Tag Archives: Cleaning

Scrapbook: Sweeping at the Library

6 Nov

Last week my Mom and I took Isobel to the special Halloween program at the library. It was packed beyond anything I’d ever seen. A sea of toddlers and babies, bedecked in adorable costumes, squirming as we sang songs and motioned through finger plays.

Isobel normally loves interacting with kids at the library and wanders around gregariously among the children during story time. There were so many people that this time she stuck close to home and even sat on my lap. She kept saying, “I’m a little shy.” I’d conservatively estimate there were 75-100 people there that day.

While we waited for the library to open, she busied herself by sweeping up the leaves that had gathered by the entrance. She is such a clean, hardworking witch.

Thrifty Living: Cloth Cleaning Rags

23 Jun

Before I was able to amass my cloth napkin stash, I began to cut back on my paper towel consumption by stockpiling my rags in kitchen and bathrooms specifically for cleaning. I’d read about how you can make your own out of a large bolt of cotton flannel fabric and a sewing machine, but we did not have enough money at the time to buy fabric, and I didn’t have the time to cut them out and sew them. And to be honest, what I ended up doing was way easier.

Although this post isn’t a Thrift Store Score, you could easily do this with towels picked up while thrifting. We’ve saved a lot of money by switching to cloth rags.

I noticed that some of my white bath towels didn’t look as pristine as they once did. Actually, Anthony noticed this and he alerted me to the fact that they were, in his words, “gross.” So I cut up the towels that had lost their bloom with some very sharp scissors, and portioned them out two sizes for rags. Those are the towels you see on the right.

The ends are very frayed because I never bothered to go back and hem them with some bias tape. It doesn’t affect their absorbance or performance, but it does make them look shabby. It was never really a problem till we had a kid and started using cloth diapers. When we threw these guys in the wash with the diapers all the little strings would attach themselves to the velcro and a nightly part of our diaper-folding tradition involved pulling cotton threads from the tabs. It was annoying, and if we didn’t do it, the tabs lost their grip. But if you don’t use cloth diapers or wear lots and lots of velcro, this won’t be a problem for you.

We keep them in the skinny cupboard next to the sink, and as I went to take this picture I realized that most of them were in the dryer, waiting to be folded, but here’s the two that are left. Normally this shelf is stuffed with rags, but since Isobel came along, I’ve considered doubling our supply. We go through them now at an alarming rate.

In the beginning the rags still looked like nice hand towels, so I wrote “kitchen” on them with a sharpie to easily identify them as rags. Now, however, what with the stains of wear and use and the giant frayed edges, the label is a bit unnecessary. My rags have stains like this on them even after they are laundered, but they are rags so I don’t care. If I did I could bleach them or lay them out in the sun for awhile.

The smaller of the two piles are bathroom rags. These are wash cloths that I bought a huge stack of for cheap at a dollar store. They are the kind of washcloths that get really stiff and rough with use, but are perfect for wiping the water your daughter spilled all over the counter by “washing her hands,” or for wiping the mirror of tiny, yet numerous, fingerprints. I split the stack I bought into two and keep half of them under the sink in the front bathroom and half under the sink in our bathroom. (I took a photo but my bathroom cupboards are kind of a mess so I’m not going to post them.)

If you don’t sew or just don’t have the time or inclination to make cleaning rags, it’s certainly easy enough to find thrifted towels to do the job. It’s saved us money over the years and it’s much nicer to clean with cloth rather than paper.

This is why we had kids

13 Mar

Now I just need a Roomba and my life is complete.

After: The Library

2 Feb

I have to admit I find the library’s transformation to be better than the after shots of Isobel’s room. (Go ahead and click here to see the before shots. We’ll wait.) I have a lot of things I’d like to change in this room, as well, but it lacks the transitional clutter of the nursery had has somewhat less chairs!

Oh wait. What the hell am I thinking? This room has more chairs. When I went through and photographed my house for the Thrifted Home Tour I noticed all the random Scandinavian things and thought I had a mild Viking theme going on, but do you know what? If I had to sum up my decorating style I guess I’d say Chairs, chairs, chairs!!!

I should rename this post “My office chairs: A Memoir.”

You’ll notice from the before pics that the desk was covered in crap. I’m not sure if I had the presence of mind to clear the cups and plates away from the computer, but when no one’s home I eat there on my lunch so there’s usually some, er, remnants. Damn. I really hope I cleaned that up for you guys. Now, however, it’s all cleaned off and shiny and I even organized the library card catalog file on my desk.

Oh, and I fit as many of your Christmas cards as I could on my bulletin board. The rest on are the fridge. Thanks again, I love getting mail.

For the most part, my Secret Shame is gone, but you’ll notice Isobel’s car seat in the corner. It’s back in Anthony’s car now, where it belongs, but I took this photo while he was in LA.

I like to call this area “Nerd Corner.” Kind of like Pooh Corner, except its for nerds and not for er, Poohs, I guess. You’ll notice the nasty carpet I keep harping on. (It was nasty and old when we moved in.) In the Olden Days I’d have edited it out using Photoshop. But let’s face it, internet, our Honeymoon period is over and now you have to endure me and all my flaws. Oh, and not tonight. I have a headache.

Here’s why we call this room the library. You’ll notice our book situation and how it has gotten out of hand. I’m eventually going to end up giving some of these away to friends and blog readers so stay tuned. I tried to do some weeding and it as largely unsuccessful. I found about five books I’d be able to part with. And let’s just say that Anthony and I are planning on buying more than five new books in our lives.

(It suddenly occurs to me–I should have a CHAIR giveaway!)

(Or maybe I should just have people over more to justify the amount of chairs.)

The additional shelf we are planning on getting will be added to nerd corner. Anthony’s already dibbed it so I’m sure it will be full of Manga and Pathfinder books.)

Aaaand here’s the desk, so we’ve come full circle. What do you think?