Pinterest stole my life… and it’s coming for yours too


Pinterest is a tricky thing. When I first discovered it, I spent many, MANY hours diving right down that rabbit hole. After that, I had to go cold turkey or risk never seeing the light of day again.


pin-all-the-things

Yup, that’s about right



Having said that, I think it might be time to dip my toe tentatively back in the waters of infinite wisdom. (More and more bloggers I know are now turning to Pinterest rather than Google when they have a question about something.)

The beauty of Pinterest is that it’s visual. It gives you a snapshot, so that you can scan at your leisure rather than always being bogged down with words.

With that in mind, here’s my Pinterest board for all things cleaning and organising:






Do I implement all the tips? No. Do I implement any at all? Yes. So that’s something. And the rest are there for when I win the National Lottery and buy my dream home. Any day now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you only implement one tip from here, or it inspires you to get your junk drawer in order (here’s mine), it’ll all be worth it.

But maybe leave it until you’ve got a good few hours to spare…


Do you use Pinterest? What do you mainly use it for?




Clean your living room… AND your lungs!

I’ve read a lot about the benefits of keeping a clean and tidy home, such as:

  • Less stress (particularly when visitors drop by unannounced or with very little notice);

  • A sense of calm and order;

  • Less time wasted looking for lost items;

  • Less money spent replacing lost/broken items, or buying something only to discover you already have one tucked away somewhere;

  • Fewer accidents from tripping over clutter, etc.;…

Yes, the benefits are many, but here’s one you may not have even thought of:

Your health!

Seen as a picture tells a thousand words, here’s what I discovered over the weekend while cleaning the floors:

Under couch

Not a pretty sight! I regularly sweep, mop, and vacuum the floors in our home, but I never move furniture to do so. But, being on maternity leave and, thus, having a lot of time on my hands, I decided to have a go at cleaning under the couch. And, as you can see, it was long overdue!

I had absolutely no idea it was so bad, particularly when the rest of my floors are usually quite clean. But what horrified me more than the sight itself was the fact that I’ve clearly been breathing in all that dust and dirt over the past… oh, YEAR AND A HALF. As someone who has suffered several lung infections, I can tell you that the idea of having clean, breathable air never strays far from my mind, so this really was a big wake-up call for me.

Added to that is the fact that I’m now nine months pregnant. The idea of my baby breathing in all that nastiness, especially seen as babies spend so much time a lot closer to the ground than us adults… Well, let’s just say I won’t be leaving it so long before cleaning under the couch again.

With asthma and other respiratory problems on the rise, this is one area you can’t afford to let slip. So, for the sake of your health, and the health of your family, move one piece of furniture today (get help if it’s heavy) and get rid of all that lung-clogging grime. And, while you’re at it, plan a short trip to an unpolluted area where you can spend time getting some exercise, enjoying the wonders of nature, and taking some deep breaths of fresh air.

 

 

De-junking the junk drawer

Most people have a junk drawer. Me? I have a whole cupboard (or ‘press’, as we call it here in Ireland). Whenever my husband’s looking for anything, I inevitably end up replying “it’s in the press under the table”.

I did a bit of a clear-out of it just after Christmas, but it was still looking pretty messy and disorganised when I recently peeked in.



JD1

Quite the state of disarray. Luckily, my beloved IKEA came to the rescue in the form of this set of mini drawers from the MOPPE range.


MOPPE Mini chest of drawers IKEA Untreated wood; can be treated with oil or glazing paint for a personal touch and a more durable surface.



All I had to do was sort out all the small little bits and bobs that were handy to keep around, but not so handy to keep together. I came up with the following piles:

  • light sources (bulbs, torches, etc.) – these were quite bulky so took up the two bottom drawers;


JD2


  • batteries & plugs (we have WAY more batteries than this, I just have to go around the house and find them!);
  • basic DIY (measuring and levelling);



JD3

  • nails and screws; and
  • sticky stuff (sellotape and glue).



JD4

Obviously, there were a few bits and pieces that wouldn’t fit into the drawers, given that they’re quite small (width 15cm x depth 17cm x height 10cm per drawer, approximately). There were a few screwdrivers, pencils, etc. that were too long, so I used this empty box of washing tablets for those:



JD5

I’ve been finding these tubs very useful lately. I’m also currently using one to store medicines, and I think I’m going to use the one I’ve just recently finished to store the million pens and pencils I seem to accumulate!


Anyway, when everything was stashed away neatly, I popped the boxes back into the press, along with the drill and box of drill bits. Here’s how lovely and organised it looked afterwards:



JD6

Not bad, even if I do say so myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Admittedly, it all still looks a bit bland, but the next plan is to remove the labels from the box of washing tablets so that I can clearly see the contents, and also to paint and label the drawer set. They had some beautifully painted ones in IKEA, and I was sorry I didn’t take a picture of them at the time because I can’t seem to find anything similar online. But that’s all for another day! My main focus for now is just finding a home for everything. I can worry about how pretty the home is later. ๐Ÿ˜‰


The MOPPE drawer unit is great, and I can think of a million different uses it could have. For instance, it would be great for organising different threads, spices, crayons, tea lights… Pretty much anything small and fiddly. The only downside I’ve found to it is that, being wooden and untreated, the drawers don’t exactly glide out. I’m hoping to solve that by running a wax candle along the edges, or something similar. (Suggestions?)


At this stage, I’m sure some of you are wondering what happened to the other shelf of stuff that was there. Well, it’s a little more organised, but not enough to be shown… yet! That’s another little project that’s on the list!


What does your “junk drawer” look like? And is it, like mine, more than just a drawer?


9 Maximum Benefits From Minimal Effort

In a recent post, I listed a few little things you could do to “be better than you were yesterday”. Today, I want to share the one small thing I did to kick-start my cleaning and de-cluttering ways. It’s a habit I’ve managed to continue to this day, the benefits of which have been more numerous than I had initially anticipated.

So what is it? Well, the very first thing I do in the morning – EVERY morning – is dress the bed.

Bed 1

Source: alibaba.com

Does that sound ridiculously simple? Or like something you’ve tried a million times before? I know a lot of people, including my former self, give up on this quite quickly because they can’t see the point when the bed is just going to be messy again in another few hours. But here, let me outline some of the benefits for you:

1. You start the day off right. By doing this one little thing in the morning, you’re hard-wiring your brain to understand that things need to go back in their place when you’re done with them. It’s such a simple thing, but if you start the day off with a clean bed, you’ll be more likely to end it with a cleaner home. And you know what? It just feels good to look at something crisp and clean first thing in the morning, and know that it’s because of your own (minimal) effort. It gives you a great sense of achievement and satisfaction that stays with you throughout your day.

2. It ends your day right. Just like that great sense of achievement you feel first thing in the morning, you’ll be reminded of that last thing at night when you go to your room and are confronted by a beautiful, made bed. No matter what has happened that day, you’ll feel great slipping in between those straightened sheets.

3. You sleep better. For the reasons outlined above. When I lived alone, my bed was always a mess. Not only was it never made, but it was a dumping ground for clothes, shoes, papers, books, etc. I always just assumed I was a bad sleeper but, looking back, how could I have slept well when I was making going to bed such a chore? I had to move things and straighten things before I could even lie down, leaving me subconsciously frazzled and frustrated. And we all know how difficult it is to sleep when we’re annoyed about something. Even when the rest of your life is in chaos, if the last thing you see at night is something clean and organised, you’ll feel much more soothed and in control.

Source: fitnessgoop.com

4. You’ll feel calmer and less stressed. Again, this leads on from the benefits above, but having one area in your life that you have control over can make all the difference when it feels like everything else is getting on top of you. It’s similar to meditation, in that it helps you find that one area where you feel peaceful and serene, no matter what’s going on around you. Making your bed means the first and last thing you see every day is a calm environment – proof positive that you’re master of your own domain.

5. It will spread. Pretty soon, like me, you won’t be happy with just a made bed – you’ll want to clear all those clothes off the back of the chair, too. So that will become the second thing you do in the morning. One thing leads to another, particularly when you see the benefits that first thing has.

6. It sets a good example. Not only will it encourage you to form more good habits, but it will also encourage your family. It’s very easy to get complacent about a dirty house, but most people, no matter how stuck in their ways, will see the benefits of a clean home and will think twice before messing it up. Behaviour is learned – be a good teacher.

Of course, there’s no point making a bed if the bedclothes are dirty. Have a set day for changing the bedclothes, and stick to it. This will vary from household to household – some people need to change them every day, while others can go for a week or more. If you’re in the latter group, try to aim for once a week. Sundays are great for this because, not only are you starting your Monday off right, you’re starting your whole week! But find what works for you. Here are three benefits to clean bedclothes:

7. You breathe better. We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so we don’t want our beds to be dusty and dirty and covered in sweat and grime. That stuff is going right up our noses as we sleep. ย Germs and bacteria thrive in those conditions. Don’t give them a chance!

8. You’ll have cleaner, clearer skin. What’s the point in washing your face and maintaining a good skincare routine if you’re just going to go rub your face in a greasy, grimy pillow? Also, don’t put on your moisturiser last thing at night, or half of it will end up on the pillow. Give it time to soak into your skin before hitting the hay.

Source: tips4her.com

Source: tips4her.com

9. You get to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures. Ask a group of people to list some of life’s simple pleasures and, invariably, getting into a bed with clean sheets crops up. Why deny yourself?

And if all that isn’t enough to sway you, how about the fact that all those benefits come from something that takes less than a minute? Seriously. Your bed doesn’t have to be made to hotel perfection, it just needs to be neat and tidy and clean. Here are some tips to make the job quicker if you find yourself struggling:

a) Get a fitted sheet. One of the biggest bug-bears for me was straightening and tucking in sheets. It just took so much time and effort. Enter the fitted sheet, and I never had to bother with that again. When I wake up in the morning, the sheet is still in the same place it was when I went to bed the night before. That eliminates one step from the bed-making process straight away. (There are loads of videos and sites online that demonstrate how to fold them properly, if that’s what’s worrying you.)

b) Get rid of the extra pillows you don’t use. You know, the ones that are really just there for decoration but get kicked off the bed as soon as you get in. How much time do you spend taking them off and putting them back on the bed, when they serve no practical purpose whatsoever? Why do you put yourself through it?

c) Get help from someone. Either both do it together, or take it in turns. If you have kids and they’re any way old enough, get them to dress their own beds. Teach them good habits.

d) If you really can’t bring yourself to wash and/or change your bedclothes on a regular basis, or you just don’t have the time, consider just changing the pillowcases. Any step at all is better than none.

Source: xpress.com

Source: xpress.com

And that’s pretty much that. It takes me less than a minute, perhaps even less than 30 seconds, to straighten the pillows and the duvet. But the benefits (health, happiness, a sense of calm and control, etc.) far outweigh any exertions. Try it out for a few days and let me know how you get on. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

 

Mastering The Master Bedroom Brings Back Memories

This was almost a non-post (or a ‘not yet’ post) but for one small detail, which I will get to shortly.

Although my husband and I moved in together a year and a half ago, I still had crates of stuff I had never unpacked lying around. The worst area for this was the master bedroom, where I had just lined everything up against the wall and left it there. Now, I’ve been chipping away at this for the past four or five weeks, so the ‘before’ picture doesn’t nearly give you an idea of how bad it initially was.

1

Here’s an “artist’s impression” of how it looked beforehand:

1.5

How Disney or Pixar haven’t snapped me up as an animator, I’ll never know. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was actually even worse than that, because it was two crates high AND two crates deep, so there was barely any space to move between them and the bed.

Anyway, as you can see, I was already quite a ways through the mess. Unlike my previous habit of trying to completely de-clutter an entire area all in one go and getting burned out and fed up quite quickly, I decided that this year things were going to be different. So I tasked myself with just de-cluttering one crate a week. So far, it’s been going well.

Yesterday, I had that same task. As usual, I was dreading it. Until, that is, I actually got stuck in and realised, as always, that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d built it up in my head to be. So, instead of getting rid of just one crate, I ended up emptying two (plus some extra bits). Isn’t that always the way! Here’s the ‘after’:

IMG_1056

Now I realise that there’s still some work to be done, so it’s not the OFFICIAL ‘after’ picture, but I left it at that for various reasons:

1. I had already accomplished more than I set out to.

2. The dust was starting to irritate my sinuses.

3. My back was beginning to get sore.

4. I was hungry.

5. I had other things on my ‘to do’ list that I didn’t want to neglect.

But here’s the thing: of all the stuff I emptied from those crates, about 95% of it ended up either in the bin, the recycling, or the shredder. In other words, it was totally useless junk that was just sitting around gathering dust and stressing me out for no reason whatsoever. Here’s the pile of papers (mostly old college notes!) that I was able to recycle:

IMG_1055

Yes, that’s about a 12 inch stack of paper that was serving absolutely no positive purpose in my life. Good riddance! I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally be free of it. I’ve been hanging on to old college notes with the age-old intention of going through them again someday… until I realised that day was, realistically, never going to come. And would serve absolutely no benefit even if it did.

What I did keep was the folders they were stored in, which now saves me from going out and buying more, which I had intended to do for work stuff. So, by de-cluttering, I’ve literally lifted a weight off, and saved myself money!

So if clutter made up about 95% of the mess, what was the other 5%? About 4% was useful stuff that was re-distributed throughout the house (for example, the folders went into the office); the other 1% went to the ‘memories‘ box – the big storage tub I fill with things that have no practical, day-to-day use, but are of sentimental value (tickets, letters, gifts, etc.).

