How to do a quick spring time tidy up

I was in a bit of muddle this month over my latest content that I wanted to bring you. Travelling a lot for my new role and my daughter having commissioned my camera for a few weeks has meant that getting my monthly post out was going to be a challenge. However I was doing a bit of quick “spring clean” this weekend and I thought why don’t I just share a what I am doing.

So this post is not about a big spring clean, but rather how to bring your home out of the winter funk with a few simply tidying tips. Many of you busy people out there would hopefully appreciate this and in fact you can do this for any seasonal change. My quick spring time tidy up is a mix of cleaning and tidying up that you can easily do in a couple of hours and makes a big difference quickly and easily.

We are not talking about a big spring clean feast here, I mean who has the time to be washing down every inch of the house!!. And actually I am not a big fan of spring cleaning which is why I avoid it by doing zone cleaning. If you want to check out what that is about and how I do that , then you need to check out my Spring Cleaning the House - How I avoid it post.

Any who …back to this post, this is all about doing a quick run through the house to make it feel a bit fresher for spring when you really have little time.


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Clean window sills

Try as we might , the winter time is not always a great time to be always keeping the house clean, so there are often areas of the home that get neglected. The window sills are one of those areas and can get a bit grotty with dust, dirt and moisture. I had a couple of windows sills that are in regular view and I gave them a quick clean down and it made such a difference.

You don’t have to do all sills at once, just those that you look at often, those that are in your line of sight, like in front of the kitchen sink. If you want to clean all the sills then just aim to do a a couple each weekend.

Freshen up your house plants

This isn’t a big job either, if you have house plants why not give them a spring make over!!!. Next time you water and feed them just cut off any dead leaves, give the pots a bit of a clean or maybe report them into a new one for spring. It may also be a good time to rearrange where they are displayed as they may need a bit more sunlight on them after the long winter days.

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Clean down your Front Door

Yep this may seen a bit old school, but actually makes a big difference. And in fact I often clean down my front door and entrance way. I simply give the outside and inside of my front door a good clean down, get rid of the winter grime off the door. Make sure that you don’t forget the front step. I just use my general cleaner, which is a mix of vinegar and water. However if you have got a lot of grime and dirt a better option is a bucket of warm soapy water, here you can use your dish wash liquid, it should do the trick

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Spring decor on your dinning Table

This doesn’t need to be flash and over the top, just something simple, like flowers or nice candles. I often like to have fresh herbs in pots for my “spring decor”. This spring I have just used my candles from my winter decor and placed them in my glass cake stand and put some potted herbs in a basket. It’s a quick and easy and useful spring look.

If you are after some real inspiration for check out my seasonal decor Pinterest board.

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Create some spring scent

Fresh flowers are the best if you can get some. Those with a garden, cut some from the garden like Daffodils, Crocus, Lily of the Valley etc. Your local produce shop should have some lovely spring flowers. Our local Simply Fresh always has great flowers.

Also get your diffuser going with a few drops of lemon essential oil , it’s a lovely spring scent. Maybe splash out on some oil diffusers or new candles .

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Tidy up one area

Choose one area in your house that has been bothering you for a while and give it a bit of a tidy up. Over winter I have gathered some bits and pieces on my craft table that I just could’t be bothered putting away. So I took ten minutes and sorted everything out and put everything away. I also cleaned down the table and what a difference it made….all tidy and clean and fresh.

Tidy craft table.png

Now I have done all this on a Saturday morning, so it’s not a big deal, in fact it only took a couple of hours (I farted around a bit with my pot plants). And it has already made me feel more spring like and the home feels a bit fresher and ready to welcome in the spring.

Ok so the windows need a good clean outside, however I have a plan for those ….Pete……!!! Honey……can you please!!!

Some other quick tips

  • Change your duvet cover for a more spring feel. Wash all your bed linen and hang on the line. Nothing better than linen that has been out in the fresh air.

  • Open up the windows in this house - get some fresh air flowing through

  • Clean your shoes . I just throw my casual sneakers that I wear in the weekend in the wash, good as new.

There you have it, 6 quick things to do to get your home feeling fresh and ready to welcome in the spring. I am sure that you could come up with your own quick clean and tidy steps, just remember it doesn’t have to be a big spring clean.

Happy Spring My Tidies

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Planning for house guests


Here in Aotearoa, New Zealand we have just had Easter and school holidays. For my northern hemisphere readers, summer holiday season is upon them and many of us are looking forward to having family and friends to stay. After the initial excitement of looking forward to seeing family and friends, comes the panic of realising what you need to do to get the house ready for guests. I suspect that most of us have little time to do this and can therefore quickly become overwhelmed. My wonderful brother, sis in law , niece and nephew came to stay for a week over the Easter holiday and I needed to prepare our home for their stay. So I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to take you through how I plan, what I do, things to consider, helped by a check list and other tips to help you when preparing for house guests.

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Have a plan

The first thing that I do when I know we have guests coming is to create a plan. I work out what I need to do and what time I have got to get these things done. I find doing a bit at a time really helps to reduce the “panic” of needing to get everything sorted at the past minute. My plan generally covers off these main topics;

  1. Food and Beverage

  2. Meal planning

  3. Cleaning

  4. Linen and Bathroom

  5. Gifts

  6. Information

Under each of these I have a list of things that I need to cover off , so this essentially becomes my “to do list”. My next step is to plan out in my home planner the days during the week that I need to get these things done.

Now that you have an overall plan, let me take you through the six areas that I work off in my plan.


Food and Beverages

This is all about making sure that you have got the sorts of pantry and fridge supplies needed for your guests. Rather than just stocking up with your usual supplies try and think about your guests and what they may like to eat. e.g breakfast cereals, favourite teas and how they have their coffee. If you have a family visiting think about snacks and fruit for the kiddies. For my niece and nephews visit I made sure that I had snacks in the pantry, and in the fridge I have a tray of apples and yoghurt that they could just grab.

Don’t forget the adults too, if you have a cocktail cabinet make sure it’s fully stocked and that for the Craft beer lover that there is some nice cold ones in the fridge ready for their arrival.

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A really nice touch and a very economical option is to do some baking. A fresh batch of cookies always goes down a treat with everyone. This could be a great way to have foods specific to festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter time.

Lastly don’t forget the essentials such as milk, bread and spreads , have plenty of these supplies to ensure that you don’t run out.

Meal planning

This may seem a bit silly however if your guests are staying more than a couple of nights, then a meal plan is a great idea. Firstly it means that you don’t need to worry about what to cook and gives more time in the day to have time with your guests. As with the food and beverage supplies, think about your guests and what sort of meals they would like. When my Mumma comes and stay she loves hot spicy food so our meals are planned to that. However with my brother and family it was much more good old family meals, like Lasagne.

Make sure that you also think about which nights you might go out, i.e if you have a celebration dinner to attend, and plan that in.

Displaying the meal plan can be a good idea, I just use my weekly meal planner board for this, it can actually be really helpful to discover if someone is not too keen on a certain meal., as illustrated by a funny story from my niece. Only being 6 she immediately notice the meal plan board and checked out the meal we have planned for their stay. She asked if we could swap a meal around because she didn’t like Bacon and Egg pie (which was on list) , so cute.

Once you have the meal plan, you can just shop to that, so much easier than guessing what to cook each night.

If you are interested in learning more about meal planning, just check out my meal planning for beginner post, just click on the pic below.

Meal planning for beginners_shopping list.png

CLEAning

The challenge with cleaning in preparation for guests is the timing, as you really need to do it just before they arrive. It’s likely that you will not have a lot of time so just do the important areas, like the guest bedroom and bathroom. If you have time do a quick clean up in the living area and kitchen. One of the quickest and easy tricks to making a home look and feel clean is the entrance area. I would suggest making sure that you have cleared away all the clutter and give the area a quick clean. If you can, create a space where the guests have a place for their jackets and bags etc. Also if you have a no shoes in the house rule , then make sure that they have a place for their shoes and that you provide some type of house shoes/slippers. As an example I got my guests house socks and put these into their gift basket.

Other things to remember when cleaning;

  • Replace the hand towel in the bathrooms with fresh clean ones

  • Clean the taps and the toilet seat, especially underneath

  • Stock up the toilet paper

  • Fill up the soap dispensers

  • Clean the bathroom mirrors

  • Change the shower curtain, or at least wash it

The last and the best trick of all when it comes to a clean house is the scents you use in your home. Walking into a home with a beautiful scent in the air with makes it feel clean and inviting regardless of how clean it really is.

I am personally a huge fan of essential oils and love using these to create gorgeous scents around the house.

In the guest bedroom I use a small jute bag full of cotton balls on which I place some drops of lavender. I place these discreetly near the bedhead area, not only providing a lovely scent but enabling a great sleep. I also place some drops of lemongrass in the tube of the toilet paper, this gets absorbed through the toilet paper.

One thing I do want to mention is zone cleaning or having a cleaning routine. If you have a regular, consistent cycle of cleaning it actually means that you generally always have a clean house so you don’t need to really every do a big “clean” . This really helps when having guest because all you need to do is a quick tidy up and you are done.

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Linen, BED and Bathroom

So tell me…. Do you like getting into a bed with clean fresh white sheets? Yes I thought so, and why is that? Because it makes you feel like you are in a hotel! Therefore great bedding and linen really makes your guest feel like they staying in luxury. It you don’t have specific linen and bedding for guests beds, then at least make sure that you have fresh, clean sheets on the bed.

It’s good to have extra blankets or throws in the room, especially if it’s autumn or winter. And in the warmer seasons, provide a fan.

Another lovely touch in the bedrooms is to have some nice dressing gowns and slippers. These can be placed with guest towels on the corner of the bed for their arrival.

I am fortunate that we have guest rooms that are not used other than for guests so I can make sure these are ready earlier. However if you are using bedrooms that have to be made up, I’d suggest getting as much as you can ready so when you have to make up the beds etc you have everything ready.

