Tag Archives: Cleaning

Clear the Clutter: 40 Bags Update

So it’s been about a week of searching out bags of things to get out of my house. I’m finding that it’s less “one per day” and more “couple of spurts” throughout the week. But whatever works!

Here’s where my bags came from:
7. Nursery (lots of packaging trash from all the beautiful gifts from the shower)
6. Nursery (extra clothes for the wrong season, batting to go back to Shannon, and a diaper tub for Grandma’s house)
5. Nursery (extra swing to give to another set of friends expecting their first baby)
4. Linen closet (I tend to collect all the little samples from hotels, but how many do you really need? And some less-than-great-towels went too)
3. Bookshelves throughout the house (off to Half Price Books)
2. Guest room closet (emptying out that dumping ground for some really random things to head to Goodwill)
1. From all over the house (a whole bag of random things that go back to school)

Unfortunately, my guest room looks like this:

Yikes! But my goal by the end of next week is to get some of these things to their new homes.

And, this already makes the house feel cleaner and more organized. Little sigh of relief. Bigger sigh next week with more things out of the house!

How’s your purging going?

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Laundry for Cheaper

Laundry isn’t my favorite thing to do, and I hate spending so much money on laundry detergent. Especially when I have trouble getting certain stains out. But Pinterest came to my rescue again!

I love this stain removal chart from Martha Stewart! Now maybe I’ll be able to get the coffee and tea stains out of my clothes!

I’ve also been looking for a natural and inexpensive laundry detergent that’s gentle enough for a baby. I’ve been on the lookout for awhile, hoping that I’d find something before I needed to buy more detergent. And success! I found this recipe on Being Creative to Keep My Sanity and made a few changes that other readers posted in their comments.

What you’ll need:
*1 box (4 lb) baking soda
*1 box (3 lb 7 oz) washing soda
*1 box (4 lb 12 oz) Borax
*3 bars Ivory unscented soap

I found the three boxes all together in the detergent aisle of Walmart. The bars of soap were in the soap aisle. Total spent:  $12. Not too bad!

1.  Using an old grater, grate the Ivory soap. I wouldn’t suggest using this grater for food anymore.

2.  Mix all the ingredients together in a large stock pot or bucket. Only pour part of each box/soap flakes in, alternating them. This makes mixing it all together much easier. And make sure you hold your breath or wear a mask when you dump the boxes in. I forgot this and inhaled some of that baking soda. Yuck.

3.  Store in a covered container.

I use a small spoonful added to the actual washer in my HE washer. Based on the comments on the original post, my fingers are crossed that this really will be gentle enough for cloth diapers and baby clothes. We’ll find out soon enough!

*Please use at your own risk.

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To Do Lists

I don’t know about you, but I have notebooks full of lists! I love the satisfaction of crossing things off my lists… even if it’s something like eating lunch! Here are some cute lists and ideas to keep you on track.

Next to Heaven:  To Do List/Menu Planning

My Everything and Nothing:  Vintage Butterfly To Do List

Scrapbooks Etc:  To Do List from Scrapbook Supplies

The Project Girl:  To Do List

Free Printables:  Multi Floral Printable To Do List

The Clay Family Blog:  Kitchen Command Center

Whatever Dee Dee Wants:  Kids’ Chore Jar (share the wealth on that to-do list!)

via Pinterest

Hopefully this will help get your To Do Lists in check!

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Filed under Crafts, Organizing

Clear the Clutter: Under the Kitchen Sink

I had cleaned under the kitchen sink once before. And then it revert back into a black hole. A black hole in which bottle and plastic bags multiple at a rapid rate.

Logan requested that we get the plastic bag holder when we were at Ikea. Before the bags were just in a basket. Huge improvement switching those out!

Same process as always…

1.  Empty
It wasn’t until I emptied out the cabinet that I realized I had been stock piling bottles of vinegar, grout cleaner, and dishwashing soap.

2.  Clean
Wipe out the bottom of your cabinet. I also lined it with contact paper to make it easier to clean when spills do happen.

