In your fridge and in your freezer

Your fridge and freezer are one of the most used items in your kitchen, except for the sink, stove and ovens. We do not deep clean these often enough.

Basic hygiene

In a program I once watched, a cleaning team went into a home that had a vegetarian and two meat eaters sharing the space. They dyed a piece of meat with ultraviolet dye and then asked everyone to prepare their meals. The contamination of all the food was quite surprising, even with washing utensils after each use. Is your kitchen actually clean?

How often do you clean the back of the fridge/freezer door handles? Cleaning the inside of the fridge should be a regular task in your households cleaning routine.

If you have a self-defrosting freezer you need to schedule a good clean out of that as well. For those of us who have to periodically defrost the freezer, it is the perfect time to deep clean the shelves.

Month end shopping

I planned this task to coincide with when most people will be doing a big shop. Pay day has just been and we are all about to replenish the food in our kitchens. If you are putting this task onto a regular cleaning schedule, the best time to do this is right before the grocery run. You will then have a nice clean fridge and freezer in which to put all your new shopping.

It's on top!
The top of my fridge makes perfect storage space!

Fridge decor

How cluttered is the outside of your fridge? It is time to make room for the new paintings and drawings the children bring home from school. When the children were younger, any birthday invitations we received went onto the fridge door, sometimes sitting there for weeks after the event.

 

Bicarb always

To get a good deep clean and to get rid of any odours that may linger after the food is gone, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, make this into a paste and spread it with a cloth onto the surfaces and use a toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge/freezer.

My Freezer
Cleaning out your freezer will save you money!

Leave it for about 5 minutes and then using warm water wash it off.

For stubborn marks and odours, spray vinegar and then wash with the warm soapy water. Pay special attention to meat spills.

Repacking your fridge

When repacking your fridge, it is important that certain items be placed on specific shelves. Items that need defrosting should be placed on the bottom shelf in a bowl, or on a tray, to prevent the inevitable spillage from cross contaminating the rest of your food.

A rule of thumb is, cooked and ready to eat items top and middle shelves, food needing to be cooked, middle and bottom shelves.

Your fridge door is best used for items with a longer shelf life.

Don’t over fill your fridge as this can cause items to freeze and uses more electricity. Don’t overload the fridge door with heavy items as this can cause breakage.

How to pack your fridge

For more information check out the list I saved on Pinterest for how to pack your fridge https://za.pinterest.com/pin/6051780730348903/ or go to http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/refrigerator-storage-chart.html.

Packing your freezer is just as important as packing your fridge properly. You actually want to have this packed full, as the freezer works better with more food inside.

Pack like items together and also size and shape to make stacking easier. Label and date all frozen food.

Happy cleaning! Let us see those before and after photo’s please.

Meal planning and a sorted life

How does meal planning fit in with get sorted?

New habits

We’re getting sorted is all about clearing out the junk however, one of the most important ways to prevent the clutter from returning is to develop new habits.

This week we look at meal planning, this topic is one of my favourites. I have an entire blog about it. I offer online support on the topic. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/booking-form/

My monthly meal plan

Try this little exercise, write down everything you think you need to buy for your next 7 meals. Now go and look in your kitchen, the fridge, the freezer and the cupboards. What was on your list that you already have? Did you have more than one? Are there things that you had forgotten you even have?

This is part of my grocery cupboard all tidied up

Meal planning is about more than just knowing what is in your cupboard, it is about saving money, saving time and saving your sanity.

Take control

Planning your meals in advance is about taking control of another aspect of our homes and lives.

You don’t need a recipe book to meal plan, it is not set in stone.

What to cook?

Next week we will be sorting through our recipe books. Meal planning will give you a better way to know what cook books you want to keep close at hand, which ones you want out of the way and which you will be getting rid of?

Recipe books
Only recipe books I use are on this shelf and in my kitchen for easy access

An important part of meal planning is knowing what the family enjoys eating. If you don’t think meal planning is for you, why not try something simple? Take a piece of paper and write down everything you know your family loves to eat. You now have the start of your voyage into meal planning.

Organised meals

The most organised space in my house is my kitchen. Meal planning also renewed my love of cooking.

Gone are the days of coming home tired, opening a cupboard or fridge looking inside and closing it, then putting pasta on the stove, because it is easy and I am too tired to think or I forgot to take something out the freezer.

