Category Archives: Homekeeping

springcleaningebookscrreenshot

Spring Cleaning eBook

My Spring Cleaning eBook is just what you need to get busy cleaning your home.  springcleaningebookscrreenshot

Each year at CHK, we offer a comprehensive De-Cluttering and Organizing series including daily to-do lists for our annual Spring Cleaning Event. In 2009, we took all our Spring Cleaning posts and printables and combined them into an eBook… for you! We hope this eBook will help you accomplish your Spring Cleaning goals, no matter when you set out to do them. –Sylvia

The CHK Spring Cleaning eBook includes:

  • Instructions for detailed de-cluttering and cleaning of each major area in the house.
  • Spring Cleaning Printables to help you organize your thoughts and tasks.
  • Encouragement to help you get through the Spring Cleaning tasks.
livingroom

Spring Cleaning Posts

cleaning_tools

This is where I will list all our Spring Cleaning Posts so you can see at a glance where we are and what we have accomplished.

Preliminaries:

Spring Cleaning Printables
Suggested Cleaning List For You To Build On
Natural Cleaners and Disinfectants That You Can Make At Home
Spring Cleaning Lists For The Chronically Ill or  Disabled with links to the series

Spring Cleaning Instructions:

Spring Cleaning in The dining Room/Eating Area
De-Cluttering In The Kitchen
Spring Cleaning In The Kitchen
De-Cluttering and Organizing the Bathroom
Spring Cleaning The Bathroom
De-Cluttering the Master Bedroom
Spring Cleaning The Master Bedroom
De-Cluttering The Living Room
Spring Cleaning In The Living Room

Spring Cleaning In The Bathroom

bathroom_2

The master bath or family bath, children’s bath or guest bath….matters not to me. Which ever one needs your attention the most. We just have one so I guess that’s where I’ll be cleaning today!

My friend Linda coined the term “Bleach-Wear” in one of our Spring Cleaning discussions at CHK . So don your bleach wear and let’s get busy in the bathroom. At least wear some socks so you won’t track up the floor when you’re washing it.

This is one room where you will really use those natural cleaners you’ve been making!

First Things:
Pick up the room. Take out all dirty laundry and towels.

Take down the shower curtain. Put the plastic one in to wash.

Wash the cloth one if you have one. (Remember what I said earlier in the week about taking care to read your labels and only wash things that are supposed to be washed.)

Take down curtains. Prepare them to wash or just air them outside.

Take out the trash, fill the trash can with cleaner and water to soak of needed, if not give it a quick rinse and set it outside to air while you clean.

Second Things:
Get yourself a box or basket. Pick up all the nicnacs, soaps, lotions, etc that are sitting on the counter-top and tub, put them in the basket.

Sweep the floor, shake out rugs and take them to the laundry or air outside.

Use your natural cleaner and spray the tub and sink and commode to let it sit a while.

If you use commode cleaner of some kind, go ahead and put some in the commode to let it soak. A good natural cleaner for the commode is borax.

Pull everything out of the linen closet and under the sink area. Go through it carefully and throw away what is out of date or old or unused. Find yourself some storage containers like baskets or small plastic trays to keep your bathroom items in. Try using a medium sized basket to put blow-dryers, curling irons, etc, in.

Take everything out of the medicine cabinet too and go through it ruthlessly! Throw stuff away that is expired and truly useless.

Put your linens out on the dining room table while you work.

Make yourself a sink of hot soapy water or hot water with your cleaner of choice in it. Get your rags ready.

Now the Nitty Gritty Cleaning!

Wash the inside of the cabinets and shelves in the linen closet. This is a good time to line them! Don’t forget the floor of the closet. Refold the linens and replace them in the closet. Consider spraying them with some nice lavender water or other light scent.

Wash out the medicine cabinet.

Wash down walls and window frames, door frames and tile if you have it.

Take down blinds if they are dirty and soak them in the tub in warm water and dish soap while you clean.

Wash the ceiling if it needs it.