As an example, we had a single mattress that used to be housed under my sons bed. We would use this for any guests and it could be placed in any spare space at the time. To make things easier for this, I had all the linen & bedding for that single mattress all ready to go and in its own place in the cupboard. This meant that when we got the mattress out all I needed to do was grab the linen & bedding and make up the bed. This would only take me 5 mins or so.

Onto the guest bathroom, I’d recommend having full set of towels as well, including a hand towel and face cloth. I also like to ensure that there are supplies for the guests for oral, hair and skin care. And lets not forget a wee medicine stash for those morning headaches from one too many celebration drinks. You don’t need to go over the top, just have the basics. Maybe display them nicely, to bring a bit of luxury into the bathroom.

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Gifts

Just to clarify at this point, that it is not necessary to provide gifts to every guest you have, a simple gesture of snacks and bottled water in their room is plenty.

However if you are having close friends or family you may want to go a bit extra to make their visit special. Here are some ideas;

  • A bottle of bubbles with nice wine glasses and candles on a tray

  • Basket with cozy house socks and a selection of new magazines (try and get a topic that they like)

  • Books, fun stationery, puzzles for kids

  • Fun slippers

  • Seasonal gifts - e.g Easter eggs , Christmas cookies

I recently had my niece and nephew (6 & 10) staying over easter time. I got them a small basket each and filled it up with a few fun things;

  • Mug with hot chocolate sachet

  • Easter Bunny (Chocolate)

  • Books to read

  • Travel Diary (as they were doing a road trip)

  • Pens and stickers

  • Head phones

  • Cute wee house socks

As they were travelling on a road trip I knew that they could take their basket of goodies with them. So when thinking of gifts consider how they are travelling. Often it would be best to provide a gift that they will use during their stay so don’t need to take it with them, food is the obvious choice for that.

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Information

Lastly and probably most importantly, is useful information that your guest will need. The most obvious is the Wifi password, it’s like to be asked for fairly soon after arrival, so have it somewhere visible, e.g typed up inside a picture frame.

If they are likely to be using the TV and other electronic equipment make sure that you have the instructions available, e.g How To guides. Also think to include washing machine instructions , especially if they are staying for a wee while.

A good idea would be to make up a folder with brochures of local attractions and activities as well as eateries.

Local public transport information is also great to have, timetables and even a travel card could be useful. Information on the local supermarket is handy and think about having a reward card available.


To wrap up and some FREE help

I have tried to cover of all that I can think of in relation to preparation for house guests, and a lot of the time there is no need to do all of the above, however it’s helpful as a guide and can form your “to do list”. As I mentioned initially, the sanity saver in terms of preparation is to plan, even if you only have short notice of a guests arrival you can still plan. To help you with the preparation I have developed a check list for you , which is FREE to access below and covers of all the six areas above;

  • Food and Beverage

  • Meal planning

  • Cleaning

  • Linen Bedding and Bathroom

  • Gifts

  • Information

FREE check list

Your ulimate "to do" list to get ready for house guests

     

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    Thanks so much for coming by and I hope that you have found this information really useful. I’d love to hear about any preparation tips and gifts ideas that you have in preparation for your house guests.

    Happy Hosting and may you be the Hostest with the Mostest!!!

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    5 low waste Christmas gift ideas for the home

    To be honest I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide as cleaning and organising products are not something that most people would think to give for Christmas presents. However there are a lot of people out there that are starting to think about their environmental foot print and how they can reduce their waste. So I thought that Christmas time is actually the perfect time to encourage this by giving gifts that may start someone on that reduce waste journey. I have identified 5 kits for the home that you can actually easily make and give as awesome gifts for Christmas.

    • DIY Natural cleaning kit

    • Kitchen Kit

    • Laundry Kit

    • Bathroom Kit

    • Home scent kit

    DIY Natural cleaning kit

    home made cleaner in glass jar and baking soda in glass jar

    I recently took part in our work place night market and had to come up with some gifts to sell for fundraising. I decided to make some DIY Natural cleaning kits, and they were a hit, so I thought that these would make great Christmas presents. In my kit I had;

    • General cleaner

    • Scrubber

    • Cleaning cloth

    • Sample of essential oil

    • Jute bag

    They were really easy to make and most items can be found around the home or could be easily purchased from your local supermarket. To make the kit you will need;

    • White vinegar

    • Baking Soda

    • Small jar

    • Spray bottle (glass is preferable)

    General Cleaner - mix a 50/50 of white vinegar and water into the spray container and label it "General Cleaner”

    Scrubber - fill the small jar with baking soda and for extra special treat put a few drops of an essential oil and mix through. Then just label “Scrubber”.

    Don’t forget to provide instructions on how to use and refill so the person can continue to use after the ingredients run out. You can sign up to receive my free guide and recipe printable for the cleaning kits below;

    FREE DIY Natural Cleaning Kit

    Get your free guide on how to make your own all natural cleaning kit.

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    If you are not confident to make up these kits, however love the idea you can just order these fabulous starter kits from Figgy & Co

    Kitchen kit

    Handwash and dishwash in glass jar

    In this Kitchen Kit I have;

    • Cotton Dishcloth - washable

    • Hand wash dispensers - refillable

    • Dish wash dispensers - refillable

    The great thing with the Kitchen kits are that they are not only pretty kitchen accessories, they are also functional and totally reusable.

