Friday, January 30, 2009

Dream Pantries and Creating a Larder of your Own




I love looking at pictures of pantries and thought you might like to see these pictures I found in a couple of library books. Having a pantry is a very frugal and economical thing to do and getting ideas from other pantries can be very helpful in getting motivated.

These books were published in the early eighties. I checked out several "organizing books" and noted that none of the newer books had information about pantries.

This is a quote from one page:

"The larder is an old-fashioned idea that's worth a second look. The handsome built-in storehouses featured here are great for cooks who like to stockpile canned and packaged foods when they're on special at the supermarket or who buy large quantities of their favorite fruits and vegetables at height-of-the-season prices.

If your larder is primarily for fresh produce, its best to keep it cool and dark. Use wire shelves or vents to the outdoors (cover them with fine window-screenmesh) to keep air circulating, and avoid storing any bruised or damaged produce."

So being frugal by having a pantry, aka a larder, is definitely not a new idea. But, most of us don't have pantries like these, so we have to make do with what ever we have. Any cabinet, closet or box can be the start of your own pantry.

Here's a post about my pantry with pictures that I did for Frugal Friday once before.









I hope these pictures will give you some great ideas for creating a pantry/larder or for improving the one you already have.

I especially like the pictures that have shelves for cookbooks.

Go to Biblicalwomanhood for more Frugal Friday posts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I've been up to...

Baby Goat Update:



This is the only baby goat that survived without a Mama. The others just wouldn't eat well enough. But this one loves his bottle! I've never seen a baby who could drink 20 ounces of milk in about a minute flat! This picture shows him getting his morning bottle from me. When he sees me or my son coming with the bottle he starts hollering! Its sounds like he is saying, "Maaaaaaama, Maaaaaaaama, Maaaaaaama". He is also eating some goat food, but mostly the bottle.

2009 "To Do List" Update:


The fabric piles are growing! I'm still working on organizing all of the many bags and boxes of fabric and fabric scraps that I have accumulated. This has turned into a marathon of a job, but I'm determined to get it all done. At this rate I'll be working on this item on the To Do List another week at least.

The stacks of yardage are getting higher.





These totes hold large pieces of fabric, less than half a yard, but big enough not to be considered a scrap. Anything that is is big as a fat quarter makes it into this category. One holds darks and one holds lights.





This is a box of fabric I'm working on. Someone gave me a box full of curtain tie backs. Do you remember the big ruffled curtains from the eighties? Well these are from that era and were never used. They are perfect for cutting into strips of all widths. I washed and dried them last night and was just too tired to iron and sort them. This will be my project tonight after work.



Please click here, here and here to see examples of quilts that can be made from 2 1/2 inch strips! I bet you know who is dreaming of making these! But I've just got to finish some UFOs before I start another big project!


And I sold two clothespin bags from my Etsy Shop yesterday which has given me incentive to make some more soon. I love to make them, and I certainly have the fabric available! LOL



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Lovely Award



Thank you Alexandra!

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

I am passing this along to:

Three blogs I just discovered: Sue of Beautiful Pear Tree Lane, Carol of Sweet Tea and Biscuits, and Joann of the Fruit of her Hands.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Decluttering Kitchen Cabinets

Today is Kitchen Tip Tuesday so please go to Tammy's Recipes for more kitchen tips.

I wanted to finish showing you some of the kitchen cabinets that I have organized.

My main tip in this process is to eliminate and concentrate! I have made sure that ONLY THE KITCHEN ITEMS that I use on a day to day basis are front and cener in all of my cabinets.

This picture shows one of the cabinets with pots and pans. These are the three frying pans I use most. These pans are pretty old and stained, but they still work great. :o) I Need to add scrubbing and soaking their outsides to the list! Maybe new ones will be on my shopping list soon. Just keeping it real for you!

In the back are two pots I use almost every day. I had an old plate rack that works perfectly for lids. Above all this on the shelf is the George Foreman Grill. Its big and heavy and I don't use it all that much. This shelf is large enough for it and yet its still easy to get it out when needed. I placed the two large frying pan lids on top of that for convenient storage.



This picture shows the two larger pots, two small pots and two colanders that I use nearly every day. Behind the two large pots is the crockpot. I don't use this every day, but do use it at least once or twice a week. Its in a convenient spot, but not in the front.



