Smelly House No More

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Im a sucker for a clean smelling house, and sometimes the only way to do that quickly is to ‘cover it up’ with another scent! Living in Texas means that all types of folks and critters wander through, and with little notice to clean the home before a guest, I’m lighting a candle and hoping for the best.

One thing that I’ve never really resorted to is a ‘spray’ for nose reasons. Harsh chemicals tend to make my nose tickle and eyes itch, and they really aren’t that great for breathing in or for example, pets ingesting by accident whether it’s via licking their paws or similar.

If you are a believer in the room spray, I really like this subtle scent. Sea salt vanilla, and even diluted down, still smells great! It’s light and just enough to smell but not overpowering that people know you went out of your way…and it doesn’t smell like chemicals.

Not just an air freshener

Revive Fabric Freshener can be used on the carpet (although, I really don’t spray it there) on things like curtains and couches, and sometimes on clothing. If you have a particularly stubborn piece of linen pants, a couple spritzes may help to get the wrinkles out.

Where does it do its BEST job? Places like furniture that is hard to keep clean that I can’t put essential oils on. I tried using things like essential oil spritzes on head boards and ottomans, but it sometimes left oil drop marks, and the Revive does a nicer job.

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Funky Towel Smell?!?! Get rid of that NOW!

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A big complaint about laundry is that eventually towels, sheets, and blankets start to get a funky smell. We blame it on mildew, or a washer that doesn’t air out all the way, but who cares WHY it happens. All we know is that we want that darn smell to go away!

A HUGE thank you to SoluMel, which is a cure all for the laundry. With two dogs in the house, towels that seem to never air out, and living in the south means sweat build up on clothing in funky places, most everyone who does the laundry have tried it all: vinegar, bleach, scent fresheners…you name it!

Alas, try THIS magical cleaner (and then of course, use it on almost everything else that we’ll mention in other posts), but the cleaner comes in strong powerful form that you have to dilute. The bottle has lines depending on how strong you need it, and if you fill it to the 1/12th and add water, you have a spray bottle that you can use on tough smelly spots that you can throw in the wash like carpet or car upholstery, but even in its diluted form, pour a quarter cup in the laundry and wash as normal.

No more ‘double rinse’ or special fresheners

You will be amazed! Need something a little stronger? Most don’t, BUT if you do, pour a capful (only a cap needed) of undiluted concentrate into the wash. You will never complain again, and anyone who walks into your house will lay down on revel in house GREAT your house smells. (no joke, we’ve had several guests over who just can’t get over it).

The bonus? Many of those extras you put into the wash can cause rashes and itchiness because of the chemicals added. So far with sol-u-mel…so good!

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Where do I put??? THAT…

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The most challenging question for organizers is…

where do I put this ‘thing’.

Even on a personal level, we are unsure about a few objects, and we hate to tell anyone but we have small little junk boxes too. For levels of stress and anxiety to be normal, it’s just a fact of life.

It’s easy to know where the pots and pans go, the toys, and maybe even the linens and towels. Things like cleaning products are just a decision away from figuring out: do cleaning supplies go under the sink, in the pantry, in the laundry room, or perhaps divided out to go under each sink like the toilet bowl cleaner goes under the sink in the bathroom, the bleach goes in the laundry, etc.

But what do you do with that box of matches and extra candles? Closet? Basement? Kitchen? What about the extra manuals that came with your appliances? Kitchen? Bookshelf? Burn them?

What sets a lot of us back is time. We don’t have the time to be thoughtful about where to put stuff because we have busy lives. We push things off, wait till later, put it in a pile until we feel better and refreshed. That’s when things start to get hairy.

How do you decide where to put things? Most simply: where will you remember it?

If you most likely are going to use candles in the living room, don’t hide the matches in the pantry closet. Put them nearby where you’ll remember them…AND, if you have too many, stop buying them in bulk. If you are struggling with where to put objects that have no theme, consider making objects a ‘candid’ decor piece. Sometimes we receive little ‘tchotchkes’ as gifts and we like them, so put them to use! Pile books on a bookshelf, and your gift can be a delightful topper.

When it comes to sentimental items that have no decor value, it’s okay to treat yourself to a box of goods. ‘Sentimental’ boxes or bins can be pretty and functional, and they can go in closets or under beds, but stop stressing if you have to have a bin that has old report cards, childhood memories, and similar items that you can’t part with but you have no use to decorate with. Make sure you store in a clean, dry place…and then shove it under the bed. We forgive you.

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Summer Means DIY

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If there’s any one thing that I’ve learned is that decor on a budget often means a DIY project. And keeping the house organized on a budget means decor that also services a function. One of my MilkPaint1most favorite items are trunks: they hold storage, provide table tops, but often the decently built trunks are not very pretty. And the nicer they are, the more expensive they get.

Want that shabby chic look? Last time I tried Fusion Paint, and this time…Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.

