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Snowed In? Get Your Clean On

Friday, January 8th, 2010

I read yesterday that somewhere in North Dakota the snow and wind chills registered at 52 below zero.  If you’re snowed in like half of North America, make the best of it, and get your deep clean on.  No need to brave the snow and sleet to go out and buy chemical cleaning products.  Got lemons, vegetable oil, white vinegar and baking soda ?  You’re in business. 

I’ve read a few books and done a lot of research online over the last few days on natural cleaning agents.  I am now a virtual Cliff Clavin on the use of household products for all natural cleaning.  Of course, this is spoken by someone who believes just about everything she reads online.  Like this internet shocker from Erin, did you hear ? Scrunchies are back

But come to think of it, if you’re snowed in, a scrunchie might make a great dusting tool, wrapped around the tip of a toothbrush.  Just close the blinds so your neighbors don’t catch you on camera holding such a relic of bad fashion.  Of course, that’s assuming anyone still owns a scrunchie.  I think some gals still do.  But if you ever leave your house wearing a scrunchie, do not admit this, because I might have to defriend you on Facebook.  

Lemons are not just for cocktails, my friends. Oil and vinegar are not just for salad dressing.  Baking soda is not just for making cakes and removing odor from the fridge.  These handy household kitchen staples work wonders as natural cleaning agents. 

country living lemons Lemons

Wipe half a sliced lemon onto cutting boards to freshen and clean. 

Toss peels in your garbage disposal and rinse with hot water to freshen up your kitchen sink in no time. 

Clean grout stains by mixing lemon juice with a few tablespoons of baking soda. 

Out of bleach ?  Need to whiten whites in the wash ?  Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to your rinse cycle instead. 

Mix the squeeze of a lemon with a full spray bottle of water for a quick all purpose cleaner. 

Got ants?  Squeeze lemon juice at their entry point to repel them. 

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Get Organized

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I can’t be the only one to notice how many times the words “Get Organized” appear on the cover of a January magazine publication.

magazines copy

They’re onto us.

Or are we following them ?

No matter.

January is representative of a fresh start – which inevitably leads to so many of us in small or large ways to declutter our nests and “get organized”.

I’ve been hard at work getting my own home organized for over a week, and I’m making serious progress.  At last, the junk drawer, the pantry, the kitchen, the bedrooms and bathrooms are returned to order, with the help of a lot of baskets and colorful bins.

Aren’t baskets and bins simply the best tool for corralling just about anything ?  Magazines, blankets, towels, toys (what’s left of them after my decluttering spree) all have their own place to rest.  I think that is the real key to organization – actually having a place for everything.

Just a few more days tackling some problem areas, and I’ll be back to business as usual.  But first I have two zones I have yet to conquer – the mudroom/rear entry and the unsorted piles of paperwork.  I’ve got big plans for both.

bhg mudroom 5To me, nothing represents organization in the home more than a well designed mudroom or entry.

I think if you asked any busy Mom what’s the one room she couldn’t live without, or wish she had, it would be a mudroom.

See Exhibit A to the right, courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens.

Sigh.

How marvelous to have a dedicated dumping ground just beyond the entrance for hats, scarves, coats, boots, backpacks, sports gear, and all of those necessary items that come with having a family.

I collect images of well organized entryways.  They just make me very happy.

Below is our rear entry – the Before. Ooooh, a blank canvas.

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