and you can work it into your daily routine).
  • Make up master bed every morning (kids . . . that’s another story). Starting your day by making your bed initiates a productive mode for the rest of your day, and it’s the #1 task that makes a room look neater.
  • Kitchen counters wiped down
  • Toys picked up before bedtime

 

Weekly Tasks:

  • Toilets cleaned (Inside and out)
  • Mirrors cleaned (Bathroom, bedroom, etc)
  • Master Sheets changed
  • Floors vacuumed (Carpet and hardwood)
  • Garbage removed (kitchen, baths, bedrooms and good lord the diaper pails)
  • Kid potties washed/disinfected
  • Oven door/dishwasher door wiped down

 

Bi-weekly Tasks:

  • Showers cleaned 
  • Bathroom counters/sinks wiped down
  • Dressers, furniture, fans, vents, bookshelves dusted (Swiffer)
  • Floors mopped
  • Kids’ sheets changed
  • Entryway windows cleaned
  • Blinds dusted
  • Washer & dryer wiped down
  • Stainless appliances wiped down

Monthly Tasks:

  • Bathroom rugs washed
  • High chair cover washed
  • Doors/door frames wiped with magic eraser (hand prints, smudges, crayon, etc)
  • Baseboards dusted
  • Refrigerator cleaned out
  • Couch cushions washed (if needed)
  • Garbage disposal cleaned: Run with ice cubes and vinegar or citrus peeling to sharpen blades. Rinse with water

 

Printable Sample Week 1.1

This is not a hard and fast schedule, but rather an example of what a typical week may look like. Let me know if you find this helpful or want more printables for this profile!

Young Family Cleaning Plan1.1

 

Happy cleaning!

Uncategorized