...because home doesn't happen overnight.

clean floor 1

I hope you don’t mind if I stick with the organizing / cleaning theme for one more post. Another housekeeping-related question that pops up in my inbox frequently (even more so than the globe light question) is “How do you clean your floors?” I try to clean them thoroughly every week but sometimes it’s more like every other week. Here’s what I do…

clean floor 2

1 – First I vacuum up loose dirt, dust and debris. I use a Shark Navigator that I bought 2+ years ago when our horrible ten-year-old vacuum finally died. At the time, I was *this close* to splurging on a Dyson. Then I found the Shark. It was affordable and had stellar reviews so I gave it a try. I LOVE this vacuum. It does what it’s supposed to do and is versatile & super easy to maneuver. I use it with the brush turned off on the wood floors. I also use it on all the rugs in our home. For shorter pile rugs, I turn the brush on. For the shag and jute rugs, I turn the brush off. The attachments are great for upholstery and reaching dust bunnies up high, in corners and under furniture. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly vacuum that works well on hard and soft surfaces, I can’t say enough good things about this one.

2 – After all the crumbs and dust bunnies are cleared, I use a Bona spray mop to condition the wood and give it that clean floor sheen. A hand trigger makes mopping quick & painless. For our medium toned floors, I prefer the shaggier dusting pad. It does a better job of attracting dust and cat hair than the lower pile cleaning pad. I just throw the dusting pad in the wash (no fabric softener!) and let it air dry. The cartridge is refillable. I keep a large jug of Bona cleaner on hand for refills. It’s odorless, non-toxic and doesn’t leave any residue. Our floors have a satin-like finish (as opposed to a high gloss finish) and this cleaner is perfect for them. *BONUS* – I also use the Bona cleaner in a spray bottle to dust the lower wood cabinets in the kitchen. So many uses!

3 – I use a smaller Eureka handheld vacuum for quick cleanups in between the more thorough cleanings. I’ve only owned this vacuum a month (it was a Christmas gift and had been on my wish list forever) but I’m really happy with it so far. It’s great for the inevitable crumb messes after every meal and for Cheetah’s fur balls. Before, I was dragging out the upright a few times a day. It did the job well but the handheld is much more convenient. We don’t have stairs but I’ve heard it’s great for that application, too.

So there’s everything you’ve (n)ever wanted to know about my floor cleaning routine. We take our shoes off at the door which helps keep dirt to a minimum. And I’ve noticed a HUGE difference since the new driveway was installed. One more thing to keep in mind…my floors always look cleaner in photographs ;) If you were visiting right now you would notice stray popcorn pieces under the stools at the kitchen island. That area is my nemesis.

Any floor cleaning products you swear by?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

clean globe lights 1

Recently, I’ve had several readers contact me about the globe lights that are suspended above the kitchen island. I thought it would be helpful to address the questions in a post since others might have similar queries. The lights are the 11″ clear globe pendants from West Elm. I love how they punctuate the island. Since purchasing them 3 years ago, they’re now available in a larger size (14″) and a different finish (milk finish with antique brass base).

One of the most popular questions I receive regarding the lights are “How do you clean them?” A few times a year, I give them a deep cleaning. Here’s what I do…

clean globe light 3

1 – I carefully remove the glass globes and clean them one at a time. The globe separates from the base with the twist of two screws. A screwdriver isn’t necessary.

2 – I place the globe in a plastic laundry basket in the kitchen sink to keep it from rolling into the sink or countertop and shattering. (You could do the same thing in a tub if your sink isn’t large enough.) *BONUS* – It cleans your laundry basket at the same time! #twobirdsonestone

3 – Using a microfiber cloth, I wash the globe, inside and out, with warm water and dish soap to remove grease and dust.

4 – I rinse the globe, inside and out, with warm water. I dry the globe with a streak-free, lint-free cloth.

FYI – My grandma, who is the queen of clean, gifted me the microfiber and streak-free cloths several years ago. THEY ARE THE BOMB. Especially the white ones. I use them to clean windows (house & car), mirrors, the TV screen, the computer screen, etc. I don’t use any cleaner – just water! And they’re reusable which makes them eco-friendly and cost-effective. I’ve had mine for 5+ years. They are machine washable – just be sure to avoid fabric softener!

clean globe lights 5

To clean the bases, I use just a tad of Bar Keepers Friend (less than $2) with water on one of the green microfiber cloths. I’m careful not to scrub so hard that I leave scratches. Rinse well. It works like a charm. I use it to clean the canopies (seen on the ceiling in the reflection), too. I have to stand on a counter stool on the island in order to reach them but, hey, whatever works. Sorry, no circus act photos ;)

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I slip the globe back on the base, tighten the screws and, voilà, a crystal clear light! Here you can see the difference between a dirty (on the left) and clean (on the right) globe. World. Of. Difference.

clean globe lights 2

I should probably do it more often but I average ~4 of these deep cleanings per year. On a more regular basis, I wipe the globes down with vinegar + water on one of the green microfiber cloths then follow up with a little water on a streak-free cloth.

I’m always afraid I’m going to break one of the lights when I’m removing / cleaning them. Every time I clean them I think, “I should order a replacement…just in case…while they’re still available.” But I never do.

Everett came home from school after I cleaned the lights this week and said, “Hey! You got new shiny lights!” That same night Steve was all “Whoa. These lights are extra bright.” Yep, they were that dirty.

Any deep cleaning going on at your house this month?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

everything under the sink 1

Do you know what I like *almost* as much as peeking in homes? Peeking in closets and cabinets. Show me an organized closet and I melt. I’ve always been this way. I like things tidy. My mom tells stories about me removing all the clothes from my dresser drawers, refolding them and putting everything back. For fun. As a kindergartener. #notnormal

I still like tidy but I’ve learned to let go over the years. (You kinda have to when kids are involved.) One area that got away from me was the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I remember the day we moved in thinking it could greatly benefit from some sort of organization. But I didn’t make it a priority and just threw stuff down there for nearly THREE YEARS.

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The cabinet itself is fairly large but a garbage disposal sits directly in the center, dividing the cabinet in half. And the vertical space wasn’t being optimized at all. I figured now was as good a time as any to get my kitchen s#!t in order.

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I cleared out the cabinet and installed this undersink organizational caddy to the right of the disposal.

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I attached a bag holder to one door. (I use reusable shopping bags but plastic bags still manage to make their way into our home sometimes.) It came with adhesive strips so I didn’t have to screw into the cabinet door. I stacked a trio of wire shelves to the left of the disposal to take advantage of the vertical space.

everything under the sink 5

The wire shelves corral (from top to bottom) hand soap refill, room freshener, dish sponges, Magic Erasers and kitchen trash bags. I find it helpful to remove most things from their packaging. I slid a few paper bags in alongside the shelves. Replacements filters for our in-fridge water dispenser are hidden behind the shelves. A handheld vacuum fits perfectly under the disposal. Various cleaning supplies and a spare roll of paper towels occupy the caddy.

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The caddy slides out on a track for easy access. I keep a large jug of vinegar behind it. I use the vinegar as an inexpensive rinsing agent in the dishwasher…among other things.

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The caddy lifts up and out of the cabinet so you can carry it around from room to room on cleaning days if you want. Our house is so small that I probably won’t use it that way but it’s a nice feature.

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Peep show! And just like that, everything has a place. My only wish is that I’d have done it sooner.

Do you have any tips for undersink organization? What are you organizing these days? I don’t know if it’s the new year or cabin fever, but I’ve been on a organizing binge these last few weeks.

P.S. – Snoop inside my closets here, here, here, here, here and here.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking