Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Party Favors

Several readers have emailed me asking me what I used to make the party favors for my church's women's  event. 


Here is my work table ready to assemble the little pots.  I like to set everything out and precut anything ahead of time so I can move quickly - assembly line like.


I bought peat pots at Big Lots - 10 pots for $1.00.  I already had a roll of green paper raffia from another project.  I think I bought it at Michaels. 


I also picked up a bag of excelsior from Michaels with my 40% off coupon.  For 80 party favors I used 1 1/2 bags. 


So that I didn't have to use a lot of the excelsior, I recycled some of the shredding from my paper shredder in the bottom of the pots.




I tied a strip of the paper raffia around each pot and filled it half full of shredded paper. 



I printed out little paper tags onto card stock.  I just used the column setting in Word, getting 8 tags on each sheet of 8 1/2 x11.  I stamped the little bird design with a rubber stamp I had.  I cut down the tags and rounded the corners with a corner punch.  I also collected little twigs from my backyard.  I love that they have small acorns on them.



I topped the shredded paper with a small bit of the excelsior, stuck a tag and a twig in, and then added the speckled egg candy when setting the table.  The tag can be used as a book mark and the peat pot can be used to start seeds in. 



So there you have it - little party favors that don't cost a lot but add a special touch.


I'm linking to:
shabby creek cottage

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I've Been Up To Lately

I'm still alive, just crazy busy.  Doesn't it seem that life gets really busy as soon as spring arrives? 

Last week I prepared for a WOW (Women of the Word) event at my church.  We had a great turnout on Saturday morning and spent a few hours enjoying fellowship and food (of course) and I was able to share some great ideas for keeping balanced in your heart, your health, and your home. 

Here is a little party favor I made for each of the ladies to take home.  After we set the table, we put some little speckled egg candy in each cup.  The paper tag can be used as a Bible Book Mark.  It had our theme verse on it. 



After I got home from that event, we had a little event of our own at home - our bee hive swarmed.  This time we knew it was really our own.  We were prepared with new hive supers (boxes for the bees to live in).  Now we have two bee hives!


Sunday morning was worship and work (I am one of the directors of the preschool ministry at church so I work at church).   After church and a quick lunch, we headed home to set up for our grandson's 5th birthday party.  Papa got the mini hay ride ready.


Each child got to take home a stick horse, a bandanna that they made, and a drawstring goodie bag with a sheriff's badge, harmonica, and other goodies.  J, the birthday boy, was incredibly excited!  The morning started with rain, but it held off until the party was over.  As the last guest was leaving, the rain started coming down again.  Thanks, God!


Yesterday and today was work, work, work.  I've got paperwork up to my eyeballs, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  If I was a faster learner, I would have this spreadsheet thingy figured out by now.  I might be slow, but I won't stop until I finish! 



I guess I'll have to be finished soon, or we'll be eating dinner on the couch instead of at the dinner table.  What's for dinner?  Clean Out The Fridge Soup - odds and ends of this and that - that needed to be used up.  I tossed everything in the crock pot with some homemade beef stock, a diced onion, some minced garlic, home canned diced tomatoes, and some chili seasonings.  Hopefully it will taste like a Mexican soup.  We'll see!

I hope to have a tutorial of how I made the party favors and centerpieces for the women's event this past weekend.  I made almost all of it from things I had around the house.  I love it when I can save money!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Motivation: The Who, What, When, Where and Why Of Organizing

I'm preparing a presentation to share this coming Saturday at my church, River Oak Church, in Chesapeake,VA. 

 The topic? Organizing!  Actually, the title is "Spring Cleaning from the inside out - refreshing and renewing your heart, your health, and your home". 

I thought I'd do a little mini presentation this week, here on the blog, to help those of you who can't attend on Saturday.  To start the week off, I'm re-posting some information from last year that I think you'll find helpful. 



