yvi: Laura Cadman (Atlantis - Laura)
[personal profile] yvi posting in [community profile] homeeconomics101
Over the next few days, I will be trying to post one entry per day where people can share general tips and tricks they think could be valuable to others. No matter how basic they are or how few people you think would profit from them. Just think about how you do things and share this with others.

(Yes, I am being deliberately vague here in the hopes of generating lots and lots of comments :))

The topics I am planning are:

* cleaning
* cooking & baking
* DIY & home/car maintenance
* budgeting & finances
* crafts

Date: 2011-05-09 02:20 am (UTC)
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kathmandu
Mine is similar -- I start by emptying the wastebaskets. It's quick and simple, so if I'm interrupted after five minutes I've still accomplished something. And if I get any actual cleaning done, the wastebaskets will fill up again very quickly, so starting with them empty lets me clean longer.

Date: 2011-05-08 12:57 pm (UTC)
erika: Edward from Twilight with text: Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion. (movies: sparkle motion)
From: [personal profile] erika
Every time I leave a room, I try to take something with me that doesn't belong there & put it where it does belong. (Such as: dirty laundry goes to the laundry room or in the laundry basket, etc.)

I may be back with more later!

Date: 2011-05-08 01:20 pm (UTC)
weaverbird: (Clouds)
From: [personal profile] weaverbird
I do this, too. It's great for reducing clutter!

Date: 2011-05-08 02:20 pm (UTC)
erika: (science: bond--ionic bond)
From: [personal profile] erika
Yay us! (It's kind of hilarious when I am wandering around wondering not only what I got up for originally but where to put the stuff I picked up, I'm just saying. Thanks ADD!)

Date: 2011-05-09 06:42 am (UTC)
butterflydreaming: "Cris", in blocks with a blinking cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] butterflydreaming
Yes! A restaurant where I worked called this "full hands in, full hands out." It really keeps the clutter from becoming overwhelming.

P.S. Your Twilight/Donny Darko icon = LOL

Date: 2011-05-08 01:03 pm (UTC)
rose_gialle: (swan - white)
From: [personal profile] rose_gialle
My MIL's advice was to always make the bed and clear the sink as a priority and a bare minimum. Any other untidiness is bearable in contrast, but if those two things aren't done, the place will always look untidy no matter how neat.

Date: 2011-05-10 12:20 pm (UTC)
liseuse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liseuse
Those are my two baselines for what definitely has to be done. I can't bear having an unmade bed.

Date: 2011-05-08 01:19 pm (UTC)
weaverbird: (Spring)
From: [personal profile] weaverbird
Two tips for cleaning windows - a classic Spring-cleaning activity.

1) Instead of paper towels or cloth, use crumpled newspaper. Spray some glass cleaner on the window and scrub with a handful of newspaper, then polish with a fresh handful. Works much faster and with less streaking, and it's cheap!

2) Here's a recipe for a super-effective spray cleaner that costs far less than store-bought.
In a gallon jug, measure:
2 cups rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
½ cup plain ammonia (non-sudsing)
½ teaspoon dish detergent
Fill jug with water. Use in a spray bottle, just like store-bought glass cleaner (I reuse the sprayer from my last-ever purchase of Windex *g*). Great for windows, desks, counters, appliances, walls - everywhere.

Date: 2011-05-08 02:41 pm (UTC)
chalcopyrite: Shiny blue and purple hearts on a blue background (♥)
From: [personal profile] chalcopyrite
Yay for cheap homemade cleaners!

Date: 2011-05-09 05:07 am (UTC)
primsong: (bible boogie)
From: [personal profile] primsong
Good stuff - I like to even dye mine blue with a bit of food coloring, so I can remember what it is later on and don't accidently spritz my plants with it or something. :-)

Date: 2011-05-08 01:26 pm (UTC)
ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)
From: [personal profile] ninetydegrees
If I haven't done something I should have done days or weeks ago I do it first and will see if I have time/energy for the rest. Otherwise I always start with the things I like most like vacuuming and mopping.

I try to minimize the time I spend cleaning so I do the laundry while I vacuum and mop the floors or while I'm at work or buying groceries, dust my flat while I'm waiting for some product to do its magic in the bathroom.

I try to use green cleaning products as much as possible not only because I care about our planet but also because using them means I can stay in the room and do something else --non-green products generally irritate my throat, skin and eyes-- and their smell/scent isn't overwhelming and quickly goes away.

I don't have a fixed schedule. I don't work well with fixed schedules and I'll get nothing done if I tell myself I have to do X every Y on Z.

