Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nightly Routine

Call me boring, but I crave routine. Since November 4, my life has been a lot less predictable than I like. Fortunately, my babe is starting to establish a schedule and I am feeling healthy again. Recovering from a c-section, then the holidays, then strep throat. Enough!

I am thankful for a husband who really helps out around the house, but since he also works outside the home, I feel like the lion's share of household duties are indeed my responsibility. It's easiest for me to keep up with clutter and projects in small segments, so rather than having one big weekly cleaning session, I try to tackle a few things every day. So, before going upstairs for bed each night, I try to:
  • Clear off and wipe kitchen counters and dining table
  • Empty and reload dishwasher
  • Decide on/do any prep for breakfast for the next day (so starving toddler can be quickly fed)
  • Pick up toys
  • Gather things to go upstairs

I find that I operate much better if the kitchen is clean and everything is (close to) in its place before I go to bed. Tripping over something in the middle of the floor before I've had my morning coffee isn't good!

A word about the dishwasher: I try very hard to make sure it gets started right after dinner if possible, even if it's just 90% full. Unloading is not my favorite thing, but it really only takes five minutes. It's important to me, because boy do I hate doing it after a quantity of dishes have accumulated on the counter and there's no room to put the clean ones as I work. Minor things in the scheme of life, I know, but as I read and shared recently "outer order contributes to inner calm."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shiny Coffee Carafe

Confession: I don't clean my coffeemaker every month (the way the manufacturer recommends). Honestly, I think I've done the thorough cleaning of the tank less times than I can count on one hand. It doesn't seem all that valuable to me since it's the same thing every day.

The un-lovely 'before' photo. I am guilty of not washing my coffeepot regularly.
But the carafe (the clear, glass pitcher) is something that people, including me, see. I recently read a great tip on how to clean the carafe, submitted by a waitress (see below). My mother-in-law was gracious enough to test this out while she was helping me after the baby was born. She said it was pretty simple and it appeared to just take a minimal amount of elbow grease. Plus, the materials were on hand and are ridiculously cheap. I tried it again last week.
Fill half to 2/3 full with ice, add 1-2 Tbsp salt and a little bit of water and swirl vigorously.
  1. Fill your carafe partway full with ice
  2. Add a generous amount of salt--one to two tablespoons
  3. Add a little bit of water
  4. Swirl vigorously and gently shake in a clockwise motion (or counterclockwise)
  5. Rinse and admire!
Here's a pic of the like-new shiny carafe after swirling and a very quick wash in the sink.
Less than five minutes and I have this beautiful result!
    Doing this every other month should keep it looking great, though clearly I wouldn't have to do it that often to achieve the same end result. I really thought there was mineral buildup that wouldn't ever go away. I'm happy to be proved wrong!

    I bet this would work on pitchers, flower vases and similar containers with buildup.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Upstairs, Downstairs

    (Hi, I am back! After several rounds of antibiotics-necessary illness in our house, and everyone finally getting close-to-enough sleep, I am finally trying to resume normal posting. So far 2012 is not as productive as I had hoped. Anyway, thanks for your patience.)

    No, the title of this post is not referring to the fabulous British sitcom, cool as it is. I am, however, referring to the items that inevitably seem to wind up on the wrong floor of your home. At my house, this means diapers, laundry, mail/papers, dishes, and toys that migrate faster than you can say "boo," especially when you have a two-story foyer and it's *so fun* to throw things over the railing (if you are two)!

    The other night, my darling husband was out playing volleyball, and the kids were in bed, so I spent about two hours just rearranging things in my house. The orderliness of my bedroom is now unmatched! I grabbed a handled basket and just starting tossing in everything that needed to go up or down. I tried to continue working on decluttering one room at a time, but had to make several trips to unload/put away.
    After that was done, I filled the basket with things that needed to go back into my older son's bedroom and left that outside his door so that I could handle them next day. I find myself doing this more and more often. I am thankful for a piece of furniture outside the boys' rooms, where I can put two stacks of laundry or toys. At least items are somewhat sorted and ready to go back where they belong, since one or both are sleeping when I have time to fold laundry or declutter.

    I am vowing to try and keep up with this project, keeping the basket handy so that when I tidy up at the end of each evening, I can toss everything in and carry it up. Items that need to go downstairs are placed on a corner table at the top of the steps so I can easily grab it on a trip down the next morning.

    How do you deal with the constant up-and-down? Do you have a system like this for stuff that needs to go in and out of the car? I'd love to hear it!