How to Clean Practically Everything in Your House Using Only Natural Ingredients

Are you looking to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals but don’t know where or how to start?  Here is an incredibly simple guide to replacing toxic household cleaners with safe, natural alternatives, many of which you probably already have on hand.  You’ll find out how to safely clean practically every surface in your house, from the windows to the toilet and everywhere in between.  These cleaners are safe enough for kids to use, so the whole family can pitch in around the house without any concern about what they’re being exposed to.  You will still want to keep these things away from young children who might accidentally ingest them.  While perfectly safe to use for cleaning, some of these ingredients can be harmful if ingested, so make sure they will only be accessible to people who won’t try to drink them 😉

There are a few basic things you’ll need to make the switch to natural cleaning:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Various other essential oils (optional)
  • Dish Soap
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Olive Oil
  • Microfiber Cloth (or any lint-free cloth)
  • Glass Spray Bottles (plastic can break down over time from essential oils)

Using just these supplies, you can clean just about every surface in your house.  Sounds easy, right?  It really is! Here are some specific tips for tackling all of your chores with no harmful fumes or chemicals.

Dusting– This is one of those chores that’s perfect for little hands so I usually let my kids do the dusting, but I don’t want them exposed to commercial dusting sprays.  There are two all-natural dust-busters we use in our house, so I’ll share them both.

  1. The simplest method is to dampen a microfiber cloth, add 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to the cloth, and simply wipe the surface with it.
  2. If you want extra shine, however, you can make this all-natural dusting spray that’s safe for all finished wood surfaces.  Simply add 1 cup of water, 2 T. white vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, and 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil to a glass spray bottle and shake well.  Lightly spray the surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Tubs,Tile and Grout– A paste made with baking soda and a little water can make scrubbing stains from grout and tile a cinch.  Soap and water will also work on tile for everyday cleaning.

Toilets and Ceramic Sinks–  Sprinkle baking soda in sinks and toilet bowls and let it sit for up to an hour, then pour vinegar over the baking soda and scrub with a toilet brush or cloth.  The baking soda deodorizes while the vinegar sanitizes, leaving your bathroom naturally clean!

Floors (wood, vinyl, linoleum, and laminate)-  A basic solution of 1/4 C. white vinegar and 1 C. water will clean most floors easily.  For extra shine, you can also add 1 T. oil to the mix.  Spray floors with the mixture and wipe with a soft cloth or mop.  Alternatively, you can fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water and 4 cups of vinegar and mop the floor with this solution.

Marble and granite– While vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner, it should never be used on natural stone like marble and granite, which can be etched by acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus.  Mix 1 C. water, 1/4 C. rubbing alcohol, 3-4 drops of dish soap, and 5-10 drops of any non-citrus essential oil (such as lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, etc.)  Spray on surface and wipe clean.  This solution can also be used for most floors, and it dries quickly without leaving streaks because of the alcohol.

All-purpose cleaner– If you want to keep things really simple and just have one bottle of cleaner for most jobs, this is it.  Mix 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar in a glass spray bottle, add 15-20 drops of essential oils, and shake well.  You can use this solution to clean countertops, sinks, tubs, showers, windows, floors, and even cutting boards and appliances.  Just be sure to avoid using this one on granite or marble.

If the idea of making your own cleaners is too overwhelming, or you don’t really want your house to smell like vinegar every time you clean something, there are plenty of non-toxic, natural cleaners available to purchase.  I’ve tried several companies over the years, but my absolute favorites are from Red’s Gone Green.

Her products smell so amazing that I genuinely want to clean my house just so I can enjoy the scent of clove-cinnamon-vanilla (which smells just like chai tea) or lavender-vanilla (incredibly calming.)  Check out all of her products here.  The all-purpose cleaners (except the grapefruit-orange-lavender) are even safe on granite and marble, so you can basically reduce your whole cleaning cabinet to just one incredibly fragrant bottle!

Hopefully this is a helpful crash course on how to start swapping some of your commercial cleaners for more natural alternatives.  It really is simple and affordable to enjoy the benefits of non-toxic cleaning supplies.  Have other natural cleaning hacks or tips to share?  Leave us a comment below!

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DGSpringCleanEssentials #CollectiveBias

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

The edge comes off the morning air, green buds peek out to say hello, and everything feels fresh and brand new.

Cliches are often cliches for good reason. Spring cleaning is one of those that just fits. This time of year urges you to roll up your sleeves and tackle some projects! Unfortunately, inspiration can turn into exhaustion if you don’t have a plan, though!

You’re busy and every moment matters! Today I’m sharing tips on how to knock out your spring cleaning in less time. This is all about working smarter and not harder by organizing and grouping time. Stick with me! At first, it might seem counterintuitive. Why waste time creating lists or spreading out cleaning over a few weeks?

Invest just a little time now for hours of benefit for years to come! You’ll be able to use these lists the entire time you stay in your current home. Plus, never again will you waste time spinning your wheels or wondering where to start. Also, it might feel like it saves time by doing all the work in just a few days, but it really doesn’t. When you work for hours on end you’re likely to get distracted and work more slowly. By spreading the work out over several days, or even several weeks, you’ll be saving tons of time in the long run. Plus, you’ll actually make it through all the tasks, not crash and burn somewhere in the middle.

First things first! Before you get started, you want to make sure you stock up with all the cleaning supplies you need.

