Challenge #12 – You

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In light of this being Easter weekend I am taking a break from my cleaning spree to focus on more meaningful stuff.

This weekend I want to focus on cleaning out my heart.

It’s easy to be all consumed with daily activities, schedules and chores and let the more important, deeper, stuff take a back seat. But I was challenged this week that If I want to really be a good mom I need to spend time working on me.

I have said this before, but I struggle with perfectionism.

I want to be awesome. But I know in my heart that I am not. And still I work hard to convince others that I am. I tell you what I want you to know about me. I show you what I want you to see. All in hopes that if you believe it, I will be able to believe it too. And I can construct a really beautiful picture of myself sometimes. A lot of us can, right?

What I was challenged with this week is the irony of this.

I know my life isn’t perfect no matter what I tell or show you. I hurt others, I don’t do my dishes after every meal, my decorating skills are only so-so, I yell at my kids, I yell at myself, I can be unkind, I gossip, I lie… and I could go on and on. My list of failures is lengthy and I beat myself up for it.

But God doesn’t. Through his son Jesus’ sacrifice He gives me grace when I don’t want to do the dishes. He gives me unconditional love when I don’t love myself. He gives me redemption for my lying.  He accepts the REAL me.

And if He does, why don’t I? It seems ungrateful.

So today, I challenge all of us to look inside and clean out a small corner of your heart that you know has some dirt in it.

Easter-Eggs

For me, I am going to be totally honest with you and myself.  I wish my Easter eggs looked like this.

egg3But instead they look like this. It’s the best we could do. They are, gulp, beautifully imperfect Easter eggs. And I accept them.

Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

Challenge #11 – Front Door

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The front door. I rarely come in mine. I use the back door almost all of the time. In fact, I don’t even have a key for my front door. But it is the first thing my friends and guests see when they come over. So it’s a place that I would like to be warm, welcoming and clean.

Not filled with cob webs and bug droppings like it was before I cleaned it up today. That’s disgusting.

My front porch still needs some design and style work but for now it’s clean which is better than unclean. Here is what I did:

1. I took a wet rag with some soap on it and wiped off the columns around my door along with the screen door casing and the ceiling (apparently bugs crawl around up there).

2. I took the magic eraser to the screen door because it had something undefinable on it that the soapy water wasn’t touching.

3. I swept the cobwebs from the ceiling and around the door. Then I swept the floor and corners really well.

The job took 20 minutes today. Now I need some friends to come over so I can experience relief instead of anxiety as I open the door, knowing they will not be standing on bird poop, at least for now.

Good luck, my friend!

Thanks for sharing your progress with me. One of my favorite comments so far was from a woman who’s father handed out soapy rags every Saturday to the kids so they could wash their fingerprints off the walls. Hmmmm, not a bad idea…

Challenge #10 – Stove

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My stove is one of my best friends. I use it all. the. time.

And to be fair, it gets cleaned a lot because I am a messy cook and you just can’t leave sticky food laying around long. It just isn’t sanitary.

But today, I gave it a little extra care. Your stove is most likely different than mine, but the basic idea here is to get those tiny areas that we never touch in our every day or weekly cleaning. This is what I did:

1. I scrubbed the vent. Mine pops up in the back, but most are above the stove. I took some warm soapy water and went to town on it. I didn’t do a stellar job, but I made marked improvement.

2. I cleaned the crevice between my knobs and stove. I have a tiny break between the piece that holds my knobs and the stove. I grabbed some cotton swabs and dug it out. NICE. You may not have that, but I am sure you have something on your stove that gets the snub.

3. I cleaned out the gas port. Using a paper clip, I stuck it into the tiny port for the gas on each burner and twisted it for a second.  I read an article lately that said this was a good idea to do once a year. I haven’t noticed any problems with my gas ports, but I decided it couldn’t hurt.

That was all I did. The vent took the most time. I spent approximately 30 minutes on this job.

And thank you all for sharing your cleaning pitfalls and overlooked areas in your houses with me. I have truly enjoyed hearing from many of you how you are embracing this with me. I am honored to have you all joining me in this challenge and hope you receive some satisfaction with yourself and your house through it.

Let’s strive for improvement, not perfection, ladies.

 

If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the follow my blog button on the right menu bar (or below) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.

Challenge #9 – Cabinet Hardware

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This is not something that really shouts at you when you walk in the kitchen. Not like a sink full of dirty dishes or a greasy countertop does. But when you go to open the pantry or silverware drawer and there is an unknown crusty substance poking into your fingers, you usually make a mental note that next time you have a few minutes, you really should wipe that off. It doesn’t belong there.

But those few minutes it would take to wipe the hardware in your kitchen down with a rag and warm water never present themselves, do they?

Until today.

Do it. Make it happen. Today is your day. Get ‘er done.

When I did mine, I realized my fridge was the worst. Who knows what was on that thing! And the entire job took me less than 10 minutes.

 

I hope you are enjoying this 30 day challenge. Please leave me a comment with some of your stories. I would love to hear from you.

Challenge #8 – Fingerprints

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I think this might be my favorite challenge so far. I have ten little hands spreading grime on every doorway and wall in this house. It starts about 2 feet from the floor and stops about 4 1/2 feet from the floor.

At every corner I see dirt smudges, fingerprints, chocolate pudding blobs and peanut butter smear. It bothers me because I worry what other people will think of me if my walls, doorways and stairwells look like this. Not because it really bothers ME so much. Because, while I don’t love it, I accept that it is a side effect of having 5 young kids. But I fear others parents will think:
“Man, she really doesn’t take care of her house very well.”
“She shouldn’t have had so many kids”
“Poor kids, their mom doesn’t even have the time to keep their environment clean.”
“She just can’t handle this many kids.”