    To make these kits you just need some dispensers and buy or make the cotton dish cloths.

    If you want to make the dishcloths and don’t know how to crochet here is a great tutorial that will get you going. For those that don’t have the time and just want to buy some here are my fav’s in NZ;

    Don’t forget to check out Etsy which has a great selection of cotton dish cloths.

    cotton dish cloths

    For the dispensers you could just recycle some empty ones that you have around the home. I do have a preference for glass as they do last a lot longer, are easier to clean and good for recycling. There are a few places that stock refillable glass dispensers. I have recently come across this great online store , Packageless Pad that stocks a great selection of glass containers and these Classic Syrup bottles are perfect for using around the home.

    To add a bit of home decor it’s nice to place them on a tray and maybe add in a plant, so you could add these into your kit to jazz it up a bit.

    Lastly don’t forget to fill the dispensers with the soap, for the hands and the dishes. Ideally use a product that is chemical free and obtained from a refillery and or a eco-friendly product like Eco Store from the supermarket.

    Laundry Kit

    For the Laundry kit I just got a selection of jars that you can easily label Laundry powder and Soaker. You could also add in some wooden clothes pegs. Most of these items you can get at a supermarket or find around the home. I sourced my jars at the time from The Warehouse, there is still a good selection. The refillery GoodFor also has a good selection too . Also you could try Figgy & Co as you can get both the jars and laundry product. In fact they have The Laundry Pack which you can purchase.

    My laundry set up is below where I have the laundry powder, soaker and I have baking soda and a bottle of vinegar. Hint a wee mix of soda and vinegar in the wash, especially for towels helps fluff them up.

    laundry products in jars

    Bathroom kit

    One of the exciting things that I came across this year was recyclable toothbrushes and organic toothpaste. As well as better options for dental floss and cotton buds. Eco store has introduced a range which is available from most supermarkets or online. Go Bamboo is also worth checking out too as they have the cotton buds.

    Something else to think about for the bathroom kit is a sample pack for Hair and Face products that don’t come in plastic bottles. The fabulous products from Ethique would make a wonderful present. Oh and please check out Soaps by Roi a fabulous Kiwi making beautiful products based on Rongoa Maori (Maori medicine).

    Once again with the other kits you could put them into storage jars and gift them all set up. Example below is a Bathroom kit.

    Bathroom hand wash and soap kit.png

    Home scent kit

    Who loves walking into those lovely home stores with those gorgeous scents floating around the air, how lovely would it be to give a gift that can make someones home smell like that. All you need is some jute bags, cotton balls and essential oils and scented candles.

    The jute/hessian bags or cotton bags, I source from Spotlight of all places and the cotton balls can be sourced from the supermarket. For essential oils I source mine from doTERRA and an awesome place in Akaroa, NZ called Fire and Ice.

    Just place a drop of oil on each cotton ball and pop them into the bag and hang them in places around the home. I use mine in the wardrobes, linen closet, kitchen and bedrooms.

    Scented candles are the best, but make sure you get quality candles and ones made with Soy. I have been fortunate to have a lovely lady at work who makes the most wonderful soy candles. Also check out Soy Delights Nz as you can purchase from her Etsy store as well.

    Home scents kit.png

    So there you have it 5 Christmas gift kit ideas, which are easy to put together, budget friendly, reusable and produce very little waste and encourage more people to reduce their environmental foot print.

    Have a wonderful Christmas my dears, and enjoy your gift giving.

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    2 routines to master your day, feel good and achieve your goals

    I often get asked "How do you fit everything in?" "You must be so busy" My reply is always the same "routine, routine,routine" For as long as I can remember I have had daily routines, blame it on my Mum. She had us in routines right from day one, and well I did the same with my kiddies, maybe that's why they started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, both of them. Anyway back to the point, routines can have some real benefits, like giving you more precious time to do what you love to do, achieving your goals and you feel good because you are getting things done!

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    It`s probably fair to say that everyone has some type of routine in their life. Most of us just see a routine as a function or a need, like brushing your teeth, having a shower or doing #2's at the same time everyday!!!!! however not everyone uses routines as a way to save time and achieve your goals. Initially, that's how I saw routines too, however over the years I have noticed some benefits of my routines and worked on making a more conscious effort to develop really effective routines.

    When the kids were little and we were in that morning madness phase of getting everyone out the door, that was when I really kicked routine into top gear. Having routines meant that we all knew what we had to do and everything was sorted and ready to go, no running around madly trying to find things and do last minute homework or assignments in the car, or dashing into the shop for lunches. The biggest benefit for everyone was that day always started pretty calm and on time. Ok we were human and sometimes things did go to the dogs!! but not that often.

    So now as a midlifer and emptynester my routines are different and the same. I still have to get up and get ready and still have to clean the house!!! However I have more me time so I have been able to add some self care and development routines into my life that is really paying off and certainly helping me to achieve my goals and "fit everything in".