Wash the walls. Use caution if your walls are papered or painted, be gentle.

Wash the baseboards or the area where the floor and wall meet.

Scrub the tub if you’re not using it to soak the blinds. If you are, just wait on this. A scotch brite is great for cleaning the tub if your tub is not resurfaced porcelain.

Scrub the counter tops, commode tank and outside of the commode.

Scrub the floor.

Scrub the shower. Don’t forget the walls of the shower or tub area.

Change your wash water if needed.

Scrub your blinds with a brush, rinse them and take them outside to dry while you clean the tub, inside and out.

Wash the windows and mirrors using glass cleaner.

Wipe down shelves and inside cabinets, cabinet tops.

Wash the sink.

If you are going to disinfect, this is the time to do it. If you’ve been using a disinfectant cleaner, you can skip this part. If you have been using a cleaner that does not disinfect, you can use rubbing alcohol or one of the antibacterial sprays.

I periodically use bleach all over my floor because I have tile with grout that gets yellowed. I open the window and pour bleach over the grout, spread it with my sponge mop, close the door and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Then I go in and mop it up with water and dry it with a towel.

Here is a tip about getting rid of mold from this web site:
The Good Human

“You can use Borax and white vinegar to make a spray that you can aim directly at the mold in the tub or shower. Once you spray it, leave it to sit for 30-60 minutes and then go back in and wipe it off. Presto, the mold will start coming off and you did not have to inhale toxic chemicals to do so. Just mix about 2 ounces of Borax and a cup of white vinegar and you are ready to go.

As a back up and a maintenance tip, you can also periodically spray the moldy “areas” with straight vinegar and just let it sit there and soak in. The vinegar will kill the mold that might be growing and it will halt the growth of new mold.”

Please be careful if you use bleach.. Don’t let me hear that you have mixed bleach with other household chemicals and cleaners!

Get your rugs washed and dried and back in the room.

Replace your nicnacs and notions, lotions, potions. Wash the bottles with a cleaning rag before putting them up.

Rehang the shower curtains, rehang window curtains.

Light a candle and just look at that clean bathroom!

ornaments

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments 

These little ornaments will last for years if you take care of them. Refresh the cinnamon fragrance with drop of fragrance oil every ear. Use them to decorate the tree and even gifts.

❖1 cup cinnamon

❖1 tbsp. ground cloves

❖1 tbsp. nutmeg

❖1 tbsp. allspice

❖1 tbsp ginger

❖3/4 c. applesauce

In medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger & nutmeg. Add applesauce, stir to combine. Work mixture with hands 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

You may want to cover your counter before putting the cinnamon dough on it to roll out. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on the

counter top. Using a little cinnamon to dust the counter and rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut dough with cookie cutters. Use a straw or pencil and make a small hole in top of ornament.

Bake on an un-greased cookie sheet at 150 degrees F for 1 hour. Remove from the cookie sheet and bake an additional hour and a half on the oven rack.

397_0981small

Homemade Votive Holders

This is an old post but I brought it out because these little votive holders are so cute and easy to make!

397_0976small
All you need are some of those little gourds that look like pumpkins, a small sharp knife and a votive candle.

397_0977small

First cut off the top of the gourd. Hold your knife at an angle and cut into the gourd. Its a little tough so be careful.

397_0964small

Once you have the top cut off and the seeds and pulp cleaned out, check to see if you need to trim the inside of the cut out hole so that a votive will fit.

397_0971small

Once you have the top cut off and the seeds and pulp cleaned out, check to see if you need to trim the inside of the cut out hole so that a votive will fit.

397_0973small

You can use a small ice cream or dough scoop to clean the seeds and pulp out of the gourd.

397_0974small

Put your votive in the carved out gourd……

397_0981small

And light the candle. Try grouping several of these little beauties for a warm, inviting harvest table decoration.

living room

Cleaning The Living Room

The living room or den is the room where a family does most of their, well…. living. Its a busy room and takes a lot of wear and tear. So, it can usually stand a good cleaning any time you want to give it one.

living room

Begin by picking up the room and using your 4 bags/boxes/baskets like we have been doing all week. Get everything out of this room that doesn’t belong. Sometimes I place personal belongings in a basket and tell the children to come get their things in the next ten minutes or the things are leaving home.

