Spring Cleaning Challenge Week 3 - Loungeroom and Study Week


Welcome to week 3 of the Spring Cleaning Challenge - Loungeroom and Study Week! 

This week was another easy week for me, as I had previously decluttered and organised the lounge room and study only a few months ago. You can read about it here




Day 1 tasks:
 - Pick up any items that don't belong in the lounge room and chuck, donate or relocate
 - Declutter ornaments
 - Wash throw rugs and pillow cases





Day 2 tasks:
 - Declutter DVD's and electronics
 - Clean remotes
 - Clean TV screen
 - Vacuum under couches and other heavy items, and under couch cushions




Day 3 tasks:
 - Declutter books and magazines
 - Dust skirtings, light fixtures, fans, vents
 - Remove cobwebs
 - Change light globes
 - Clean windows and window sills
 - Dust blinds or wash curtains
 - Declutter and clean out any cupboards and drawers




Day 4 tasks:
 - Declutter leads and power boards
 - Wipe down walls, doors, light switches, power points
 - Vacuum (or sweep and mop) floors
 - Declutter study chucking, donating or relocating anything that doesn't belong

Day 5 tasks:
 - Declutter stationery in the study
 - Remove everything from desk, clean and put only what you need back 
 - Organise stationery and study items into baskets or containers


Day 6 tasks:
 - Declutter bills and paper
 - Set up a system to receive and file any important documents you need to keep (I use a ring-binder folder with 1 sleeve for each item, e.g. medical, gas bill, electricity etc.)
 - Organise receipts (I use a mini expanding file from Kmart, $4)


Day 7 tasks:
 - This was a catch-up day for me, as my study is just a desk in our living room, so I didn't have to clean out a separate room. 

All done! 

Next week is Bathroom week! 






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How we cut costs!


In my life so far I have been both very good with money and very bad with money. I have learnt lots of things from the times I literally have only coins in my wallet and even less in my bank account! My mum has always been good with money and has taught us kids various things over the years - some we take on board more than others! When my husband and I met, we both had debts (not huge - but still enough to not be able to get ahead each pay day), and now we are in a good place with our money. We are able to fairly well afford what we want now and we save for the rest. Here are a few tips that work for us: 

We don't own any credit cards, or have any overdrafts on our accounts
However when we met, we did! And they were just too tempting. The day we got rid of them the debt and decided to never use these again, was the day we finally were able to get ahead. I understand that some people are good at only using credit cards in emergency situations, but I certainly can't, so it's safer for me not to have them at all!

We save up for things that we want
We spent a year saving for the deposit for our first house. This was important to us to do, and obviously it was important to the bank. I am not able to save without help, so I used a Christmas Club account (which most banks have, and which you can usually only access between November and January each year) and it was excellent because once I had committed to putting the money in there, I couldn't get it back out! 
I also save each year for rego for the car, as $1000 is a lot to lose in one hit, and a car is a necessity. Saving for Christmas is another great idea, and I plan to start doing this next year. By putting away $40 a fortnight into my Christmas Club account, I will have $2080 by the end of the year, more than enough for Christmas and rego. 

If we do use a line of credit, we are very careful to pay it off well before the interest-free period is over
A couple of years ago, our dishwasher died, and I wasn't too keen to wash up (I know, sounds a bit spoilt lol!), and while we did have the money to buy a new one, when we found the one we wanted, they were offering 24 months interest free. Now this does not mean you have 24 months before you have to start paying, it means they won't charge you exorbitant fees within that 24 months, except for a monthly 'account-keeping fee.' I did the sums and found I could pay the item off within 9 months comfortably, and this suited us well at the time. I also paid off my Thermomix in about 8 months (I used the 12 months interest free option). However, if you don't need the item straight away, steer clear of these 'deals' and save for it. It's dangerous to see a line of credit as a ticket to fill your house with new, nice things. 