    Achieving your goals is actually done by taking small steps regularly, action this, done , on to the next action. A good example is a goal to get fit and lose weight, achieved by taking small actions everyday , like 30 minute exercise and a morning smoothie. So in reality, to achieve your goals you need to "master your day", well that's what I think. By mastering your day everyday you achieve your goals! And that's where the routines come in.  Developing useful and effective routines in the morning and evening can help you to achieve these goals. The best way to illustrate this is for me to take you through my morning and evening routines.

    My Morning Routine

    Alarm goes off at 5am, weekdays and 7am in the weekends. This is an hour earlier than I need to be up because I use this time to focus my mind, exercise and learn. Some of you may be familiar with the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod . I follow a very similar approach, so my first 60 minutes of the day looks like this;

    • Meditation - 10 mins
    • Affirmations and visualisation - 20 mins
    • Exercise (yoga) - 10 mins
    • Readings and journal - 20 mins

    I use a couple of really good apps that have free programmes plus paid subscriber programmes. I just access the free ones which are just perfect for me at this stage.  Calm is a great meditation app and has got great reviews and awards. There is a really good 7 day course for free that introduces you to meditation, totally recommend you doing it.  I now just us the "timed meditation", 10 mins and it always ends with a lovely quote to get your day started.   

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    Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I ran for a number of years, however being a long lanky thing I am not really designed for it and after a number of calf muscle blow outs, had to stop. Mrs B (awesome yoga guru) put me onto Yoga and I have not looked back, now incorporating it into my daily routine, both morning and evening. I use Asana Rebel app again as with Calm I use the free programmes which I find great. I did pay for a subscription which gives you the ability to build your own exercise programme and even gives you a coach. If you need help with motivation, I would recommend getting the paid subscription, it's a nominal monthly fee. The other point of note is that I actually took a 10 week Yoga beginners course which I again would strongly recommend. I think that without knowledge of Yoga poses you may not get the full benefit.  

    So by 5:40am, I am warmed up and energised with a clear and calm mind and good focus for the day. I then go and make myself a cup of tea and do my readings and journal which actually is my learning time. I listen to podcasts of Webinars that are relevant to what I want to learn more about. Spotify has great podcasts, currently listening to Simple Pin Media which has fantastic tips and information for bloggers on how to use Pinterest to grow your blog business. I also have the Library app called Libby where I loan audio books from our local Auckland library, Getting Things Done by David Allen is on my playlist at present. (Totally buy the book, there is a reason it's a top seller). I always get some gems of learnings and actions to take from my "readings" in the morning which I follow through on and ensure that I action. 

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    At 6am I'm good to go and start to get ready for the day and at 7am am out the door with Smoothie in hand and jump on the bus.

    Now I really need to be honest here, I was never one that thought a lot about meditation, affirmations etc, in fact always thought it was a bit tree huggish!. However after doing some research into personal development I started to look into this more and I have been absolutely blown away by what a difference this has made for me. So for me the big benefits are the ability for me to be really focused on what I need and want to achieve, the commitment level and motivation I need to achieve it, the energy and passion and how important looking after myself is in order to achieve my goals. I do also feel a lot calmer and focused on what I have to do today, my mind is not a muddle of "to do's". I certainly feel fresh and alive in the mornings than being half asleep!

    My evening routine

    Unlike my morning routine, my evening one is spread out over the evening and some have time frames and others are more tasks/actions that I need to do every night. Here is my evening routine;

    • Yoga - 30 mins 
    • Tea together at the table
    • Tidying with Tania work - 1-2hours
    • Zone Cleaning - 15 mins
    • Kitchen cleaning  - 15 mins 
    • Lunch preparation
    • Clothes out for morning
    • Reflection and planning

    The first thing I do when I get home...well after me and Pete have our wee hello hug and kiss, I get my yoga gear on and do a 30 min session.  It is normally a pretty sweat inducing session and really gives me great energy to get going again at the end of the day. 

    Pete and I also always sit down at the table and have tea together and catch on the day and ourselves and family. That's probably one the most important routines that we have always done, before we have kids, while the kids were at home and again now they are gone. 

    My cleaning routine is easy as I have a regular one that I use which is based on zone cleaning. I am just modifying it as the completed renovations have changed what I need to be cleaning. If you want to get an idea of my cleaning routine check it out here . I would also recommend that you check out my Home Cleaning Pinterest board which has lots of great information on home made cleaners and cleaning routines. 

    kitchen_diffusor.png

    My kitchen cleaning just means that the last thing I do at night is clean down the counter tops and make sure everything is cleared away. I also give the floor a quick once over with the microfibre cloth. As I do this every night it means I do not need to  big weekly clean of the kitchen as it is always clean. I also like to put my essential oil diffusers on, one in the kitchen to get rid of the cooking smells and one in the lounge.....Pete calls them "stink pots" yep he is a Southern man, so does not always appreciate the way of lovely smells from essential oils. 

    Making my lunch and getting my clothes out the night before just takes away the rush and hassle of making decisions in the morning. You need to do this, it makes such a difference to the morning. 

