Category Archives: cleaning

One Touch Cleaning Rule

Do you know how many titles I went through for this post trying to keep it clean (no pun intended) and not suggestive?

Ha!

Still not sure I succeeded.

I recently read an article on Apartment Therapy about a simple strategy for keeping your home tidy.

You had me at simple, Apartment Therapy.

I was hoping thinking perhaps the simple strategy was to hire a housekeeper.

And then the universe laughed.

In other words, nope. Not the strategy they were advocating.

But it was almost, if I use a very loose definition of that word, as good.

It was to use ONE and only one touch to move an item from where it is to where it should be located.

That’s it. One touch.

While I generally keep my home pretty tidy, I am completely guilty of violating this rule.

This is why rule breaking doesn’t pay. I end up creating MORE work for myself, not less.

I will put something at the bottom of the stairs that really needs to go to the upstairs bathroom. Then I will move that item to the top of the stairs and set it there because i’m going into the bedroom and not four steps farther down the hall to the bathroom. I’ll end up leaving the thing that needs to go 4 steps farther into the bathroom at the top of the stairs for hours or even days. Then I might finally move the thing into the bathroom and put it on the counter instead of in the cabinet where it really belongs. Eventually I will get that thing put in its correct spot. Eventually.

I end up expending more energy handling that item multiple times than if I would have just run it up the stairs, put it away and been done with it.

My husband, who is generally perfect in every regard, will come home, walk past the coat hooks, the coat closet and take his jacket off in the dining room and hang it on the back of a chair.

With his permission I’m throwing him under the bus here because it is a really good example of how to drive me nuts violating the one-touch cleaning rule.

Thanks for your help with the blog post, honey.

Now that I know about this rule, try as I might, I cannot UNHEAR IT.

Oh, I’ve tried.

There’s a little voice in my head that pretty much mocks me every time I violate the rule.

Every time. It’s relentless.

The more I listen to the nagging force myself to use this rule the more I realize how helpful it really is in keeping my home tidy.

Also, my version of tidy is different than someone else’s version of tidy. That’s okay. The point is to not create more work for yourself. Less work especially when it comes to cleaning always makes us happier, right?


As it turns out, I have written a few posts about cleaning over the years. Riveting, life changing stuff, folks.

How to clean hard water line off the inside of a toilet

How to get that nasty smell out of workout clothes

How to add shine to your hardwood floors without refinishing

 

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Repurposing Denim Belt Loops to Hang Towels

I recently read a New York Times article entitled 5 Cheap(ish) Things That Could Disproportionately Improve Your Life.

I’m ALL about improving my life on the cheap(ish).

The author, Tim Herrera, wrote this:

“I never would’ve thought a thin, black, six-foot iPhone charging cable would change my life.

Yet here we are, and that magic cable is the Amazon Basics lightning-to-USB iPhone charging cable (also available in micro-USB). This little wonder of PVC and copper wiring solves an irritatingly modern non-problem problem: the three-foot leash that is the stock charging cable usually bundled with most smartphones.

Cue the tiny violin.

But once you’re able to roam just a little farther, you realize how much that three-foot leash affects the way you navigate your living space. How you orient yourself at home while charging your phone changes. The happiness of lying on my couch while charging far outweighed the cable’s $7.99 price tag.” 

YES! Exactly what he said about an ‘irritatingly modern non-problem problem!’

(Also, I need one of those cords. STAT.)

I recently had an irritating non-problem problem that was wreaking havoc on how I utilized that room I can never escape my kitchen.

Please note that ‘wreaking havoc’ is way over the top a tad bit melodramatic, but I’m taking creative license with that phrase because it is Monday and I can.

This problem was kitchen towels that did not have a hanging loop. (I had to Google what that thing was even called, by the way.)

A few of my kitchen towels had a hanging loop already attached when I purchased them. The other offenders rest did not.

THE INJUSTICE!

Enter a simple solution to my kitchen irritant. It didn’t cost me a dime. But man, I get an irrational amount of happiness over kitchen towels that actually hang nicely and don’t fall off the hooks I have set up.

