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Day 23: Shelf Liners, How to Clean Cabinets, Glass Fronts and Hardware

Today, I tackled a few of the kitchen cleaning how tos and I added shelf liners to my cabinets. 

After reading Martha's section on shelf liners I decided that parchment paper would work for my cabinet shelves. This was the most economical choice and the easiest choice for me to find near me, since parchment paper is sold in most supermarkets.

The first thing that I did was empty my cabinets, I took this time to get rid of anything that was expired or I did not use anymore. Next I washed the cabinets using Martha's recommendations, warm water mixed with mild dishwashing liquid and a soft sponge. 

I washed the hardware using the same solution. This was relatively easy, the solution was strong enough to get rid of the dirt but, weak enough to not damage the cabinets or hardware. I used a glass cleaner for the two glass front cabinets in my kitchen.

After drying the cabinets with a soft cloth I inserted the parchment paper.


The last step was to stock the shelves. The whole process took a little over an hour. The next time that I do this it should take less time because the parchment paper should grab most of the dirt instead of the dirt ending up on the cabinets.
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Day 17: Kitchen Organizing

Kitchen Organizing

Organizing has always been easier for me than cleaning. After reading Martha's recommendations on organizing in the kitchen, I found that I was on the right track. Martha recommends organizing your kitchen for what works for you, there is no wrong way, it is meant to make your life easier.

Here are a couple of Martha's tips that I chose to follow:
Stacking pots and pans so that they take up less space in your drawers/shelves.

Keeping all your like items together in one area of the kitchen. This is a spice rack that my Dad built for us one christmas I have it right next to my range. This allows me easy access to spices while I'm cooking.

Use a drawer organizer for storing your silverware.

I do find that when my home is organized I am less stressed and have more time. Having a place for everything makes it easier to keep everything organized.
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Day 16: Kitchen Layout & Kitchen Cleaning Kit

I'm back, sorry I've been absent for the last few days, I had a few things for Grad School I had to take care of and some of my Husband's family was visiting over the weekend. I was able to keep up with the daily Martha tasks but was unable to get a chance to blog.

Today's topics are the Kitchen Layout and the Kitchen Cleaning Kit. 

Kitchen Layout


My Kitchen

As you can see above my kitchen is a combination of a galley and open kitchen plan. This layout effects my kitchen's triangle. In a normal galley kitchen the two of the appliances would be on one wall and the last appliance would be between the other two on the opposite wall. My kitchen triangle is acute, in the future when we redo our kitchen I would love to have a more traditional triangle to work with.

Kitchen Cleaning Kit

Martha's kitchen cleaning kit is similar to the universal cleaning kit that I talked about eariler with a few added tools. Such as: dishwashing liquid, natural cleaners (baking soda, etc), kitchen brushes, and a toothbrush. She also suggests that you store all your cleaning materials in a bucket to make it easier to find and carry everything.
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Martha Project: Day 10: Monthly & Seasonal Cleaning

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , ,
Today, I looked through the monthly and seasonal cleaning lists that Martha recommends. I decided to spread out the tasks over the four weeks in each month and when the seasons change. To speed this along a little, I'll just let you know about when I'll be completing the monthly and seasonal cleaning instead of going through a whole month, like I did with the weekly cleaning. This will allow me to start getting into the nitty gritty.

Here is the cleaning break down.

Monthly

1st Week of the Month
  • Wash Ventilation Hood Filter in Kitchen
  • Discard Food that has Expired
  • Vacuum Fire Place Screen
  • Launder Mattress Pad
2nd Week of the Month
  • Wipe Shower Surroundings
  • Scrub Grout
  • Wipe Inside Medicine Cabinet
  • Dust Closet Shelves
  • Vacuum Closet Floors
3rd Week of the Month
  • Vacuum Utility Floors
  • Wipe Inside/Outside of Trash Cans
  • Vacuum Window Treatments, Moldings and Windowsills
  • Dust Ceiling Fans
  • Wipe Doors
4th Week of the Month
  • Wipe Switch Plates
  • Wipe Telephones
  • Flush Drains with Vinegar, Boiling Water and Baking Soda
 Seasonal
  •  Replace Baking Soda
  • Clean Oven
  • Wipe Kitchen Ceiling
  • Clean Refrigerator
  • Clean Inside of Kitchen Cabinets
  • Organize Pantry
  • Sweep out Fireplace
  • Vacuum Mattress and Box Spring
  • Launder Pillows
  • Wipe Baseboards and Moldings 
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Martha Project: Day 9: Weekly Cleaning - Dining Room

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , , ,
Yesterday, Monday was clean the dining room. Since we had a Super Bowl Party on Sunday we had already vacuumed and cleaned, so there was not much to do.

You will also notice that I primed all the walls in our dining room/living room on Saturday. We are finally moving along with our home renovations. Hopefully, I'll be able to show all of you the full transformation soon.

Here is the before and after.

Before
After
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Martha Project: Day 8, Weekly Cleaning - Kitchen

Posted by Caroline on 11:02 AM in , , , ,
Yesterday, Sunday was clean the kitchen day. Cleaning the kitchen seems daunting at first but, it is really not that bad, especially when you have a husband that is willing to help. Since yesterday was also Super Bowl Sunday and we were going to host a party, my husband offered to help me clean the kitchen. This did help because we had other things to get done before our guests arrived.

Here are my before and afters.

Before
After
Before
After
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Martha Project: Day 6, Weekly Cleaning - Bathroom

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , ,
Yesterday, Friday was bathroom day. I have to be honest this was the day of the week that I was dreading. This is the one thing that I have not taken on in awhile. Usually, my husband takes care of cleaning the bathroom, I'm really lucky that way. But, since I'm taking on this project I thought that I would have to tackle the bathroom.
I did not take any before and afters for the bathroom because I did not think that it would look that different in pictures, since there is not a lot of clutter.

This was defiantly the hardest of the weekly cleaning tasks so far. I started by cleaning the sink and mirror and then moved on to the toilet. This was really what I did not want to clean, but I got over my grossed outness and cleaned the toilet. Finally, I cleaned the shower; this took me the longest and was the hardest part of the bathroom to clean.
Hopefully, next week this will not be as hard.
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Martha Project: Day 5

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , ,
Yesterday, Thursday was clean the bedroom day. The bedroom tends to be a place that we just throw things into when cleaning the rest of the house because no one sees the bedroom when they come over. So, needless to say I had a lot of clutter to tame yesterday. 

So, let's see how I did.

Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
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Martha Project: Day 4

Yesterday was Wednesday, so I continued to work through my weekly housekeeping. Yesterday was the hallway and the entry way. The hallway was easy all I had to do was vacuum, so I decided not to take any before and afters because it was really not that interesting.

Here are my before and afters of the entry way. Our entry way is not heated so I had to move quickly as to not freeze.

 
Before

After
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Martha Project: Day 3

Martha's Weekly Homekeeping

Today I'm setting up my weekly homekeeping schedule. Because I do not have enough time on any one day to accomplish all the things on the weekly checklist I'm going to spread it out throughout the week.

Sunday

Kitchen 

Monday

Dining Room

Tuesday

Living Room
 Home Office

Wednesday
Library
Entryway and Hallway

Thursday

Bedrooms

Friday
Bathrooms

Saturday

Throughout the House

So, today is Tuesday that means I tackled the Living Room and Home Office. Here is a picture of the before and the after using Martha's advice.


Living Room
 
Before

After


Before
After
Our house is in a bit of a transition. Hopefully, our living room/dining room will look a little more finished soon.
Home Office
Before
After
Before
After

Martha's steps are pretty simple the whole process took me about 45 minutes. I'll follow this for a week going through each day of the week.

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Martha Project: Day 2

Martha's Daily Chore List

Martha states that if you get into a habit of doing these 6 chores on a daily basis you'll be able to stay ahead of the chaos.

1. Make the Bed
I do make the bed every day, but I have to admit that I do not tuck in the corners. When I get to the section on making the bed I'm sure I'll learn the correct way to make the bed.

2. Manage Clutter
I tried to do this today, I did okay but I did not get all the clutter. I think the more you pick up clutter as you enter and exit rooms the better your house looks.

