Posts Tagged ‘Spring Cleaning’

September 22, 2014

Carpet Cleaning Maniac

About month ago Domingo and I decided to get a carpet cleaner. We were previously using resolve carpet cleaner to get out toddler and cat created spots in the rugs, but I wanted a deeper clean before Ziggy’s arrival and before we moved out. I also didn’t want to have to keep bending over all the time. We were thinking of renting a steam cleaner, but the math ended up working out to be cheaper to purchase a cleaner if we were planning on cleaning the carpets more than 4 times. With a messy toddler, one on the way, and a pet, that seemed like a likely bet to me!

We ended up going with the Bissell DeepClean Carpet Cleaner. It was one of the cheaper options (I always prefer to stick with the low end cost wise when I’m not sure if new type of product will fit my family) and had some of the highest reviews. It was also being sold at the lowest price ever on Amazon. I love my price watches.

Shampooing the carpets really satisfies my nesting itch! There’s something extremely satisfying about dumping out the murky water afterwards. Having new looking rugs again doesn’t hurt either. I might be crazy, but the rug actually feels nicer under my feet after being cleaned.

In our current state, buying definitely seems like the right way to have gone. I’m a little weary of having Nicki and the cat walk on damp carpets. I’m sure the cleaning agent is ‘safe’ but I prefer to do the shampooing at night after Nicki’s asleep and I can quarantine Lily. Besides, I generally only have enough energy for one room at a time. I plan on shampooing the carpet in at least one room once every week or so until Ziggy’s arrival. The whole place will have been cleaned twice by then.

Nesting is a powerful thing.

Aside: if you’re thinking of getting a carpet cleaner, my guess is they’ll come on sale in late October or early November. At least that tends to be the best time I find for home goods.

June 22, 2014

A Place for Every Thing

It feels like we’re unpacking/organizing at the rate of one box per day. At this rate it’ll be eleventy billion (slight exaggeration) years until we finish. I am determined to finish organizing everything this time. No more useless junk!

The biggest accomplishment of the weekend was organizing the tool box. We had a tool box filled to the brim, plus a small tin of tools Domingo brought from his apartment. We sorted everything, kept the best of anything we had duplicates of, and pitched anything that we couldn’t identify or was too warn to work well. Did you know we had a wrench? We didn’t! That’s one item off our Black Friday buy list. We also had 3 micro screw driver sets. Oops. We did correctly surmise that we are lacking a set of good, full size screw drivers. By the time we were finished with the tool box, everything we were keeping fit nicely into it, and we could actually close it without force for the first time since we bought it. Bonus: the most useful stuff is in the top try.

Organizing makes me happy. Yes, I’m weird.

Other areas we tackled (or at least have a game plan to tackle):

Nicole’s ‘Artwork.’ We’ve gotten a lot of stuff from daycare that includes hand prints and foot prints, and I want to save those as best as possible. Unfortunately they’re often bigger than standard 8 x 10 pages, and too big to fit in folders. I’m thinking about getting one a large art portfolios. It’s kind of over kill (and thus pricey), but it should protect those prints. It’ll also stand up flat, so I can store it in a closet. I also figure it will be able to hold a lot, so we should get many years of use out of it before needing another.

My sister (the artist in the family) recommended Itoya Original Art Profolios.

Nicole’s hair bows. If you had told me I would be the kind of mom with a collection of hair bows for my little girl, I probably would have burst out laughing. Hair bows on babies is not my thing. What I wasn’t counting on was a kid with so much hair! She goes through phases of what she tolerates, and hair accessories are apparently a popular gift idea when a little girl has a lot of hair. As a result we have quite the collection. The problem is they’re small, and they have a tendency to find there way behind furniture.

hair ties
Bows and ties and clips, on my!
It never fails: unpack/organize anything and the toddler wants to play with it.

For these I used a bead organizer. I used to be fairly into beading, and bought a bunch of these on sale back in the day. It was nice to be able to put one to good use!

What I have no idea what to do with:

My jewelry: Over the years my taste in jewelry has evolved somewhat. I used to be really into things like silver jewelry club and the $20 side of brands like peora where you could snag silver jewelry for next to nothing. Lately I’ve been more into Diamonique solitaries and the simpler Swarovski pendants. They’re inexpensive stones in delicate settings. The delicate settings helps to make the jewelry look more expensive than it actually is (in my opinion at least.) The problem is most of the chains are too delicate for a shoe box, yet I do not have the space for a jewelry box.

The great purge of 2014 continues. Well, actually it’s more like the great purge of 2013 has continued into 2014, since we started purging in preparation for our move last year. I’m determined to get everything organized before Ziggy gets here, to make our lives easier when we move. Given that we’ve never had everything organized, and always had a junk closet of some kind, that means making up for the last decade of procrastinating in five and a half months.

