Tuesday, January 21
Today’s post has absolutely nothing to do with food. Wait, I can bring it back to food. I know I can. Give me a second…okay, I’ve got it! Today’s “Kitchen” Tip is just what you need to get your kitchen window shiny clean so you can be a happy cook and make amazing FOOD.
When Nate and I were first married we were washing our trusty old pick-up truck at his grandparents’ house. It was time to clean the windows when Grammy (of Grammy’s Orange Chicken fame) handed me a stack of newspaper when I asked for paper towels. I was like “Wha? Wha?” and she was like “Yup! Yup!” Okay, those may not be direct quotes, but you get the drift.
So, yeah, it’s true! For streak-free window cleaning use newspaper (a.k.a. newsprint) instead of paper towels or cloth towels. It works soooo much better. It sounds crazy until you give it a try. I have a ton of plain newsprint from when we moved so I’ve been using that, but you can use regular old newspaper with the print on it. It doesn’t matter. Your hands might be dirty by the end, but your windows will be sparkly clean!
Let’s do a comparison, shall we? Here is my front room window after cleaning it with paper towels but before the newspaper treatment.
Seriously, that’s a “clean” window. Well, I thought it was clean until the morning light came shining through the next day. I immediately grabbed some newsprint and glass cleaner and got to work. Here is the “after” shot:
There is no way I could have gotten it that clear with paper towels. I tried!
Here’s the view through my super clean window – crisp and clear!
I’ve used newsprint to clean mirrors and windows – I especially like using it for the inside of the windshield in my car. (I’m sort of a clean windshield nut.)
So, next time you need to clean some windows, grab the glass cleaner and a bunch of newspaper. And send happy thank you vibes to Grammy McCarthy!
Tuesday, January 7
I know I claim not to be that into new year’s resolutions, but the fact I’m writing a second post about resolutions may indicate otherwise! Kinda funny. Anyway…let’s get down to business! When I wrote about my Use Less Plastic goal last week, I mentioned quickly that I was also planning to make up a cleaning schedule, and several people commented about that. I decided to make the schedule purrrty and share it with all of you, in case anyone would like to use it, too!
I created a 4-week cleaning schedule that I can print out about once a month. Each weekday has a task associated with it, with a few extra items thrown in here and there that only need to happen on a monthly basis. I am really hoping this helps me to stay on track with cleaning as well as make it all feel a little less overwhelming. Despite all this planning I do publicly on the blog, I am not a super organized person, but having lists to check off is very motivating for me. We’ll see how it goes!
Here’s a quick outline of the cleaning plan I created:
- I decided that dusting, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, and changing the bed sheets and towels needed to happen on a weekly basis, so I assigned each of those items to the same day each week.
- We have white carpet throughout the house, so I have one day dedicated to vacuuming but also included “maintenance” vacuuming in my daily to-dos at the bottom of the schedule.
- There are a few monthly items that I spread out through the 4 weeks.
I created a PDF of the cleaning schedule that you can download and print out for yourself. There are three pages in the PDF – page 1 is my complete plan, page 2 is my plan but generalized, and page 3 is totally blank if you want to change it all up but still want to use the pretty calendar. The grey box at the top is where you write in the month and the grey squares on the calendar are for the dates for that month. You can click the image of the plan above to access the pdf or click any of the links in this paragraph. If I realize I forgot anything and add it in, I will update the PDF file!
As always, this blog is what is because of YOUR input and comments! Please share your own house cleaning and organization tips that you may have or ways you successfully conquer the task. I’m sure we can all benefit from the ideas!
Friday, January 3
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the start of your year has been a good one! We kicked off 2014 with a visit to Pasadena, where he had amazing grandstand seats for the Tournament of Roses Parade (big thanks to our friend Sherri!) and attended a far-too-stressful football game at the Rose Bowl (go Stanford no matter the result!).
Now that we’re a few days into the new year, I thought we could chat quickly about resolutions. I’m not a huge new year’s resolution person, but I must admit that since I started creating resolutions that link food to the environment, I actually really like setting a goal each year. It has helped a lot! It’s time to set my goal for 2014 and it’s the going to be the same one I’ve had for the last two years: Use Less Plastic.
The first year I made this goal it was very general and I didn’t make much progress. Last year I decided to get more specific and to also revisit the goal throughout the year. That definitely helped and we had a few successes. We’ve started making our own yogurt, eliminating all those little yogurt cups, and I make all of our granola bars, reducing all that one-time packaging trash we were producing every day. I stopped using plastic baggies completely in the kids’ lunches and we only use cloth napkins at home now. (Quick tip: Cocktail-sized cloth napkins are PERFECT for everyday use! I got mine at the Crate & Barrel outlet and love them.)
Since using less plastic is really important but also incredibly challenging, I’m sticking with the goal for another year. Step 1 for 2014 is to finally use the reusable grocery bags I have stuffed in a closet. It is ridiculous that I don’t bring my bags with me when I go shopping! Once I have that tackled, I’ll get another goal going and will keep you posted on my progress!
Just a few quick thoughts on plastic. First, this infographic is great food for thought in regards to plastic and the ocean, which is just one part of the plastic story. Second, if you haven’t watched the documentary Bag It yet, please do. It’s GREAT and you can now stream it on both Amazon and iTunes.
Source: One World, One Ocean
On a completely unrelated note, I am also making a resolution to get more organized with my housekeeping, you know, now that I have a house to actually keep! I think I’ll just make a monthly schedule and try to stick to that. I’ll keep you posted and share the schedule when it’s all put together, in case anyone else wants to join in on the “fun.”
What are your new year’s resolutions for 2014? Would love to hear them! Also, did you join in on the “Use Less Plastic” fun in 2013 or are you planning to for 2014? Please share your tips and tricks for reducing waste, especially plastic!