My Tips for Making Our Home Stay Clean Longer

After Hours, Behind the Scenes

I mentioned before that Husband and I have been together for 20 years. The round number got me reminiscing about various details of our early life together.

After I moved to the U.S. and Husband and I got married, we of course had to figure out in concrete ways how to fit our personal habits and preferences and two cultures together. Some things we had, in fact, already figured out while dating across an ocean – like how to make lasagne – but there were surprisingly many details we hadn’t thought of before we were actually faced with them.

Towel Day 2014

Thankfully, we never had to argue about cleaning since we both have allergies, including of household dust, and since we both prefer a mostly orderly environment; we just needed to figure out the details. And since I’m a lazy cleaner, I want to be as efficient as possible. 🙂

Here are my cleaning tips, all non-appliance, non-product related. They may or may not work for you, but if they do, I’m delighted.

Note that we don’t have kids or pets, so if you do, I’m sorry but I don’t have any magic bullets. A certain amount of elbow grease and willpower / routine building is required.

 

1) Air the House Every Morning

Fresh air is great! We open windows every morning in the bedroom, our offices, the kitchen and the dining room. We picked these rooms so we could get a cross-breeze on both floors. And yes, we do air the house even in the heating and in the pollen seasons, just not as long.

2) Cleaning As You Go

My preference is to clean as you go if at all possible to avoid stains from drying or setting before the next cleaning day. Then you don’t have to scrub quite as hard, and milder detergents are enough.

3) Doormats at All Doors

We were fortunate to have found an apartment without wall-to-wall carpeting (=allergy-friendly) for both of our joint rental apartments AND the house we fell in love with and bought. To protect the floors, we have doormats at every entry into the house (and almost all the way from the garage upstairs) to catch the worst drips, drops and dregs.

4) Everything in Its Place

We’re not 100% successful in returning everything in its place after using it, but everything does have its own home. Makes it so much easier to de-clutter while cleaning.

5) Machine-Washable Curtains

Because of our allergies, all of our curtains are machine-washable. Area rugs aren’t, but we’re pretty fastidious about vacuuming them and do it every week.

6) No Shoe Policy

Also, we don’t wear shoes indoors and wash our feet if we’ve been in the yard barefoot.

7) Pair Up Your Socks, Then Toss Them into the Laundry

I’ve never lost a sock since I started doing my own laundry thanks to this trick: before tossing socks into the laundry bin, roll a pair up so that they stay together. (One sock goes into the leg of the other one; not quite military-style rolling but kind of.) Then, when I do laundry, I separate the pair so they’ll get properly washed, and match every pair while hanging them to air dry. That way it’s very easy to gather and roll them up again for storage.

8) Tissues in Every Room

Well, not quite, but most spaces that we spend a long time in do have their own tissue box. That way we don’t have to look for them when urgently needed. (Curse you, allergies!) Same applies to scissors: buying a few extra pairs of dedicated scissors for every location where we regularly need them means no time wasted hunting for a pair.

9) Separate Dumping Grounds

We both have an individual area in the front hall and at the bedside to dump our pockets and bags into, so that (hopefully!) the odds and ends won’t get lost.

 

Any other useful habits you can recommend? Please share!

Together for 20 Years, Still Holding Hands

Behind the Scenes, Thumbs Up

I had planned to post this last summer, but it got eaten up by the Extended Blogging Break of 2019. Here, belatedly, is a public Thank You to the single most important person in my life.

***

I love the Lithuanian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018, “When We’re Old”, performed by Ieva Zasimauskaitė.

Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old – Lithuania – Official Music Video – Eurovision 2018 by Eurovision Song Contest on YouTUbe

 

I know I’ll never forget that day the first time we met

We’ve come a long way since then and now we do it all again

From your very first smile I knew that I’d walk a mile

See, it’s for real when you know you never wanna let go.

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

No matter what comes our way I feel like you’re here to stay

You were the right from the start and let me inside your heart

After all this time I hate the sound of goodbye, and if you leave I would…

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

Right from our very first kiss I knew it’ll end up like this

I’m not afraid to grow old if I have your hand to hold.

* * *

I loved this song from the very first time I heard it. And although I didn’t quite love him from the very first time I met (or kissed) him, I fell in love with my now-Husband pretty fast. Especially considering that we met during the last week of an international summer school in Ireland, away from home for both of us.