I was going to add a little length of ribbon to make a hanging loop, but I didn’t have any ribbon in my craft stash that was wide enough for this particular project – unless I wanted to use Valentine’s Day-themed ribbon. There are limits to my LOVE for drying dishes, so I passed on that idea.

I did have a pair of my husband’s denim jeans though!

He’ll never miss them!

I cut the belt loops off to use as the hanging loops on my towels.

They were the right size, color and the denim will probably outlast the towels.

I elected to place my loop on the corner of the towel because that’s where the loop is placed on my other towels. There’s no right or wrong here – go with whatever floats your boat!

Now, if you had a sewing machine this next part would take 3.2 seconds.

I don’t.

I stitched the ends of the loops onto the towel with a needle and thread instead. I wasn’t timing it, but it took slightly longer than 3.2 seconds to finish this project.

My sewing skills can be categorized as stitch the crap out of it and hope it holds novice.

No exaggeration.

So if my travel sewing kit and I can knock out this project, you can too!

This is how my new hanging loop looked when I finished.

The thread blended nicely – thank goodness. I tried to hide most of the stitches on the reverse side (the front of the towel) in the double layer of fabric edging.

And now, the best part!

Kitchen towels that don’t fall off the hooks!

It’s the small things, isn’t it?

It still makes me ridiculously happy to see them all lined up there!

Add this project to the list of cheap(ish) things that can disproportionately improve your life!

The only problem I’ve had with this project is that my family STILL has not gotten the memo that the kitchen towels – all of them – now have hanging loops.

It’s been weeks, people! Help a mama out!

I still have a lot of denim fabric to repurpose now that I’ve started cutting up Handy Husband’s old jeans. I’ve made denim flowers for this wreath, but I need more ideas! If you come across any clever ones, let me know!

Also, if you have a cheap(ish) thing that has brought disproportionate happiness to your life, for goodness sake, don’t keep it to yourself! Tell me what it is!

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Two Easy Ways to Corral Hair Bands

I can open a drawer a million times and the mess doesn’t bother me.

At least not enough for me to do anything about it.

And then…

I can’t explain it. Something snaps.

I find myself saying to no one in particular, “what kind of animals live in this house? Why is this drawer such a gross disaster?”


I have a silverware tray in a bathroom drawer to organize my daughter’s hair stuff.

As you can see, it’s working super well.

*sigh*

Handy Husband’s idea for organizing this drawer was short hair. That idea was met by an epic level of eye rolling by our 10-year-old daughter.

*sigh*

Thank goodness HGTV had a better idea! It was to use a binder ring to store hair bands. Clever, but, of course, that was one random office supply I did not have on hand.

I did have a carabiner though!

This simple solution has been working great for my 10-year-old to use to hold her hair bands.

If you don’t have a carabiner, then one of these cheap shower rings also works well, I discovered.


Not all of my organization ideas stick, but simple and easy-to-use solutions seem to work best.

I’m happy this idea is holding strong after several weeks, but ask me again in a year!

If you have a simple way to organize hair accessories, let me know!

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Linen Bath Towels: Should I Make the Switch?

I keep tripping over linen bath towels.

Online, not literally.

In my own house I’m tripping over regular cotton towels. Note to self: put towel hooks at height where kids can reach them.

It has me wondering, should I make the switch from cotton (terry cloth) towels to linen towels?

I know, I know. It’s a big question for a Monday. Real life changing stuff here.

Photo by AnthropologieMore bathroom photos

According to what I’ve read, linen bath towels are more absorbent than cotton towels.

They are faster drying, so no musty smells.

They take up less space.

They last longer – up to 30 years! Craziness.

Apparently, linen towels get softer and better with age too.

Kind of like me a nice pair of blue jeans.

But!

There’s always a but.

Linen towels aren’t anywhere near as plush as terry towels. I think it would be akin to toweling off with a tablecloth.

They also are more expensive. Sometimes WAY more expensive. If linen towels truly last 30 years though, it seems like they would be a good deal in the long run.

Photo by Look for shabby-chic style home design pictures                                                                                                      

I don’t know anyone who uses linen towels on the regular, but they are quite common in parts of Europe.

