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!

organization · refreshment at home · Tips and Tools

Tips You Need to Know!

I love to pick up a book or magazine that has some really good helpful ideas in it that simplify my life. I thought I’d share some of my recent finds with you here. Feel free to share your good ideas; I’d love to hear your helpful hints!

  • Use an embroidery box or a tackle box for your small pieces of jewelry. If you don’t use it at home, this is a great way to pack jewelry for vacation!
  • Place all your shoes in clear shoe boxes rather than shoe racks. They’re shorter and trimmer than standard shoe boxes and stack nicely on the closet shelf. Because they’re in clear boxes they’re easy to find.
  • Put Clear plastic drawers in your closet to store socks and belts.
  • Use a magnetic clip to hold your recipe while you’re cooking. Stick the clip to the stove hood and you’ll be able to see the recipe easily.
  • Wrap a rubber band or two around the ends of a hanger to keep your camisoles and sleeveless tops from sliding off the hanger and into the floor.
  • Pop your medication into a contact case for a handy pill box. This tip is especially good for men who don’t want a “cute” little pill box! My husband keeps a contact case in his pants pocket with his Veritgo meds and a couple Advil.
  • When you get to the bottom of your favorite tube of lipstick, dig out the remains with a Popsicle stick and put it into a clean contact case. Presto! Lip gloss is now at your finger tips!
  • When you’re in the middle of a painting project and it’s time to quit, instead of washing all the paint off your brushes and rollers, simply wrap them in plastic wrap ’til you’re ready to paint later that day or even the next day. This way you’ll only have to clean up the messy brushes once!
  • Keep cilantro fresh by cutting off the bottom of the stems and placing the cilantro in a cup with enough water to cover the stems. Place the cup in the fridge. The cilantro will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
  • Magic Erasers are great for more than just crayons on the wall! They clean the outside of appliances super well! That grimy covering that can make toasters or microwaves “sticky” is wiped away easily!
  • Lastly, this simple idea came to me recently when I was cooking hot dogs for lunch on the stove top. Spray the hot dog buns with cooking spray, then gently open them just enough to hang them on the sides of a rounded skillet. Brown on one side, then turn them and brown the other side while the hot dogs cook! Nice, crispy buns will be ready when your hot dog is!

Okay, your turn! Tell me your favorite tip!

Refresh your life with simplicity!

Home decor · refreshment at home · spring

Spring Decor Refresh

Spring is a time of freshness, new life and so much beauty. Our homes can reflect all those characteristics simply by adding a few simple touches. I love to shop around my yard and my house for those items. I try to keep it light and airy with not too much on tables and shelves.

I have mentioned before that using fresh greens is so much better than buying fake plants – unless they really look real.

Here are a few vignettes that I added this week…

Bar counter tiered stand. Boxwood limbs and lemons add the pop of yellow and some fresh greens.
The succulent on the bottom tier is artificial, but the real ones look artificial, too, so I’m happy with this little pot.

The entryway needs a fresh welcome. Greens, some chocolate to share with guests, and my guest book all rest on the entry table.

My little church chalkboard is the message I want all my guests to do!
I broke my fake flower rule here, but they do look pretty real., so they’ll work until my roses begin to bloom again!
Kitchen table

A bamboo tray on the kitchen table holds a darling tea pot from a sweet friend, a succulent, a tray of encouraging quotes from another dear friend, and the salt and pepper. Small baskets like this are so versatile!

Coffee Table

To my wooden decorative balls, I added some moss covered balls. I made these for less than $3 with items from the Dollar Tree. Styrofoam balls, hot glue and Reindeer moss were used to make them. So easy! I’m going to be on the lookout for a small strand of tiny white battery operated lights to add to this bowl. I think they’d add the perfect touch!

I

I removed the mirror from the mantle and changed it out with the old window, just for something different. I added branches from the backyard for greenery and then used only white decor. Something about green and white just feels fresh!

I love these curly branches!

What do you love adding to your decor in the spring? Maybe some of you had to add a snow shovel to your front porch this week when that cold front blew through! Crazy weather! Here’s to warmer temps and some lovely vignettes!

We have some super-fun plans for this weekend I can’t wait to share with you! Hope you have something fun planned, too!