We buy second hand where we can
All our furniture is second hand, but in good condition. It was inexpensive, and often when we resell it to upgrade, we make money on these items (or barely lose any). While I would love a nice new lounge suite, I know ours will see us through for awhile, and are much better with kids (they are brown - hides the stains!) Buy, swap and sell sites on Facebook are brilliant for finding what you need at a reduced price. Our whitegoods are not secondhand, as often unless you are buying from a friend, you don't really know the condition it's in, often the warranty has expired, and they cost more than they are worth to fix. 

Unless I need to, I try not to keep too much cash in my wallet
Cash in my wallet is like a free ticket to spend in my eyes... so I try to avoid it! Obviously I often need cash where I can't use a card, but I try to plan ahead, and get cash out only for specific purposes. 

We pay bills and expenses first, as soon as our pay goes into our account (or we use direct-debit)
We have set up most of our bills now (electricity, rates, mortgage etc) to come out of our accounts as a direct-debit, and we always pay more than the minimum to get ahead, especially our mortgage, where we pay as much as we can. If a bill is not automatically direct-debited, I pay it first out of my pay. 

We shop around for the best deal
Don't always just use the companies you have always used. When renewal time comes up each year (and your premium inevitably goes up), e.g. with house insurance, call the company you are with and ask whether they can do a better deal. If they can't, use the comparison sites (e.g compare the market - search through google) to find the best deal. Often too, if you have a few policies through the one company, you can get a multi-policy discount. It definitely pays to do your research! 

We meal plan and buy items on special
Meal planning saves massive amounts of time and money at the supermarket, and I find I don't waste a lot of food either. See my previous post here on meal planning. I always stock up on items that are 50% off or greater of non-perishables and cleaning/hygiene products, so that when I need something, I usually I have a stash in my laundry cupboards, and then I don't have to pay full price. We also don't eat out very often, and I usually pack snacks to avoid having to grab something expensive on the go. I have a fairly strict grocery budget of about $120 per week, and I try to stick to that as much as I can. Lots of meals can be made larger very cheaply (e.g. by adding veggies to a bolognaise sauce) and can be frozen and used for two-three meals. I also make sure I use what is in fridge and freezer, to avoid wastage and spending more. 

We use a budget
Though we aren't too strict with our budget, we know what we must pay first out of our pay-check and then what we have left over for entertainment, eating out, clothes shopping etc. It is interesting to actually sit down and see what money you have coming in, and what you have going out, and where you can cut costs.

We sell items to make a small amount of money
Using buy, swap and sell sites, we sell any unused item or things we no longer need, and this is a great way to make a little bit of extra money, and to also declutter your house. Just be careful not to always spend all that cash on unnecessary items - bank it if you sell a lot of items or expensive things. 


Hopefully some of these tips will work for you too! I'd love to hear what works for everyone else! 




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Spring Cleaning Challenge Week 2 - Laundry Week




Week 2 in 'Our Organised Hive's' Spring Cleaning Challenge was Laundry Week. 

I was particularly busy this week, and didn't get to do the daily tasks each day, however on Friday, the last day of the challenge, I completed all the tasks. This was possible because I have only recently decluttered and organised my laundry a few months ago. You can read about it here

Day 1 tasks:
Linen cupboard
 - declutter any items you no longer need or use (relocate/donate/chuck)
 - clean shelves
 - purchase storage items (e.g. baskets) to create a more organised space
 - put only what you need or use back into the cupboard
'Our Organised Hive' suggests using 1 basket for each person (which contains their sheets/pillow cases/quilts etc.) - One day when I have my dream giant linen cupboard, I will definitely do this! 

In my linen cupboard I have towels, swimming towels and our swimming bag, some sheets, pillow cases and quilt covers and down the bottom is my craft basket, which clearly needs a declutter! 

[Linen cupboard]


Day 2 tasks:
 - Deep clean the washing machine (I have previously written about deep cleaning here
 - Declutter any items in the laundry that you no longer need or use, or that need to be relocated to another room
 - Catch up on all your washing
 - Soak your whites

[Washing all done, and the laundry decluttered]


Day 3:
 - Declutter cleaning products
 - Organise batteries/tools etc. in your laundry - here's how I have organised mine, thanks to 'Our Organised Hive's' suggestion!

