Under the Sink

I like to think that I run a tight ship as far as cleaning products are concerned. I’ve found that a few products are enough to handle most jobs. Case in point: underneath my kitchen sink:

Under the Sink

Pictured:

  • Method hand soap refill packet,
  • paper towels (we swear by Bounty),
  • Arm & Hammer pet stain and odor remover,
  • Glad trash bags,
  • bleach pen,
  • germ-x,
  • IKEA mineral oil for cutting boards,
  • Febreeze (hiding behind the divider),
  • dog food,
  • Oxy-Clean, Windex,
  • Method grapefruit all-purpose cleaner,
  • dishwasher tablets (Finish brand),
  • Swiffer furniture polish spray
  • (Laundry detergent and dryer sheets are kept in the bedroom closet next to the hamper)

I know that for the majority of my life, that is, taking into account my parents’ house and my prior two living spaces, “under the sink” was something I avoided thinking about at all costs. Terrifying visions of avalanches, suspicious chemicals, and the possibility of bugs (which I always associate with dark enclosed spaces) made me avoid thinking about it–and subsequently avoid cleaning and organizing said space.

News flash: the only way to improve the quality of a space is to clean it! Get rid of all the products you hate or never use. When we moved last fall, I didn’t relish the idea of transporting cleaners and chemicals across the country. I had the notion that heat and elevation changes would result in a moving truck full of exploded cleaning agents. This probably wouldn’t have happened. We used up all we could and gave the rest of our cleaners to the new residents anyway.

When restocking the cleaning supplies, we relied on past experience and only got what we knew worked. I’ve been happy with all these products (with the exception of the pet stain remover, which is fine but not my favorite) and haven’t had to spend needless amounts of money on “the next amazing cleaning product.” I think it helps that I surf the internet with AdBlock engaged and we don’t watch TV (just Netflix and Hulu) so our exposure to commercials is pretty limited.

If I were to add two items to my arsenal, it would be white vinegar and a Mr. Clean magic eraser. They’re going on the grocery list right now.

Got any favorite products I need to know about? And hey, thanks for weighing in on my last two moving-related posts. Lots of great food for thought there. 

Guest Post: Grout Cleaning

Those of you with tile countertops in your kitchen or bathroom will be kissing my feet (okay, my mom’s feet) for this useful and handy tip. I have one-piece counters so I can’t complain… but I think this will definitely work on problem-ridden areas of my floor tile too (when it’s warm enough to banish the pup to the backyard, that is! Safety first!)

That said, yes this is my very first GUEST POST written for facebook by the woman who brought me into the world and taught me that dishes can [almost] always wait until later. I’m sharing it with her permission!

How do you clean your grout, tile and
hand towels all in one project?

This is not a riddle.  A few years ago, when Clorox introduced the bleach pen, my daughters, Staci and Stephanie and I went to work on the grout in my kitchen.  I have a 6 x 6 foot island with offwhite tile and white grout.  It was quite a chore, but the grout lines were improved.

Now it is time to clean the grout again, but I didn’t have a bleach pen and was too lazy, busy, unmotivated, (whatever adjective you want to insert here) to go to the store, so I looked around to see what might work.  Hmmm.

I spied the tub of powder Oxyclean sitting on my washing machine, so I decided to try making a paste and using that on the grout.  Now to find my grout brush.  Couldn’t find it.  So I looked for a small brush that could work, but the discarded toothbrushes were too wimpy.  I asked Randy if he had a brush attachment for his Dremel tool, but he was afraid that would ruin the grout.  I spied my worn out and unused electric tooth brush.  Voila!

Armed with my somewhat dissolved Oxyclean and my tooth brush, I began the project.  Oxyclean worked really well to get rid of the dirt in the grout lines, but left a residue.  Paper towels were useless, so I grabbed an old dish towel.  I wiped off all the extra with the dry towel and then grabbed another old towel and dampened it to wipe up the rest.

Randy told me the counter looked like new!  Later in the day, the counter dried a little cloudy so I took some Sprayaway and washed it one more time.  Now it shines and the grout is clean.  Throw the towels in the laundry and they come out sparkling white!

Today, I reluctantly decided to tackle the tile and grout next to the stove, but did not want to do it.  I procrastinated by washing the linens on Stephanie’s bed and spied an Oxyclean tube of gel that my husband had purchased.  Hmmm.

So, I grabbed the gel, squirted it out onto my counter top and repeated Saturday’s process.  It worked really well, but is very messy and took more rinsing.  Overall the stove area looks better than the island, but we will see if it dries with a film.  No problem if it does, but it would be great if it doesn’t.

Side effect:  We loved the clean grout and are biting the bullet and having a pro come to clean the floor tomorrow.  Randy saw how much effort it was to clean the island, and couldn’t imagine how long it would take me to do the floor.  Probably over 200 square feet!  woohoo! I have been wanting to hire that done, but until Randy saw how hard it was, I think he imagined me doing it myself.  Win Win.  Clean counters, clean dish towels, and after tomorrow, clean floors.

It is the small things that get me going!  :’)

First Things First

Moving into a new house.
Yes, you heard that right.
We’re going to be moving MUCH sooner than anticipated! We got the keys from our landlords (cough, cough, my in-laws) yesterday! Instead of late October, as our last news had indicated. The sign is out of the yard and the keys are in my hand.

Now, we’re not going to cart all of our junk into the house just yet. There is a LOT to do before establishing residency in our new abode. In fact, we are planning on staying in our current place well into September. Side note: the word “abode” looks like “adobe.” Which is ironic because the new house looks like adobe. You’ll see pictures tomorrow, I promise.

  • Take out all remaining nails (left over from hanging items on the wall)
  • Spackle all holes left by said nails
  • Wipe down all the walls with a wet (very slightly soapy) sponge
  • Scrub all the baseboards with a Mr. Clean magic eraser (be careful; the magic eraser can and will remove many kinds of paint. We plan on paining all the walls and trim so we aren’t worried about damaging the existing paint)
  • Sweep all the floors (there’s no carpet in this house, just tile and wood). After being vacant for a while, there are lots of cobwebs and dead bugs. Gotta take care of that before my lil’ pupster starts running around free in there.
  • Scrub the floors. Hardcore. I don’t know who or what was living in this house before it went on the market, but they were slobs. The floors are reeeeeally icky! Icky floors, meet Mr. Pine Sol. And Mr Elbow Grease.
  • The yard: I have left this one up to Doug and his family because I’ve never done a day of yard work in my life. They’ll trim some tree branches, Dig up some soil. etc.
  • Call the exterminator. Before moving all of our stuff in, I’d like to make sure it’s a bug-free zone. Especially the basement.
Other things on the “before move-in” to-do list but not imminent are:
  • Paint every available surface (you’ll see once I post pictures)
  • Plant some pretty plants in the dead-grass-patch in the front of the house
  • Replace the garage door (my in-laws are taking care of this–it is their property)
  • Take inventory of all the stuff previous inhabitants left behind, decide what to keep, what to trash, and what to donate to charity. (Free Christmas tree for us!)
The slip of paper we found on the kitchen floor, from a long-since eaten fortune cookie said, “All things are hard before they are easy.” Ain’t it the truth!
The next post will be less list-y and more picture-y. Get pumped, y’all; this blog is going to get exciting again!