Nest Building

March MAIDness: Day 6 – Monday (Morning) Refresh

This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series March Maidness

Happy Monday morning!  I hope your weekend was leisurely and relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not what anyone would call a morning person, but I am a Monday person.  I do love a Monday because it feels like a clean slate to me.  It feels like there are lots of things that are possible on a Monday.  It feels like a fresh, clean load of laundry just waiting to be folded and put away.

And one of my favorite things to do on a Monday (morning or otherwise, depending on schedule and babies) is a refresh.  I just love to take 15 minutes (you guessed it) and jump-start my cleaning routine for the house in our master bedroom/bathroom area.  So here is what I can get done in 15 minutes – yes, I have timed myself:

  • Start a load of laundry in the washing machine (this is a must for Monday morning anyway).
  • Go upstairs and take the bed linens off the bed.
  • Open the windows (either the blinds or the actual windows) to let light and air in.
  • Dust the bed, bedside tables, and widows with a swiffer/microfiber.
  • Remove any trash or clutter that built up over the weekend.
  • Make bed, complete with pillows (I don’t do the pillows everyday because D does not like it).
  • Smile at the clean look of a freshly made bed.
  • Wipe down the bathroom counter/put away clutter from the counters.
  • Scrub the toilet.
  • Replace towels.

NOTE: To get all this done in 15 minutes, I make sure I have all the supplies I need (swiffer/microfiber cloth, fresh linens, a trash bag) on hand before starting the timer.

So how about you?  Do you smile at the look of a freshly made bed?  Crave something to help kick-start your cleaning routine around the house for the week?

The challenge for today is to do a refresh of your master bed and bath.  Leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you.


Nest Building

March MAIDness: Day 8 – When Life Happens

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series March Maidness

I have a confession.

I am human.

Which means I have some serious failings.  But it also means that life happens to me just like it does to everyone.  Things come up, plans get changed, intentions go by the wayside.

So, in the midst of a series on cleaning, my house has become what I like to term a “serious mess.”  I mean, we are talking beyond 15 minutes, BIG TIME.  The song goes, “Mama said there’d be days like this,” and it is true.

So, to get back on track, I am harkening back to some of the best (and at times most frustrating) advice my mom gave me:

DON’T waste a trip!

I could be rich off of the proceeds of the amount of times I heard this phrase growing up.  But I would be a millionaire for the amount of times I have said it to myself.  It is stuck in there for good!

But, just as I was when I was a kid, sometimes I just don’t want to listen to the voice that tells me to pick up something and take it with me as I go.  I would rather leave the clutter-inducing items where they lay and get frustrated with myselft later for how much I have to clean.

Well, I am changing my mind and determining:

Today, I will not waste a trip.  I will pick up an item, or a basket of items each time I leave a room, walk upstairs, walk downstairs, head to the trashcan, etc.  And when I get where I am going with those items, I will put them in their proper place.  I WILL!

Are you with me?  Today’s challenge is: DON’T waste a trip, all day.  Headed to the kitchen?  Take your empty coffee cup with you (bonus points if you wash it and put it away).  Going to the laundry room?  Pick up that sock lying on the floor and take it with you.  Going to your office?  Pick up that stack of books that has been taunting you from the corner of your bedside table and take it with you.

Let’s see how much clutter we can bust if we just, take it with us when we go.

Nest Building

Cleaning Up Clutter Fixtures, March MAIDness: Day 9

clutter fixture definition, keeping your master bedroom free from clutter
This entry is part 8 of 20 in the series March Maidness

Yesterday’s challenge really helped to get some clutter cleared and made me breathe a little easier about the state of my home.  Whew…so, I am still on a clutter reduction kick and want to use yesterday’s tip about efficiency to inform today’s tip.

I know I cannot be the only one who has clutter fixtures in my home.  But for purposes of clarity, let’s define a clutter fixture. Continue Reading

Nest Building

March MAIDness: Day 10 – Clutter Zones

This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series March Maidness

Have you recognized a theme for this week of March MAIDness?

