Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Fridge/Freezer

Back to the spring cleaning challenge....today's assignment: Refrigerator/Freezer. Not too hard of a job. I pulled everything off the shelves, out of the drawers and off the door and scrubbed that whole thing down. I got rid of some left overs that were way left over and also tossed some umm, condiments that haven't been good for oh, a better part of 3 or (maybe) 4 years. I guess we don't eat cocktail sauce quite as often as I must have thought. Yikes.

It was a relatively easy project today that only took me about 30 minutes. Which was exactly the type of project that I needed to get me back on track. Here's my fridge: BEFORE
And all scrubbed down and organized: AFTER
Here's my freezer: BEFORE
Not too much a difference, but I assure you it's much cleaner and much more organized! My freezer: AFTER
Now go snuggle with your kiddos and read them a book! Happy spring cleaning!

Visit Katie to jump on the spring cleaning challenge!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Office

Y'all, it's been an awful week. Madelyn has croup and had a horrible time sleeping on Wednesday night. She was coughing all. night. long. Kaiden caught her fever and a bit of a cough. Although not croup, still a nasty little bug that has him out of sorts as well. So, naps have been infrequent and somewhat non existent leaving me to get not so much done. That's the bad news. The good news is that everyone seemed to sleep a little better last night and it can only go up from here. Right?

So, in my last post I said I was dreading doing the kiddos closets and at this point, I decided to just leave all the baby stuff right where it was. I pretty much have their closets organized and whenever they outgrow something I throw it into a plastic storage bin. Those are now all in Madelyn's closet along with a changing table cushion, play mat and pack 'n play. It's all staying. Until I am more sure that we aren't having another. Although after this week of sickness that decision might have been made for us!

Yesterday I was able to start on the office slightly before Madelyn woke up. The office is primarily hub's area. I keep one file drawer of stuff and come in to use the computer only when I am printing coupons. So, for the most part I kept everything "as is" since it will be hub's job to go through all of his items. And, hubs is an organizational freak, so for the most part he keeps it pretty tidy.

Here is the book case/file cabinet. I have a few books in there that need to be donated. I am not the type to buy books. I much rather get them from the library then give them back. I hate having a bunch of books around. Mostly because once I read it I usually don't read it again and I don't have the space to hoard books. So this is the bookcase: BEFORE
Here is my one file drawer that I use in the desk. I pulled all the paperwork out that no longer belonged. Credit card statements from 2006 people! For real. You'll see some of Kaiden's school projects in this drawer. I have maxed out a few hanging folders of stuff and now am at a loss of where to put them. I have thrown out a lot of his projects, but there are quite a few that I like to keep and can't figure out a good place to put them. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
Here is the file drawer: BEFORE
After I took these pictures, I retrieved my little sick girl from her crib. I don't think she took a nap at all with all the coughing going on. Surprisingly, she was in good spirits so I just kept on going. Cheese!
I made three piles. The large stack in back on are papers to be recycled. The one on the right is stuff that needed to be shredded. The small one in front is stuff I need to keep. And the pile of old credit cards.....well, they are all canceled and need to be cut up and thrown away.
Recycle bin full to the max!
And here are the books that I pulled that I am going to donate.
Today's project is to clear out a craft room/hobby area if you have one. I don't so I am going to do a small project of cleaning out the trash cans. They disgust me and have probably never been scrubbed down. That's probably all I can handle today since I still have some miserable kiddos that are keeping me occupied. Not so sure naps will happen today or not.

Have a great, healthy, weekend. Visit Katie to join in on the last few weeks of the challenge!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Kids Rooms

Hi all! I'm back. I didn't do the assignment yesterday to spring clean the kids playroom. Madelyn woke up with a 101.8 fever which spiked to 102.5 right around nap time. Soooo, a fussy baby kept me from being spring cleaning productive. But, the fever broke the rest of the day and still is down today, but not gone totally, so we are left housebound again today. I am not so sure why I just used the word "day/today" three times in one sentance. Yes, I am going stir crazy, thanks for asking. None the less it was a perfect day to get into the kids room to organize! Here we go.

