home comforts

Fall Cleaning and Basic Home Maintenance

Fall feels like a new beginning to me and to Design Track Mind’s Melissa Gulley who recently wrote about it, too, and I do always feel like cleaning my house this time of year (Please note, I do not always do this…I just want to). So today, after everyone was at school (but before the dog had her long walk), and I got the car inspected (finally – the month is almost over) and grabbed some basics at the grocery store, I headed home and cast a sharp eye over my clutter filled house. Hmm. Did I have the energy and ruthlessness required to begin to toss things out? Would there be tears when I moved art projects off shelves and into the basement or cabinets? Maybe on both counts.

Instead I tackled something that had been bothering me for a while – the front porch columns had spots of mold on them –  yuck. Not very Martha-like or a nice welcome to our home. Let me be clear, there were not huge mold cultures growing on the side of my house, just grayish spots on the white painted columns. Still – it needed attention.

I made a solution (practicing chemistry at home – splitting the atom will be next!) of warm water, a splash of bleach and dish liquid (I was told to use laundry detergent but forgot to bring it upstairs and made do with liquid Ivory soap (mostly because I didn’t feel like making another trip to the basement). Apply this mixture with a cloth rag and let sit for 10 minutes (if you are in a hurry you will have to scrub, so take your time).

After 10 minutes, take the cloth rag (the same one you applied solution with is fine) and wipe off the area (Some areas did not need to be scrubbed at all, some places took a once over and one particularly stubborn area required a scrubbie (use a soft one or this mesh covered sponge so you don’t scratch the paint too much) and then rinse with cool water (I simply hosed off the whole porch).

So how is that organizational project inside the house going? Well, I am writing this so I am not doing that…right now anyway – who knows? Maybe your comments will inspire me!

Here is a useful link for cleaning supplies you can make yourself if you are so inclined. Me? I like white vinegar and baking soda for stubborn tea stains, and ketchup, salt and lemon for cleaning copper.

My favorite housekeeping book – so much nicer to read about than to actually do the cleaning!


Hot for Housekeeping

Capability Mom's favorite housekeeping bookWell, not really, but the house is clean and, God willing, will stay that way for at least the afternoon.  I do like to know how to do things whether I actually use this knowledge is another story.  For instance, one of my favorite books on housekeeping is by Cheryl Mendelsohn, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House.  I prefer to read it than actually do the things you are supposed to do after reading it.   Actually, I refer to it so often that the binding is quite loose.  Chapter 27 – Sanitizing the Laundry is a personal favorite.  I know, I kind of need to get a life, right?  I do also think that Martha Stewart (do not scoff) knows what she is talking about and all of her house stuff is wonderful – she runs a tight ship and is thoroughly detailed oriented – something I aspire to  – but I think my character, for better or worse, is probably pretty set by now.  Oh, well, hope springs eternal.  Do not think that my house is anywhere near this together – it is not.  I do, however, have a designated bag of white rice (thank you, Verizon) for drying out your cell phone and battery when it has gotten wet inadvertently (I do actually know that water and electronics are not happy together).  We do not cook with this rice – ever ( aside from the ick factor, I know I will need it again)  – so fear not if you are dining at our house.  Check out My Store in the sidebar to connect to Amazon.   You, too, can read about the right way to run a house.  
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