There is a reason why – your house would likely look clean if it was not cluttered.  Even if the floor had not been vacuumed in a little too long, or there was a little dust on the cabinets and light fixtures; if there were not a bunch of stacks of clutter and random stuff sitting all over the place, you could take a breath and think.  “This is not that bad.”

Additionally, it would be a lot easier to clean (no brainer, right?).

Yesterday we talked about clutter fixtures.  Today is about their close cousin clutter zones.

Everybody has them, even the neat freaks out there.  The reason everybody has them is because we, as a society collect WAY too much stuff.  We are constantly adding to our already vast collection of stuff.  We go to the grocery store at least once a week to add to our collection of food.  We go to the mailbox, just to bring in more paper for our paper collection.  We take perfectly good flowers out of the ground, and bring them indoors, to eventually add to our trash collection.  We purchase clothes, shoes, jewelry, and purses to add to our collection of apparel.  We purchase books, magazines, and movies (most of which we will likely only use once) and put them in shelves and call that an entertainment collection.

But it is not the collections that are necessarily the problem.  If they are organized and managed well, they can be quite clean and give us lots of joy or meaning, depending on the collection (please don’t love your trash collection). The problem is we like to carry quite a bit of our stuff around with us, depending on the day and the mood.  We aren’t happy with it being in the same place all the time, so we take it for walks and leave it in a new place,  The new place we leave our stuff is likely a clutter zone.

Your clutter zone could be the place where you enter your home and put all the things you collected during the day: the receipts, keys, cell phones, change, mail, small grocery items, cups, hair clips, scarves…  Another clutter zone could be your bathroom counter.  As you get ready for the morning, are you diligent to put each and every item back in its place?  More than likely, this is a place where various hygiene items hang out during the day and generally create clutter.

Are you beginning to get visions of your clutter zone in your home?

In our home, we have a few clutter zones, but the one that gets the most love is our kitchen counter.  I don’t even want to share with you how much junk is on that counter right now.  We use the counter/island for a lot of things throughout the day, so it gets a lot of use.  But the evidence of our use is often strewn all over.

And it is a true clutter zone because it generates more clutter.  You know the phrase “create clutter” I used a little bit earlier.  It is not a misnomer.  Clutter creates clutter.  We see a stack of papers, we add to it.  We see dirty dishes, we add to them instead of washing them.  We see a bunch of stuff lying around and we add to it, thinking we will get to it all later.

So, what would our homes look like if we controlled the clutter chaos and zipped through the clutter zones, clearing away all the unnecessary?  Probably a lot more calming, a lot more breathable.

Ok, but how?  Here are some ideas:

Identify the problem.  Clutter zones can often be clutter fixtures, so open your eyes and make sure you see what needs to be cleaned.  Also, think about your day, your routine when you come into your home, after dinner, before bed.  Are the places you frequent during those times of day places where clutter forms?

Do a very quick clean-up.  The items in your clutter zone likely have a real home and it is not the kitchen counter.  Go through your clutter zone, putting items where they belong.  Return them to their proper collections.  This will get you through most of your clutter.

Create homes for the homeless.  Every once in a while, you will bring something new into your home that just doesn’t have a spot yet.  That item(s) is likely to be sitting in a clutter zone right now.  In this case, identify a place for your item (hint: sometimes it does not need to sleep at your house) and put it in its place.

Think of a solution to the clutter problem.  Do you need to have a discussion with the other members of your household about putting items in their places?  Do you need to come up with homes for your everyday items (mail, keys, etc.)?  Do you need to stop buying more stuff until you use the stuff you have?  Put some thought into how you could control the stuff in your home.  You will be more mindful of the things you bring home from the store, the process for putting stuff away, and the ways you can streamline your routines.