After several casual discussions about home organization with friends and family over the past few weeks, I've come to the conclusion that most people don't have a clear picture of what they should be doing to organize their homes.

Since I'm a recovering unorganized person, I thought I'd share some of the Who, What, When, Where, and Why's of organizing and also what organizing is NOT.


Who:
Everyone needs some sort of organizing in their life. From wee babies to great grandma; all people benefit from living in an organized home and function better when they can find what they need.

What:
Organizing means different things to different people. Some feel organized when they can find their keys and cell phone every morning. Others are content to pick clean (or even dirty) socks out of the laundry pile. Still, others need for every detail of their lives to be structured before they are comfortable.


When:
Some folks are struggling just to get through the day, let alone try to organize something. They wish they had organized their life yesterday or they promise to do it tomorrow. I have to say, it's best to organize a little every day. Not only does it make you feel like you've accomplished something, it actually makes a difference (however big or small) in your life.

Where:
I think the problem most people have when organizing is where to put everything. The simple answer to that is to get rid of as much "stuff" as you can. It's much easier to organize a small pile than a large pile. Also, try to keep items with other like items and store it near where you use it.

Why:
This is really the most important question. The why's of organizing are different to each individual, but there are some basic answers that fit all of us.
1. So we can find what we need
2. Because it can save us money
3. So we can focus on people instead of stuff
4. Because it benefits our family
5. Because my job requires it


How: This isn't a "W" but it needs to be added.
If it weren't for this question, I wouldn't have a business. " How to organize?" is probably one of the most frequently googled questions out there. There really is no one perfect answer. Each home is different and requires different techniques.

The most important and hardest step is just. . . start. Start at your front door or start with your car. Start with one drawer, one shelf, one corner, or one bag. Just start. Sound simple? Yes it is. Sound easy? No. But, I promise, the more you do it, the better you'll get. If you focus on the bigness of the job, you'll be overwhelmed. Just start small and rejoice with each small victory.

If you need help, ask a friend or family member to help you. Ask your neighbor to hold you accountable. You're more likely to do something when you know someone is going to ask you about it. Hire a professional organizer (I know a good one) to help you with organizing a room, a project, or a whole house. A good professional organizer should teach you how to organize and work side by side with you to get you to your goal.


Now, what is organizing not? It's not spending your whole life cleaning and straighting up. Remember, life is about relationships - not stuff.

Organizing is not buying containers. It's true that I love containers, but if they don't have a specific function then they are clutter. They can actually be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Organizing is not the goal. It is the means to your goal. You organize coupons so you can save money when you shop. You organize paperwork so you can pay your bills on time. You organize your fridge so you don't waste food. You organize your schedule so you have time for what is most important.

Do you have anything to add? What is organizing to you? What is it not?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Putting A New Finish On Old Hardware

When I refinished my bedside table, I loved everything about it except the worn out handles.  I knew they would not be easy to replace.  The shape was great but the finish was pathetic.


My easy (and free) solution was to use what I had on hand to add a new finish to the handles. 

In the photo below, the handle on the far left is the original finish.  It was worn and uneven.  I rubbed on some gold acrylic paint over the finish but I didn't try to get it into every crevice (middle handle).  After that layer dried, I lightly rubbed on some silver acrylic paint (far right).  I didn't worry about the finish being perfect because I wanted it to look vintage.  Lastly, I brushed on a water based sealant.  If I was using it on an often used handle, like in a kitchen or bath, I'd have used a poly product to hold up better. 


I tend to jump into projects when I get an idea in my head, so I sometimes don't get around to using proper tools.  Case in point:  using my fingers and pieces of paper towels to paint my handles.  But hey, it works!  So if you see me in person, don't question why I have paint in my fingernails.   


A nice surprise was finding out that the new handles match the finish on my bedside lamp. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wrensday: What I'm Reading Right Now

Yup, it's Thursday and I'm just now posting Wrensday (which should have been posted on Wednesday).  Yup, that's how I'm rolling right now. 