I've learned to be tidier: dirty dishes and pans immediately go into the dishwasher; clothes go into my chests or into the hamper; I try to leave as little stuff as possible on the floor.

Date: 2011-05-08 01:48 pm (UTC)
erika: (quotes: h2g2: never alone)
From: [personal profile] erika
Maybe it's just me, and maybe it's just because I'm inherently very lazy, but I actually get more cleaning done if I tell myself I only have to do five minutes of it at any given time.

For example, if I have to clean up my bedroom, I start with a task that will take less than five minutes—e.g. taking all the trash that can be recycled out of my room. Then when I get back, having something done that's concrete and easy makes it easier to get started on things like organize my books that don't have concrete starts & stops.

Plus, the promised five minutes usually goes by, and quite a bit more, before I feel like I need a break.

Date: 2011-05-08 02:17 pm (UTC)
chalcopyrite: Two little folded-paper boats in the rain (Default)
From: [personal profile] chalcopyrite
Yes! My variant on this is "just do one thing," like collect the library books into one stack or something -- and I tell myself that is all I have to do. Like you, I almost always keep going with just one more thing. It's amazing how having a small goal as a kickstart helps get you going!

Date: 2011-05-08 02:18 pm (UTC)
erika: image: painted nails & red lips (images: red lips)
From: [personal profile] erika
I feel so validated!

Date: 2011-05-08 03:44 pm (UTC)
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (sophie leverage by winterfish)
From: [personal profile] sophinisba
This is one of the best things for me too. The big tasks can seem too overwhelming but if I get a little ten-minute start on something it reminds me that a little bit of cleaning is a good thing, that it can be part of my normal day, etc.

Date: 2011-05-08 05:48 pm (UTC)
cledon: Yellow and white dandelions in vase on windowsill (Dandelions)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I use the microwave timer set to ten minutes. Usually, the timer dings and I go, 'Ack! I haven't finished yet." Which makes me feel quite virtuous as I finish whatever little project I'm on.

Date: 2011-05-09 10:25 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
I discussed this with someone else and told her that I have trouble with this one because I totally keep in mind that I'm allowed to stop after 5 minutes and almost always stop once I reach goal. She said that she has the same problem but an alternative time management trick that works for her is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique : you commit to a biggish chunk of time, but with permission to have a regular break.

Date: 2011-05-08 02:15 pm (UTC)
chalcopyrite: Two little folded-paper boats in the rain (Default)
From: [personal profile] chalcopyrite
I have a big dog and two cats. By the time I get around to washing their bedding, it usually smells like -- well, like damp animals have been sleeping on it! The trick I am glad I learned is dumping a generous spoonful of baking soda in with the washing powder or liquid (or, in a top-loading machine, I guess you'd want to sprinkle it over the clothes after they're loaded). It means I can wash it cool or cold, and not have it still smelling like wet dog when it comes out. The trick also works for smoke in clothing, or other stinks like the pants that got mildewy at the back of the closet.

Date: 2011-05-08 02:19 pm (UTC)
erika: (quotes: too fucking busy)
From: [personal profile] erika
Ooh! Ooh! A good slug of vinegar also works for this!*

*(Although probably not together, since they'd just react. I mean, then you'd have a clothes volcano, but that's probably not something most people want.)

Date: 2011-05-08 02:28 pm (UTC)
weaverbird: (Hee)
From: [personal profile] weaverbird
A clothes volcano.

An image I shall treasure. *g*

Date: 2011-05-08 02:39 pm (UTC)
chalcopyrite: Two little folded-paper boats in the rain (Default)
From: [personal profile] chalcopyrite
I now have a mental movie going:

*rrrrrr*
*sloosh sloosh sloosh sloosh*
*FOOM*

Thank you for that. *G* And yes, white vinegar is my other go-to cleaning product!

Date: 2011-05-09 12:44 am (UTC)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)
From: [personal profile] majoline
The best thing about the baking soda trick is it makes less laundry detergent more effective as well. The manufactures always tell you to use too much, but you can cut down more by adding baking soda.

The other thing I noticed is baking soda also makes my indoor dry rack clothes feel just as nice as clothes that have gone through a dryer with dryer balls/dryer sheets.

