This school year has been full of adjustments for my kids and for me. We joined a homeschool co-op for the first time in five years and so we go one day a week to meet with other parents and students for classes. I'm teaching a class to middle schoolers on writing. On another day of the week, my kids and I head over to a friend's house for French lessons and then to another mom's house for flute lessons.
One of the things that has complicated our co-op day is getting home, getting food into stomachs, heading to Violin lessons, then back home to pick up more children, and then on to soccer practice. But, this past week, my son asked to quit violin and just keep up with piano lessons. My husband agreed and so I get to return his violin today to where we have been renting it from.
Amidst getting used to a new school schedule and roster of activities, I decided to clean my house. When my kids were little, I used to do this every year and go room by room. I haven't done the deep cleaning in my house for two to three years. I felt it was time. So, three weeks ago, I started cleaning, going room by room. The smaller rooms were easier to tackle. Many years ago, I had a friend tell me about how Larry Burkett advised paying off debt--to start with the smallest debts first so that you would feel as if you'd accomplished something. This is the same way I start tackling my house--by starting with the smallest bathroom.
Last week it was time to clean my kitchen. It took me a whole week. I have open cupboards. Many people comment about them when they come to visit and ask if I like them. In truth, I do. I love them. But, there is a downside to having open cupboards. They get very dusty over time and everything has to be taken out once a year, shelves have to be dusted and cleaned, and then everything is reorganized and put back in place. Amidst tackling school and normal life, my kitchen took me a whole week to clean. I wasn't finished until Saturday morning when I tackled my range hood and stove. Every time I clean out my kitchen I ask myself what I need and don't need. Then, I purge and pass things on. It helps. This time I finally moved the spice rack from one wall to the opposite long wall and swapped it with our wall clock. My whole family is thrilled with the results. After almost 4 years in this house, my kids can finally sit down at the kitchen table without knocking their heads on the rack.
Cleaning tips from my kitchen that have helped me...
+ I have organized my pantry with many shoebox sized plastic bins to help keep things in place. When I need cake decorations or snacks or trail mix, I can go to the right box, instead of having things falling all over the shelves. I like the shoebox sized bins because they're cheap at around a $1 each.
+ We have a stainless hood and stove. I use baking soda and a damp rag (a regular dishrag) to clean the inside and outside of the hood. Baking Soda is the only thing I've found that can easily cut through the grease. Once all the grease is gone, I can use my Norwex green and purple cloths to clean and polish it.
+ Going through my pantry is helpful because it reminds me of what I really use and don't use. I find each time I purge, I have to throw away a few food items that I thought I would use, but never did. This time I was very thankful for the reminder and kept it on the forefront of my mind when I went to the grocery store the next day.
This week, my homeschool room and the basement remain. A friend once told me about the Fly Lady. The advice she took from the site was to start with her kitchen counters. The Fly Lady advises to declutter for 15 minutes a day. That's how I am with cleaning my hardest rooms. Every day, I do something. This morning, I swept the basement. Later this morning, I'm going to begin tackling the clothes area and sorting the homeschool books I banished to the basement a month ago.
But, before I can tackle more of my basement, I need to head to the dreaded dentist and get some schooling done ;) Little by little, I'll get there... the blessing is that my house feels more organized again and it feels a little lighter!