Organization Part 1 — Getting Started

Becoming an organized person requires both a plan and determination. But everything starts at the beginning. Organization Part 1 — Getting Started will help you begin your journey to an organized home. When our kids were little I was super-organized. Our boys were only 18 months apart so I didn’t have time to waste. Two babies in diapers is a tremendous motivator to save time and steps. Some people thought I may have taken it too far; even my spices were alphabetized. But getting little ones ready for everything from bath and bed to a vacation out-of-town takes organization. As the kids got older and I was working outside the home some things slipped a bit.

Organization Part 1 -- Getting Started

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Forming Habits for a Cleaner Home

Do you have one of those friends or family members with a home that never seems messy? How can they do it? With children, work, and life in general it can be really hard to keep your home neat and tidy. It’s really just a matter of habit. Most of us have heard it takes 21 (or 28) days to form a habit. While this may not be quite accurate it is possible to start forming habits for a cleaner home.

Forming Habits for a Cleaner Home

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Getting Back on Track

In early December I noticed I wasn’t feeling at all  like myself. I was ignoring chores and, worse, ignoring friends and even some family members. Nothing seemed to interest me and I felt just awful physically. Normally I’m so cheerful I have wondered if there was something wrong with me! I should have recognized the symptoms but, since I was already off-kilter, I didn’t. But I finally figured it out and I’ve started on the chores I’ve neglected for so long! Yesterday I spent part of the day cleaning my desk and computer desk. I’m finally getting back on track!

Getting Back on Track

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The Weekend

Lately I’ve let too much around the house slide. It was frustrating me to no end so I decided to get my fanny in gear and get things done. As of Sunday morning last night’s dishes were still everywhere. The sink, island and counter are all covered in them. The living room desperately needs to be vacuumed and dusted. My recipes are scattered all over my desk and most aren’t neatly put away in their little plastic page protectors. But as I sat here thinking about what I needed to do I realized what I did accomplish over the weekend.

Getting things done on the weekend

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Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great

I first posted this last (early) spring. When our homes are closed up due to cold weather we need to do something to freshen them. Since winter came back this year I thought it would be a good time to post it again! And if you have ways that you use to freshen up your home I’d love to hear them! Meanwhile, please enjoy Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great!

Easy ways to make you home smell great!

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10 Cleaning Tricks You Should Try

I’m willing to be that if we found someone somewhere who has never had to clean anything in her entire life she wouldn’t have cleaning on her bucket list. It’s not the kind of thing people skip going to a movie to do. So anything that makes cleaning a little easier or faster is high on my list of must tries. These 10 Cleaning Tricks You Should Try may just make your life a little easier.

10 Cleaning Tricks you should definitely try!

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Fall Maintenance Chores

The thermometer may be telling us it’s still summer but the calendar tells us a different tale. I know it’s hard to think (at least for me) of snowy days and being trapped indoors but that weather will be upon us before we know it. Now is a great time to start your fall home maintenance chores because you won’t get frostbite or have to shovel to get to things that are outside. And getting a jump on indoor chores will help you from getting exhausted right before the holidays.

Here are some things you can do while the weather is still warm:



  • Touch up paint on trim, decks, and railings. Be sure to prime wood before painting. A wire brush is an easy way to remove flaking paint.
  • Schedule fall inspections for your furnace now. The waiting list for inspections will get much longer once there is a real chill in the air.
  • Have your fireplace inspected and the chimney cleaned.
  • Have you central air conditioning unit winterized.
  • Defrost your deep freezer if it isn’t a self-defrosting model.
  • Schedule a professional carpet cleaner. Companies get much busier in the cooler weather and by late October it may be nearly impossible to set a date that works for you. Some companies have sales at this time of year so you can save money and go into the holiday season with clean carpets.
  • Inspect the dryer vent and exhaust tube. Clean out any built up lint and debris. Make sure the vent closes tightly when not being used.
  • Inspect and, if necessary, replace your washer hoses. Look for bulges, cracks, or small splits. Replace these hoses every other year to prevent a disaster!
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Debris in the gutters will make it easier for ice dams to form which can cause damage. You can easily make a gutter cleaner with an empty plastic two liter bottle. Just cut off the bottom of the bottle then cut one side of the bottle to form a scoop shape.



