Fall Cleaning

It never ceases to amaze me at how time passes by so quickly!  I was sure it was just yesterday that I put out a few pumpkins, setting up vignettes for the autumn holidays (that I didn’t have time to post about) and today I was throwing them out; already rotten.

fall decor

I took this as a sign that it is time to clean out the fall decor and prep my house for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  This year we will be here in South Carolina for Thanksgiving and doing a little a lot of entertaining as well, so I want my normally fairly clean house to really sparkle and shine!  With a traveling husband, teenagers and a puppy sharing this space I spend a lot of time doing daily cleaning tasks (and delegating some as well) such as vacuuming, washing dishes, keeping the laundry going, and just making sure when I come in from work at night that I’m not bogged down in chores.

While that is all good and well, my house still manages to collect the clutter as well as the dirt I seem to be the only one to notice.  As I break down the decor from one season preparing for the next it’s a wonderful time to do a little deep cleaning so that I feel my house is truly company ready.  I do this deep clean seasonally (and sometimes when I have a little extra time in-between).  I cannot stand a dirty/messy house.  By cleaning daily and deep cleaning multiple times a year I can be company ready in a very short notice.  Besides, life is so much calmer (and the house smells better) when you can contain the clutter and mess in all aspects!

Before I get started I like to set the mood.  I do this by putting on some great music (‘Tis the season  and Fa-La-La, Y’all!), lighting a few fragrant pumpkin spice ( or other favorite scent of the moment) candles.  Nothing like creating a happy and homey atmosphere to get you in the zone for doing household chores.

Now let’s dive in and get something accomplished!

Fall Cleaning

1. Clear the clutter.  It’s time to go through that stack of mail that occupies space on your desk, coffee table, kitchen counter, or even your dinner table.   It’s also time to clean out those magazines that you have not had time to read or have been hanging onto because you are sure there was something that you wanted to save.  I can assure you that if you have not read the magazines in the three four nine months since you received them it’s safe to say you won’t ever.  Take them to a library, senior citizens center, or if appropriate, donate to a middle or high school.  I feel like such a hoarder when I start this task as I have such a mess to work through.  It’s so easy to come in from work and toss the mail on the table to “Look at later”.   Keep what you need and throw away the rest.  Seriously, don’t hang on to stuff that will just collect dust.

2.  Speaking of dust, it’s time to hit those corners, baseboards, heat/air return vents, and ceiling fan blades that we often miss when doing our everyday run through of the house.  I take advantage of the wand & brush attachment on my vacuum clean and hit those hidden spot sucking the dust right up.  That brush attachment is also great for running along baseboards.  If you still feel they need cleaning, grab a Mr. Clean sponge and give them a quick wipe-down.  When the seasons change is also a perfect time for cleaning fan blades.  We keep ours spinning year around so I don’t always recognize that they are dusty.

vacuuming fans

When you go to reverse them for winter (or turning them back in the spring) works perfectly for cleaning because you might find yourself showered with dust confetti when you turn it back on.

Not that has happened to me or anything.

3.  Wash your windows, inside and out.  Yes, it’s a job we all hate, especially if the temperatures have already dropped, but I love the glow of twinkling lights through clean glass.  And I can assure you that when you sit down to supper for a family meal and look at your French doors, you will be glad you have washed off little (or big) hand prints, puppy nose impressions and kitty cat paws.

Cleaning windows

I like to use Fish Foam when my windows are in need of deep cleaning and I use Honest Window Cleaner (no harsh chemicals) for everyday maintenance.

4.  Deep clean your carpets.  Vacuuming a couple of times a week to clean up after the hubby, kids or pets is grand and all, but believe me, your carpets are not clean!  Transitioning into the holiday season is the perfect time to really clean your carpets as you want your home to look (and smell) perfect once guests arrive for whatever you are hosting.  There are several ways to do this:  hire someone to come in and shampoo (an expensive but easy solution), rent a carpet cleaner from Lowes, Home Depot or your local grocery store (easy but sometimes difficult to find available when it’s convenient of you), spot clean with Resolve (not really effective & extremely tiresome), or invest in your own carpet cleaner.  Having raised four kids, owning cats and dogs and formerly living on a farm, owning our own carpet cleaner is the absolute best investment I have ever made!  The cost of renting three times in a year paid for it, and I have the machine at my convenience for large or small area cleaning.  I usually choose two or three nights (in a row) and hit a couple of spaces before I go to bed and they are nearly dry when we get up int he morning for school and work.  So very easy and convenient.

shampooing carpets

This is an older model of a Hoover Steamvac Agility. We’ve used it for about eight years now and you just can’t beat it!