Elmo Mat
Our former non-slip tub math

One of the items in the trash bag today: the Elmo non slip tub mat. The tub in our guest bathroom already has a non-slip coating, so the tub mat had nothing to stick to. We can’t use it here, and given the prevalence of non-slip bathtubs we probably wouldn’t be able to use it when we move.

Yet, I am torn about getting rid of it. It’s Elmo. Nicki loooves Elmo, or Moe-Moe as she calls him. She fell in love with the little red Muppet at daycare. A few days after she discovered Elmo, I pointed out the little Elmos on the tub mat. Even though we had been using it for months, it was like she was seeing it for the first time. With wide eyes she exclaimed “MO-MO!” (how she used to pronounce Elmo) and then proceeded to point to each and every Elmo on the mat. Her excitement went away after a few days. She didn’t seem to miss the Elmos when they disappeared. Still she once loved those little non slip Elmos.

It’s still really hard for me to get rid of anything, despite my best efforts. I develop sentimental attachments way too easily. The memory of Nicki discovering those Elmos is sweet, but now that I have it written down and the pictures, I no longer need the actual mat. At least that’s the theory.

To help make the call of what should be kept vs trashed or donated, Domingo and I started applying three criteria to anything we own that aren’t using now:

  1. Could I see myself putting it in a shadow box one day?
    With 18 years ahead of me to build up mementos, space is always going to be limited. Sure, there’s always the hypothetical garage/attack, but I think that’s better suited for objects the kids become sentimentally attached to. After all, I’m sure I’ll be sentimental about them too.
  2. Are we more likely to use it again in the future than not?
    The ‘more’ is key. Just about anything can be repurposed. Although, probably not a tubmat.
  3. Is it hard(ish) to replace?
    • Would I want the exact same one or maybe a different mat to go with the bathroom decor? A fish themed tubmat may be appreciated longer, and individual decals that can be spaced out more evenly may be more practical.
    • Would it be relatively inexpensive to replace it with another one? Even if I want the same one there are number of retailers who will sell it in the $10-15 range.

We decided to get rid of it a week ago and I’m just now working up the courage to follow through with that decision. Alas, I don’t think it’s going to get easier.

When we moved, the easiest thing to pack up was the garage. That’s because we had spent the time to go through the garage, so everything was already in nice labeled boxes: Christmas ornaments, Halloween decorations, baking stuff, etc. The room that took the longest to pack? The office closet. I never did finish organizing it. Since we’re planning on moving again in the spring, I intend to make that move as easy as possible. That means, organizing, organizing, and more organizing!

Domingo did a fabulous job with the outside storage unit. I did an okay job with Nicki’s closet. It’s that office closet that still needs so much work! (That and the entrance way, and our master bedroom closet, and the TV/media area, and… well you get the idea.)

Today’s organizational goal: two brown bags full of a tangled mess of cables.

In that mess was apparently coax cables, some still in the box, a slew of unmarked non-generic non-labeled cables, an antenna extender even though we no longer own a radio, as well as a cell phone power cord for a phone circa 2008. At least I assume the phone power cord was from 2008, as it was a different brand then the cell phones we’ve had since then.

Since coax cables are pretty dated, they all went in the trash, as did the cell phone cord. I typed the serial numbers of the non-generic cables into google to see what came up. Most of the time I still couldn’t tell what they were for, but found stores happy to sell me a new one, so I assumed it wouldn’t be any great loss if they disappeared as well.

Also on the chopping block:
– 7 Ethernet cables (leaving 6 – 2 short, 3 medium, and 1 long)
– Way too many land line phone cables (we kept 1)
– 2 printer cables (we kept 2)

Even though the world is increasingly becoming wireless, and all three – Ethernet cables, land line cables, and printer cables – are not needed at present, I can envision wanting one in the future. When my computer was having troubles printing my thesis on the day of the defense I ended up hooking the computer directly to the printer. Some hotels don’t have wireless, so having a short Ethernet cable is nice. A long one is great if your house is big (or at least has a sub optimal layout, and the wireless router can’t reach everywhere.) As for the land line, well phone service comes free with our cable bundle so having the capability to hook up a phone is nice.

The numbers of cables we kept correspond to our experience with their failure rates. I had Domingo verify that the Ethernet cables we were keeping the fasted of our cable collection. If I had been really diligent, I would have tested them out to ensure they are still working. Oh well. It’ll be one of next year’s spring cleaning tasks.