I hope you can see the “scoop” shape of the bottle. Leave the cap on the bottle when you use the scoop. And the heavier the plastic, the better the scoop.

  • Wash interior and exterior windows. You’ll want to get all the sunlight you can during those dark winter months.
  • Check caulk around windows and doors and touch up the areas that need it.
  • Inspect weather stripping around doors and replace as needed. Don’t forget the garage door if you have an attached garage!
  • Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers.
  • Turn off water to outside spigots. You may even want to install insulating covers on outside spigots.
  • If you have a sprinkler system you should have it blown free of water.
  • Drain the hot water heater and clean out sediment.
  • Clean or replace humidifier elements before you need to turn on the furnace.
  • Change the furnace filter once a month. Your furnace will run more efficiently saving you money and ensuring maximum comfort. Save yourself a trip to the hardware store in winter by purchasing a season’s worth of filters now.
  • Clean and store patio furniture, children’s summer toys, and umbrellas before the weather gets nasty. You’ll be less likely to leave things out if you can do the cleaning while it’s still nice outside.
  • Do one last weeding/clearing of your vegetable and flower gardens. This will make things easier in the spring.

Cleaning with Chronic Pain or Illness

For the past 16 years, 2 months, and 17 days I’ve been in constant pain. I don’t mention this because I feel sorry for myself. It’s just the reality of my life since my spinal cord injury. I used to clean a lot. But cleaning when you have chronic pain or illness requires some adjustments in your thinking.

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Even More Cleaning Tips

Cleaning is really hard for me. I don’t mean that it’s hard to get started or that I don’t really want to clean. It’s actually physically difficult. My spinal cord injury left me in constant pain and I’m really limited in the way I can move. Because of this problem I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to clean that, while strange, may help me get chores done faster and with less physicality. With that in mind, I’ve found even more cleaning tips that you may want to try yourself.

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9 Cool Cleaning Hacks

Keeping your home clean is a never-ending process but you don’t have to do things the hard way. Try these 9 cool cleaning hacks to speed things up!


  1. Every time you try to wipe up crumbs with a damp cloth or by swiping them with your hand many get away, usually ending up on the floor. To get all the crumbs the easy way just use tape. Wrap a little tape around your fingers, sticky side out, and pat the crumbs so they stick. Then just slide the tape off your hand and drop it in the trash.
  2. If you’re sick of having to haul your bucket to the refrigerator to clean up spills try this method instead. Line refrigerator racks with plastic wrap. When something spills just pull out the soiled wrap and replace it with a new, clean piece.
  3. Dirty air vents smell and they’re unhealthy. Use a butter knife, a thin towel, and all-purpose cleaner to clean vents. Just cover the blade of the butter knife with the towel and spray a little cleaner on. Slide the knife in and out to easily clean the dirt.
  4. If someone spills something greasy or tracks it in on shoes don’t think you need new carpeting. Pick up oil stains with baking soda or kitty litter. Sprinkle the stain liberally with either and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then vacuum thoroughly. If any of the stain remains just repeat the process.
  5. Make your tub sparkle with a teaspoon of liquid soap, a couple of drops of antibacterial oils, baking soda and a little bit of water.  Combine the ingredients to create a paste. Rub the paste all around the tub and rinse. Your tub will be clean and disinfected without harsh chemicals.
  6. Soon or later it happens. Someone gets sick on the carpet. Clean up vomit using baking soda and water. Create a paste and spread it on the stain. Let it sit overnight then vacuum in the morning. Coffee grounds will cover the smell of vomit while the baking soda is absorbing it.
  7. For a quick, no effort way to freshen the room tape a dryer sheet over your ac unit. Every time the ac comes on the room will get a new “spritz” of scent.
  8. Leather furniture can be great but scratches and spots can ruin the look. There are commercial leather treatments for furniture but they’re pretty expensive. Try using shoe polish in a matching color instead. Shoe polish can cover scratches in leather furniture for a lot less than the leather treatments.
  9. White chalk isn’t just for classrooms. Grease stains on clothing or walls can be removed with white chalk. Just rub some on the stain, let it sit for 5 minutes then wipe away with a clean, damp cloth.

What cleaning hacks do you use?