Friday, August 8, 2014

What Needs to Be Done in Your Home? ~ Odds and Ends Series


"First. Go around every room, drawer, and closet in the house, and see what is out of order, and what needs to be done, and make arrangements as to time and manner of doing it."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873


The first step in our "Odds and Ends Series" for our monthly home maintenance has been completed. How about you, did you go through the house last month and see what was out of order and what needed to be done? Did you make up a list?

Here is what I came up with. In cases like these, it is a blessing to live in a smaller home! (Ms. Beecher also suggested making arrangements on when to accomplish these tasks. And I have done that as well... whenever I had the time!) Items were completed prior to month-end so that the next monthly home maintenance can be made on schedule (and hopefully with little effort now that the "machinery is moving easily and well" to quote her once again).

Note: This is not to be confused with a spring cleaning. This is more of a monthly organizational upkeep and maintenance of your inventory of household goods to make your home run smoothly. Like our Victorian Era ancestors, we will also try to add some special homemaking touches along the way.



1. The Living Room ~ Straighten up the bookshelves.
Our living room is kept in pretty decent order at all times. It is the entrance and therefore the first impression one gets when walking into our home. We like it to be tidy so that hospitality is always available. The one thing that needs constant maintenance is the straightening up of our many bookshelves since they are constantly being used. We like to keep all the series grouped together and keep the larger books to the sides of the bookshelf since they are the strongest. From each of the two sides, we place books in size order so that by the time we get to the middle (the weakest part of the shelves), it will contain the lighter books. The heaviest of books get placed on the bottom shelves along with some wicker baskets full of blocks and puzzles. 

Little Touches: When I completed my task, I surveyed the scene... I rotated the cushions on the couch, fluffed up the pillows and clipped a little bouquet to place on our fireplace mantle.

What needs to be done in your Living Room?



2. Kitchen ~ Organize refrigerator.

The kitchen is the most used room in the house and it is important to me that it is also kept in order (if you want to maintain sanity). The one thing that is hard to keep up with is the ever changing contents of the refrigerator. At least one a month, we try and asses the situation, regroup the contents and remove anything old (hopefully we have been vigilant and there isn't much loss).

Little Touches ~ We regrouped our glass canisters to give a cleaner appearance and placed our kombucha bottles in the pantry for a less cluttery look.

In the past our monthly maintenance required us to organize our silverware and utensils, to organize our bakeware and organize our pantry with some pretty labels. What needs to be done in your kitchen?



3. The Bathroom ~ Restock supplies such as toilet paper, cotton balls, q-tips, shampoo/conditioner.

Our bathroom stays in decent order. We keep our excess toiletries in plastic "dollar store" baskets in our shelf behind our "skirt" curtain where we also store our stash of "bathroom inventory". There wasn't much to do besides check our supplies and restock said items.

Little Touches ~ We changed the shower curtain. This is something we do every season to freshen up our surroundings. Whenever I find a pretty shower curtain on clearance or second hand (under $5), I add it to our collection (we don't wallpaper or remodel in our home so this is the closest I get to re-decorating). I also made a batch of lavender room spray for the bathroom.

What needs to be done in your bathroom(s)?


4. The Master Bedroom ~ Organize under the bed storage bags, clean out wardrobe of unseasonal clothing that was left behind, organize my personal space in wardrobe such as books, essential oils and toiletries.

We keep our room clutter free as it is very small. It has our bed, our wardrobe, a yard-long picture of roses, and a small table by the bedside. With that being said, there isn't much to maintain besides some small organizational projects of the areas I mentioned.

Little Touches ~ I made some simple and sweet sachets (we will share these in the future). With our humid climate, we can get a musty smell so I am continually airing out the wardrobes. The sachets will add a nice fragrance and freshen everything up.

What needs to be done in your master bedroom?




5. Children's Bedroom ~ Evaluate what can be done about lack of storage and attempt to remedy (our home has no built in closets), remove clothing that no longer fits, organize bookcase, pack up younger aged books and place in storage, fine tune odds and ends.

We were able to find a broken antique wardrobe at an auction house for a small price (my husband revived it with a few extra nails and inserted additional shelves). My daughter painted the closet (inside and out) and we added some pretty glass knobs. This really helped to organize the room better now that everything is tucked inside a closet. We also straightened up the bookshelves and removed items that are no longer in use (such as small clothing, etc.).

Little Touches ~  We layed rose-printed shelf paper inside all of the drawers. It looks lovely inside!

What needs to be done in your children's room? Here are some printable labels to help you organize their room in case you need some inspiration.




6. Laundry Room ~ Refurbish supplies of laundry solutions, organize under laundry station, fine tune operation.

The laundry room had gotten pretty grimy since it is near the mudroom off the house. I did do some spring cleaning in there and fine tuned my operation. I prepared larger batches of fabric softener, changed out some of the canister jars and prepared an area exclusively for kitchen linens so that those can be washed separately when I have a loads worth (before I had to dig them out from the main laundry in the laundry basket, now they go directly in their own pile in the laundry room).

Little Touches ~ We refreshed our laundry room and will share this in a separate post since laundry rooms are so fun! Here is a look at the laundry room before which also includes some printable organizational labels in case you are interested.

What needs to be done in your laundry area?



7. Garage/Mudroom ~ Organize and relabel any storage boxes which lacked labels.

We made sure all the labels were visible and the area is orderly (so hubby is happy). Items that haven't been used should be donated or given to someone who can use them. I have learned that if you aren't sure about an item, place it in a box with the date. If you haven't used it in over a year when you happen upon it again, then it is time to say "goodbye".

8. Spare Room/School Room/Office (all in one) ~ (work in process, no photo) This is a new addition for us so we are slowly organizing it into an efficient space where we can homeschool, do projects and keep the home office. 

Now it is your turn! Are you ready to assess your situation? Victorian Era author, Ms. Catharine Beecher, had given us 7 steps to home management success (found here). Here is what we have shared on our "Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance Series (note that some steps were placed together and altered to make for modern day needs):

Complete Steps in Series:

Step #1 ~ What Needs to Be Done in Your Home?
Step #2 ~ Restocking the Cleaning Closet
Step #2, 3, 5, 6 ~ Examining the Store-Closet, Pantry, Cellar and Such
Step #4 ~ Examining the "Table Linens"
Step #4 ~ Examining the "Bed Linens"
Step #7 Examining the Toolbox and/or "Junk Drawer"

Checklist for Preparing Your Own Maintenance:

"Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance ~ Printable Checklist

You will find more home organization ideas here if you are interested.

"A housekeeper who will have a regular time for attending to these particulars will find her whole family machinery moving easily and well; but one who does not, will constantly be finding something out of joint, and an unquiet, secret apprehension of duties left undone or forgotten, which no other method will so effectually remove."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873



31 comments:

  1. Hello Jes, This is the best post to inspire and motivate us as homemakers! Having our homes in order really does help me think and create! I like the idea of ebooks I just need to get the app and get started! Thanks for always inspiring me!
    Yours, Roxy

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    1. Ebooks are a great idea to reduce space in the home but books are so beautiful to me and decorative... I can't let them go :)

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  2. Thank you!
    Are all these photos from your home?
    It looks very lovely!

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  3. Lovely post, JES. I really appreciate all the inspiration right now as I'm gearing up for my fall cleaning extravaganza. One closet is in the process of being purged as I type.

    Books! We love so many of them, and they are in nine different bookcases in four rooms of our little farmhouse. I usually put mine back where they go, but not everyone who lives here does, lol. I have to say, though, that the better hardback books usually get put back on the shelf where they belong. They seem to be an investment that pays off in promoting tidiness besides being great reads and looking good. Lamplighters are our favorites.

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    1. We have a complete shelf dedicated to Lamplighter too! Our absolute favorite!! Thank you for sharing :)

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  4. Girl you've been busy! You put me to shame. I've not even made my list yet.

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    1. I was held accountable the moment I typed this :)

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  5. Wonderful tips. I find I appreciate end of summer/beginning of fall cleaning rather than spring cleaning. A new school year holds such promise and fall is my favorite season.

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    1. I love fall too! And I end up doing half of my spring cleaning in fall (the other half in spring). Gearing up for the new school year always promotes a burst of organization and excitement! Thank you for sharing here today Julie :)

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  6. Great post! I have been doing a lot of sorting and organizing lately. It is a great time of year to be better organized and prepared for the winter ahead.

    -Sarah

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    1. Yes, to think of a cuddly and warm winter always puts me in the mood to purge and nest :)

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  7. I am such a neat freak and organiser I do these things without thinking - my husband says I can't stop my self and it is probably true. Even when I am walking out of the house I straighten things up!! My mother tells me I did it from a small child and never stopped. I might be in the fridge getting out dinner and organising it at the same time :) or cleaning my teeth and washing the basin!!

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    1. I love it! Thanks for sharing! I am probably more of an organizing/neat/tidy freak than a deep cleaning freak... You sound like both!

      But, if there is a crooked rug or un-straight row of jars... you can bet I will fix it without thinking as I pass by :)

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  8. Hi Jes, what great tips on organizing your house! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday.
    Julie

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  9. Guess what I'll be doing today? :)

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    1. Hmmm... let me see... making pine pitch salve or organizing? Or making a list!

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  10. This is a very inspiring post! Makes me want to go clean and organize. Mondays are my big day for doing that so that will be here shortly! We are moving in a week and a half so organizing and going through things have been the name of the game around here. Sometimes all the going through can leave things rather in a mess though. It will be nice to be moved and to settle in and get back to a routine.

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    1. How exciting! May your move go safe and smooth ;)

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  11. Happened on your blog from Amaze Me Monday and loved this post. Seems the old ways were the best ways.

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    1. Hi there! I do love the old ways ;) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  12. Wonderful Jes, thanks for all your efforts in this post, and on your encouraging blog. I've been working on minimizing as I have more things than I need or can use. Simplify was my word for this year. I like your suggestions for each room and little peeks at your home. Lovely ~ Abby

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    1. Thanks for your visit Abby ~ I always enjoy hearing from you :)

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  13. What a good idea! Love the box labels. Much better than scratching wiht a Sharpie! from Wow Us Wed. Happy Weekend! Linda

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  14. Love your post, I am in the middle of getting things organized as we transition from a busy growing season to the slower pace of fall. Thank you for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop! I am going to feature your post on the HomeAcre Hop tomorrow! - Nancy The HomeAcre Hop

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  15. A small house definitely helps! I love my smallish home. Thanks for the submission to the HomeAcre blog hop. Please stop by PintSizeFarm.com (or another host blog) and submit another post this week :)

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  16. I am inspired! I love all of your pictures too!

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  17. Love the garage labels! My husband would love having that much organization. I really do need to get busy on spring cleaning. I'm not a spring chicken, so I just don't have much energy to do as much as you do. But, as you said in another post, "It is always best to make do and smile at the little things you can create, than to make no attempt at all." ~smile~

    Be blessed dear lady!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit Laura! Just a little progress each day will bless the household! :)

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