This is a sponsored conversation (The Stress Free Plan: How To Clean House for a Party) written by me on behalf of Finish®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tis’ the season …. to have house guests. It’s a busy time for most of us, work parties, trips to see Santa, shopping, hosting, celebrating … the list can go on. Holidays can often equal stress. Oh the irony, right? Joe and I have always loved hosting parties and the holidays are no exception. Yet during the holiday season there’s just SO much going on. So we try to be as efficient in our party hosting duties as possible. Yes, that’s a thing. I even wrote a post about it.

But what about cleaning? That’s one area where I don’t like to skimp. Pre-made appetizers? Yep. Forget the decorations? Didn’t even miss them. Skip house cleaning? Absolutely not. I just hate having a messy house. Maybe because I work from home so I’m home all day. Maybe because baby items are slowly taking over every room of our house. Whatever the reason, I always want a clean house before hosting.

Who has time for a deep clean during the holiday season? Not this gal. Instead I set aside an hour or two the day of the party to clean up. I find that when I clean TOO far in advance, our home ends up getting messy again before the guests come over. It does give me a little anxiety to wait until the day of, but it always ends up being the most efficient way to get the house clean.

Here’s the quick and dirty (no pun intended) way I clean house before guests arrive:

 

Clutter

The very first thing I like to do the day of a house party is pick up any clutter in each room of our house. I do this even for rooms that I don’t intend to use (guest room, den, nursery) just in case guests wander in. Plus, it’s a good excuse to tidy up those spaces. Now I don’t go as far as organizing and putting everything away. Nope. I grab a large bin or laundry basket to temporarily throw the clutter in. Remember, I’m just trying to clean for our guests, not deep clean and organize our home.

 

Dishes

Yes, hiding dirty dishes in the dishwasher seems like a quick solution. But take it a step further. DO THE DISHES. We use Finish Powerball Max in 1 to make sure all the dishes get sparkling clean. It tackles whatever you throw at it. It penetrates, breaks down, and lifts away 24-hour dried on food. (Think: dishes you left in the sink and forgot to clean.) And when you use Finish, you get unbeatable clean* and 25% more loads.**

I like to run the dishwasher while I’m cleaning the rest of the house. Then right before our guests arrive, I unload the clean dishes. The extra bonus is that clean up at the end of the night is a breeze with an empty dishwasher.

For a limited time, get a $5 e-Movie cash reward when you buy 2 Finish dish products in a single transaction at Target between 10/30/17-12/21/17. Just snap a picture of your receipt and visit www.finishmovieticket.com to redeem a $5 e-Movie cash reward. Super easy! Finish dish products can be easily found in the cleaning and home goods aisle at Target.

Bathroom

I typically don’t clean our bedrooms prior to a party, but the bathrooms are another story. I always make sure each of our bathrooms are scrubbed down, even the master bath. Our main floor half bath will likely be used the most, but I’d hate for someone to use the master bath only to discover it hasn’t been cleaned for … oh a month?

Coat Closet

Now for the record, I don’t go cleaning every closet in our house, but I do like to make space in our main floor coat closet. We use that coat closet for almost everything – storing strollers (yes, plural 🙁 ), dog food, work bags, and on and on. So it can use a little TLC and cleaning out before guests arrive. I always make sure we have enough empty hangers for everyone’s coats and anything else they’re likely to put away.

Counters

Once the food is ready, I like to wipe down all the kitchen counters, table and coffee tables. I’m always amazed at how quickly our kitchen counters can get dirty. Truly can’t figure out where it comes from. Wiping it down is a 30 second task that I always save towards the end of my party prep cleaning. (Just as easy as it is to wipe down, it can quickly get dirty again!)

Floors

Washing the floors? Nope. But sweeping? YES! Ever since bringing home our little pup, Reagan, sweeping (up dog hair) has become an almost daily occurrence. Our kitchen floors can also get messy while prepping dinner, so I do a quick sweep and vacuum AFTER the food prep and after wiping down the counters. Then if anyone takes their shoes off their socks don’t get gross.

Smell

This might be my favorite cleaning task of them all. Spray something that smells good so it seems that you’ve cleaned more than you have. Skip the DIY stovetop aromas and opt for a premade spray. As the guests ring the doorbell, give it a quick squirt and pretend your home always smells that good 🙂 .

