Cleaning · refreshment at home · summertime

Back Porch Refresh

Now that things are warming up, we are spending more time on our back porch once again. This is an outdoor room that we just love and use a LOT! But like every other room, it needed a spring cleaning! I was amazed at how much better everything looked after I scrubbed down every inch of this space. Not sure why I’d never considered the need for a deep spring cleaning out there! Oh, I always wiped down the tables and wash the linens, but it needed lots more!

The rug and the concrete nearly sparkle now, but they were caked with dried worms and debris!
  • First I pulled everything out of this space except for the swing.
  • Using the hose, I gave the concrete slab a cleaning, using the spray nozzle on high. I had to go over it several times to remove all the dried worms (!), and bird mess!
  • Using soapy water, I washed down all the chairs, the swing, the posts on the porch, and the siding on the house.
  • I sprayed both sides of the outdoor rug. It looks brand new (see picture below). These outdoor rugs are worth the price! They really take the weather and all the elements well! I got mine at Lowe’s.
  • The glass door was washed.
  • All the summer toys were inspected, and then either put back in place or were pitched to be replaced.
  • My swing cushion is on its way to the laundry mat this week.
  • I added annuals to my containers.

Everything looks and feels so clean and inviting! I only wish I had taken a before photo, but I hope that my “after” pictures will inspire you to scrub down your porches, too!

I am looking to replace the cushions on my furniture. We store them away during the winter, but they have a weird feeling that doesn’t wipe off. Do you have outdoor cushions that you love? I’d be so thankful for your suggestions!

Later this week my front porch will get the same treatment! Do you need to refresh your porches for summertime?

Cleaning · Home making · refreshment at home

Getting the Most Done Each Day

It was 10:00 in the morning. I was dressed and ready for the day and I had already:

  • Taken care of the cat (If you’re a cat owner, you know that your cat will make sure that happens first!)
  • Swept the floor in the laundry room
  • Thrown in a load of laundry
  • Made the bed
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Wiped off the mirrors in the bathroom and bedroom
  • Made baked oatmeal
  • Emptied the dishwasher

I had also had my time in the Word and prayer, and my husband and I had also been guests on a podcast before 10:00! I was thankful that these things were done, because the rest of the day was also full of responsibilities. Not every day is as busy or productive and “My life is not about checking off boxes!” (I say to myself each day!).

My life is driven by my relationship with the Lord. I desire He direct my steps each day so that I can live my life for His glory. But God is a god of order and beauty, so that motivates me to live out each day in the same way. I don’t want to be driven by the constant demand of household chores and duties, but I desire to be the Keeper of my home so that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

In my years of homemaking, I have learned that the most adequate way to keep that happening is by having a daily routine. Most every bullet at the top of this post is done every single day of the week. I could do most of those things half asleep simply because it’s part of my daily routine.

Getting my day organized by doing the same things every day keeps my meals prepped, my laundry clean and the house in order. Here are some of the other things that I do every single day:

  • Put away my clothes when changing.
  • Clean up the kitchen after each meal.
  • Clear off any clutter from the kitchen counter.
  • Wipe down the stove top after cooking.
  • Spray the fridge, microwave and kitchen trash can with window spray.
  • Empty the trash.
  • Do one load of laundry.
  • Fold and put away the laundry as soon as possible after it’s dried.
  • Empty the litter box.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Clean the main bathroom.
  • Straighten up the living areas (family room, living room).

The picture of my family room at the top of this post is my view while I’m writing. I did nothing to this room when I came in here today, and we use this room every day. It stays neat and clean, thanks to my daily routines. Without that, things would be a mess!

What do you need to add to your daily routine in order to be more effective as the keeper of your home? Make an evaluation of your “problem areas” then make a routine that will keep things in check. I’ve heard Whitney say many times that she has a routine for each day of the week – a day for laundry, a day for watering the plants, etc. That’s also helpful!

If I can give you suggestions or help, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or feel free to email me. My email address is in my contact page.