    Once in bed I review my day, checking what I have achieved and plan out my actions for the next day, and just like the start of the day, I do this with a cup of tea....ohhh bliss. then my head hits the pillow and I`m out for the count.

    nighttime_reflection.png

     

    Reflecting on achievements, no matter how small are motivational, for me any way, even if it's that huge pile of washing that's been sitting on the couch forever! Sometimes things occur during the day and you don't get everything done so it's a good time to plan and work out realistically when you can do it.  By just taking a few minutes to do this makes a huge difference to the mind and how rested it feels. I find it does really help me in getting a good sleep.

    Making it a Habit

    My routines are now habits so I don't really think of them as anything other than a part of my day. However I do know that it's because I have these routines that I can achieve so much in my day. So like the saying goes...I am what I repeatedly do.

    So how do you get into a habit of doing your routine everyday, morning and night? Well I think it just comes down to commitment. How committed do you want to be?  What do you really want to achieve or change? 

    Something that I do find helpful and it might seem a bit silly, but it does work, is a habit tracker.  I use these when I am adding or changing routines. The research says that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so tracking the routine everyday for at least 21 day gives you a good chance at turning your routine into a habit.  

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    To help you with tracking your morning and evening routines I have created a habit tracker. Yep no excuses now. Just pop your details below and the Free Habit tracker printable will be winging it's way to you.

    Free Habit Tracker

    Habit tracker convertkit

    A simple and easy to use tracker to help you turn your routines into habits

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    Master my day

    So by simply doing my routines every day I am actually achieving my goals, because every day I take another action and another step closer to my goals. This makes me the Master of my day and not the day being the master of me! 

    I'd love to hear from you, are you trying to achieve some goals, or simple wanting a less chaotic day. Think about trying a routine, even a few small actions, list them in the habit tracker and give it a go, remember it only takes 21 days!

    Happy habit making everyone

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    Follow me on social media for more tips, ideas and talk from Tania, just click the links below

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    How to clean your tile and glass shower with DIY cleaners

    Have I told you how much I am in love with my newly renovated master bath/ensuite and guest bathroom! Pete and I love the simple design and understated style. I love how easy it is to keep sparkling clean and looking new. In fact, the ease of cleaning and maintenance was an important feature in the design. As a paid cleaner, in my younger days and cleaning up behind my kids I know what a real pain it is to clean bathrooms. 

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    Both showers in the master bath/ensuite and guest bathroom are the same in design. Our master bath/ensuite is what is referred to as wall to wall. In other words the shower runs along the full width of the end of the bathroom, having one wall as the shower end and the other wall as the end of the shower.  The side of the shower is one piece of glass which is just over a metre long. It gives the shower a nice open feeling while containing the water.  It is a very simple design and best of all there is no doors and therefore no joins and metal parts which can get grimy and caked in soap scum and difficult to clean. 

    The biggest battle with keeping a tile and glass shower clean is the build up of soap scum on the glass and in the grout of the tiles. Also depending on the colour and texture of your tiles, soap scum can easily show up on the tiles themselves, especially if you have dark tiles. I recall my gorgeous sis from helenryan eBoutique (shameless plug here, check out her bags... like OMG) renovated her bathroom and got black slate tiles in the shower and said "never again" . It was a complete nightmare to try and keep the film of soap scum from showing on the tiles.

    My mission was to work out how to ensue with the soap scum battle and win while using natural home made cleaners. As my readers would know, for a few years now I have fully converted to home made natural cleaners and am loving them and totally impressed with how effective they are. If you want to read about how I set up my cleaning kit check out my post here .

    Therefore it was important for me to work out what the best tactic would be for tiles and glass shower, using home made natural cleaners. So bring on Pinterest! I got my fingers googling and got some great ideas, (follow me on my Pinterest page, Home Cleaning

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    The first thing I learnt was that I have to change my shower cleaning routine. In the past I would clean the bathroom showers once a week. The old showers were...really freeking old...and cubs so not the easiest to keep clean. I hated...hated the weekly scrub fest that would have to take place. So what my Pinterest research concluded was that a daily cleaning routine would be the best approach. I figured out that I would need to have a "kit" of sorts in the bathroom as I would need to access it daily...but what to put in the kit? Then I came across this excellent post from Becky at  Clean Mama. I have followed her for a while and love all the fantastic and helpful information that she provides, do check her out. Anyway this particular post had everything that I wanted to know and gave me the inspiration to come up with my "kit"....so big thanks Becky @ Clean Mama

    So what is in my kit?

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    The Cleaners

    My general cleaner - this is my all purpose general cleaner that I use pretty much for all cleaning in the home.

    • 50/50 White vingear and water

    Seriously how simple is that! I already keep a bottle in my kitchen, laundry and cleaning kit so I simply made up two more for the bathroom "kits" . This cleaner is what I use to clean the shower glass and shelves and the tap and shower faucets.

    The liquid is used to help clean the tiles and grout and I put it into the "scrubber"

    And that's it folks!

     

    The Equipment

    • Shower squeegee

    • Sponge

    • Scrubber/sponge thingy which holds the dish liquid

    • Container/kit

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    You can pick up these products at your local supermarket or just get them online.

