November 2011

Sweeping is Actually Faster than Vacuuming

When we converted our entire house to laminate flooring, I thought there was no way I would use a broom to sweep the entire house so I faithfully vacuumed every room at least once a week, putting up with noise, a little dust pollution and a lot of electricity.  Then, the attachment that works on smooth floors broke, so I found myself back to basics, using that old fashioned thing we all used to use – a broom.

Take a Breath, Be Strong and Live Clutter Free

3 Simple Rules to Live without Clutter

Have you been noticing that parts of your house seem to have an ever growing pile of clutter? No worries, it happens to us all. It starts slow, a little bowl that is especially cute, a cd that provides a feeling of nostalgia and let us not forget, that little gorgeous shirt that became too small that will be worn again just as soon as 5 pounds are lost.

Get Those Cobwebs Before They Get You

This time of year, my house is beginning to look like a Halloween house.  As winter settles in and the woodstove starts burning constantly, the dust accumulates faster and really highlights all those cobwebs hiding in the corners of the room.  In fact, I would bet a house like mine was the original inspiration for using cobwebs in Halloween decorations.  If your house is beginning to look a little spooky too, take a few minutes to rid the walls and light fixtures of those hairy accouterments.  You will probably enjoy the cobweb-free look immensely.

Sink Stink? Try This Natural Remedy

Our kitchen sinks see a lot of traffic, and a lot of gross things are washed down them.  On occasion, something may get stuck or the porous surfaces of the drain, such as the rubber in the stoppers or around the fittings, can take on disgusting odors.  Those odors can really get around, making the whole kitchen stink.  If you are suffering through the nasty smells but hesitant to use chemical cleaners, try using a more natural option instead.

Baking soda, renowned for its odor-controlling properties, makes a great partner to the disinfecting and deodorizing attributes of lemon juice.  When you combine the two, few odors can resist the attack.  Best of all, baking soda and lemon juice are harmless in septic tanks, non-toxic, and leave your whole kitchen smelling cleaner after they are used in the sink.

To clean your sink drains with baking soda and lemon juice, pour a generous amount – about one-quarter cup – of baking soda on the drain.  Next, squirt a good serving of lemon juice onto the baking soda.  One or two tablespoons should be sufficient.  When the two get together, you will see a lot of fizzing and bubbling. Let this mixture sit for several minutes, and then pour a half-gallon of water all at once into the sink.  This will help wash the mixture evenly through the drains.

Usually after one application of baking soda and lemon juice, your sink will no longer stink and you can get back to enjoying a clean kitchen.

Grandma wasn't Crazy

I should have listened to Grandma, it turns out she was right

Like every small child before me I loved going to see my grandma, except for cleaning days. At my house when my mom cleaned it just smelled like cleaners, but grandma’s, it could smell like most anything, though the smell I remember the most is vinegar. When I really think about it, vinegar doesn’t smell that bad, I think it stood out simply because it wasn’t the smell of cleaners that had already become my norm.

Naturally as I became older and had to clean my own house I bought what my Mom used, typical everyday chemical based cleaners. As time went by green living became more and more important. I took great care to do my part, I recycled and reused. I was careful to make sure that any clothing, furniture or other household items went to someone who could use them rather than the trash. I made sure that my lunch was packed in containers rather than Ziploc bags. The one area that I failed in was my chemical and possibly toxic cleaners.

The Damn'd Spot on My Kitchen Counter

Help: How can I get the spot on my kitchen counter off?


Two stories come to mind when I think about cleaning my kitchen counters; one is a story written by David Sedaris in his collection, Holidays on Ice in which he describes a mother who mumbles obscenities to herself as she tries to scrub sports out of her kitchen counter. The other, of course, is Macbeth, and the infamous line: “Out, damn'd spot.”

Get Your House Ready for the Holidays

The holidays are approaching, is your house ready?

As the holidays draw near, have you thought about what types of entertaining you will be doing? In my home, we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Generally, we go to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving; however, this year we will be hosting it at home. We will also be hosting Christmas, as well, so I decided to take charge and start planning these things.

I began to think about this and realized that I have a lot to do. With these holidays only weeks away, I decided to begin now. There are numerous things to do now. I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so my house is generally “neat,” at least that is what my friends and family always tell me. What I can do though is start cleaning closets, decorating and planning my menus.

Now is the Time to Go through Your Medicine Cabinet

"Get rid of all expired meds, as well as things like bandaids that have come out of their wrappers and are no longer sterile."

To me, fall is the best time to start cutting out the clutter in our homes in preparation for winter.  In most areas, winter is when we begin spending more time indoors, so it makes sense to make those indoors as enjoyable as possible before we settle in for a long wait.  De-cluttering is an excellent way to reduce stress indoors while making normal activities easier to accomplish.  One place most of us end up with excess is in the medicine cabinet.

Time to Clean the Closet

Fall is a great time to get rid of the clothes you never wear.

During the fall each year, I like to go through my closet and get rid of clothing I never wear. Many people make it a habit of transferring their summer clothes out of their closets, and replacing it with their winter clothes. This is not something I do because I generally have enough space in my closet for everything. What I do like doing, however, is sorting out all of my clothes.

Just last week, I went through the clothes in my closet. I removed all of them and sorted them by style. I placed them on my bed in stacks of sweaters, t-shirts, dress shirts and so on. I then moved my summer clothes near the back of my closet, and replaced the front of my closet with my winter clothes. Another thing I also did was all of my laundry. I am usually good at completing the laundry each day, but this day in particular, I made sure I completed all of it, including putting it all away.

The nice part about doing this is that I get rid of a lot of items. If there are shirts, or pants, that I have not worn all year, it’s time for them to go. Luckily I have a niece that fits in my size and I offer these items to her. The ones she doesn’t choose go straight to the Salvation Army. After completing this project (which really doesn’t take long) I am left with an organized closet, a lot of empty hangers and I only have clothes that I really like, or wear often.