I always love to hear what people are reading.  You can learn a lot about a person by observing what they read.  You can also get a great lead on what your next read might be.  

When I showed you my newly refinished bedside table, I purposely left my books "as is" in the photo because that's usually how it looks. 



Sometimes the bigger books are precariously piled on top of the smaller books, but on this day we were living safely. 




This is what I'm reading right now:



  1.  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is an amazing devotional book.  It is written, using scripture, in the first person of Christ.  I start every day with it and . . .

   2.  My Bible.  I've had this Bible for 21 years now.  It's worn and weary, but I love all of the notes and dates I've written in the margins***

3.  Radical by David Platt.  I have to warn you about this book.  If you don't want to be challenged in your Christian walk, don't read this book. It will completely change your way of thinking about living out your faith.  Hubs and I meet twice a month with our Life Group to discuss the latest chapter read. 

   4.  Teaching to Change Lives by Howard G. Hendricks. I picked this up recently in a thrift store and it's a wonderful book.  I couldn't put it down.  I'll be reading through it again and using a highlighter. 

5.    Jonah by Priscilla Shirer. This is the workbook for a DVD Bible study I'm doing with my ladies group from church.  Priscilla is always a wonderful teacher and really inspires her audience.  As an added benefit, our pastor is preaching a series on Jonah.  Awesome!

6.  Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  I have to admit, this book is so overwhelming for me to read that it's been on my night stand for months.  I can only read and take in a little bit at a time.  It's all about eating healthier.  I have so much to learn!

7.  Organic Gardening by Rodale Press.  This is my go-to source for planning my garden every year. 

****I'll be sharing about the concept of margins at a casual women's event at our church on Saturday, March 24th, from 10:00 to noon.   The topic is Spring Cleaning form the inside out.  Renewing and Refreshing your heart, health, and home. Let me know if you'd like to come!  I'd love for you to be my guest. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Refinished Bedside Table

After many trips to the thrift stores looking for just the right sized bedside table, I found one.  It had been in my garage the whole time. 

You see, a few years ago I did a staging job for a client.  She had a lot of half-finished pieces of furniture scattered around her house and it was my job to help hide the less desirable pieces.  She was ready to get rid of several of the items because she was tired of looking at unfinished projects and ready to get her house sold and have a fresh new start.  I asked her if I could buy this piece but she insisted that I take it and refinish it. 

I have a few pieces of furniture from this era and I knew it would match what I already had.  I brought it home and promptly forgot about it.  It's been sitting with my staging inventory, neglected and forlorn.  The drawers were really stuck and the finish was half off. 


After pulling and tugging (and sweating) to remove the drawers, I was able to repair and sand them down to fit again.  I used Formby's Refinisher to take the remaining finish off, sanded and tacked it, applied  2 coats of stain, and then 2 coats of a  rub-on finish.  I think she turned out pretty well - and she's a perfect fit!





*Please ignore the stack of books on top - it always looks like that even though I have perfectly functioning drawers in which to put them. 

I'll be showing you how I put a new finish on the hardware in Friday's post. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

March Is National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month and kidneys are near and dear to me.

Yup, I love kidneys - I have three of them.  One that was a gift from a friend last year and two that are sitting helplessly in my body, unable to function. 

My kidney disease was inherited.  If a parent has the disease, then each of their children has a 50% chance of getting the disease - pretty high statistics.  Unfortunately, there is no test to see if you have the disease and it doesn't usually show up until you've already had children.  Bummer, I know. 

My dad had a kidney transplant in 1971 and remained healthy for 30 years until he died of cancer.  One of my half-sisters (we have the same dad) died in her mid 30's after two transplants.  She left 3 children behind.  I had my transplant last year (April 2011) and I feel like a new person.  Thanks, Cathy, for my new kidney!

In honor of National Kidney Month, I'd like to encourage everyone to take care of their kidneys and the kidneys of those they love.  How?

