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Category Archives: cleaning

this appears to be about towels

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Our towels stink. This has been going on for longer than I care to admit. Somewhere in the vicinity of last year I noticed that our bathroom really stunk. So much so that I marched Robin and Tea into the bathroom and demanded that they use their noses to figure out what the source of the smell was (this ended up being more of an exercise in hilarity for Tea and Pia because they got to sniff around and say ‘stinky’ a lot). It dawned on me that it was the towels. The towels!! The towels that I washed more than I ever really needed to stank. It made no sense. How could well-laundered towels still stink? A bit of research on the topic demonstrated that this is a common problem in houses that have front loading washing machines, like ours. Our attempt to save water has landed us with stinky towels. So I have embarked on a towel-smell-fix-it journey. I used a vinegar rinse. I used bleach. I used ammonia. I repeated these options. Nothing worked. Then, to my horror, a friend happened to mention that her friend had spent an hour cleaning out her front-loading washing machine with a q-tip and bleach and the mold found within was obscene. (My mastery of the written word fails me here as it was my friend’s friend who cleaned out my friend’s washer, I’m not sure how to express this with so many ‘hers’ in the sentence. Mrs. Vail, where are you now? Either way, cleaning some else’s washing machine is a deep, deep expression of love.)

Mold. In the vehicle used to wash things. I have been washing our towels in mold. Yesterday I tackled our machine with my own array of bleach and q-tips. I have never been more disgusted. Mold and cat hair mingled together in the deep recesses of the washer. I put my hand in to peel back the rubber seal around the opening and my hand couldn’t get a grip because of the amount of slime. I ran the q-tips along the rim of the washer and every inch the q-tip would come away black. I have had this washer for 10 years. I never knew I had to clean it. Do other people know these things? How?

I got rid of as much of the mold as I could see. I have no idea if there is other mold lurking in other areas of the washer that I can’t reach or see. The thought freaks me out a bit. Now that the washer is relatively mold-free I tried washing the towels in blazing hot water (I turned the water heater up as high as it would go) with only ammonia as the cleaner. My last hope was to hang the towels out on the line, hoping that the sun would bleach them. My heroic husband tackled this step for me, embracing the opportunity to wear my laundry apron.

If the mold removal/hot water/sun dry experiment fails I am not sure what my next step will be. Do I buy new towels? Or a new washing machine? Could someone provide me with a cost benefit analysis of this situation?


how do i forget these things?

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Today we went on a long family hike. It was lovely and beautiful and all good things. We caught grasshoppers. We rescued wooly bear caterpillars. We ran down hills and gazed across vistas. We smelled flowers and looked for animal homes. More than once I found myself squeezing Jim’s hand while we watched Pia scamper ahead and thinking, this is it. Nothing else really matters. We are together, we are happy, we are experiencing things as a family. How often I forget that this is the important stuff. How many weekend days have I sent Jim and Pia off to play while I cleaned the house or caught up on laundry? How many weekends have I wasted because I thought having a clean house was more important than the three of us being together? Yes, a clean house is important, as is having clean underwear in the drawer, but I need to find a way to better work these things into the week so that I don’t spend my weekends missing this…

…or this…

…or just being with her…

Sigh. Good times.

pretty new things

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In our somewhat small (under 1000 square feet) house we are constantly having to fight the clutter.  Perhaps this is a challenge in all houses no matter the size, it just seems to consume our house wicked fast… if I skip a day of picking up then the clutter breeds overnight. As I often complain to my sister, it seems I spend the majority of my day shuffling objects from one place to another.  And this seems like a poor way to live. So, I need solutions!!!  I am considering a mandatory purge of 50% of the objects in our house. The purge along with pretty things to store the remaining objects could be my answer.

For the latter part of the solution I turned to Etsy, where all good things come from. Looking for fabric bins to put in the cubbies by our front door I stumbled upon Sewing Momma who makes fabulous bins in delicious fabrics. I asked her if she would make custom bins to fit our cubbies, she said yes, and a mere few weeks later the bins arrived at my door and slipped right into my cubbies.  They make me happy.

And they contain about half of a percent of the clutter.  Any ideas for the other 99.5%?

This is what was missing

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I have a thing about dishes.  I know I need to do them before I go to bed each night so that I can wake up to a clean kitchen (which starts the whole day off right).  But I will do anything to avoid them.  Often I find myself standing in the kitchen, surveying the mess, and just sighing.  Heavily.  I thought I had cured the problem by putting speakers in the kitchen and listening to music while I wash, but still something was missing. When winter hit and my hands began their annual slide into dryness I thought perhaps what I was missing was gloves.  And lo and behold, after a quick search on Etsy (which is my typical time waster when I am avoiding doing the dishes) I came across these awesome gloves from Fresh Studio.  I am in love.  They are cute. They fit well.  They keep my arms covered up to my elbows.  My hands aren’t the chapped and bleeding mess they used to be.  Did I mention how cute they are?And, at least for now, dishes aren’t my Everest each day.