alwayswithme, a Weblog

where I keep my thoughts together

MEMORIAL DAY May 31, 2010

Filed under: Community Service Idea,Conservative,DS, The Younger,Try This — alwayswithme @ 6:06 pm

I love it when communities put flags out.  We are one of only a few in our neighborhood who has flags in their yard.  I remember when the boy scouts used to come around and place a flag in everyone’s yard not too many years ago.  THAT might be a good COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTIVITY for DS to do on for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Fourth of July.  I’ll have to ask him about it.


My Name is Julie and I Am Organizationally Challenged March 10, 2010

Filed under: Blog Parties,Decorating,DH,Explanations,Family,Household,Organization,Try This — alwayswithme @ 2:01 pm

My sister, who is also organizationally challenged, recommended a professional organizer whom she had used before to help me with my “issues”.  After putting it off for nearly a year because I just knew I would stumble upon THE system that would finally make everything make sense in my home; I hired her. 

She charged $25.00 an hour with a four hour minimum.  She worked with me for four hours on Monday and is coming again Friday for four hours.  She had me take her through the house showing her all my problem areas.  I could have only done that with a stranger.  She asked what my priorities were.  She asked what our hobbies and interests were as a family.  Then we went to work. 

I now have a Christmas closet that ONLY contains Christmas items.  I now have a home decor closet so that when I want to change out seasons or colors I can do that. Our home only has a tiny linen closet, a tiny closet in the foyer, a walk in closet in my husband’s office, small closets in the other three bedrooms.  The basement is unfinished but broken up into three rooms that have poles in the middle of them (I assume they are holding the house up so they are important) a sump pump hole in the floor of one of the basement rooms (good for those times it rains so much the water comes into the basement and needs to be funneled out not so good for looks or storage)   and the furnace/water heater in the middle of another basement room.  Not a good storage situation.  Useful mostly for exercise equipment, DH’s workshop and extra acquarium supplies.  My husband loves freshwater fish and what started out as one tank for our son is now nine tanks in various rooms in the house. 

We are down to our last child living at home, he is 12, so we will have an extra bedroom after his new room which is now the playroom is finished.  Two of the three older kids that have “moved out” still have stuff left here at our home that if put altogether probably would fill all of the “open” space in one of the the basement rooms easily.  Of course, it isn’t in one place it is in many places.  She suggested that we gather up each boy’s stuff (when I say boys I mean men 28 and 24 who have been gone for 3 or 4 years) and put them in two separate areas of the house – one for each child- and tell them to come and get it by X date or the charity truck is coming to take it away ah ha.  I don’t have a problem with this plan.  My husband, on the other hand will.  I’ve been trying to convince him of this for a  l  o  n  g  time.  My organizer is hoping that once he sees how much stuff each of them really has and how much space it actually takes up when accumulated in one space that he will see the light and make the call himself.  Perhaps even offer to carry it out, perhaps even load it in his truck and perhaps even deliver it to them.  I really don’t care how it gets gone, I just want it gone.  Love them, not all their stuff.

She also suggested that once our remaining son moves into the bigger bedroom (the room awaiting weatherproofing, new carpet and a new paint job) that instead of making his old room into a dedicated guest room that I turn it into my studio.  My current studio is what is supposed to be the formal living room.  It is very small and contains my piano, my library, my scrapbooking supplies, my rubberstamp supplies, my quilting supplies including fabric, my yarn for my crochet projects, our household files and bills as well as a small TV, a rocking chair, a small desk and a round side table with lamp.   Itisveryverycrowded and really unusable with piles of stuff everywhere.

That would leave the piano and my bookshelves plus the rocking chair and the side table with lamp in the formal living room.  Our 11 year old could practice his trumpet in what would now be the music/library room.  I had told the organizer that I always wanted to have a library because I love books and my mother has a library.  It is always something I wished I could have but didn’t think I had the house for.  I am actually receptive to this.  I had been looking forward to having a real guest room so I’m not sure how I’ll feel about not having a designated “guest” room, but the studio could probably serve as a guest room with one of those inflatable beds or even a rented bed if you can rent beds for the time a guest would need it.  Our 12 year old offered to let guests use his room if we needed to from time to time.  We actually don’t ever have that many guests as the older boys live nearby.

So her suggestions could work, if I get most of it done and then work on convincing DH that it is a good idea.  That is the hardest part.  Pray for me.

I’m rather excited about this.  I’ll keep you posted on what really happens.

UPDATE:  Today is September 1, 2010

  • The items the older boys wanted have been moved out of the house.  What remains needs to be sold or given to charity
  • Instead of the room exchange ideas above, DH agreed to move his office to the room my studio is in, which he will share with our son and his video gaming equipment (this will leave our son’s room as video gaming free which I feel better about)
  • My studio will be DH old office (it is upstairs so if it is in shambles, as I am prone to have it, it will not be out where everyone can view it)
  • We have begun the room exchange process.  It is a huge job.  We will all work on it tonight in celebration of my birthday
  • We purchased an inflatable bed which worked well for the guests we had over the summer.  When we get DS moved to his new room, I think his old room could serve as a library/guestroom just fine.  It would also be a good space for DS to practice his trumpet.
  • We have decided to give the piano away – need to put it on Craigslist

I’ve Already Acknowledged that Cleaning isn’t my Forte February 6, 2010

Filed under: Household,Try This — alwayswithme @ 7:28 pm

so this article is a great one for me:

Simple things you can do daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to keep your home spotless

By Susan Sulich Posted September 03, 2009 from Woman’s Day; October 6, 2009

Countdown to Clean Photo: © Getty Images 

I love that serene “ahhhhh” moment when you can sink into a comfy chair, look around your sparkling house and breathe a sigh of relief. Now, if I could just figure out how to get there without the hours-long top-to-bottom scrubathon. Lucky for me (and you!), there’s a shortcut: Get into a clean routine.