Date: 2011-05-08 02:36 pm (UTC)
cledon: Bright yellow sunrise over dark mountain. (Default)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I don't have a dishwasher so I have to wash by hand. I'm also a reader during meals so I don't interrupt my reading to jump up and do the dishes immediately. I will take a moment between finishing my meal and moving to the comfy chair to put the dishes in the sink to soak. And I've gotten pretty good at getting back to wash them once or twice a day. BUT... pots, frying pans, and cutting boards can hang around for days. My epiphany was to leave the dishes on the table and put the large stuff in the sink to soak first. Then I'll wash them fairly quickly to be able to get the darn dishes off the kitchen table and into the sink. No more trying to cook around the large frying pan parked on the back burner. :-)

Other tips. I once worked for a week as a hotel maid at the Grand Canyon. They cleaned bathroom mirrors by finger spritzing with plain water and rubbing dry with a clean towel. No streaks and it's quick.

I always make sure I have a bottle of orange essential oil on hand. It dissolves glue really well. So if I'm cleaning labels or price tags off or if there's something sticky/tacky on an item that doesn't wash off with soap, orange oil does the job.

Here's a weird little tip. I once was horrified as a teen to watch my mother wet her finger, dip it in her ashtray, and start rubbing it over her wedding ring. Ew ick ick ick. Made it nice and shiny though. I don't smoke but I've tried it with incense ash and it works. Something quick for when you don't want to pull out the heavy duty polishing stuff.

Date: 2011-05-09 03:58 pm (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
Toothpaste is good for polishing stuff, too!

Date: 2011-05-08 04:08 pm (UTC)
teigh_corvus: ([Art] Home cookin')
From: [personal profile] teigh_corvus
This is a great idea!

I've found that baskets and mini bins are my biggest clutter ally. One place this is most obvious is under the sink - the counter cloths have their own wee bin as do the cloth rags. Not having to dig for supplies makes staying on top of daily messes so much easier.

For the longest time, my household used either the dish sponge or the dish towel to handle messes in the kitchen. Then the knitting craze hit, and friends started making dishcloths out of cotton yarn. I don't like them for dish washing, but they are excellent for mopping up counters and general kitchen tidiness. And they extend the life of both sponges and the dish towels.

My favorite go-to cleanser is Bon Ami - it works amazingly well on my pocked sink for getting out coffee stains.

Date: 2011-05-08 05:54 pm (UTC)
cledon: Bright yellow sunrise over dark mountain. (Sunrise)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I procrastinate a lot if a project seems too large or unpleasant. One thing I've found that helps is if I simply set whatever tools I need for the job next to the project, with the understanding that I am NOT doing it right then. Then sooner or later I'll wander past and think, "What the heck, everything's right here and ready to go."

Something about separating the two tasks makes it psychologically manageable.

Date: 2011-05-09 12:50 am (UTC)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)
From: [personal profile] majoline
That is a wonderful idea; thank you for sharing!

Date: 2011-05-09 12:58 am (UTC)
cledon: Bright yellow sunrise over dark mountain. (Default)
From: [personal profile] cledon
Hope it helps. I feel like figuring out one's little stubborn little quirks is half the battle. *g*

Date: 2011-05-09 05:14 am (UTC)
primsong: (snood)
From: [personal profile] primsong
Two tips that I regularly use come to mind -
* When you're doing up your dishes, stick a mug with some water in it in the microwave and let it heat to boiling and then just leave it in there... later on after you've done the rest of the kitchen stuff, open it up and dump out the mug - the inside of your microwave has now been steamed and all the gunk will just wipe off with a sponge. Add a blop of lemon juice to the water if you like.

* Water is an amazing cleaning substance. Instead of scrubbing and scrubbing at dried on stuff on the counter-top or stove, just drop a wet dishrag over the problem spot. Later on you'll find it all softened up from 'soaking' and you can use the dishrag to wipe it right off. You can even do a pretty good job on the burned crud at the bottom of your oven if you just let it soak first, no chemicals involved.
Edited Date: 2011-05-09 05:15 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-09 06:38 am (UTC)
butterflydreaming: "Cris", in blocks with a blinking cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] butterflydreaming
These are excellent tips. We have an often disgusting microwave at work that only three of us who work there ever feel compelled to clean. I showed the other two the heat-a-bowl-of-water trick.

If only there was something like that for toilets. Yuck!

Date: 2011-05-09 06:43 am (UTC)
foxfirefey: A guy looking ridiculous by doing a fashionable posing with a mouse, slinging the cord over his shoulders. (geek)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
I wonder if you have an electric kettle if you could just heat up a bunch of water and dump it in the toilet after you flush and it's still filling up and close the lid? Maybe it would do the same thing.

Date: 2011-05-09 07:02 am (UTC)
butterflydreaming: pinwheel in rainbow colors (Green Patch pinwheel)
From: [personal profile] butterflydreaming
Oh! Maybe with white vinegar!

I don't actually mind scrubbing the bowl all that much since I clean regularly, but the lid and the seat... urgh.

