It’s winter in Michigan, and we are covered in snow, ice and salt.
My house has all hardwood floors, so I spend a big part of winter struggling to clean up the salt, and the white coating that it leaves behind, from my floors. This used to be really frustrating, especially when I would find it only getting worse each time I mopped. Then I learned a quick, easy and effective way to clean up the salt – and now that I know how to clean salt from hardwood floors, my floors have never looked better!
My home has hardwood floors throughout the whole house (even in the bathroom!), so to keep the house cozy (and my feet from freezing) I have area rugs in nearly every room. And, since we have a busy household, full of pets, kids and grown-ups who don’t always remember to wipe their feet, the rugs need to be vacuumed a lot.
I used to use a commercial carpet freshener each week when I vacuumed the carpets, but I was a little uneasy about kids and pets crawling around on a carpet full of chemicals. (Even if they had been vacuumed up). So I decided to start making homemade carpet freshener. It works great, smells good, and it is made from ingredients I already have hanging around the house!
Laundry is one of those chores that seems to never end. Instead of having one ‘laundry day’ where I spend hours washing all of our clothes, my laundry routine centers around washing one load of laundry every day. (Except on weekends, when I only do laundry if it is an emergency.)
A few months ago I read an article in a magazine that suggested using felted dryer balls in place of traditional dryer sheets to soften clothes and reduce static cling (they bounce around in the dryer, making your clothes fluffier and absorbing moisture, which helps them dry faster). We all know that I am not particularly ‘crafty’, but I had experience winding yarn into small balls (my Granny and Great-Grandma were both avid crocheters, and winding the yarn was always my job), so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to make my own felted dryer balls.
I was right.
At one time or another we’ve all been there. We’re at home, lounging in our pajamas, watching the latest episode of Scandal, when a friend calls saying they’re in the neighborhood, and asking if they can stop by.
You see the pile of mail sitting on the coffee table. Your daughter’s toys in a pile on the floor. The dirty dishes on the counter. Toothpaste splatters in the bathroom sink. And the mud that your son tracked through the living room last night.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I’m cooking, I burn food. A lot. I burn milk when I’m making homemade yogurt or ricotta cheese. I burn tomatoes when I’m making pasta sauce. And I always, always, always burn risotto.
Sometimes I burn things because I am not paying attention. Sometimes I burn things because I turned the heat too high. Most of the time, I burn things because The Goose is being too quiet and I need to make sure he’s not getting into something he shouldn’t be.
I’ll let you in on a little secret… I hate cleaning. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But, it needs to be done. Keeping my house clean is important. So I do it. Begrudgingly.
When I first became a stay at home mom, I was sure I was going to be like Bree Hodges from the TV show Desperate Housewives. My house was going to be immaculate, my children were going to be well behaved, my dinners were going to be gourmet, and I was going to look like I’d just stepped out of Vogue magazine.
In my opinion, dirt and grime seem to sneak up on me when I least expect it. I may be in the shower, when I look down and see the filthiest shower curtain liner I’ve ever laid eyes on. Or getting ready to heat up some leftover soup when I open the microwave and see that it looks as though a plate of spaghetti exploded.
Here are five tips for cleaning “unexpectedly dirty” things.
1. The Shower Curtain Liner
I’ve never been lucky enough to have a shower with sliding doors. All my life, I’ve had a shower curtain liner, and once I was on my own, I learned how quickly they can get slimy, grimy, full of mold and just plain gross! Even the liners that are mildew resistant will, over time, develop mold. Making sure to pull the curtain closed after you have finished showering can help keep it mold free for a while, but eventually you will either need to wash it or replace it. I always opt for washing. Simply place the shower curtain liner in your washing machine, fill the machine with hot water and add about a half cup of bleach. Wash the curtain on gentle, and then wash it a second time (without the bleach) to make sure it is completely rinsed.
Up until three years ago, I had never owned a dishwasher. I had always washed dishes by hand, but with a busy toddler under foot, I was having a hard time keeping up. Finally, my husband and I decided to look for a portable dishwasher on Craig’s List. Luckily, we found one pretty quickly, and once we brought it home and plugged it in I was ecstatic. The dishwasher changed my life.
My kitchen looked cleaner, because there were no longer dirty dishes filling up my sink. I became a more adventurous cook, because I no longer dreaded the task of washing all the dishes after the meal was served. Best of all, I no longer had to worry about my son pulling random dishes from the sink and hiding them around the house.