Sunday, April 4, 2010

A sad goodbye from me for now.

Hello lovely readers, some of you might have noticed that I've not been posting very often... Unfortunately I find myself unable to put the effort in that I feel the blog deserves at this stage.

I might have mentioned before that I am training to become a yoga teacher, so whilst working full-time, I'm also squeezing in 2 nights of yoga a week, as well as the odd weekend or week away for my training... and this week, eek I'll be teaching for the first time too. All of this, combined with the need to do the housework rather than type about it, leaves little time for the research or pretty picture findings.

I still have so many ideas for posts, and have even started preparing some, but I just don't like posting when I haven't searched every nook and corner for the best answer I can come up with, so I'd rather leave knowing that the information on here at the moment, is the best I could come up with rather than being rushed.

But I have really enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for learning about housework with you all, and most of all I have enjoyed the comments, and reading your lovely blogs too!
So, I might not be typing about housekeeping any more, but rest assured that I will still be getting my timer out to run around with a duster, and de-clutter like a loony, after which I will need all that yoga training I am doing to help me relax.

I hope you have all enjoyed the Easter weekend. And I shall leave the blog up for a little while yet, so you can come back anytime you need a reminder of how to do those hospital corners.

So from Mr.L, the big long dog Banjo and me, cheerio for now!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday morning house cleaning in 90 minutes

The picture above is a Banksy public wall art... it's great, and although I can identify with wanting to sweep everything under the rug (or wall in this case) on a Saturday morning when I need to get on with other stuff, this morning I am not allowing myself to do just that.

Today I am planning on finally painting the front door (I'll do a separate post on that for you all), but I'm not letting myself do anything until the house has been tidied and cleaned today. This week has been particularly busy, and I've not kept up with my regular weekly cleaning routine, so I really need to go through the whole house. I've made a list, I have my timer (or my running watch with it's timer) and I'm set to tick everything off my list as I go along. Best of all... the house should be lovely and tidy, and mostly clean after just 90 minutes.

I set my timer for 10 minutes per room - it's amazing how much you can get done in 10 minutes, I mostly focus on tidying and dusting during that time, but if there is time left I grab a cloth and do some proper cleaning too. In our bedroom 10 minutes is enough time to make the bed, tidy clothes away, dust the blinds and lamps etc. If within the 5 minutes vacuum time, I vacuumed all the floor space and there is time left, I turn on the nozzle and aim for the cobwebs in the corners. Cleaning with a timer really is the best way for me to clean because I work better under pressure, and I know that by 10:30 this morning I can get on with my day without having to worry about the state of the house. This 90 minute cleaning plan is not by any means a proper spring clean, but it's certainly good enough to get most things done that need doing. Here's my plan, I'll let you know how I get on with it:

  • 10 minute bedroom tidy, 5 minute bedroom vacuum
  • 10 minute spare bedroom tidy, 5 minute vacuum
  • 10 minute study tidy, 5 minute vacuum
  • 10 minute bathroom clean
  • 5 minute cup of tea break
  • 10 minute kitchen tidy, 5 minutes to mop the floor
  • 5 minute hallway tidy
  • 10 minute lounge tidy, 10 minute sweep and mop downstairs
And there you go - how to tidy your house in 90 minutes (yes, I've excluded the 5 minute cup of tea break - that's not cleaning!). I do of course realise that if you have a bigger house with more rooms this will all take longer. But if you are pressed for time, grab your timer and do a 60 minute general house tidy. Do you do some Saturday morning cleaning?

Oh, and Ivy, thanks for your question on the laundry post, I'm working a post all about how to avoid yellowing laundry with bleach... still doing my research on that one.

Have a great weekend!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When laundry goes wrong

I know, I've been a very bad blogger, since our holiday I've been super lazy, and also struggled to get back into my normal routine. The lack of sunshine in the UK in comparison to the sunshine we had in South Africa has also really affected our energy levels... all these things did not help when I put on a load of 'holiday' laundry. Unfortunately, a dark blue scarf made it's way into the 'light laundry' pile. Mr L was kind enough to offer to put the laundry on for me (our washing machine is in the non-heated garage), and since Mr L trusts my laundry sorting skills, he also didn't notice the dark blue scarf...

... you can probably guess what happened next. Out came the laundry, and as I start shaking my new light coloured tops I noticed they looked a little different, hey looked like an amateur attempt at tie-dying. aaaargh! So, what do you do when colours run in your washing? Okay, well it goes without saying that sorting the laundry properly before loading the washing machine can avoid these things all together, but these things happen right? Here's how to fix that annoying problem if it happens to you.

Laundry colour-run rescue

  1. Remove the dark/non-colour fast item from the laundry load and put the rest of the laundry load back into the washing machine. Do not let any of the items dry, and acting as fast as possible is imperative to getting the colouring out again.
  2. Products may vary between countries, in the UK you can buy colour run remover from Dylon, or simply Google 'colour run remover' to see what products are available, a product like this is designer for the job and if you can get hold of some, using this as soon as possible is the best way to save your discoloured laundry.
  3. If you cannot get hold of a colour-run remover immediately, then take action by soaking items in a all-colour laundry bleach such as Vanish/Oxybleach before putting the laundry back on a regular wash cycle.
  4. White clothing can be bleached using laundry bleach to soak overnight.
  5. If you have a colour catcher (a handy cloth you can put in with your washing to stop colours running), putting that in with your ruined load can also help remove the colour that has run.