This is the corner cabinet where I store every day plates, bowls, and miscellaneous items. In the front are the ones used daily. There are many items that we don't use all that often in the very back of each shelf. I can still get to them if I need them without too much trouble, but the ones we use every day are easy to just grab and go. I used one coated wire shelf to separate some bowls and small plates.



It is amazing how much more I enjoy cooking and cleaning up the kitchen now that things are more organized and streamlined.

You can see other "after pictures" of my kitchen cabinets on the side bar.

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sewing Room Progress

Organizing my fabric is listed as one of the items on the "2009 To Do List" on the side bar and I've been working diligently on this. The only thing is that in order to organize the fabric, I had to organize the sewing room. I still have a lot fabric scraps to organize, but wanted to show pictures of the changes I've made so far.

This is my main sewing area.



A close up of a thread organizer hung on the wall to the left of my sewing machine. Its so much more convenient to change thread without rummaging through a box or bag.




This is an updated picture of the shelves with folded fabric on them. I only folded pieces that were at least 1/2 yard here. I'll be adding more as I go through more bags of fabric and scraps.



Here is another storage area, but I haven't finished working on it. The plastic drawers hold different sizes strips, projects in progress and five inch charm squares.



These two drawers hold 2 1/2 inch strips. One drawer is for light colors and the other drawer is for dark colors.



KEEPING IT REAL!

This picture shows a large box of scraps to be ironed and organized, a bag of clothing to be repurposed as fabric and a stack of long pieces of fabric to be rotary cut into strips. All of this is stacked on the treadmill, which I need to be on right now!



I just need to keep remembering "baby steps, baby steps, baby steps!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

2008 Financial Lessons

I haven't done a Frugal Friday Post lately, but have been thinking about doing this particular post for a while.

These are a few of the financial lessons I learned in 2008:

1. Pride goes before a fall. I was so PROUD of having paid off our van! Two short months later it was totaled!

2. When said "paid off" vehicle is totalled and you have to find transportation within a week's time, buy a good, used, dependable car. Even though I jokingly call my car "The Old Lady Car", it was probably the best financial decision we've ever made. Its a 2001 Buick LeSabre, about which the very experienced mechanic who services our vehicles says, "If you keep that car serviced, it will last a long, long time". No monthly payments, its good on gas, rides like a dream. Thank you Lord!

3. Let go, and Let God: I often try to be frugal in my own power. When looking back at 2008 and the years before that, God has taken care of us abundantly. He probably thinks I'm silly when I obsess over the tiniest frugal things, when He can bless me more abundantly than I ever dreamed in the blink of an eye!

4. Keep up the hard work: I think that we DO need to be a good steward of our blessings and be as frugal as possible, without being stingy. This is not a "on again, off again" process. Its a day to day journey. There will be days when time and situations will win out over being frugal. That's ok, just keep going. There's always another day.

5. Accept the fact that some things are just not ready to happen, or may never happen. Examples: Etsy Shop and Ebay. Sometimes hard work just won't make something work. Its just not time or may not be the Lord's will at all.

6. Cheapest isn't always the best buy. Example: A beautiful top that costs twice as much as I felt comfortable paying, but I've already worn it for two years and counting. One nice, quality item is worth several cheaper, poor quality items. Hmmm, I think I'll go shopping! :o)

7. Do the best you can and God will do the rest!

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal Friday Tips!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nurturing Poinsettias Beyond the Christmas Season



This Poinsettia held a prominent place on the altar at my church during the Christmas season. It has now dropped a good many leaves and after serving its purpose, it and the other even larger poinsettias, were destined for the trash. I rescued it, thinking that it would be a special plant since it once stood in the Lord's presence for several weeks.

Here is a website that gives instructions for taking care of a poinsettia after the Christmas season is over.

POINSETTIA CARE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

I may not be able to get it to bloom as beautifully as it did this past Christmas, but nonetheless, I hope to coax it along to being a beautiful potted plant with a special history.

