Controlling the Paperwork

A few weeks ago I decided that I have had enough with our jam-packed drawer filled with user manuals and other documentation. Since we’ve been buying furniture, we really need to hold on to our receipts and document our purchases in case of any necessary insurance claim.

Here’s what we were working with:

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You can see that I tried to control the chaos by using folders. I roughly had these categories: garage, kitchen, household, and electronics. Categorizing is a good thing, but since it was so messy to deal with, nothing ever got filed into the appropriate place.

So I got 2 1.5inch binders {hindsight, I need bigger binders} and 100 sheet protectors {I used just under half}. I started going through the papers, tossing what was not needed and sliding items into the sheet protectors. This was really a painless process.

Once everything was sleeved up, I put them in the binders. I need to get some divider tabs, but this is roughly how the binders are organized:

Binder 1, large appliances and house items

examples: washer, dryer, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, stove, ceiling fans, gas fireplace

Binder 2, small kitchen appliances, garage, furniture, electronics

examples: lawn mower, weed eater, garage door opener, tv’s, game systems, coffee pot

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They’re back in the drawer for now, but the beauty of the binders is that I could easily store them elsewhere in the house with quite ease.

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And now I just need to tackle the rest of the continual clutter on this side of the kitchen.

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A Little Elbow Grease

Do you have sheet pan problems? We do.

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It seems that no matter how hard we try to keep our sheet pans clean, we inevitably get a layer of sticky brown gunk build up. Somehow even using aluminum foil ALL.THE.TIME doesn’t keep this nastiness from encroaching.

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This happened to one of our pans recently and as I was attempting to scrub, scrub, scrub the gunk away, using regular soap and sponge and Bar Keeper’s Friend, Matt suggested trying steel wool. As luck would have it, we have some steel wool with cleaning solution built in {a buy product of my purchasing the wrong type of steel wool when trying to tackle my glass top stove}. So I pulled out a pad and got to work.

And would ya know it? The gunk started to come off!

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I’m not going to lie, it took a LOT of elbow grease. But the almost-like-new pans are well worth 10-15 minutes of scrub-, rinse-, repeat-ing.

So then I thought that maybe the steel wool would work on a severely tarnished sliver plated bowl that I picked up an antique store a few years ago. I had tried cleaning it with a baking soda paste with no success. Using regular silver polish helped, but it was still severely tarnished. Then I used the steel wool, and ta-da! Not perfect, much much better!

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Do you have a cleaning trick up your dish gloves?

Attack of the Ants

First off, that list from Friday? The only thing there that happened was watching tennis. No farmers market, no yard work, and no Epiphanie bag today {it got delayed until Tuesday, boo!}. I’m not really complaining about the no yard work part though. It was a nice enough weekend, with tennis playing Friday night, the Greek Festival, some pool-lounging, and karaoke on Saturday. But between the pool-lounging and karaoke, I saw them.

The Ants.

They were all over the kitchen counters between the sink and the stove. I removed everything in that area {coffee maker, coffee grinder, toaster, fruit bowl, kitchen scale, kitchen utensils} and went on a killing spree with 409 granite cleaner. I’m pretty sure the death toll was in the hundreds.

I knew ants generally walked along a path that was set by their scent {or something like that} so I tried to break the line, but to no avail. Then I noticed that the ants were coming and going from two places, a hole in the caulk between the backsplash and the wall and the electrical socket.

I decided that a smart think to do would be to tape up the socket with packing tape to prevent more ants from coming out while I fled the scene {to karaoke, because surely I deserved a beer away from my ant infested kitchen}.

After getting home from the bar, Google told me to try a 1-1 mix of water and vinegar to repel the ants. That seemed to work pretty well and we didn’t have a high number of ants on Sunday morning.

We ended up putting some ant traps out on Sunday {blocked by various household objects to keep the cats-that-shouldn’t-be-jumping-on-the-counters-but-do-anyway away from the poison}.

This has also sparked a cleaning kick in me. The type of granite that we have makes it near impossible to see dirt on the counters. I think this is part of the cause of our ant infestation, so I’m vowing to be better about cleaning the counters and keeping them debris-free.

I also had been contemplating a new stick vac for downstairs so I could clean up the floors more easily {which is a necessity with 2 cats and a dog and a litter box} since ours had died {from over-charging I think}. So the ant infestation was the final tipping point for me to run out to Target and pick up the Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum.

