Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tackling the Post -Christmas Beast

The Christmas carols and festive lights have slowly faded away. The piles of wrapping paper and bows have been tossed. The only lasting presence of Christmas now are our snug waistbands and a house that looks like a top notch qualifier for an episode of "Buried Alive." I try to convince myself that the mayhem is a result of my daughter's indulgent Christmas spoils, but that hardly is the case. I don't recall her getting a mound of dirty dishes and laundry from Santa.
My daughter Lola, looking at the tree lights. (Although it looks like she was eaten my the Christmas tree, which is exactly how I feel about our house after Christmas- swallowed whole by a Christmas tornado!)

I always enter the month of January feeling the need to purge, organize, and regain a sense of normality in my home and in my personal life. Sometimes this can be a daunting task, so I remind myself that baby steps are better than no steps at all. Its very easy for me to get distracted by the big picture and run myself ragged performing petty tasks like picking up toys, restacking piles of mail and magazines, and rehanging clothes that seem to mysteriously pile up on my bathroom vanity. Two days later the evidence of my efforts are once again nonexistent. These tasks provide me with the instant gratification I am seeking, but in no way take care of the much bigger problem, which is too much stuff haphazardly crammed into our tiny house.

The first room I cautiously decided to tackle was our kitchen. (stinky dishes and sticky counters took precedence over scattered toys!) Somehow I always end up making a bigger mess before things start to look better, but the end result is well worth the pain! Here are a few cleaning tips I compiled while fighting our beast of a kitchen yesterday:

The permanently grungy dishwasher...
 Run your EMPTY dishwasher through a normal cycle and put citric acid or even powdered orange/lemon drink mix in the detergent cup of the dishwasher. If you don't have these acidic products handy, set a cup of bleach in a bowl on the bottom rack and run the WASH cycle only. Do not dry! Run the washer a second time with one cup of vinegar in the bowl and let it run through the ENTIRE cycle. This will help remove any mystery odors and help your dishwasher run more efficiently!

The stinky garbage disposal...

Freeze white vinegar in ice cube trays and run a few through your disposal. It will wake the dead and freshen your disposal at the same time!
Or for a fresh little pick-me-up here and there, run a few citrus peels through the disposal (sometimes I drop a few ice cubes in with them too; it helps clean the blades.)

Baked-on oven mess...
Mix baking soda with just enough water to make a thick paste. Spread the past over oven surfaces with a paper towel, avoiding the heating elements/coils. You can even spread this paste on the glass! Let the paste sit for 15 to 30 minutes. (This is a heat free cleaning method; do not turn on the oven!) Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Voila! Spotless oven with no harsh chemicals. 

I hope you can use these helpful cleaning tips to get a jump start on your deep cleaning! Coming up next: you've got the gunk under control, now its time to organize that messy kitchen!

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