Now, even though I still often come home tired, meat is ready to cook because I took it out in the morning to defrost. I didn’t have to think about supper, my thinking was done when I had energy and put the meal on the menu.

There are still days where I look at the meal plan and think, ‘I don’t feel like this today’ and we land up with pasta of some type.

I am more likely to cook what has been defrosted than not as I don’t want to waste it and let it go off, so the family is eating much healthier Take out more than once a month is not in my budget.

Do you meal plan or do you wing it?

The paper round- Magazines and Newspapers

Week 2, This weeks assignment:

Clear out your magazine and newspaper collections.

I am still sticking to the easy stuff this week. I hope everyone was able to do their 15 minutes.

I say that I am sticking to the easy stuff but, in my house, newspapers, and more especially magazines, are a huge issue. About 5 years ago I decided to declutter some papers in my husband’s supposed study area as the clutter was getting to me. I found unopened professional magazines going back 5 years!  His answer when asked why, was that possibly there is a good article in them! I also found car service documents for cars that were sold before we were married in 1991! We still haven’t found the document my husband needs!

Now that we get the Jewish Life magazine, I have another set to worry about. He is presently diligently working on his collection of old magazines and papers, as he is looking for a very important set of documents.

Day 1:

Walk around your house with either a box or a plastic packet and collect all magazines and newspapers. Magazines with recipes should go where you keep your recipes, we will get to them another day. Choose the magazines you want or need and put them in the place you want to keep them. Remember magazines are good for projects, but you don’t need 100!

So far 2 Ronnie bags filled with old magazines and newspapers
So far 2 Ronnie bags filled with old magazines and newspapers

Day 2:

It’s time to get rid of old school books.  If you don’t already belong, maybe it’s time to sign up for the group called Second hand school books and uniform exchange. Here you can either swop or sell your unwanted books. I am sure even your old textbooks from varsity could go there!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/539750712854478/

Day 3:

You collected your magazines; maybe you feel that it is a waste to recycle them into the bin, so what about finding underprivileged schools that could use them for school projects? Just remember that when you donate the magazines, they should be appropriate. Men’s Health may not be the right magazine to give to a primary school, but it might be the perfect thing for a high school!

Day 4:

You have chosen what you want to keep, now it is time to relook at why you want to keep them and what purpose they will serve.  Any newspaper more than 2 weeks old should be put in a recycling bag, if there is an article you want to keep, cut out that article and get rid of the rest.  The same treatment goes for magazines 3 months and older. If there was a recipe or something in a magazine that you wanted, tear it out and put it with your recipes. You don’t need to keep a whole magazine for  one page in it.

Day 5:

You have torn out the recipes you wanted from the magazines that you don’t want, now remember those old school files you decluttered last week?  Use one to create a file to store your recipes or articles in.

With these small tasks, each day you should already start seeing a difference in your home and it only took a little time each day.

If you have help, the tasks may go faster, or slower, depending on who is helping you!

This is what my wonderfully clean and organised entrance, with the help I am getting sorting papers!

my entrance has now collected the old books!
my entrance has now collected the old books!

Remember to share!

It is out there!

I decided, can’t remember why, to have a professional cleaning service in to do my house while my full time domestic is away.  Best decision I ever made! Good service – it’s out there!

In November I contacted and booked with a company called Sweep South after I saw their advert on Facebook.

I booked for them to come for 2 days as I have a large house, 6 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, my bead room, lounge, dining room, study and kitchen.

I have a full time domestic and a lady who comes 2 full days to help with ironing – 6 people create a lot of laundry!

Over the years I have been a very laid back employer.  I trust that when I say dusting, it is getting done and that the vacuuming of the carpets is done twice a week, as I have written in the cleaning schedule.

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/house-cleaning-check-list/

First mistake!   I need to be a bit lot more hands on, with ensuring the work I requested gets done. My expectations were not high as I am aware that there is a lot of clutter in my house (my husband is a minor hoarder).

My husbands hoard
My husbands hoard

Monday morning, after a little miscommunication on my address, the cleaners arrived on time.  They had phoned me 30 minutes before they were due, to say that they were outside my house (wrong house, wrong suburb!, this actually happens quite often with deliveries).