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Check & Stock Up On Supplies

Set your timer for 10 minutes and take a peek at where you store all your cleaning supplies. Bring a pen and paper. Go through and tidy by type, noting which bottles are nearly empty or what you’re out of. Also, make note of what you already have duplicates of. My rule of thumb is to have 2 of each item so that I never have an “oh no” moment, which wastes time in an unplanned trip to the store. This is also a great time to take note of what other household essentials you are in need of–like paper products, trash bags, and plastic bags for storage.

Once the timer dings, you’re done! If it was really a mess in there, just remember that you’ll deal with it later!

Look! You just started your first spring cleaning task and didn’t even realize it.

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Next, it’s time to head to Dollar General and stock up! Right now, they have an amazing deal where you can get Spend $15, Save $5 instantly on participating products. There’s a huge variety of cleaning supplies and household staples that are included in this deal! I always love to wait for sales like this and then stock up. Go here to check out all the details and see all the items that are included in the Spend $15, Save $5 deal! It’s running from February 18th-March 18th, so make sure you do this soon!

The key to buying cleaning supplies is to use trusted brands that do most of the work for you.

I purchased these for our house when I stocked up this time:

  • Clorox® Clean-up® Cleaner with Bleach  (So perfect for bathrooms!)
  • Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner 2 ct. (For me, the throw it in and forget it until next time ones are the best! Put a reminder in your calendar for 6 weeks out.)
  • Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes (Tip: These little guys can be used for SO MUCH! Think beyond the kitchen counters with them. They’re also perfect for scrubbing grime off of baseboards and hard to reach floor corners. Don’t forget to hit up all the doorknobs, too!)
  • Pine-Sol® (This is hubby’s favorite cleaning supply ever. He just loves how it smells, and I love how it cleans our hard surface floors!)
  • Glad® Trash & Food Bags (The last thing you want is to get halfway through cleaning and realize you’re out of trash bags. Stock up now! Also, grab food storage bags while you’re at it as well! They’re located together and it makes sense to stock up at the same time.)
  • Sparkle® Paper Towels (Sometimes you just NEED to use a paper towel for a job. I always keep these on hand and they’re a must before you tackle heavy duty cleaning.)
  • Angel Soft® Bath Tissue (Another one of those items you do NOT want to run out of. While you’re deep cleaning your bathroom it’s a great idea to stock up for awhile on this.)
  • STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover (Our puppy Thomas + our cream colored carpet in the bedrooms makes this product a must! It’s also amazing for cleaning out those kid-related messes that are bound to happen to carpet!)
  • all® Laundry Detergent (As I’ve shared before, I absolutely love this detergent! So perfect for our entire family. Another one of those “good to stock up on to save time and money” items!)

Now it’s time to come up with a game plan!

Every house is different, so take my lists as your starting point and then customize them for your home! It is so simple to tweak a few rooms and cleaning items, and you have the perfect custom plan for your own home. I’ll take you through step-by-step, but don’t worry–I have the Master List for you to customize and print out later on!

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Create a Master Spring Cleaning Room List

First, start off by listing out every room of your house. Don’t forget to also include any other areas that you have that aren’t really rooms, like entryways or closets. For example, this is our house:

  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bathroom
  • Kid’s Room 1
  • Kid’s Room 2
  • Guest Bathroom
  • Living Room
  • Kitchen
  • Office
  • Front Porch
  • Back Porch
  • Hall
  • Laundry Room

Now go through the lists and brainstorm every possible thing to deep clean this room. Include odd once-a-year tasks, like cleaning jewelry or polishing silver.

Tip: Don’t get distracted by decluttering and organizing.

Especially if you’re like me, you enjoy organizing far more than you enjoy cleaning. That means that when it comes to spring cleaning, you’re far more likely to get caught up in sorting through drawers than you are scrubbing. Right now, we’re NOT going to focus on getting your house clean and decluttered! Having an organized home is vital to peace and happiness. However, it’s *not* what we’re focused on today. This is all about the cleaning in spring cleaning. So as you make your list, don’t add in tasks like sorting through drawers or getting rid of things. That is a different list and task entirely!

It’s true, though, that you can’t deep clean a messy room. My tip for this is when you start your time (more on that later) take the first few minutes to pick up *quickly*. If there are piles of things like clothes, run them to the laundry room, or if there are stacks of paper or odd items that don’t belong anywhere, gather them all up together. Put it all in one place to sort through *later*.

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Create Detail Cleaning Tasks

For example:

  • Master Bedroom
    • Treat Stains
    • Vacuum Carpet (move nightstands and quilt rack to vacuum behind)
    • Detail Dust all surfaces including Fan
    • Wipe Down Blinds
    • Wipe Down Doors (don’t forget knobs!)
    • Wipe Down Baseboards
    • Clean Windows
    • Clean Jewelry
  • Master Bathroom
    • Clean Sinks & Counters
    • Scrub Soaking Tub
    • Scrub Shower
    • Wipe Down Cabinets
    • Remove & Clean Rugs
    • Wipe Down Toilet
    • Sweep Floors
    • Mop Floors (getting into all the corners)
    • Wipe Down Doors & Switch Plates
    • Clean & Dust Picture Frames
    • Wipe Down Baseboards
    • Restock Paper Goods

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Customize My Template

Don’t want to start from scratch? I make it easy for you! Go Here for my entire list template! Click On File, then Hit “Make a Copy”. Rename it whatever you’d like and save it to your Drive! Now you can customize it, using all my rooms and tasks as a starting point.

Once you’re through, you can use it to stay on task online, or print it out to reference as you start your cleaning.