Here is how I go about deep cleaning the Living Room…

  • Make a pan of hot soapy water or use the kitchen sink.
  • Once you get the room emptied of stuff that doesn’t belong, take up nicnacs and decorative items.
  • Clean and wash picture frames and nicnacs, set them out to dry.
  • Take down the curtains and take up the rugs, wash them if possible or hang them out to air.
  • Take up tablecloths, doilies, all fabric coverings and pillows; wash and dry if you can or air dry.
  • Wash down the door frames, window frames, baseboards, all woodwork, ceilings and ceiling fans.
  • Wash windows
  • Clean off shelves, rearrange books, wipe down the shelves while they are empty.
  • Clean up work areas. Organize work materials.
  • Organize movies, cds and dvds, organize the whole tv/entertainment area
  • Dust all furniture, polish if needed
  • Move out furniture if possible, if not just clean around and under as best you can.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture
  • Vacuum floors, sweep and mop, polish wood floors
  • Replace rugs and curtains
  • Replace furniture covers if using and pillows
  • Arrange magazines, papers, books that don’t have a shelf. A basket might be nice, or simply stack them up neatly.
  • Replace nicnacs and pictures…. do you need them all in this room?
  • Light some candles and relax.

 

Pretty white bathroom

Fast and Furious Fall Cleaning

Today we will tackle the BATHROOM.. The master bath or family bath, children’s bath or guest bath….matters not to me. Which ever one needs your attention the most. We just have one so I guess that’s where I’ll be cleaning today!

Pretty white bathroom

Today is the day you might want to don your “bleach-wear”  At least wear some socks so you won’t track up the floor when you’re washing it.

First Things:
Pick up the room. Take out all dirty laundry and towels.

Take down the shower curtain. Put the plastic one in to wash.

Wash the cloth one if you have one.

Take down curtains
. Prepare them to wash or just air them outside.

Take out the trash, fill the trash can with cleaner and water to soak of needed, if not give it a quick rinse and set it outside to air while you clean.

Second Things:
Get yourself a box or basket. Pick up all the nicnacs, soaps, lotions, etc that are sitting on the counter-top and tub, put them in the basket.

Sweep the floor, shake out rugs and take them to the laundry or air outside.

If you use spray cleaner, go ahead and spray the tub and sink and commode to let it sit a while.

If you use commode cleaner of some kind, go ahead and put some in the commode to let it soak.

Pull everything out of the linen closet and under the sink area. Go through it carefully and throw away what is out of date or old or unused. Find yourself some storage containers like baskets or small plastic trays to keep your bathroom items in. Try using a medium sized basket to put blow-dryers, curling irons, etc, in.

Take everything out of the medicine cabinet too and go through it ruthlessly! Throw stuff away that is expired and truly useless.

Put your linens out on the dining room table while you work.

Make yourself a sink of hot soapy water or hot water with your cleaner of choice in it. Get your rags ready.

Now the Nitty Gritty Cleaning!

Wash the inside of the cabinets and shelves in the linen closet. This is a good time to line them! Don’t forget the floor of the closet. Refold the linens and replace them in the closet. Consider spraying them with some nice lavender water or other light scent.

Wash out the medicine cabinet.

Wash down walls and window frames, door frames and tile if you have it.

Take down blinds if they are dirty and soak them in the tub in warm water and dish soap while you clean.

Wash the ceiling if it needs it.

Wash the walls. Use caution if your walls are papered or painted, be gentle.

Wash the baseboards or the area where the floor and wall meet.

Scrub the tub if you’re not using it to soak the blinds. If you are, just wait on this. A scotch brite is great for cleaning the tub if your tub is not resurfaced porcelain.

Scrub the counter tops, commode tank and outside of the commode.

