Day 22: Towels & Kitchen Declutter

Today was a good day, though our toddler hasn’t napped all day and his little brother is taking fitful naps here and there.

I wanted to try out the famous towel refresher tip that is always floating around Pinterest. I was happy to find this review that said it worked well, it was encouraging! Obviously washing each load of towels (we have about two total) twice and then drying them takes over 20 minutes but while they started I got to other tasks for the day.

While the boys were having a happy moment I started going through kitchen cupboards and drawers and pulling out items we no longer want/need or never used.

We have a whole bunch of dishes that weren’t working for us anymore now we have kids to sell. Then I was able to post two cookie sheets, three muffin pans, one bundt pan, one springform pan, a bunch of baby/toddler utensils, a pizza cutter, a wine stopper, a whisk, a pastry cutter, and more (all of which were duplicates) on our local Buy Nothing group.


It is nice to pass on items that we don’t want to take with us when we move someday and especially to know they will go to homes where they will be loved and used more than they were here.

Part of my declutter was unloading the entire silverware drawer, wipe it out, and only put back what we want to keep. That is always a nice feeling because it certainly gets packed with too much and plenty of crumbs.

One last cleaning activity, emptying the dishwasher and putting a measuring cup full of vinegar on the top and running it again by itself to clean the actual dishwasher. Our dishwasher is stainless steel so it doesn’t get stained like some can but it does get grimy. So I used this great link to clean my own dishwasher really easily!

20 minutes and lots of items decluttered and on my way to refreshed/softer towels and a super clean ready-to-clean-dishes-again dishwasher! Easy peasy!

What did you do in your 20 minutes today?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 21: Starting Some Fall Cleaning

I’ve always like the concept of spring and fall cleaning but never been great at it. As I’ve said before I love to research the best ways to clean and make lots of lists of what to do clean but I’m not great on the follow-through. So in my imagination, a maid would be really helpful for fall and spring cleaning since I never make the time for it in the first place.

So today was about tackling some much needed tasks that should be done every once in a while but often aren’t in our house. Today I cleaned all the door knobs and light switches around the house. I used one of my nearly empty cleaning items from one of my cleaning kits and went around with just a washcloth-easy peasy but not done often enough!

And then I went to work on our bookcases.

So in 20 minutes, I:

  • Used a washcloth doused with cleaner to wipe down all of our light switches and door knobs in the house-quick but needed in germ and grime season
  • Replaced all the books in our bookshelves that our toddler had pulled out recently while playing in our room
  • Sorted a few categories of books but didn’t go crazy with my organizing since I wanted to keep to under 20 minutes today
  • Removed garbage on the bookshelves, I hadn’t even noticed my dear husband had left receipts and change up there
  • Filled a box with items to be brought downstairs or donated
  • Pulled out some fall-themed books to read with our toddler
  • Dusted the shelves
I love this picture, phone snap for the win!

I love this picture, phone snap for the win!

Also, just ten more days left in October and this experiment! I am already starting to formulate what all I can tackle and finish in those ten days as well as where I’d like to go next with learning to love our home more (as long as it is ours).

And now I get to rest and read my new cookbook before adding it to our shelves. Fall weather, dusted bookshelves, reading seems like the perfect resting activity!

Are you thinking about what you will take or carry with you after the 31 days are up?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 20: Home Reset and Finishing Projects

I am enjoying using Mondays for home resets and I am starting to realize why FlyLady has Home Blessing Hours on Mondays. It really is nice to sort of tidy up after busy weekends. It does seem to take more than 20 minutes but that works out for me because I like to stay closer to home on Mondays since we have very active weekends. Last weekend for example included a babysitter and Friday night date, a pumpkin patch adventure Saturday, and a baby dedication and brunch with family on Sunday!

On top of a home reset, which isn’t perfect but things feel tidier I also worked on some unfinished projects I either started last week or didn’t have time to get to already.

Today in 20 minutes, I:

  • Emptied the dryer
  • Took up two full baskets of laundry and one with other items that belonged upstairs
  • Put away some paperwork from the other hall closet that has been on the kitchen table too long now
  • Organized the shoe closet
  • Added random cold weather gear from around the house to the shoe closet
  • Vacuumed the floor and shelves of the shoe closet since it is right next to our front door it gets really dusty in there.
  • Pulled out some shoes to sell/donate  Shoes

I kept going about 35 more minutes and:

*Emptied the two full laundry baskets, plus one more already in our room

*Put away all the items that belonged upstairs

*Put away littlest baby clothes that no longer fit

*Created a bag of items to donate to a mom due with a baby soon

*Created a bag of baby clothes that don’t fit to pass onto friends

*Sorted ALL the socks-this takes so long for four of us now (any tips to speed it up or how long to keep unmatched socks???)

The house looks and feels better. I  may light my nice smelling candle and read the Joy the Baker‘s new cookbook that arrived in the mail today…Homemade Decadence. No, I can’t eat any of this currently on my diet but one day, one day!

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 19: Sunday is a Day to Plan and Rest

Ah, another beloved restful Sunday.

My plan for the week ahead since many of our rooms are decluttered and cleaned is to hit a few more hot spots and to do fall cleaning work that isn’t required often and many people (myself usually included) skip unless they have a maid to think of it.