They changed their clothes and began cleaning.  They started moving beds, which from the amount of rubbish under them, hadn’t been moved in possibly 6 months. Now the ladies asked for my vacuum cleaner, so I showed them where it is. Disaster!  At some stage the catches that hold the top of the machine to the tank where the dirt is stored, have been broken, so the top came off and, to my disgust and, need I say, embarrassment, it hadn’t been cleaned out since the last time it was used.  That time is now in question as we could not get it to work, no matter what we tried. So off I went to get a ‘cheap’ vacuum cleaner. Somewhere I actually have a second vacuum cleaner, which I know my domestic hates. No idea where it has been hidden. Hopefully I can get an answer in January!

Before
Before
almost done
almost done

These ladies then washed the walls and doors of every room, changed the sheets and vacuumed the carpets in all the rooms and then cleaned all the bathrooms (2 ½ bathrooms). The dust and the dirt in the carpets and the black marks on the doors were so bad that it took both of them a full day. So my lounge, dining room, kitchen and the junk room/home office/study were left untouched.  There is now a long list of topics to discuss with my domestic in January!

Here is an important note; my husband is looking for an important document somewhere in all that junk, so the mess is more spread out than usual!

Looking for documents
Looking for documents

I have written before that the one thing that defeats me in my home is the clutter! Tuesday morning the cleaners arrive on time.  I decide to use the two ladies to work on the kitchen, lounge, dining room and disastrous study.

IMG_3323 IMG_3324 IMG_3325 IMG_3327

behind the couch

In the end we managed to do only the study and lounge. The 3 of us worked for 8 solid hours clearing and sorting. I have another item on the agenda for January’s discussion with my domestic.

IMG_3378 IMG_3379 IMG_3380 IMG_3381 IMG_3382 IMG_3383

By time the ladies left, I was exhausted. I don’t know how they were, because they definitely worked harder than I did with all the heavy lifting. In the end we got rid of 8 full bags of paper and 3 rubbish bags.

IMG_3384 IMG_3385 IMG_3386 IMG_3387 IMG_3388 IMG_3389 IMG_3390

They sorted and packed and dusted and mopped. We can now see the floor and windows of the study clearly. The curtains are down as they are in serious need of a wash. . The window area in my husband’s study is 6 meters wide and these are full length curtains!

There wasn’t much time for the lounge, so they just tidied up and vacuumed.  The furniture will have to be moved in January.

I will be booking them again in April when Jewish homes need to undergo a massive cleaning as is usual in our preparation for Passover.

If you wish to book them, please use the coupon code GECISP and get R100 off your booking.

I learnt from this experience that fantastic customer service is still alive out there, you may not come across good customer service often and I know I have never come across this type of excellence!

Well done to the team and owner of Sweep South. I am your customer for life!

Sorted

Welcome to a whole new chapter in Kashering Your Life. This is a group project so I have started a Facebook group called ‘We’re Getting Sorted’. Here’s what it’s all about.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted

For those of you who have been reading my blog, especially the “About Me’ page, you will see that decluttering my house has been a losing battle for me over the last 20 or more years!

At the beginning of 2015 I found a group called Declutter 365 , run by a lady named Tory.  The group is about decluttering your home in 15 minute sessions, 365 days a year. Obviously I joined and am still a member of the group. There is, however, one fairly large problem that has prevented me from keeping up with the groups cleaning calendar which is that it is an American based group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/declutter365

This means that when they are talking about putting away the snow shoes and clothes, we are pulling our winter stuff out of the cupboards. Then a whole month is dedicated to something that is very rare in South Africa, and I believe in Australia and New Zealand too, and that is Attics and Basements! Also their kids are on school holidays at different times to ours and they start school at the ‘ wrong’ time of the year. If you do have either a basement or an attic in your home, let me know so we can look at adding it to the calendar.

So I asked a professional to come have a look at my house.  When I told her my budget, she was polite enough not to laugh at me! 2016 is around the corner and I will not let another year go by without making a concerted effort to beat the clutter!

So I started the We’re Getting Sorted group.   I figured that with having to lead the way and with everyone watching, I would have no choice but to clear up and clear out the junk!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted

Here’s what you will need.  A timer, because you are only going to clean in 15 minute cycles.

15 minutes at a time
15 minutes at a time

A large black dustbin bag for the rubbish you will throw away and 2 kinds of boxes or crates, for the things you are going to put away, donate or sell.

