Celebrate The First Day Of Spring With Spring Cleaning Tips!



Thursday, March 20 is the First Day Of Spring! I always get itchy to clean up my home around this time of year (yes, just slightly crazy, but true!). Here are some simple tips for tackling those spring cleaning projects in your home:

Think About Strategy:

Do you choose to clean a room or do a project? It really is a personal choice, because it comes down to your personal preferences. I love to attack projects, one at a time. When I step back and look at what I’ve done, I feel accomplished.

If You Pick A Room:

Think 360 Degrees

Screenshot 2014-03-18 08.35.20

Pick a spot in the room and move left to right around (in a 360 degree circle) the room to clean. You know you’re finished when you reach the start location.

If You Pick A Project, Simple Things Make A Big Impact:

Turn To Professionals: Hire professionals to clean your carpet and most used upholstered chairs/couches. The professionals know what they are doing and the drying times are faster because they have the equipment that can really get the water out of carpets better than those rental units you can rent. Tip: Turn your air down in your home until carpets dry out; it creates lower humidity, making drying time faster.

Use the 3 Box Rule:

Screenshot 2014-03-18 08.30.58

Declutter, one room at a time, using three boxes. If you don’t use an item, place it into the “toss it” bin, “donate it”, or if it is sentimental, place it into the “ sentimental bin”, where items in this box can be displayed on a rotation schedule. Rotating sentimental items for display quarterly or every six months lets you appreciate the items more.

Clean Out Your Closet:  Having a clean closet sets the tone for everything else in your house. It makes you feel good.  Tip: If you are a shoe lover, try using clear plastic shoe boxes to organize your shoes. They allow you to easily see the shoes, keep them neat and dust free. The Container Store offers a kit of 20 clear shoe boxes on sale for $33.80 (usually $37.80).

The Container Store Clear Plastic Shoe Box.
The Container Store Clear Plastic Shoe Box.

Organize Your Pantry:  We all have items in the pantry we bought because we were going to use it for a recipe that never happened.  It is time to clean those out! Look for items that have sat in pantry too long. Check expiration dates and  toss; have too many of one thing that you will never use before expiration date?  Donate it. One great way to manage your smaller pantry items so you can see them is by using an over the door shoe bag. Clear pockets allow you to see the little items that may get lost on your pantry shelves.

Reorganize Your Bookshelves:

Spring Cleaning Tip: Reorganize your bookshelves (Photo:
Spring Cleaning Tip: Reorganize your bookshelves (Photo:

A surefire way to make an impact in a room is to reorganize the bookshelves. Donate books you are not interested in anymore. Dust all remaining books, then sort by size and subject. Line books, some vertically, some horizontally to give some visual interest. Add some of those sentimental items, but not too many. For some great ideas on how to arrange your shelves, check out this wonderful pictorial from Real Simple Magazine.

Just to illustrate how great a bookshelf can look, check out these before and after shots of one bookshelf (photos from

Before Shot of Disorganized Bookshelf (Photo:
Before Shot of Disorganized Bookshelf (Photo:
After Photo of Organized Bookshelf (Photo:
After Photo of Organized Bookshelf (Photo:




Dark Marks On Dishes? Here’s How To Get Rid Of Them!

I love my light yellow, Southern Living plates I bought years ago, but I am not thrilled with the dark marks on them! What the heck are they? Why do they appear? Well, it is time to save those dishes from the trash bin (or donation pile!).

What the heck are those dark marks on my dishes?! (And how to get rid of them!) From
What the heck are those dark marks on my dishes?! (And how to get rid of them!) From


The marks are from the utensils used to eat off the dishes. Why this happens? There seems to be many answers:

  1. They are cheap dishes (They weren’t cheap when I bought them at a Southern Living Home Party!).
  2. They are old and the protective coating (ceramic glaze) has thinned on the surface of the plate, allowing the utensils to make their marks. (Quite possible, considering I bought these about 8 years ago – how long are dishes supposed to last?)
  3. Something in the composition of the plate reacts to the utensils.

