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Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

I never liked schedules or routines but it seems these days I have fallen into some that I really adore. The only schedules I ever had as a child were school, sports, work and family dinners. Aside from these things, everything else in my life could be done when I wanted to do them. As an adult I never stuck to a routine, not really anyway. Nothing hard and fast, that’s for sure save for bedtimes and, again, family dinners. So when and how did I fall into a routine around here and how in the world did I come to actually depend on it?

Most people would would think that having children would have caused this shift in my lifestyle, but that’s not it. Our lives have always been organic- in that we do what we want, when we want. I would clean when I had time, we would run errands anytime morning or evening, laundry was done on an as needed basis and breakfast and lunches were made when we were all hungry. As you can imagine it was chaotic, though I never would have admitted it at the time, if I even bothered to notice.

I didn’t sit down one day and decide our lack of a schedule wasn’t working for us. Nothing changed over night- it evolved all on its own to become what it is today. And now I am somewhat (okay, very) OCD that things stay the way they are. Why? Simply because this is what works for our family and our lifestyle and leaves mama a whole lot less stressed out everyday.

Five and a half years ago we moved to this suburban location and I learned very quickly that suburban living meant that anyone could stop over at anytime. Neighbors always had something going on and our outdoor meetings could, at any time, result in an invitation to come into our house, from a child needing a bathroom break to a friend wanting to see the changes we made in the house. I got it into my head that the house needed to be presentable at all times for this very reason. Thus was born my, “all chores must be accomplished by 10am,” philosophy. Why 10am? It seemed like the time when people would get moving around the development, when people would venture out to do yard work or play with children.

I personally define chores as those annoying daily tasks that always need to be done. For me it is getting the dishes from the dishwasher put away so that it is ready to receive another load and nothing should be in the sink. The bathroom should be cleaned up, clothing gathered up and put in the laundry basket, floor cleaned and nothing on laying out on the counter. I sweep and clean the kitchen floor and check to see if the floors need vacuumed- they usually do. My vacuum and I have developed a special relationship over the years. I also clean the cat litter everyday and change the bunny litter if it is needed. All of this is done by 10am, though if I am really motivated it gets done by 8:30am. Accounting for taking Logan to school it bumps it back to 9am.

I have also developed a routine for laundry that I really like. I am able to do the majority of laundry on Mondays and Fridays. Monday’s laundry gets us through the week and Friday’s through the weekend. It also opens the washing machine up during the week and relieves any stress if I decide to wash curtains, stuffed animals or bedding.

Generally, though not always, laundry is finished by 10am save for putting it away. On Mondays and Fridays, laundry is the first thing I gather up before starting my other chores.

I do other necessary evils throughout the day as I have time. These are on an as needed schedule. Cleaning the bathtub, organizing closets, wash down walls, dusting, washing windows and anything else that requires my attention though isn’t considered a daily chore. Having done everything by 10am and spreading out what I want to do means I’m not stressing about getting other things done throughout the day. Less stress= a happy mama and we all know what they say about mama being happy (insert evil laughter).

My philosophy is to have everything done so that if someone stops over I wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite them into my home. I also like to avoid any sort of real work on the weekends because we always have something to do as a family. On the weekends I do dishes and straighten up and that’s about it. I don’t want to have to wait on cleaning the house to be able to go out and have fun.

My biggest pet peeve in this whole world is a dirty kitchen. I spend a majority of my time in that room and can’t even consider cooking (which I do three times a day) if it is dirty. My mom taught me years ago to clean up as I go and that has stuck with me. Consider baking cookies. I’m a pretty messy baker. If I didn’t have my dishes done and the dishwasher available my sink would be piled high with mixing bowls, measuring spoons and other utensils and I would lose my mind- no really, I would, I know this from experience.

As if my morning routine weren’t enough, I have one for evenings as well. I once read an old wive’s tale that said something to the effect of, “a dirty kitchen left over night will cause a restless sleep.” Man, did that one stick! I don’t know when I became a neat freak, because if you ask my parents it didn’t happen soon enough, but now if something is left unfinished I do have a more difficult time falling asleep at night. I need my beauty sleep, so we can’t have that! After dinner, dishes are cleaned and loaded in the dishwasher. I usually run it in the morning after breakfast. The house gets a once over and I can retire to family time satisfied that everything is done.

Schedules are something I used to ridicule until mine was developed. Now, I really can’t imagine doing anything around here without my always dependable routine.