And here’s the small detail I mentioned earlier that was the icing on the cake: among all the mess, I found a page that my ‘then boyfriend, now husband’ and I had scribbled notes on back and forth to each other during a college lecture. It was so lovely to read back over those memories from so long ago, particularly as yesterday marked six months since we got married. And the real clincher is that the page ended with these immortal words:

 

Me: “Imagine how much fun it’ll be tryna figure out what this is in 20 yrs time.”
Him: “Imagine what kind of loony tune keeps this dross for 20 years.”

 

Eight years and counting, my love. ๐Ÿ˜‰ x


STAR TIP! A Quick Way To Disinfect Your Cleaning Sponges

In this day and age, we’re all a lot more conscious of protecting ourselves and our family from bacteria and germs. From anti-bacterial hand soaps to antiseptic liquids, there are numerous products out there to help us. Personally, I think that a little bit of dirt is no harm for little ones – it helps build and strengthen their immune system. However, I think we can all agree that there is probably a little room for improvement in our everyday hygiene habits.

The cleaning sponge is the classic example. It’s a workhorse in the home – it cleans dishes, it mops up spills, it wipes down surfaces… And the fact that it constantly comes into contact with germs means it, too, needs to be cleaned. Of course, it’s not economical or environmentally-friendly to replace a sponge or cleaning cloth each time you use it, and we all know that the quick rinse we give it after we use it isn’t always going to be enough.

Sponges

Source: biglots.com

So what’s the best way to sanitise our sponges? Well, let’s take a leaf out of our body’s book – what does our body do when it’s under attack? It subjects us to extreme temperatures! We either get a fever, the shivers, or a mixture of both. That’s how all that bacteria is killed off. So we do the same with our sponges.


StarTo disinfect cleaning cloths and sponges, dampen them and pop them in the microwave on high heat for approximately one minute.


Always ensure they’re damp before you put them in – you don’t want them catching on fire in there! Then all you have to do is wring them out (be careful here – they’ll be hot) and leave them to dry fully.

Et voilร , sanitised sponges. (Another way is to pop them in the dishwasher and let a full cycle kill off those nasty germs.) This method has been proven to reduce bacteria in sponges by 99.9%. And it’s much cheaper and kinder to Mother Nature than soaking your sponges in harsh chemicals.

The frequency with which you need to do this will obviously depend on how much action your sponges see. If you use them quite regularly, once a day should do the trick. Otherwise, every two or three days should be fine. And here’s a little bonus tip to help:


StarUse different cloths for different tasks to avoid cross-contamination.


But remember, there’s always that 0.1% that will remain no matter how careful you are, so there are only so many times you can sanitise a sponge before it just needs to be thrown away and replaced.


More cleaning than usually goes on in the laundry room…

Although I’ve tackled a few disaster areas in my home in the past few weeks – most notably my kitchen and sitting room (that’s living room to all my American friends) – there was one space that I had completely neglected. My laundry room is tiny but, because it’s got a counter that runs the length of it and because it’s right next to the kitchen, it becomes a dumping ground. And, you know, the piles of laundry don’t help either. So today I decided to tackle it. Here’s what it looked like before:

Laundry 1

Pretty shameful, huh? The pile of clothes in the background is waiting to be washed, while the pile in the foreground is waiting to be ironed and put away. But, as you can see, no real sense of rhyme or reason, and various items in there that definitely don’t belong in the laundry room. Can you imagine how I feel every time I look at it? Stressed, ashamed, pathetic, disorganised… And, though I know the black jumper I want to wear is in there somewhere, I daren’t disturb the pile for fear of it toppling over. Something had to be done, if only for my peace of mind.

Luckily, I went to IKEA last week and spotted these handy little things:

IMG_1010

It’s a frame with sliding tubs (from the Antonius range), plus a basket I picked up to corral all our washing tablets, detergents, stain removers, etc. The tubs came in two sizes, so I bought two small and one large. And then it was just a matter of putting it all together (less than ten minutes), separating the piles of clothes into their new homes, and using a marker to label the handle of each tub. Et VOILA:

Laundry

Now on to the rest of the counter. After removing everything that didn’t belong there and re-homing it, I tidied up the space and was left with a lovely warm, fuzzy feeling. BEHOLD!

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OK, it’s not quite up to Martha Stewart’s standard, but it’s a big improvement and, for now, I’m very pleased with it. It makes me feel much less stressed when I walk in, because it’s no longer in complete chaos. The tubs keep the clothes separated so I don’t have to go trawling through a huge mountain to try to find all the whites, the ironing pile is neatly stacked in the blue and black crate, and all the cleaning bits and bobs (bar a few spares which will get used up quite quickly) are kept together in my little brown basket. Not only does everything seem much more manageable, but I can now see at a glance what cleaning products need replacing.

So not just a more organised room, but a mood-booster too. A clean home place makes for a happy head space!

Star