“The more often you clean, the less buildup you have and the faster you can do it next time,” says Debra Johnson, training manager for Merry Maids. Let our experts’ checklists take the guesswork out of housework.

Tools of the Trade
 “The quality of the work depends on the quality of the tools,” says Weber. So choose good ones, clean them after use and put them away in the same place.

Your Gear:
● Spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner
● Spray bottle of glass cleaner
● Can of furniture polish
● Dust wand with adjustable handle
● 3 or 4 microfiber cloths
● Small scrub brush
● Tool belt to carry it all, hands-free
● Vacuum
● Mop
● Bucket

15 Minutes a Day
Really. That’s all it takes to handle the basics once you’ve established our routine. “I call it the Daily Hotel Clean,” says Kathryn Weber, publisher of the cleaning calendar.

Step 1: Make the beds.

Step 2: Make sure dirty clothes are all in hampers. Do a quick room-by-room pickup, putting items back in place.

Step 3: Wipe dirty counters in the bathroom and kitchen.

Step 4: Put away all dishes. Step 5 Sweep the kitchen floor.

Weekly Clean Sweep
Either set aside a 2- to 3-hour chunk of time, or work in 15-minute increments throughout the week. The basic formula: Clean top to bottom and left to right, and only go around a room once (not including floors). Ready? Strap on your tool belt and go!

Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Dining Rooms: If you have a two-story home, start upstairs; for one floor, begin in the area farthest away from the front of the house. First, go through all the rooms and empty wastebaskets. Then go back into the first room and start at the top, removing any cobwebs with your dust wand and working your way down, dusting ceiling fans, door frames, moldings, picture frames and lamps. Switch to the furniture spray and a microfiber cloth to clean dressers and tables. (Remove knickknacks first.) Clean mirrors with the glass cleaner and a fresh cloth. When you’ve finished all these rooms on a floor, vacuum, starting farthest from the door in each room and vacuuming your way out.

Bathrooms: The pros have a special way to clean bathrooms: First, spray cleanser on the shower doors and walls, tub and sink, and in the toilet to start loosening dirt. Then use the same top-to-bottom, left-to-right system. Remember to wipe the towel racks and toilet paper holder. Clean the toilet inside, outside and behind the bowl. Vacuum, then mop.

Kitchen: Starting from the top, wipe cabinet fronts and work your way down. Empty the toaster’s crumb tray and clean inside the microwave. Unlike your daily counter wipe, now is the time to get behind canisters, mixers and other counter dwellers. Do the kitchen sink last, then sweep and mop the floor. Don’t forget the vent at the bottom of the refrigerator.

Tackle Monthly
Pick a Saturday to do all eight, or add two to each weekly session, says Johnson.

1. Use paper towels or a cloth to thoroughly clean the tracks of sliding glass and shower doors.

2. Run 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed in a full pot of water through your coffeemaker.

3. Wash down the shelves and veggie bins in the refrigerator.

4. Clean stove hood vents.

5. Vacuum under couch cushions. A handheld vac, like the Black & Decker Flex Vac, shown, makes quick work of this chore.

6. Spray down the leaves of artificial plants with the sink hose (or a spray bottle of water) and let airdry in the sink.

7. Clean the top of the fridge.

8.Wash insides of garbage cans and wastebaskets.

A Year of “Biggies”
Weber recommends 12 annual chores, one for each month.

January: Clean medicine cabinets; toss expired meds.

February: Clean all the hard-to-reach places: behind the stove, refrigerator, washer/ dryer, sofas and under beds.

March: Steam-clean carpets.

April: Wash windows and screens.

May: Organize the pantry and kitchen cabinets.

June: Wash duvets, blankets, comforters, spreads, pillows.

July: Clean and organize the garage.

August: Clean out drawers and closets. Donate usable clothing and items to charity.

September: Clean out the linen closet.

October: Defrost and clean freezer, refrigerator, stove, oven.

November: Polish silver, wash china, dust inside the china cabinet.

December: Turn mattresses; vacuum upholstered furniture and drapes.

60-Second Quick Fixes
Got a minute? These simple changes will make your house tidier—no elbow grease required!

1. Place a mat at the front door and enforce a strict no-shoes-inside rule. You’ll eliminate 70% to 90% of the dirt entering your home, says Weber.

2. Last person to shower squeegees the shower door to cut down on mineral deposits left behind when the water dries—less scrubbing time for you.

3. When you see it, clean it. Spills on the counter, a towel on the floor…a few seconds as you pass through a room save many minutes later.

4. Switch to microfiber cloths. They speed cleaning by trapping and picking up dust, not just moving it around. Wash and hang to dry after use. Save money by buying them in the automotive section of discount stores, where they’re less expensive.


Sheets February 2, 2010

Filed under: Household,Organization,Try This — alwayswithme @ 1:03 pm

I decided a few moments ago that the clear box I purchased at the end of the year to store something in is going to be the place I store my sheets.  I started reorganizing the linen closet this morning but left it undone because I knew what we were doing really wasn’t working.  So, I’ll give this a try and see if I am happier with the long term results.

With the other one, I’ll put my tablecloths in.  That should make things tidier.