1.  By getting your blood pressure checked regularly.  High blood pressure will damage your kidneys.

2.  By getting tested for diabetes and making sure if you are diabetic you follow all of your doctor's suggestions.  Many people with diabetes don't exercise or eat right - two things that have been proven to help diabetics live healthier.

3.  Be careful about what over the counter medications you take.  I never knew that Ibuprofen was harmful to your kidneys.  I took it for years every time I had a headache.  Research what drugs are safer for you to take.

4.  Eat healthy, whole foods that are devoid of chemicals, pesticides, and fake ingredients.  Please feed your body healthy foods that will help it flourish.

5.  Try to get some exercise everyday and make sure some of it is outside so you can benefit from the Vitamin D you get from sunshine - plus, it makes you feel stronger and younger.

6.  Have a regular physical so that your doctor can check any abnormal blood work.  Most kidney diseases don't show any symptoms at first.  Mine was found at a routine physical.  After an ultrasound showed my kidneys were covered in cysts, it was confirmed and I was sent to a Nephrologist.

If you want to learn more about Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD),  click on the link.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our First Bee Swarm

Usually, the honeybees in our back yard are housed in a bee hive.  They are very well behaved and work hard without much ado.



However, sometimes they get an itch to high tail it out of the hive and search for greener grass.  When they do, they meet for an organizational meeting at a nearby hangout until they can make some plans. 



When they do this, it's called a swarm.  It's a sight to behold.  This was our first.  We're not sure if these bees were from our hive or not.  I can't imagine that all of these bees could have fit in our hive and besides, our hive is still full of bees. 

We called a beekeeper from the local bee guild and she came out and marveled at the size of the swarm (the biggest she'd ever seen) and then promptly got to work removing the swarm.



She simply brushed off the bees and put them into a special bee bucket.  Once the queen was in the bucket, all of the bees followed her in there and that was that.  Hubs had a great time learning from a pro.   We'll be purchasing another hive set up so that next time this happens, we'll be able to start a new hive to make more honey.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wrensday: Beauty After The Storm



Sunday afternoon was rainy and windy and even a 15 minute hail storm made it a bit noisy.  But the best part was what we saw afterward. . .


All chickens, goats, and bees were accounted for and no harm was done.  The hail melted quickly because of the rain that came after it. 


Yes, lots of water made for a muddy backyard and our wheelbarrows needs to recover from their tumble.

  Thank you, Lord, for the rain.  Thank you for protection during the storm.  I pray for those devastated by the tornadoes that destroyed their homes and harmed their families.  I pray that you will comfort them with a peace that passes understanding.  Amen

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner


Yesterday's Monday Motivation hopefully got you to tackle your bathroom this week. 

I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive cleaning products that are not full of toxic chemicals to clean my bathroom.  I clean my bathrooms every few days and try to wipe up the sinks every day after we've finished getting ready for the day. 

For the everyday wipe up, I use my Sparkle Cleaner.  Up until now, for the every-other-day clean up, I've been using Borax on a damp sponge, followed by the Sparkle Cleaner. 

But now (cue happy music), I've discovered a spray cleaner that cuts through the soap and dirt that shows up at my house.  I've always liked the convenience of spray cleaner, but not the chemicals or strong smell.  I need something that won't harm my septic tank too. 

I've tried a variety of homemade recipes, but I narrowed it down to a simple 2 ingredient product. 



First I started with a 1 quart spray bottle (I got mine in a 3 pack at Sam's club).  Then I added 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 Tbl. of Dawn dish detergent, and 2 cups of water.  I shook  it well and then it was  ready to use. 

I sprayed it on my shower, all my sinks, and even in and on my toilet and let it sit.  After 10 minutes, I went back and rinsed the sinks and shower and toweled dry.  With the toilet, I swished the cleaner and let it sit until someone had to flush the toilet (get my drift?).   The seat and outside of the bowl were wiped down with a damp rag.  This all took only a few minutes and my bathroom was clean and fresh smelling. 

