Being Organized ~ A Clean Slate

Friday, January 8, 2016

During the Christmas season the house is decorated with garlands, glitter and trees; full of color and warmth.  Then the decorations are cleared and packed away and the house looks so bare.  A little gloomy too, especially here in NC where the sun these days is mostly hidden behind the clouds.

My goal this year is to be focused and more organized; to be purposeful in how I spend my time and for my home to be kept in better order.  I hope to have less times at the end of the day asking myself, "Where did the day go and what did I get accomplished?"  I stay so busy, but I don't think my time is used as wisely as it could be.  By being more focused and organizing my time and priorities, I hope each day will finish with a good yield; making the most important things in life and especially the people in my life my priority.  Focused ~ Organized ~ Purposeful.

So first things first.
After Christmas most of us are anxious to get our houses back in order and also looking for ways to change things up a bit.  If you are like me, you don't want to just put everything back the way it was.  Before I start redecorating though, I want to have a clean slate.

You see, I start decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving and we hosted a good number of parties here as well as our large family gathering on Christmas day.  With all the guests, cooking and decorations, by the first of January when everything is taken down there is so much dust, glitter, faux snow and pine needles galore from the garland and trees.  I want to clean the slate before I start redecorating the house, so it is being cleaned from top to bottom!
Why wait for spring cleaning?  After Christmas is the perfect time.

Where to start?
The front entry and kitchen.

On the front porch there were two Christmas trees, garland around the entry doors with wreaths too, lights and bows...well you get the I started with the entry.

First, I used my blower to get rid of all the pine needles on the porch that had fallen from the garland and trees.  Then I swept of the front doors to get rid of any cobwebs and loose dirt.
Next, the glass in the entry doors needed to be cleaned so I mixed up a "no streak" glass cleaning solution that I recently came across.  Since both the entry doors and the front kitchen window will be getting cleaned, it's the perfect time to try this new concoction.

Getting Organized Goal ~ Starting with a clean slate!

I wish I could remember where I heard about this window cleaning recipe so I could give credit, but I'm going from memory and hope I have remembered the ingredients and amounts correctly...I will let you know!

I mixed a half gallon of hot water with a tablespoon of Jet-Dry and two tablespoons of liquid fabric detergent.  I chose to try Woolite.  This was to be used on exterior windows; wash them with the solution and then rinse the solution off.  No drying with a rag or anything, just letting the water dry.

cleaning windows

Cleaning windows using a new solution...

Using an old cloth I washed the front entry glass doors as well as all the white trim work I was able to reach without having to use a ladder.

Washing the double door entry with a new window cleaning solution.

When washing the door glass on the inside of the house, I wasn't able to just rinse down after washing, so I used the solution and then on the second round I just wrung out the cloth to get it as dry as possible and then from top to bottom just went over the glass a second time.  After allowing time to dry I came back and wiped the inside glass down with a lint free towel and the windows look amazing!  The best solution I've ever tried for washing windows!

Now to the BIG job, the kitchen!
Remember my goal?
This year my goal is for my home and the way I spend my time to be better organized and for me this begins with the first layer and getting it clean before I start redecorating.  

The oven and gas range top seemed to be kept hot throughout the holidays and both really need a good cleaning.  Using a warm cloth I wiped out as much from the bottom of the oven as I could; look at that dirty door!  The deep cleaning will be done by the oven itself!  (Thank goodness!)

Cleaning the oven!

The gas range top burners, grates and drip pans also need a good cleaning.

I line the bottom of the sink with hand towels, place a couple of the grates on top and then fill with hot water and Dawn dish washing detergent.  Using a sponge with scour pad on one side I give them a good scrubbing, rinse off and towel them dry.

I fill the sink with towels and place the gas range top grates on top, then fill with hot soapy water.

Next, I clean the burners letting any remaining food particles or water from wiping them down fall into the drip pans.  

cleaning gas range top grates and burners

Lastly, the drip pans are taken to the sink and washed.

cleaning the gas range top drip pans

For the rest of the kitchen I started by clearing everything off the perimeter counters and moving it to the island.

clean slate starts in the kitchen as part of my goal to being organized

clean slate starts in the kitchen as part of my goal to being organized

First I clean all of the stainless steel surfaces by spraying with a cleaner and wiping them down.

Next, I fill the island sink with hot soapy water and start cleaning from the ceiling down.

I use warm soapy water to wash down the cabinets and backsplash.

Doing a section at a time I start with the crown molding, upper cabinets, glass doors too in the cabinets that have glass and then backsplash.  After all of the uppers have been done I clean the lower cabinets by starting on one side and working my way to the other side.

Once all the appliances, cabinetry and backsplash have been cleaned I head to the kitchen window in front of the sink and clean it with the same window solution used on the front entry.

Then, the soapstone gets another sealing.

Soapstone Sealer

It's been a year since the kitchen renovation and there is a little caulk here and there that needs to be touched up too.

Touching up the crown molding caulk.

Once the soapstone sealer is dry I move the canisters and other items back to the perimeter counter tops so I can clean the island.

I begin with warm sudsy water on the marble and wipe it dry.  The cherry island is cleaned by using warm water and Murphy's Oil Soap.  

The kitchen cupboard and ironstone will also get a good cleaning and the fireplace mantel too...but that's for another day.

The sun is setting and I'm almost finished with caulking!

Through the kitchen window the sun is setting

Hope you are having a great week!

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  1. Cindy, can you come to my house and do the same thing?! :D My goodness, I'm going to have to have a lie-down after just reading about it! What a beautiful kitchen you have.

  2. Cindy,
    You really do do Spring Cleaning after Christmas, dear friend!!!
    I love this solution suggestion and I've written it down to try!!!
    I have many glass doors to the patio and our front door that I clean on a regular basis and many times they will s t r e a k. . .so~o~o I re~clean them, which can be very tiring!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Oh my word, I so need to do all of this. I am definitley going to try you recipe for washing windows. Sounds fabulous.

  4. Sounds like what's been going on at my house this week! I agree with you, I like to have a fresh clean slate before I start decorating for the next season. Everything looks great - you have motivated me to keep plugging along!

  5. Goodness, you have been a busy lady and after my heart! I'm all about organization and having a plan and carrying it out. You are getting your year off to a wonderful, clean new start!!!!

  6. Totally exhausted after reading your post, calling a cleaning lady. Lazy Linda

  7. I'd like to have the energy to just do a good lick and a promise!

  8. Thanks for the inspiration. Now all I need is to drag myself away from the computer and do something!

  9. I did pack away all of my Christmas items last weekend, now I will be spending this weekend doing a lot of the same things you shared here. I love to do major cleaning right after I put Christmas away. It is nice to start the new year with a clean slate, I agree! May you enjoy a beautifully joy filled weekend! Blessings, Cindy

  10. I liked that you jumped right in to that caulking too. I might have put it off for a while...a bad habit I need to break. Wondering how you like your under mount sink? One daughter and I are having a debate on which is easier to keep clean, an under mount or over mount?

  11. I love getting the house "back in order" after the holidays! Well, maybe not love - as in, tropical vacation love, lol - but it is very gratifying to get everything clean and orderly again after three months of chaos. Have a wonderful weekend my friend! Jane

  12. Can you PLEASE come over and do my house? Or at least share your secret energy elixer? Wow, what a great cleaning job - I would need to do the very same thing at this point! Tree comes down today so first things first - a GOOD vacuuming!

  13. You are right on top of it, Cindy!!! Good for you! I am so far behind but figure I will catch up while John is sleeping most of the day away for the next few weeks. I have a lot to do and it will keep me busy. I am purging as I go this time! Blessings to you- you are just a great inspiration!!! xo Diana
    ps- I am lazy enough that I put my big grates from my JennAire on top of the dishwaher racks and run them through the pots and pans cycle...anything I can get in that dishwasher goes in there! lol

  14. I love to clean my house this time of the year too! It's just the perfect time and makes you feel ready to take on the new year. I'm a little behind this year with my cleaning but I'm sure it will all get done with time.

  15. Looks like you are doing much like me...getting that house clean and sparkling. Thanks for the tips, I will have to try some of them.

  16. What great ideas! I need to start on my spring cleaning! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  17. I am preparing for the spring cleaning that I am planning to start very soon. My house definitely needs deep cleaning. After the holidays I did a lot but for sure in the spring I will clean and organize way more seriously. Thanks for sharing! :) You have a lovely home!


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