Hopefully after these treatments, your should be able to save most of the laundry load, remember that cottons and linens will be more absorbent than polyester fabrics, so they might need soaking for longer or stronger solutions. The last thing you can attempt if all else fails is to actually dye your ruined clothes properly in a darker shade, but even that is a bit of a risk... so you can always just save your ruined shirts for the next time you paint a wall... that is to wear, so that you don't ruin your good clothes - take note Mr L!

Have you ever had your laundry turn pink or blue? Please share, that way I don't have to feel alone. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just a note to say...

...I haven't abandoned you all, nor the housekeeping, I'm just on holiday catching up with my family and friends. We're in South Africa, being spoilt by my family on a safari. We've seen some amazing animals, but we've also been charged by a very angry elephant, and the game ranger had to put his foot down to drive us away fast enough. Here's a photo for you to see how close we are parked to the elephant (that's my head on the left).

I'll be back in about a week's time with some more posts.

Have a great week!


Monday, January 18, 2010

TOTW: Kitchen sponges & tea -towels

Tip Of The Week:

Sponges, cloths and tea-towels in the kitchen can be a party venue for bacteria.
I don't like scare mongering, and think that a bit of dirt and bacteria is good for us, but apparently one study found that some sponges contain more bacteria than a toilet seat. And a dirty or damp cloth is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. So here's how to keep your sponges and tea towels from making you or your family ill:

Always rinse a sponge well after use with hot water, then squeeze as much of the water out of the sponge before leaving it to dry. Leaving a sponge to soak in water is a bacteria cocktail... yuk. You can also pop your sponges in the dishwasher if you have one because dishwashers use much hotter water to help sterilise. And then of course, never keep a sponge too long, give it a a good sniff every now and then to make sure it's still useable, and if you want a greener way that throwing your sponges in the bin often, read this article... there are some great tips.

Tea-towels are just as bad, and perhaps even worse because many of us wipe our hands on them as we go along (guilty over here!) spreading the bacteria. I keep a pile of seven tea-towels in the cupboard which I replenish every week with a batch of seven freshly laundered ones, giving me one tea towel to use for every day of the week. That way as soon as a towel has had enough use I can grab a clean one. Some people might think that replacing a tea towel everyday is a bit OTT, but it depends how much you use them, and what for. You can also have separate tea -towels for separate tasks, but that just confuses me, and I'd rather use them one a day... they are only a small item to add to the laundry load after all. And of course make sure that the tea towel you use to dry your plates or cutlery isn't the tea towel you just used to wipe your hands on after working with meat - eek!
Have a great week!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Busy New Year and an appreciation for modern gadgets.

Happy New Year lovely readers! It's been a busy, but productive start to the new year here in Oxfordshire. For one thing, I've been hand washing all our laundry because it's been so cold that the pipes to our washing machine in the garage have frozen up. It has really made me appreciate having a washing machine, but with the cold and snow creating such a beautiful winter wonderland, I don't mind at all.

I'd also like to show you my new housekeeping gadget...

Well, actually it's my new running watch, but I've found it as, if not more useful for house keeping. This past Saturday morning I wanted to spend one and a half hours cleaning before getting on with my crafting and relaxing, so instead of using my timer I thought about trying my watch and set the alarm to go off after 90 minutes, and the timer on 15 minute intervals, giving 15 minutes in each of the six rooms I needed to clean (we don't have a 6 bedroom house, our six rooms include the hallway, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom 1 and bedroom 2). It works a treat, and by the end of the hour and a half I can relax and do my crafting guilt-free. Also it meant I didn't have to carry a timer around with me, or be within earshot of the timer. It's the small things in life eh?

Talk of running, another reason to get a running watch, is to star running. I am what I call a non-runner. I've never been any good at running... at all. But for Mr.L's birthday I bought him a book called Chi Running, and some funny barefoot shoes called Vibram Five Fingers. Funny looking, I know...

Anyway, I ended up reading the book too, got some shoes and now I'm out there 3 times a week running at 6:30 in the morning, and wait for it, enjoying it. Okay, well, I enjoy it when my toes aren't freezing in the snow and admittedly I'm only running short distances, only 1.3 miles, but I think that's pretty impressive for a non-runner.

And what crafting have I been doing with all that free time on my Saturday after cleaning the house in 90 minutes? I've been sewing like a madwoman, and I managed to make these two lions for my friend who recently gave birth to twins (a boy and girl). I bought the pattern for them off this website where you can buy patterns for all sorts of sweet stuffed animal toys, I'd love to make the elephant.
Oh, and remember when I showed you a photo of our bedroom with it's new colour scheme here. well, it has now been wallpapered and looks like this. Yes, look at that naughty creature asking if he could get up on the bed.

And after all that snow, cleaning, running, and general business it's always time for a lie down... look how I found these two the other day... bless 'em.

I'll be back soon with a post about hand washing laundry and delicates.
Have a great week!

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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