I'm going to water it sparingly for a few weeks and then I'll remove the foil and cut it back to about 8 inches tall, just as the instructions state. Then I plan to keep it watered and fertilized until late Spring when I'll repot it. Next Fall we will see if I'm still motivated enough to make sure it gets the right number of hours of dark and light to produce blooms!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Days in the Sewing Room


We got a much anticipated snowfall yesterday which gave me two more days off work this week. I'm sure I'll be going back to work tomorrow, but I can handle a "two day workweek" any time!

I finished organizing the kitchen cabinets over the weekend, except for a couple of small things.... I need to clean the crumbs from the silverware drawer and the spice cabinet area.

Yesterday and today I am working on organizing my fabric, which is always in a perpetual mess! I've got fabric in boxes, bags, on shelves, in plastic containers and these are scattered into several closets and attic spaces, as well as in my sewing room. I really want to get it all organized and stored in my sewing room so I will know what I have and start SEWING!

I read this article at Quiltville which tells how to fold fabric so it looks pretty on your shelves. Its also very helpful to be able to see what fabric you have at a glance, instead of rummaging through it all the time like I have been doing.

This what some of my folding and sorting looks like so far. I should have taken a before picture!



I'm going to continue working on folding more fabrics today and I also want to sort the different fabrics by color. For example, I have a lot of blue fabric that I want to arrange together. I'll probably arrange all of it by primary colors. I will have groups of blacks, browns, reds, blues, oranges, yellows, greens, purples and neutrals/beige/white. Of course some of them won't fit into any of these colors exactly, so I'll have a floral/odd stack too. All of the denim fabric I have been accumulating by cutting up old jeans and clothing will go in its own stack.

This article at Quiltville describes how Bonnie stores her scraps. So, am ironing any scraps that are at least 12 inches long to be cut into 3 1/2 inch, 2 1/2inch, 2 inch and 1 1/2inch strips. I will store these into plastic drawers or shoe boxes by size and also by lights and darks. This will help me be able to spend more time sewing in the future because my scraps will be organized and ready to go.

I am storing each of my UFOs in a zip lock bag or plastic storage box, along with the fabrics needed to complete them.

Well, I gotta go get to folding, ironing and cutting!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do Ahead Cooking



Its Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy's Recipes, so be sure to visit Tammy's blog for more tips.

Up until now I've not been a fan of freezer cooking, but would like to do more "Do Ahead Cooking". And, if I can find some foods that I actually like after they've been frozen, I'd love to do some freezer cooking.

I got this book from the library and it has inspired me to get better organized with my cooking.... again. I'd like to try some of the recipes or adapt some of my own. This book tells you how to cook each food, how to store it and how to reheat it for a later meal.

I used some of the concepts in the book to "Do Ahead" my Sunday Dinner this past Sunday. I was having family over for this meal and wanted to have a good meal, while at the same time keep the preparation of it stress free.

My Menu:

Mexican Chicken Casserole (recipe below)
Sweet Potato Clouds (recipe below)
Broccoli and Cheese
Biscuits
Chocolate Cake

The work I did before going to church Sunday morning:

1. Actually, I boiled the chicken breasts on Saturday, cooled them and deboned them. I put the chicken in the fridge until Sunday Morning. Then I completely put the recipe together in the casserole dish, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge.

2. I followed the recipe and storage instructions for the Sweet Potato Clouds, which included peeling and boiling them, mixing up the recipe and placing them on the cookie sheet to be completed when I got home from church. The instructions for "Doing Ahead this recipe" is below.

3. I made the cake layers and left them to cool on racks.

4. I made a gallon of tea.

5. Hubby set the table.

The work I did to complete the meal after getting home from church:

1. Put the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes.

2. Brushed the Sweet Potato Clouds with melted butter and baked them for 15 minutes.

3. Put the cake together on a pretty glass cake plate and put the store bought frosting on it.

4. Cooked the steam in the bag broccoli and cheese in the microwave oven.

5. Cooked the frozen, store bought biscuits in the oven.

The meal was great and everyone loved it. Best of all, I got a delicious meal on the table without a lot of stress.

MEXICAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE - Recipe from Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons Cookbook

(Click on picture to make it bigger)



I used two cans of cream of chicken soup instead of the cream of mushroom soup.

Here's what the chicken mixture layer looked like.



I cut my flour tortillas into strips like this. The strips are the first and last layer of the dish.



The last step: The cheese



Then just refrigerate until ready to bake.