3. Sort the Mail
Every day, after the postman delivers the mail I take it out of the mail box and go through it for anything important. I also get rid of the junk mail. Martha says to put a trash bin near the door that you get the mail from, so I moved a basket near the door and another basket for recycling. She also suggests that you have four boxes; personal correspondence, bills, catalogs, and filing. Right now I only have piles so I will have to get some bins.

4. Clean as You Cook
I did not cook today so I did not get a chance to try this out. But, the next time that I do cook I will let you all know how this works.

5. Wipe up Spills While They're Fresh
This is something that I do already, letting a stain sit makes the clean up worse.

6. Sweep the Kitchen Floor
Since I did not cook today I did not sweep the floor because we cleaned heavily this past weekend. But, I can see how this would be helpful after you have cooked to make sure that no food is left on the floor.
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Martha Project: Day 1

Today I launched into my household Martha project by putting together my cleaning products according to Martha's Universal Clean Kit.

I really had no idea what I had as far as cleaning products went. When I clean I usually just grab what is under the sink and start cleaning. I obviously have a lot to learn.

So, my first step was to take out all the cleaning supplies that I had around the house and compare them to the checklist.

 
All my cleaning supplies!
Now, the checklist, let's see how I compared.
  • An all purpose cleaner, Check! I have a couple of those.
  • A mildly abrasive cleanser, I think comet works. Check!
  • Glass cleaner, after talking to my husband I found it in the basement. Check!
  • Rubber gloves, Check!
  • Lint-free white clothes, I have paper towels and I think I have some rags around the house somewhere. Sort of Check!
  • Medium-bristled scrub brush, do not have, will have to buy.
So, I just I didn't do half bad against Martha's Checklist. I'm going to CVS today and I will pick up the medium-bristled scrub brush.
I'm ready for the challenges ahead, bring on the dirt!!!


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Martha Project

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , , ,
Next week I'll be starting a personal challenge that I'm going to write about on this blog. I just read "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell and got inspired. My challenge is based on housekeeping instead of cooking, since my housekeeping skills are less than stellar.

I'll be following Martha Stewart's "Homekeeping Handbook" and tackling over 400 topics (I'm omitting Moving because we will not be moving anytime soon) over the course of this year. My house is not messy, but I always feel as though I have some clutter and can never really get the house to look as clean and organized as I would like. I could not think of a better person to learn about all things housekeeping than Martha. The book is very comprehensive and hopefully by the end I'll have a more organized and cleaner home, as well as a better understanding of how to keep up with my clutter.

Here's hoping Martha can turn this lazy/corner cutting housekeeper into a more detail oriented and methodical tamer of dirt.



And for all my family, friends and anyone else who follows my renovation updates, I will still be posting those as we finish more and more renovations in our new home throughout the year.
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Help for Haiti

With the recent tragedy in Haiti, we find our selves looking for ways to help. The best way people can help is to donate money, even if it is only $5 per person, it will help. Here are some links to places where you can donate to help Haiti.




Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and all their family and friends around the world.
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Aruba Vacation

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , , , , , ,
A and I just got back from our first ever trip to Aruba, we had a great time and wish we did not have to return to the cold and snow. I have a few pictures to share with you. We stayed at the Radisson Beach Resort, for 5 nights. A and I played golf, rode ATVs, enjoyed the beach and took a Catamaran snorkeling (really A was the only one who went snorkeling, I was just along for the boat ride, big fear of fish).


This pic was taken during a stop on an ATV tour that we took. We were on top of a giant rock.



Everyday we sat under these grass huts called Palapas.


Our room at the Radisson had a Caribbean/Asian/Relaxing design. We'll be redoing our master bedroom and were inspired by the laid back style of our hotel room.



The room had these amazing floor to ceiling Asian inspirated screens that opened up to a balcony. When closed they still let in light but, allowed for privacy.


All in all, it was a great trip and we can not wait till the next time that we can get back to Aruba.
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Living Room Design

Posted by Caroline on 9:00 AM in , , ,
Now that it is a new year, A and I will be starting up the home improvement projects again. We started our living room/dining room in the fall and then took a break during the holidays, we are ready to get started. Below is an idea of the design for the rooms, these are not the exact items that we will be using but they are very close. I'll be sharing our progress as it happens.

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