Tag Archives: cleaning

Pinterest Pin ~ Homemade DIY Dishwasher Tabs

Pinterest Pins ~ Homemade DIY Dishwasher Tabs

I love browsing on Pinterest … don’t you? It is full of homemade and DIY ideas. I’m always finding great pins that I want to try. This week, I made this recipe for homemade dishwasher tablets. I hope they work well … I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Since I already make homemade laundry detergent, I already had many of the ingredients on hand. This recipe called for borax, washing soda (or baking soda), Epson salts (or kosher salt), vinegar and lemon essential oil. The only thing I had to buy was the essential oil and ice cube trays.

The recipe is really easy to follow:

  • First … I measured out the borax, washing soda and Epson salts and mixed them together.
  • Then … I added the vinegar, it bubbled and fizzed
  • Then … I added the drops of lemon essential oil. It was challenging to actually count the drops, so I eyeballed it. I love the scent of lemon – it smells clean to me!
  • Then … I mixed it all together, it started clumping together right away.
  • Finally … I spooned the mixture into the ice cube trays, pressed it down firmly and then set it aside to dry thoroughly.
Homemade DIY Dishwasher Tabs

Adding the vinegar made it fizz

Homemade DIY Dishwasher Tabs

It started clumping together right away

Homemade DIY Dishwasher Tabs

Pressing the mixture into the ice cube tray

The recipe says to let it dry at least 24 hours, then store in an airtight container. I plan to use up my store bought supply before using my homemade ones … I think I have about 5 left. They should be nice and dry by then. The recipe also says to put a drop or two of Dawn on the tablet when you’re putting it in the dishwasher for added grease cutting benefits and to use a splash of vinegar to aid in the rinse cycle. I actually already knew about and use the vinegar with my store bought detergent.

Since I already have all these ingredients out, I think I’ll make up a batch of homemade laundry detergent too. My supply is getting pretty low. Now that I have the lemon essential oil, I think I might add some to the laundry detergent … as I mentioned, I just love the fresh and clean scent of lemon. My batches last my family of 4 for quite awhile; I think I made the last batch in July. Do you make homemade cleaners? What is your favorite?

Are you on Pinterest, follow me 🙂

 

Graduation Party

Let Tracy Helps You Help With Your Next Party ~ Graduation, Birthday or Shower … it’s up to you !!

What do birthdays, graduations, weddings, and babies all have in common? They all are celebrated with a party !! Spring and Summer are filled with fun parties to celebrate a graduation, a baby shower, a wedding, a confirmation, a birthday, an anniversary, and family reunions ~ just to name a few (okay – more than a few). Our calendars fill up fast with party invitations.

Throwing a party is a lot of work … picking the best date, making the guest list, getting the invitations sent out (digitally or by snail mail), planning the menu, house cleaning, shopping, cooking and preparation, decorating, and of course, the clean-up. Like I said, it’s a lot of work ~ fun work ~ but work none the less.

I love throwing parties … I love the planning … I love being the hostess, but I also love the moment, after all the clean-up is finished that I get to sit down and put my feet up 🙂 It is such a good feeling !

Tracy Helps You can get you to the “put your feet up and relax” stage of hosting a party sooner. Let us be your assistant hostess. We can help with any stage of your party. We can do the shopping for you, or help with the decorating. We can be the “kitchen help” during the party. We can keep the trays of food full, top off the bowls of chips and dip. We can stay ahead of all the dirty dishes that come with hosting a party. An extra pair of hands definitely makes the work easier 🙂

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you actually had time to enjoy visiting and catching up with your friends and family, knowing that everything was running smoothly “behind the scenes”? Plus, after you’ve said your good byes to your last guest, imagine the feeling of walking into a clean kitchen … as opposed to a pile of dirty dishes to do and bags of trash to take out.

Hire Tracy Helps You as your assistant hostess for your next party … you won’t be sorry 🙂 

Little green signs of life means Spring has come.

Outdoor Spring Cleaning in the Yard and Garden

Spring has finally sprung … well not quite, but it is trying 🙂 I can at least say all the piles of snow have melted. We had one nice sunny, warmish day last week. My husband and I took advantage of it to start the process of getting the yard tidied up a little.

Chicago endured a long and harsh winter this year … the high winds and 5+ feet of snowfall really took its toll on our yard. When it finally warmed up enough to be outdoors for a couple of hours, we found that the wind had tried to blow down a section of our fence … it didn’t succeed entirely, but it is leaning at a precarious angle. Repairing that is at the top of our to-do list when the ground is more thawed. After walking around and sizing everything up, we realized that we were quite blessed by only having to repair the fence.

Living on a corner lot, we’ve come to understand that our house is kind of like a windbreak. During severe storms, you can almost feel the wind howling all around us. All that wind blows a lot of debris and litter into our yard. We filled a whole outdoor trashcan with what we picked up.