SWEET POTATO CLOUDS

(Click on the picture to make it bigger)



I plan to implement more of the recipes in the "Do-Ahead Cookbook" in the near future. I'm bound and determined to start doing some freezer cooking. I think cooking two batches of a meal and freezing one is the most efficient way to do this.

A Winter Week of Plans


Here we are in the middle of January, 2009, already! This promises to be a memorable week with the inauguration going on and our weather forecast includes SNOW tonight and tomorrow which always means excitement in my neck of the woods!

How are you doing with your New Year's Goals?

I'm off work today and it will be wonderful to get another head start on the week by having a Monday off. I'm really pleased with my progress on my 2009 To Do List and today I hope to be able to mark off another item as completed.

This week's plans:

Today while off work:

1. Clean. Finish cleaning and decluttering the kitchen cabinets. I did the worst of it Saturday. I still need to pull out all the pots and pans and try to create some order there. I need to wipe down the fronts of all the cabinet doors and the knobs.

2. Cook. My hubby comes home for lunch and he isn't lucky enough to be off work today like me. So, I want to have a nice meal ready for him instead of those less than "good" meals he sometimes has for lunch on work days.

I plan to cook two good meals today, which can be eaten today and tomorrow when we are all back at work. (Maybe, maybe not since we have snow in the forecast!)

3. Mama. I plan to go over to Mama's to do a few housekeeping chores and check on her. I think she would like to have her flannel sheets put on the bed. Why haven't I thought of that sooner since she is so cold natured!

4. Sewing. I am going to work on my 2009 Sewing To Do List, even if its in bits and pieces of my time.

Menu for this week:

Sunday: Mexican chicken casserole, sweet potato clouds, broccoli and cheese, biscuits (with jelly), chocolate cake. I plan to post more on this "Sunday Dinner" tomorrow for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Monday: Pan fried pork chops, rice with gravy, green beans, crescent rolls

Tuesday: Crock pot roast, potatoes, sweet peas

Wednesday: Vegetable Soup made with ground beef.

Thursday: BBQ chicken, corn, baked beans

Friday: pizza or "planned overs".

Saturday: Chili, cornbread

Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Decluttering and Organizing Kitchen Cabinets, Part One

I'm moving right along on my 2009 HOME TO DO LIST!

This week I worked a little in the laundry room cabinets, doing one shelf at a time a few mornings before work. I'll show you before and after pictures of that when I finish.

This morning I got completely sidetracked and started working on an item that wasn't even on the list, but has now been added! My kitchen cabinets.... because my hubby and I are both going crazy try to find and put away the baking dishes, mixing bowls and plastic resealable containers!

I picked up a few kitchen cabinet wire shelves and baskets from Dollar General, hoping they would work and this is what I came up with:

BEFORE - BAKING DISHES, MIXING BOWLS, PLASTIC CONTAINERS AND LIDS


AFTER - BAKING DISHES AND MIXING BOWLS



I used two of the wire shelves I purchased in this cabinet so I could place large baking dishes on top or underneath and still make the best use of the storage space. I was so tired of having to empty out the whole shelf to get the right size baking dish when cooking a meal. Now it will be so much easier to get to the item I need withut lifting a whole stack of baking dishes or mixing bowls. They are heavy!

AFTER - RESEALABLE CONTAINERS



In the past we have tried several different storage ideas for the plastic containers and they all end up being a mess and an aggravation. I went through all of ours and got rid of any orphan lids and bowls. Then I cleaned out another entire cabinet to use just for plastic bowls like Tupperware, Glad and Ziplock containers and other generic ones we have.

The wire basket slips onto the bottom of the shelf above it. I put all the lids that actually fit the bowls in the basket and have sorted them by size and shape. I left some of the lids attached to the bowls or sat them underneath, such as some long rectangular ones. Now, if we can just keep putting them back in the same manner, I think this will be a keeper system.

I didn't take a "Before Picture" of this cabinet. But, just trust me when I say it was bad! And such a bad use of the space. I took out everything in the cabinet and either threw it away or put it where it needed to be.

Now cooking and emptying the dishwasher will be so much more pleasant!