We’ve been together for 20+ years now, first dating across an ocean and later married. It hasn’t all been roses, like human relations tend be, but they’ve absolutely been the most fulfilling years of my life.

Thank you, Husband.

I love you. I’ve learned so much from you. I’m looking forward to growing old with your hand to hold. ❤

Past Me Made Current Me Laugh – Again

Behind the Scenes

Past me made current me laugh with this random note:

Random Note to Self

“Who’s scruffy-looking!?”

I found it in old paperwork last year when I was reorganizing my tax papers. (I guess I was feeling frustrated and disheveled after checking and re-checking numbers for a long time.) This year, I found the photo I uploaded to Flickr and made myself laugh again! 😀

Past Weekend’s Theme Song: Ode to Joy by Beaker

Behind the Scenes, Stunt Double

The past weekend wasn’t the best for me. In fact, it was a bit like the Muppets version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” performed by Beaker:

Ode To Joy | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets on YouTube

Just to give one example, on Sunday (my dedicated social media day), my brain refused to brain blog work. Tumblr I was able to do, but blogging was like drinking tar. (Something being like drinking tar is an expression from my native Finnish.)

Ohwell. At least the funny Muppet video made me smile – and, after all, I got a blog post out of it, too. 🙂

P.S. Happy Lunar New Year!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A Social Media Day in the Life of a Microbusiness Owner

Behind the Scenes

This summer, Playfully Grownup Home turned five years old. Yay! To celebrate my level 5 business owner status, here’s a writeup of my workday two Sundays ago. It’s a fairly typical exemplar of what it’s like to work for myself and by myself.

Hooray Cross Stitch

A note on my schedule: before starting the business, I knew from stories and research that owners don’t get to enjoy terribly regular hours. However, after a few years, I had to make regular off-hours a priority following a surgery and recovery afterwards. I still work slightly off-kilter, though, following my ex-library job schedule: typically Sunday through Thursday, unless there are orders to ship on Friday and Saturday.

Tumblr Chibird Take Care Today Future You Appreciates

Jackie a.k.a. Chibird on Tumblr.

Sundays are my dedicated social media writing and planning days. Typically they vary a lot: some are chock-full, others very light, and sometimes – annoyingly – the latter turn into the former by the force of PEBCAC. That was this particular Sunday.

Morning (7:30-)

I woke up to Husband banging his toe on some clutter on the floor that I hadn’t yet stored away (sorry!) and decided to get up and get going.

During breakfast, I checked email, social media and Etsy shop status (no new orders overnight) plus read my morning news.

Before finishing my second mug of tea, I dove right into the day’s tasks with the hope that if I got everything done fast, I could play some WoW in the afternoon because the latest expansion is still new and exciting. Alas, that didn’t happen.

I first scheduled three pre-drafted posts to wrap up Playfully Grownup Tumblr for August and made a template for September 2018 tumbling. I like to draft well ahead of my posting schedule in case of emergencies. Right now I’m completely out of pre-drafted material, though; soon I’ll have to spend time finding photos and writing captions for two or three weeks’ worth.

Then I checked a previously written and scheduled blog post for mistakes (=final, final proofread) and drafted another one. I needed a few photos before I could finish scheduling the post, however.

I remembered there was a a potential post photo I’d taken, possibly on a smart phone, but I also needed to take at least one new one. Since the latter usually goes fast, I pulled out my camera. I snapped the shot I needed plus another one for fun, then edited and uploaded them with metadata. Once that’s done, it’s easy and fast to add photos to a blog post from a Flickr URL.

In contrast, finding the already-taken photo I was thinking about dragged on because I got a new phone just the previous week and hadn’t yet backed up all of the photos from the old one. Once all appropriate batteries had been charged and files transferred, I found the photo. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work for the post. (Ohwell; at least I got all of my assorted phone photos backed up.)

I then spent some time digging in my photo folders looking for a replacement. That done, I pulled a WoW screencap to finalize the post with. A round of proofreading and the post was ready to schedule. Wham bang – that’s the posts for August!

Moving on. While laying out the basic structure for September’s blog posts, I lost a bunch of notes in a copy&paste mishap. Argh!

