Seasonal Dusting and a Furniture Find

Every 3 months, there are a few things that I deep clean. Here is a link to my full cleaning list. One of these is clean every baseboard in my house. I try to wipe them down a little as I do my weekly cleaning, but once a season, I do an all out, clean-every-inch-of-baseboard marathon. Right now I use a highly diluted solution of Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy

I have been doing extensive research on how ‘green’ this product is. I have found a few things:

-It contains Potassium Hydroxide…sounds scary doesn’t it? Well, it is actually an equivalent to Lye, which is used in anything that can be officially called a soap. While it can be harmful in larger quantities and if ingested, it is considered safe in small doses and with proper handling.

-Many books and websites devoted to green living tout the benefits of Murphy’s Oil Soap and include it in their green cleaning mixtures.

-It smells soooooo refreshing. It is just one of those nostalgia smells for me….taking me back to childhood and reminding me of a clean house.

I am looking at alternatives to Murphy’s just to test them out and I’ll be sure to share my findings. But for now, I am siding with my research and using Murphy’s in small doses.

I also clean my leather furniture with it. Again, I use just a little bit of Murphy’s diluted in water. I also make sure all surfaces I clean are thoroughly dried.

What started my frantic cleaning episode today was the need to clean one of my most recent purchases….this amazing wood armoire from an antique market.

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I bought it with the full intention of putting it in my office. However, it wouldn’t fit up the stairs into the office. Boo. So it was sent packing into the guest room.

Yes it is way to big for this room. And no I am not getting rid of it. I love it too much. I am not overly attached to a lot of furniture pieces right now, but this one just struck my fancy and I couldn’t let it go. I have the antiquing bug again.

I have put some extra blankets in the bottom shelf and will add some baskets for storage to the large compartment.

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I love the details on this piece. The interesting hardware, the knots in the wood….it has so much character.

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Now I’m working on magically enlarging the guest room so this piece actually fits in there. I’ll let you know how that goes….

~Erin

 

 

 

Beautiful Jars in Organizing

I used to be all about the function of organizing. I didn’t understand why cabinets and containers possibly needed to be beautiful. To an extent, I am still that way. The ultimate goal of organizing is to make your life easier. However, I have made an about-face on my opinion on being beautifully organized. I now find that pretty organizing tools make me smile, add a touch of class or creativity to my spaces and encourage me to keep things looking neat. Here are a few ways I use jars to pretty up my spaces:

I used to keep change in an old Tupperware container. But that’s not very inspiring, is it? We now drop those extra coins into a pretty ceramic pot that sits on our dresser. It’s handy, but also beautiful to look at.

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A lot of people have toothpicks in their pantry. But I have found that an adorable toothpick vase adds a little character to my spice shelf.

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Sometimes you have to get creative with what you have. I had a large jar that I didn’t have any clue what do to with. Then I spotted a really cool piece of fabric my sister brought me from The Gambia in Africa. I didn’t have the perfect spot to hang it, but I wanted it displayed. So I folded up the fabric and nestled it inside the jar. It is now part of the display on top of my cabinets. Two Birds. One Stone. Done.

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Last year, I switched to making my own detergent. I could have put the concoction in a plastic bin, but what fun is that? I found 2 awesome jars at a thrift store for $4 each….score! They are now happily occupying the top of my dryer and make laundry just a tad more enjoyable.

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So I will continue to pretty up my spaces. A little personality in my items goes a long way. What do you do to organize in an inspiring way?

~Erin

 

Junk Drawer Switch Out

PicMonkey Collage 1The Junk Drawer: my albatross……growing like one of those weird dinosaur shaped sponges you put in water and they quadruple in hours.

I have been trying for 2 years to find the perfect organizers for our junk drawer. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to organize something so small. I think it’s because it’s kind of a small drawer. All of the one piece organizers are too large. Believe me, I’ve tried to cram them in and try to mentally will the drawer to get bigger. But it doesn’t. I’ve tried plastic bins, different baskets, bamboo organizers, acrylic trays. I’ve tried to tetris them in there to fit perfectly and hold all of my miscellaneous items.

Then I realized that I wasn’t following one of my basic rules of organizing…..Don’t feel like you have to fill up all of the space.

Empty space can be tempting….nagging…taunting. We have a tendency to want to fill every drawer, shelf and closet with stuff, even if it’s not necessary.

I decided to downsize the amount of items and upsize the empty space. I also bought some bright orange plastic bins from Home Goods. I am not known for my vibrant color palette; almost everything I own is a neutral shade of blah. So I decided to add a pop of color to an unexpected place and I can’t tell you how much I love it.

From this:

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To this:

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One other quick switch I made was in another kitchen drawer. This one holds most of our cooking utensils. The organizer I had before fit perfectly, but it wasn’t right for the stuff I was trying to store. Some of the compartments were too small and it just ended up being cluttered and frustrating.

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So I took some of the previous junk drawer bins and put them in the utensil drawer.

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I also discovered I owned not one, but two, turkey basters. Ummmm. I don’t even use a turkey baster when I’m actually cooking a turkey, so why I had two of these things is completely beyond me. So they have now been delegated as the kid’s official science experiment basters and I have more room in my kitchen drawers.

So, to sum up my mantra for the year: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

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Purge, Rearrange, and don’t be afraid of a little color!

~Erin