Thursday, December 31, 2009

Daily Cleaning: Move Laundry from Washer to Dryer

Laundry is a complete pain.  If you let it, it can consume your weekends and make you all stressed out about the prospect of not having any clean underwear.  Let the madness end.  Come up with a plan to tackle that laundry.

Each day when I get home from work, I plan to put in a load of laundry.  Unless there isn't any dirty laundry, but that's not happened yet.  If it ever does, it's total gold star time.  But anyway, I put the laundry in when I get home from work, and then go off to do other things in my after-work routine

At some point, the washing machine is going to beep.  When I hear that beep, or when I realize that the washer is done washing the clothes, I have to go into the laundry room and switch the laundry from washer to dryer.

This seems very simple, but I forget to do it all the time.  In fact, there are a bunch of dirty towels in my washing machine right now.  If I let them sit for hours or days on end, which happens a lot, they start to smell and I end up having to wash them all over again.

So, even if I catastrophe strikes and I don't end up folding and putting away the laundry, at least the clothes won't smell if I do this one small thing.  And that is an accomplishment in itself.

Okay, I'm going to go move the laundry from the washer to the dryer now.  Wonder what's wrong with me?   Think I have way too much free time?  Check out my confession.

Image from Campus Advantage Greensite.

NYE To-Do List

I think today is my last real day to get stuff done during vacation.  We're going to a NYE party tonight, and tomorrow my husband will be home.  I'm hoping we can get some Christmas decorations put away tomorrow.  Here's what's on deck for today:

  • Daily cleaning list

  • Wipe down baseboards in kitchen

  • Put away rest of gifts under Christmas tree

  • Spend 10 minutes organizing closet

  • Workout for 30 minutes - already done!

  • Hopefully, take a nap in preparation for a late evening
That's it for today!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Daily Cleaning: Swish & Swipe a Bathroom

I don't know about you, but our bathrooms can go from clean to nasty in no time at all.  This next part of the Daily Cleaning routine also comes from FlyLady.  It's called Swish and Swipe.

The Swish & Swipe takes some advanced planning, but it will pay off by helping you stay focused when it comes time to clean.  To prepare for the Swish & Swipe, you'll need to gather the following things in your bathroom:
  • Windex or whatever glass cleaner you use
  • Paper towels or old rags
  • A toilet bowl brush
  • Whatever soap you have around the house.  FlyLady suggested using old shampoo that you hate.
Put all of this stuff in your bathroom so it's ready to go.

At some point during the day, you're going to have to go to the bathroom (hopefully!).  This is when you'll do your Swish & Swipe.  After you've taken care of business, get out your glass cleaner and paper towels.  Clean all of the gunk off the mirror.  If you need to, wipe down the countertop.

Once that's finished, take that same paper towel, and wipe down your toilet.  If you need more paper towels, so be it. 

Then, take your toilet bowl brush and soap, and clean the inside of the toilet bowl.  FlyLady suggested keeping the toilet brush in an old kitchen canister, and putting whatever soap you decide to use at the bottom of the container.  I bought some cheapy toilet bowl brushes that have little containers to put them in, so I will periodically have to refill the containers with soap.  Whatever works for you is fine, as long as you have something prepared and ready to use when the time comes.

Give the toilet one last flush, and you're done!  Hopefully by doing this periodically, you won't ever have to look at a disgusting toilet.

Ummm..why am I blogging about cleaning toilets?  For real?  Check out my confession.

Image from

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Daily Cleaning: Spend Two Minutes Cleaning a Hot Spot

Hot Spots.  We all have them in our homes.  They are those places where stuff seems to accumulate day after day until it's an out-of-control mess.  The FlyLady, Marla Cilley, coined the term "Hot Spot" as part of her FlyLady cleaning routine.  My hot spots tend to be my desk, where we leave our mail, and the laundry room.

For this part of your daily cleaning routine, pick one of your Hot Spots, and spend just 2 minutes cleaning it.  No more, no less.  This is focused cleaning, so you're cocentrating on just this one spot.  Today I chose to clean our laundry room, and I was able to clear off a good area for folding clothes within that two minutes.  Even though I didn't spend that much time cleaning, it was good to see some results!

Why in the world am I blogging about spending two minutes cleaning my laundry room?  Check out my confession.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Plan for December 28, 2009

I'm on vacation this week, so I'm kind of taking things easy.  We have a lot of leftover ham, so I'm trying to plan a couple of meals to help us use it up.  Since I'll be home all week, I'll also be eating a lot of ham sandwiches for lunch.  Here's our menu plan for the week:

Monday - Sushi!
Tuesday - Pasta with ham, peas and mushrooms
Wednesday - Out to eat!
Thursday - Ham, frozen veggies and applesauce
Friday - Tilapia, frozen veggies, rolls

Check out for more menu planning ideas!

Today's To-Do

Ahhh, vacation!  I have this week off, so I'm going to try to make the most of it.  I'm totally feeling motivated to get stuff done today, largely because my new Bloggy friend Tori left a comment on this blog.  I'm not alone in the blogosphere!  If you have time, check out her blog - it's totally cute!

Okay, down to business.  Here's today's To-Do list:
  • Finish last four student thank-you notes
  • Make list of people to send NYE cards to
  • Address NYE cards
  • Mail out all of these cards (this MUST be done - no sleep until it's finished)
  • Daily Cleaning List
  • Put away five Christmas decorations
  • Trek to JC Penny's to check out Lee jeans that don't gap in the back.  Oh the humanity!  I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be excited about Lee jeans.  Just check me into the retirement home now.  But really, I'm tired of always tugging up my jeans, and people just shouldn't have to see all of that business.  It's not right.
  • Spend 10 minutes on the Wii Fit
Image from

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Daily Cleaning: Making the Bed

Everything looks much more organized and put-together if the bed is made.  Making the bed should take about three minutes tops.  Even though it's kind of a pain to make your bed every day, it really makes a big impact on what your bedroom looks like. 

Because I get up much earlier than my husband, I put this task in my daily cleaning routine, which I do after I get home from work.  If I'm lucky, this chore might be done before I get home.  But if not, it's a good way to start my daily cleaning routine, because I see big improvements quickly.   

Full disclosure:  It's after 4 p.m. on a Saturday and my bed is NOT made.  The picture shown above is not my actual bed, but it is the bedspreadI have.  Mine just never looks that nice.

Wonder why I'm blogging about making my bed?  Check out my confession.

Photo from

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To-Do Today and Check-In

Yesterday's to-do list...did not get done.  Here's what I did manage to finish:
  1. Ironed tablecloths - Not really.  I don't have an ironing board, so I threw them in the dryer with wet towels and then put them on the tables, hoping they would look ironed.  Thank goodness it worked.
  2. Inventoried china.  Done.  I had to do a lot of unpacking from when we moved, so this took a really long time.  Panic ensued when I realized that I only have eleven placesettings and twelve guests coming for Christmas dinner.  I made a rushed order for another placesetting (not cheap) from Linens-N-Things.  If they deliver before Christmas, I will be writing up a major rave about them.  Not holding my breath, though.
  3. Washed china.  Done.
  4. Made choclolate-covered pretzels.  Ate lots of them.  Gained 5 pounds.
  5. Mailed two Christmas cards with enclosed gifts.  Done.
  6. While I did all of this, I watched the worst movie.  Margot at the Wedding.  It's. Just. Awful.
To Do for Today
  • Buy plane tickets
  • Go to movies with friend
  • Package chocolate-covered pretzels.
  • Go for 30 minute walk
  • Do all of the cleaning stuff I was supposed to do yesterday

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today's To-Do

We're hosting Christmas at our house this year, which means I have a lot to do to get ready for company!  Here's my to-do list for today:
  • Iron tablecloths
  • Set tables with chargers and centerpieces (a TBD DIY project!)
  • Inventory china
  • Wash china needed for Christmas dinner
  • Put up tiny Christmas tree in dining room
  • Make chocolate covered pretzels
  • Mail out 2 Christmas cards with gift cards enclosed
And, on the cleaning front, I need to:
  • Spend 10 minutes de-cluttering office
  • Try out new granite cleaning mixture!
  • Sweep kitchen floor
  • Wipe lightswitch plates with alcohol pads
  • Shovel front stoop (after the snow stops, or at least slows down)
Image from

A Clean Confession

Okay, so if you take a good look at this blog, you might notice that I started it last spring, and then just stopped writing.  To be truthful, I've started a lot of blogs, and I was very excited about them all.  Then, I got bored with them, or they became too much work to maintain.

