Spring Cleaning: The Forgotten Clean Up

There’s so many ways to clean, products to use and lists about what to clean from the floor to the toilet. No matter how much I clean there’s always something I’ve forgotten. I’m probably not the only one who forgets those nooks and crannies throughout the house. I’d say the kitchen and bathroom are the two rooms in my house that have to be clean. In this post I’m focusing on the kitchen.

I mean think about it — the kitchen is where meals are prepared but it’s also where food is splattered on the wall, crumbs get swept under the rug, your husband washes the raw chicken on the counter.

Here’s my top 6 forgotten places to clean and how to clean them:

  • Top of the fridge. The top of our refrigerator holds party trays and of course some dust and nastiness. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I dusted up there. The easiest way to clean it is to dust it with a microfiber cloth and use a second cloth with hot, soapy water to wipe it down. Need to clean it in a hurry then swipe it with a baby wipe and keep it movin.’
  • Walls or backsplash. No doubt you remembered to wipe down the counter, but what about the walls or backsplash? The wall nearest the trash can gets hit with all sorts food particles so give it a cleaning with a mix of one cup of warm water and half a cup of baking soda. Combine the cleaning solution into a bucket and give the painted walls or even wallpaper a wipe down. Don’t have time for a bucket and rag then put 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/4 cup of baking soda and a 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish detergent in a spray bottle.
  • Can opener. My husband always washes the manual can opener after he uses it. I never did, but it makes sense, right. You use your can opener to open tuna, canned vegetables and everything in between all the while spreading bacteria from can to can and back into your kitchen drawer. Simply wipe the blade with hot, soapy water or toss it in the dishwasher.
Just give the handle and blade a wipe off with hot, soapy water. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Just give the handle and blade of your can opener a wipe off with hot, soapy water. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

  • Trash can. It’s the home of every imaginable nasty, dirty, stinky thing in the kitchen and for our family some dirty diapers. I clean our trash can with a mixture of white vinegar, Dawn dish soap and warm water. I estimate I clean the trash can every couple of weeks. But if you don’t want to go all natural I like Spic ‘n Span or Lysol wipes for a quick clean.
Here I've just taken a Lysol wipe and quickly wiped down the outside of the kitchen trash can. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Here I’ve just taken a Lysol wipe and quickly cleaned the outside of the kitchen trash can.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

  • Baseboards. I use the dryer sheets that come straight out of the dryer or an unused one and wipe the dust and then use a Magic Eraser to wipe down the baseboards. Or in a pinch just use a Lysol wipe.
Here I used an unused dryer sheet to remove dust from my base boards. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Here I used an unused dryer sheet to remove dust from my baseboards.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

  • Burner grates, under the stove top. This wasn’t easy to clean after grease and burnt food build-up but a paste of baking soda and vinegar did the trick to loosen up the grime. I did have to resort to a Brillo pad to get some of this off. Don’t forget to lift the stove and wipe underneath the grates.
Baking soda and vinegar loosened up this grime on the burner grate. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Baking soda and vinegar loosened up this grime on the burner grate.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

*Bonus: The Brita Pitcher. Wash the pitcher in warm water with a mild dish detergent and wipe the lid in a solution of warm water and distilled vinegar.

What are some items in your kitchen that you neglect to clean, but that should really be cleaned? Leave them in the comments below or tweet me your cleaning tips using #walkerspringclean so I can find it.

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Spring Cleaning: Baby Edition

So as a new mom I admit sometimes I don’t have time to clean as thoroughly as I’d like and most days all I have time for besides work, dinner, baby and hubby is some laundry or the dishes.
But there’s just something about spring that gets me in the mood to clean and purge.

So that said I’m going to commit to another series. I know I’ve got the Tip Tuesday and for now I’ll share my spring cleaning tips with you over the next couple of weeks. I’m a big fan of diy projects (as you can tell from my Tip Tuesdays) and I do like to try to make or buy natural products, if I can. If I can save a dime and the environment, then why not?

So in honor of Earth Day I’m cleaning up, recycling, reusing and overall lessening my carbon footprint. I took an online quiz through the Nature Conservancy, mostly because I was curious and researching carbon footprint. But I wanted to understand how much of what my family actually does hurts the environment. I discovered that although our carbon footprint is less than the United States average we could still be doing a whole lot more to make this world better and cleaner.

So I give to you the first in a series of natural (or as close to it as possible) spring cleaning projects. Now that said, I haven’t gone the way of composting and buying only organic meat (which by the way would lessen your carbon footprint), but even the smallest of changes like recycling or buying less chemical-laden products helps. By the way, if you want to try the quiz you can find it here. No, this is not a sponsored ad or an affiliate link, just an FYI.

As the weather in North Carolina has gotten warmer I’ve been slowly transitioning my daughter to much cooler clothing. I’ve washed all of her winter items and packed them away. I’ve set aside several items to consign and I’ve even given away some clothing that is too small. Those small baby clothes I still want to see go to a “good home” so gave away quite a few pieces.

My first in this series is cleaning the baby items. My daughters’ bottles, clothes, toys, bedding and other items are high on my priority list. Having a child spend nearly a month in the NICU gives you a new perspective on what’s clean. When I say they CLEAN, they really clean.

Spring “Baby” Cleaning Tips

  • Make a list. I love a good check list and creating one keeps me organized. It also let’s me know what I’ve accomplished and what I have left to do.
  • One day at a time. Don’t feel as though you have to go through your list in one day (unless you want and in that case, you go girl or guy!)
  • Love it or lose it. If you simply can’t part with an item then keep it, but truly consider whether your child will continue wearing an outfit, will play with that particular toy or needs 24 baby bottles.
This pile of baby clothing will be consigned or donated to a friend. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

This pile of baby clothing will be consigned or donated to a friend.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Cleaning Products

Here are some of my favorite go-to “natural” products:

  • Distilled vinegar
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
These four products can clean just about anything. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

These four products can clean just about anything. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Favorite DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with half distilled (white) vinegar and the rest with warm water. This can be used on carpet stains, no-wax floors, windows, remove soap build-up in bathrooms, prevent mildew on shower curtains, clean kitchen counters, stovetops and the fridge; use on cutting boards, make brights brighter with a half cup in the rinse cycle, remove onion or other food odors from hands.

Baby Plush Toys

I don’t recommend washing plush toys or stuffed animals, but what you can do is use baking soda, vinegar, a baby wipe and dish soap.

Place the toy in a brown paper bag or just reuse a plastic grocery bag, put in baking soda and give it a shake for 2 minutes. Use an old toothbrush to wipe off the excess or use the vacuum attachment for larger toys. You can wipe plastic toy parts with hot water and vinegar or dish soap and a wash cloth or just use a baby wipe.

This is my daughter's most played with toy. Just sprinkle in some baking soda, wipe the hard parts with vinegar and hot water. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

This is my daughter’s most played with toy. Just sprinkle in some baking soda and give it a shake, wipe the hard parts with vinegar and hot water.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Quick ‘n Easy Clean Baby Bottles

I promise this won’t be hard. All you need is baking soda, dish soap and hot water. We like Dapple, which is a fragrance-free, plant-based dish soap that cleans bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups, baby bowls, spoons and breast pump parts. Soak the bottles and voila! Take a bottle brush to loosen any stubborn milk. Now if you use Dapple like we do then you don’t need baking soda because it already contains baking soda.

Hot water, baking soda and dish soap is all you need for a quick clean for baby bottles. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Hot water, baking soda and dish soap is all you need for a quick clean for baby bottles.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Organize/Declutter

Organizing and decluttering is simply the easiest way to a spring clean a house. Period. After I’ve washed all my little lady bugs winter clothes I’ve created a donate pile and packed up the rest, which I’ll save for a friend or family member when the time comes. The items in the winter container are organized by size. We’ve been gifted some items that little mama can’t wear yet, but by the time fall and winter roll around, they will fit to a T.

I’ve gone through and organized the T-shirts, pants, socks, headbands and onesies. When I ran out of space to put all of little ones clothes into, we used cloth-lined baskets. Really any open bin for shelves would make the space look neat while “hiding” your clothing and other items.

No parent really wants to throw all of their child’s art work or crafts out, but in my household we really don’t have the space for it all. So it’s time to purge. I’ve taken pictures, made a collage, which I’ll then print out and save in a file folder or frame.

Just organizing winter clothes and putting them away or donating them is one way to a clean house. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Just organizing winter clothes and putting them away or donating them is one way to a clean house.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I’ve also cleaned out the diaper bag of duplicate items and made sure we have all the essentials – wipes, burp cloths, bib, changing pad and of course the Aquaphor.

Spreading out all the contents of your diaper bag will help you figure out what's needed and what can be purged. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Spreading out all the contents of your diaper bag will help you figure out what’s needed and what can be purged.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Are you spring cleaning for your household or just your little one, what are your favorite diy or store-bought natural cleaning products?

Tip Tuesday: DIY Moisturizing Spray Lotion

I’m a woman who likes to get everything down to the last drop. I don’t waste a thing — not the last of the Texas Pete, not the Duke’s Mayonnaise and when it comes to beauty, definitely not my lotion.
I’ve turned many lotion bottles upside down to get that last bit to drain, but why not make that lotion work extra for you.

I’m going to show you how to turn that nearly empty bottle into a moisturizing spray lotion using just three ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • lotion bottle
  • toner, rose water or witch hazel
  • serum
  • empty spray bottle

Directions

  1. Pour one ounce of toner (or less depending on the consistency you like) into the lotion bottle. *Note: you can substitute rose water or witch hazel.
  2. Add a squirt of your favorite serum. *Note: my serum is squalane for it’s moisturizing properties, also it’s easily absorbed into the skin.
  3. Shake the mixture
  4. Pour into an empty spray bottle.

Ok great so you don’t want to make a spray lotion, but would rather buy your own, try some of these below. If you do try my diy spray lotion let me know what you think.

Making a moisturizing spray lotion not your thing, try one of these inexpensive or expensive products. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Making a moisturizing spray lotion not your thing, try one of these inexpensive or expensive products.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

  1. St. Ives, $4.99
  2. Kiss My Face, $9.99
  3. Curel Itch Defense, $8.99
  4. Burberry Body Milk Spray, $50
  5. Tatcha Moisturizing Spray, $48
  6. Botanicals, $40

 

Tip Tuesday: My Under Eyes Have Bags

As a new mom there are MANY sleepless nights and lots of very tired next mornings. Coffee may give a boost to my body, but those tired, puffy eyes need more than just coffee. Girlfriend, they need a miracle. Have no fear because I do have that miracle — actually I have three.

Today I’m sharing three simple remedies for those under eye bags. So let’s jump right in with the first.

Cooling Eye Cream

The easiest way to get rid of eye bags is to just place your store bought eye cream or gel in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.  Apply the cooled product under your eye area. Voila!

Place eye cream in the fridge for a cooling effect. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Place eye cream in the fridge for a cooling effect.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Moisturizing Eye Cream

This eye cream is a do-it-yourselfer, but with only two ingredients it’s not complicated. Mix coconut oil (2 tablespoons) and Vitamin E capsule (1) together and stir. The mixture should form a paste.

Coconut oil is usually hypoallergenic, so it won’t irritate your skin and the Vitamin E restores collagen. Just puncture the capsule with a sterilized needle (swipe it with rubbing alcohol) and give it a squeeze. Rub the mixture gently into the eye area. This one is moisturizing and is free of silicones and parabens. You could also place this eye cream in the fridge for a cooling effect.

Two ingredients — coconut oil and Vitamin E make a perfect moisturizing eye cream. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Two ingredients — coconut oil and Vitamin E make a perfect moisturizing eye cream.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Tea for Two

One way to revitalize tired eyes is with tea. Yes, tea. Steep two chamomile tea bags in hot water. Carefully remove the bags and place them in the freezer until they are thoroughly chilled or about 10 minutes. Place one bag over each closed eye. Sit back, relax or a take a power nap. Wake up refreshed. Chamomile fights inflammation and the scent acts as a mild tranquilizer while you take a cat nap.


Chilled tea bags that have been steeped work wonders for tired eyes. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Chilled tea bags that have been steeped work wonders for tired eyes.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Spring Break Survival Kit

Ahh! spring break, the quintessential American tradition of ditching your studies for a week of sunnier skies. Believe me when I tell you I am far removed from a wild college spring break trip, but I still love to travel. There are so many beautiful places I’ve been and plenty more places I’ve yet to see.

I got the traveling bug in middle school when my science teacher planned a trip to Bermuda to study coral reef. I was 14 and I’ve been traveling ever since.

I’ve traveled to the Bahamas (on more than 2 occasions), London, Paris, Madrid, St. Kitts, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, Grand Cayman Islands, and Puerto Rico. There’s some more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I’ve flown across the country, been on cruise ships and long car rides and along the way I’ve learned a thing or two about what to bring on a trip.

There are some essentials that you need, in my opinion, that just make the trip more enjoyable. Trust me when I tell you it sucks to visit another country and realize you left your deodorant or favorite sunglasses on your vanity.

I’ve created a spring break survival kit that includes items I would bring on a spring break trip. But let’s not stop there. This kit can be used for anyone, not just spring breakers. So whether you are going with your sorority sisters to Cabo or a family vacation to Myrtle Beach I hope you’ll find this survival kit helpful.

Below you’ll also find a packing list. I’m generally an overpacker, but making a list is a way to see what you’ve got and what you don’t need.

 


 

  1. Tory Burch, thong sandals. These sandals can dress up a nighttime look or just for touring your spring break destination.
  2. Midway Weekender, tote. This travel tote has a separate bottom compartment for shoes or even a wet swimsuit.
  3. L.L. Bean, sun hat. This hat is easy to pack and its extra-wide brim is great for a day in the sun.
  4. Ray Ban, sunnies. These aviator gradient sunglasses are quite stylish.
  5. Dooney & Bourke, crossbody bag. This bag is spacious enough to store all of your essentials and is great for a weekend trip.
  6. Eco Swim, halter one-piece swimsuit. The ruching is very flattering for any body type and the vibrant color is perfect for spring.
  7. La Roche-Posay, Anthelios ultra light sunscreen, spf 60.
  8. Campus Water Bottle, Victoria’s Secret. Stay hydrated and store snacks in a separate bottom compartment.
  9. Neutrogena, makeup remover wipes. These wipes effectively remove dirt, makeup and oil for a fresh, clean face.
  10. Mophie, powerstation. This portable charger is like an energy drink for your smartphone or tablet. Charge on the go.

Packing Tips

Here are my top tips (most by trial and error) learned from traveling:

1. Bring Essentials. Pack only what you think you’ll need. Trust me you will shop and will need that extra suitcase space or if you can bring an extra small bag for gifts and souvenirs that will allow you to pack more, yay!

2. Multi-wear. Think about the clothing items in your suitcase. What can be worn in multiple ways. White jeans and maxi skirts can be dressed up or down and so can a pair of T-strap sandals like these ones from Go Jane.

3. Travel size. Always pack smaller versions of regular sized items. If your favorite perfume isn’t available in a travel-friendly size, then decant it. Fill your perfume into a stylish refillable container like this one from Travalo. Most superstores like Walmart and Target as well as beauty supplies stores like Ulta and Sephora carry travel sized items.

4. Minimalist. When I travel I am a minimalist. I try to keep it simple because frankly it’s about spending time with family, friends, shopping, and sightseeing. Remember in my Road Trip post from June 2015 I talked about using products with a dual purpose. The best way to pack less is see what you can use in place of something else. For example, why pack cream eyeliner when you can drag a thin brush over your mascara wand or no space for lipsticks then bring a great lip liner and some gloss.


 

Here's a packing list. Print it out or save it for your next spring break trip or family vacation. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Here’s a packing list. Print it out or save it for your next spring break trip or family vacation.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

What are your travel essentials? I’d love to hear your packing tips. Share with me via twitter or instagram.