[Batteries ($4 organiser from a local $2 shop)]

[Screws and nails ($10 organiser from Kmart)]

[Other items for around the house ($9 organiser from Kmart)]

 - Deep clean the dryer
 - Dusting
 - Clear laundry benches

[Cleaning products]



Day 4:
 - Deep clean clothes line and clothes horse
 - Remove cobwebs
 - Clean powerpoints, light switches, skirting boards, light fixtures, vents
 - Declutter cupboards in laundry

[Old towels, and some non-perishable pantry items]

[Games, platters, trays and tablecloths tidied]


Day 5:
 - Declutter broom cupboard
 - Deep clean sink and drain
 - Clean under laundry sink
 - Clean any windows and window sills

[Under the sink organised with various containers]

[Broom cupboard]


Day 6:
 - Declutter sunscreens (check expiry date)
 - Wipe down benches, doors, drawers, cupboards, walls, doors, splashback
 - Vacuum and mop behind washing machine 
 - Sweep/vacuum and mop floors
 - Stock up on any thing you need, e.g. toilet paper, cleaning supplies

[Sunscreens decluttered and organised using a $9 shelf from Kmart]


Day 7:
 - Catch-up day to catch-up on any task from week 1 or 2 that haven't been completed 

[All done!]


Next week is Loungeroom and Study week! 




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Spring Cleaning Challenge Week 1 - Kitchen Week




This past week I have been participating in week 1 of a 6-week Spring Cleaning & Organising Challenge by 'Our Organised Hive' (check out their facebook page here). 

'Our Organised Hive' posted a master list of what we would be doing during week 1, which was kitchen week, and each day there were just a few jobs to get done, to make it easier and more manageable. 

I really enjoyed this style of challenge, and being accountable to my facebook page (click here to 'like' my page and follow along!) and to 'Our Organised Hive's' page meant that I forced myself to do just a little bit each day. I loved that at the end of 7 days, my kitchen was sparkling!




Day 1 tasks -
 - deep clean the oven
 - declutter and clean the fridge and freezer
 - tidy tea towel drawer





Day 2 tasks - 
 - tidy cutlery drawer
 - tidy utensils
 - deep clean dishwasher
 - declutter and organise the pantry

Day 3 tasks -
 - deep clean the kettle
 - clean the toaster
 - deep clean the coffee machine
 - declutter cups, mugs and crockery
 - I also tidied my 3rd and 4th drawers 




Day 4 tasks - 
 - declutter and tidy baking items
 - declutter cookbooks
 - dust and clean light fittings
 - get rid of cobwebs
 - deep clean microwave
 - dust anything that needs dusting




Day 5 tasks - 
 - clean appliances
 - declutter and tidy pots and pans
 - clean the window and window sill
 - wash curtains/dust blinds
 - clean walls
 - clean doors
 - wipe over power points and light switches
 - clean splashback




Day 6 tasks - 
 - clean out tupperware cupboard
 - clean and disinfect bins
 - deep clean the sink and drain
 - clean the cupboard under the sink

Day 7 tasks - 
 - clean the benches
 - wipe over cupboard doors
 - clean out any remaining cupboards and drawers
 - sweep and mop the floors
 - vacuum and mop under fridge 

For information on how to deep clean certain items, visit 'Our Organised Hive's' facebook page or visit my previous blog post on deep cleaning around the house. 

This coming week's challenge (which started on a Saturday) is the laundry and linen cupboard. Join the challenge and enjoy a sparkling clean home by Christmas! 
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Mummy stuff - Playtime for a 10-month old


How do you keep a 10-month old who has recently learned to crawl and climb occupied? In the past couple of weeks this has been my dilemma, however I have found a few things that seem to work well (for now anyway!)

1. Stations

I have created 'stations' around my house, and once Miss M seems bored with one station (she is whingy, or starts chucking toys away), we move her to the next one. 

In the loungeroom, I have 1 basket of toys that are out, where she can see, and I rotate the toys in here every week or so (the rest of her toys are in Bunnings fabric basket/cubes that sit at the bottom of our 16-cube bookcase in the loungeroom). I only have a small basket as there is plenty of room for around 10 different toys, and this also means that there are only a few toys that I ever have to pick up. 