Some people don't like the smell of the vinegar, but it doesn't last long and actually works to deodorize the air in the bathroom. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Motivation: Organizing The Bathroom

Want to get your home organized this year?  The whole thing?  Well, you're in the right place.

  We're going through the house, room by room. 

January had us straighting up the foyer/entrance. February was the month to get the kitchen straight.  Now, in March, we're going to tackle the bathrooms.  Here are the posts from March of 2011 which showed you how to work on the different areas of your bathrooms.

 

 

Monday Motivation: Organizing The Bathroom  


Most of us start our day in the bathroom. It's not really something we talk about - it's just part of our day.

To me, the bathroom is the easiest and quickest room to clean and organize. Maybe not the most fun room, but definitely the easiest and quickest.

I found this picture of a 1920s bathroom fixture advertisement. I wonder how many of those green fixtures are still around today? I couldn't help but notice how today's fixtures copy the lines of those from 90 years ago. Interesting!



Well, enough reminiscing. Let's get to work. During the month of March, we'll be focusing on organizing the bathroom. This week we'll focus on what areas your bathroom needs work on. Next week we'll look at the medicine cabinet, followed by cabinets and storage the third week. The last week of March we'll focus on keeping the bathroom clean and also safety issues.

When organizing your bathroom, there are several areas where you want to focus your attention. I like to have my clients step back and look at their room from a visitor's eyes (or when selling their home, from their buyer's eyes).

1. Does the room appear cluttered? It could be that there are too many items sitting around. It could also be that the decor simply has too many patterns and distracts the eye. If a calm, clean bathroom is what you're after, think about simplifying your curtains, towels, shower curtain, and rugs for a more pleasing view.

2. Does the room smell? Pardon my boldness, but remember, you're looking at the bathroom from a visitor's viewpoint. Does it smell musty? Dirty? Odoriferous? Maybe you need places to hang damp towels so they will dry quicker. Maybe your rugs need to be washed or replaced. Maybe your sink drain needs to be cleaned.

3. Listen. . . do you hear dripping or running water? If so, you may have a leaky toilet or faucet that is costing you money and wasting water. Usually the repair is a simple one that can make a big difference.

4. Are there things in the room that you've never really liked? I'm not talking about a whole room remodel, but small, individual things that get under your skin. For years, I was annoyed with an overflowing trashcan in our kids bathroom. No matter how often I emptied it, it always seemed to be full. Then it dawned on me that the "cute" little trashcan was just that - cute and little - too little. I swapped out that trashcan with a larger one from my guest room and the problem was solved.

5. Does the bathroom always seem to be dirty? We'll cover this during the last week, but it merits some thought right now. I've found if the bathroom takes too long to clean, then it is less likely to be cleaned. The less clutter that is sitting on the counters, on the floor, and in the tub/shower the easier it is to clean. I like cute decor as much as anybody, but bathrooms get a lot of use and need to be cleaned quite often so it pays to declutter as much as possible.

Monday Motivation: Organizing the Medicine Cabinet 

This week we'll tackle an easy chore - the medicine cabinet. This should really be done regularly to help keep your family safe. Medicines and first aid supplies expire after a year or two and should be disposed of properly.

Below is a post I originally published in August of 2009 when I was just beginning to blog. I couldn't improve on the process, so I just decided to post it again. At that time, I only had 9 followers, so I'm sure none of you have read this blog post yet (LOL)!

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This is an important chore that needs to be done regularly to keep your family safe. Today, I want you to tackle your medicine cabinet. I want to assure you that this should not take longer than 1/2 hour.

Here's how to do it:

1. Open the cabinet door.

2. Remove everything from one shelf.

3. Check the expiration dates. Throw away any item that is expired, discolored, unlabeled, unnecessary, or belongs to someone who no longer lives in the home.