It's not often that I can find the time to get in the kids rooms to organize. The only times that I have to do anything are usually nap time and, well, they are napping. Duh. But, I was able to occupy them this morning with the electronic babysitter, Telly Vision, for about an hour and get both kiddos rooms cleaned up!

Let's start in Kaiden's room shall we? During "nap time" he sometimes sleeps but more often has been getting away from napping and spends most of his "quiet time" either pulling books out and reading them, pulling clothes out of his drawers/closet or throwing his stuffed animals all over the floor. Here is Kaiden's floor: BEFORE

While I was cleaning I got a visit from little sicky peanut pie. Oh, she is so miserable. It'll be over soon baby girl and you'll be back to your old self again. Look at that face :(
Let's just focus on one part of Kaiden's room for a second. We have mirrored sliding doors on the closets and one day I came in to find this smudge on his mirror. When I asked him what it was he answered, "Oh, dat's boogies." Yes, my son smeared his boogies on the mirror. Uh...can you say gross? I am not even sure why I am not totally embarrassed in showing you this. Needless to say, that got scrubbed. And scrubbed again. I guess it's better than sticking boogies on the wall. Isn't it?
This dresser holds all of Kaiden's books in the top compartment. They never seem to find themselves back into the cabinet after reading at nap time or nighttime so the top of the dresser gets overloaded with stuff. And notice the hangers that were placed there by Kaiden. Random. I gave everything a major dusting as well. Kaiden's dresser: BEFORE

Kaiden's dresser: AFTER
Kaiden's bed: BEFORE
I changed the sheets and put all the stuffed animals back on the bed. I got a visit from a little friend who wanted to pose in the picture with his Thomas pj's to match his Thomas sheets. Kaiden's bed: AFTER
On to Madelyn's room. Here is her dresser. Again a catch all for books that have not been put on the shelves properly. Her dresser: BEFORE
I dusted the whole thing down, pulled some "baby" frames, stuffed animals and books out and will put them in the "sell" area that I am creating for a garage sale in the future. I also pulled the clock that was on the wall next to the dresser off. That thing has been hanging there for at least a year in non-working condition. Her dresser: AFTER
Here is her crib/reading area: BEFORE
Books seem to find a way of migrating to the table and floor next to the chair and never find their way home. Then they get carried to mulitple areas of the house causeing chaos everywhere!
I changed the sheet, dusted the furniture, pulled it all out and vacuumed the carpets and put all the books back where they belong. Madelyn's crib/reading area: AFTER
AHHHHHhhhhhh! Feels so much better. Tomorrow we are going to attempt to organize the kids closets (and I am adding the drawers too). I have a feeling it will make me address the whole "we probably aren't having another baby issue" and make me finally put all the baby clothes and items in our "sell" pile to get rid of and stop hoarding them "just in case." It may be an emotional day for me. I'm bracing for it.

Visit Katie to jump on board to the spring cleaning challenge. It's never too late. You won't regret it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

About three or four months ago a group of ladies from my mom's group got together to make some homemade cleaners. I already use a homemade glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaner so I focused on making a homemade dishwasher detergent. I also recently saw this recipe on Money Saving Mom's site so it must be a pretty common one. I have been using it for about two months now and it seems to work pretty well. The one drawback I have found is that your dishes really need to be almost cleaned of all residue before you put them in the dishwasher. But, knowing that I am using greener ingredients and saving a bunch of money since the ingredients will last me forever I don't mind doing a little leg work before putting them in the dishwasher. Give it a try!
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 c Washing Soda
1/4 cup Citric Acid (found on Amazon or at a local beer brewing supply store) OR 10-15 packets of unsweetened lemon kool-aid
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
Mix all together and store in a container. I use an old 32 oz yogurt container. *Note* the ingredients will clump together (even getting extremely hard). The next day after you make it you will need to take a butter knife and chop into it to break it up. It clumps together because of the citric acid.
I write the ingredients on the container to make it easier to make the next batch. It beats looking through papers and trying to find it next time you need it.
This is what it looks like after you chop it up. Use 1T in your cycle and put vinegar in the rinse compartment.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Dining Room

My dining room was, so far, the easiest room for me to clean and get back into shape. Unfortunately, ever since we sold our pool table (that doubled as my laundry folding table) I have been at a loss of a place to fold laundry. I can't fold laundry on the couch since little hands that try to "help" only "hinder" my efforts to keep my laundry in some semblance of order. So, I have turned to using the dining room table. It usually lingers on here for a day or two to when I get around to putting it away. I usually fold it during nap time but can't get into the kids rooms to finish the project. So, it sits. And it waits. And waits. Ho hum.