Schedule & Batch Time

You could take a weekend and knock out every single room and task with the help of your family, but I wouldn’t recommend that! You’ll end up exhausted. Worse than that, in a few weeks, the dirt will start to build back up and it won’t even seem like you did it.

You may have heard of batching or rotating spring cleaning, and that’s exactly what I’d suggest! Now, this will look different for everyone. Some people do well when they work for 10-15 minutes every single day in one room. Or maybe you like to work a little longer, but not as often. In this case, you might do 30 minutes on Saturday morning. I’d suggest trying both out, or some combination. The smaller chunks of time add up to big results. You’ll start fresh each time so you’re at your best and less likely to get distracted or tire out.

Now put that time into your schedule. It’s not hard to do something for 10 minutes a day, the trick is to actually DO IT. So put it on your schedule until it becomes second nature.

Again, this will take a bit of moving around until you find what works best for you. At one point, I tried to fit in my time after dinner. I quickly I found it was too hard to do it then. Often, by that point in the evening, all I wanted to do was relax and hang out with my family. Now I’ve moved it up to my lunch time break. Since I work from home, this gives me a great way to move around a little and get away from my desk mid-day, while accomplishing something. It also is much easier to knock out quickly when I’m the only one at home!

Brainstorm times that would work well for you. Maybe it’s as part of your morning routine, when your baby is napping, or right after you get home from the day.

I hope these tips will help you on your way to a Spring Cleaning Schedule that saves you time and money! Don’t forget to head to Dollar General to stock up on all these great cleaning products and household goods & save with their Spend $15, Save $5 deal!

Things You Don’t Want to Forget When You Spring Clean Your Car

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFreshBreeze #CollectiveBias

The fresh layer of grass, blooms bursting into color, and pale green gracing the trees are banners everywhere. They’re declaring that spring is finally here! With all of nature alive and gorgeous, it’s no wonder it creates a desire to make the rest of the places we live beautiful, fresh, and scrubbed brand-new also.

The warmer weather makes this the perfect time of year to Spring Clean Your Car too! While a good wash and a detail job are great places to start, there are a few things that you might want to add to your list. They’re easy to forget, but they’re crucial not to miss!

Things You Don’t Want To Forget When You Spring Clean Your Car

#1 Check All Your Current Maintenance Needs

This is a great time to run down the list of regularly needed maintenance your vehicle requires to check if anything is due! Oil changes, replacing or rotating tires, liquid flushes, etc. Make a note of what needs to be done now, or what is coming up and what time or mileage you’ll need to be watching for. One thing you might not think to change is especially vital for spring, in fact, it’s so important I’m giving it all of the next point which is….

#2 Change Your Cabin Air Filter

I love Texas in the spring. It explodes with gorgeous color everywhere. However, that beauty comes along with a sneaky little something that’s not so glorious. The name of this wretched companion? Pollen!

Yes, even if you didn’t have allergies before, if you move to East Texas there’s a good chance you will! Because of this, the main thing not to forget on my car spring cleaning checklist is swapping out my cabin air filter. Cabin air filters clean the air you breathe inside your car, which makes a fresh one a MUST during allergy season.

Cabin Air Filters are often overlooked, but changing them out is easy to do yourself. It is recommended you do this annually or every 12,000 miles. As always, you should follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.

It’s easy to see if your vehicle has a cabin air filter by using this site to check.  If your vehicle does have one, it will also help you find the part number for the FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter  that you need! Of course, your next step will be to purchase it at your local Walmart. Just look for the green packaging!

I mentioned that the cabin air filter is easy to replace yourself, but obviously, you’ll still need a guide. I love that FRAMFreshBreeze.com provides installation guides and times in both video and written format, which are so useful! Don’t want to copy it all down or lug your laptop along? The site also provides a texting feature which allows your search results (installation videos and part number) to be sent to your phone!

The FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter is the only cabin air filter that uses the natural deodorizing qualities of ARM & HAMMER® baking soda. This means while you’re filtering dust, dirt, and allergens from the air, you’re also freshening it at the same time! Did you know that contaminants that enter your vehicle with outside air can become concentrated? This means the air inside your vehicle can be up to 6X’s dirtier than the air outside. Yuck!

As I mentioned, you can find the easy installation guides at  FRAMFreshBreeze.com, but I also wanted to show you just how easy swapping it out is!

Step One: Locate your cabin air filter. Using the guide, locate the cabin air filter. On our minivan, it’s located behind the glove box. We just pushed in the tabs on both sides, and it popped down and allowed access.

Step Two: Remove the cabin air filter cover. Our cover looks like this long, black plastic piece.

Step Three: Next, remove the old cabin air filter. Our cabin air filter definitely needed changing! I couldn’t believe how much debris it had in it, not to mention you could tell it was full of pollen and dirt as well. Quite a bit of debris had built up in the housing for the filter as well, so we also cleaned all of that out during this step.

Step Four: Replace with new FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter.  All you have to do is place it back in the empty slot, with the arrows facing down.

Step 5: Finally, replace cover and close back up.  It really is so simple! It took us under 10 minutes from start to finish. Changing out your cabin air filter is definitely something you’ll want to look into as you spring clean your car.

With a new cabin air filter you can have peace of mind about the air your family will be breathing during all those car line pickups and long summer road trips. Next, it’s time to tackle another peace of mind area.

#3 Re-Stock Your First Aid Kit

Every vehicle should have a first aid kit in it. These have come in handy more times than I want to recall for my adventuresome children. For a vehicle kit, you’ll want items that can cover minor bumps and bruises to a more serious injury. Here’s just a good starting point! It might seem like a lot, but you really only need just a few of each thing, the rest you can use to restock your medicine cabinet!