3.  Purge
I consolidated some of the repeats (like the grout cleaner). Tossed out some containers/boxes that were nearly empty. Moved bathroom cleaners into the bathroom. I also had a few cleaners that were nearly finished, so I used those later in the day to clean the house. Then into recycling the bottles went! Be sure if you’re getting rid of chemicals, you check about the safest way to do it in your city.

4.  Sort:
I didn’t have many categories for this area. Things I rarely used (to tuck them in the back), regular cleaning products, dishwashing stuff, floor cleaner.

5.  Contain:
I put my most commonly used cleaning products in a container near the front. This way whenever I need them, they’re really easy to pull out to clean. I used a shelf riser from another cabinet that wasn’t really doing much to put all my repeats on. This way I can easily see them and not keep buying them!

Now I can find everything. And get to everything.

And by the way, notice the parmesan container to the right with baking soda in it (really easy to shake out only a little to clean with). And one of those windex bottles has been rinsed out and filled with my vinegar/water solution.

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Cheap and Natural Cleaning Products

Now that Thanksgiving is over, all my family has gone home, and I’ve recovered from getting up way too early on Black Friday… Now I’m ready to finish cleaning my kitchen. No matter how hard we try while making Thanksgiving dinner, the countertops, floors, and pans take a beating. With grease. And flour. And other things I drop (I’m rather clumsy).

I’ve been trying to switch over to more natural products when I started hearing how harsh cleaning chemical and and then started reading my friend’s blog Kinda Crunchy Kate and hearing how harsh the chemicals are. I became more convicted one day when I was cleaning the fronts of my cabinets with Soft Scrub and had a coughing fit because my lungs felt like they were burning from the bleach. Maybe that’s being delicate, but I haven’t used it since!

But I’m still too frugal to just toss out all the non-natural products I have. So I’m making my way through the last of my chemicals and finishing the transition into more natural products. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

*Vinegar and water:


Please note, I'm not endorsing the use of Heinz vinegar. Just vinegar in general!

I use this as my multi-cleaner now. It takes care of absolutely everything–grease, dirt, spilled food, window/mirror streaks. The best part is that it disinfects without using bleach. I have read not to use it on granite, because it can do something to the grout, but I haven’t seen much of a problem on the granite tiles in my bathroom. The water/vinegar ratio is pretty flexible and you can add a few drops of essential oil if you don’t like the smell (but that smell goes away within a few minutes). This is also a great way to clean a clogged shower head–just mix a little in a baggie and tie it onto the shower head. I also boil this mixture in my teapot, let it sit, and then rinse away all those little cruddies that collect and make my tea taste funny.
Here are some great websites with tons of other ideas:
1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar
131 Uses for Vinegar

*Baking Soda and Water:

Or whatever baking soda you can find for cheap!

This is the other powerhouse of my natural cleaning products. When you add just enough water to a bowl of baking soda to make a paste, you can clean pretty much anything. It’s got a little grit to it, so it’s great to scrub. But it’s not so abrasive that you’re going to scratch anything. I use this to clean up baked-on food on my stove, toothpaste in the bathroom, and stains on my vinyl floor. And of course, there’s the oder-absorbing qualities, which is why there’s a box in my refrigerator.
Great websites:
27 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda
 Cleaning With Baking Soda

*Vinegar and Baking Soda:

This is the volcano science experiment from elementary school. Whenever our sinks start running slowly, I dump some baking soda down the drain and let it sit while I wait for a bot of water to boil. Slowly pour the boiling water down the drain and let it set for 5-10 min. Then pour some vinegar down and cover the hole with a rag. That chemical reaction with all the bubbling “lava” does a great job cleaning all the black nasty from the pipes.

*Peroxide and Baking Soda:

Again, no brand affiliation

This is a combination I haven’t tried yet, but I’m seeing more and more ideas for things to clean with it. I guess it’s a great way to clean grout and pots/pans. It’s definitely on my list to try on my cookie sheets before Christmas cookie baking begins!
Cleaning Grout with Baking Soda and Peroxide
Home Cleaning Remedies

And speaking of frugal… all of these natural powerhouses are super cheap! Which makes cleaning the house much less expensive!

If you use any of these combinations, post a comment to tell us how it works!

