31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 6 — Kitchen: Fridge & Freezer

Yesterday’s Day 5.5 catch-up sort of lingered into today. I spent the better part of my lunch break this afternoon cleaning my toaster oven. Now, you may wonder why it needed so much cleaning. You have to understand: I use my toaster oven for nearly everything that most people use their standard oven for. In fact, during Black Friday last year, I upgraded from my toaster oven that would just fit a regular-sized frozen pizza (it was about 11 inches square inside) to one that will fit a 9×13-inch casserole pan. In addition to fixing just one meal at a time, it’s really really nice to have it if I’m doing meal prep and need to bake a couple of things at different temperatures using it and the big oven.

I also tried out a new “cleaning hack” that I’ve seen floating around on the interwebs recently—and that’s to use dryer sheets (anti-static/fabric softener) to clean the baked-on gunk off the metal racks. You can read about the bathtub method for large oven racks at apartmenttherapy.com. Because I was just cleaning the one rack from my toaster, along with a smaller wire rack, I just used my sink and flipped them around after an hour or so.

It worked surprisingly well. (The racks are now in the dishwasher, because I didn’t want to take a chance of any lingering non-edible residue on them.)

Earlier this month, I posted the before photo of the kitchen:

So here’s the after:

Clean House Challenge — Day 6: Purge and Clean Fridge & Freezer
When I’m on track and doing meal planning each weekend for the week ahead, I’m pretty good about keeping up with cleaning/organizing both fridge and freezer. However, suffice it to say, I haven’t been “on track” for several months now. Which means both need everything taken out and the surfaces need to be cleaned. I use warm vinegar water to both clean and disinfect, taking out the shelves to ensure I’m reaching all the corners and crevices.

I have on my own detailed schedule to go ahead and inventory the food I have while I’m doing this, as it’s something I’m supposed to be doing every week for meal planning anyway. So two birds, one stone. Here’s what I get to tackle tonight:

Have you started your challenge yet? What successes have you had in the challenge so far?

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 5.5 — Declutter & Get Back on Track

After a little more than a week of whinging and procrastinating (my head hurts, my back hurts, I’m tired, I don’t feel like cleaning), I’m making myself get off my duff and reboot my motivation to get my house cleaned and organized.

As I said in my previous post: It’s a 31-day challenge. But nothing says those 31 days have to be consecutive, right? 😉

And because I haven’t been on plan with cleaning, what I had accomplished has somewhat fallen to the wayside. So instead of jumping right back in with Day 6 (clean, purge, organize fridge & freezer), I’m giving myself a day to re-declutter and touch-up everything I’ve already done up to this point. I’ve already started with cleaning the kitchen countertops, but now I need to go back to the areas I’d decluttered in the rest of the house when I started and re-declutter them. The good thing? Because I already put in hard work on those areas, it won’t take me the full fifteen minutes to do all of them this time, instead of an hour or more for each.

Here’s what I’m going to try to accomplish this evening:

  • Declutter dining table, chair-side table, dog’s box/stuff, top of washer/dryer.
  • Finish cleaning kitchen countertops.
  • Clean toaster oven; wipe down coffee maker. Check small appliances stored in cabinets to see if they need cleaning.

That should get me to the point at which I’m ready to pick up the schedule again and get back on track with Day 6 tomorrow.

How are you doing with your challenge?

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Quick Check-In

Am I falling behind? Yes.

Do I have time to write a full post about it? Not right now.

Am I giving up? Absolutely not!

It’s a 31-day challenge. But nothing says those 31 days have to be consecutive, right? 😉

That’s one of the biggest frustrations of my health being prey to the whims of the weather—I’ve been struggling just to get through the last two or three days because of the headache and body aches (back, knee, ankle) that the heat, humidity, and storm fronts have brought on. But there’s supposed to be a shift in the wind on Tuesday, so hopefully that will help!

How are you doing with your challenge?

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Days 5 & 6 — Small Appliances, Fridge, & Freezer

Who else here in the U.S. needed Thursday to recover from a fireworks-induced “hangover” (from lovely neighbors on one side who shot off extraordinarily loud ones until about 2:30 AM followed by the wonderful neighbors on the other side who got up and answered them at 5:30 AM)? Anyway, hope your Independence Day was wonderful!

Let’s get caught up, shall we?

Clean House Challenge — Day 5: Clean Small Appliances
On Day 4, the task was to clear and clean the kitchen counters. Be ready to have to clean them again after this task! Because I have so little counter space, I don’t have a whole lot of small appliances—I don’t even have an electric can opener. My two main small appliances are my coffee maker (which I clean regularly, because it’s mostly white and light gray, so it’s pretty easy to see when it’s getting dirty) and my toaster oven.

What I don’t do regularly is run vinegar through the coffee maker to clean out the inner workings. So I did that yesterday and put the carafe/lid, basket, and water reservoir into the dishwasher. But when I went back in to clean the toaster oven, I got side tracked . . . and I installed the LED light strip under my upper cabinet instead. At least I got something done in the kitchen that I’ve been meaning to do for nearly a year now, right? So the toaster goes on today’s list, along with . . .

Clean House Challenge — Day 6: Purge and Clean Fridge & Freezer
When I’m on track and doing meal planning each weekend for the week ahead, I’m pretty good about keeping up with cleaning/organizing both fridge and freezer. However, suffice it to say, I haven’t been “on track” for several months now. Which means both need everything taken out and the surfaces need to be cleaned. I use warm vinegar water to both clean and disinfect, taking out the shelves to ensure I’m reaching all the corners and crevices.

