Category Archives: Cleaning

Cleaning and Decluttering Progress in the Kitchen

I’ve  actually been doing pretty well at doing cleaning/decluttering projects with the kids lately. We pretty much do at least one project a day. Cleaning their room, sweeping the floor, wiping cabinets….that sort of thing.

I’m actually on kind of a cleaning kick lately, which is strange….but good.

One project we did this last week was the kitchen floor. First we did a big sweep. We put things away and threw away the trash and dirt. My plan was to do some spot cleaning, thinking that over several days we could get through the whole floor. Well, I guess we were on a roll, because we did the whole thing in one afternoon!

The kids asked if they could put sponges on their feet so that they could skate around the kitchen to clean the floor.

My answer: Of course!!

They had fun trying it, but it didn’t really work as well as they had imagined.

We kept on cleaning anyway! The kids were into it. Maybe a little too into it at times, but it all worked out and we got it all done!

Simple pleasure? Walking barefoot on that floor without stepping on little bits of who knows what. The floor feels so smooooth now.

 

I’ve also been battling with the infamous Clutter Island. This picture is from Thursday:

This is how it looked on Friday:

And here’s how it’s looking today!

I don’t really love that big pile of papers, but let’s just say this is a big improvement!

Coming Soon: A BIG toy decluttering project. That’s right. We already started. Later this week [Edit: Or early next week!] I’ll post the before pictures and the progress we’ve made so far.

Have you been working on any cleaning and decluttering projects? I’d love to hear about it.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Kids

4 Things I’ve Learned and My New Cleaning Schedule

4 things I’ve learned in the past year:

1. Maintenance is key

2. Planning is important

3. Cleaning and decluttering go hand-in-hand (I didn’t want to admit that for a long time!)

4. Accountability is very helpful

My first real attempt at a cleaning schedule was about a year ago. And I think it was a good start. I also posted a couple of updates here and here. I have been meaning to revise it for quite a while and just haven’t been able to figure out the best way to organize it.

So I started searching around for what was already out there. I actually tried someone else’s cleaning schedule a couple of years ago and it just didn’t work for me at all, but what I found this time is very exciting because it is customizable! These downloadable forms are from Money Saving Mom, which happens to be one of my favorite blogs, too!

Here is the link to all of Crystal’s Household Management Forms.

The one I am using here is this one: Customizable Cleaning Lists.

And here it is with my personal customizations (you can also see Crystal’s personal cleaning lists filled out here):

I want to get back to using my timer for those 15 min. cleaning/decluttering sessions. The days of the week on the right side help me know where to focus that day, so that nothing gets ignored for too long (assuming I follow the plan).

And here’s the second page, which covers monthly/semi-annual cleaning:

I have been attempting to use this plan for a couple of months now, and while I haven’t been able to accomplish everything on the list in any particular week yet, I feel like I am on the right track. I have goals and plans!

Do you have a cleaning schedule? I’d love to hear about it!

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Filed under Cleaning, Declutter, Goals

Updates! The good, the bad, and the ugly

It’s time for some updates!

The Good

I swept the entire kitchen floor yesterday and look at the sweep pile. I couldn’t get over how small it was.

Almost a year ago I wrote about how I sweep my really messy, cluttered floor. The sweep pile in that post is ginormous.

And check out the living room floor:

Sure there’s clutter in the living room and stains on the carpet, but look at the middle of the room! Cleared space! I even vacuumed. And I liked it.

The Bad

What?? What happened here? Where did this come from, anyway?

Whatever happened, it’s got to go.

The Ugly

Maybe you shouldn’t look.

It’s the desk.

It’s not well.

And this next one.

Oh dear.

I know what you are saying. I’m saying it to myself, too.

“Oh NO you don’t! Don’t go there again!”

I’m taking care of this one TODAY people. Today.

Now to leave you with happy thoughts, I’ll show one more good picture:

How are your cluttery spots doing?

P.S. I feel like I have so much to tell you about. A kitchen island clutter experiment that I did, my new cleaning schedule, chores for the kids, a clutter hot spot that I removed completely, and more! Stay tuned. And if you haven’t joined me on Facebook yet, I hope you will. I would love to see you there!

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Filed under Cleaning, Declutter

Hi There, Kitchen Counters!