All true except for the “she shouldn’t have had this many kids” one. I don’t believe that one at all, but I have heard it!

I don’t want others to know that I really can’t keep up. Hey, I don’t want to accept that I can’t do it all perfectly.

So today I am cleaning the smudges from my walls because it bothers me to look at them every time I climb the stairs, not because anyone else is going to thing I’m an inferior mother.

And I will feel better for a day; and then the smudges will be back.

But as I clean the grime from my walls I will look at them differently. I will see them as a reminder of a fun day outside playing laser tag, football, soccer, capture the flag, basketball, cartwheels in the front yard and digging up worms in the back. Those smudges are memories of good times, not a judgement on my mothering abilities or decisions.

So take a good look today – I look like I’m a good mom. But tomorrow when my walls look disgusting again – I will be a good mom then too.

If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the follow my blog button on the right menu bar (or below) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.

Challenge #7 – Windows

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Windows get overlooked in my house all the time. They are a pain to clean. The actual glass isn’t too bad to clean, its the casing and the outside that overwhelms me. But I realized that every time I walk in the back door of our house I see these two windows that have collected so much dirt and grime they are making me want to vomit. And that is no way to come home.

So today we are going to clean that window that really bothers you. Only choose one (or 2) we aren’t talking about getting out the large ladders and climbing up to the second floor or anything. Let’s not go overboard here.

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What you need:
1. Small broom or brush
2. Sponge or rag with warm water and a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid on it
3. Glass cleaner and some paper towels
4. A step stool (if you are short)

What I did:
1. First I removed the screens and brushed the dirt and bugs away from the sill and around the sides and top of the window casing.2. I used the sponge to wipe off the caked-on stuff that was left over. I did this on the sill, around the casing and the bottom of the glass where dirt had settled.
3. Then I used some Windex to make the glass shine.

The project was easy and fairly fast. It took me about 20 minutes, but a lot of that time I was trying to control the paper towel usage of the two smalls. I let them clean the glass and they used half of the bottle of Windex on these two windows alone while one of the big girls was lecturing me on the irresponsibility of even having paper towels in the house. Oh well, I’m trying.

Now it’s your turn… If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the follow my blog button on the right menu bar (or below) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.

Challenge #6 – Organize the Junk Drawer

DSC_0008 3   So here it is…the infamous junk drawer. We all have one.

I have three.

It’s the place we throw our knobby thing-a-ma-jigs, whats-its, plastic do-hickys and essential thing-a-ma-bobs. It’s where we save those things we find that “look like they might go to something important”. In fact, you are pretty sure that thing can’t be working anymore without this do-dad. This drawer is a safe-haven for old gum wrappers, empty bottles of Tic-Tacs, millions of twist ties, paper clips, push pins and the elusive safety pin. And every once in a while it needs a good purge.

Today we are going to dump it out, sort it out, clean it out and then put the important stuff back in.

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So I basically threw all the trash away that was junking up my junk drawer. It took me about 15 minutes to grab up all the scrapes of paper and put the pens in one compartment, the lip balm in another. Today wasn’t too bad.

Get after it girl…

And share your stories with me… I love to hear from you.

Challenge #5 – Sorting Shoes

 

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We went south for spring break to thaw out this year. It was so exciting for all of us. We busted out the shorts and flip flops, bathing suits and more flip flops.

My girls love shoes. One of the smalls particularly loves my shoes. In fact, as I was doing this challenge today I found her outside pulling the wagon around the driveway wearing my new strappy wedge heals. When she realized I had made eyes on those heals she went running back into the house to put them away and fell on her way in. Don’t worry, I kissed her boo boo after she put my shoes away. Come on, it was only a minor abrasion.

Anyway, back to my point, we now have summer and winter shoes commingling around our mud room. It is a disaster. Today I sorted 53 pairs of shoes and that doesn’t include the ones that were on my kids feet or strewn around the house at the time.

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So today I put away all of the snow boots (and snow pants while I was at it). I know, I went above and beyond today!

Obviously with 5 kids we pass down as much as we can so here are a few tricks I have learned over the years:

1. Buy black or blue snow boots and pants so they can be worn by either a boy or girl. I find these items are hard to wear out and they can truly pass down through many kids well.

2. Keep all of your boots in one bin and pants in another. In other words sort by type and not by size. This way when fall hits you can open the tub of shoes and pull out the sizes you need that year and return the rest to the tub for future years.

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The only ones that did not get stored away today were these little purple beauties. They are being donated tomorrow. They have kept 4 little girls’ toesies warm and dry in this family over the years.

We will miss them.

So let the sorting begin, and please share your stories. I love to hear from you.

Challenge #4 – Clean the baseboards in your entry way

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In Pottery Barn’s house their mudroom looks like this. They have a nice barn. They must have well mannered animals.

And their “photo albums” they send me every day have made me believe a mud room should look like this.

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So why does mine like this? What is wrong with us? We don’t even live in a barn.

It must be my animals.

The baseboards in my mud room take a serious beating with 7 people coming in and out several times a day. Kids kick their shoes off spraying mud and dirt around, smudging walls and doing other destructive things. I, of course, always gently put my shoes right where they go.

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So today I took a sponge with some mild dishwashing liquid and warm water on it and scrubbed away. Surprisingly this job only took me about 5 minutes. The sponge was even able to get the dirt out of the corners with some extra care. There were a few dark smudges on the wall from thrown shoes that I had to use the Magic Eraser on. If you don’t have one of these, they are awesome, go get yourself some from Target.

So maybe it is your front door, maybe your back door, maybe a make shift mud room you created from a coat closet; but I am sure you have an area where people disrobe and throw. That’s the area we are talking about today.

Giddy Up Girl!

 

If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the “follow my blog” button on the right menu bar (or below if you are reading on a tablet) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.