Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yea and Amen!

A few weeks ago I posted on the six commandments of organizing and I'm still sticking to them. But this article essentially covers them in three points. I love it!

"Outer order contributes to inner calm."  Oh yeah.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unclog Your Sink, the Easy and Green Way

So, hubby and I have a chronic problem with our bathroom sink. Every few months the drain gets so sluggish that we have to take action.

I'm not entirely sure who or what to blame, but I imagine there is toothpaste and shaving cream residue mingling with the main culprit: hair.

I'm thrilled that there is a simple and inexpensive remedy to this. First, I unscrew the decorative part of the drain stopper, just so I can get a better look at what's happening. You may or may not be able to do this, depending on your sink. I use anything I can find that is long and skinny to fish out chunks. Sorry for the word picture, but I am sparing you and showing this on a clean sink! This last time, I just used q-tips to clean the opening. Hubby has a long wire that he sometimes uses (like a miniature pipe snake).

Once the visible buildup is cleared, I pour a small "mountain" of baking soda over the drain hole, maybe an inch high. Then, with exciting science class volcano action, I pour vinegar on top and watch the bubbles go to work. It sometimes takes four or five healthy pours of vinegar to fully rinse the baking soda down the drain. Once the foaming has stopped, follow with a full kettle of boiling water. By now, your sink should be draining rapidly.

A happy sink!
I love that this trick does virtually nothing to the water supply (the acid of the vinegar and the base of the baking soda cancel each other out) and is so stinking cheap! Neither can be said of the commercially available drain clearing products.

Monday, December 12, 2011

No More Stinky Towels

Having guests for the holidays? Want to give your linens a refresh without having to buy new ones? (White sales don't start until January.) Here are a few tips:

Wash towels on hot. Though cold water saves energy--I just learned that 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating water--hot kills any bacteria hanging out in the towels. This is particularly important if colds are circulating in the family.

Put vinegar in the bleach dispenser and at rinse time. Not only does vinegar remove buildup from soap or oils, it revives the fabric and make your towels fluffier. It should also take care of any sour smells, which are usually more of a problem in the summer. Don't use liquid fabric softener, which just layers the towels with a petroleum-based product that eventually builds up and can be a breeding ground for more bacteria. Plus, some folks will be irritated by fragrance. Which leads me to my next point.

Dry smart. Use wool dryer balls, a clean tennis shoe or clean tennis balls to keep the towels moving in the dryer, reducing drying time and further fluffing them. Be sure to find out if the time dry or the sensor dry is the most efficient setting on your dryer. If you have time, clean the dryer vent which leads from the back of your dryer to the outside of your house. Getting rid of built-up lint will definitely speed your drying time!

Do you have other tips for how to freshen your house for guests? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shout Out for An Organized Lady

Overwhelmed? House full of clutter? Already planning how to simplify in the New Year?

You're going to want to keep an eye on Glynnis' blog for the next month or so. Love her ideas!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Greeting Cards

I was recently invited to a gathering with some of the moms from my MOPS group. One of the organizers prepared a bunch of great conversation starters, including the question "What are you good at?" There are many talented women in this world, and I really enjoyed hearing the answers from around the table. They included everything from 'loving my kids' to 'keeping an attractive home' to 'keeping in touch with others'. The last answer sparked some conversation about greeting cards.

A lot of us want to send nice cards and notes but have trouble following through. One woman noted she has a friend who buys cards and sends them right away. Her friend wants the card to go out when she thinks of it--before it is too late--even if that means it's weeks ahead of the birthday!

That comment got my wheels turning and I've compiled a few tips for you on how to make the prep work of sending cards a bit easier: