Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Cleaning: The Kitchen

This one's a doozie!  It took me about an hour to complete this cleaning routine, so that's why I decided to put it at the end of the week.  In reality, a lot of times I don't come home and/or don't have the energy to do this on Friday nights.  If need be, this weekly cleaning list can be postponed until Saturday morning when you have more energy. 

However, if you don't have anything to do on Friday night, it can be a nice way to get in a workout (for real, this is hard work), and your kitchen will look fabulous for you all weekend.

Here it is:  the Kitchen Cleaning Routine:
  • De-trash the fridge.  Get rid of anything that looks even remotely nasty.
  • Wipe one fridge shelf or drawer
  • Empty/load dishwasher if necessary
  • Wipe cabinet pulls and drawer pulls
  • Wipe fridge handle, stove handles and knobs
  • Clean stove hood
  • Clean stove top
  • Wipe 2-3 cabinet fronts
  • Clean front of dishwasher
  • Clean counter tops
  • Polish counter tops (if you have the kind of counter tops that require this)
  • Shine sink (a la FlyLady)
  • Take out trash and wipe out inside of trashcan if necessary
  • Vacuum floor
  • Mop floor (I'm using my new steam mop!)
  • Scrub anything that's still left on the floor
I'm really hoping that the more I do this, the faster it will go.  Hopefully I won't have to do every step every week.  This week I probably spent about 15 minutes trying to get rid of one stubborn spot on my floor.  I hope I don't have to spend that kind of time on floor spots every week.  The kitchen is definitely where the cleaning ladies earn their paychecks!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Clean is Your House?

Hopefully your house is cleaner than the ones that are featured on this show.  But, if not, have no fear!  These sassy cleaning experts are ready with lots of tips and tricks for getting your house in order.

How Clean is Your House airs on the BBC.  Most of the houses are in the UK, but several of the more hilarious episodes were filmed in the US. 

Click here to see cleaning tips from the stars of the show, Kim and Aggie.

This program is so inspirational, and it always motivates me to go clean something.  Plus, it's totally funny.
Image from

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weekly Cleaning: Living Room/Dining Room

We rarely set foot in our dining room, so I decided to clean it on the same day as the living room.  If your dining room gets more use, you might want to dedicate a separate day to cleaning it too.  Here's the Living Room/Dining Room Cleaning Routine:
  • Clean cobwebs
  • Dust all surfaces and items
  • Clean end-table and coffee-table
  • Wipe switchplates, remotes and phone
  • De-clutter reading materials (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
  • Vacuum
  • Clean hardwood floors (I'm using my steam mop to do this step)
This takes a little longer, but we use our living room for almost everything.  It's worth it to get it clean and *hopefully* sanitized.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekly Cleaning List: The Bedroom

Fortunately, this cleaning list is pretty easy to get through.  It took me about 20 minutes to complete all of the tasks:
  • Clean cobwebs (if necessary)
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Change sheets
  • Wipe switchplates and doorknobs
  • Straighten one drawer
An easy cleaning day...and it's so nice to have clean sheets to sleep on!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 1/25/10

I'm on my own again this week, so I'm keeping things really simple:

Monday - Tilapia, asparagus and sweet potato
Tuesday - Biryani, apple sauce and sweet potato
Wednesday - Pot stickers and edamame
Thursday - Stir Fry and sweet potato
Friday - Out to eat with friends :-)

Lots of sweet potatoes to use up this week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday's To-Do List

Boy, it's been a crazy week.  Between getting grades done, arranging things with my doctor for a procedure I'm having in March, and trying to get the day-to-day essentials done, I've been crazy busy.  Things seem to be calming down a bit, so it's time for me to get going on my to-do list!

Sunday's To-Do
  • Finish up laundry
  • Go through fridge and get rid of anything that's even slightly nasty
  • Paperwork
  • Menu planning
  • Grocery shopping?
  • Clean kitchen (it needs it...bad!)
  • Wii Fit step while watching Desperate Housewives
What are you up to this Sunday?
Image from

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Weekly Cleaning List - Bathroom

We have more than one bathroom in our house, but for simplicity's sake, I'm just cleaning one bathroom per week.  That's enough, eh?

Here's my cleaning list for the Bathroom:

Clean outside of toilet
Empty trashcan
Clean inside of trashcan
Clean shower door
Scrub floor
Wipe switchplates, doorknobs and drawer pulls
Dust baseboards and any other surfaces that need it.
Wash one area rug
Straighten one cabinet or drawer

You may notice that I'm not scrubbing the inside of the shower.  I've decided to take a tip from the FlyLady and clean my shower while I'm in it.  We'll see how well that works out!

I have a ton of alcohol wipes, so I'm using those to wipe the switchplates, doorknobs and drawer pulls.  I left a big stack of unopened wipes in the bathroom in case I see anything gross in the bathroom that needs to be sanitized during the week.

Overeall, this cleaning took me 25 minutes.  Much less than I thought it would, but it was really hard work.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shark Steam Mop Review

As promised, I'm back with a review of my new Shark Steam Mop.  Overall, it's a good product, and I'll definitely get some use out of it.  However, it's not the miracle product that I was hoping it would be.  Here's why:
  • It does not remove sticky disgusting stuff on the floor.  I tried using the steam function to get rid of some mystery spots, but it wasn't effective.  Now I have to go back with some cleaner and a rag to really get rid of the spots.
  • It doesn't pick up EVERYTHING.  This is largely my fault.  I did not sweep the floor before using the mop, so I ended up pushing a lot of bigger icky things around with the mop.  So, now I'm in the market for a super stick vacuum that I can use to pre-clean the floors before mopping.
The really good stuff about the mop:
  • No chemicals.  It just uses water and steam made from the water.
  • No buckets or wringing out mops.  I hate that.
  • It's fast.  It took me about 10 minutes to mop my kitchen.  Nice!
  • You can wash the microfiber cloths.
  • I tried it out a little bit with my hardwood floors, and it looked great afterwards.
  • It's small and light.
The more I write about the mop, the more I like it.  As for the fun's not a totally good time, but it's not bad either.  I'd compare it to an after-work party after all of the bosses have left.

Does anyone else use this mop?  Any tips for a newbie like myself?

Steam Mop Mania

Something that's been really weighing on my mind has been cleaning my floors.  I HATE mopping, and I completely suck at it.  Now that I've vowed to clean my own house, I'm going to have to mop.

I decided that I'd just clean with a few rags and soap instead, and I did that last week with one of my bathrooms.  It was super easy, because the cleaning lady had just mopped the floors a couple of days ago.

Yesterday I started surfing the interweb, and I came across product reviews on Amazon for a Shark Steam Mop.  According to the reviews, this mop could be the answer to my mopping quandry.

Unable to wait, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond this morning, and I bought one of these mops.  As I type this, I'm eyeing the unopened box with anticipation.  According to the reviews on Amazon, this mop is supposed to make mopping easy and FUN.  Please pardon me for being a tad skeptical, especially about that last claim.

I'm off to try out the mop.  Will post review, including comments on the fun factor, later today.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Early Edition!

I'm totally behind with all of my weekend to-dos, but I did manage to scrounge together a menu plan for this week.  Here's what's cooking:

Sunday - Chicken Masala with Rice
Monday - Crock Pot BBQ Ham, Brussel Sprouts
Tuesday - Tilapia, Cooked Spinach, Biryani
Wednesday - Bow Tie Pasta with Ham, Peas and Mushrooms
Thursday - Beans & Rice with corn tortillas and guacamole
Friday - Out to eat!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend To-Do List

Finally, a relaxing weekend at home!  Here's some of the stuff I'm hoping to get done:

Take clothes to the cleaner
Organize and store Christmas decorations (for REAL this time!)
Unpack placesetting of china and put away in the right spot.
Re-arrange displays in living room and dining room
Take clothes to consignment shop

This should definitely keep me busy!  What are your to-do's for the weekend?  Feel free to link to your own blog below, or just leave a comment about your weekend plans.

Image from

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Weekly Cleaning Lists

I'm to the point where I really need to start busting out some weekly cleaning lists.  I've got the basic plan down, and I have daily cleaning tasks, as well as morning, after-work and evening routines.  But, truth be told, the real cleaning stuff is going to be in the weekly cleaning lists.  The rest of the stuff is just organization and building good habits.

I have NO idea how to go about this.

Someone from the Cleaning & Organizing board on the Nest suggested that you go through each room in the house and write down what needs to be cleaned in that particular room.  Then, you can begin to build your cleaning list off of that.  I think that's what I'm going to try to do.

I also like the idea of getting inspiration from others.  The Hyper Homemaker had a pretty good list, and the Fly Lady's detailed cleaning lists look pretty good too.

It's time for me to hunker down and start creating a plan.  Hence, the procrastination and writing yet another blog post.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Cleaning Ladies Update

Our cleaning ladies came today, and our house looks marvelous.  Normally this would make me happy, but now that I'm trying to eliminate our need for a cleaning ladies, it's a tad depressing.  There is no way I can replicate these results.

On a positive note, we barely had to do anything to get the house ready for their visit. Usually we're scrambling around, trying to get everything in order for them.  This time, everything was ready to go.  I think this is due to the implementation of the daily cleaning routine, morning routine, after-work routine and evening routine.

As the FlyLady would say, "Go me!"  Unfortunately, I have a lot further to go.  Those cleaning ladies have some mad skills.  I have no idea how I'm going to get the floors as clean as they do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recent Reads

I am such a sucker for makeover stories.  That's probably why I loved The Overnight Socialite.  It's a story about a girl who moves to New York and meets an obnoxious Park Avenue-type who decides to make her into a socialite to help boost his lame career.  It's a twist on a story that's been done over and over again, but I loved it!

Now I'm on to Bringing Home the Birkin.  I'll post a mini-review when I'm finished, but so far, it's a good read too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of January 11

Time is just flying by!  We just got back from a trip to Florida where I ran the Disney Half-Marathon.  Now it's back to reality, and menu-planning.  Here's what I have planned for the week:

Monday - Traveling - had a salad at Panera
Tuesday - Asparagus/Ham Wraps, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Salad
Wednesday - Salmon, Rice Pilaf, Frozen Veggies (cooked, of course!), Cooked Spinach
Thursday - Red Beans & Rice and Guacamole
Friday - Pork Tenderloin, Brussel Sprouts, Rice Pilaf

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

Truly, this is what I've been dreading the most.  It's finally time to start coming up with a plan for actually cleaning my house.  I'm using the Hyper Homemaker's cleaning list as inspiration and choosing to focus on one area of the house every day.  Here's my idea so far:

Mondays - One room in the house that needs a good cleaning
Tuesdays - Bedroom
Wednesdays - Living Room/Dining Room
Thursdays - Bathroom
Fridays - Kitchen
Saturdays - Pay Bills/Enter Receipts in Budget Spreadsheet
Sundays - Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning

Gosh, I hope I can do this.  More detailed cleaning lists coming soon...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Evening Routine

So...many...routines.  If I can complete this one last routine, things will be organized and tomorrow will be much easier.  This is what I plan on doing for my evening routine:

Pack tomorrow's lunch
Blow Dry Hair
Set out clothes for tomorrow
Brush teeth

If I'm tired after this I'll go to bed.  If not, I'll read or watch TV until it's time to go to sleep.  It's nice to know that all of my ducks are in a row before I go to bed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

After Work Routine

This routine is really tough to keep up with.  But, if I do, my mornings are much easier.  Here's the after work routine:

Bring in mail & sort
Start load of laundry in washer
Exercise for 30 minutes
Daily Cleaning Routine
Weekly Cleaning Tasks (totally TBD, by the way)
Make Dinner
Clean up kitchen after dinner
Fold laundry and put away

After all of this stuff is done, I get to relax for a little bit before beginning my evening routine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Easy Morning Routine

Oh, how I had ideas of grandeur for this one.  I imagined that I would get up early and go to the gym, shower there and be able to make it to work on time.  Ha!  That didn't quite happen.

Considering that I couldn't even manage to get up early to go to the gym while I was on break, I decided to scrap that idea and work with reality.  The truth is, I'm not a big fan of getting up at the crack of dawn when it's below zero outside.  I need to get to work a little bit early, but not that early.

In order for this morning routine to work, I have to do a lot of things the night before.  But, if I can be organized the evening before, I can stumble through this routine in a zombie-like state without too many problems:

Wake Up (!)
Brush Teeth/Wash Face
Get Dressed
Do Makeup/Hair
Put one load of laundry in the washer (do not turn on)
Put lunch into work bag
Make green tea
Drive to work
Eat instant oatmeal at work

That's it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Book Challenge

I LOVE to read.  It's a great way to take my mind off of the day's drama and unwind.  Since I got my Kindle, I've been reading even more.  Luckily, I found the Nest Book Club, which helped me to find a ton of good books to read in 2009. 

The Nest Book Club hosts book challenges each season.  You can earn "points" for reading certain types of titles, or doing different things.  For instance, I just finished "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown.  Because it's just a shade longer than 500 pages, I was able to earn 10 points for reading the book.  It's all in good fun, and I hope it helps me to read a variety of different books.

I'm still pondering what to read next, but I think I need something a little more on the light side.  Any good suggestions out there in cyberspace?  I wish I could find a good light read about cleaning to help motivate me to clean this house!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Daily Cleaning Routine

I think I finally have my Daily Cleaning Routine figured out.  It's very simple and easy to do, so it's not been too tough to adjust to.  There are a few steps to the routine, so when I'm done with each task, it's nice to check items off the cleaning routine list.  It makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere!  Here's the routine I've been using:

Make Bed
Spend Two Minutes Cleaning a Hot Spot
Swish & Swipe a Bathroom
Move Laundry from Washer to Dryer
Take Vitamins and Drink Water

Not too tough!  There have been a few days where I skipped the Swish & Swipe step because the bathroom just didn't need it.  Other than that, I've pretty much stuck to this routine.

Now, I have to work on putting together a good morning routine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hyper Homemaker Cleaning List

This was a cleaning plan that used to be on the Hyper Homemaker website. I'd love to link to the site, but it's been taken down.  I'm trying to come up with my own cleaning plan for our house, and I'm planning on using this as inspiration!

The idea behind this plan is that each day of the week, you focus on cleaning one part of your house:
Monday: Outside / Garden
Tuesday: Kitchen
Wednesday: Bathrooms
Thursday: Living areas
Friday: Bedrooms
Saturday: Laundry
Sunday: Off

Below is the weekly cleaning list for what to do each day of the week:

Weekly Cleaning List
-Mop the floor
-Wipe the cabinets, backsplashes, appliances, and fans
-Wash the dishrack
-Wipe the switchplates and phone
-Wipe the inside of the garbage can

-Scrub the tub and tiles
-Mop the floor
-Wipe switchplates, doorknobs, and doorjambs
-Empty and wipe out wastebasket

-Change the sheets
-Dust all surfaces - including electronics, books, pictureframes, window sills, ledges, tops of the door frames, and ceiling fan.
-Vaccuum floors and carpets.
-Wash hardwoods
-Wipe switchplates, doorknobs, and doorjambs
-Wipe and disinfect telephone
-Empty trash
-Vaccuum heaating vents and closets

Living Areas:
-Dust all surfaces - including electronics, books, pictureframes, window sills, ledges, tops of door frames, and ceiling fam.
-Vaccuum floors and rugs
-Wash hardwoods
-Vaccuum upholstery
-Wipe switchplates, doorknobs, and doorjambs
-Wipe and disinfect telephone
-Shake out/vaccuum doormat
-Vaccuum HVAC vents

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rave: Online Stopwatch

Breaking chores down into small chunks of time helps make icky jobs more bearable.  When I'm downstairs, I use my kitchen timer everytime I want to work on a chore for a specific amount of time. 

If I'm upstairs, I use the Online Stopwatch website.  You can enter your desired amount of time into the "Countdown" portion of the website, and it works just like a kitchen timer.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Daily Cleaning: Take Vitamins & Drink Water

Okay, not much cleaning of the house going on with this step.  I snuck this little step into my daily routine to remind myself that all of this cleaning will actually help improve our health by making our home more peaceful and organized.  Plus, when I get dehydrated, I get crabby, and when I get crabby, I tend to boycott things like cleaning routines.

As for the vitamins, this is a personal preference.  I like to take my vitamins earlier in the evening if I can, so I won't forget.  You can take whatever kind of vitamin floats your boat, or take none at all.  But, if you're a newlywed, you might want to start taking prenatal vitamins just in case.  Hello, folic acid, heard of it much?  If nothing else, it will make your nails nice and strong.

Why am I griping about prenatal vitamins and water?  Check out my confession.