Here is the dining room table: BEFORE
I put all the laundry away, dusted the table and console table as well as emptied out all the dishes/wine glasses and dusted inside as well. I don't think that has been done ever! My dining room: AFTER
Hope this stays clean for awhile, but in all reality it will be covered with laundry in about 5 minutes as soon as I take the clothes out of the dryer. Yay for laundry. The never ending task.

Visit Katie's blog to jump on her spring cleaning challenge!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Front Entry & Laundry Room

Welcome back! I took the day off of spring cleaning my house yesterday to spring clean our budget. We haven't been living on a budget in oh, I'd say never, so it's time we get something concrete in place. I recently have been using the "envelope method" for my grocery money and I am amazed at how easy it is and how much more I look at the cash I have and make better decisions at the grocery store. It also is like a challenge to me each month to stay on budget, or even under budget, since all the left over $$ will go into our "travel fund" for a fun trip as soon as we save enough money! Go me!

Okay, so that has nothing to do with today's spring cleaning project but I felt the need to let you know why I was absent yesterday. So, onto my cleaning. My front entry is nothing exciting. Basically you walk in my front door and directly to the right is the playroom and to the left is the dining area. So, there is not much to clean up other than the coat tree and my shoe pile. So here is my front entry: BEFORE
I put away the kid's fleece coats since we are now getting into the 80's every day. Everything else on the coat tree needs to stay so I can grab my grocery bags for trips to the store, diaper bag for daily use and a sweatshirt for early morning runs to the gym. I put my shoes back on the shoe holder and vacuumed the area free of the few little leaves that have blown in. My front entry: AFTER
Now the real challenge of today...the laundry room. I really didn't think it would be that bad, but oh my goodness was I wrong. Who knew what nonsense we were keeping in there?!?!? Kaiden had preschool this morning so it was the perfect opportunity to clear out that area and get it back under control. Here is the cabinet over my dryer: BEFORE
I am amazed that one family can house so many types of tape. Duck tape, packing tape, plumbers tape, painting tape. Crazy. I pulled out a bunch of random tool pieces that hubs will need to relocate to the garage to be put with tools. Now that's a novel idea. Here's the cabinet over the dryer: AFTER
Here is my cabinet over the washer: BEFORE
Let me focus on one area for just a second. Do you see the abundance of Sham Wow's here? You will see my original post about them here. But, yes, they were returned only to be repurchased a few weeks later. Now here are 11 of them that are still in our cabinet that have NEVER. BEEN. USED! I believe the other 5 are scattered around the house and one in each of our cars. But, I only remember us having used only one. Out of 16. Don't be surprised if you receive one of these from us as a Christmas gift this year. I'm not really one to say "I told ya so." But, "I told ya so." I digress.
I pulled a huge pile of rags out. Got rid of some, refolded others. Got rid of a can of stain spray that hubs had before we even met...at least 8 years ago, threw out some air freshers, and other crap that had no business taking up valuable cabinet space. My cabinet above my washer: AFTER
Here is my shelving area that houses all my laundry products and a few other random cleaning stuff: BEFORE
Here is the laundry room: BEFORE

I'd like to tell you that I put all that laundry away, but I'd be lying. I did, however, relocate it to my laundry folding table (i.e. my dining room table) to be folded and put away at nap time. I put that box for my new Eureka steam mop (LOVE that thing, by the way) that I got for Christmas in the garage to either recycle or find a new home for it. I also vacuumed the whole space. Even behind the washer/dryer and mopped the floor. The laundry room: AFTER

So there you have it! One step closer to a spring cleaned home!