Hoover Linx Stick Vacuum, image from Amazon.com

I’m pretty happy with the purchase so far and I’m hoping that by vacuuming the kitchen daily, it’ll help keep those darn ants at bay.

Have you ever dealt with ants? Any words to the wise?

junk drawer

Sometimes when I find myself with 20 minutes to kill (as I did yesterday) and not wanting to just sit down, I’ll find something random to clean/organize.

Quick side story:

You see, we’re in the pre-process of having a landscaper do some work to our back yard to solve our muddy-dog problem (where the dog gets covered in mud anytime he runs to the back corner of the yard, which is every time that the neighbor’s dog is also outside) and our no-shade-on-the-deck problem.

Our HOA is (in my opinion) fairly strict about appearances and you’re supposed to get pretty much ANY landscaping change approved by the Modifications Committee. Since we’re hiring out this work and not DIY-ing (ain’t no way I’m planting two trees in this clay soil), we thought it would be too risky to NOT get this approved first.

So I have to fill out an application and an updated property plat that shows the changes. But I couldn’t for the life of me find that darn piece of paper in ANY of my files (closing, mortgage, HOA, other house files).

Anyhow, after searching high and low for that darned piece of paper, I had about 20 minutes to kill before I needed to head out for softball. That’s when I decided to tackle the Junk Drawer. {cue dramatic music}
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There was no way I could just leave that drawer build up any longer. So out it all came. The ethernet cables were moved out to the garage where we have an entire plastic drawer dedicated to ethernet cables. An ENTIRE drawer. We. Are. Nerds.

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Everything else got put back in the drawer one by one, with all of the corded items wrapped up neatly (for the time being). Ahh, sweet organization.
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Here’s what we’ve got in there:
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Do you ever get fed up with the clutter on go on organizing terrors sprees?

Whirlwind Week

Phew! This week has really been something else.

I’ve tried weekly cleaning schedules before but have never stuck with them. But due to my hangover last Saturday and my inability to clean the house all at once, I’ve been forced to clean bit by bit all week.

And you know what, it’s not half bad.

Most of the tasks have taken no more than 30 minutes a day. The worse was probably cleaning the bathrooms, but I’m not a big fan of that regardless. And my hand smelled like Tilex for 24 hours after cleaning, so that was no fun.

I’m pretty amazed at how easy this “do a little cleaning each day” thing is. I really hope I can keep it up after the holidays, but we’ll see.

But now the house is mostly clean and we got the tables all situated for the party on Saturday. Tonight I’ll be vacuuming downstairs, windexing anything in the house that needs it, and wrapping presents. And watching the Colts game. Tomorrow I’ll be grocery shopping for the party, making 25lbs of mashed potatoes, and doing any other prep work that I can.

Also, today is my last day of work for the year! I’m so excited for vacation and I’m looking forward to getting lots of things done. Like sleeping. Eating cookies and Chex Mix. It should be a good time.

But I promise that I’ll have pictures of the house up soon- especially since it’s all clean now!

Hope y’all are having a great week!

Making My List…

… and checking it twice! I’ve got a LOT planned for this weekend! It’s the last weekend before my family’s Christmas party on the 19th, so I’m in full out planning mode.

Here’s what I’m hoping my weekend shapes up to be:

Friday

  • I’m taking this afternoon off (woohoo!)
  • Getting a haircut
  • Taking the dog on a long walk because tonight is
  • Our company Christmas Party! We’re staying at a hotel so we don’t have to worry about driving, so Zeus needs an extra-long walk since he’ll be in the house all night.

Saturday

  • Overcome hangover
  • Deep clean of house – this way I can just keep it clean and touch up during the week, since we all know I fail at cleaning during the week.
  • Grocery shopping
  • Hopefully a run to the mall on the other side of town to finish up my Christmas shopping
  • Finalize headcount for the party
  • Buy any remaining supplies – mainly tablecloths

Sunday

  • Baking with my sister – I think we’re doing Cheese Straws and Pecan Sandies.
  • I’m also going to try to make some Chex Mix at some point
  • Work on some Christmas gifts- hopefully I managed to buy my supplies on Saturday

This should set me up for a pretty easy week in terms of party planning. The big question mark we have  is seating. I think we’ll have 25 people total, and we just do not have that many chairs! We’re planning on using our deck chairs– should be interesting!

Hope y’all have a great weekend!