Wishing you all clean and uncluttered home harmony,

Lauryn

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I love lists. In fact, here’s a list of why I love lists.

  1. They are simple to read.
  2. Organization, organization, organization.
  3. Who doesn’t love an at-a-glance reference?
  4. They are handy and small enough to stick where it counts; purses for grocery lists for example.
  5. When our brains fail us, lists are our trusty sidekick.

And so, here is a list of all the uses for lowly ol’ lemon juice– another of my favorite things. Double whammy.

“Lemon juice is the strongest food acid in our kitchens, strong enough to make life unbearable for most bacteria,” says Robert Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Use Lemon Juice to:

  • Reduce blemishes. Mix the juice of one medium lemon with one tablespoon of honey and apply to clean face. Rinse. Your skin will be glowing and future blemishes are greatly reduced.
  • Make buttermilk. Mix one cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice for a buttermilk substitute that works great!
  • Sanitize your dishwasher and remove mineral deposits and odors, remove all dishes. Place ¼ cup of lemon juice in the soap dispenser and run through the normal cycle. Your dishwasher will be clean and smell wonderful!
  • Freshen a stinky garbage disposal, slice a medium sized lemon into the disposal and turn on the disposal with running water until the lemon is gone.
  • Clean grout around tiles, apply lemon juice and water with a toothbrush and scrub.
  • Clean copper pots, cover the surface of a half lemon with salt and scrub. Rinse and buff with a soft cloth for a beautiful shine.
  • Clean silver, clean with lemon juice and buff with a soft cloth.
  • Cleans the tarnish off brass.
  • Freshen the air, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the vacuum cleaner bag before vacuuming.
  • Clean glass shower doors, apply lemon juice with a sponge. Dry with newspapers for a sparkling shine.
  • Remove the smell of garlic or onions from your hands, rub with a lemon slice and rinse.
  • Brighten whites that can’t be bleached, just pour a quarter of a cup of lemon juice into the washing machine.
  •  Dab small scrapes and scratches with some lemon juice to disinfect the wound. It will also take the itch out of poison ivy.
  • Remove fruit or rust on colored clothing, mix a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice. After checking the fabric for colorfastness, apply the mixture and let it set for 15-30 minutes. When stain is lifted, launder as usual.
  • Clean counter tops and remove stains (including laminate and stone counter tops), apply salt to the cut side of a lemon and scrub. Rinse and dry.
  • Freshen the microwave, place a few lemon slices covered with water in a small bowl and microwave on high for one minute.
  • Clean and disinfect cutting boards, wash with lemon juice and dry in the sun.
  • Freshen the air, place a teaspoon of cinnamon over lemon slices and cover with water. Simmer in a saucepan for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  • Make your own furniture polish that is much better for the wood than what you can buy, prepare enough for a single preparation (make fresh each time you use it.) Mix the juice of one lemon, one teaspoon olive oil and a teaspoon of water. Apply a thin coat to furniture and buff to a deep shine.
  • Remove ink from fabric, apply lemon juice liberally while the ink is still wet. Then wash the garment on the normal cycle with regular detergent in cold water.
  • Cure dandruff, apply one tablespoon of lemon juice to your hair. Shampoo, then rinse with water. Rinse again with a mixture of two tablespoons of lemon juice and two cups of water. Repeat every other day until dandruff disappears.
  • Write with invisible ink, use a cotton swab as a pen to write in lemon juice on a piece of white paper. Once it dries, hold the paper near a hot light bulb (don’t touch!). The writing will turn brown. Now we can fulfill our dreams of being spies.
  • Eliminate blackheads, rub lemon juice over blackheads before going to bed. Wait until morning to wash off the juice with cool water. Repeat for several nights until you see a big improvement in the skin.
  • Create blonde highlights, rinse your hair with one-quarter cup lemon juice with three-quarters of a cup water.
  • Remove fruit and berry stains on your hands, rinse hands with lemon juice.
  • Whiten, brighten, and strengthen fingernails, soak fingernails in lemon juice for ten minutes, then brush with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Rinse well.
  • Stop bleeding and disinfect minor wounds, pour lemon juice on a cut or apply with a cotton ball.
  • Relieve poison ivy, apply lemon juice over the affected areas to soothe itching and alleviate the rash.
  • Eliminate odors in your humidifier, pour three or four teaspoons of lemon juice into the water.
  • Relieve rough hands or sore feet apply lemon juice, rinse, then massage with olive oil.

So now when life hands you lemons you can get your clean on!

Lauryn

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