Category Archives: Home

Fall Cleaning

ackitchen1Fall Cleaning is like Spring Cleaning except obviously in the fall. I have found it makes the most sense for me to try to do a deep house cleaning at the change of every season. Cleaning everything really thoroughly four times per year helps make everything easy to maintain and the more often you do a deep cleaning the easier and faster it gets each time.  After trying out lots of methods, reading different books and articles about organization I have come up with a plan that works quite well for me. I use a combination of the Marie Kondo method and Jan Dougherty method of cleaning. I reviewed both of their books earlier this year. You should definitely check them out if you have a chance.  Here is the rundown on how I do my big quarterly house cleaning. It takes me about a week working a couple of hours everyday. I hope to get it things to the point where I can get it all done in a weekend.

I start at the back of the house and work my way towards the front. I choose a different room to work on each day. Bathrooms, then bedrooms, then the hallway, laundry room, kitchen, dining room and living room and that will bring us to the front door!

I start each room by removing the curtains, blankets, pillows and anything that can be put in the washing machine. Those get washed first. I then go through all the cabinets, dressers, closets and cupboards and remove everything. I clean out the shelves and wipe down everything one by one as I put it back. Anything that doesn’t “spark joy” gets donated or tossed. Seasonal cleaning is a good way to go through all your clothes and get rid of  (or pack away) anything that you won’t be wearing the next season.

Once all the cabinets and closets are cleaned out I remove anything from the room that isn’t bolted down. Picture frames, lamps, tables etc. If it’s too heavy to move out then I at least try to pull it away from the wall.

After the room is mostly empty I vacuum and dust the area where the walls meet the ceiling. Major dust and cobwebs! Then I work clockwise and wipe down all the walls working one arms length at a time, top to bottom.  Then I wipe down all the big pieces of furniture and add back all the accessories and art that I want to keep, wiping each one down as I put them back. By then the curtains and pillows are cleaning and dried and I can put them back.

I finish off with vacuuming and mopping the floors and then I plug-in my oil diffuser with a little eucalyptus essential oil and add a fresh-cut flower or two from the garden.

One room a day and I am done in a week. Some rooms take longer than others. I can do both bathrooms in a couple of hours and the bedroom ended up taking two days. I save the kitchen for the weekend since it needs the most attention.

I take the trash out daily and put all the donation items in my car right away so that they are completely out of the house.

What projects are you working on around the house?

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this post today they probably read the title and literally laughed out loud (I‘m talking to you mom). You see, I’m not exactly known for my sparkling clean home or being fastidiously clean. I’m definitely not a germaphobe and when you hear those people talk about how they are so OCD that they can’t live with dust or crumbs on the counter I cannot relate to them. At all.  That said, when I do take the time to really deep clean my home I make it count and in spite of whether or not messy people like myself should be dishing out cleaning advice I’m going to anyways.
I started making some of my own cleaning supplies about a year ago. I haven’t bought Lysol or Windex in a very long time. Making your own cleaning supplies is fun, environmentally friendly, economical and easy! This is the recipe that I started using to wash my dishes but as you will read soon enough you can also use it for other household cleaning needs as well.

The Ingredients:

1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
½ cup salt
½ cup citric acid

What the heck is all this stuff???.

Washing Soda is similar to baking soda but they are not the same thing. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and washing soda is a sodium salt of carbonic acid.  Baking soda is very easy to find at the store but washing soda can be more difficult to come by. I went to 5 different stores in my area looking for washing soda and couldn’t find it. It was only after I bought some off eBay that I randomly stumbled upon washing soda at Fred Meyer. Go figure. Although it wouldn’t hurt to mix the two up when it comes to making cleaning supplies you definitely don’t want to use washing soda for cooking.  Washing soda comes in a yellow box whereas baking soda is in an orange box. The laundry section of the grocery store or a hardware store are your best bet for tracking this stuff down. You can also buy it online if they don’t sell it in your town.

Borax is also know as sodium borate and is derived from the same stuff as boric acid. Don’t use boric acid for this recipe. Boric acid is nasty, nasty stuff used to kill cockroaches and other bugs. Look for the box in the laundry isle that says 20 Mule Team Borax. It has household cleaning as one of its uses listed on the side of the box so you know it’s safe.

Salt. I think we all know what salt is. Regular table salt will do just fine but purists may prefer to use finely ground sea salt or kosher salt. These will work fine as well. Moving on…

Citric Acid
is a weak organic acid. Its used as a preservative, cleaning agent and a TON of other things. You can also use it to make bath bombs! (recipe coming later this week!) I have no idea where to buy citric acid except the Internet. I bought a big 5lbs pail off Amazon. Citric acid is your secret ingredient in this recipe. It helps to cut grease and residue.  Apparently you can also use unsweetened Kool Aid or Lemonade mix instead of pure citric acid though I have not tried this.