Make it routine. Do these steps on a regular basis; once a day, twice a week, something routine. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your clutter zone will be clutter free forever, if you just follow these steps.  It is the nature of our lives to have stuff to put away, but it is how we manage the stuff we have that makes us feel less stressed, more clean.  Staying on top of the clutter problem is how we prevent clutter fixtures from forming.

So, today’s challenge is to identify one of your clutter zones and get it cleaned up.  I am also challenging myself to keep mine maintained through the weekend.  When Sunday night comes, I want a clean kitchen counter.  Won’t that be a lovely way to start the week?

Have a great weekend!

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Nest Building

March MAIDness: Day 11 – A Green Clean

This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series March Maidness

I am not much for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – I didn’t even wear green yesterday.  And I am not what you would call an earth mama.  But I have become a little more interested lately in homemade cleaners and detergents.  I was thinking the other day how it is pretty amazing that most of what we need to really clean our homes is created by God and completely natural.  It’s like He knew we would be messy or something.  I have also been thinking that this may be a great way to get a good clean without spending a whole lot of money.

So, this week, I will be exploring the greener clean for my home.  And I am going to attempt to make my own cleaning solutions.  After doing a little bit of research, here are the ingredients I will be gathering:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Borax
  • Washing soda (still not sure if this is the same thing as Borax)
  • lemons or lemon juice
  • essential oils

I have most of them around the house, but it looks like I need a trip to the store for a couple of things.  So the challenge for today is to get the green clean products for your home and get ready to clean like the earth.

Have a wonderful day and I will see you back here tomorrow with recipes for a green clean home.


Nest Building

March MAIDness: Day 12 – Basic Household Cleaners

This entry is part 11 of 20 in the series March Maidness

So, I went last night to the store and found almost all the items on my list.  There must have been a run on Borax because the shelf where it was supposed to be was bare.  Oh well, I will try to run by another store today and pick some up.  For today’s purposes though, I have what I need.

Today, I am starting with what are the most basic of household cleaners.  Those you really don’t even have to mix up and keep on hand.  These are just pour-and-clean recipes to clean various things in the home.

Drain cleaner/degreaser: Pour equal quantities (about 1/2 cup) of baking soda and vinegar into drain.  Wait for the fizzing to stop.  Wash drain with very hot water (I warmed up the water in a kettle on the stove, just below boiling and took it with me throughout the house).  Make sure to rinse out the sink when you are done.

Garbage disposal/kitchen drain cleaner:  Pour equal quantities (about 1/2 cup) of baking soda and vinegar into drain.  Cover for 5 minutes.  Wash drain with very hot water (from a kettle).  Deodorize the disposal by grinding your choice of citrus peel in the disposal.

Faucets/shower heads: Pour vinegar (you can add baking soda, if you like) into a plastic bag and place over faucet to submerge.  Secure with a rubber band and leave to soak overnight.  In the morning, take a toothbrush and brush away any debris left behind.  Rinse by running water through the faucet/shower head.  NOTE: This does not need to be done more than once or twice a year, if you use the faucet/shower head on a daily or almost daily basis.  But if you have been on vacation for a couple of weeks, this would be good to do before getting into the shower.

Microwave:  Fill a glass bowl with about a cup of water (cold) and a tablespoon of vinegar.  Add a couple of slices of your preferred citrus.  Place in microwave and run at 70% power for 4-5 minutes.  After the microwave turns off, wait for a couple of minutes to open the door.  Use a sponge or microfiber cloth to remove the debris – it should just come right off.

Coffeemaker: Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the coffeemaker reservoir and run the cycle.  Once it is complete pour water/vinegar mixture out. Run the coffeemaker with two cycles of clean, filtered water.

After that list, I have a newfound affection for vinegar and it’s cleaning abilities.  Seems like a good friend to have when the house needs some attention!  Your challenge for today is to pick one of these things that need to be cleaned in your home and do it!  Have fun, see you tomorrow for more green cleaning!

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