  • Bandages in a variety of shapes and sizes including butterfly bandages
  • rubber gloves
  • Gauze & adhesive
  • Alcohol Wipes or type of disinfectant
  • ice pack
  • burn cream
  • insect bite cream
  • Pain medicine
  • List of Emergency Contact Numbers

When it comes to safety, being prepared is wonderful and can give you peace of mind. It can also help that busted chin at the playground a little less traumatic for everyone!

#4 Create a Just-In-Case Kit

There are plenty of “If only I had thought to bring…” moments in life. Not the ones that an emergency first aid kit tackles, but those little every day inconveniences. When you tuck a “Must-Have” kit safely into your car, however, those will happen a lot less. This is the perfect spot for those things that are crucial to have on hand if you need them, but are a hassle to lug around in your purse. I keep mine handy in my glove box or middle compartment, and it’s come to my rescue many times! You’ll want to personalize this to your stage of life and personal needs, but here’s a sample of some of the things I keep in mine!

  • Mechanical Pencil or Pen
  • Mini Note Pad
  • Disinfectant gel or wipes
  • Tissues
  • Laundry “To Go” Wipe
  • Lollipops
  • Mints (or gum)
  • Cough Drops
  • Hair Band
  • Contact Case
  • Few dollars in Quarters

Once you add these items to your Spring Cleaning Car Checklist your car will be beautiful and ready for hours of fun!  You spend a huge amount of time in your car each day whether you’re commuting, taking a summer road trip vacation, or playing chauffeur for the kids. Now you can feel confident that you’re breathing fresh air and fully prepared for whatever life throws your way!

We all love to make our lives easier, right? Be sure to check out the ideas here for even more car tips, tricks, and life hacks!

What To Do When You Wish You Had a Maid, But Can’t Afford One

If you could be given any luxury service (personal chef, nanny, maid, hair stylist, makeup artist, assistant, personal trainer) for free for a few years, but could only pick ONE, which would you pick?

I know from a recent Facebook conversation that many of my friends would pick things like personal chefs or a personal assistant. A few would pick hair stylists or makeup artists or nannies.

There was one, though, that showed up over and over and over again. A Maid.

Me? I would choose a Maid (or a housekeeper if you’re being politically correct…is that more correct? Does it really matter? I wouldn’t mind being called a maid. But I digress….)

Hands down, absolutely, no questions asked. Whatever you call them, I’d love to have one. During the entire time we searched for a house I wore hubby out by saying over and over, “You know, if we could buy a really BIG house, I would much rather get a smaller house and a maid instead.” When we looked at the bigger homes that were in our price range when it came down to it all I could see was more space to get filthy that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to clean.

That is one of the many reasons we ended up in our Goldilocks house at 1,702 sqft. Our family of four fits perfectly in it with room to stretch and it’s the just right size for us!

However, as hard as it is to believe we’ve already been here for 5 months!!! While that’s amazing it also means that my ceiling fans are starting to look like this—>

Yepp, getting real with you ladies.

Now, you might be a little surprised if you’re new around here, because, aren’t I the gal with an entire section dedicated to organization? And it’s true, I am, but what’s really funny is this:

I love to organize but I do not like cleaning.

If you’re of the tribe that hates both, you might not have ever realized there’s much of a difference, but oh, there is! I could spend all day sifting through items, sticking them all into special boxes, and getting rid of clutter. When that happens I’m in my zone and happy place!

Show me the furry caterpillars of filth on the ceiling fan or the thick layer of dust behind the screen of my computer monitors….she types as she just now notices it and glares at it…willing it to disappear. Nope didn’t work, moving on…..

Where were we? Ah yes! So when I was getting ready to open my door the other day from picking up the kiddos, and saw a Maid’s Business Card stuck in it, I kept it. One, because I’m tickled pink that we live in a nice enough neighborhood that anyone thinks we can afford one, and two because I realllyyyyy truly would love to have one.

That being said, while I totally do believe in outsourcing tasks that you don’t do well/dislike in order for you to focus on the ones you are great at, a maid for us is just not in the cards nor in the budget at the moment. I have a feeling that you might just feel the same way, and be in the same position?

So what’s a girl to do? Well, that’s just what I put this post together for! I’ve managed to come up with a game plan that will make my cleaning game as effective and painless as possible until I become Insta-famous and use my earnings to hire that sweet maid whose card I still have.

#1 Get a Game Plan  If you’re like me it takes awhile for you to see the mess. I work from home and as long as everything is tidy, I don’t really see the dirt and grime. That is until it’s REALLY dirty and grimy and I go “Oh GROSS!!!” and spend an entire day nuking the bathroom. Yeah, that never works well for anyone.

Thankfully my mom discovered and introduced me to FlyLady ages ago and I’ve relied on her since I got married. Her book Sink Reflections is one that I have read and re-read and always keep on hand to refer back to. Since I’m a weird combo of organized but not a cleaner, I’ve never had *much* of a challenge with keeping clutter free like the first half of her book is dedicated to. I also started in this mindset early in marriage, when we had no money. Because of this my life and home have never gotten into a state of CHAOS as she describes it (thankfully!!). It did, however, let me throw away those ring boxes from the fancy jewelry stores I’d been holding onto for years. I didn’t keep anything in them…but they just seemed, nice, you know??? Please let me know I’m not the only one who keeps weird stuff!

