In an effort to branch out more with blogging, I’d like to include more home content here. As a new homeowner, I’m interested in and participating in more home improvement projects. Zach and I would would like to improve our home while we’re there — maybe we will live there forever, but if we don’t, we want to be able to sell it for more than we bought it for. Our first big project is on the horizon: We are getting new windows installed any day now (the company is just waiting for a good weather day to do it)! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that, as we have two huge picture windows on the front of our house that are old and needing replaced.
In the meantime, I’m trying to keep the inside of our home as nice as possible, but it’s tough to keep the clutter under control. When we lived in our apartment, I feel like it was easier to keep it nice because it was so small I was kind of forced to. Now I have lots of storage where I can stash things which is a recipe for disaster!
I decided to participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure this year which will kick start a year of keeping our home clean and organized. The first task was to complete a list of projects, room by room which was pretty easy for me. This weekend’s tasks were to buy flowers:
I ended up getting two bunches of flowers at the grocery store for $1/each (they were on Manager’s Special), which instantly brightened up our main living space. I’m always so glad when I buy fresh flowers for the house, even if it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile expense when I’m at the store.
The next task I tackled for the weekend was to stock up on ‘green’ cleaners. I ended up just stocking up on vinegar and baking soda, to make my own. I followed this recipe and put it into an old Mr. Clean spray bottle:
Basically, I just combined the vinegar, baking soda, dishsoap and lemon essential oil and let it foam up for a while:
..then filled the bottle with water. I used this cleaner to clean up everything this weekend, and it worked very well and smelled great! I’m a big fan of using vinegar and baking soda as cleanser, if only for the reason that it’s so much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff (even the green cleansers). In fact, I cleaned my oven last month and because I despise those stinky chemical cleansers so I sprayed my oven down with a vinegar/water/lemon juice mixture and sprinkled the whole thing with baking soda. Then I just sat down with a bucket of warm water and scrubbed away. You wouldn’t believe how sparkling clean my oven got! I will never go back to those stinky oven cleaners again.
The final task for this weekend was to thoroughly clean all the floors in the house. Basically, we were to pretend that a floor inspector would be checking our work when we were done. We have a 3 bedroom Cape Cod house, in which the entire upstairs is our bedroom. We have a full bath, walk in closet, bedroom and sitting room up there. The rest of the bedrooms/bathrooms are downstairs. It was definitely a huge selling point for me, it’s so nice having that space up there just for us, and I think that will be the case as our family grows. It’s all carpeted up there and the floors do not see the care that the downstairs hardwood does. So, I started up there first thing Sunday morning. I quickly noticed that the tricky part about this task was that I was going to have to do some other cleaning/organizing before I was able to clean the floors as thoroughly as I would like. Example: Our closet
I really love this closet. Again, it was a huge selling point when we decided on our house. It’s a full walk in, one side for Zach and one for me. We even have a cute little window in there to brighten things up. Lots of shelves above, tons of space. But my side basically looked like a bomb had gone off. Poor Zach was being overrun by my mess. Especially now that I’m having a little trouble fitting into my clothes, I would throw things around in there. Well, I knew I’d have to get everything off the floor to properly vacuum in there so I figured, why not go ahead and re-organize? I’ll spare you the details (although they are pretty fascinating to me), but I’m so glad I did it. It was so easy to get dressed this morning.
After I finished vacuuming upstairs, cleaning the baseboards and mopping the bathroom, I vacuumed the stairs and it was all downhill from there. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do clean my hardwood floors once a week (ish), so downstairs wasn’t too hard. I did keep in mind the very thorough nature of the cleaning project, so I broke the house into sections. I would sweep with the broom to get the big stuff, then run the vacuum on the bare floor setting, then use a paper towel and my green cleaner to get the corners, then mop. I seriously could not stop looking at my clean floors when all was said and done:
The first week of the January Cure was a success! I’m definitely inspired to keep going and hopefully by the end of the month we’ll see a serious improvement in the cleanliness/organization of our house!
Question of the Day:
Has the new year inspired you to clean up your house?