Dustbin for trash
Dustbin for trash

Here’s how to do the 15 minute increments! Take your timer, bag and box to the area you are working in. Set the timer for 10 minutes as this is the time you will use to sort your area into the bag or the boxes. As you sort either put the item back in its place or into the dustbin bag, or donation box, or into the ‘return to the right place’ box.

donation box

When your 10 minutes are up, use the last 5 minutes to take the “return to right place” box and put everything back to where it is supposed to be.  You don’t have to put it in the correct spot, just the right room or area because you will get there later to tidy that spot too. Then take out the trash and put away the donate box either into a space where you can fill it up as you go along or to where ever you are donating. This can be the boot of your car until you can deliver.

On my website I have a list of charities and what they need/want and also if they collect.

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/charities-to-support-getting-sorted/

If you do have time to do more, then go ahead.  However, I found that 15 minutes is usually all I have time and energy for after working a full day and then making supper and supervising homework.

At the beginning of each week, I will post a blog about the upcoming tasks and the reasoning behind some of them. We will be starting with easy stuff and then working up to the big things.

In the group I encourage everyone to share their before and after pictures, their experiences and tips that work for you.

We all have different shaped and sized rooms in our homes, so what might work for one person may not work for another. If you have a question or suggestion, but don’t want to put in on the FB page with your name, email me and I will post it, so that everyone can give ideas.

Remember this is going to be an interactive group activity. The rules are simple.

  1. Everyone is invited
  2. Pictures are welcome
  3. Suggestions are encouraged
  4. No rude remarks or naming and shaming
  5. If you find an item that you think will help get others organised, email me, if we have enough members, maybe I can approach the company to give us a group members special.
  6. No advertising. (if you wish to advertise a business that may go well with any aspect of Kashering your life, email me to get the rates to advertise on the website)
  7. Lastly have fun, don’t feel pressurised into keeping up, life happens.

My email address is adrienne@kasheringyourlife.co.za.  If you know someone who might like to join but who isn’t on Facebook, direct them to my website to sign up and they will get the schedules and calendars emailed to them. www.kasheringyourlife.co.za

 

Let’s enjoy the journey together!

We're getting sorted January Calendar 2016
We’re getting sorted January Calendar 2016

Where do you start?

We have so much these days
We have so much these days

If you look at how you grew up and how your parents grew up, you will notice that you and your kids have far more ‘things’ than in previous generations, yet technology is supposed to simplify all of this.

We live on credit, so buying goodies and gadgets is easy. I know my father had a rule that if you couldn’t pay for it in total, you didn’t buy it. If only I had stuck to that simple philosophy.  Just look at our cell phones for example. Think about how many you have in your cupboard, or drawer, because you are a contract user and upgrade every 2 years. What do you do with the old ones? They still work, so you can’t throw them away.

Where are your old cell phones?
Where are your old cell phones?

Clothes don’t last and neither do fashions, so you are always buying new stuff and the kids want the latest name brand, or in my home, boy band items!

Your weekly area newspaper arrives and it has 16 pages, with 30 pages of advertising pull outs. We get professional magazines, which my husband insists on keeping.  We then also have the weekly school notices and the kids school art work (put up your hands if you REALLY do throw the art work away).

Our weekly papers are filled with inserts
Our weekly papers are filled with inserts

I still have VHS videos, DVD’s from when my kids were babies. They are still in good condition even though we haven’t watched them in at least 5 years! In a recent search for a lost item I came across a set of cassette tapes from when my husband was still at varsity!  That makes them almost antique! (30 years old).

Cassette tapes, from the 80's
Cassette tapes, from the 80’s
We have lots of old movies on VHS
We have lots of old movies on VHS

Keeping stuff when it is no longer useful is the start of clutter! In the 30’s and 40’s there was a war on and things were in short supply, so a lot of hoarding took place and then they recycled those things that could be used.  Unless you are living in a country with a war going on, you really have no excuse for keeping junk. That’s what OLX, BidorBuy and Cash Converters are for, to get rid of your junk. There is a saying that  “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

Have a garage sale, give it to charity, or give it to someone who will use it, but don’t keep it!

Get rid of your junk and earn money
Get rid of your junk and earn money

I know it is hard to get rid of those cute baby things and toys but, honestly, how do we expect our homes to be clean and tidy, when we have so much stuff in them!

This is where you start on cleaning your house, not the dusting and the washing of walls and ceilings. You can clean as much as you like, but if there is too much in the rooms, it never looks tidy. So, before you start looking at cleaning schedules, start looking at decluttering techniques!

Here are links to previous posts on cleaning up.