I haven't finished all the cabinets, but have a great start. I need to pull EVERYTHING out of the pots and pans cabinet and see what I can do in there to make that a better use of space. I can't wait to transfer that item from the "TO DO LIST" to the "COMPLETED TO DO LIST"!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sew Crafty Friday - Vintage Quilt Top

This is a quilt top made by my Grandmother many years ago. I have tried to figure out how old it is, but I can't be sure. My grandmother died almost 30 years ago and probably made this quilt top 30 or 40 years before she died, but I'm just not sure. I was wondering if anyone who has an eye for these things could give me any idea how old it might be by looking at the kind of fabrics used. The fabric may be feed sacks.

This is a picture of the whole quilt top on a bed.



These are close ups of some of the fabric. Can you see the little Chinese men?







I've decided to hand quilt this quilt top in my quilting frame. It will be an interesting shopping trip to find matching backing fabric, I'm sure! I am adding this project to my 2009 Sewing To Do List.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bottle Fed Goats

My son had several goats to give birth around Christmas day. Sadly, two mama goats died this week, leaving three babies. Two were a set of twins. He went to Tractor Supply and bought milk replacer powder and nipples. You put the nipples on an empty 20 ounce drink bottle. The milk replacer powder is mixed with warm water.

Here is my son feeding one of the babies:



This picture shows the back of my son while he is feeding one of the babies. The other two seem to be waiting in line!




So far they seem to be doing ok. Hopefully he can keep them alive until they get big enough to take care of themselves in the goat pen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 Sewing "TO DO LIST" Countdown Number One



I finished the first item on my 2009 Sewing "TO DO LIST" on the side bar. This is a Valentine's Pocketbook with wallet. You can see the red and white polka dots peeping out the top.

I made this for a friend who purchased the fabric, button and trim with a request for a pocketbook. Even though it has a definite Valentine's Day theme, she could use it during other times than Valentine's day. The lacy hearts and the button give it a Victorian look.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Home To Do List" Countdown - Number Two - Sentimental Clutter

Today I cleaned and organized the living room closet, also known as the coat closet. This is is also where the vacuum cleaner is stored

I thought I was choosing another "easy" closet to clean, but when it came right down to it, it took me several hours. Why? Because this closet is the dumping ground for all the envelopes of pictures that I have taken over the past several years and I kept looking at them! I can't believe how much everybody in the family has changed!

One good thing about cleaning this closet is that it has given me a head start on organizing the photos, which is also on the "Home To Do List". But, for today's purposes I just gathered up all the packages of pictures, envelopes of school pictures, pictures included in Christmas Cards, etc. and put them in a pretty new striped canvas storage tote that you can see in the "After" photo. Also there is a pretty striped photo storage box that will be a good place to organize some of the photos that have been stuffed in there haphazardly.

I was excited to find FOUR brand new photo albums, three of which were Christmas gifts from the past and one of which I bought and had forgotten about. So I now have my pictures and photo albums in one container. This could be a project to work on while watching T.V. with my hubby.


BEFORE:



AFTER:



The main job in organizing this closet was straightening out the photos. Once that was done I removed some odd pieces of clothing that had found their way in there and put them where they needed to be. Some were stored in an extra bedroom closet, such as my son's high school graduation gown from 2005. A couple of things went to my closet. I put a long wool coat with a matching pink scarf in a "donate" box. This coat is about 20 years old, but is SO warm and still looks decent. I hope it will keep someone who really needs it warm this winter. I left only the coats and pull overs that we actually use and put them all on good plastic hangers to make a neater appearance.

I pulled the vacuum cleaner out and used the crevice tool all around the edges of the floor in the closet and vacuumed it. I repurposed a plastic shoe box I had on hand for storing the crevice tool, dusting tool, etc. that go with the vacuum cleaner and placed it on the floor in the corner. I then coiled the hose up neatly and put the whole thing back in.

This closet is located underneath the stairs and in the back of the closet, behind the coat rod, is a door which opens to additional storage space underneath the stairs. Here's a picture of the door.



This area is also on the "Home To Do List". It is filled with photo albums, books, VHS movies, framed pictures, and LOTS of miscellaneous stuff, none of which has any monetary value, but does have lots of sentimental value.