So anyways, the part of her book that helped me the most was the second half where she teaches you how to “Never Spring Clean Again”. She divides every home into zones and gives you detailed lists for how to get them de-cluttered and then deep cleaned, just a little piece at a time. If you’re interested you should purchase the book! I love having systems in place that are customizable but say “Do this, this, and this”. When you’re busy-crazy they’re so helpful!

Of course, they only work if you do! I’ve now divided up our home into the zones and am going to begin setting my timer for 15 minutes a day of Zone Cleaning, along with following her weekly plans. Once I get those in place and stick with them I’ll never have to see those fuzzy filth caterpillars again, Yey! I did use these systems to keep our apartment in Boston clean and they work great even if you have babies and toddlers!

#2 Get Great Tools

We all know the old saying “Work smarter, not harder.” This is my motto in every area of life. I want to zone in on the ways I’m wasting time and energy and start doing those tasks more efficiently. One way I find great new tools and systems is by paying close attention to whenever my friends start raving about something. However, at my core, I’ll always be the review blogger I was when I started this site. So although nowadays you pretty much only hear me raving about and promoting the brands I love, you can be sure I’m carefully testing out and trying multiple things and companies to see if they’ll be worth bringing to you all or not!

Lately one of the companies I’d been hearing a lot of buzz around was Norwex. Several of my friends were raving about their products, so I poked into a few parties to see what the fuss was all about. Ever the skeptic, one video seriously impressed me–you can check it out here–>

 

I love third party reviews and so when I saw this I was sure I wanted to try out the products. So when a friend from back home approached me and asked if I’d like to give them a try, I was super excited! Erica so graciously sent me all of the products you’ll see me trying out today!

She sent me a few other videos, and the one that really intrigued me at first was the claim that I could get my windows and mirrors streak free using just the EnviroCloth®, the Window Cloth, and water. If you’ve been around for any length of time you know that I started moving my family away from using harsh chemically based ingredients as much as possible ever since Amber was a baby because of her ongoing battle with eczema.

It was funny, because right when I was writing this a gal reached out and sent me this article about how bad traditional cleaners can be, especially for allergies.  I have to admit, though, that many times I still rely on traditional medicines, and cleaners. Because, most importantly of all, I need something that works, and works well and fast.

I’ve tried lots of DIY and homemade cleaners, some have done great and others have fallen flat. I was excited to give these Norwex items a chance! The first place to tackle? The china hutch!!!

So cleaning the glass on this has always been a nightmare for me. I absolutely love my beautiful hutch that was graciously gifted to us as newlyweds. No glass cleaner, store bought or homemade, has ever been able to keep the glass streak free, though. You can see above what “clean” usually looked like. Such a pain! So I tackled it, inside and out, with pretty low expectations.

HA! I couldn’t believe it. The only way you can tell that there’s glass there now is the reflection of my china–and it’s like that in real life too. Super impressed with these two items I was like, well…..let me come up with something that there’s NO WAY they could clean. Especially since she also sent me Cleaning Paste. As I was cleaning my glass I noticed my amazing silver tea set was getting tarnished. In the past, I’ve always used a polisher which contains known carcinogens (I know, nasty!!! But it’s the only one I could ever get to work!) So I decided to put these to the test again!

The skeptic in me was starting to believe. So basically I then went through the whole house trying to find things that looked like they needed cleaning to see if it would work, haha!

Pretty cool, right?! They really did work well, and quickly! I really wasn’t putting a lot of “elbow grease” into cleaning these either. I’m a big believer that you should use tools that work harder than you do!

You can see above — the one side I used the paste and the cloths, the other side is still super yucky! Plus–aawwww!!! Chubby baby Amber!!!!

Time and time again, from the bathroom with the body cloths to my glasses with the optical cloth, I came away impressed!

I got onto Facebook and messaged this to Erica,

So I have been using the products this weekend and Holy Cow!! I’m impressed and that is NOT easy to do!!! So excited to share some of my photos!!! ❤ 😀 ❤

After my first package arrived she also wanted to send me the dusting tools–which are super fun and great, too! It’s like she knew my ceiling fans looked like that ^^^ without me even having to tell her!

Which also nicely brings us to my next point:

#3 Ask for Help

While you might not be able to hire someone to come and help with housekeeping right now, chances are pretty good that you don’t live in your house alone! This is the part of the post where I tell you that you shouldn’t be doing it all, alone, no matter how much you’ve told yourself you should.

Also! If you have very little children then just give yourself a big ol’ dose of grace, and know that NO ONE expects you to have a spotless house. Please find a good local moms group, get involved, and feel free to send SOS messages when things really get out of hand. Swap watching kiddos so you can each get the house clean, or trade your product or services for something that they offer! And remember, If anyone offers to help *accept it*!!!

Now for those of you, like me, who have older kiddos, be sure you’re having them pitch in! One reason I really love Norwex is that I can feel super good about having the kids help clean out because there aren’t any nasty chemicals in these items!!! In fact, Norwex has entire line of products specifically designed for kids that include kid-sized dust mitts! If you’re not sure where to start hop over and pin my 15 Beneficial Chores Your First Grader Can Do post – some of them you can also have your preschoolers start helping with, and ALL can be done by kids ages 6 and up!

I’ve shared over and over again but it really is true–my kid’s attitudes and personalities are just so much better and happier when they are contributing to helping out around the house! It’s when we start to let things slide and they have fun, all the time, that entitlement issues and unhappiness and bad attitudes abound. Teach them young that you all work together to keep your things nice! I’ve shared before how the ticket system works great in our house, and we’ve been doing it so long now that we’ve stopped using tickets. Now the kids know what chores they have to do each day, and which are extras that will earn them screen time.