Mix the ingredients together and store in a reusable container. Add two tablespoons per load. Swap out your regular rinse aid (Jet Dry)  for regular distilled white vinegar.

Because everyone’s dishwasher and water hardness are different you may have to tweak things around until you find the right ratios for your homemade detergent. Try making smaller batches at first until you find the right mix.

You can also use this mixture to clean your toilet bowl. Take a bucket and fill with water and dump it into the bowl. This will flush out the water and leave it empty. Wearing gloves, (obviously) rub the powder on the inside of the bowl thickly and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Scrub it with the toilet brush and flush. Voila, sparkling toilet!

In a pinch your can also use this as laundry detergent. The homemade laundry detergent recipes I have read usually don’t include the citric acid or salt but I have been adding a couple tablespoons instead of laundry powder and it seems to be working just fine.

For the shower, take an old spray bottle and add two teaspoons of the mixture and fill the rest with water. Spritz on the bathtub and shower walls and scrub like you normally do. You need to use a little more elbow grease but it does work.

Do you make any of your own cleaning supplies? What are some of your favorite recipes?

Upcycled Dog Scarves

The days are going to start to get cooler soon. Our sundresses and shorts will get packed away for scarves and mittens. While your going through your old clothes and sorting through some of the stuff you don’t want anymore consider keeping a few pieces around to upcycle into some cute dog accessories.

If you have an old hat lying around you can simply snip off the top to make a neck warmer for your pup.

You can flip the loose edge over so that it doesn’t fray and then simply slide it over her head

If you have a knit scarf on hand you can do the same thing but cut the scarf to the correct length to fit your dogs neck and then weave some yarn through the holes to “sew” it into one loop.

The possibilities are endless. What fun stuff can you upcycle for your pets?

How To Make a Flower Pen

Why write with a boring regular pen when you can  write with a pretty flower pen?
My mom, sister and I made these pens when I was little. My mom owned a clothing store with the word “Rose” in the title, so we made these pens with fake roses on top as a little promotional giveaway. I brought some extra to school when I was in grade 8 and my friends all begged me to make them one.  This one is a fun craft for kids and tweens or anybody like me who wants something pretty to write with.

Materials:

Pen
Floral tape
Flower
Glue

Take the floral tape  and wrap it around the pen. You can add a dab of glue if you want but floral tape sticks to itself so you shouldn’t need it.

Once the pen is covered with the tape pick the end of the pen off

Stick the tip of the flower in the pen and secure with glue.

Voila! Flower Pen!

My Favorite Cell Phone Cases

I’ve had my latest cell phone for almost a year now. It’s the Iphone 6S. I still have another year before my contract is up and I can get a free upgrade but I am thinking it might be time to splurge on a new case. Right now I just have a plain rose gold case. I did a search on Etsy and found some pretty sweet cell phone cases. Here are some of my favs:

 

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Lemon Case from Dessi Designs
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Marble and Rose Gold Case from Wolf Cases
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Amethyst Case from Case Ocean
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Wood Case from Real Design Rocks
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Frieda Case from Giant Sparrows
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Pineapple Case from Clash Cases
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Strawberry Case from Dessi Designs

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Soap Nuts!

Did you know you can clean your clothes with fruit? Yes, it’s true, I’m not a crazy person, just bear with me for a moment. Soap nuts (technically they are a berry) are the fruit of a tree that grows in the Himalayas. The nuts have  natural cleaning properties.

The outer shell contains saponin, a natural substance known for its ability to cleanse and wash. They aren’t new either, they have been used for centuries to clean fabrics. They are just new to North America and Europe.

Here is why they are so awesome,

They are:

*100% natural, just dried fruit

*Totally biodegradable

* Safe for septic and grey water systems

*Low sudsing- this is what you need for high efficiency washing machines

I bought a sample pack from Amazon to try out and you know what? They really are amazing. My clothes seemed just as clean as they would with regular detergent. The “nuts” are unscented so you clothes won‘t have that “laundry“ smell. This is good if you are sensitive or have allergies. If you prefer a light fragrance on your clean laundry you can add specially made oils to the wash.

The nuts come in a little linen drawstring bag. You just toss the bag in with the load and they work their magic. Once the nuts run out of cleaning power you can simply toss them in your compost. Have you ever tried soap nuts?