Natural, Easy Stovetop Cleaner: Baking soda

I’m all about natural cleaning and my favorite cleaners are vinegar and baking soda. To clean the stovetop, I use a tiny bit of baking soda and some water.

I clean my stovetop regularly – every weekend usually, but it’s been a couple of weeks at this point. My stovetop looked like this:


I move the grates and sprinkle the middle part with water. Then I sprinkle just a little baking soda. A little goes a long way:


The baking soda is a natural, safe cleaner that serves as an abrasive when I scrub with a cloth. It works amazingly on dried-on food.

However, I had a big birthday candle melt on the top and leave a big waxy residue.


So I used a dull knife to scrape off the wax, leaving a pile of shredded wax which I wiped into the trash can.


Then I wiped it down again real fast with the same rag.

End result:


Shiny clean with just water and baking soda! 

Now, this does not clean the grates. I would like to do that in a way that doesn’t involve ammonia. Also, there are some dark stains around the holes that baking soda does not get up, but those stains were around since before I lived in this house.

Have you tried baking soda as a stovetop cleaner? Will you?






Small plastic drawer organization

I have a three-drawer plastic container under my bathroom sink. I used to keep hair decorations and makeup in it.

Top drawer consisted of clips, bobby pins, and barrettes:


Middle drawer held a brush, ponytail holders, a few headbands, and A LOT of ribbons:


I’ll get to the makeup drawer in a minute.

First task was to declutter. The top drawer may have looked organized because of all the small boxes housing different things, but I didn’t use all of those things and that’s not organized to me. I made three piles (besides what I kept):
-throw away
-offer to adults – specifically, mom
-offer to little girls – nieces

I offered to my mom pretty soon after I made these piles, and what she didn’t want I either threw away (bobby pins/small, deformed clips) or donated.

Any ribbons I didn’t want were thrown away. Then I tied the shorter ribbons together (there were fewer) and rolled up the larger ribbons. (I use shorter ribbons for wrapping around a ponytail, braid, or bun; I use longer ribbons to wrap around my head like a headband.)

I then combined the drawers, since I had less of everything.


I’ll admit, it looks LESS organized now. But trust me – I’ll be more easily able to find things now.

The next drawer housed things from another area under my bathroom sink:


The place in the cabinet where this was was NOT helpful. And I almost never style my hair, so some products were unnecessary and others need to be more readily available so I’ll REMEMBER to use them!

This, minus the hairspray that didn’t fit, became the third drawer down:


I also have my sporty-headbands in this drawer.

Bottom drawer used to be makeup… and other random stuff, apparently.


Threw away every broken or super old makeup, the tattoos, the extra sponges (which I don’t use, I use a brush) and was left with virtually nothing.


But that’s okay, because I rarely wear makeup. I plan on putting the brushes, mascara (not shown), and eyeliners – everything in the pink pencil holder – in a jar or something in my medicine cabinet. The eyeshadows, blushes, sharpeners, etc. will go in a travel makeup bag and live somewhere else so I can have another free drawer.

Since doing this, I’ve used more hair decorations than I have in a while, because I remembered they exist!

What’s under your bathroom sink?

Dusting, polishing, disinfecting list

dust glass germs

Now, I don’t go along dusting/cleaning/disinfecting each individual item and then checking it off. I do a room at a time, or all of one thing at a time, before checking anything off. Example: Disinfect all the light switches in the house in a row. 

I made this spreadsheet a long time ago so I’d be sure to remember to do everything. Also, it feels awesome to check off the whole sheet.

For the record, I do not dust all of those things, clean all of the glass, and disinfect everything on that list weekly. I tend to not even do it monthly. These three things are on my cleaning list at the bottom where I write when I last did it, and when I’ll next do it. It’s kind of a play-it-by-ear type of thing. Anything that needs done (example: the glass in our front door gets dirty easily and might get cleaned more often. This list is for the DEEP CLEAN.

I decided what to add to the dusting list by what gets dusty, and the glass list by what is made of glass. The disinfect list is what gets touched. Some of the things, like the breaker handle in the laundry room, is almost never touched. I might decide that I don’t want to clean everything on the list and I don’t beat myself up about it if I don’t. Usually I check it off anyway or draw a minus sign through it to indicate that I did not do it and do not intend to.

Lastly, I’ll say that I keep this list in a sheet protector in my main household binder (another post on that later) so I can use a dry erase marker and just erase easily when everything has been X’ed off.

Do you use lists to remember everything you have to do? Or for the satisfaction of crossing things off when you’re finished?

August cleaning chart

080513 chart

Updated cleaning chart for the month of August.

I think it’s pretty self-explanatory; I even have legend at the bottom!

I changed it so drastically because I decided I wanted to condense. There are so many things I do all at the same time, because they are near each other or involve the same cleaners. I wanted to put “vacuum” in every room because I always break that up. I do not do all the vacuuming at one time, rather, I pick up a room and then vacuum it.

I also included the monthly items in the room section where they go. It’s more likely I’ll do them on time this way than if they were separated at the bottom like before.

I’m excited about the color-coding and bold/italics to signify different things, rather than asterisks everywhere.

Also – honestly, I haven’t been keeping up with the routine cleaning as much since I’ve had the house in uproar trying to declutter. Revising the cleaning chart and changing it so significantly was inspiring!

Any questions? Ask away in the comments!

Disposing of Clutter pt 2 (donating)

Selling things can be fun and rewarding. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that my discarded items will bring someone else joy – and if not, I profited from getting rid of them.

Selling can also be a pain. 

It can be much, much easier to give things away, and just as rewarding – if not more so!

  • Make sure the person or organization wants your leftovers.

If they don’t, someone else will, so look around. I say this because I’ve given things to people who were uninterested in a donation and they go to waste – this was only realized later. I now know that just because my niece (or her parents) don’t want my giant stuffed dog that I thought might be fun for her – it gets thrown away when they move and I am slightly heartbroken. It’s not that I want the dog back – I just wish someone could have gotten use out of it, or at least that I wouldn’t have found out that they didn’t.

That’s the big one.

I tend to donate:

  • books to the public library. I don’t think they go on the shelves very often, but our public library has book sales to raise money for the library. The books they sell come from donators.
  • clothing and housewares to a local organization, Love INCLove INC is a Christian-based organization that provides low income families with inexpensively-priced items. They have “yard” sales where they sell items like what I donate.
  • furniture to Love INC also. They can even take things from your house if you request a pick up for large items such as a bed frame.

If you want, there are always shelters and the Salvation Army; we also have a Disabled Veterans organization that I an donate to.

I might sell rather than donate if I think the item is worth a pretty good bit of money, like a toy that is also seen as a collectable. Otherwise, I do tend to donate.

Things I’ve donated/given away recently, or am going to soon:

  • Children’s books (public library)
  • Blank photo albums (Love INC – probably for garage sale)
  • VHS tapes and VHS player (family member)
  • Bed frame (Love INC)
  • Clothing, shoes (Love INC)
  • Toys (family members)

Everything I give away or donate is in good condition.

To stay organized, and because I don’t want to go out every time I find something I want to give away, I keep my items together, usually in a big bag or box.

If you like the joy of selling AND the joy of donation, you could always sell items and donate the cash you receive as payment! 😉

Where do you donate your used things?

Gift closet organization

It started when I was going through some old stuff I accidentally found. I found some treasures – pom poms, customize-able bracelets, etc. I was going to stuff it all into our Gift Closet but when I opened the door, it was a mess!

The Gift Closet is actually the closet in J’s mancave. It contains some of his stuff, but a lot of holiday items too: our small (but only) Christmas tree, ornaments for when we get a bigger tree, wrapping paper and gift bags, and any gifts I’m waiting for a birthday or holiday to distribute. I used to keep all gifts in a big gift bag …but then I used the gift bag for, well, giving a gift. And there are too many now.

I have 9 nieces and nephews, and 2 other kids that will be in my family “officially” when my BIL and his fiance get married. I already consider them family. That’s a lot of birthdays. 

Right now, there are 5 kids age 6+. I collect gifts for 3 of those kids all the time, because they are easy to shop for. As others’ birthdays approach, I get gifts for those kids too. I don’t have a bag for everyone because the little ones are easier to find things for, and harder to collect unique items for.

SO. I began with this:


This is what was in the closet already. I had more (like the pom poms) that had just been found which are not picured.

It would be nice, I thought, to have a bag for each kid, or even for each family. One per family would have been ideal, but there are 7 kids in one family unit alone, so that couldn’t have worked. Also, I’m down to only 3 big paper sacks and only a few medium-sized gift bags. (Lots of small gift bags, how un-useful.)

So I whipped out the big zipper-seal bags, and organized.

On the zipper-seal bags I wrote the child’s name and birthday. I plan on reusing these bags, and making more for the rest of the kids as the time comes.

DSCN0042 DSCN0041

There were 2 kids whose gifts would not fit into even my biggest ziplock bags, due to size or quantity of gifts. For these I attached sticky notes to label the child/birthday, but the sticky notes are easily removable.

DSCN0043 DSCN0040


I also have a few gifts that I might give someone at some point, like a handmade journal, fairy wands, and a beautiful little green bag which I could put other gifts in. These went in the MISC zipper bag.

Also, presents for all the kids will go in here – like that bag of Valentine-y heart erasers that I plan on handing out once there are no babies in at least one home.


These are the bags I’ve collected so far. They will increase as more birthdays come up (a few have just passed, for example.)

The santa bag on the right side of this picture is for miscellaneous Christmas presents for adults. Right now there’s only one item in the bag, but as we tend to do secret santa and white elephant, we’ll see what gets added!


The brown bag in the back is holiday-related but not gifts.

This is the shelf of the closet now. I moved the sticky note labels to the sides of the bags so I could easily view them.

Not so bad! It’s certainly better than it was – I had an almost-avalanche trying to get to the presents, and they were not sorted by child at all.

I’ll end this post with the customize-able bracelets I made for a niece’s birthday in September:


She’s getting the rest of the kit too so she can change out the letters as she pleases


Do any of you have a closet or another area set aside for gifts/holiday items? In my big family, it’s a plus to think ahead.

Towel/rag storage revamp

The thing about us/me is that we basically use a few towels and wash them often. As far as rags, I use them often and sometimes many on one day. I wash my towels 1-2 times a week, all together – bath towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, place mats, rags, cloth napkins…

I kept our rags and kitchen towels in a laundry basket on top of the dryer for a long time.


But as you can see, it was a big laundry basket taking up a lot of horizontal space, when it wasn’t even full! (Not to mention, it got pretty disorganized.)


We have a few categories. Rags (the green and white, as well as two old t-shirts), and microfiber towels (right)

Image Image

I use different towels for drying clean dishes (L) than for drying potentially dirty hands (R) in the kitchen. I just keep them separate so I know what to put out. Kind of an OCD thing… O-well!

Image Image

Also, placemats and cloth napkins (a collection I plan to expand)


Now, I also had a big rubbermaid tub filled with sheets. I wash sheets once a week and put them back on before bedtime. It’s rare that I actually use a different set of sheets. And we only have two sets. I found a few sheets in here from my old twin bed which I no longer even have!


I kept all the showering towels and rag towels in the bathroom, practically on display, for lack of somewhere else to put them. I wash the towels so fast that we really only use a body towel for each of us and switch out between two hand towels. Yet… all the towels.


Also had some washcloths and extra hand towels in a basket with my hair dryer, etc. ?Image


I moved the thing with the towels on it to the laundry room, between the washer and dryer.


Top rack is kitchen towels (for hands and drying dishes!) and placemats, which we use often.


Middle shelf includes the rags and microfiber cloths, which I also use pretty frequently – especially the rags.


Bottom shelf is 4 rag towels. We use these for emergencies, like when our washing machine was leaking water.


I’m going to do something different with the washcloths and spare hand towels, but for now they are in the blue basket…


And all those extra towels that we rarely use? In the Rubbermaid container for guests or us, should we need them.


Leave a comment if you have done something similar… or need to! 🙂