Scrub the floor.

Scrub the shower. Don’t forget the walls of the shower or tub area.

Change your wash water if needed.

Scrub your blinds with a brush, rinse them and take them outside to dry while you clean the tub, inside and out.

Wash the windows and mirrors using glass cleaner. Check my blog for homemade recipes.

Wipe down shelves and inside cabinets, cabinet tops.

Wash the sink.

If you are going to use bleach, this is the time to do it. Bleach isn’t a cleaner, its a disinfectant. So all the cleaning has to be done first, then we use bleach to kill the germs that may be left behind and to brighten up some of the bathroom fixtures.

I use bleach all over my floor because I have tile with grout that gets yellowed. I open the window and pour bleach over the grout, spread it with my sponge mop, close the door and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Then I go in and mop it up with water and dry it with a towel.

I also bleach around the commode and around the tub. Its an old tub and needs some bleach now and then to keep it nice and white. If your tub area has mildew problems, consider pouring a little bleach around the tub surround. Be careful with the bleach and don’t inhale it!

Please be careful with bleach. Don’t let me hear that you have mixed bleach with other household chemicals and cleaners, I may have to come and discipline you severely!

Get your rugs washed and dried and back in the room.

Replace your nicnacs and notions, lotions, potions. Wash the bottles with a cleaning rag before putting them up.

Rehang the shower curtains, rehang window curtains.

Light a candle and just look at that clean bathroom!

bedroom2

How To Clean The Master Bedroom

These are the essentials of a thorough cleaning and de-cluttered/organized bedroom. If your Master Bedroom doesn’t need a thorough decluttering, consider using the Bedroom Cleaning System included in this post.

First – Take down curtains and wash them if you are able. If you cannot wash them, hang them outside to air. Be sure not to hang them in full sun if you think they may fade.

Second – Strip the bed linens and put them in to wash or in the laundry room.
Turn the mattress if you are able….. but don’t hurt yourself for goodness sake!

Third – Hang up and put away all clothes or laundry. If there are clothes that need to be put in another room, do it. If there are clothes that need to be stored, store them. If there are clothes that need to go to Good -Will, take them!

If you just don’t have any way to store those clothes, get rid of some of them! Why do you need all those clothes?

Fourth – Get yourself three baskets, boxes or bags. Label these containers:

Throw Away
Give Away
Put Away

Walk around your room and put everything that you don’t want in the room in one of these boxes.

When this is done…

Find a fourth box…. put all your trinkets, doo-dads and nicnacs that you are going to keep in this box (think about getting rid of some of these! ). Put your alarm clock, pictures, wall decor, everything that will stay in the room. Place this box in the dining room or kitchen. You can enlist a child to dust and clean these items or save this for yourself for later.

Fifth – Pull everything out of the closet. Oh yes, the closet. Pull it all OUT. All of it. Everything. Now go through it quickly and put each item in one of your four boxes. Hang up clothes and sort them into the boxes quickly. Don’t take too much time with this. If you have not worn the item in 2 years, toss it or give it away.

If an item you pull out of your closet does not belong in the closet, if the closet is not where you really should store it, then move it to its rightful place. If you don’t have anywhere else for this item, then its rightful place is the closet. Only you know…

Dust, sweep and clean the inside of the closet. Rehang the clothes. Arrange the contents of the closet that are going back in it, correctly and neatly.

Sixth – Clean out from under the bed. Pull it all out, divide the under-bed contents into your four boxes. Sweep and mop under the bed when everything is moved out from under it. Take this opportunity to go through any storage bins you have under the bed. Throw out what you don’t need, organize and label the rest.

There are lots of good ideas for under-bed storage. Those bed risers that I talk about every year are really a handy thing to have. Using bed risers can give you up to 10 inches of space to store things. They cost about $ 8.95 – $14.95 for four of them. This is one of the best investments for the household I have ever made. I bought mine at Linen’s and Things but these at Amazon are very similar. Plastic Bed Risers – Set of 4

Flat plastic boxes are great for under the bed too.

