This week I'm working on just maintaining my home in a lovely clean and organized condition. I want to enjoy it this way now, but also have it ready for the upcoming holidays. I'm not feeling well this week so wasn't up to any major projects, but I'll make up for it this weekend when I'm hopefully able to do more.
QUICK THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND:
- Clean out your fruit bowl - any spoiled fruit you need to throw out? Need to put fresh fruit on your grocery shopping list? I just picked up a large box of Satsuma oranges we're looking forward to eating.
- Need to do any Christmas shopping this weekend before the malls get really crazy in the next couple weeks?
- Take a different route home from work today or tomorrow. It varies your routine, and helps make sure you're familiar with your neighborhood in case of road closures or weather emergencies, etc.
- Is it time to get your snow tires put on your car? Do you have an ice scraper in your car?
- Make a plan for a special breakfast this weekend. Buy a newspaper if you normally don't, or pull out a couple magazines and catalogs you've been wanting to browse. Take time to make pancakes, omelettes, fresh (not frozen or boxed) hash browns, crepes, waffles, or other breakfast goodies. Treat yourself to a latte or cappuccino if you normally don't. Relax and enjoy and give yourself some time to take things slowly.
- Have you baked an apple pie yet this autumn?
- Try to clean out your email inbox (if needed) today. Answer and delete or archive emails. I'm down to about 50 currently.
- If you've been doing early Christmas shopping, do you need to wrap and label any Christmas gifts tonight?
- Thanksgiving is a week away. How are you doing with preparations for your meal, any houseguests, or your own travel?
- Do you send out Thanksgiving cards? Might want to pop them in the mail tomorrow.
- This weekend, clean one shelf, one drawer or two door pockets in your refrigerator. (I have to do this both in my kitchen fridge and the one in my garage).
- Start thinking about making your New Year's Eve reservations. In some major cities, it's already too late to get a reservation at the swankiest hotels and trendiest restaurants. But you can always try!
- If you're in a book club, are you keeping up with your book club reading?
THURSDAY'S PROJECT: General Cleaning
Today I'm doing a quick once-over on almost every room of the house. I'm staying home tonight, but tomorrow I'm going out for a late dinner and a movie (Skyfall!) with my cousin. She'll spend the night, so I want the house to look nice and feel cozy for her. So any cleaning I do to get ready for her has to be done today.
Tonight after work, I will quickly vacuum my living room, family room, hallway and bedroom. I'll put a freshly laundered tablecloth on the dining table, empty my kitchen and bathroom trash cans, de-clutter and dust my mail table, do a quick mop on my kitchen floor, and put a few dishes into the dishwasher. Bathroom and kitchen counters need to be wiped down. I'll run around the house looking for lost mugs and drinking glasses, pairs of shoes that need to be put away, and other items that are out of place. I won't have time to deal with my messy home office, so I'll just shut the door to it before my cousin arrives!
What general housecleaning projects might you need to get done today?
FRIDAY'S PROJECT: Autumn Beauty Routine
Before I go out to dinner and a movie today, I'm performing some of my beauty rituals. I'm taking care of myself so I'll continue to look my best through the holidays. I won't obsess over being beautiful or trying to be glamorous. I'm just making sure I feel pretty when I go this weekend's round of parties, dinners, cocktails, lunches and cafes.
This evening I'll make time to take care of my skin and body. I'll be shaving, sugar scrubbing, moisturizing, and giving myself a manicure and pedicure. I'll save money by not getting a professional manicure and pedicure, and I'll use that saved money to get my hair professionally dyed next week. (I'm finding more and more gray hairs I prefer to cover!) When I get home, I hope to make time for a deep conditioning session for my hair, too.
SATURDAY'S PROJECT: Christmas Shopping
On Saturday I'm not doing any cleaning or homemaking tasks. I'm spending the day Christmas shopping. I optimistically (but probably not realistically) hope to get all of my shopping done that day, between Target, Trader Joe's, Cost Plus World Market, Toys R' Us, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
SUNDAY'S PROJECT: Major Cleaning of One Room
Choose a large, major room in your home that needs cleaning really badly. (If you're an amazing housekeeper and you don't have any messy rooms, well, congratulations. Take the day off and put your feet up! But I have some work to do). Perhaps your living room, master bedroom, kitchen, basement? Attic? Garage? Bathrooms?