We also have this baby playstation where babies can sit/stand safely in the seat and they move themselves around the different activities. Miss M actually hates to be contained in the seat, but remains occupied for quite a long time by standing and pushing the seat around, and stopping to play with the different toys on top. It is very big and bulky and I'm glad we have borrowed this from a friend, as I have no idea where I'd store it once we were done with it! 


There is a small bookcase with all Miss M's books in it in the loungeroom as well. We have attached this to the wall so that it won't fall on her, because she does like to climb it! 


This is possibly her favourite thing to do - chuck all the books (that she can reach) onto the floor. I used to be worried about quickly tidying these up, but now I do it only twice a day (which is also when I pick up any scattered toys) - during her morning sleep, and once she's gone to bed at night. 


If Miss M ventures into the kitchen while I am cooking or preparing food, I usually sit her in her high chair and give her a snack. Otherwise I let her roam around the kitchen, and instead of having to baby proof, the bottom drawers and any cupboards she can get into have things stored in there that I am happy for her to play with, e.g. plastic cups, tupperware etc. 

If she is being particularly clingy when I need to have a shower, I either take her in with me (she lots water!) or I sit her in front of our bathroom vanity, and I have a basket of my makeup wipes that she can reach, and she loves to chuck these out all over the floor. 

Bath time is another great tool for play, and sometimes when she appears bored during the day, I sit her in the bath in water only, and let her play with her bath toys (while I watch of course!) 

2. Outside

I try to allow Miss M time outside a couple of times a day - when I hang out or bring in the washing, and when we go for a walk. If we are only outside for 10 minutes, I don't use sunscreen, but I do use a hat (although it appears she's chucked it off in this photo - she's not a huge fan of hats!) so she can get some very essential vitamin D. She loves being outside and exploring. She also loves being in the pram (unless it's late in the evening!) and looking at all the cars and the people and the birds etc. 


3. Other kids & new experiences

Miss M and I usually go to the library on a Wednesday for a baby program where they sing nursery rhymes and read stories and play. When I don't work on a Thursday, we attend a playgroup (and sometimes my mum takes her when I do work), and Miss M just loves being around the other kids. We have just started swimming lessons in a 'mums and bubs' class on a Wednesday and she loves that too! I also try and catch up with friends a couple of times a week too, just to give her (and me!) some time out of the house, and engaged with other kids and having new experiences. 

When Miss M is a bit older, I can't wait to be able to bake with her, and do craft with her and all the things my mum did with me, and that I loved as a kid! 

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Mummy stuff - 9 things I do each day to keep my sanity!

My days, even when I am at home, are very structured, as I thrive on routine. I've perfected a pretty good system which works for me, of being really productive in the mornings, and then being able to enjoy the afternoons. I assumed when I had a baby that I'd have to resign myself to having a messy house but it hasn't been the case, and I've been able to do a few things each day to keep the house clean and tidy, and to keep my sanity! 

1. Put on at least 1 load of washing every day
... from start to finish! This means not only putting it in the machine and turning it on, but hanging it out and putting it away! The putting away part has been a challenge, but I try and bring the washing in off the line and put it straight away, it feels much better when it's done! 

I don't have a particular laundry routine, I just do 1 load a day, either towels, sheets, my clothes, Miss M's clothes, Brendan's clothes and a load of whites. This enables you to keep on top of the washing each week, and not cause unnecessary stress! 


2. Wash up straight after breakfast, and then straight after tea. 
Doing it straight away means you can relax. I like to have a clean sink after breakfast is done, and then again before I go to bed, so I wake up to a clean kitchen. I try not to wash up more than twice a day, and I wash all trays, tupperware, containers, knives and baby items, and the rest goes in our dishwasher. We only put our dishwasher on twice, maybe 3 times a week, depending on how much cooking and baking I do. 


3. Do a quick pick up of toys (and relocate anything that isn't where it should be to it's correct spot).
When Miss M goes down for her first sleep of the day, I do a quick 15 minute tidy up of her toys and just anything around the house that isn't where it should be. I use this small blue Kmart basket ($9) for the toys she is currently playing with in the loungeroom, and it's very easy to just chuck them back in. She also likes to get into the books in her bookcase, the bibs in a basket next to the high chair and the TV remotes! I do another quick pick up once she's in bed of an evening as well. Clutter causes me stress, so I try to stay on top of it!


4. Tidy the kitchen, and do a quick sweep (and spot mop if needed). 
A clean and tidy kitchen and living room is bliss for me! Clearing the sink, wiping down the benches, and keeping my island bench clean is a must, and really doesn't take long if you keep on top of it. I do this after breakfast wash-up, and then again after dinner. A clean floor is safer for babies too. 


5. Make your bed every day. 
Making my bed makes my whole room feel cleaner, and I just love the look of a freshly made bed. I've read that it's important to let your bed air after you've slept in it, and so I usually leave it until after I've showered and have breakfast in the morning. 


6. Open the blinds (and the windows in summer). 
This makes my house feel fresh and bright, and I do it as soon as I get up in the morning.

7. Plan my day for tomorrow. 
Each evening I look through the calendar on my phone and double-check what I've got on. If I work the next day, I like to have my lunch and recess packed. If I have to get up early, I lay my clothes out ready to go. It's just a simple thing that saves a lot of rushing the next day. 

8. Be active.
In my previous blog post on making exercise a habit (click here), I talk about how good exercise is for you physically, mentally and emotionally. I love getting outside for a walk each day, and just clearing my head in the fresh air. 


9. Have a cuppa and take a break. 
It is so important to be able to relax, and 're-group' each day, especially in our hectic lives! One way I love to do this is to wait until Miss M is asleep, and then I boil the jug and sit in the sunroom, without any distractions and just enjoy my coffee or tea. 



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Mummy stuff - 9 ways to make exercise a habit


Since I was in highschool, I have loved exercising. I've done lots of different things over the years, and my fitness levels have ranged from quite fit to quite unfit! I have never exercised so consistently as I have this year though, ever since having Miss M! Because of that, I am feeling the best I have in a long time - physically, emotionally and mentally!

I want to share 9 ways to make exercise a habit in your life too.

1. Do something you love (or that you could learn to love!) 
I love to walk. I have for as long as I can remember. Chucking on some joggers, putting my earphones in, and now grabbing the pram (and the baby!) is now almost a daily habit for me, as it clears my head, gets me out in the fresh air, keeps Miss M occupied and ticks my exercise off for the day! 

Walking is great for weight loss and some toning, but in my personal experience I have needed to do more strength exercises to tone up. In the past week, a friend and I have started a strength training program which we will do 3 times per week - look out for a future blog post on that! 

This year I played in a netball team for a season which was excellent - socially and physically. Team sports are great for accountability, and throughout highschool and uni I've been part of touch football, basketball, soccer, netball, volleyball and softball teams. I have on and off been members of various gyms too, and have done classes and exercised with different weight and cardio programs. 

Work out if you'd prefer an individual or team sport, and trial different things until you find something you love. If you enjoy doing it, it won't seem like a chore! 

2. Do something that fits in with your situation
There's no point committing to something that will continually take you away from your kids, or that clashes with work commitments. Sit down and plan your week - fill in the hours you have to work, fill in family time, and any other hobbies or appointments/commitments you have. If you work 9-5 hours, but are completely exhausted when you get home, perhaps scheduling time in the morning for exercise rather than at night when you know you won't do it will work out better. Or if you are a shift worker, your times for exercise may be different every week. 

For me, I currently work 2 days a week as a high school teacher, so while I do have time in the afternoons, I find there's lots to do when I get home (playing with Miss M, getting washing off the line, cooking tea, feeding Miss M, bathing her etc.) so mornings seem to work best. Now that we have daylight savings in NSW, the evenings are longer, and after tea it is still light out (and a lot cooler) and a good time for a family walk. 

Another point to note is, do you need a babysitter while you workout? Or can your kids be with you? This is why walking with the pram is perfect. Some gyms do have creches which is handy too. 