So, why am I starting this blog back up again, you may ask?  Well, I have a confession to make...
I have cleaning ladies.  They come to my house every two weeks and do all of my major cleaning for me.  I don't really even know how to clean my house at all.  If left to my own devices, my house would be covered in piles of dust and filth.

So what?  That's what I used to think.  Then I started looking at our budget and had a minor freak out about how much money we're spending on the little things - like the cleaning ladies.  I did the math, and realized that every year we pay our cleaning lady the equivalent of a little more than one of my paychecks.  After realizing that I work a half-a-month every year to pay my cleaning ladies, I decided that it might be worth it for me to do the cleaning myself.

Last week I rented Julie & Julia, and I was so impressed at how Julie Powell cooked her way through an entire cookbook in a year.  It made me start to think...if Julie Powell can cook every day for an entire year, surely I can clean my house every day for an entire year.  Right?

Because I'm completely chicken, I'm not getting rid of the cleaning ladies just yet.  And, I'm not going to tell my husband either.  I have A LOT (everything) to learn about cleaning, and I want to have the cleaning ladies there as a safety net in case I completely stink at this.  My hope is that by March, I'll be housekeeping well enough to get rid of the cleaning ladies.

So there you have it.  That's my confession.  I'm a massive primadonna.  I do not clean my own house.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Rave: Outlander

Lately I've been trying to watch less TV and read more.  I find that reading fiction before I go to sleep helps me stop obsessing about work so I can relax.  If you're looking for a good book that will have you hooked for days on end, Outlander by Diana Galbadon is the book for you.  However, I can't promise that you will get any more sleep - it actually kept me up until 2 a.m. for two nights in a row.  Considering that I'm a person who usually falls asleep at 9:30, this is saying a lot!  This book came highly recommended by my friends on the Nest Book Club forum.  I'm glad I took their advice and read this book.  Next, I'm planning on reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday To-Do List

Okay, seriously.  It's time for me to get OFF the internet, and start getting some stuff done.  Here's my TO DO list for the rest of the day:

  • Write 5 thank-you notes (for gifts from students)
  • Plan shopping trips, including food needed for Christmas dinner
  • Go shopping at Jewel and CVS
  • Do weekly menu plan
  • Catch up on phonecalls
  • Make dinner
  • Clean up kitchen after dinner
What's on your to-do list?  If you blog about your to-dos, feel free to link to them in the comments below.

Image from

Free $1-off-Coke coupons on RecycleBank

RecycleBank is offering 100 Rewards Points just for signing up for their Rewards Program.  I'm particularly excited about this offer, because you can use rewards points for $1.00-off-any-Coke-product couponsTo sign up for the program, click here and then click on the orange button in the top-left-hand corner.  After you sign up, you can immediately claim your rewards.  The coupons will be sent to you in the mail.

RecycleBank has also partnered with the Kashless initiative.  You can earn more rewards points through RecycleBank through activity on the Kashless website.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Use it Up: Orange Peel Home Fragrance

Ever wonder what you can do with your orange peels after you've eaten the orange?
If you boil some water and throw the orange peels in with some cinnamon, it smells wonderful! Some people also like to add cloves to the mix. I'm trying this out for the first time today, and it's working out much better than I thought it would.

I've always been able to find inexpensive air freshener by using coupons and shopping at CVS and Walgreens. At this point, I have a surplus of air freshener spray. However, I'm concerned about all of the chemicals I'm using, and I thought that this would be one way to cut back.

Have you tried this inexpensive air freshener idea? How did it work for you?
Photo from: Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Welcome to Newlywed Home

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am working on fixing up my house and learning how to do domestic things like cooking and cleaning. By documenting my progress on Newlywed Home I hope to make myself more accountable and motivated to get things done.

I also LOVE looking at what others have done to decorate. If you'd like to share any of your domestic accomplishments (no matter how small!), please feel free to email me and I'll set up a link to your site or blog.

Thanks again for visiting!