I went around picking up lots of branches that had been broken off during the cold, hard winter. Lets just say we have plenty of kindling for whenever we want enjoy a fire in our fire pit. We also were reminded that we didn’t have time to get all the leaves raked up last fall before the snow came. With 6 trees on our property, raking leaves is like a full time job in autumn. After the litter was cleaned up, we thought that if we were to take a picture of the front yard it would be actually hard to tell if it was autumn or spring. We got to work and filled several bags with leaves.

The best part of that afternoon (besides enjoying some fresh air and feeling a sense of accomplishment) was finding little signs of life peeking out of the ground. If my memory of their locations serves me, we have seen signs of life from the Crocus, the Daffodils, the Hyacinths and the Tulips. Soon we will be able to start turning over and preparing the soil in the garden area. I plan to start my vegetable seedlings indoors this weekend.  

Welcome Spring … we’ve been waiting for you 🙂

OSLC Spring Garage Sale

Spring Cleaning + Organizing = Charitable Donations

Well, the calendar says it is officially Spring, even if the snow on the ground begs to differ. Spring cleaning for me involves organizing along with actual cleaning. This is the time of year that I try to go through closets and storage areas to try to downsize and organize.

Many times in late Fall, in my hurry to tidy up for holiday decorating, things seem to get shoved into closets, drawers or under beds. You know that saying, out of sight ~ out of mind? Well it comes into play a little too often at my house 🙂

Each April, my church holds an annual garage sale (from donations from the congregation and the surrounding community). After operating expenses, the proceeds go to help several charitable organizations in our community. It has always been a successful and highly anticipated event. I usually volunteer by helping sort through and organize the donations and by working as a cashier on the actual day of the sale.

About a month or so beforehand, I usually start to get motivated to sort through my stuff for items to donate. I start a mental list of possible items ~

  • clothes we no longer need or use
  • books I’ve already read
  • home décor items
  • pieces of furniture
  • kitchen utensils and small appliances
  • movies and CD’s 

Then I plan a schedule to start sorting through and organizing the various closets, cabinets and bookshelves. I box up the items for donation. Then I’ll wipe down and clean the shelves before putting back the items that I’m keeping.

It always gives me a sense of accomplishment to tidy up and re-organize the cabinets and closets. I also really like the feeling of giving … of my time and my treasures.

This year’s sale is on April 12th … come check it out and say “hi” 🙂

Spring Break Getaways

Spring Break Getaway ~ Staycation ~ or ~ Clean Up Week ??

When did Clean-Up Week change to Spring Break ? Back in the day, when I was in grade school (late 1960’s / early 1970’s), Chicago public schools had a week off in the spring called Clean-Up Week. It was always a “staycation” for me because we literally cleaned. It was a time of major spring-cleaning at our house – wall washing, hands and knees floor washing. Whenever I smell Pine Sol, I have flashbacks to scrubbing the stairway to our second floor apartment on Southport Street. My grandma (who raised me) used to say she loved to give the house a good “airing out” after a long winter. I remember her hanging the kitchen curtains on the pulley laundry line and watching them flap in the breeze on a sunny spring afternoon. 

I’m not sure exactly when, but by my high school years, it was called Spring Break. I have wonderful memories of my senior class trip to Hawaii during spring break. As a travel agent during the 1980’s, I can attest to the fact that spring break travel was very popular, especially for college students. During the 1990’s, it started becoming a popular time for family trips as well.

In the last 10 years or so, the “stay cation” concept has been gaining popularity.  The idea of taking short day trips and then sleeping at home seems to work well with the current economy. You can sight see and check out local tourist attractions while saving money on lodging and breakfast. 

So, what does Spring hold for you this year? My husband and I plan on a combination of Clean-Up and Staycation. We have some small projects around the house and I think it will be fun playing tourist in my hometown of Chicago. What are your plans … similar to mine or warm tropical getaway? 

photo by: eskedal
Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

Tackle Spring Cleaning Early ~ Kitchen To-Do List Update

It’s the first day of March ~ so here’s an update on my early kitchen spring cleaning challenge I gave to myself.

First I’d like to apologize for posting so sporadically lately … I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the last couple of weeks. Nothing major, mostly just feeling worn down and dealing with sinus issues 🙁

That, coupled with my perfectionist / all or nothing mindset, well … lets just say I felt like I couldn’t post about my kitchen progress because I thought because I didn’t keep up with my own expectations, that I had failed.