Visit Katie to join the spring cleaning challenge!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Living Room/TV room

I am starting to realize how embarrassing this whole spring cleaning is becoming. Sharing these pictures of my chaos with the rest of cyberspace to mock me. Boy, oh boy. And as much as I have been told that most people's houses get this way when having kids, I always come down hard on myself for not being able to keep up with it. Someone once told me, "Trying to clean up when you have kids is like trying to shovel your driveway in the middle of snowstorm." Oh, so true. So true.

My living room/TV room really has nothing in it. Since having kids and realizing that everything in arms way would or could get destroyed we have gone with the minimalist approach to our decorating. We have no end tables anymore, no coffee table, even some of the pictures have come off the walls and I have absolutely no place to display knick knacks and pictures. Why? Cause I can't keep little hands off of them!!!! That being said, today's task was a walk in the park since there wasn't too much to do.

Although, most days you would never know that we have a playroom just around the corner from the living room because all the toys seem to make their way into this space. And the sheet that I have attempted to use to cover our couch cushions gets all discombobulated from our nightly ritual of running from the TV straight into the couch after hubs and I shout, "Ready, Set, GO!" a hundred times. And, by the way, whoever said microfiber is "forgivable" was totally off their rocker cause our couch has stains from drool, spit up, and water spillage. Hence my attempt to cover it with an old bed sheet. Clothes, socks, shoes and toys always seem to be out of order. Oh the socks! I can't keep them on my kids feet and it seems like I am always picking up socks!

Notice the pillows all over the place from the kids. My Snuggie on the floor. From the kids. The books that were brought into this room from Madelyn's room. By the kids. The blue stool from the bathroom. Brought in by Kaiden cause he wanted to give a concert and stand on that stool. Madelyn's pajamas on the floor since I changed her on that blanket this morning and left in a rush to get Kaiden to preschool. Which, by the way, we were late once again. Anyways, here is my living room: BEFORE

I pulled all the cushions off the couch and chair and vacuumed the couch and cushions. I also vacuumed the window sill and wiped down the TV stand. I have yet to vacuum the floor, but will do so once the kids get up from their naps. My living room: AFTER

In all reality this may stay free of clutter for all of 5 minutes as the kids slowly rise from their naps and toys and books begin to find their way into the space again. But in the meantime I am going to put my feet up and relax in hopes of regaining my sanity. Happy cleaning!

Visit Katie's blog to jump on board!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning: All Other Bathrooms

Today was a surprisingly easy spring cleaning day. Thank goodness for that because I was not motivated at all to do any spring cleaning. Mondays are hard for me. Usually my house is in such chaos from the weekend and not really having time to pick up things that I spend most Monday's playing catch up.

Thankfully the other bathrooms in my house are not areas that I "hoard" stuff. We have the powder room that just needed a good cleaning. Check! Then there's the guest bath that just needed a good cleaning as well. Check! I don't keep anything in there except some spare rolls of toilet paper for when we have visitors. We also have the kids jack and Jill bathroom that we usually only use for baths. We don't ever use the sinks to brush teeth or wash hands as we do that all in the kitchen sink or powder room so I don't keep hardly anything in there at all. So, I finished my spring cleaning today in record time and was able to focus on the rest of the mess (i.e. my kitchen) and get that tidied up.

Here is under the sink in the kids bathroom: BEFORE
Mostly we have tub toys down there that need to stay so I just rearranged them to one bin and put our training toilet (that I recently pulled out of my master bathroom) in the empty side of the other cabinet. All ready to go for child #2's potty training. The cabinets: AFTER
As I said before, we don't ever use the sinks in this bathroom. Recently the kids were sick so I was using the humidifier in Madelyn's room. I ended up dumping the water out of it on Friday and left it in the sink to drain. So I took that out to clean which left the rest of the counter clutter free. The counter: BEFORE

The counter: AFTER
I went through the medicine cabinet where I keep all the kids lotions and extra toothpaste and also the linen closet which I keep only a few kiddie towels and sheets not that long ago so it made for a very easy cleaning day! Now I will be able to catch up on a few taped episodes of Oprah and gear up for round #2 of kiddie chaos!

Visit Katie's blog to jump in on spring cleaning!