Also consider - what will I do if it is raining? A treadmill is a great alternative to walking outdoors if the weather isn't great, however these are costly and take up space. My alternative is to put on an exercise DVD or play Wii Dance or Wii Fit on my Nintendo Wii. 

3. Do something that is sustainable
Again, another tick for walking. It is fairly easy on your joints, and I find it quite easy to walk for an hour to an hour and a half without getting tired or sore. A few years back I tried to start running, and I got to my goal of being able to run 5km's but would always get horrific shin splits. While shin splints can be preventable and/or cured, I never really enjoyed running enough, and it just wasn't sustainable for me. You need to find something you enjoy so you won't get bored, and something that does not cause you pain, or anxiety at the thought of doing it!

4. Make an appointment with yourself to exercise 
Like I mentioned before, sit down now and plan your week, adding exercise into your diary as if it was an appointment. Try to avoid cancelling (unless something else is urgent!) What helps me is to keep the same 'exercise appointments' with myself every week - I usually walk Wednesday mornings, Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings, and add another one or two walks in during the week, depending on when I'm working. Make yourself accountable to someone to keep your appointment - get them to 'check-in' with you to make sure you completed it!

5. Create goals you have to achieve
When I started walking again this year after having Miss M, I have some specific goals in mind - get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I am currently about 1kg away!), tone up, and make exercise a habit (at least 5 times per week). 

Weight loss is always a big one for people, and the thing to note here is that diet is more important than exercise. I have lost 26kgs this year by eating in moderation (not cutting any food group out, and not denying myself if I want a treat) but some find other ways of eating work for them. I have been on every diet on the planet, and none have been more effective than what I'm doing now. I will elaborate on that in a future post too. With that in mind, exercise is so beneficial for weight loss goals as well, and will tone your body, depending on what you choose to do. 

A fun run can be a great goal, and training in the lead-up to an event can give you something to work towards. A 'personal best' goal is also great - being able to run a certain distance in a certain time for example.

6. Start small
Some advocate throwing yourself into training every day, and I personally have never experienced success with this. At the start of this year I began walking 3 times per week. I have built that up to 5 times, and throughout the year have added in other types of exercise as well. If you have never exercised than this is a particularly important point. You might start by walking around the block once, 3 times per week. Then you can build that up to twice, 3 times per week, and so on. Or, you can walk for 10 mins, 3 times per week, and slowly build the time up. This is called 'progressive overload.' There is no rush, and soon you will be doing things you didn't think you could! If you start a program and rush into a full-on training schedule you will become too sore, it will not be sustainable and you will most likely give-up without seeing the results you want. 

7. Do it until it's a habit
Organising the Four of Us creates a 'list of 3' jobs she has to complete each day (on top of the normal washing etc.) She added 5km's on the treadmill as one of her jobs, and continued to add it to her list each day until it became a habit. I think this is a terrific idea! Habits are formed in about 3 weeks, but it only takes 1 day to break them. Even if you don't feel like walking one day, just put your clothes on, and get out there, even if you only walk for 10 minutes. In doing that, you will easily create a new habit. 

8. Be kind to yourself
We all have busy lives, and life does get in the way of our good intentions at times! If you hit a particularly busy week or time in your life, where you need to be spending more time with your family, or doing something out of the ordinary, don't stress, but I do suggest trying to at least get some exercise in. Even if it's a quick walk to the local park with the kids instead of your usual program or exercise appointment. It will clear your head, and get you out of the house, and I promise you will feel better! The important thing is not to feel guilty though. Once we start feeling guilty for not exercising, we soon come to regret exercise, and associate bad feelings towards it. If you miss a workout - be kind to yourself - and just start up again tomorrow. 

9. No more excuses!
Now while being kind to yourself, it is also important not to continue to make excuses! I am a PE Teacher (who now teaches more Maths) and I have heard every excuse under the sun - I'm tired, I'm unfit, I can't do it, I'm sick, my feet hurt, I have a cold, It's too hot... some excuses are legitimate, and you should never excuse when you are extremely unwell, or have an injury, but most excuses are just that - excuses! - and they are not going to get us to our goals. So quit thinking too much about it, quit trying to think of reasons why not, and just do it! 