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/house-cleaning-check-list/

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/07/21/the-konmari-method-of-cleaning-your-space/

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/08/18/my-cupboard-adventure/

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/10/20/can-it-be-done/

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/07/28/cleaning-up-your-schedule-or-scheduling-your-clean-up/

 

My Cupboard Adventure

I took my own advice this week and Konmari’d my cupboard!

I definitely owned far too many clothes, some of which date back a minimum of 11 years and some even older!

The hardest part about this was that a few of the things I really liked but don’t fit into anymore. I didn’t throw everything out!

I have a favourite white linen outfit that I have worn once a year on Yom Kippur, for the last, I forget how many years. That was not going anywhere! I also kept two dresses that once again nearly fit me, 2 kg more and they will fit perfectly.

Any clothes with stains that I loved, went into the wash with stain remover.  If it didn’t come out, it was put into the box! Anything I didn’t absolutely love also went into the box.

I improvised a new hanger system for clothes that couldn’t hang properly.

  

I folded my drawers the way the Konmari method suggested and it definitely works.

I still have to do my hats and scarves and my shoes, then it is all done!

The boxes are full and waiting to go to charity and Jumble, they are stored outside.  I will only sort this once I have got my husband to sort his cupboard and go through the kids cupboards as well.

I am not surprised the Konmari method recommended starting with your cupboards first. It wasn’t that hard to do, even with the few clothes that I have an emotional attachment to.

We may never be short of hangers again!

When was the last time you cleaned out your clothes cupboards? I would love to hear how you do your sorting.

What happened to my house?

We got married in 1991 and it is 21 years since we moved into our very own new home. At the time, we had no children and, amongst our friends, we were the only married couple.  Being ‘Frum’ was relatively new to our Jewish community.

First we lived in a beautiful, large 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, flat in Berea but my husband did the Torah reading at Pine Street Shul, so every Shabbat we would pack up and move to my mother-in-law. 6 Months later we moved to a rented house near the Shul. However, the foundation of the house was shifting and our front porch was leaning over.

We started looking for a house to buy in the area. The major selling point of this particular house was the large kitchen and the fact that it had 2 full bathrooms and a guest toilet and that we thought we could afford.

The fact that it had 4 bedrooms was irrelevant at the time, since we had no children.

I did, and to a certain extent still do, however, have an open home. Anyone needing a bed or a meal on Shabbat and/or Yom Tov is always welcome. My husband and his, at that time, single 2 best friends, spent a lot of time here. 3 Men need 3 bathrooms! We also hosted Sheva Berachot (after a wedding different people host the bride and groom for seven days with a minimum of 10 men to bestow blessings for married life) for everyone of our friends who got married and, for some unknown reason, I only hosted Friday night Sheva Berachot.

Sheva Brachot

My house was pristine. I was making clothes at the time, so I had a lady to do the buttons and hems. She also did the washing and ironing. Then along came baby no. 1, my boy, AY, who will be 19 this year. My house was still clean and tidy. Just 18 months later came baby no. 2, my daughter, ZS. My sewing lady became my full time domestic, as I needed to return to full time work, she is still with me today. My house was still clean, just not so tidy anymore.

clean house

Baby no. 3, another girl, LB, came along 4 years later. It was a long and difficult pregnancy (a story for another year), I lost interest in making sure the house was spotless, as long as it was clean. No. 4 another girl, AT, was born 2 years later. It was time to get a second domestic who is also still with me today.

Things went downhill from there but I was just too tired to care enough. I tried to draw up cleaning schedules for them but because I didn’t check up, my house was now not only untidy, it was also dirty and I was working full time as a nurse, which is really a very tiring and stressful occupation.

This year, in March, I started a new job and things have changed. I now work a normal 9-5 day for a specialist.  I have my cleaning schedule in place and I am checking that the work is actually being done. Having 2 domestic workers is not getting my house cleaner because, if something isn’t done, they blame each other.

Now I have re-arranged the cleaning schedule and each person is assigned a specific task and the jobs are divided equally between the heavy cleaning, the washing and ironing,and the normal housework.

I know my house isn’t going to get tidier if I don’t declutter, and it definitely won’t get cleaner.  Because what’s the point of cleaning a storage room?

We’ve previously scheduled the kitchen, the dinning room, the lounge and entrance. So now I add the bathroom cleaning schedule. I hope this helps you too!