Tsh from Simple Mom was doing her Project Simplify in the kitchen last week, and I decided to join in. My kitchen counters were drowning in clutter and I needed to save them. And that is just what I did. I bet you would enjoy some before and after pictures. Here you go!

Before:

After:

Before:

Here are some of the things I had to deal with from the end counter there.

I had 4 mugs sitting on that counter holding pens, tools, and other miscellaneous stuff! I took it from 4 mugs to 1, although the paper towels are hiding the 1 mug in this after photo.

And let me tell you, I was serious about getting those counters clean. I took everything off the counters, including the microwave. This is the grossness that was behind and under the microwave and coffee stuff:

And here it is now:

Here’s another before of a little counter next to the refrigerator:

After:

Here are a couple more after pictures to enjoy:

I got a “Wow!” from Mr. RSS and it feels great to be in my kitchen right now.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Cleaning the Kids’ Room | Before and After

Two signs it’s time to clean the kids’ room:

1. Everywhere you look is a jumbled mess.

2. You can’t even get to the closet.

The Process:

I started by simply sending the kids (ages 7 and 5)  upstairs to clean their room on their own.  They worked on it for a while and made some good progress, but to really finish the job well, they needed my help and direction. It was a lot of work (because not cleaning it for many months will do that), but we worked together and made great progress! Take a look!

Before – Dare we enter? What is up with the trash all over the floor?

After – The box you see there is for toys.

Before – This rocker-glider was never supposed to be there for more than a week or so. I moved it in there when Mr. RSS was out of town and I was on my own with an infant plus the other 2 and it just made it easier at that time. That was almost 2 years ago… and here sits that chair.

After – The chair is back in the nursery, but really I think it just needs to leave the house soon…

The closet doors can even close. What a concept!

Here are some clothes that are getting donated:

Before:

After:

Did you notice that Gabe’s bed grew? He finally has a big boy bed, thanks to my sister. He’s super thrilled!

Books before – No, no, no.

Books after – Yes!

 What we’ve learned:

  • Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Keeping it clean or cleaning it when it’s just a little messy are much easier than waiting for it to be a big stinkin’ mess. Easier said than done. I think I’ll try a Saturday morning room inspection each week.

 

Other Updates:
  • We finally put up a Christmas tree and started decorating! Christmas music is playing and there is a fire in the fireplace. Bunches of boxes are out of the living room (but just moved to the basement). I’m loving the peaceful atmosphere. I took some before pics. Maybe I’ll take some after shots to show you this week for fun.
  • The kitchen is a mess. I need to tackle that tomorrow.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter, Kids

You’ll never guess what I found stuck in my vacuum cleaner

When I was cleaning up for a play date a few weeks ago, I (of course) decided to vacuum.

The vacuum was in the basement, which was the last place it was used. In fact, we don’t really have a good place to keep it, so that’s how it usually works – think of the last place it was used.

Let’s just say it had been down there for a while. I knew that it was down there when we had that flooding in the basement a month or so ago, and it hadn’t been used since, so I wanted to check it out before just turning it on.

First, I checked to see if it needed a new bag. Oh yes, it did. It was pretty much overflowing. I was able to find a new bag pretty much right away, so that was good!

I didn’t take any pictures of that part, because I wasn’t thinking I would be writing a post about cleaning out my vacuum.

Apparently I was wrong.

Next, I laid the vacuum down so that I could take a look underneath.

That’s when I knew I had to get out the camera.

Can you tell what that is? Yep, toddler underwear.

Let me just tell you a couple of things:

1. I normally avoid taking pictures of underwear. I am very into taking “real-life” pictures for this blog, but underwear is on a very short list of items I will move out of a picture. So, I’m making an exception to my rule here, because this just seemed special.

2. I’m pretty sure I was not the last one to use the vacuum cleaner. Normally, I might not be so proud of that, but this time I just feel like mentioning it.

So I yanked the underwear out of there and also decided as long as I was there, that I should get all of that nasty hair that was wrapped around the roller. I used scissors to cut it up and pull it out.

And now for an after picture!

Ta-da! It worked like a charm, too!

Have you ever found anything strange in your vacuum cleaner?

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Funny(I hope)

Play Date Clean Up | Before and After!

A couple of weeks ago I invited my MOPS group over for a play date. Doing things like that is a stretch for me, mostly because my home is not usually ready to be seen by the outside world. But I love having people over. I love connecting with people and having good conversations.

And I think it’s important to connect with people in person, and not just through email or Facebook.