Next the cables were individually tied (to make it easier to pull one out) and sorted into two tins: one for generic extension cords and one for specialized cables.

organized cables
Much better

I dislike clutter. I get stressed out if my workspace, or home is cluttered. I have this theory that clutter leads over spending. At least in my case it does. If I can’t see the back of the pantry, I don’t know what I have. I’m equally as likely to forget about the soup until it expires, or buy more of the salsa for which I already have three jars. (Like last week, sheesh Sarah, you know better!) Yet, no matter how much I hate it, I have a hard time getting rid of it. It’s still good, I might want it again.

The problem is I’m also extremely sentimental. I still have the Disney Music Days t-shirt from my high school senior band trip, the middle school musical t-shirt (which I still wear, by the way!). My sentimental nature doesn’t just extend to plausibly useful stuff. I have the Ticketmaster confirmation (not just the tickets, the confirmation) of the hockey game which was my first date with my husband. I just can’t stand to throw it out, it’s my memories! I’m also extremely frugal – those chips are only slightly expired, they may not be as crunchy but they are still editable! I also hate throwing out anything that could be useful one day, regardless of whether it is useful now, like the shower curtain from my first apartment when the last two homes I’ve lived in have had shower doors.

A while ago I came across this advice: take a picture. You can always look back at the picture and remember, and a picture doesn’t take up space. Shirts I never wear can be donated, Ticketmaster confirmations can be recycled, and we can better organize what we have left.

Every time I move something to the trash pile or the good will pile, I feel a twinge of sadness that it’s leaving my life. I will never hold it again. But the sadness doesn’t last. Still, I can’t completely change overnight. That shower curtain I mentioned? Okay, so that’s still in a box in the garage. Hey, no one is perfect! Each pass through the house, I’ll get a little better.

Good bye, stuff, and thanks for the memories! Although, it might be time to purchase a bigger hard drive. Good thing Black Friday is coming up!

March 21, 2011

1 Down, 11 to Go

I spent way too many hours in bed this morning with a bad migraine. I want to blame it on standing in a small room full of cleaning chemicals for a few hours yesterday. Oh the other hand, one zone down (the master bathroom), and another almost finished (the guest bathroom).

The biggest challenge was the water stains. Our house has hard water. Very hard water. The worst hit was the tub in the master bathroom, which had acquired a raised blue stain around the drain – a combination of the calcium and (I think) soap scum. We had tried all the housing cleaning products we had to no avail. They were so bad I thought we were going to have to hire professionals to come in with the super strong chemicals, stay-out-of-the-house-for-24-hour chemicals.

Saturday we went back off to Target to acquire some different cleaning products to try. The winner: Comet. It still took 4 applications to get it cleaned up, but it’s finally gone. Some of our other cleaning products we tried weren’t as remarkable. We tried Kaboom Foamtastic for the toilets, which sprays on purple and turns white when it’s finished. The sides of the toilet ended up being too slick, and it slid down into the bowl before changing colors.

I still have to recaulk the shower, but I think I’ve had enough of the heavy chemicals for now. (Yes, I know caulk isn’t a heavy chemical, but there’s still a faint smell from the others.) For now, I’m moving on to the office, where most of the work involves organizing and not scrubbing.

Every fall I think “My house is a mess, I should clean it! As soon as the SIGIR deadline has passed…”. And I by clean I really mean organize. Donate old things we no longer use to good will, dispose/recycle of electronics that no longer work. Sure enough Spring comes around and I get distracted with something: School Work, Internships, Weddings. I usually do two half-houses passes a year, either tackling the downstair or the upstairs, but really what I need to do it all at once.

This years SIGIR deadline has come and gone nearly two months ago, and you couldn’t tell by the disorder chaos that is my home. No more.
Today I got out the scrub brush and got cracking. We’re not just talking clean, were talking Monica-Geller-scrub-the-toilet-brush clean. (Not even kidding on that, I already scrubbed down the toilet brush).

My goals are tri-fold. Clean, Organize, and Fixup.

Clean. This one is pretty self evident, but scrub down every possible surface.

Organize. A few weeks before packing to go to Hawaii we made a note that we were running out of toothpaste. I found a three tube pack under the sink in the guest bathroom. Being a three pack, it must have come from Costco, but our membership had expired over 18 months ago. Yes, we had toothpaste and we had ample supply of toothpaste and we didn’t even know it for probably two years. Did you know toothpaste expires? Another cuplrate for me is deodorant. For some reason I always thinking I’m out, but never am. By getting organize we know how much of each item we have, and what not to waste our money buying more of.

Fixup. We have a list of minor imperfections in our house. The previous owner had secured the toilet paper holder directly into drywall, so of course it’s starting to fall now. The water pressure is low in the guest bathroom sink. As we clean up we’re making a note of all the little things (and fixing a few on the way.) One can’t tackle the honey-do list, if one forget’s what’s on it.

I’ve divided the house into 12 zones (including the garage). Spring Cleaning will not get the best of me this year!