I’m working on trying to wrap my brain around a new outlook (we’re all a work in progress … right?) for life ~ Something is Better than Nothing 🙂

So, here are SOME THINGS (from my earlier kitchen to-do list post) that I did accomplish in February …

  • Emptied out, wiped down, and re-organized the inside of the cabinets
  • Scrubbed and de-greased the outside of the cabinets
  • Cleaned the oven and microwave
  • Washed the windows and curtains
  • Cleaned the ceiling fan

So … this is where my new mindset needs to kick in … I accomplished SOME THINGS from my to-do list 🙂  It’s not done perfectly (something has already spilled over and splattered in the microwave), but it’s better than nothing ~ There is still plenty of time and plenty to do for spring cleaning 🙂

Does anyone else suffer with an all or nothing mindset ? How do you deal with it ? Please share your ideas and thoughts … 
Plastic Tupperware Containers to Sort and Organize

Update on My Tackle Spring Cleaning Early List ~ Kitchen

It has been a week since I posted my list of tackling spring cleaning early goals. During the week, I worked on re-organizing my cabinets. I started with my Tupperware cabinet … it was a mess.

  • First, I emptied everything out on my table.
  • Next, I matched each plastic container with its lid. I have no idea how this happens, but I seem to have a few bowls with no lids and a few lids with no bowls … again, I really have no idea 🙂 So, I got rid of them (recycle bin). I also got rid of a few that were in really bad shape … they get all stained and pitted, yuck.
  • Then, I decided I wanted them to belong in a different cabinet. They were shoved onto a top shelf before. Their new location has more room. Also, I now have the lids stored in the same cabinet as the bowls. I had them stored in a drawer and they kept falling behind and getting jammed. I used a wire basket to stack all the lids to (hopefully) be easier to find.

    Newly Organized Tupperware Cabinet

    Nice, neat and tidy plastic storage containers and lids.

  • I also decided to divide the containers into everyday leftover/storage size and the larger/serving sizes and stored them in a different cabinet.
  • I then took out all my dishes and glassware to wipe down the shelves before putting them back. I tossed a couple of coffee mugs and a plate that had a chip in them.

    Newly Organized Dish Cabinet

    My neat and tidy dish cabinet … now that I look at it, maybe I’ll raise the coffee mug shelf up another notch 🙂

Boy … on my list it was only a couple of sentences, but it sure was a lot of work 🙂  I’ll work on scrubbing and de-greasing the outsides of the cabinets another time, after all, we still have another 5 or 6 weeks of winter left (if you can believe the groundhog). I’m happy to have my plastic containers more under control … now if only the other members of the family will help in keeping the cabinets organized 🙂

How are you doing on tackling your spring cleaning chores? What is on your to-do list? Give me an update … we can encourage each other 🙂 Let me know if you’d like Tracy Helps You to … help you.

 

Early Spring Cleaning - Kitchen

5 Things on My "Tackle Spring Cleaning Early" List ~ Kitchen

Please accept my apologies for complaining so much about the weather last month 🙁

I’ve decided to stop whining and get productive.  I’m starting some spring cleaning early … hopefully I can be done (or almost done) by the time spring actually arrives 🙂

My plan is to spend the month of February deep cleaning my kitchen.

  • Cabinets/Counters – clean/degrease the outsides, wipe down /sanitize the insides, re-organize the contents, wipe down, de-clutter & organize counter tops more efficiently
  • Frig/Freezer completely empty out and throw away expired items, thoroughly clean and sanitize shelves, organize shelves more logically, clean off the top of the frig
  • Stove/Oven – thorough cleaning & scrubbing using lots of “elbow grease” to get rid of those really tough baked on stains casino online
  • Floor – wash on my hands and knees (like my Grandma taught me), getting into every corner and scrubbing the grout of the tile
  • Walls/Windows/Ceiling Fan – wipe down walls, clean/degrease backsplashes, wash windows (inside only – it’s February in Chicago, people … lol), change the curtains, clean/degrease the fan blades

I really can’t stand all that gross, greasy dust that accumulates on every surface in the kitchen … I hope to be able to stay on top of this chore every month, so it doesn’t get so out of control in the future 🙂

Who wants to join me on getting an early start on our spring cleaning this year? I’m thinking that if I spend my time productively during these “cabin fever”, winter months, I can actually spend lots of time outdoors enjoying the spring weather without feeling guilty for blowing off my household responsibilities 🙂

Many thanks to  http://www.manylittleblessings.com & http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/ for co-hosting List It Tuesday / Top Ten Tuesday 🙂

photo by: BooleanRadley

Getting Organized – Garage Storage

It can be overwhelming, where do you begin?

I recommend that you start small. Assess the whole project and then try to break it down into more manageable parts.

Take the garage for example. Typically, they hold much more than just our cars. For most families, the garage is one of the main storage areas. As a matter of fact, some people park their car in the driveway and use the garage space exclusively for storage. Continue reading

photo by: joguldi