It makes sense knowing that many Europeans prefer to air-dry their laundry. Regular cotton towels take FOREVER to air dry. Trust me, I’ve been experiencing this first-hand.

Many backpackers swear by linen towels too because of size, ability to dry quickly and resistance to smells.

(Brahmsmount Towels – Brahmsmount)

I found this blog post by LinenMaven about the pros and cons of switching to linen to be helpful. I haven’t found any blog posts written by the cotton industry on this topic, but I only spent a cursory amount of time on the search.

Should I make the switch? Have any of you?

If you’ve known me for more than two minutes, you’ll know I have a frugal streak. I tend to think  long and hard before spending money – especially on something like towels.

I also really, really like the feeling of wrapping up in a plush towel after a shower. It feels so luxurious. Although, I’ve been drying my towels on the radiator lately. On the plushness spectrum, my towels are a bit more on the sandpaper side of things. Exfoliation for the win!

Have any of you made the switch to linen towels? If I decide to go this route, I’ll be happy to share my experiences!


P.S. Here are some linen towels I found online, some through affiliate links:


(LinenMe Bath Towel – Amazon)


(Bless Linen Bath Towel – Amazon)

(Luxoteks Linen Towel – Etsy)

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Living in Ireland: Want to See My Hot Press?

Moving to a foreign country – even one where you speak the language – is a humbling experience.

My advice? Settle into the feeling that you are going to be the biggest idiot in the room. A little humor and humility go a long way toward settling in.

When we were looking for house in Ireland we toured an owner-occupied home they were putting on the rental market. During the tour the owner made a passing reference to the hot press.

“I’m sorry. A hot what?”

In hindsight, my question probably did not inspire confidence with the homeowner. Needless to say, we did not get that house.

The house we ended up moving into also had a hot press. I’m a lucky, lucky gal. As I was putting laundry away last week, I decided to snap some quick iPhone photos of the hot press to share with you.

Now who’s the lucky one?

My hot press is not glamorous or styled or magazine-worthy, but it gets the job done. It may also be a metaphor for my life. Hmm…

What is a hot press? It is an Irish term for an enclosed storage space such as a cabinet or closet where a home’s water heater is stored. Ours happens to be in one of the bathrooms. The original hot press concept was for the space to double as an “airing cupboard.” This meant slatted wood shelves were installed around the water heater, which could be used as a drying rack for clothing.

By and large, the Irish seem to prefer to air dry their clothes. I kid you not, it can be 40 degrees outside and you’ll see people hanging their clothes OUTSIDE to dry. I speak from personal experience when I say it will take approximately and this is a conservative estimate, 71 billion hours to dry clothes outside in Ireland in those temperatures. I don’t care how windy it is.

Here is our little water heater all bundled up in some sort of insulated tarp. I did warn you this wouldn’t be glamorous.

Storage is a precious commodity in all homes, especially ours. So, I’m not using the hot press to dry my clothes. It seems like it would be very inconvenient to hang them in there anyway.

I use the hot press as a linen closet. I store our towels, hair appliances, iron and other toiletries that I’m not worried about being damaged by a slightly warm environment in this space. Some of these items include toilet paper, my precious nail polish collection, first aid supplies, extra razors and toothbrushes, extra soap. All the exciting stuff.

The other “fun” thing about hot water heaters especially in older Irish homes is they are often immersion heaters. This was new to me. It means you can heat just the water in that tank using the tank’s immersion heater, which is electric-based. Or, you can heat all of the water to the house (the water in the hot water heater and the water for the radiators) using the heating oil and not electricity.

The immersion heater and the heat for the radiators are controlled by timers on a dial, like the one shown in our cupboard below. No one explained to us how the timers worked or which timer controlled which thing when we moved in. There was a casual, passing mention of “just set the timer” and you’re good. Needless to say, we did it wrong for approximately 4 months.

Humor and humility, folks. It gets you through.

I have since learned in the winter to set the radiator timer located in the kitchen for however long we want to heat the house. Typically, it comes on for a couple of hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening. Remember, this will also heat the water in my hot water tank.

If I want hot water during the day when the radiators aren’t on, I need to have the timer in my hot press set appropriately to turn the immersion heater on – the one that just heats my cute, little hot water tank.

Are you confused yet?

Oh, gosh. Me too.

In the summer, I will only use the immersion heater for water and the timer for the radiators will be turned off.

We do have two showers in this house. One of the showers heats its own water. The other uses the water from the hot water heater.

The other feature of the immersion hot water heater is that I can set it to heat only half the water in the tank or all of the water. This is determined by a switch in the cupboard that says “sink” on one side and “bath” on the other. Super self-explanatory, right?

If you have gotten the impression that Irish people are VERY concerned about electricity costs, you would be right.

Back to the clothes drying topic. We are fortunate to have a clothes dryer. It’s outside in a shed.

I’ll just let that hang there for a second.

I mainly only use the dryer for sheets because it is terribly inefficient. The rest of our clothes are hung to dry in the second bathroom – it’s a small room, so it stays nice and warm. Or if I really want to dry something quickly I lay it on the radiators.

So if my towels and washcloths look crispy, that’s because they haven’t seen a tumble dryer or a  fabric softener sheet in months.

If you have read through this entire post you deserve a cookie.

I’ll finish with a bit of bonus trivia. NO ONE pays for water in Ireland! There are no residential water bills. You’ll pay to heat your water and many people think electricity is way too expensive in this country, but you won’t pay for the water itself.

Now, do you feel enriched by this knowledge? I’m happy to help. Go eat your cookie.


If you want to learn more about living in Ireland, here are some other posts I’ve written on the topic.

Living in Ireland: Christmas in Retail

Living in Ireland: Groceries

Moving to Ireland: Grocery Look Alikes

Moving to Ireland: The Great Purge

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #1

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #2

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #3

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The Easiest Way to Make a Pretty Home

I thought I’d go for a sensational headline to kick off my 2017 blog posting. I’m baaack!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about after my Christmas blogging break. I didn’t do much that was project or craft-related. I tried to feed my kids cereal three times a day instead of cooking. I stayed off the computer more than normal. The days were lazy and unscheduled, which is needed from time to time.

Well, except for that one day when we went hiking and Handy Husband swore this was a trail.


That’s totally a trail, right? Needless to say, that wasn’t a lazy day.

I did flip through a few home magazines during the holidays and the pages were filled with trends for 2017. What’s hot! What’s not! Color of the year! Projects to try! Win a dream home!

Stop the MADNESS!  No, really. Stop it.

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest and greatest home trends out there. As we speak, I’m preparing to cover everything in my home in chevron patterns. Wait…what’s that? Chevron is out? Shut. Up.

I can’t believe I missed it.

I truly hope you’re not coming to this blog for current trends. Yeah. That’s going to be a bit of a problem.

How about a story and my unsolicited opinion on home trends instead?

I started taking down Christmas decorations at 8 a.m. on December 26. Yes, I’m a Scrooge.

The Command Hooks I used to hang our Christmas stockings, which should have been damage free, ended up removing a tremendous amount little bit of the paint on the mantel when I pulled them off. Admittedly, I got a little hasty with the tidying up, but it was just so exciting to put all the clutter away and let the house breathe again!

I might have been a little bummed about that fiasco or even irritated because Handy Husband was giving me that “I told you so” look, but the mantel already had a few chips and nicks when we moved in. You had to look close, but I noticed them every time I dusted.

Yes, from time to time I do dust. It pains me greatly, but I do it.

I could no longer ignore the chipped paint on the mantel. It needed to be taken care of, so while my family immersed themselves in a Lego building marathon, I got out the sandpaper and smoothed down the rough edges around the chipped paint.

Once the surface felt smooth, I cleaned the dust up and gave the mantel a couple of coats of fresh paint.

The process was pretty cathartic. I hadn’t painted anything in months and it felt exhilarating to bust out the paint brush and improve how my home looks. While I had the paint out, I moved on to repainting a few shelves and a picture frame too.

That’s when it hit me – figuratively speaking. The easiest way to make a pretty home is NOT the most glamorous. It’s not by following trends and buying all the fancy things.

The easiest way to make a pretty home is to simply start by taking care of what you have.

Do paint touch-ups as needed.
Wipe the handprints off the walls.
Replace the gross caulk around your sinks, showers and tubs.
Vacuum. Not just the floors, but use the wand to get cobwebs out of the corners.
Dust. While you’re at it, wipe down doors, moulding and lampshades.
Clean your windows. Especially that gunk in the windowsills. That’s gross.
Get the leaves out of your gutters.
Fix that one roof shingle that was damaged during a storm.
Pull the weeds in your flower beds.
Recycle or give away stuff you don’t use.
Throw away or recycle broken items.
Fix holes in exterior vents or siding where rodents can get in. Rodents in houses…not good.
Clean the grout. Seriously. Get out the toothbrush and go to town on that grout.
Pull the refrigerator and stove out and clean underneath them. You know it needs to be done.
Fix the door that squeaks or the drawer that doesn’t slide properly.
Change the filter on your furnace and refrigerator water dispenser.
Replace rotting fence boards or siding.

All of those things you need or want to do to sell your home or to get your deposit back from your landlord. Do those things now so that you can enjoy the benefit of those improvements.

I realize home maintenance isn’t always fun. Sometimes it isn’t easy. But it is where you need to start. You can buy the newest home decor items and create the neatest DIY projects, but if your home is dirty, falling apart or otherwise neglected – none of that stuff will matter.

A home that is well-maintained and lovingly tended to will outshine all of the others. Every time. No matter its age. No matter its style.

It will be a place where you like to be. A place where others like to be. A place that brings you peace and comfort in a world of crazy.

I’m not saying your home needs to be spotless and sterile. I’m not saying laundry isn’t going to pile up. I’m not saying messes won’t happen. I’m not saying your family won’t have epic Lego building marathons that give you all the twitches.


That’s life. That’s real.

The beautiful chaos that comes from filling a home with life, laughter, memories and happiness should be celebrated.

I used to work in the homebuilding industry and there was always a joke about “putting lipstick on a pig.” In other words, you can waste money and time trying to superficially make something look better, but if what’s underneath it is rotten, dirty, not functioning or falling apart – all that effort will be wasted.

It goes back to my point. I don’t care if you are renting, owning or living in your parents’ basement. The easiest way to take make your home pretty is by simply taking care of what you have. After that, you can build from there.

And don’t forget, pretty is in the eye of the beholder. Home trends are driven by the big marketing machine. Be true to what you like even if it’s no longer trendy…if you wait long enough, it will come back around anyway!

Happy 2017, everyone! Please come back on Wednesday for more unsolicited advice, sarcasm, humor and maybe an idea or too as well. If you need me, I’ll be following my own advice and re-caulking the shower today. As much as it pains me. It needs to be done.

 

 

 

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How to Reshape a Flexible Woven Plastic Basket

This is a story about Target…which I just found out ships to Ireland.

And my world is complete.

Do you hear angels singing? I’m pretty sure the angels are singing.

Anyway, this isn’t a story about Target.

It is a story about a basket I purchased at Target though.

A basket that the movers CRUSHED in a box along with my hopes and dreams.

Kidding. Hopes and dreams were intact. I just needed to add that for dramatic effect.

reshaped-basket-6
I stalked this basket for a good long while at Target. When your daughter’s room is decorated in lavender, gray and navy, you need this basket. However, I’m too cheap to pay $12 for a basket, but when it went on clearance for $8, I was in. I even bought two.

And yes, the movers crushed both of them. Along with my hopes and dreams. Again.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe this basket other than it is woven and plastic. However, it’s not a rigid plastic…it’s flexible. Hence the crushing.

I tried to fix it by ramming a ridiculous number of stuffed animals in the basket. I thought perhaps if I could make it full enough, then the basket might reshape itself – kind of like my stomach after Thanksgiving dinner.

Despite the countless number of stuffed animals that I shoved in the basket – it was like the magician’s hat of baskets – that method did not work.

I tried swearing at it. I gave it the evil eye. I ignored it…for five long months. Nothing was working. I don’t know why.

Finally, I decided to Google the problem. That didn’t help, but now I know what a Bolga basket is.

I texted a friend – way better than Google – and we discussed the merits of applying heat to the basket. What could go wrong? And the fact that my son was wearing 6 pairs of underwear. What could go wrong? 

reshaped-basket-5
With my iron set to the highest heat setting (hotter is better, right?) and a washcloth for protection, I started ironing the basket – both the inside and the outside.

Hanging the basket over the narrow end of the ironing board helped to get down to the very base of the basket, which was badly crumpled.

It also helps you see how gross my ironing board cover is looking. Someone should wash that thing.

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Stop looking at it!

Please heed my advice. You definitely need some sort of cloth between the basket and the ironing board. Otherwise, you will have a crushed and melted basket.

I’m guessing that’s not the look you are going for…unless it is?

reshaped-basket-3
After about 30 minutes of steadily ironing the two baskets, I’m fairly certain I developed carpal tunnel syndrome and a thumb injury.

But look at my newly reshaped basket!

reshaped-basket-2
It’s not perfect, but it is 1,000 times better!

Also, no sooner did I set the basket down to find my camera did I turn around to see one of my children wearing the basket on his or her head. Of course.

And there was no way I was going to iron the basket again. Carpal tunnel thumbitis is a real thing.

reshaped-basket-1
If you are feeling not-so-happy because a flexible, plastic basket you bought on clearance is now misshapen, then please feel free to use this technique to breathe new life into it. You’ll be glad you did. I was!

P.S. My thumb is feeling much better. Thanks for asking.

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How to Remove Ring Around the Toilet

I am so sorry if you are reading this post during breakfast. The images contained herein are not appetizing or pretty.

It’s time to get down to the dirty truth.

I clean the toilets in our home regularly. I really do.

Despite that, to varying degrees, the toilets always end up with a ring around the water line. It mocks me. Depending on the minerals in the water, the toilets also get marks where the water runs down the bowl to refill. More mocking.

Everyone swears their product or cleaning method is the best way to get those marks off the toilet. Maybe it is…for them. For me, they never work. Ever.

Did someone order melodrama?

Here’s one of our toilets right after I cleaned it. Still looks dirty.

cleantoilet4

Time to up the ante.

Here’s my secret weapon in the war on toilet rings.

Drywall sanding sponges.

These two sponges have actually been used on drywall in one of our houses, which is why they look a little worse for wear. (In case you are wondering, now that I’ve recruited them over to the dark side, they won’t be used for drywall again. Pinkie promise.)

cleantoilet3
No cleaning solution is required. Just put your gloves on and start scrubbing.

Some people swear by pumice stones to clean marks and stains off toilets. Other people say pumice stones are too abrasive and scratch the toilets.

I can’t keep up with all of that drama. I make enough of my own.

cleantoilet2

The drywall sanding sponges (I used fine/medium grit) are definitely finer and less abrasive than pumice.

Do the drywall sponges scratch the porcelain on your toilet? I don’t know. Do I care? Not really.

To me, a toilet you can’t get clean is already ruined, so I’m not making it any worse than it was. That’s my brand of twisted logic for you.

I haven’t noticed any downside to this method, but let’s be real. I only use this technique a couple of times a year when the toilet really needs it.

It felt like forever, but in reality, I only spent 5 or 6 minutes sprucing up this toilet and here’s how it looked when I was done.

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Much better.

I can have guests over now!

But I won’t because I’m an introvert.

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Bottom line, do your own research and decide on the method that works for you. Or better yet, hire a cleaning company. That would be pure happiness right there. Except I’d have to clean before they came, so on second thought…

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Fixing Nasty Grout Is Pretty Easy

The Junk Whisperer is coming to visit me next month and it prompted me to take a good hard look at the bathroom she would be using during her stay.

Normally, if I have to go in there, I just kind of squint and say to myself, “hey, it’s not so bad…if you don’t turn on the light.”

I’m fairly certain the bathroom is original to the house. My powers of deduction lead me to conclude that the grout in this bathroom is also original to the house.

While I’m holding on to the most fervent of delusions that the grout has been thoroughly cleaned periodically in the last 50 years, I doubt that has actually happened in the last 10. Maybe 15.

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No, that’s not dark-colored grout.

That’s nasty 50-year-old grout.

For being dirty and cracked in some places, the tiles are pretty cool though!

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I set out to try a product I’d heard a lot about in the blogosphere: Grout Renew. I got mine at Home Depot. There’s also Grout Refresh on Amazon, which is similar. I picked an off-white color instead of their whitest white. Against my tiles, it took on a slightly grayish hue, which was a happy accident.

The application part is pretty straight forward. Brush it on clean grout, wipe it off the tile. The manufacturer suggests using a toothbrush. Since my grout lines are so narrow, I used a craft paint brush.

See how it looks now? So. much. better. Even with my pictures on a cloudy day.

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I started out using an old, semi-hard paint brush and then I freaked out a little because the grout looked like it would need two coats to get good coverage. I switched to a paint brush that wasn’t on its last leg and that worked much better. I’m guessing my original dried-out paint brush just wasn’t absorbing the Grout Renew, so I was wiping off more than I was applying.

It’s probably really against the rules, but I applied the Grout Renew to the crack lines on the tile too. My logic was this: the tiles were already ruined, so I probably couldn’t make them worse. Probably. I thought that if it stained the inside of the dark crack lines a little lighter, that would be a good thing. I was happy with it, but don’t break the rules just because I did. Also, don’t jump off a cliff if I do either…someone is going to need to stay on top to call 911.

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As I was crouched down on my hands and knees in this bathroom, I realized that small hexagon tiles have A LOT of grout lines! I’m happy to report that it only took me 2 episodes of Scandal and 4 episodes of Friends to finish this project. And since no one bugged me while I was working on this project, I almost consider that a vacation.

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Hello, My Name Is Stuck on Your Shirt

Usually it is my children who cause me laundry grief – especially when it comes to leaving stickers on clothes.

If I had a nickel for every sticker that was inappropriately placed on a wall, a door, a car seat, a forehead or article of clothing, well, I’d be rich.

When I found my husband’s blue polo shirt rolled up in the hamper, I didn’t think twice about tossing it in the wash. Surely, my husband knows by now what happens when you wash a shirt that has a sticker attached to it. Surely.

For the record, the “hello, my name is” name tag is a sticker. A very sticky sticker. See?

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After discovering that I had washed his shirt with a sticker on it, I did what any reasonable person would do. I ignored the situation for awhile. The shirt just hung out in the laundry room waiting for a spontaneous cleaning event to occur. (I sometimes wish the same miracle would happen when it is time to bathe my children.)

Eventually “Hello my Name is Pain in the Patootie” could not be ignored.

I Googled how to get sticker residue off of clothing. There were a bunch of sure-fire removal techniques.

I tried Duct-Tape first. I didn’t have any of the original grey Duct Tape, but I did have some neon green Duct Tape. Don’t we all??? That didn’t work.

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Another sure-fire technique was to use Avon Skin So Soft to remove the sticker residue. I’m not particularly into Avon, but a friend had sent me some Original Skin So Soft Bath Oil and Original Skin So Soft Shower Gel to try awhile back.

The shower gel was handiest, so I squirted some on the dry shirt and rubbed the sticker area with a dry cloth.

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It actually worked. Really well. This skeptic was surprised. I rewashed the shirt and it was good as new.

I will say that I don’t ever put my husband’s shirts in the dryer, but I’m guessing it will still work if you had already dried the shirt.

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Since it has been our month for stickers being left on clothing, I wanted to see if there was something unique about the Skin So Soft Original Shower Gel or if any shower gel would work. I tried a shower gel that I had on hand to remove a sticker left on one of my daughter’s shirts. This is, of course, completely unscientific, but the regular shower gel didn’t remove the sticker residue at all. I thought it did at first, but after I ran the shirt through the wash, it was still the same.

After that, I use the Skin So Soft Original BATH OIL and it also removed the sticker residue. I squirted it on the sticker, rubbed it with a cloth and then laundered as usual. No more sticker!

Both products seemed to work equally well.

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I don’t know what it says about the product that you can use it on your skin AND to remove stickers on clothing. I’d rather not think about that. I’ll just continue to be happy that the stickers have not won. I’ll live to do laundry another day. Oh, goody. 🙂

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