Hopefully one or all of those has resonated with you. Moving our bodies and being active is honestly so important for our health, and sets a good example for our kids. Brendan and I have talked about making it a part of our family life, especially now that we have Miss M, and especially as she grows, and can join us - for family walks, family bike rides, or just a kick of the footy around the park. I love the feeling it gives you, and I love the results physically, emotionally and mentally. I promise you will love it too!




[Please note: I am not a medical or health professional, and I encourage you to seek advice from your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program. Use the above advice at your own risk.] 



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Deep cleaning around the house

I have a confession... Sometimes when I can't see mess, I like to think it doesn't exist! Have you ever wondered how dirty your dishwasher or washing machine or even your kids bath toys are? I honestly hadn't until I started reading blogs about how to clean them! Here's a few easy tips I've learnt from The Organised Housewife and Organising the Four of Us about how to clean a few different appliances and things around the house. These are tips I have tried out myself, and they all work! 


Drinkbottles 

- Thoroughly rinse out with water 
- Fill with water and add a denture tablet to each bottle (these can be found in the supermarket in the toothpaste section and are very cheap) 
- Leave for at least 10 minutes
- Rinse and wash with detergent a few times until the minty flavour is gone! 

Washing machine 


- When empty, add a cup of white vinegar to the barrel (of both a top and front loader, and to the powder drawer in a front loader)
- Run on the hottest temperature for one cycle 
- Sprinkle bi carb in the barrel and run on the hottest temperature for another cycle
- Using multipurpose cleaner and gumption, scrub/wipe over the door and powder drawer in a front loader and the barrel and top/outside on a top loader 

*Another great tip is to add half a cup of vinegar to a towel wash to make your towels nice and fluffy and remove any odours!

Dishwasher 

- Clear any dishes and excess food out of the dishwasher 
- Wipe down the inside with a multipurpose spray and gumption 
- Fill a Pyrex jug (or any dishwasher safe container) with white vinegar
- Run the dishwasher through a cycle on the hottest temperature 
- Sprinkle bi carb inside and run through another cycle
- Wipe over the front of the dishwasher 
- Repeat as often as you need to and depending on how often the dishwasher is used! 

Electric Kettle 

- Half fill your kettle with water 
- Cut up a lemon and add to your kettle
- Bottle continuously for 10 minutes or so
- Remove lemons and thoroughly rinse out 
- Reboil a few times until the water doesn't taste like lemon anymore 


Bath Toys 

3 options: 
1. Place all toys in a washing bag/net bag and throw in the washing machine and wash on the hottest cycle. Leave to thoroughly dry (you can leave them in the sun but be careful that they do not fade and become brittle) 
2. Place all small toys on the top shelf of the dishwasher and larger toys on the bottom and run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle using either a dishwasher tablet or just bi carb and vinegar. The dishwasher will dry for you. 
3. Place in a sink filled with hot water and dishwashing liquid and leave to soak for a few hours. Dry thoroughly. 

To avoid mound in bath toys:
- make sure toys are drained of water after a bath 
- wash toys down with hot water after a bath to remove soap 
- drill a larger hole in toys (or a hole if there isn't one at all) to allow water to drain easily 
- store in a bag or basket with holes to allow any excess water to drain 

Thermomix (from Thermofun).

2 options to remove harsh stains/burn marks/to refresh the smell: 
1. Vinegar wash - 250g white vinegar, 750g water, 2 tabs bi carb. Cook 10 mins, varoma, speed 4. 
2. Lemon wash - 1 lemon (cut in half, skin left on) thrown into bowl, chop 5 secs, speed 10. Add 350g water and cook for 10 mins, varoma, speed 3. 

Stainless Steel Sink 

Before:

During: (Bi carb)

After: 


- Wipe down sink.
- Sprinkle bi carb over sink, leave for 10 mins, then use a scrubbing brush or toothpaste to give the sink a good scrub. Use gumption to remove harsher food stains. 
- Rinse the sink/wipe over to remove bi carb and any gunk.
- Line sink with paper towels soaked with vinegar and leave for 20 mins. 

Hopefully these tips inspire you to do some deep cleaning this week! 

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