Also, if you work from home or outside of the home full-time, it’s definitely more than fair to ask your husband for help and break chores into a game plan between the entire family. Because I still work part time without a long commute, (while hubby works full time with a long commute), the kids and I do all our cleaning. Hubby loves “new toys” though, and he played around with the next product when I got it in and even made a comment how much he liked it for dusting (without even knowing I’d been sent it to review!)

This awesome product is the EnviroWand™ with Two-Sided Sleeve. This was the handy tool that finally killed those ceiling fan dust bats (because if they’re on a fan they wouldn’t’ be dust bunnies..right??) anyways, I loved it! Instead of just knocking down the thick fluffy caterpillar-like yuck I was able to bend it to dust the top and the sides, and it trapped all the yuck in its fun fur (technically called nubby chenille microfiber).

I’m a shorty (5’5″) and I was able to reach and dust the ceiling fans in our high ceilings no problem with it, so nice!

See?? All beautiful and spinny once more!

Just as I told Erica, I’m so impressed with these products, and that truly is not easy to do! I highly recommend them and hope you’ll all be able to get at least a few of them, so that you can have the next best thing to your own personal maid!

Don’t forget to check out the catalog! Also, if you want ALL.THE.THINGS. (because, why wouldn’t you after this post???!!!!) You can have Erica host a party for you and you can earn free products! Check out her website for details!
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Prepare for Thanksgiving By Taking Your Guest Bathroom from Blah To Fabulous!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Prep4Gathering #CollectiveBias

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And BOOM! Just like that Halloween whizzed by in the blink of an eye and we are full-on barreling towards Thanksgiving! I absolutely adore this time of year, as Thanksgiving and Christmas are both my favorite holidays. For years when Bob was in the military, we had to spend Thanksgiving alone. But ever since moving to Texas, it’s now full of family, fun, and messes! We always spend the day with Bob’s parents, and every other year his brother and family make the trek over from the East Coast to share in the fun. This is one of their years to come, and we can’t wait to catch up with them!

This year marks a very special holiday occasion, as well. Since we just purchased our first home this summer it means that it’s the very first time we get to host everyone at OUR place for Thanksgiving. I’m SO excited to dust off my hostess hat and put all my skills and tricks to the test.

When you think of Thanksgiving, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is all the food! There is a crucial part of your hostess home, however, that you absolutely do NOT want to forget. It can really make or break a visit. What all-important room is this??? The guest bathroom, of course!

This room is sure to be used by your guests, and it’s one that you want to make absolutely sure that they’re happy and comfortable in! Guest bathrooms tend to be a wee bit overlooked in the scheme of the house, though, so I want to share with you today some great ideas and practical ways that you can take yours from ‘Blah to Fabulous’ before this Thanksgiving! Best of all, none of them are super time consuming, and they won’t break the bank either!

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The first thing you need to do is take a trip to Home Depot. They are our favorite retailer for stocking up on all things Happy Home related!

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I firmly believe that a clean home is a happy home, especially when it comes to the bathroom!! That’s why you’ll be spending a bit of time stocking up in the cleaning supply aisle. Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Glade® Apple Cinnamon 3.4oz Candle
  • Glade® Apple Cinnamon Automatic Room Spray 8oz
  • Pledge® 9.7oz Multisurface – Antibacterial
  • Scrubbing Bubbles® 20oz Fresh Clean Scent Bathroom Cleaner
  • Windex® 26oz Original Glass Cleaner

If your bathroom is really in need of a facelift, you can also purchase some upgrades for it at Home Depot. They have an amazing selection of rugs, art, shower curtains, and shelves!

For your guest bathroom, try picking a fun and unique theme that really expresses your family’s personality! Classics like the ocean or lighthouses are always fun (that’s our master bath theme), but really let your imagination go wild and have some fun with the guest bath. We chose to go with Fantasy for ours. It’s a totally unexpected one for a bathroom that works really well and makes me smile every time I’m in there!

Now that you’re armed with all your goodies, it’s time to go home and make the magic happen! If you haven’t paid attention to your bathroom in a while, getting it guest ready can feel intimidating, even if it’s a little space. Here’s a plan that will break this project into bite-sized pieces, with some tips and tricks thrown in!

 

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10 Minutes A Day

Even the most busiest of us can squeeze a 10-minute project into the day. Every morning or evening from now until Thanksgiving set your timer for 10 minutes. The very first thing to do is de-clutter. None of your cleaning or efforts will be any good if it’s lost in a sea of half empty products and items that don’t even belong in there. Consolidate, move items that belong somewhere else in their proper homes, and throw out any old cleaning products, medicines, or personal hygiene items. Now that you’ve cleared out all that cabinet space, it’s time to fill it back up, at least temporarily. For all the personal hygiene items you keep, tuck them away in the cabinets during your guests stay, even if you usually leave them out. This will instantly give your bathroom a de-cluttered feel, and if you have overnight guests it will give them a place to keep their items.

Once you have your bathroom totally de-cluttered, it’s time to tackle deep cleaning! Here is a list of items that you’ll want to do. Don’t get overwhelmed! Just do it for 10 minutes a day and stick with the timer. When it buzzes, you’re done! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you work when you have that buzzer on your phone motivating you!