Here are some other cleaning posts (done in our previous home) that might spur you on to do some deep cleaning.

Refresh your home with routine!

Cleaning · spring cleaning

Cleaning Upholstered Furniture

Spring cleaning is so rewarding! However, if you want to ruin the look of that freshly cleaned room, just neglect a dirty piece of furniture! A stain that’s obvious, a grimy arm on a chair or an ottoman can make us cringe. How do I know? I have an off-white ottoman in my bathroom that got a water spot on it. In an attempt to fix it, I did a little dabbing at it, which only increased the size of the already noticeable stain!

See the dark spot on the left? Yeah, me, too!

HELP!

I went searching for a way to clean it and I found a method that promised me a clean surface if I followed this process, step-by-step. Guess what? It worked!

Tide Simply Oxi, Sparkling water, and vinegar and warm water were my products.
  1. Using a spray bottle, I sprayed the entire surface with warm tap water.
  2. I put 4 parts water to one part stain remover into a spray bottle and sprayed a small surface at a time, rubbing in a gentle circular motion with a white cotton cloth. (If you’re cleaning a colored fabric, I would test a hidden area before cleaning)
  3. Into a spray bottle, I added 1 cup sparkling water and 1/2 cup white vinegar and sprayed the surface of the fabric. The vinegar breaks down the soapy particles and the carbonation in the sparkling water will bring it to the surface, as well as any deeper dirt. I Gently scrubbed the fabric again until the rags stopped pulling dirt from the surface. The sparkling water works wonders!
The finished ottoman, still wet from cleaning.
So clean!

I’m so glad I took the time to address the stain! I had been hiding it under a throw, but now, I can keep it cleared off and show off it’s beauty!

What piece of furniture comes to your mind as you read this post? I hope you’ll try this method!

Refresh your soiled upholstery with a good spring cleaning!

Cleaning · Favorites · Shopping

Favorite Products Too Good Not To Share!

I love it when someone finds a good product and shares it with me! That’s what I’m going to do here today because I’m thinking that if I’m enjoying these things, someone else might, too! I get no kick-back from this…I just think you need to know about these great items!

  1. A tub and shower “wand” This is actually called the Clorox Extendable Pole Tub and Tile Cleaner. I love a clean shower and tub, but honestly, I dislike stooping over a warm shower filled with soap and scum and scrubbing it clean, though that’s what I’ve done daily. Then I was browsing through the cleaning section at Target recently and found this handy tool that I’m calling my Shower wand.

The cleaning pad swivels so it gets well into the sides of the tub and shower. The pad can also be replaced for under $5. The wand costs about $11 and is well worth it! This has kept me from dreading this daily chore!

The pad has nice bristles that scrub the tub.

If you like a clean shower but hate bending over it to scrub it out, I”m sure you’ll love this wand at such a great price!

2. Lipstick that stays on! I’ve had lots of lipsticks that say they stay on, only to find it on the cloth napkin or nowadays on my mask. Tarte sells non-transferable lipstick, it’s called Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint.

I’m a lipstick girl! My lips are so pale that I look like I’m sick or DEAD without it! So to find a lip color that REALLY stays on was a true win! It does come at a bit of a price – it’s $20, but it’s worth it to me. I put this color on and it stayed on my lips and not my mask, and it also stayed on through supper!! It is a bit dry, but that is probably also why it stays on so well.

If you’re tired of your lipstick fading or transferring, I highly recommend this product. I found mine at Ulta, but you can go to the Tarte web site where I hear they often offer great deals!

My shade of choice is called Bling and the box shows a bright pink, but it’s a very neutral shade.