    The spray bottles have been a challenge to find. I originally found some in the Japanese $2 dollar store, however I have not been able to find them again. Even better are these glass bottles which I will be getting to replace the plastic ones. 

    The Daily Cleaning Routine

    Now just to clarify, I do this when I have my daily shower. Cleaning the shower is sooooo much easier when you are actually having a shower!!! That's my one tip of the day.

    I have got the daily shower cleaning routine down to three steps and a total of 1-2mins...5mins maybe max which I do at the end of my shower.

    Step 1 - The scrub down

    Not you! the shower!  Take the scrubber (with the dish liquid) and simply scrub around the high use area of the tiles. This would be around the bottom third of the wall tiles under the shower facet and the side wall as well as the tile floor area around the drain and where you stand. 

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    Make sure that you give the tiles a good once over and ensure that you scrub into the grout. This does not need to be a full on scrub fest, remember you do this daily so it only needs to be a quick once over to stop the soap build up. 

    The just take the shower head and rinse! 

    Step 2 - The Spray and wipe

    Take the general cleaner and spray the glass, and faucets.

    Then wait....do not rush in and wipe off. The secret to vinegar and water cleaner is to wait to allow the cleaner, to what I call "stew" , this ensures that it activates with the surface to lossen the dirt. 

    I take the sponge and go over the glass and faucets to ensure the "scum" is actually moved off the surface. If you just use a squeegee you will not move the scum off the surface, you just take the water off.

    Then I get the squeegee and wipe down the glass. I also use the squeegee to move any excess water off the tiles into the drain.

    Step 3 - The Look

    Step out of your shower and enjoy the view of a beautiful clean shower!!!

    As I said this should only take you a max of 5mins, if that! And you are done. 

    I have found by doing this each time I have a shower there is no need for me to do any other "shower cleaning" so no more weekly big scrubbing jobs.  I have actually freed up a lot of my weekly cleaning routine by doing this...bonus!

    Just a note to ensure that you do replace the sponges when they get a bit old and dirty, atleast once a month. Check out the Scotch-Brite one as it comes with replacement heads.

    The guest bathroom

    I have set up a similar shower cleaning kit for the guest bathroom. The main difference is that I only use this when we have a guest using the bathroom.

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    So when we do have a guest I just do the same 3 steps as above. Of course I wait until the guest has left the bathroom! The only difference is that I use cloths instead of the sponge and place these in the wash after each use. This is because I keep the cleaning kit in the cabinet as I don't want my guest to see the kit and I don't want a wet sponge sitting in the kit in the cabinet.

    The Disguise

    To be honest I really hate seeing cleaning stuff out in the shower area, however as I need to access the kit daily in our master bath/ensuite, it really does need to be in the shower.  However I figured a way to disguise it, or rather make it less obvious.

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    Thanks to the room we have in the shower I have placed a stool at the end with a couple of pot plants, which was in part how I wanted to style the ensuite anyway. It just so happened that I could put the "kit" in underneath the back of the stool so it's tucked nicely out of view but easy to access at the same time. 

    There you have it, my 3 step daily shower cleaning routine with hame made natural cleaners all done in under 5 mins.

    I will be bringing you an update on the kitchen cleaning, as with the bathrooms, it is newly renovated and I have set up a new cleaning routine as well.

    I hope you found this post useful in some way.  Let me know what you think and if you have any cleaning hacks...always keen on those.

    Here is a FREE cheat sheet with the details on how to make and use these cleaners which you can keep and have on hand...no excuse now not to be cleaning!

    FREE Cheat Sheet

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    Quick and simple cleaning tips to stop soap scum build up

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    Stay clean!!! until next time

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    How to clean ceiling fans with Baking soda & Vinegar

    So our renovations started in early December 2017 and I naively thought that after all the months of planning we could just sit back and let the builder and tradies do their thing and I could finally relax...well what was I thinking! The list of to do's just keep going and a lot of small things that we just didn't think of, like removing and cleaning the ceiling fans because the ceiling was being skimmed. So this post takes you through how Pete and I set about cleaning these very filthy things. And because we try to avoid chemical cleaners we only used baking soda and vinegar and they came up a treat. 

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    Equipment 

    This is just the list of things that we used and I would recommend having if you are going to do the same.

    • Toothbrush

    • Lid or small bowl

    • Bucket

    • Light dishwashing liquid soap

    • Old rags or cleaning cloths

    • Water and Vinegar spray ( see my general cleaner recipe)

    • Ladder

    • Screwdriver

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    Preparation 

    This is a bit like stating the obvious, however I do need to point out that you need to take the ceiling fan down from the ceiling!. Make sure that you use a ladder, safely, and turn off the power supply as well. You don't want to chop your head off by accidentally setting off the fan while removing it. 

    Most ceiling fans can be disassembled by simply unscrewing the screws. We just removed each fan from the centre mechanism. Pete removed the metal cap that went over the motor so we could clean it easier. In the end we had the ceiling fan broken into six parts;

    • 4 fans

    • Central mechanism

    • Metal cap

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    Then it was just a matter of getting stuck in and cleaning!