Do a total overhaul cleaning on your chosen room today. Decluttering, sorting, dusting, scrubbing, washing, laundering, vacuuming, mopping, light bulb checking, deodorizing, and more.
Walk into your chosen project room. Pretend you're seeing it through someone else's eyes (a relative, your boss, your best friend, a home decor magazine stylist, a realtor, Oprah, your mother-in-law, or whatever helps motivate you!) Put on music nearby (or a movie if you're working in a room with a television) and make yourself a nice beverage. Light incense or spray room spray if you like. Let's make this a pleasant task.
Start by removing clutter, throwing things away, recycling or putting into the charity bin anything you can possibly part with. Next, empty wastebaskets, take out recycling, and find some items to put in storage if you can't part with them. Remove any drinking glasses, dishes, shoes, newspapers/magazines, or any other items that don't belong. Do you have too much furniture in this room? Too many things on the walls? Too many knickknacks?
Start at the top. Thoroughly clean ceiling fan (if any) and light fixtures, then lamps. Wash and dust windows, windowsills, trim, closet doors and the room's door (on both sides). Don't forget to clean the wood at the top of the door frame, too. Need to give the door handles and cupboard/closet knobs a quick polish? Do your curtains need dry cleaning or laundering, or your blinds need wiping down? Wash walls or dust them as needed. Check to see if you need lightbulbs. Clean baseboards and air vents before you vacuum. Wipe down light switches and the walls around them, which might have dirty handprints.
Dust furniture and knick-knacks. Replace any decorative candles that are looking discolored or crooked; remove half-burned votives and replace with fresh candles. See if any upholstery needs to be spot cleaned or professionally cleaned. Clean any items that need to be put back on tables, dressers, shelves, etc, and replace them in an orderly manner.
Move furniture to vacuum, sweep or mop under it. If you really are inspired or have strong helpers, remove most furniture from the room before you vacuum and/or mop. Open any drawers on side tables and nightstands and sort them before replacing furniture in the room. If you're deep cleaning a bedroom, don't forget to vacuum the mattress (and flip/rotate if needed).
Wash, shake out, air and replace any floor rugs. If it's a bedroom, wash the bed linens (Don't forget to wash the dust ruffle and mattress pad, too!).
Water houseplants (if any) and dispose of any dead or dying ones. If the houseplants are looking dusty, spray them down in the kitchen sink. (This is a great time to get rid of any tacky fake plants).
Finish by spraying the room with room freshener or a home spray. Or by burning a scented candle (while you're still in the room to attend to it). ((Skip this step if you were cleaning your garage, basement or attic!)
The weather's getting colder; does this room have a nice soft throw waiting on a nearby chair? Is there a box of Kleenex accessible? A nearby trash can for convenience? (Skip this step too if you were cleaning your garage, basement or attic!)
Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down and relax for a while in your fresh, clean, clutter-free room and be proud of your lovely home.
LOVELY FOOD: Krusteaz' Pumpkin Pie Bar Mix
I was pretty excited to pick up the new box mix from Krusteaz. With a full-time job, an eBay business, four foster kids and a houseful of pets, I probably won't actually get around to baking anything from scratch in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. This will save me time and let me serve a nice autumn treat for us before the holiday eating fest begins. I don't like my kids to eat a lot of sugar - "everything in moderation" - but once in a while I like them to come home to a little something sweet that's hot out of the oven. Sadly, my cinnamon allergy means I can't enjoy one of these bars with them!
LOVELY BLOG OF THE WEEK: All Things Heart and Home
"Living my legacy one day at a time." Robin blogs from the South about crafting, gluten-free cooking, decorating, entertaining, and DIY. She's a grandmom to four grandchildren, too. Recent posts I've enjoyed include this cute play felt Christmas tree; her recipe for gluten-free caramel pecan pie; the contagiousness of joy; and how to make Thanksgiving dinner gluten-free.