5.  Take care of the little things.  Change those central heat/air filters, vacuum and flip your mattresses,  check your smile detectors, changing batteries if necessary, and clean out the pantry and refrigerator of expired or open items you have forgotten about.  It’s also the perfect time to wash out the inside of your refrigerator so that it’s clean and ready for all of the food you will fill it with during the holidays.  You don’t want your strawberries to smell of last weeks chicken and taste like lettuce that is slowly rotting in the crisper drawer.  Add fresh boxes of baking soda to your freezer and refrigerator (Arm & Hammer makes a couple of options just for the refrigerator) to help soak up any unwanted orders as well.  Now is also a good time to check your lightbulbs around the house.  Make sure your outside lights work for family and friends coming at night as well as the little chandelier lights in the dining room.  These blow easily if you haven’t switched to LED lights (I LOVE Cree bulbs; you can purchase them at Home Depot), so keep a few extra on hand for last-minute swaps.

Keeping up with the little things seasonally helps prevent a “to-do” list you are struggling to finish the week before company arrives.  Letting the small tedious chores pile up honestly adds so much stress to your life,  Taking care of the little things now leaves nothing but maintenance and general clean-up for you to delegate to the family throughout the season. Take advantage of a weekend now to wipe out the list now and start the holiday season off with a load off of your shoulders.

I tried to include links to many of the products I use throughout the post to make finding some of these great products a bit easier.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Have a fabulous week!

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How I Clean My Makeup Brushes

Why is winter just so dang rough on a lady’s skin?  It seems like all summer and early fall I am breakout free and the flaws of being 40-something just aren’t as obvious.

Then bam…. winter hits and my face is splotchy, itchy, dry and has a tendency to break out.

I thought I left all of that behind in my teen years, but apparently not.

So, it’s up to me to take care of my skin in the harsh winter weather, keeping it clean and moisturized (morning and night using Estee Lauder’s Day Wear & Advanced Night Repair) as well as staying plenty hydrated at least 80 ounces water each day .  While breakouts are often just a part of being a woman, I have discovered that one simple activity can help prevent about half of winter breakouts; cleaning your makeup brushes.

Cleaning makeup brushes is probably the last thing in the world we think about while we rush through our make-up routine every morning.

I love to swish the brush through the flavor  color of the day and paint my face as if it was a canvas never once thinking that I may need to clean the brushes I am using ….. OK, so it’s more like slap on a little color as I race madly out the door, but we can pretend it’s all glamorous & I still don’t think about cleaning the brushes!  

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Taking a little time to fix ourselves up is so much more fun than the time it takes to clean a mess, but cleaning those brushes that without a doubt harbor germs, dirt, sweat, and dry skin will make all the difference in the world in helping with breakouts and even help your make-up go on a bit more smoothly.

DIY How to clean Makeup Brushes

I have a fair amount of brushes that fit all of my needs from starting with a clean face every morning to touch ups at the gym after a workout and before my next client.  I do try to keep these separate, but they all must be kept clean.

I recommend washing your makeup brushes thoroughly at least once a month.  Set aside 15-20 minutes one morning after you are ready for the day and  wash away.  You can easily purchase a store-bought cleaner from Sephora or Ulta, but I prefer a homemade product just out of sheer convenience.

Two of my favorite formulas are vinegar and warm water, or Dawn (with Olay) and warm water.  That’s it, plain and simple.

I use 1/2 cup of vinegar (preferably white , but I was out….) and 1/2 cup warm water to swish my eye, blush and powder brushes in.  Then I rinse them in warm water making sure the water runs clear before reshaping and allowing them to dry.

cleaning makeup brushes at home

For my foundation and concealer brushes I use 1 tablespoon Dawn detergent with Olay (some people use baby shampoo) and 1/2 cup warm water.  Cleaning these brushes take a little more effort as you know how thick and gummy foundation can become!  I rinse them thoroughly, making sure all of the soap is removed, reshape the brushes and leave to dry on a clean towel.

How to clean you makeup brushes at home

If you clean them in the morning before you head out for work or to run errands, they should be dry by the evening. If not completely, they will be when you are ready to use them the next morning!

Just a little tip… if your brushes start shedding while you are using or cleaning them, it’s time to replace the brush.  I like to find mine on sale at Ulta or Sephora, but I have discovered TJ Maxx carries a brand called Bamboo that is pretty fabulous indeed!

How to clean Makeup brushes

Do you use makeup brushes or the little spongy things that comes with your make-up?  How do you keep your clean?

Until Next Time,

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Manic Monday

It’s the first Monday of the new year.  If you heard lots of loud music and a crazy loud “woohoo!!!”  early this morning, that was me as my children returned to school.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children.  I really do.  Let’s just say I need to recuperate from the wedding, and Christmas, and traveling, and three weekends straight of wrestling, and no set schedule for the last two weeks.
I like a schedule.
Later, if you heard loud sobbing, that was also me after an hour workout doing nothing but weight training chest and shoulders with my trainer.

OUCH!

I don’t like my trainer so much today.

But, onto Monday.
I thought I had kept a fairly clean house over the holidays.  All of the Christmas decorations are packed away,  I’ve vacuumed several times a week, and all of our sheets have even been laundered.
Then I started walking through the house.