Monday- Home reset and unfinished projects like shoe closet, nursery closet, paperwork, etc

Tuesday- Tidying bookshelves and cleaning light switches and door handles around the house

Wednesday- Refresh our towels, clean the dishwasher, and clean out our silverware tray, kitchen declutter

Thursday- Clean our window treatments and super scrub grout in our two showers

Friday- Clean out the washing machine, clean under/behind fridge & oven, vacuum stairs

Saturday- Clean living room and dining room furniture

Sunday-Rest and Plan

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.

Day 18: Laundry Room And Bathroom

Our downstairs half bathroom is also our laundry room which means it gets used all the time and gets dusty. Plus, since we use cloth diapers around here there’s always a poopy diaper container that often smells…a bit poopy! And since it’s the only bathroom downstairs it is our public, shared bathroom when we have guests over so it’s the one the HAS to be cleanest.  So it’s time to attack it with a full battle plan as in, move the washer and dryer out and find dropped items behind them, mop the floors, etc, etc, etc!

So today in 20 minutes, I:

  • Emptied the whole room, including under the sink
  • Emptied the trash
  • Moved the washer and the dryer to find dropped items behind/between them
  • Scrubbed the toilet and sink
  • Wiped down the outside of the washer and dryer, dog hair tends to collect here since we have two dogs
  • Sorted out littlest baby clothes to only what fits now and then folded and organized
Cute Little Baby Clothes

Cute Little Baby Clothes

I wasn’t quite done at the 20 minute mark, so in just ten more minutes, I:

* Got on my hands and knees and hand mopped the whole floor, including around the toilet-lots more dog hair there

* Cleaned the mirror

* Reorganized under the sink

* Put everything that belongs in the room back

* Lit my favorite candle to help clean out the smell of cleaners and make the room/house smell more October-y!

It was fun to start using my new cleaning kit for the room, hopefully I can empty out these containers soon by keeping the house cleaner than I used to do. And as I have said before, having one totally clean room is wonderful to me. And now that both this downstairs laundry room/bathroom is clean and our master bathroom is still clean I have two perfect rooms-for today!

What did you clean, tidy, or organize today?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.



Day 17: Cleaning Kits

Most maids either come with their own cleaning kit or have their favorite products they are happy to find and use in their clients’ homes. We own SO MANY cleaners (Costco membership anyone) but don’t have favorites exactly. Because I am rather frugal, I’d love to use up the products we own and then replace most of them with environmentally safe and kid friendly products (since I like letting my kiddo help me). So when I made my cleaning kits today and organized through all our cleaners, I made my kits with the containers that are closest to empty.

So today in 20 minutes, I:

  • Pulled out all our cleaners during naptime from all over the house (goodness we have SO MANY!)  cleaningproducts
  • Made cleaning kits with the most empty items so I can hopefully keep our house clean and use them up one at a
  • Used some of the cleaners right away!
  • I scrubbed all three toilets while I was retrieving cleaners from around the house
  • Cleaned all of our stainless steel appliances
  • Cleaned our ceramic stove top with ceramic cleaner
  • Refilled the Jet Dry in our dishwasher
  • Sprayed some nice fall scented air freshener in our downstairs bathroom
  • Mixed some Dr. Bronner’s soap with water to make homemade shampoo
  • Pulled out some cleaners for use on next week’s Be Your Own Maid to-do list that’s being developed now!

Woo hoo! How often do you go through your own cleaners? Does it remind you to clean a few things too, as it did for me? Do you have any cleaners you don’t need or would like to use up and not buy again?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.


Day 16: Pantry and MORE Messes?

We are on a pretty restrictive diet to lose weight these days and it is working well. I have lost over 30 lbs and my husband has lost nearly 40. At the same time there are people in our own community struggling to keep themselves and their families well nourished, especially as the colder weather and holidays approach. Today is a chance to declutter things that we aren’t supposed to eat but that are still real nourishing foods (pasta, beans, etc) and donate them to food banks in the area.

I had hoped to get to more deep cleaning of the kitchen today but that didn’t happen with a grumpy toddler, growth spurting baby, and truth be told…a grumpy mama too.

Today is the 16th, which means we are over halfway done with this long experiment. Yesterday, I felt really happy with the house and thought it was looking much better. But then when we sat down to dinner, all of our dishes were crammed to one side of the table as we bumped arms the whole while. And even walking to the table proved challenging with all the toys and blankets all over the floor. And a glance at our kitchen made my recently totally cleared counters look terrible.

Want proof? WP_20141016_016 WP_20141016_014 WP_20141016_013

AGHHHHHHH! Once I got a real glimpse of it, I felt crazy. All my work seems like nothing. Three more laundry baskets put away yesterday and there’s a new one waiting for me today. So I cried. It was so frustrating. And instead of deep cleaning the kitchen, I realized it was time again for a cleaning reset. So an hour later the living room was tidy, kitchen counters were easily cleared, and the paperwork from the dreaded hall closet was sorted and mostly handled (many of it was recycled!). God bless my husband for letting me cry and then helping me clean. He said the countertops just took 2o minutes which included emptying, refilling, and running the dishwasher and you know what, 20 minutes is way easier than the 80+ it took when I originally cleared the counters.

All this said, I am learning really and truly that cleaning is never a one time or just once a season or once a month job. It takes so many resets. And we all keep eating food, wearing clothes, and using our belongings so more messes are bound to happen. The goal is to just pick them up again. Keep on keeping on, am I right?

Find the whole 31 Day Be Your Own Maid series here.