    Cleaning

    Firstly we filled up the bucket with warm soapy water, light dishwash liquid. We use Ecostore dishwashing liquid

    Then I mixed up a paste of baking soda and my general cleaner. I just used the baking soda jar lid. You could use a small bowl instead.

    I took each piece and sprayed them first with my general cleaner, then took my toothbrush and used it to spread the "paste" around. Using the toothbrush as a scrubber I was able to scrub all the surfaces and the difficult to get to areas. Pete used the bucket with soapy water to clean off after scrubbing and then simply wiped the surfaces down with a dry clean cloth. Some of the surfaces needed a bit of extra elbow grease (a good hard scrub). Pete and I were really pleased with how well they came up! Almost new looking. 

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    The cleaning did not change the slight yellowing of the paint and surface, that is simply an age issue, however by being sparkling clean they looked so much better.

    All we had to do was to ensure they dried off well and reassemble the parts, and Bob's your Uncle! it's all done.

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    A couple of pointers, as the ceiling fans were of an older type, each fan had a centre cane laminate. To clean this I did just as described above, however I made sure that I used a nice soft toothbrush. This meant that there was no damage to the laminate.

    So there you have it, a simple and effective, non chemical way to clean your ceiling fans.

    If you want to get more ideas and resources on cleaning in the home just check out my Pinterest page and don't forget to follow me so you can see all the latest information that I add.

    Well that's it my friends, just short and simply post this time but hopefully of some use and maybe its got you inspired to go clean whatever it is that you have been saying "oh I must clean that sometime" 

    Take care and stay safe my friends

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    How I get my towels and sheets white, fluffy and smelling divine!

    Notice a theme this month........! Yeah it's all about cleaning. It's seems that whenever we are entering into a new season, be it spring or autumn, we do a bit of cleaning and sorting out, often involving bed linen and towels.  So as a follow on from my last post about my home made cleaners, I thought I would share some of my tips on how I get my towels and sheets, white, fluffy and smelling divine.

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    Keeping them White

    One of the best things about going to a nice hotel is the gorgeous white towels and linen. Oh how we wish we could have these at home!!!  Actually you can and it's not that hard. 

    "Change your towels and linen at least weekly and soak them"

    We change our sheets once a week because as we always have a shower before bed, so the sheets remain fairly fresh over the week. If you don`t shower last thing at night and sweat a bit then I would suggest to change twice a week, well that's me anyway. If you are my son then you would probably change them once a year if you could get away with it!!!

    Again with the towels it really depends on who is using them and how dirty they get. I use white face cloths to clean my face (after washing first) and also white towels. I only change these once a week, however twice a week is probably better. Towels do have a tendency to trap moisture and mold, so if you can keep them dry and fresh this helps to reduce that. Before I wash them, I soak them overnight in a bucket with  in EcoStore whitener. I do the same with the sheets if they are starting to look a bit yellow and tied.

    To reduce the makeup stains on towels and face cloths, use face wipes or a good face wash first. Also consider having a separate dark coloured face cloth just for your makeup.  Also for tanning lotion residue you could have a specific dark coloured towel. 

    Twice a week I change the kitchen towels and sponges and as with the other bathroom towels I soak them in the whitener. I also do this with my dirty towels from cleaning.

    I find that by soaking them regularly this does really help to keep them nice and white. 
     

     

    Getting them Fluffy

    Just to clarify I am specifically talking about the towels!. I do not use fabric conditioner or any form of clothes softener as these tend to build up residue of grease and grim in the weave of the towels. 

    The simplest and easiest way, which I am sure most people know about, is to either dry them in the clothes dryer or get them off the line when they are nearly dry and put them in the clothes dryer to get that last bit of drying. Your towels will always come out fluffy and warm...yummy.

    Once a month I mix a bit of baking soda and vinegar together and just pop it in the wash with the towels. This does really help to get any build up of grease and grim off the towels. It makes them feel just like new again.

    Making them smell divine

    This trick has probably been around for years, however I have only started this a few years back , thanks to  At Home with Nikki  .  I discovered the use of essential oils in cleaning the house and helping it to smell nice.

    I just put a few drops of Lavender oil on a clean, dry cloth and put it in the dryer with the towels and sheets. Hmmmm, they come out smelling so nice and warm ...heaven! I also make up a linen spray that I use to spray on the linen in my linen closet.

     

    Tools of the Trade

    In the laundry I have all my "ingredients" corralled and in jars on the bench. I put the baking soda, whitener and washing powder into their own jars. This way they are always on hand and I can see how much I have left (that's why putting them into jars is great). I also distill the vinegar into a glass bottle so it's easy to get and mix up with the baking soda. I do keep my essential oils away in the cupboards as they are best kept out of the light.

     

    I plan to do a blog on how I use essential oils in the home and will provide more details and recipes then, so keep an eye on this coming up soon.

    Well there you have it, three easy steps to follow. White towels and sheets look lovely in bathrooms and on the beds, so if you were afraid to own white towels and sheets don`t be, just enjoy them.

    To help you on your way, I have created FREE guide which summarises the tips above, so you can have it on hand as a resource

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      If you are after any more great tips and tricks on cleaning and organising check out three of my most popular post below