Now there’s on thing that I just can’t get rid of yet. And that’s my Swiffer Wet Jet. I love how convenient it is to grab it and wipe up the spills while cooking dinner or muddy footprints from the dog. But I HATE paying for the disposable pads and am not thrilled about the chemicals in the solution (or buying the solution). Like I said, I’m cheap.

So after seeing a picture a long while ago of someone who created their own mop heads for their Swiffer Dry Mop, I decided to see what I could do. She used microfleece, which has a nice bit of stretch to it (kind of a nice feature in hindsight). But I didn’t have any on hand so I used a towel that had been stained in the wash.

What you’ll need:
*old towel

Sorry, I don’t have specific measurements for this one. I just estimated when I made mine!

1.  Put your mop on top of your towel. Cut your fabric so there’s about 3″ extra on each short side (if you’re using something with more stretch, you could probably get away with 1″) and 2″ on the long sides. Keep in mind that the little nubbies on the bottom that keep your purchased mop head on will also keep you bigger mop head in place.

2.  Cut 2 rectangles that are the width of your big rectangle and about 5″ long. If you’re using a towel, my suggestion it to cut the edges of one short side on the finished edge of your towel. This way, you won’t have to hem the side.

3.  Pin the short rectangles to the long one, starting at either end. There should be a gap in between the two small rectangles, which is what you’ll put your mop into. If you were able to cut one short edge on a finished seam, make sure those are the two edge in the center of the big rectangle.

4.  Stitch all the way around the mop head. If you’re using something like terry cloth, zig zag stitch around the edges twice (so you don’t lose fuzzies while you mop).

5.  Turn right side out. Clean your floors and toss the mop head into the washer when you’re done!

I’ve also read on Pinterest that you can put the lid of the solution container in boiling water for 10 seconds and unscrew it. Then you can fill the container with your own cleaning solution (like an all-natural one) and not have to keep paying for theirs. I haven’t tried this yet, but I really hope it works!

Smokey "helping" me cut out the rectangles.


Filed under Repurposing

Clear the Clutter: Refrigerator

I decided to move onto the kitchen since I’ll be hosting holidays. I figure that having my kitchen organized will make that craziness a little less stressful (don’t get me wrong, I love hosting my family, but having a large group over is always stressful).

The refrigerator came first, because I haven’t gone grocery shopping in awhile. My advice is to save emptying out and cleaning the shelves to when your fridge is nearly empty. Besides, it helps you put together your shopping list… and what you don’t need. Like we’re jammed packed on condiments and salad dressings (except we don’t have any of caesar for Logan).


1.  Empty
I chose to empty our fridge shelf by shelf. When something was in a spot that didn’t make sense, I just left it on the counter until I was ready to figure out where to put it. Like I said, this is all much easier and faster when you’re fridge is nearly empty! And you don’t have to have your food out or your fridge open for as long.

2.  Clean
Wipe off each shelf and clean out the drawers. Make sure you wipe the sides too, because I found tons of crumbs stuck there.

3.  Purge
I always get frustrated with this step when it comes to food. I hate getting rid of food that’s been forgotten for too long (like the mini-bagels that are now dog treats). But this isn’t a time to beat yourself up about the yogurt that started molding or the veggies that are limp. Celebrate the fact that you’re cleaning everything out and then get organized so it happens less! This is also a good time to consolidate… like combining 2 of the 3 apple butters you have. You know, for example.

4.  Sort
It sounds obvious, but sort all of your food into groups. It’s easier to use them when they’re in a group that makes sense.

5.  Contain
I used to think this was a silly step for a refrigerator. I mean, why put more containers in a fridge when everything all the food is contained and there are drawers. But when I didn’t have yogurt floating around my fridge getting lost, I realized the basket I put all of them in really helped. I also put all of our cheeses in a container, which has been a huge space saver. Adjust your shelves so they work for what you need.  This also might be a good time to pull out your label maker. If multiple people are getting things out or putting away groceries, it’s a good idea to label the containers so people know where to put things back.

You can’t tell much of a difference in my before and after pictures, because I desperately need to go grocery shopping! But I did get rid of about a gazllion crumbs, several bottles, nasty vegetables, and the stale-dog-treat-bagels. Now even more space for when I do go shopping!


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