Here is the trick to removing the marks off the plates:

Bar Keepers Friend, the key to removing dark marks from dishes!
Bar Keepers Friend, the key to removing dark marks from dishes!



Be sure to wet your plate and sprinkle with Bar Keepers Friend (it also comes in liquid form). Using a sponge, gently scrub surface of plate in a circular motion. Rinse once you see the marks gone. Hand wash with liquid soap or place in dishwasher for thorough cleaning.  That is it!

Check out how well Bar Keepers Friend worked!
Check out how well Bar Keepers Friend worked!


Last year I covered this for my “Putting Pinterest To The Test” video series, comparing this technique to another technique using Cream Of Tartar. The video is below:


Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to speak about this handy technique! And here is the video from First Coast Living:


Simple Tip: Baking Soda – The Unsung Hero!

Baking soda – that little orange box that sits in your pantry – is more than just part of a baking recipe.  It is a great cleaner and freshener!  And don’t forget, baking soda is an inexpensive product to use. Try out some of these simple ways to freshen up your home:

Baking Soda-The Unsung Hero!
Baking Soda-The Unsung Hero!

Freshen Fridge and Freezer

We all know you can stick a box of baking soda to get rid of smells in your fridge and freezer.  You just pop open the top of the box and place it in the back of your fridge, replacing it every 30 days.  Did you know Arm & Hammer makes a specially designed, non-spill box? It only costs $.10 more than the regular box ($.95 versus $.85 a box).  Bonus Tip: When you replace that box after 30 days, pour the used box down your kitchen sink disposal and let sit for 20 minutes to freshen it up!

Freshen Your Towels – Get The Stink out!

You can add a cup of baking soda to every load of wash to freshen the smell of your laundry.  Have really tough odors, like towels that smell like mildew? Simple Solutions Diva has a tried-and-true way to remove that stink — Click Here!

Freshen Your Carpets & Couches

For Carpets – Sprinkle baking soda on carpets ½ hour before vacuuming. The baking soda absorbs the smells.

For Couches And Other Fabric-Covered Furniture –  Make your own fabric spray! Use a spray bottle filled with 1 T. Baking Soda, Warm Water, 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake well until baking soda is dissolved. Lightly spray your couch and let dry. It will smell a little like the essential oil, and the stinky smell will be neutralized.

Clean Coffee And Tea Stains

Have a favorite coffee/tea cup or pot that is stained? Just mix up a ¼ cup baking soda in 1 QT warm water and soak the cup or pot.  You can also make a paste with baking soda and water and lightly scrub.

De-Stink Those Dental Appliances

Grossed out by your night guard or child’s smelly retainer? Mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with one cup of water and soak those dental appliances to remove food particles and smell. You can also dip your wet toothbrush into baking soda and scrub the appliance and let it sit for a few hours.


Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share these ideas! Here is the video from First Coast Living:

Top Four Common Product Combinations To Never Mix

With so many great cleaning ideas floating around Pinterest, it really is important to know that some common household products, when combined together, can be dangerous!  Thank you to for these combination warnings – visit the site for more combinations that are not good.

Take a look at these products that you should never mix:

Bleach and Vinegar

These are great cleaners — when used separately! But combine these two, and you end up with Toxic Chlorine Gas! It can cause a chemical burn to your eyes and lungs.

Ammonia and Bleach

This combination, if you inhale the vapors, could cause respiratory damage and throat burns. highlights a story of a man who used Ammonia, Bleach and Drano to unclog his toilet, was overcome by the fumes, and died. I don’t know about you, but cleaning my toilet is NOT the way I want to go!

Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach

This chemical cocktail creates chloroform – Who knew? It can damage your nervous system, eyes, lungs, kidneys and more. Extremely high exposure can actually cause death, and even low levels of exposure can cause  dizziness and nausea.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar

You can use these items as cleaners, separately. But if you combine them together in the same container (like a spray bottle for cleaning), you can create a corrosive acid! use them on the same surface, separately.

Check out to see the full listing of products they recommend you do not combine!

Common Products your should never mix, from
Common Products your should never mix, from


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