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Guest Bathroom Deep Cleaning List:

  • Clean Shower & Tub Top to Bottom, Inside, and Outside using Scrubbing Bubbles® 20oz Fresh Clean Scent Bathroom Cleaner
    • Many years ago I was struggling to find a bathroom cleaner I really loved. I went on Facebook (of course!) to ask for recommendations. My childhood bestie told me how much she loved Scrubbing Bubbles® to tackle the mess. I immediately bought it and have loved and used it faithfully ever since! We all know that for the cleaner, the secrets that happen in the bathroom are not so secret. Can I get an Amen, Mamas?! I love that Scrubbing Bubbles® gets that, so no matter what we’re facing, we don’t have to handle it alone!! My best tip is to follow the instructions on the back. Spray the whole area down, and then let the product sit for about 5 minutes. During that time you can tackle a different area of the bathroom and let those bubbles do their work! Once the time is done you can wipe all the grime away easily!
  • Wipe down or clean shower curtain/door
    • If you have a curtain rod be sure to hit the top of it and the rings.
  • Thoroughly Clean Vanity using either Scrubbing Bubbles® 20oz Fresh Clean Scent Bathroom Cleaner
    • Which product I choose to use on the top portion just depends on the grime level, but both work fabulously! Also, be sure to use a damp cloth to wipe down
  • Clean the Mirror and any other shiny surfaces using Windex® 26oz Original Glass Cleaner
    • My family has used Windex® Original Glass Cleaner for as long as I can remember. I have memories of my Mom using it to clean our house, and it’s my go-to now that I am a Mom with a home of my own, as well! It’s just so perfect for so many of the surfaces throughout our home including windows, mirrors, sealed granite and marble, glass shower doors, chrome bathroom fixtures, tile, plastic, vinyl, aluminum, and more–most of which are found in the guest bathroom!
  • Sweep & Clean The Floor
    • If your rugs aren’t new from Home Depot take them outside and give them a good shakedown!
  • Wipe Down any mystery smudges or fingerprints from Walls, Doors, and Baseboards
    • If the doors have stubborn spots you can use Pledge® 9.7oz Multisurface – Antibacterial on them
  • Replace any light bulbs that are burnt out and clean those fixtures using whichever of the products listed above works best for their type

Voila! You’re almost there!! Take a minute and stand back and admire all that hard work. With these amazing products and breaking it into 10-minute chunks it didn’t feel that hard, did it?!

Now that you have a completely gorgeous and sparkling bathroom, it’s time to put the finishing touches on it! Nothing brings a smile to my face more than walking into a sweet-smelling bathroom. To make sure it stays that way, you’ll want to equip your home with a Glade® Apple Cinnamon 3.4oz Candle and also Glade® Apple Cinnamon Automatic Room Spray 8oz.

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Keep these feelings going by putting Glade® Apple Cinnamon Automatic Room Spray 8oz into the bathroom. I love to keep mine in a pretty basket right on top of the toilet. That way all your guests will see and feel free to use it!

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Now that your bathroom is totally guest ready, you still have a few days left until they arrive! Now just set your timer for 5 minutes each day and pop in to check everything and spot clean any little messes that come up. You’ll also want to do this daily during their visit.

If you follow this easy plan you’ll have a fabulous guest bathroom that leaves everyone smiling! Want more amazing ideas on how to be the hostess with the mostess? Check out all these great Tutorials for Thanksgiving Hosting Prep!

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How To Make Your Kitchen Feel Like Christmas: Cleaning & Decorating Tips and Tricks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubSeason #CollectiveBias

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There is no denying it now, we are up to our eyeballs in holiday festivities! I personally, am loving it! Texas has even finally agreed to act like it’s the holiday season and has graciously dipped its temperatures below 80. For me, this signals finally getting to wear jeans and boots again, woo hoo!

It also means that I get to do something I’ve been waiting on for years now–I get to decorate my very own home for the holidays! Through the years when all our things were in storage I kept purchasing Christmas decorations here and there and tucking them away, in hope and anticipation of the home we would be buying once hubby graduated from college. This will be the very first year celebrating Christmas in our own home, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. I absolutely love decorating for Christmas, it’s my hands down very favorite holiday!

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It’s a hard decision, but if I had to narrow it down I would say that the kitchen here is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It has the gorgeous cedar cabinets, granite countertops, and tile floor that I’d always swooned over on Pinterest. Add in some beautiful big windows in the eat-in nook and a fun paint scheme and I’m in love with it! Because it’s such a central part of our open layout home, I wanted to make sure to give it extra attention and love while preparing for Christmas this year. Here are some tips and tricks to make prepping and decorating a joy in your home as well!

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The first thing you’ll need to do is haul down all of your Christmas items and take inventory of what you have. Next, you’ll need to do the same, but with all your cleaning tools and products. Most of the dish cloths I had stored away were ones that we were given as gifts for our wedding. Needless to say, after all these years tattered is a kind adjective for them. I knew I wanted some new ones that would be multipurpose and that could tackle any job from protecting my delicate china to scrubbing away crusted on messes. After I made my list of need it and want it items for Christmas Kitchen Decorating I headed to Walmart (of course!)

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There I found the New Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths in the aisle with all the other kitchen cleaning products like dish soap and sponges. The New Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth gives you non-scratch scrubbing power with the wiping and drying functions of a dish cloth. The premium, textured fiber dish cloth features two sides with scrubbing dots technology on one side originating from their stay clean sponges. The icing on the cake? The Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth is fully washable, reusable and sturdy. I also loved their fun color options–my store had Tan and Coral but it’s also available in Navy and if you shop online you can get it in Gray & Mint!

