One area of any house that tends to get ridiculously cluttered and falls behind in being kept up in the kitchen. While previously in Jacks’ room I gave myself 30 minutes, I made sure that this time I gave myself a good chunk of time, 45 minutes to be exact. I broke the cleaning down into 15 minute spurts to make it more manageable and to allow myself to take photos at each quarter hour mark as a way to tell whether or not I was truly making progress. For the sake of saving space, I’ll only post the before and after pictures here.
The “before” photos are on the left, with “after”s on the right and below the “before”s.
Amount of time spent cleaning: 45 minutes
There was a lot of little things that went into cleaning the kitchen, as is always the case. I feel a little odd that the “after” photo still has a load of dishes in the rack and the tea set drying on the table, but I really didn’t feel I needed to put in yet another chunk of time into the kitchen for the day. While I might not be able to list everything I did off the top of my head, here’s what I can recall doing:
- Washed three loads of dishes.
- Dried two loads of dishes.
- Washed new tea set.
- Took care of piles that had been building on chairs.
- Cleaned window sill and placed pumpkins closer to the window.
- Cleaned the top of the butcher block and reorganized.
- Compiled and reorganized recycling.
- Cleaned larger tea kettle.
- Washed counter tops.
- Took care of stuff that was on the table.
- Took care of towel used to drying Belle yesterday.
- Took care of blocking board for knitting.
- Took care of the left over gift wrap from the holidays.
- Fixed Belle’s and Ashes’ bowls and fed them lunch.
- Found a home for the returnables.
- Washed table.
- Removed coupons from fridge and put them in coupon book.
- Placed new magnet calendar on the fridge.
- Cleaned off the pile on the printer.
- Swept the kitchen floor.
With any luck, if I spend about fifteen minutes in the kitchen each day, aside from doing dishes, I should be able to keep it tidy and possibly work on further organization.
As many of you may know, Jacks, our mini-rex, kind of has his own room. Since he needs to be let out twice a day for exercise and really does not like the dog he gets to be outrageously spoiled. However, that also means that Jacks’ room tends to get cluttered with my work supplies and other useless junk. His was the first room that I decided to try my “Snap-Shot” cleaning approach on.
On the left are the “before” shots with the ones on the right being the “after” shots.
Amount of time spent cleaning: 30 minutes.
While this room was cleaned close to a week ago in this style, what I can remember is the following:
- Floor swept
- Blanket folded and put away
- Unused router wire removed from room.
- Folders stood up and organized according to information contained.
- Bureaus dusted off.
- Books in boxes gone through and some donated to charity.
- Random papers, over-used chew sticks, and twist ties from hay bags thrown away/recycled.
It’s absolutely amazing how much of a difference just a little bit of time put into a room can make. While it didn’t feel like I had worked in there for half an hour), it was a nice feeling afterward to actually see the before and after. (What boxes that are left on the floor are strategically placed so that Jacks can’t get under anything and will have to remain on the floor until we get the extra few dollars to pick up some untreated lumber to place in front instead.)
In order to break even late on with the outdoor woodboiler we plan on eventually installing, we need to try to cut 2 – 4 kWhs a day. Seeing how we only use 13 kWhs/day in the winter and 9 kWhs/day in the summer (the average household uses 30 kWhs/day average), we do fairly well. BUT we’d like to stay within these numbers, if not make them smaller so that they balance back to what we have now when we have little ones.
Over the past couple weeks, one of our mini-projects has been coming up with even more ideas on how to save electricity. I stepped in and came up with a couple ideas for the laundry around the house.
While we already had the drying rack, it’s a small one that doesn’t hold much. We decided that the laundry room would be a perfect place to add a couple clothes lines. Using some cup hooks I had bought for another project and help rope from my crafting stash, I rigged the first one up and then realized that with a second one I could get a full load of laundry on the lines and rack. Instead of using the dryer for every load, we now use it maybe once every five loads or so. It does take a little over a day for the clothes to dry, but that’s fine by us!
As a reminder to not use the dryer when it’s not necessary, I made a quaint little cover for it.
(Keep in mind, I’m not a seamstress and this cover could have been much more appealing. On the plus side, I made it with fabric I got free from work.)
The three sachets in front of the last picture are dryer sachets that I made. In between realizing that a chunk of chemicals in dryer sheets are cancerous, some cause anxiety attacks, and other are animal based, I decided to give making my own sachets a try. They’re cotton cloth filled with rice and lavender. The scent seems strong, but when you pull the laundry out, there’s just enough to make it smell fresh. The lavender I bought on Etsy for $8.00 total. I have enough for roughly 12 sachets. The fabric was left over from a earlier project years ago. Over all, when you figure out the cost, each sachet is only pennies. The plus side of all of this is that we no longer have to worry about what we use causing havoc with my psoriasis.
About a month or so ago I noticed some rather odd clusters of spots on my bathroom ceiling. After staring at said cluster for roughly thirty seconds, I screamed in annoyance. I knew what it was: bathroom mold/mildew. Given one of my more severe allergies is mold, I tend to declare war on the beast any chance I get. The battle lines were drawn.
The wonderful thing about owning your own home is that you can take care of such a menace on your own. When we lived in our apartment during college, our landlords refused to take care of the mold problem and allowed it to plague me with a series of severe sinus infections that have continued to leave my glands inflamed even a year after the fact. I was kind of excited that we could take matter into our own hands, but didn’t know where to start.
A month went by before I realized that I had the answer lurking in my cook book cubby. Shortly after we bought the house, I picked up a book through One Spirit that dealt with the organic side of home cleaning.
Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck is wonderful! I went to the index, wrote down my pages, and dug up the information regarding the mold in the bathroom. If found the following to be very helpful hints and tips from page 152 of her book. (Summarized)
* Surface mildew can be taken care of with full strength white vinegar. Spray the vinegar and let set for a few minutes before wiping dry.
* If mildew has left a stain, try spraying hydrogen peroxide on he spot and rubbing the area clean with a rag. Be forewarned, this may have a bleaching effect on your paint.
* For persistent patches of mildew, put white vinegar in a glass jar and add an inch-long piece of copper wire. Let this sit for a few days. Pour the vinegar in your spray bottle and use this to clean. Be careful how long you let the copper set in the vinegar, too long and you will dye your walls blue-green.
* For tough mildew, use a borax/water paste and a scrub brush.
I decided to go with the vinegar method to see how it works. I’m going to keep a keen eye on the previous areas and will keep you all updated! As a household that can’t use harsh chemicals due to a variety of allergies, this is a great tip to try.