3. Favorite Dollar Tree Purchases – I could be like Whitney and show you my great Dollar Tree hauls, but for the sake of time, I’ll just tell you a few of the items I love to buy there.! You should seriously check out Whitney’s video here. She finds the best stuff! I always want to jump in my car and run to my DT to see if I can find what she purchased! Here are things I pick up regularly…

  • Puffs Tissues – I’m very particular about tissues – it has to be Puffs! I was so happy to find them at Dollar Tree! I buy both the full-size boxes as well as the travel packs that come with two in a pack. These little packages are perfect for your purse or backpack!
  • Planner stickers – These can be super expensive even at Hobby Lobby, but are adorable and affordable here!
View Jot Journals with DIY Stickers,
  • Greeting cards – They sell Hallmark cards that are beautiful and don’t look at all like you spent .50 or a dollar on them!
  • Parchment paper – This can be so expensive in a grocery store and it’s just as good as any other brand!
  • Brillo Pads – I always keep these on hand for pans (especially the bottom of the pan! and also for cleaning the inside of my oven. This simple tool is how I keep my oven from getting nasty! A simple scrub after a spill or splatter and the mess is gone! Here’s a post about how I do that.

There are many name brand products at Dollar Tree! I love to just stroll the aisles and keep my eye open for the brands that would be much higher in a another store!

Which of the products I’ve shared in this post makes you want to check them out?

Refresh your routines with a new product!

Cleaning · Home making

Dealing with the Messes at Home

Recently I stooped over to the cabinet below my kitchen counter to retrieve the toaster and as I lifted the appliance from its resting place, I saw crumbs on the cabinet shelf which had fallen from the inside of the toaster. I moaned….

I cleaned crumbs from out of there not long ago and it looks like a mess again!

My husband quickly reminded me that it’s just because we use our kitchen every day. That’s means it needs maintenance. True! I cook and bake a LOT, so of course there will be regular messes in the kitchen.

The truth is that when people simply live in a house there are constant messes. So if we know that simple fact, wouldn’t it also make sense that we wisely organize our efforts in keeping it clean?

As we continue our series of Maytag, Messes and Meals, we remember that the first step in all of these areas is PLANNING. Nothing grand will ever just happen (unless you’re Cinderella!). Here’s what I do in an effort to keep it clean (note that I didn’t say “perfect!”

Plan when to do household chores. For example:

Monday – Laundry, Dust
Tuesday – Sweep, mop and vacuum
Wednesday – Deeper kitchen cleaning – Fridge, oven, stovetop, microwave
Thursday – Iron laundry
Friday – Deep clean one room
Saturday – Magic Eraser on walls and door frames, clean glass

My little grandsons and I had fun working together!

Plan to do some chores EVERY day
Bathrooms cleaned after showers.
Kitchen cleaned after each meal. Wiping the stove off and the oven each time you use it will keep it from being a huge task. Beds made each day. This only takes a few minutes. It takes up the biggest part of your room, and making it will make the room look instantly cleaner!

Before bedtime – Get the house tidied up before heading to bed. Put away dishes in dish drainer, throw away the paper, put away shoes, Put drinking glasses or snack bowls in the dishwasher. Clear off the kitchen counter. Fluff the couch pillows.

It’s wonderful to wake up in the morning to a clean, straightened up house!

Feel overwhelmed with the current condition of your house?

  1. Decide which area needs the first attention – perhaps the entryway or the kitchen counter. The first area that is seen or the place that is most disturbing to you might be your sore spot.
  2. Designate three areas/bags – To keep, Throw away, Give away
  3. Set a 30-minute timer.
  4. Pick up one item at a time and deal with it. (You might want to ask someone to come over and help you make some hard decisions!)
  5. Keep moving until the timer goes off.
  6. Continue this daily or twice a day until that area is cleaned.

Sometimes it’s helpful to watch cleaning videos to get inspired.  A couple You tube channels I love are Do It on a Dime and White Cottage Company.  They have awesome cleaning videos with good suggestions about products and tools. Their cleaned up messes will inspire you, too!

Maybe you’re asking why this even matters?

Ecc. 9:10a

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; 

Remember that we’re creating a little “heaven on earth” space for our families to resort to. It won’t be nearly as peaceful if it is cluttered and dirty.

With some good planning and daily effort, our homes can reflect the beauty of our Creator.

Refresh your home with some planning and hard work. It’s worth it!