4. Set what you have decided to keep into a box.

5. Follow the procedure in steps 3 and 4 for each shelf or section of your cabinet.

6. Replace the items you are keeping (from the box) according to the type of item it is. Cold meds, first aide supplies, pain reliever, etc.. I like to place like items together in a container. The dollar store is a good place to pick up small, lightweight containers.

7. Place any items you are throwing away into a plastic bag, tie it up, and throw it into the trashcan where it cannot be torn into. DO NOT flush meds down the toilet. It has been proven that this leads to pollution of our waterways. Some pharmacies will accept old medication for disposal.


This simple chore can prevent harm coming to your family by ingesting a medication that has expired or is no longer safe.

Now that you've gotten your medicine cabinet cleaned out, go around your home and find all of the places you've stashed extra first aid supplies and meds that you don't use regularly. Put them in your newly spacious cabinet so you can find them when you need them.

If you have young children, be sure to keep meds locked up. Also, be careful about what kind of meds you keep in a medicine cabinet that is accessible to visitors. I have a friend who had pain medication taken from her medicine cabinet during a party she was hosting in her home. Be aware and be wise.

Monday Motivation: Organizing Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers

In most bathrooms that I've helped organize and stage, storage has been a problem. It seems that many bathrooms are built without thought to where one should store one's "jams and jellies" (as Candice Olsen calls them).

In addition to lack of storage, most of us hoard keep too many supplies in our bathrooms. What are we to do? Get creative!

I've had to get very creative in our current home when it comes to storing our necessities. In our main bathroom, we don't have drawers, shelves, or medicine cabinets.

To keep our counters easy to clean, I like to keep most items tucked away. Here's where I keep our toothbrushes, toothpaste, dixie cups, and jewelry cleaner. For directions on how to make a canning jar soap dispenser, check this blog post.


The jar of jewelry cleaner fits perfectly in the left drawer, a small stack up cups in the right drawer, and toobrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss in the bottom drawer. My meds are currently in a ceramic pot so that I will remember to take them when I brush my teeth. If I had small children around the house, I'd keep them someplace safter.


As far as linens go, I'm using several different pieces to hold everything. First, I use my old childhood dresser to hold sheets and towels. The top drawer holds toilet paper, a heating pad, and extra soap. As there are no towel bars, I use a quilt rack to hold towels. This one was made in 1984 by someone in shop class who's initials are J.S.


The dresser does double duty, too. The section of wall behind the dresser is missing drywall and the dresser holds a piece of cardboard in place. One day we'll get around to remodeling this bath and install board and batten with real trim and baseboards.


I keep a basket underneath the chair to hold extra hand towels.



For all of my "jams and jellies" I use the only full size cabinet in the bathroom. I've used a selection of baskets, wire shelves, plastic boxes, and zippered make-up bags. The plaid bag holds the supplies I use everyday. The nice thing about it is that I just add a few things to it and it's ready to travel.

Underneath the basket it sits in is extra lotions, conditioners, and hair goop that I use whenever humidity gets the upper hand on my hair and skin. My manicure supplies are in a handy zippered bag. The basket on the right holds my blow dryer, curling iron, and flat iron. (my hair is hight maintenance) Below that basket is a small basket of extra make-up and my jar of coconut oil that I use as a face and body lotion. Behind everything is extra supplies that I stock up on when they go on sale like feminine products, hair dye, and cotton balls/Q tips.


So now that I showed you my bathroom storage, it's time for you to work on your own. If you've read my blog for awhile, you'll be familiar with the process.

1. Remove everything from the cabinet or drawer. Wipe out the cabinet/drawer and line with contact paper if desired.

2. Toss everything that is expired or unusable.

3. Sort items according to type. Example: hair products, face products, first aid products.

4. You may find that you have several duplicates. A lot of people tend to not finish up products before they open a new one. Consolidate the duplicates and promise yourself to finish up a product before breaking out the new replacement.

