Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Cleaning, Interrupted!

Getting my back yard ready for this summer's outdoor living and entertaining!

I had fully intended to begin my Spring Cleaning on April 1st and be done two weeks later. However, my April 2nd birthday found me at a lovely hotel in downtown Seattle, enjoying a sunny balcony, dinners and wine with friends, walks around the city, and a cold when I got back home. Being sick for a week made me behind on work and cleaning, so I never really caught up!

I do want to complete my Spring Cleaning this year - it's important to me and I don't dislike doing it. My plan going forward is to do one room of my house a day for the remainder of April.

There are 11 days left in the month, and I have 11 rooms in my home! I'll do the easier rooms on weeknight work nights, and save the bigger projects for later.

This scheme doesn't take into account my garage, which needs sorting, or my back yard, which I've already set up and tidied and decorated for summer outdoor living.

I'll show you what I'm doing for my Spring Cleaning every day - perhaps you'll share some tips on how your 2016 Spring Cleaning went too!

This year when I'm doing my Spring Cleaning, I want to prioritize thinking about the future, improving my home room-by-room, and living a lovely (yet moderate, sustainable) life. As I work in each room, I'll note things that need to be repaired, repainted, replaced, or upgraded. What's something I can do to make the room more enjoyable and livable for me and my guests; and what's something I might do to maintain the value of my home for when I sell it several years down the road? I'll make a list of things I might want to budget for - not just the money to do it, but the time to attend to it.


Method Home's "Tangerine" Air Refresher

  • Do any mid-week laundry that may have piled up. You'll keep ahead a bit so your entire weekend won't be a laundry fest!
  • Open windows and doors to let in fresh air, if possible.
  • I'm spraying some couches, rugs and curtains with fabric refresher; and making a pass through the bathrooms with air freshener. I'll use a light hand though, and let the fresh air coming in my windows do the rest!
  • A few mid-week quick cleaning tasks will keep your home fresh through the rest of this workweek. Empty trash and recycling as needed; declutter dining or breakfast table; straighten towels and rugs in bathrooms; sweep kitchen.
  • Is the weather nice enough where you are to eat outside? I'm trying to eat as many meals outdoors as possible before the rains come again to Seattle this weekend.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Spring Cleaning - Family Room

Torrens Bar Cabinet, at Pottery Barn

My family room gets a LOT of use. Here's where we watch TV and movies; read magazines; cuddle dogs; and lounge around. This room leads outside to the dog patio, so there's more wear and tear on the flooring. There are muddy footprints to wipe up, dog hair to get off the couch they run past on their way in and out, more spills and stains on the furniture from drinking wine and other beverages down here.

Tonight's a worknight, so I've chosen this room because I believe I can get everything done in under two hours. Plus, as a bonus, I can watch one of my favorite shows ( "The Americans") while I finish up!

Here's my plan for this room tonight:

  • Wash windows and windowsills; Febreze curtains. Not yet time to swap out the heavy velvet curtains for my light white cotton summer ones.
  • Move the furniture I can move on my own (couch, armchair, side table, television stand, speaker stands, floor lamp) and sweep.
  • Next, vacuum thoroughly, paying special attention to the area rug.
  • Vacuum couch and armchair.
  • Take covers off dog beds; put dog beds outside in the sunshine to air while laundering pet bedding.
  • Wipe down mantel; replace spent candles with fresh ones; dust candle holders; dust photo over mantel.
  • Replace furniture.
  • Dust speaker stands; side table; DVD bookcase; floor lamp; TV and stand; and bar cabinet.
  • Wipe down walls and light switches as needed.
  • Open up bar cabinet to dust inside, sort and organize the wine and alcohol I keep in there. Make note of anything I should pick up at the store to restock my supplies.
  • Wipe down the steel ice bucket insert and replace in bar cabinet.
  • Get out a ladder and dust the huge framed poster that sits over the bar.
  • While watching TV, realphabetize DVDs. (Yes, I'm old fashioned and still own DVDs!)
  • Wash and dry the lacquer tray that holds my beverage and remote controls.
  • Finish by burning spring scented candles that I enjoy! All done!