 

It seems I have an infestation of paper airplanes.
{Yes, one of those planes is on top of my blinds}
I also discovered that I need to mop, iron my holiday cloth napkins and put them back in the buffet, wash the bathroom mirrors, clean the spare room which is supposed to be our guest room but is a catch-all room right now, and unpack my husband’s suitcase so he can repack it tonight….
So much for my fairly clean house!
So, while I clean today, I need something from you.
I want to know what you might like for me to write about this year!
 
I have some things in mind, and have been given a couple of more ideas from ladies on my Facebook page, but I want your opinions.  I’m even willing to step out of my comfort zone to accommodate you.
So please, be vocal, be opinionated, be creative, be realistic, and most importantly,
be Nice!
{That’s the mother coming out in me}
I look forward to reading your responses and seeing what you think!
Meanwhile, I’m off to clean my house!

{Just for Fun}Housekeeping Schedule

I think at least once a week I look over what all has to be done, what all I have accomplished and what lies before me and wonder how in the world am I going to get it all finished!

Keeping house, playing mom, taxi driver, sports enthusiast, single parent during the week while Audley travels, putting supper on the table, making it to worship services ….  the list just keeps on!

While I make lots of lists and strive to remain organized, I tend to have ADD when I start tackling my list.  For instance I cannot begin to count the times I’ve gone to clean my kitchen and as I take dirty towels to the laundry room and start working on laundry, leaving the kitchen behind, and as I begin putting away laundry discover my bathroom counters need to be wiped….

{If you can read through that run-on sentence, you get the picture} 

I have finally found a solution for all of this …. taken straight from the 1951 edition of “The Bride’s Reference Book”  is a daily schedule of keeping house for the wife.

They say consistency helps create better habits, so maybe if I follow this daily schedule it’ll become a permanent habit.

{You’re going to love this!}
A 1950s daily housekeeping schedule
  1. Throw back the covers
  2. Open up the blinds and windows
  3. Freshen up
  4. Make and serve breakfast
  5. Clean up breakfast
  6. Complete a 10 minute exercise regime
  7. Shower, do hair and make-up, get dressed
  8. Gather a basket for tidying. As the rooms of the home are tackled, pick up items that aren’t where they belong and place them in a basket. Redistribute them where they should be as you enter a new room
  9. Straighten up the living and dining room, including picking up potential clutter, light dusting, fluffing / straightening pillows, and watering plants or flowers
  10. Make the beds
  11. Tidy the bedroom, including light dusting
  12. Hang up any clothes that may be about or ensure dirty ones are in the hamper
  13. Do a light tidy of the bathroom including removing and replacing used towels, refilling toilet paper and soap (if needed) and cleaning the sink and basin area including soap dishes
  14. Review the menu for the current day and the next and compare it to what’s currently available in the home. Make note of anything that needs to be prepared ahead of time or marketing (shopping) that needs to get done
  15. Begin long-advance preparations for dinner (such as making dessert)
  16. Wipe down kitchen work surfaces and inside the fridge
  17. Dispose of garbage
  18. Rinse dish cloths and hang to dry
  19. Sweep or mop the kitchen floor
  20. Handle errands that might take you out of the home (such as marketing, volunteering, going to the post office, getting an item fixed, etc), bookkeeping, correspondence, or indulge in a hobby
  21. If returning from the grocery store, wash vegetables, wrap them and put them away. Place rest of groceries or purchases in their proper place
  22. Have a quick lunch
  23. Start advance food conditioning like crisping vegetables or thawing frozen foods
  24. Handle weekly chore for the day (more on that below!)
  25. Set the table for dinner
  26. Arrange the living room for evening enjoyment (such as “the Mister’s” newspaper, book, and cigarettes)
  27. Do a quick sweep of the floors and ensure entrance ways are clear
  28. Prepare a special dish for dinner
  29. Freshen up before the husband returns from work. Consider changing into something more festive if the day dress is plain
  30. Set out a tray with equipment for making cocktails, should “the Mister” want to serve drinks before dinner
  31. Greet husband “gayly”
  32. Serve dinner
  33. Clear table and wash dishes
  34. Pour boiling water down the sink to ensure pipes are flushed
  35. If necessary, pack the husband’s lunch for the next day. Set aside a lunch tray in the refrigerator for yourself if having leftovers
  36. Set table for breakfast
  37. Ensure breakfast foods are available and do any make-ahead preparations for it
  38.  Enjoy an evening of relaxation
If that isn’t enough, each day there is a once-a-week chore to tackle, which is basically a deep clean of a particular room.
  • Use metal polish on bathroom fixtures
  • Clean and disinfect all kitchen appliances
  • Scald and disinfect bread boxes and garbage pails and bins
  • Replace flowers with fresh bouquets
In addition, laundry should be done at least twice a week (including bedding) and floors should be mopped / vacuumed on a similar schedule.
There is also the suggestion of slipping in a 20-30 minute nap.
After reading this, I am sure the day is supposed to begin at 4:30 am and end at midnight & they don’t even mention children in there!
I’ll guess I’ll just keep to my own chaotic schedule and greet my husband “gayly”.