Right now you can also Save $1 on any two Scotch-Brite Products (Scrub Sponges, Lint Rollers, and Scrubbing Dish Cloths). So definitely print it out and stock up on them! I love them so much I’ll be printing it off and heading back for 2 more of the 2 packs!

Now that you’re back with all you need it’s time to get down to business! Here’s your plan of attack!

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How To Make Your Kitchen Feel Like Christmas: Cleaning & Decorating Tips and Tricks

Step One: De-clutter

Set your timer for 20 minutes and use that time to de-clutter your kitchen, specifically, focus on all the visible areas. That pile of papers lying on the counter that has been needing to be filed? Do it! Those papers on the fridge from the first day of school? Take them down. Those random items that migrated into the kitchen that really belongs anywhere but the kitchen? Send them off to their proper home! During this time look around for special items that can be used in your Christmas decorating. You know all those fancy crystal dishes and vases tucked away in your china cabinet and in your cupboards? Pull them out! I firmly believe that you should use the special things you have, and what better time than to celebrate Christmas?

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Step Two: Wipe Down

It’s hard to create Christmas magic with crumbs and smudges everywhere. Set your timer for 20 minutes again and give your whole kitchen a good rub down using Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth. The soft side is perfect for tables and cabinets while the scrubbing dots handle sticky countertops like a pro. Also give a pass over items like coffee pots, toasters, and those vases and crystal bowls you brought out. If they’re super grimy you’ll want to save them for the next step, but since mine were in my china hutch they just needed a gentle pass over.

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Step Three: Wash Up The Decor

Fill up your sink full of soapy water and your Christmas decor. If it’s not too bad you can just wipe it down, but after 4 years in storage in Texas, my items were all a little yucky! If you have any really stuck on gunk allow the items to soak for 10-15 minutes in super hot water before you start scrubbing them down.

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Again, the Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth is the perfect tool for the job. The non-scratch scrubbing power of the one side was perfect for my delicate glass ornament candle holders (how cute are they?!) While the scrubbing dots tackled some wayward soap scum that had accumulated on my snowman soap dispenser.

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Step Four: Set Up Your Decor

Now that you have a gorgeous sparkling kitchen with gorgeous, sparkling decor it’s time to set it all up! I was excited to get to set up a tablescape for the first time. Since we eat at the table every day I wanted it to be pretty but not overly large to give us plenty of room to sit and eat. A cloth tablecloth & napkins lend an elegant feel while also being super practical even with kids or if you’re a wee bit clumsy like I am (easy to throw in washer and dryer to get clean!). For the centerpiece I purchased this beautiful silver cut out place mat at Walmart. I topped it with the decor I’ve gotten over the years, and my crystal candy dish filled up with seasonal candy. Two vases from my wedding are filled with these gorgeous flowers that I got from Walmart as well! Buying carnations is an easy and inexpensive way to make your space feel instantly festive! I’m so in love with these blue and silver bouquets!

Once you’re done stand back and do a happy dance to Christmas music as you admire in your beautiful kitchen!

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Don’t forget to Pin This Post for easy reference this year!

Be sure to also check out other great recipes and cleaning tutorials for this holiday season here!

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How To Get Your Kids To Help Out Without A Fuss

This shop for a microfiber spray mop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanForTheHolidays #CollectiveBias

The most wonderful time of the year is also usually the busiest and can quickly turn into the most stressful! If you’re in any work field that revolves around retail or service the holidays are the definitely the busiest time of year; plus add to that the extra activities, traditions, decorating, travel, hosting family and friends, and all of a sudden keeping up with the day to day basics can become more than just challenging!

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15 Beneficial Chores Your First Grader Could Do

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. its advertiser Finish dishwasher cleaner
All opinions are mine alone. #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias

I’ve always had a strong feeling that kids should pitch in and contribute to the family, but until this past summer I somewhat underestimated just how much young children are actually able to do! It wasn’t until we instituted the Ticket System that I realized just how much my children could do–and even enjoyed doing. This was especially true of Amber who at 6 1/2 I realized could do a TON around the house. This has been such a huge blessing to me as I work from home–and it’s been great for her as she learns to contribute to the family and also gets rewarded for it through our system! She does everything on this list well and consistently–though obviously she’s not doing every chore on this list every day or even every week. I love that with the ticket system she has the option to pick and choose depending on what she feels like, what needs done, and what she would like to earn towards. There will be times when I’ll tell her to do something–but even then we have no bad attitudes since she knows she’ll be earning tickets for it (and that if she does have a bad attitude she will still have to do the task but then lose the tickets)!

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Simplify Your Life ~ Simplify Your Products My Healthy Home

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy who help promote social responsibility by providing products for My Healthy Home, and are endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World—-an organization dedicated to creating healthy environments for children.

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Pressures begin to build–work, school, after-school activities, recitals, pets, check ups, visits, holidays, vacations, overflowing inboxes, overflowing counters. All piling higher and higher on the ever spinning plates that I as a work from home mom am forced to juggle around each day. Throw in an unexpected curve ball like a nasty spring illness and things start to fall, crashing to the ground and shattering in stress-filled and messy pieces all around.

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Ideas to Freshen Your Home and Car

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Febreze

It’s that spring-cleaning-itch time of year! Between the weather warming up and Easter being just days away, chances are good that you’re in full-on cleaning mode right now. This time of year is crazy though–recitals, kids programs, exams, work, and more! So today I thought it might help if I gave you some great ideas to freshen your home and car–with each I’ll include a speedy fix that you can do immediately and then a long term “keep the clean” feeling strategy! Because one of my favorite thing about Spring is all the amazing scents it brings–and the memories that come along with them!

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