What a pleasure it was talking to Fiona on the Simple Savings radio show recently – mind you, listening to it yesterday was a bit scary, I never knew how much I say ‘Um!’ Going over all my bad spending habits on the show made me realise just how far I have come. I don’t know about anyone else but for some strange reason I always seem to suffer from the urge to splurge more during the winter months. Obviously Ali and I are spending a fair bit of time inside together at the moment and I have found myself scrutinizing every square inch of our abode. Usually I don’t keep still long enough to notice whether I can swing on the cobwebs or see my reflection in the oven door, but all this quality time I am currently spending with my youngest has given me the opportunity to sit down and evaluate our environment. I was dismayed to find there is a lot of room for improvement!
The reason? I am embarrassed to admit it, but I fell off the Flylady wagon some time ago. I was doing so well and feeling so positive and in control, but what with everyone getting ill over winter and the constant visits to the doctor, vet or wherever, I found myself getting behind and I couldn’t catch up. The first time I didn’t get round to shining my sink I could have cried – I felt like such a failure! To anyone not familiar with the Flylady regime this probably sounds downright daft, but those who have done it know how rewarding it is to achieve just one small area of perfection in a chaotic world. Of course, once I had let it slip one time there was no going back. Because of the guilt I felt ‘letting myself go’, I soon stopped reading my daily reminders from Flylady. At first I simply transferred them into a separate folder to peruse later, but I just never got round to it and by the time I had 24 reminders sitting there unread, I decided it was easier just to delete them. If there are any SS members out there who are seasoned Flybaby’s, I would love to hear from you and share any tips you have for sticking it out! I soon became disheartened with my Weekly Home Blessing too. I imagine that Marla must have a pretty small house, because I just can’t do it in an hour – I think my house requires two Home Blessings; one for upstairs and one for downstairs!
Luckily I have recently found a new saviour – two actually, by the name of Kim and Aggie. They are the hosts of a popular programme called ‘How Clean is Your House?’ I have never seen the show but Mum spoke about them often and their amazing cleaning tips for even the most slovenly types. I was excited to see them discussed recently in the SS Forum too and so when I spied the book based on the show of the same name last week, I had to snap it up (I know! I bought a book! Can’t remember the last time I didn’t read a free one!) Anyway, I was extremely glad I did. This book, combined with a bit of Flylady and a few Vault tips has resulted in me having the sparkliest, most hygienically clean home we have had for a very long time.
For example, I was appalled to discover that my microwave was worryingly close to resembling the photo Kim and Aggie used as an example in their book. It was a job I was really not looking forward to tackling but all it took was a cup of water with a few slices of lemon floating in it. I zapped it for three minutes on high, wiped it out and not only was I left with a sparkly clean microwave but it smelled wonderful and much better than any costly cleaners could have left it. I have also found good old washing powder to be a miracle worker. I clean our acrylic bath regularly but couldn’t understand why it was so marked all the way around. I have since found out that the yukky build up is due to my love of adding essential oils to the bath, which coats it and is near impossible to get off. Anyway, my new book told me to run a warm bath, add a scoop of laundry washing powder and leave overnight. I didn’t have the luxury of leaving it overnight but was amazed after only a few hours to find that all the build-up (which I thought was permanently ingrained) wiped off completely with next to no effort. At the time I thought it was a rather strange thing to be doing, but seeing the results it actually made sense – after all, washing powder dissolves dirt and grease on our clothes; why not other things too?
This theory was proved again when I cleaned my oven this afternoon. One of my most hated tasks, I could put it off no longer. The oven racks in particular were going to prove challenging. I remembered reading a Vault hint about placing the racks in a rubbish sack and soaking in cloudy ammonia, but on trying it out I discovered I was out of ammonia, darn! So I scoured the Vault again and found another hint for soaking the racks in hot water with laundry powder added. I was all set to leave them overnight but only half an hour later Noel came along chuckling and told me Ali had taken it upon himself to clean the racks. The washing powder had been so effective that even my little one was able to wipe off all the burnt on stuff and restore them to a sparkling shine. I will never use anything else and if cleaning the oven can be that easy, I shall be doing it far more often!
Even cleaning the bathroom and toilet was fun. The one part of my Flylady regime that I had been able to keep up was the daily ‘Swish & Swirl’ and I do take a pride in that particular job, but no amount of swishing and swirling could improve the state of our old loo. Over the past three years I have bought all kinds of chemicals to try and remove all the stains (it’s from mineral build-up in the water, I assure you!) but to no avail. So when my book told me to drop a couple of denture cleaning tablets into the toilet, I was quite happy to give it a go. I couldn’t believe the results! Just a few hours later I was staring down a very different toilet bowl, with no scrubbing required! What I like about this book is that it works well with many of the Simple Savings ethics. Kim and Aggie are great supporters of using vinegar, bicarb soda and all kinds of low-cost and environmentally friendly products to get the best results. I also like the fact that I am able to use the book for easy reference as each job presents itself. One way or another I will achieve a respectable home!
In case I am sounding a little obsessive about cleaning this week, I have good reason. I am so excited to be welcoming a very important Simple Savings visitor tomorrow with her family! Can anyone guess who it is? I’m sure we will have far too much to catch up on for her to be examining my oven or peering into the toilet bowl, such as tripping over one-eyed dogs, countless cats and singing donkeys but should the occasion arise, I shall be ready! Welcome to the chaotic Wise household Fiona!