Now your home may not be in ‘I’ve been deep cleaning for a week’ condition, it is in ‘I’m ready to party!’ condition, which is exactly what we’re aiming for! Just don’t forget to do those dishes at the end of the night.  Then take advantage of your $5 e-Movie cash reward offer from your Finish products!

 

For a limited time, get a $5 e-Movie cash reward when you buy 2 Finish dish products in a single transaction at Target between 10/30/17-12/21/17. Snap a picture of your receipt and visit www.finishmovieticket.com to redeem a $5 e-Movie cash reward.

*vs Cascade Premium

**Based on retail pack size comparison of Finish® Quantum Max® and Cascade Platinum. Cascade Platinum is a registered trademark of P&G.

 




 

 

 

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Each month I’m taking on a common cleaning & organization challenge and tackling it with a thrift store item. I love when great organization solutions end up being affordable. It’s always a win-win.  All it takes is a little patience, DIYing and a great thrift store find! This month we’re tackling dirty puppy paws with:

||| DIY Dirty Dog Paw Mitt |||

A very active Doberman puppy + 9 month rainy season in Seattle = mud ridden entryway and … well entire home. Even worse, we let our pup sleep on our bed during the day. Yes, on our bed with a white comforter. Well, that is a whole other story. But I did need a way to keep Reagan’s paws clean after taking her for a walk during the rainy Seattle months.

Admittedly up until this point, our previous solution was to grab a used dish towel from the kitchen to wipe down Reagan’s paws. We’d then have to throw the dirty towel into the laundry. Let’s just say that this system didn’t last long. Especially when we take Reagan outside several times a day.

So instead I grabbed a couple of dish towels from my near by Goodwill (why buy new only to use on my dogs dirty paw??) and a couple supplies around the house to make these DIY Dirty Dog Paw Mitts that we’ll surely put to use:

Supplies

  • Hand Towel or Dish Towel
  • 1 Inch Wide Ribbon
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Instruction

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Fold your towel in half “hamburger style”.

Cut it in half. You can actually make two dog paw mitts with one towel.

Sew along the long open side (the side that you just cut).

 

Trim ribbon to desired length, based on where you want to hang it.

Sew the ribbon on to the top right corner, making a loop.

Sew the remaining long side a couple inchnes. Allow for an opening big enough for you to put your hand through.

Flip inside out and wipe those dirty paws!

Take a look at all our past Upcycle Organization Challenges!

Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge

As a lover of affordable solutions of ANY kind, I’ve paired up with some extremely talented bloggers to bring you a monthly Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge. Each month we will create something amazing from an item(s) we’ve found at a thrift store, yard sale, resale shop etc.

The Rules

  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There’s no monthly theme.
  • There’s no budget to stick to.

Meet the Bloggers

Michelle | Our Crafty Mom  Lora | Craftivity Designs
Vicki and Jennifer | 2 Bees in a Pod Pili | My Sweet Things
Angela | Simply Beautiful by Angela Kim | Made in a Day
Lindsay | Crazy Organized Marie | DIY Adulation Ann | Duct Tape and Denim
Denise | My Thrifty House Jeanie | Create and Babble Debra | Shoppe No. 5
Shirley | Intelligent Domestications Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled 
Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles Jeanee | Centsably Creative
Florence | Vintage Southern Picks Deborah | Salvage Sister & Mister

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

Take a look at all these bloggers’ amazing thrift store projects:


 

 





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No need for any special gadgets to clean dusty lampshades. Take a look at our quick 1 minute tutorial to remove all the dust so easily!

 

I’m a cleaning machine. I LOVE cleaning. No, seriously I really do. I think it’s the control freak in me that likes to be in charge of my own cleaning. Plus I count cleaning as a workout. (don’t we all?) But I always trying to find ways to make the house cleaning process easier, better and quicker.

No need for any special gadgets to clean dusty lampshades. Take a look at our quick 1 minute tutorial to remove all the dust so easily!

Several years back we got these fun white lampshades at Target. They’ve held up surprisingly well and I love the clean look of them. I’m typically not a fan of anything white because of how hard it is to keep white clean, but lampshades are really rarely touched. But I noticed that they started getting dusty. I had no idea how to get dust off a lamp. Seriously, who cleans lampshades? Well apparently this girl needed to. Dusting with a rag didn’t really seem to do the trick and I was afraid to wash them per se.

That’s where my new favorite trick came in handy ….. a lint roller.

No need for any special gadgets to clean dusty lampshades. Take a look at our quick 1 minute tutorial to remove all the dust so easily!

We’ve been using these non stop since we brought home Reagan last year. With a puppy, even one that doesn’t shed a lot, I could continually lint roll every room in our house a a full time job. Which seems more and more likely since we given Reagan free rein of the house. (Dog owner mistake #1) When we first brought home Reagan we claimed she wouldn’t be allowed on the family room couch, then the guest bed, then the master bed. I think Reagan has more access to our home than I do.

But back to those lamp shades ….
A quick roll around the lampshade was like a miracle machine.

No need for any special gadgets to clean dusty lampshades. Take a look at our quick 1 minute tutorial to remove all the dust so easily!

Never fear white lamps again!

No need for any special gadgets to clean dusty lampshades. Take a look at our quick 1 minute tutorial to remove all the dust so easily!

 

 

 




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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lysol®, Finish®, Woolite®, and Air Wick®. The opinions and text are all mine.

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

Hello Spring!

I’m welcoming the change of season with open arms! As the sunny days are peaking through all the rain that we’ve gotten in Seattle throughout the winter, I’m able to open the windows and let the fresh air in. As the weather gets a little warmer, I’m more motivated to come out of hibernation and tackle some spring cleaning.

Over the years I’ve tried different systems for gathering & containing all my cleaning supplies and am happiest with my most recent set up. My main goal for the cleaning caddy is to have one place to store all the cleaning supplies needed for weekly cleaning sessions. Instead of having to grab cleaning supplies from multiple locations in our home, I simply pull out the cleaning caddy from under our kitchen sink and I’m off to clean.

The caddy

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

I love that this caddy has a sturdy handle, is easy to clean and has multi sized compartments to hold a variety of supplies, all of which I purchased at Target.

The essentials

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

The cleaning caddy & essentials come in handy each week as I clean our home and also as I’m planning our annual spring cleaning session. A couple notes on these essentials:

  • In addition to cleaning spray, I also keep Lysol Disinfecting Wipes for a deeper clean. (When used as directed, Lysol kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria)
  • I HATE cleaning the toilet. Who actually enjoys it? So I make sure to have the strong stuff on hand. Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner for 10X Cleaning Power* removes the toughest stains in seconds.
  • I love to use glass bottles to fill up with my cleaning sprays, I use Lysol Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner. It kills 99.9% of harmful kitchen bacteria without the harsh chemical residue other cleaners leave behind.
  • As you can tell, I don’t mess around with our cleaning supplies. I go for the good stuff that I know will get the job done. While I do enjoy organizing my cleaning process, that doesn’t mean I want to spend a lot of time cleaning! Scroll down for some great deals on not only Lysol products, but other must haves for spring cleaning including Air Wick, Woolite, and Finish!

 

 

The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring cleaning can be intimidating, frustrating and oh so time consuming! It can also be tough to tackle deep cleaning the entire house in a relatively short period of time. Although I like to do smaller cleaning sessions throughout the year, I still spend two long weekends annually deep cleaning the entire home. Over the years I’ve learned new ways to streamline this process and shall I almost say ‘make it enjoyable.’

1 I use a checklist for all big projects. Spring cleaning is no exception. I find that it helps me stay focused and also ensures I complete all the cleaning that I want to do. I’ve created variations of this checklist throughout the years, whether due to moving to new homes or simply finding new areas I want cleaned. Since no home or spring cleaning is alike, I’ve provided my personal list of cleaning tasks, but also space for you to add additional tasks for each room of your home.

2 With my checklist in hand and before ANY cleaning takes place, I walk through each room of the house, taking inventory of the cleaning tasks and add to the checklist when necessary.

3 Next I review the list of tasks ahead and ensure that I’ve got all the necessary supplies. In addition to my cleaning caddy essentials, I add items such as paper towels, detergent (I love the Woolite High Efficiency Extra Dark Dual Formula), and boom / dustpan. I head out to do ONE trip to grab any additional supplies that I need. Target is my tried and true one stop shop. Scroll down for coupons & savings on all your favorite brands!

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

4 Before I jump in to cleaning, I evaluate how much time I anticipate each room taking to clean. While I never guess the exact amount of time it will take, I do like to estimate. This helps me realistically determine how much I can get done during a weekday, evening or long weekend. It also prevents me from getting frustrated half way through spring cleaning because it always seems that there’s so much left to do!

5 Once I know how long I need to plan for each room, I add cleaning time to my calendar. No it’s not the most exciting event to look forward to, but it does help me stay committed and get the cleaning accomplished. Some years I’ve tried to tackle the entire spring cleaning in a weekend. While that used to work when I lived in a smaller space, I now divide up my spring cleaning in to two weekends with some weekend nights dedicated to a couple cleaning projects (cleaning the car for example)

6 It’s so tempting for me to dive in to reorganizing the spaces while I’m cleaning, so I dedicate my spring cleaning sessions to just that: CLEANING. I do make notes of organizing projects that I identify while cleaning each room. For me, spring CLEANING is enough of a project to handle right now without going down a rabbit hole of wanting to reorganize. Plus, I always know I’ll make time for those organizing projects at a later date!

How organize the essentials in a cleaning caddy. Everyone needs one! Perfect for weekly cleaning or the big annual spring cleaning.

Before I leave you to start your spring cleaning project, I want to give you a little bit more explanation on a couple of my spring cleaning tasks on my checklist that I’ve incorporated over the years.

  • Wash pillow covers & throws – many of our decorative pillow covers are used rarely if ever. I still wash these at least once a year as dust and general dirt can get on them, even if they’re not used.
  • Clean trash / recycling bins in the garage – I grab the hose to wash down the empty bins to get rid of any trash or spills that are stuck at the bottom. Trash is dirty enough without a gross garbage bin!
  • Dust light fixtures – even if I can’t find any dust on the light fixtures, I do like to dust them as a precaution annually. While I’m no expert, high heat and dust don’t sound like a safe combination if left for a prolonged amount of time! Better safe than sorry!

Don’t forget to fill up your cleaning caddy with all the essentials at Target!

 

 

 

 




 

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the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Bathroom soap scum … totally un-glamorous and completely annoying. It pops up and just won’t go away. It also can make an otherwise perfectly clean bathroom look totally dirty. I always wait until the soap scum is so bad that I know I just need to clean it. By then it’s too late. Well not ‘too late’ as in I can never get rid of it. But ‘too late’ for it to be an easy chore. I then proceed to spend at least 30 minutes trying to get the shower to look presentable only to realize I barely made a dent. Then I give up. Fast forward a week or two later and I do the same thing.

Eventually I stopped repeating my inefficient system (hello insanity) and figured out something better.

Lindsay = 1

Soap scum = 0

…. finally 🙂

the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Supplies:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Dish detergent
  • Dishwand Scrubber (This Scotch brand holds up really well AND you can buy refills …. surprisingly not all scrubbers have refills. Annoying, right?)

the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Instructions:

Open up your scrubber and fill it 1/3 with dish detergent and 2/3 with vinegar. The soap and vinegar may not mix together at the beginning. Totally fine. You can always give it a quick shake before you use it. I place one in each of our showers, keeping the actual scrubber part facing up. I do this so that the vinegar and detergent don’t leak out. Even if it leaks a little, it’s definitely not a big deal.

the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Now her’es the trick  ….

Instead of using it when your’e cleaning your bathroom, use it while you’re taking a shower! So when you’re in the shower use your scrubber to wash the walls. The hot water & steam of the shower will increase the cleaning ability. And continuing the shower water once you’re finished cleaning will ensure that the detergent and vinegar are washed OFF the walls.

I use the scrubber probably 3 times a week and only scrub for maybe 30 seconds each time. Instead of having to DEEP (and I mean DEEP) clean my shower once a week month, I use the scrubber a couple times a week. It’s made a HUGE difference in keeping up with soap scum and making our shower look presentable.

the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Who doesn’t love cleaning hacks?! Now if the rest of your bathroom is looking like the equivalent of that soap scum, take a look at our 5 Tips to Always Have A Clean Bathroom. These quick and painless tips will have your place looking amazing in now time!

the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!
the best tips I've seen lately to get rid of soap scum. Pinning for later!

Who doesn’t love an easy cleaning hack?!

 

 

 

 




 

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