Fortunately, I had a backup copy with at least partial if not full notes on an external drive. Setting up the drive and retrieving the file took maybe an extra 15-20 minutes (because I wasn’t working in my office at the time); not a lot, to be sure, but annoying because had I not gotten distracted for the crucial 5 seconds, I wouldn’t have been in this jam to begin with. (And it certainly highlighted the importance of backing up my data!) To alleviate the frustration, I made another pot of tea. Because tea is good.

Brewing Lunch Tea

Lunch (12:10-ish)

Over lunch, I caught up on the blogs I follow and read more news, including various San Jose Worldcon (Worldcon 76) reports. I also briefly popped in and out of social media.

Afternoon (13:00-)

Winding down lunch and getting back to work, I first double-checked that my hobby blog post for the coming week was scheduled correctly. It was. (Sometimes I suffer from an ID10T attack and they’re not.) Then I started to draft this post – the first for September – and dug up photos and links to add.

To clear my head a bit, I switched both tasks and my physical location (accounting and receipts tracking in my office) for an hour or so, then got back on the computer downstairs.

I’m not going to lie; sometimes blogging and social media in general feel like an insurmountably large amount of work for seemingly little return.

Snow Work in Progress

However, if there’s something I’ve learned in 5 years in business, it’s that persistence is vital. Even a genius cannot sustain any efforts without sticking to it. It also helps to create and keep to routines, especially for tasks that aren’t my strongest suit. That way I’ll have more time for my favorite tasks later. Also, hydration’s the boss. 🙂

If I’ve been on the computer all morning I can feel myself slowing down by three o’clock; so it was also this sample Sunday. Having lost time in the copy&paste mishap and backup retrieval, I was reluctant to call it quits yet, so I finished this post and created two more drafts. That makes three of September’s seven blog posts.

I’ll still have to proofread them and finish selecting photos, but otherwise they’re done. Also, at about five pages (including images), this post clocks more than I usually write per post, so I ended quite happy with the day’s accomplishments.

Evening (17:00-)

Between four and five, I typically check my Etsy and email for any new orders so I can start processing them. Around five, I wrapped up work. Sunday is also our sauna day; after Husband and I were nice and warm and sauna clean, dinner over an episode of Miss Fisher followed. Finally, we played some WoW together before bed (and books) around ten.

Quick Tip: Bobbin Case Cleanup with a Makeup Brush

Arts & Crafts, Behind the Scenes, DIY

For a quick and dirty (pardon the pun!) bobbin case cleanup, I use a small makeup brush. A narrow-tip brush fits well into the crevices of the bobbin case as well as the sides and the back of the bobbin area. A wide-tip one (like for spreading blush) works really well for dusting the bobbin door.

Sewing Machine Bobbin Case Cleanup

I bought an inexpensive set of brushes specifically for the purpose. (The brushes should be good enough quality to not lose bristles inside the machine, though.)

This quick cleanup isn’t good enough to replace a thorough cleaning, of course, but it seems to tide my machine over quite well. Besides, it’s so fast and easy that I’m more likely to do it often. 🙂

Do you have any favorite tips for sewing machine care? Do share!

Back on U.S. Soil

Behind the Scenes, My Spaces

We’ve returned from a great trip to Finland and Worldcon 75.

Suitcase w Fin Flag Luggage Tag

I’m not only jetlagged, I’m exhausted from meeting so many people – to borrow a word from Finnish, I’m rag tired, meaning ‘limp-as-a-wrung-rag tired’ (rättiväsynyt). I suppose the closest equivalent in English is bone tired, but it feels like I don’t have the bones left for that!

I confess the only way for me to get through the last days of the con was to fake it in a grand way:

Catching Fire Eyes Bright Chins up Smiles on

Screencap from the movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

“Eyes bright. Chins up. Smiles on.”

I’m not an extreme introvert for nothing! 🙂 I loved the trip nevertheless. 😀

Now it’s nice to be home. After settling back to my routines, I’m looking forward to getting back to work!

I’ll open my shop again on Monday (August 21). See you then!

When Even the Waste Looks Good

Behind the Scenes, Colors, Fabrics & Materials

Recently I’ve worked on several small projects with colorful fabrics. One of the delights of working with bright colors is that even the littlest scraps look cheerful!

Colorful Clippings

It’s especially nice on grey days. This weekend’s forecast looks rainy; I’d better bring out my scraps bin again for more projects. 🙂