5. Now that you know what you have and will use, put items into containers to keep them organized and easy to find. Shop your house first to see if you have containers you're not using in other areas. There's no need to spend money if you don't need to. Square and rectangle containers are the best as they use space more efficiently. If you need storage for small items, use a drawer unit to sit inside the cabinet.

6. Store items you don't use often or only seasonally in the back of the cabinet or in an out of the way closet. Keep your most often used items near the front of the cabinet. Before storing paper products under your sink, make sure you don't have any leaks. Paper plus water equals mess!!


My friend, Amanda, has a great idea for organizing bathroom drawers. She's a professional organizer and does amazing work. I know you'll find her web site very helpful. Please stop by her blog and tell her I said hello!

Monday Motivation: How To Keep Your Bathroom Clean

You've worked hard all month to get your bathroom organized.

 
Now that everything is purged and organized, how do you clean it and keep it that way?

                                                                  
I think the secret to a clean bathroom is to do it frequently. Of course, no one wants to hear that, but the truth of the matter is that a little bit of mess is easier to clean than a whole lotta mess. Follow me?

Here are some tips to help you make the task more manageable:

1. Keep cleaning supplies handy. Nothing slows momentum quicker than having to retrieve cleaning supplies from another room. I keep a roll of paper towels, a bottle of Sparkle cleaner, a canister of Borax, and a sponge under each bathroom sink in my home. I also have a toilet brush in a covered container, tucked behind each toilet.

2. Every two days (or every day if a lot of people use the bathroom) follow these steps:
A. Spray sinks and mirror with Sparkle cleaner and wipe with a paper towel.
B. Sprinkle Borax into toilet bowl and swish with brush.
C. Spray toilet seat and toilet surround with Sparkle cleaner and wipe with another paper towel.
D. Squeegee water off of the shower surround with a small squeegee after each shower.

There! You just completed a quick, 2-3 minute clean-up that will keep most of the germ police away and makes your bathroom presentable most of the time.

3. For your weekly cleaning:
A. Sprinkle Borax onto your wet sponge and scrub your sinks, counters, and tub and shower. Rinse with water and polish with Sparkle cleaner.
B. Vacuum the floor, shake rugs, and mop floor with sparkle cleaner and a mop. If your bathroom floor is small enough, you can simple wipe it down with cleaner and a paper towel.
C. After putting Borax into the toilet, let it sit for several hours before brushing and flushing.
D. Set out fresh towels.
E. Refill soap dispenser if necessary.


4. Every month:
A. Vacuum the exhaust fan
B. Wipe baseboards
C. Clean fingerprints from walls, door, and trim
D. Take a few minutes to straighten out the cabinets and drawers, tossing anything that is expired
E. Take inventory of any items you will run out of soon and add them to your shopping list
F. Wash bath mats if necessary.

Here are a few tips I've found to make cleaning surfaces easier:
1. Polish your shower stall with car wax or Gel Gloss every 6 months or so. It will cause the water to bead up and dry quicker, leaving less water spots. It also keeps soap residue from clinging to the surface, making it easier to clean. *Caution*- Do not polish the bottom of the tub/shower. It will make it slippery when wet. *Another Caution* - This is a chemical product. Be careful.
2. Polish your sink top with Gel Gloss to keep toothpaste from adhering to the surface.
3. There are products that say they will keep your mirror from fogging up, but I've never found them to be rather short lived and eventually left streaks when I tried to clean the mirror. If you have a solution, please share your thoughts.
4. Shower curtains should be made out of a quick-drying fabric. Avoid liners made with PVC as it releases harmful chemicals.

Just a note. . . I prefer to use homemade cleaners that don't have strong chemicals to clean my home. Please feel free to replace the items I suggested with whatever cleaning solutions you desire. Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the recipe for a new general bathroom cleaner that I'm having great results with.