MilkPaint2Tip 1: Milk paint is expensive and it’s hard to save. Only mix up the amount you want to use. The ratio is 1:1 – so I mixed up a quarter cup of paint and a quarter cup of water, with bonding agent. They say that the bonding agent should also be equal, but I only put a squeeze or two, about a tablespoon to give it a thick ‘stick’.

Tip 2: It gets drippy, so put down heavy canvas or paint on top of something that you don’t mind getting dirty…really dirty. The good news? The paint goes on top of whatever veneer you are painting. The trunk I painted had an olive green laminate that was ‘shine coated’ to the premium. On pieces like that…go with more bonding agent. I used less for the second coat, and it made. a huge difference. The varnish on the piece I was painting was crackly and almost like a polyurethane.

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Tip 3: Don’t bother saving the paint leftover. It gets messy and it chunks up and I tried painting with it the next day…and it was runny, drippy, bubbly, and didn’t work. The good news is that the paint dries fast, so use it all up, and if you have leftover, give it a second or third coat…or paint something else.

MilkPaint3Tip 4: Get the right brush, unless you don’t care about brush marks. Using a ‘nonmilk paint brush’? No problem…a light sanding when you are done takes the brush marks out. It’s just a little more work when you’re done.

Tip 5: Do get the right size whisk to mix your paint. Mixing, failure to mix completely, gives you rotten results.

Tip 6: Do take off all the hardware before painting if you can. I was unable to take the handles and pulls off the trunk…bummer. The paint is not like other paint where it is a little thicker and doesn’t run…this paint runs. And if you don’t put enough paint or bonding agent, it runs a lot. This paint was so runny it dripped on the concrete and stained the concrete. I taped the handles as best I could, but you get the point.

Tip 7: For your first project, pick a piece of furniture you have no feelings about. I’m glad I picked the trunk…it’s re-paintable if something crazy happens. While if it gets messed up we’ll all be a little perturbed, there is another piece that I’m partial to that I’m glad I’m getting out my practice strokes. In fact, I’m not sure if milk paint is the way I want to go if I decide to paint my other piece.

Tip 8: Pick as close a color as you can, but understand that whatever color the piece is underneath…will change the color of your piece. I bought a ‘sack linen’ color that when painted over the green, it turned a grey/purple color. NOT my desired look. I painted over a patch where I had sanded down to bare wood, and my desired color was almost bleach white. The piece is starting to look truly shabby chic, but do note that color isn’t a hundred percent accurate no matter what the bag says.

Have fun with your paint! I give it a 6 out of 10. I’ll do it again, but only when I have nothing better to do. As for pieces I truly cherish? I’m still hunting down the right ‘color and paint’ brand.

 

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Clear the Inbox

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It seems that since 2017 started, the emails come in faster, the phone calls are non-stop, and the task list keeps growing.

While I was under the impression that 2017 was going to be a slow start and I would have a chance to catch my breath, the opposite happened.

It also seems that my anxiety levels are through the roof. New diet, nutritionist, new business, more tasks, learning to let go…it all seemed to build up inside me. And then I would hear that ding from my inbox and instead of being excited to see new mail, I felt dread.

That’s when I made it my goal: I needed to clear my inbox.

And that’s when the good feelings started.

No, it doesn’t make me more organized but it does keep me on task. I make sure that emails go directly into an online ‘filed and looked at’, or deleted if unnecessary. And if it’s junk, I unsubscribe or hit the junk button. Why leave it all for a six-hour task on a Sunday night? The same goes for work emails. I reply and file, I take care of the task and file, or I acknowledge and put it on my list of things to do. My twenty-something emails go down to six. I see progress. I tackle each email in order of easiest to hardest. The easier the task, the sooner I get it done and send back. The list goes from six down to two.

Why does this make a difference? Well, I noticed one thing: clients seem happier. A quick response usually means fewer complaints. That means less to take care of later. What takes me ten minutes now may take me one hour later because I’ve put it off and I have to do more work to accommodate an unhappy client.

And the less emails in my inbox means more time to do other things.

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Define Your Daily Priorities

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Instead of thinking about priorities as a long term project, try arranging your day according to priorities and determining how to plan your daily schedule.

If you are struggling with time management, determining your day by what’s the most important and the least important can be less overwhelming than thinking about it as a compilation of things to do over the month or season, or even by project.

For example: if your priority on Sunday is to make sure the house is clean, meals are planned, the shopping is done and there is time left over for leisure, on Saturday night make a priority list. The first priority is to make sure the house is clean, the second is to make sure the shopping is done, then to make room for leisure time. That means you should get up and clean the house and give yourself a few hours to make sure it’s done right. Then you should go to the grocery store and put all the groceries away, keeping in mind that you just cleaned so things need to go away right away and in their right places. Now, you have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy leisure time for yourself or perhaps with your family.

Before bed, make time to plan meals for the day, now that you have fresh in your mind what you bought at the grocery store.

By thinking about your day to day strategies, for some it is more productive and far easier to control a short list of tasks rather than a long one.

Make it happen in 2017!

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