Seventh – We’re on the home stretch! Dust the ceilings, tops of windows and door frames, and walls. If you walls are dirty and you want to wash them, go for it! Use a mild detergent or soap and warm water if you have painted walls. If you have wallpaper, you will want to use a barely damp sponge and a drying towel. Work from the top of the wall down to the floor. If you have carpet, cover it!

Now to the Nitty Gritty Cleaning of the Room:

*Wash the windows. Use my homemade window cleaner or what ever you have on hand. Use newspaper to dry them for a streak free shine!
*Clean up the window frames now and dry them well.
*Clean the baseboards with a soapy solution of mild dish soap and warm water or your natural cleaner.
*Dust all furniture. Use lemon oil or orange oil on all wood. Use a mild soap and warm water on other furniture according to what its made of. Wash doilies and table covers.
*If you haven’t yet cleaned the nicnacs and needful items that go in your room go do that now. When they are cleaned, replace them where they go in the room.
*Think about adding a doilie or a table skirt to soften the room. Think about what you use to make the room a pleasant place to be with your husband or just to go to relax.
*Press and rehang your curtains.
*Sweep, vacuum and mop the floor depending on what you need to do. If your floors are hard, use which ever chemicals you have success with. I use a wood soap on my hardwood and then a wood shiner product made by Glade. Sometimes I even use orange oil on the floors and rub them to a deep shine. You must rub the wood very vigorously so that it won’t be slick!
*Dress the bed. Its getting to be cooler here in the US so dress your bed in sheets and two quilts OR with one quilt and one blanket. Think about getting a skirt to hide the under bed contents. I found a white cotton one at Good Will for $3.49 !
*Replace rugs

Light a candle and enjoy!

fall_cupFor each room we have worked on this week, I have a Room Cleaning system. I often type up and print out these systems and hang them where they can be seen in each room for cleaning day. Its really helpful to have a system for cleaning each room if you’re new to homemaking or if you have older children helping you who need to be reminded of what to do in each room.  Feel free to add and take away specific cleaning duties in each room until you get a System that works for you. Here is an example of my Bathroom Cleaning System.

Bedroom Cleaning System

Take up rugs, shake and launder if needed.

Pick up clothes, put away.

Pick up everything that is out of place and put it away.

Dust furniture and nicnacs.

Organize dresser tops, table tops.

Sweep or vacuum.

Mop if needed.

Make bed.

Replace rugs.

fall-leaves03

Tidy Idies For the Master Bedroom:

Try not to begin the habit of using your Master Bedroom as a storage room with boxes of stuff everywhere and clothes thrown across the bed.

*Organize as you go. Pick up and deal with clutter daily.

*Check to see if any casters or rubber floor protectors are needed under the feet of the bed, dressers, etc. Metal frame beds can be especially harsh on wood floors.

*If you store items under the bed using a bed skirt/ruffle will usually hide them.
Make a storage list for items in storage bins that you store under the bed. Put the list in each bin. That way you know what’s under there and you don’t have to go on a digging expedition for anything.

*Are their items in your dresser that should be hung instead of folded?

*Closets. Everything should have a place, even if it’s in (well labeled) storage bins/containers.
Consider a “closet makeover”. Closets don’t have to look like a dumping ground. They can be painted or papered, organized and neat. The more time you take that first time to make your closets user friendly and attractive the better you’ll do at upkeep.

*The 20 Minute Tidy is a way to keep the Master Bedroom clean. Just a few minutes a day can add up to big changes.

Here are a few more tidbits you might find useful from Deborah Tukua’s book, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home

~An upright trunk makes a great bedside table and provides an inside storage space of 3 feet deep.
~Dresser drawers stick? Rub a moist bar of soap across the runners to help it glide easier.
~Has the life gone out of your mattress? No money for a new one? Extend the life of your mattress by purchasing an egg crate foam mattress covering. It’s much cheaper than buying a new mattress, usually around $12.00, yet adds plush comfort to your bedding for at least another year.