I have on my own detailed schedule to go ahead and inventory the food I have while I’m doing this, as it’s something I’m supposed to be doing every week for meal planning anyway. So two birds, one stone.

Have you started your challenge yet? What have you found most difficult about the challenge so far?

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 4 — Kitchen Countertops

Yesterday, I uploaded detailed worksheets/checklists for the Clean House Challenge that do not have dates on them—meaning you can start the challenge any time you want! If you choose not to start on a Sunday or Monday (the worksheets are set up to print out as two pages per week), you can cut the pages apart so each day is on a separate slip of paper, or cut and puzzle-piece them together so that the days match the calendar (e.g., if you start on a Thursday, you’d have days 1, 2, and 3 together to represent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and then days 4-9 for the next week). Or you can just take this as inspiration to create your own calendar/schedule/checklist.

I printed mine and hung them on the fridge, where I not only see them multiple times per day, they’re easy to check off and make sure I’m staying on track:

I trimmed off the right margin of the first page and clipped it off-center to the second page so that the shopping list column at the end of the week still showed. That way, I as I clean and declutter throughout the day, I can jot down anything I need or use the last of without having to flip pages.

Clean House Challenge — Day 4: Clear and Clean Kitchen Counters
For me, the kitchen is one of the places in my house that gets out of hand the fastest. I’ve always hated “doing the dishes.” For the first fifteen or so years that I lived on my own, I either lived without a dishwasher or I had to suffice with a counter-top size machine which I had to run pretty much every night if I cooked. So I got out of the habit of cooking every night.

Even when I did get a big-girl dishwasher, I discovered that while it could wash more dishes, it brought its own issues . . . the main thing being that since I couldn’t fill it up in one or two days, the dishes would sit in it for nearly a week before it was full enough to run. But because I live alone and cook a lot of smaller meals, the few small pans/skillets I have had to be hand-washed or I couldn’t cook, because they were sitting in the dishwasher dirty. So I continued the habit of not cooking often (and therefore not feeling compelled to do the dishes often).

If your kitchen needs as much love as mine does in order to “clear and clean the counters,” then set a timer for fifteen minutes and start by doing what I did—organizing the mess. The easiest place to start is with doing the dishes. Again, if it’s as messy as mine, do this in fifteen- to twenty-minute increments, always remembering to set a timer, and walking away to take a break when that timer goes off. Set a goal of doing this two to four times today, or until your counters are free from clutter and wiped (or scrubbed, if necessary) clean. Treat your sink as part of your counters and go ahead and clean it, too. Be sure to clean under and around any small appliances that sit on the counter. But don’t worry about cleaning those yet. That’s for another day!

Ready? Go! And be sure to post before-and-after photos!

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 3 — Declutter

Have you started your Clean House Challenge yet? I’m trying hard not to get behind right from the beginning, but 40+ years of laziness about housekeeping makes it a hard pattern to break!

In order to help myself not only remember what Clean House Challenge tasks I need to complete each day, I’ve created a detailed daily task list that also includes the daily housekeeping tasks that I should be doing on those days as well. Images and links at the end of the post!

Clean House Challenge — Day 3: DECLUTTER
Set a timer for fifteen minutes and start decluttering by placing everything in one of the three receptacles: Trash It, Keep It, Donate It. Set a goal of doing this two to four times today—either on the same space if it’s really bad, or choose a different space each time.

Ready? Go! And be sure to post before-and-after photos!

Clean House Challenge Detailed Checklists
Click images to open downloadable/printable PDFs

Here’s a two-page-per-week planning schedule with all of the Clean House Challenge tasks filled in . . . and lots of room for notes and other tasks to be written in:

And if you’re interested in seeing all of the other tasks that I do/should be doing on a daily basis, here’s my detailed schedule:

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 2 — Declutter

Yesterday, I posted the Clean House Challenge—an opportunity I’m taking to get my house clean and organized by the end of July, so that the majority of what I need to do after is just a few minor tasks each day in order to keep things clean.

Yesterday (Day 1) was the first of three decluttering days. I’ve set a goal of four 15-minute sessions per day . . . but because I was also trying to get laundry done yesterday (after having been traveling for two weeks and not doing it immediately after I got home), I ended up with only the one session. But here’s what I accomplished:

In the clutter still under the table, there’s a box that contained something that I used to start my decluttering (and organizing) for Day 2.

Clean House Challenge — Day 2: DECLUTTER
Even though it falls more under the heading of organizing rather than decluttering, having somewhere to put things away (as well as seeing progress for the motivation factor), I finally put together a three-shelf unit that I’d gotten last year, thinking I might use it in my office closet. But it had just been sitting under the table, and I have other options for that closet.

My galley-style kitchen is very small, and I’m very much like my mother: I love kitchen stuff—which means I have far too many things to fit in the cabinets. So here’s what I did with my first 15-minute “decluttering” session for Day 2:

I’d been thinking about replacing the “island” (from my previous house) with some kind of butcher’s rack or adding another set of upper and lower cabinets (and using the island elsewhere). But now that’s something I can put off a lot longer while still expanding the storage space and usability of my kitchen.

But I still have (at least) three 15-minute sessions for decluttering today. That means more Trash It, Keep It, Donate It sorting. And more feeling of progress, motivation, and accomplishment at the end of the day!

Want to participate?

Set a timer for fifteen minutes and start decluttering by placing everything in one of the three receptacles: Trash It, Keep It, Donate It. Set a goal of doing this two to four times today—either on the same space if it’s really bad, or choose a different space each time.

Ready? Go! And be sure to post before-and-after photos!

Clean House Challenge Checklist/Schedule
Click image to open downloadable/printable PDF
LowCarbKaye's Clean House Challenge July 2018

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