Improvements for the Family Room:

Aisha Printed Rug, at Pottery Barn

My area rug isn't quite big enough for the room. Since it fits in a nearby guest room and wouldn't be wasted if I replaced it, I might start saving up for a bigger, slightly higher quality rug for this room. I'll sure appreciate it, soft and warm under my feet during Seattle's cold autumns and winters!

I have a few spots that need to be touched up with paint; the windowsills need to be completely repainted; a curtain rod hangs a bit crooked; and my gas fireplace needs to be serviced (but is safe and operational). I can't think of any lifestyle upgrades I'd want to make in this room - my TV is big enough, I have a surround sound system, the right amount of DVDs, and love my bar cabinet I saved up for and bought last year. The couches in this room used to sit upstairs in the sun and are a bit faded looking, but I think I can go a few years before replacing them. This room is usually dark so probably nobody would notice the fading! The important thing is they are comfy and easy to clean!

Next time somebody strong comes over, I'll ask them to help me quickly move my bar cabinet to sweep and dust under it.

Tonight I'll be relaxing at the end of the evening in a clean and cozy family room, dogs at my feet, magazine and glass of wine nearby, candles burning and fresh smelling evening air coming through the windows!

LOVELY BLOGS: Sweet Peas and Saffron

Denise presents this wonderful blog on creating healthy meals from scratch, as a result of being a graduate student while she was also the mom of a toddler. She specializes in one-pot, slow cooker 30-minute meals, and meals you can make in under 45 minutes.

Recent posts include 24 Creative Spiralizer Recipes; Greek Yogurt Key Lime Cheesecakes; Slow Cooker Creamy Potato, Corn and Jalapeno Soup; and Honey Lime Shrimp Avocado Taco Salad. (I don't even like shrimp and that looks so yummy!)

Sweet Peas and Saffron on Facebook

LOVELY BATH AND BODY: Neroli & Orchidee

This is my current favorite fragrance for Spring! It's soft, but not powdery; and features enough of my favorite citrus scent (the Neroli part) that I really enjoy using this shower gel. I also have the lotion, but skipped the Eau de Toilette since I own enough perfume already. Next time you're at your local mall, run in and take a sniff and see if you like it. (Be careful of overly zealous pushy salesladies though, L'Occitane is bad lately!)

Neroli & Orchidee, at L'Occitane

LOVELY BOOKS: Bird Children: The Little Playmates of the Flower Children

You know how much I love leafing through these vintage children's books online! This one is from 1912 and was by Elizabeth Gordon. The vintage illustrations are so charming! I thought this might be a nice brief Springtime diversion for you, perhaps during your tea break today. My favorite is the swan, but wait until you see the peacock!

Bird Children, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY BOOKS: Pretty Party Cakes

"Sweet and stylish cookies and cakes for all occasions." Here's a nice baking book you can download and read on your computer, your Kindle, or your phone. Written by Peggy Porschen, this was published in 2005. Enjoy browsing through the gorgeous photographs of baked goods!

Pretty Party Cakes, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY GIFTS: DIY Spring Garden Gift Box

What an adorable way to present someone with garden seeds this Spring! Simply purchase the downloadable PDF file from this seller in The Netherlands, then print out and assemble as many of these cute gift boxes as you need. Perhaps you're giving your gardening-obsessed mother or mother-in-law some flower seeds for Mother's Day?

Spring Garden Gift Box, on Etsy


Crispy Paneer Fritters (Honest Cooking)

Greek Fennel Fritters (Olive Tomato)

How to Make the Lighest, Crispiest Waffles (The Kitchn)

Taco Stuffed Avocados with Chipotle Cream (Foodie Crush)

Tangerine Bourbon Sidecars (Eating Well)

Tantalizing Tangerine Crepes (Monastery Kitchen)

Vegan Lentil Kale Fritters (One Green Planet)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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