Date: 2011-05-09 08:55 am (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Good little housewife)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
Washing out blood
Even if you're not serial killer, you're likely to get blood on something sooner or later. The trick to remember with blood is that you mustn't hot wash it, because that causes the stain to set. Ideally don't let the stain dry, but it doesn't matter that much. Soak the blood stain in cold water and then wash it on the coldest wash your machine does. If there's still a mark after that you can try putting it out in the sunshine, to sunshine bleach the stain out.

Silver quick polish
If I want my silver to really shine I have to clean it properly with Silvo, but in between Silvos I can get most of the tarnish off by just giving them a quick rub with a duster squirted with Pledge.

Date: 2011-05-09 09:23 am (UTC)
anatsuno: (bandaid for your mood?)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
Re: washing out blood. I knew the thing about hot vs cold, but even codl soaks and cold-scrubs don't always work. I discovered recently though that if you soak the stained fabric ni cold water with added salt or baking soda, that does the trick. time + salt apparently dissolves something in the blood (I think it has to do with the osmotic pressure within the walls of the blood cells); the water gets stained red but yoru fabris will be *immaculate*. I'm never scrubbing another thing under a freezing cold stream of water in my life. :))

Date: 2011-05-09 04:35 pm (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
Ooh, I will have to try this - thanks!

Date: 2011-05-10 04:09 am (UTC)
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
From: [personal profile] amadi
For blood, since the garments most likely to get blood stained (I don't need to elaborate, 1/2 the population knows what I'm speaking of) aren't ones I need to worry overmuch about maintaining perfect colorfastness, I've been immediately hitting a stain with hydrogen peroxide in a little spray bottle. Saturate, then wash in lukewarm water with dishwashing liquid or shampoo. I prefer dishwashing liquid. If the dye is at all loose there will be some bleaching, but otherwise, it works a treat, especially if you can get to it before the stain dries.

Date: 2012-01-16 10:44 pm (UTC)
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadenzamuse
This is a really disgusting way of washing out blood, but enzymes in saliva break down the compounds in blood that make it red. So honestly, the first thing I do on a bloodstain (if it's not a huge one) is to get several huge gobs of spit on it and let them sit there for a little while. Then I go on with the actual traditional cleaning methods of cleaning out blood. *grin*

Date: 2011-05-09 11:10 am (UTC)
liseuse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liseuse
Most of my tips revolve around the myriad uses of bicarbonate of soda. We have really really hard water, so the bottom of our taps tend to look horrible. The solution? Dip an old toothbrush in some bicarb and give the taps a quick brush. I tend to do this after I've brushed my teeth because I'm there, in the bathroom, and I have all the stuff to hand, and it is way less arduous than making a separate trip to the bathroom to do it.

Date: 2011-05-09 05:41 pm (UTC)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)
From: [personal profile] majoline
Isn't bicarb the most miraculous of chemicals?

Safe, completely effective, cheap.

I can't believe there was a time in my life where I wanted to use harsh chemicals.

Date: 2011-05-10 12:22 pm (UTC)
liseuse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liseuse
It really is absolutely amazing. One of my amusements in life is pointing out to people who insist on only using pre-made cleaning stuff bicarb in the ingredients list. You can see their mind explode.

Date: 2011-05-15 11:36 am (UTC)
seekingeden: sheepworld sheep holding out a red flower to the viewer (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingeden
Kitchen and bathroom are getting cleaned with vinegar regularly. It stops scale from accumulating and I don't have to wipe down every day or two days. Actually, vinegar is the most used and bought cleaning material in my household >_>

Speaking of vinegar

Date: 2011-05-15 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] alphaviolet
Making your own household cleaners can be much less toxic than commercial alternatives (and may save you money).

Here are some recipes: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/green-cleaning-spring-cleaning-460303

If you dislike the smell of bleach or want to avoid the health effects of household chemicals, these options may be a better choice for you.

Date: 2011-05-15 07:05 pm (UTC)
ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)
From: [personal profile] ninetydegrees
Unless really wet or needing to be ironed, curtains cut be hung back up as soon as they're washed. They will dry very nicely that way and make the room smell like fresh laundry, saving you space for another load of laundry.

If your dishwasher has a funny smell, it may be because you keep it closed and not run it often enough and/or don't rinse your dishes (so what you smell is just food getting bad). You also need to clean the filters regularly. You can use a little bit of white vinegar, bleach or special cleaning products to get it cleaned and disinfected too (and you can use lemon juice when you run it with your dishes). Also check your pipes.
Edited Date: 2011-05-15 07:26 pm (UTC)

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