You see the sentimental clutter is the hardest to clean and organize of all! That's why it took me so long to finish this closet. When trying to declutter sentimental clutter, I dwell on each item like my life depends on it. I recently read a Flylady testimonial about a lady who had been taking care of her wedding dress for years. It moved with her every time she moved. It was stored in a box that was like a tomb. She finally gave it to charity, stating that she had plenty of pictures of herself wearing the dress and plenty of memories of it in her head. I probably won't get rid of too much of my sentimental clutter, but hope to organize it and streamline it some. There is valuable storage space in this area that I need to use for other things besides sentimental clutter!

I'm already wondering what I'll do with the VHS movies. I don't have too many, since I never saw the benefit of buying a movie to just watch one time, but we do have some children's movies. Our DVD player is a combination DVD player and VCR so we can still look at them for the time being, but they will be obsolete before its all over. I could donate them, but I don't know if anybody would be interested in owning them.

In working on my "Home To Do List" it looks like I am moving from one area of the house to the next area located nearest to it. So, it looks like I'll be tackling the storage area located in the back of the living room/coat closet. Maybe I'll get that next weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Hodge Podge

I'm go glad its Friday, because since Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, I don't think I've worked a full 5 days in a row until this week. So I'm definitely ready for a couple of days for "homemaking dreams".

I've been chugging right along with using my menu planner this week. I did switch some things around and learned a lesson or two.

Lesson No. 1: If my son is working night shift during a certain week, it would be better to plan easier and faster meals, such as hotdogs, spaghetti, sloppy joes, pizza, etc. I get home from work at 5:20 and he leaves for work at about 6:10, so there's no way to get a big meal on the table in time for him to eat. All week he's been taking a plate of whatever we were having for supper with him or just eating something quick from a can or the freezer. Picture a hungry guy standing over your shoulder saying, "How much longer?, I've got to go".

Lesson No. 2: Weeknight meals need to be quicker and easier. I need to do some of it ahead of time on the weekend, etc. In other words, get organized!

This is one meal from the week that was easy, inexpensive, nutritious, and good. A while back I bought a small pack of sirloin steak, less than a pound, that was marked down, and froze it for a future meal. I thawed it in the fridge while at work, sliced it into bite size pieces and browned it in a small amount of hot oil along with some onion. I only seasoned it with some garlic powder and black pepper.

I had a "steam in the microwave" bag of Food Lion brand frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, water chestnuts, etc.) I cooked this in the microwave according to the directions and then added it to the meat and onion in the frying pan. Then I just splashed some soy sauce in there and mixed it all up. I let it simmer for a few minutes.






In another pot I made some rice and served the stir fry mixture on top of that.

The whole meal was only 2 or 3 dollars, tops.

Tomorrow I plan to make chicken thief stew using some leftover chicken we have in the fridge. This is one of my goals for 2009, to use left overs in soups or stews in an effort to waste less food. All I need is the chicken, frozen butter beans, canned corn, onion, canned tomatoes, etc. and I have all of that on hand, so it should be easy to do. Here is one version of the recipe from a prior post. I probably won't add the same veggies I used in that prior post, but it gives you an idea of what can be used!

My plans for the weekend are to tackle another goal from my "Home To Do List". I'm thinking I'll work on the closet in the living room or maybe our bedroom closet. There are so many jobs to choose from! I hope to post before and after pictures tomorrow or Sunday.

I also plan to work on the Valentine's Day Pocketbook listed on my "Sewing To Do List".

All week I have been working on laundry and a few cleaning chores hoping to free up Saturday for more fulfilling things, such as sewing and accomplishing other goals. I have done at least 4 loads of laundry, vacuumed some of the carpet and since I did a thorough job of cleaning the bathrooms last weekend, they will only need a good going over. I hope to get the kitchen floor vacuumed and mopped ahead of time as well, if my energy holds out!

I have been loosely following Flylady's plan this week. It really does help me to get motivated. For instance, Wednesday is "Anti-Procrastination Day". So Wednesday I got some tax stuff done that could have been done 6 months ago, but of course waited until now. However, I still got it done ahead of schedule. I also started sorting our 2008 tax info. I have made a list of things to choose from for next week's Anti-Procrastination Day.

Yesterday was "Errand Day". I made a list of errands and got the following done: Exchanged son's belt he got as a Christmas gift, made bank deposit and returned library books.

Today is "Declutter your purse and car" day. My purse isn't bad, but the car can use some decluttering!

So there's a hodge podge of my week and weekend plans! What are you up to today?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How I Clean a Bathroom

Now that's an eye catching title isn't it? LOL

Oh well, I would be interested in how others do this disgusting job so I thought I'd post mine.

My life in the cleaning area of my home was changed forever when I read this book:

SPEED CLEANING by Jeff Campbell and The Clean Team




While I don't follow the book to the letter, it gave me some great ideas for simplifying the cleaning process. And of course there's Flylady's "Swish and Swipe Daily" routine that makes a huge difference.

This past Saturday I cleaned both our bathrooms more thoroughly than usual... that would be because they NEEDED to be cleaned more thoroughly than usual!

These are the cleaning supplies I used:




1. Spray Cleaner, Any Brand
2. Powdered Cleanser, Comet or Ajax (store brand doesn't work as well)
3. Bathroom Cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles or Store Brand.
4. Cleaning Cloths. Several of them. Old towels cut into cleaning size pieces work great.

These are the steps I followed:

1. Remove bath mats, shake them out outside, wash if needed. Remove dirty hand towels and put them in the laundry pile.

2. Grab trash bag from trash can while you're at it, and bring another empty bag back with you. (Recycled Grocery Bag)

3. Spray the tub and shower walls with the bathroom cleaner. I prefer the "Scrubbing Bubbles" brand, but this Dollar General brand works ok. This can be doing its work while you clean other areas of the room.

4. Spray toilet under lid, on lid, behind lid and on the sides and top. Wipe off with cleaning cloth. (piece of old towel, old dishtowel, purchased cloths, whatever) I don't have to have any particular brand of spray cleaner. I just happened to have Lysol on hand. I probably bought it on sale with coupons. Even the store brand of spray cleaner is fine.

5. While you're down there spray the floor around the toilet, behind, etc. To quote the book, "We like to only be eye to eye with the toilet once, so clean the floor around it while you're there".

6. Sprinkle Comet or Ajax powder in the toilet and swish with a toilet brush. If the bowl is stained with rust or whatever, use "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner. Its great for that and only cost about a dollar.

7. Using a wet washcloth, clean the tub and shower wall that have been soaking in "Scrubbing Bubbles". Rinse well If needed, some Comet or Ajax powder can be used in the tub, if needed. Again, rinse well.

8. Put away any "hygiene gear" left on the vanity top by certain family members. Spray vanity top with the spray cleaner. Wipe down with a clean cleaning cloth. You can wipe off the mirror with the damp cloth if needed. Sprinkle Comet or Ajax powder cleanser in the sink. Clean with the same washcloth you used in the tub and rinse well.

9. Do you need to wipe off any walls, like around the light switch? If so spray with the spray cleaner and wipe with the cloth. "If it isn't dirty, don't clean it!". Any time the cloth gets too dirty or wet, get a new one.

10. Then finish the floor. If there's not a lot of dirt and debris on the floor, don't sweep it. Just spray the floor lightly with your spray cleaner, working your way out of the room. Use a cleaning cloth to wipe all the floor, moving any dirt and debris with you as you go. You can clean the dust boards or bottom part of the wall while you are down there too, if needed. Again, if its not dirty, don't worry about it. Depending on the size of your bathroom, you may need more than one cleaning cloth.

I have to interject here that its getting harder and harder to crawl around on the floor like this. I will have to do this differently as I get older, but for now it is the easiest way for me to clean the floor well.
11. Check the bathroom for supplies. If needed, bring in a supply of toilet paper, soap, and shampoo, etc. We keep our towels under the sink in the vanity cabinet. I make sure there are plenty of clean towels and washcloths available.

12. Put bath mats back down, and put out clean hand towels.

13. Put all your cleaning cloths in the laundry pile to be washed. They can be used over and over again.

Upkeep: My toilet brush sits in a container that came with it that sits in a corner. I put tiny amounts of leftover shampoo in there with a little water. Occasionally during the week I will swish the toilet with the toilet brush which bubbles up nicely in there with the shampoo. I will wipe under and around the lid with a piece of folded up toilet paper.

I wipe off the vanity top and inside the sink with a wet washcloth when needed between thorough cleanings.

Occasionally remind my guys: "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie". LOL

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogra...