Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemade cleaners

My husband and I have some strange hobbies.  A new one we've picked up this year is using homemade cleaners.  I'm not sure why we've adopted this, except perhaps we've grown tired of paying huge prices for laundry soap and bathroom cleaners.

Here is a recipe I chanced to come across at website.

Powdered Dishwasher Detergent/Scouring Powder:
* 1 cup Washing soda
* 1 cup Borax
* 1/4 cup Kosher salt (reduces the effects of hard water)
* 1/4 cup citric acid (or as an alternative you can use the same amount of Fruit Fresh or two packets of Lemonade-Flavored Kool-Aid, ONLY lemon and ONLY unsweetened!)

You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, if you'd like, but I don't do that.  I'm afraid to leave oily spots in my dishwasher.

To use the detergent in your dishwasher, add 1 tablespoon of the powder to the soap dispenser and 3 drops of Dawn (or other dish soap) on top and close the lid.  Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher.

You may have to experiment a little to see what combinations work for your dishwasher and for your water.  We tried one load with 2 tablespoons of powder and the glasses came out spotty.  But, with 1 tablespoon, they are sparkly.  You can vary the amount of powder from 1 - 2 tablespoons and vary the vinegar from 1 - 2 cups to see what works best for you.

Give it a try and see what works for you!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The JUNK Drawer

In the house of my childhood, there was such a thing as a "junk" drawer.  It was always called a "junk" drawer though it actually had assigned contents.  The things that belonged there were scissors, tape, string, and small hand-held household tools.  But, the fact that it was called the "junk" drawer meant that anyone and everyone felt free to put pretty much anything else in there.  Therefore, it always looked rather junky. 

I swore that I'd never have a junk drawer at my house.  Truth be known, there is no such drawer in my kitchen.  Each drawer in the kitchen has an assigned purpose and assigned belongings.  Yet, there are  drawers in our sideboard in the dining room, and those drawers tend to fill the role that our old kitchen junk drawer filled.  Today, those drawers are under attack!

Here they are.  The left one is full of miscellaneous things.  And, oh, look... so is the right one.  The right one has built in dividers.  As I looked at these two drawers, I figured that those compartments could be assigned and that would help organize them.

So, I took both drawers out and put them on the floor in my living room and sat done with the dear things.  I first went through and took out anything that was trash or didn't belong in the room at all.  I made two piles of those things.  The trash was the biggest pile!

Then, I decided what ought to go in those compartments in the right drawer.  I assigned one for gift wrapping supplies, one for office supplies and one for Steve's things.  I suppose that's only fair since all the drawer space is otherwise mine!  The compartment in the back has seldom used items. 

Then I took a couple of sticky notes and made temporary labels for the compartments.  It doesn't help to put things away if you don't know where they go.  And, thus far, no one in this home can read my mind about where things should go.  Here's a large picture so you can check it out.

 The other drawer received a less glamorous makeover.  I already had the white tray and so I took out pens that didn't work and put pencils, pens and highlighters into the tray.  Everything else is simply neatly arranged.  I will need to get a few more trays.  These drawers are quite shallow (about 2 inches deep) and when you open them quickly, everything goes sliding around.  A few more trays will help corral the items.

In the end, the main thing about junk drawers, or any drawers for that matter, is that they need a little attention from time to time.  It is well worth the little bit of time to cull the unwanted items, rearrange the things that you want, and enjoy a nice neat drawer until, well, until the next time they look like a mini-tornado went through them.