I also know that inviting people over motivates me to clean.

I focused on the main floor of our home, which includes our living room, kitchen, and powder room. I was just hoping that there would be no desire or need for the guests to explore further.

I took lots of before and after shots, so here we go:

Before:

After (Yes, there is some hidden clutter here. I’m sooo sneaky.):

Before:

After (This project was done by the marvelous Mr. RSS.):

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

Closet Area Before (This is actually taken mid-clean-up):

Closet Area After (This is one of my favorites!):

And I promise I didn’t just jam everything into that closet!

Before:

After:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

And if you are looking for a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, my friend Kristen over at The Fugal Girl can help you out!

The play date was fun!

Reflections:

  • Starting early was important, and helped a lot! Of course, things weren’t perfect, and I acted like a crazy lady for the last hour before they arrived. I know if everything was maintained better, that would make it much easier…. we’re working on it… slowly… and that’s OK.
  • I didn’t know where to start, so I just started by the front door. It worked.
  • I tried to focus on having some cleared horizontal surfaces. I learned this from my sister, and Rachel over at Small Notebook wrote a nice post on the topic. Any cleared surface really helps!
  • I want my home to be welcoming, not scary. I think I achieved that goal.

Other Updates:

  • I swept the floor while I was on the phone this week, without even thinking about it. Strange, but good!
  • I’m thinking about an experiment where I make myself go to bed at 10:00 PM for an entire week no matter what and see how it impacts my productivity.

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!

 

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up 5: Kitchen Island

Here’s the picture for today:

Not great, but of course it has been much worse.

I generally like to keep things light around here, but I have to tell you that I’ve had a tough day today. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed.

I’m doing  a little better now. I’ve been praying about it all – that is so good for me. My sweet husband is a great encouragement to me, too. And I had some chocolate cake and tea (see pictured above).  Now I need some much needed rest. And I do have hope for tomorrow. Starting with right priorities, then one bite at a time, one step at a time. And not in my own strength.

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Filed under Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Life

Hot Spot Check Up 4: Kitchen Island – and a picture question

Here I am at the 4th week of my kitchen island hot spot check up, and as much as I didn’t want to start it, I actually don’t want to stop! If you want to catch up a bit, here are links to the first 3 weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 (scroll down for the picture)

The whole accountability/public humiliation thing seems to work for me, so I’m going to go another month and then maybe move to a different spot. We’ll see.

Sometimes I have really quirky blog ideas. Like maybe giving my kitchen island a blog of its own. Sort of like a 365 blog, except that I post a picture of my kitchen island every. single. day.

Quirky? Yes.

Crazy? Maybe.

A little obsessive about my kitchen island? Probably. Just a little.

Today I’m going to show you 2 pictures, both taken at approximately 10:09 AM yesterday. I often seem to have this debate with pictures that I take for the blog. When the light is low (indoors plus rainy day in this case), should I use the flash or not? Which picture do you prefer here:

Without flash:

With flash:

Sometimes I don’t have much of a choice because I can’t get the camera (a digital point and shoot) to focus in low light, but here I at least caught one shot that was decently focused. And then there’s the “flashy” one.

Either way, the kitchen island is not bad, eh? I’m happy with it.

And by the way, I’m feeling really motivated to do some fabulous before and after pictures sometime soon. I’m craving some big impact somewhere around here. There are lots of places to choose from!

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday, over at We are THAT Family.

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up

Hot Spot Check Up 2: Kitchen Island, and Thanks! (I’m talking to you!)

Time to check on the island! I decided that I would give myself a deadline and take a picture at 10:00AM today.

Just for fun, I took a picture last night at 10:00PM. Here it is:

Let's just say we really know how to fill up space around here.

And here’s today’s “official” picture:

Better than last night, not better than last week.

 On a happier note, I’m celebrating 6 months of blogging, and what I really want to say, is…

Thank You!

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you for commenting!

Thank you for your encouragement, your advice, your comradery.

Thank you for putting up with me!

I am blessed by you!

I have learned so much in these last 6 months of blogging, and you, dear readers, are a big part of what keeps me going! 

Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me.  It means a lot.

What would you like to see in the next 6 months? Is there an area/topic you would love to see me tackle? I would be happy to hear if you have ideas or requests for future blog posts.

And if you want me to just keep trucking along doing my thing, that’s good too!

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter