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 idea...so 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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
Next, I clean the burners letting any remaining food particles or water from wiping them down fall into the drip pans.
Lastly, the drip pans are taken to the sink and washed.
For the rest of the kitchen I started by clearing everything off the perimeter counters and moving it to the island.
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.
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.
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.
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!