DAILY

Wipe down all mirrors, taps, sinks, baths and toilet seats

Mop the floors

The shower doors, if they are glass

WEEKLY

Wash the outside of the toilets

Clean the drains and taps thoroughly

QUATERLY

Wash the windows

Damp dust the skirting boards and clean the doors

I go through the cupboards and throw out old and expired soaps and shampoos

Clean the cupboards

6 MONTHLY

Wash the doors, door handles, lights and light switches

Wash the shower curtains and check for mould

ANNUALY

Wash the walls and ceilings of the bathrooms

Clean the grouting in the tiles

I clear out expired medicines.

IMAGES SUPPLIED BY GOOGLE

It isn’t going to happen overnight and it certainly isn’t going to happen if we don’t stay on top of it.

Do you have a schedule that works? If you are a stay at home mom without help, how do you stay on top of the cleaning? Let us know, we can all learn from each other.

Do you know me?

This is a long blog post. I felt that it was necessary to reintroduce myself to everyone. I wrote and published the first Kasheringyourlife blog on the 28 June 2015 and already 5 weeks later I have over 180 followers (thank you all). I read a blog about blogging and in it they said that people need to know why I am doing this blog and why they should read it. So this is my story.

I started a journey a while ago (10 years ago) and I haven’t got very far.

bead room
My very messy beading area

My house is a mess and every TV show or blog or self-help book about hoarders and clutter says that your environment reflects your feelings and affects your home life.

This is true, when I looked at the mess my house had become, with one room totally uninhabitable, I knew it was time to get pro-active and start cleaning. Coming home was depressing.

Also we were struggling financially. We are a family of 6 and we keep strictly kosher, which is expensive, and then the kids were all in private Jewish day schools.  I am a nurse and I don’t earn a big salary.  We are in debt and have been for years (our own fault). We needed to fix this and we are still working on it.

There were a few problems with putting my plan into action.

I worked long hours, leaving home at 6am and getting home at 5pm or later. Then I went back to studying and my hours changed once more. Class was once a week, so on those days I left home at 6am and got home at 5pm and still had to do homework. On the days I didn’t study, I had to work, as the hospital was sponsoring part of my tuition. I am a nurse so the shifts are 12 hours (7 -7)  and 3 days a week I would leave home at 6am as you need to be at work 15 minutes before shift change for patient handover, and return after 8pm (not everybody arrives on time for handover). I worked every 2nd Sunday.

shabbat
Friday night, Shabbat ingredients

Saturday, in the Jewish religion, is Sabbath and no work is done on that day. The Sabbath actually begins on Friday night at sunset until Saturday night after sunset. I know for some of you this will be hard to believe but we don’t use electricity on that day, so no cooking and everything must be done before Sabbath starts. If you want a hot lunch for Saturday, you can use a slow cooker and keep an urn on for tea or coffee.  No cell phones and no fixed lines. No shopping and no cars. You walk to Synagogue (Jewish Church), then walk home for lunch or out to friends for lunch.

cell
Jews don’t use cell phones or other electronics on Shabbat

Due to the time I left every morning, my husband was responsible for getting everyone to school.  My domestic was responsible for all the cooking. She is a competent cook but almost every meal was pasta. On my days off I was just too tired to do anything, plus I still needed to study.  My mother and mother-in-law luckily do all the fetching from school.

car pool
Lift schemes to get everyone home from school

I have 4 children (1 boy – AYB is 18, 3 girls ZSB is 17, LBB is 13 and AYB is 11) plus a husband who has a full time job and a part time job at the Synagogue.  My house has just kept getting more and more full. My house wasn’t and isn’t dirty.  I have a domestic worker but she cannot be expected to know what papers to keep and what to throw away, so the clutter builds.

I love to read and I love the internet, so I started reading blogs on household management, decluttering, organising.  I watched TV programs on cleaning, I bought books on cleaning and I drew up detailed cleaning schedules for myself and my domestic help. Even the lady who does the washing and ironing got a schedule.

schedule
Having a cleaning schedule is an important aspect of housekeeping

Now, with any job, no matter what position you hold, most of us, if we don’t have a deadline or a supervisor watching, get lazy or only do half a job and that’s what happened here. I was too tired to check if the domestic had followed the schedule and after a while she stopped. Me? Well, I didn’t even get started.

All these books and blogs I read, and shows I watched,are for people in America and England but there is nothing for South Africa. Our lives here, in this amazingly diverse country, are very different to those of people overseas. I could find lots on cooking and a few articles on home finance and budgeting, mostly from financial institutions. This wasn’t working.

self help
A lot of research went before the start of this blog

I now have a new job. I work 8:30 to 5pm around the corner from where I live. For the first time since 2008, I can take my kids to school in the morning and I am home to cook supper at night.

We eat a lot less pasta! I enjoy cooking and from some amazing blogs I have learned to plan a monthly menu, I do my shopping based on this and I am starting to see the savings.  I am even losing weight! YAY!

loose weight
Weight loss and getting healthy is easier with menu planning

I have reinstituted my cleaning schedule and I am clearing out the junk. I am throwing away the broken, the damaged and obsolete, giving to charity and selling some things. Slowly but surely it is getting done.

I would love to have feedback from people who read my posts, or try the recipes I put out. I would really appreciate anybody who has implemented their own cleaning schedules, or started menu planning, to share your successes and failures with us.

I am hoping that by this time next year the blog will have grown and my house will be less messy and I will have the credentials to feature professionals that align with this blog. In this blog I want to cover mainly household management, budgeting and share recipes and tips for your kitchen and occasionally, write about Jewish Life.

Cleaning up your schedule or scheduling your clean up!

schedule

A lot of the decluttering blogs that I have read give cleaning schedules for your house and they are all American. In this country a lot of us either have full time domestic, or part time domestic help, very few people have no help at all.

My question is this; if you have help do you think your house is actually clean? I mean, how often are your skirting boards cleaned? Has your ceiling ever been washed (except for that time you painted it)?  Do you clean your light switches, your mattresses, do your kitchen cupboards only get cleaned out when you change for Pesach and what about the people who don’t change over and don’t keep kosher? How often should things be cleaned?

All these questions!  I have one full time and one part time maid and I know my house isn’t as clean and tidy as it should be, especially with the kids at school. This means others have the same issues.

A few people have asked about cleaning schedules. I started working on one for my home with full time help. I have decided that if it is working for me it will help others.

Here is the kitchen schedule. I have broken the tasks down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, bi annually and annually. I think for those who are kosher and change for Pesach (Passover) this will make things a little easier. To arrange this I drew up the schedule, then sat down with a large yearly planner and started plotting the days. Once you have this, it will help you plan you new regime.

Obviously this is just a guideline. The washing of windows, ceilings and walls are done by my gardener.

This schedule was adapted from www.householdmanagement101.com, which is an American site so the original schedule was not only for a vastly different house to those found in South Africa but also for someone who has no full time domestic help.

A good tip is that if you change for Pesach, then schedule your big annual cleaning for the 4 weeks before, so that it isn’t so stressful. Knowing that it is already planned can make the stress, leading up to your change over, much easier.

This week in my house, it was time to clean the grouting in the bathrooms. I have included a before and after picture. I am not a photographer so I apologise for the lighting issues in the photo’s.

before clean tile

Enjoy your clean kitchen!

 

Kitchen cleaning Schedule

DAILY

  • Clean all the kitchen counters first thing in the morning and each time food is prepared.
  • Clean the stove and oven after each use
  • Wash the dishes after each meal or load the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher only when full.

WEEKLY

  • Scrub the drying racks clean
  • Wipe down the outside of the kitchen cupboards, washing machine, dishwasher and fridge and tumble dryer.

MONTHLY

  • Clean the inside of the washing machine, especially the rubber seals and the soap dispenser
  • Clean the inside of your kitchen and inside house bins
  • Clean inside the dishwasher

QUARTERLY

  • Clean and wash the inside of the fridge, including the egg trays, and special attention to the fridge handles.
  • Scrub the black off the bottom of the pots
  • Sort and match Tupperware and lids
  • Wash the kitchen windows
  • Damp dust the skirting boards

BI ANUALLY

  • Clean light switches, door handles and light covers
  • Clean pet food bowls properly

ANUALLY

  • If the oven is not self cleaning, deep clean ovens, remove glass, if possible, and clean thoroughly
  • Wash the walls, doors and ceilings
  • Clean the inside of the tumble dryer
  • Clean the grouting between the tiles

Feel free to copy and print this schedule, once I work out how to include a downloadable pdf file, you will be the first to know. (hint, hint Help somebody LOL)

Let me know, what rooms do you find the most neglected in your house?