Spring Cleaning and Organizing tips

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hey everyone!

It’s Jennifer from Blissfully Ever After and today I want to share with you some simple, practical, and effective Spring Cleaning and Organizing tips!

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Wow, I cannot believe it is already the end of March! Good thing we have been getting our Spring Cleaning done right? It is almost time to start playing outside …you know, yard work, gardening, bike rides, walks, playing with our kiddos/grand kids. I am really looking forward to the beautiful sunny days. My son is almost 6 months and so I cannot wait to show him all that nature has to offer and to take him swimming, boating, and just to be able to lay out on a blanket with him on the grass. Wahoo! I have a feeling he is going to love it. But, until the sun starts peaking its head out at us a little more, I am sticking inside to get the rest of my spring cleaning done. How are all of you doing? Are you staying focused and accomplishing your goals? I hope so!

If you are just joining us, here is what we’ve completed so far:

The following post is a re-post from last year but it is exactly what I do to get my bathroom sparkling clean!

Today, I am going to show you how I clean and disinfect my bathroom naturally. My go-to products I use are Basic GBasic HScour Off and the Microfiber WindowCleaning cloths and Sponge
{This is all I use to clean my entire house….but today we will be focusing on just the bathroom}.

Cleaning Products


Here is my bathroom mirror. When cleaning this I use only 2 drops of Basic H per 16 oz. spray bottle to make window cleaner and then I use this spray along with my trusted Microfiber Window Cloth and tada tada, sprakling clean! No streaks, film, or annoying particles from paper towels.


I use 1/4 tsp of Basic H mixed with 16 oz. of water to make an all-purpose cleaner and I use this along with my Microfiber Cleaning Cloth on my granite countertops, cabinets, light fixtures, mirror frame, tile backsplash, light switches, and faucets. {There are 1,000 different uses for Basic H…so really the cleaning opportunities are endless}. Basic H is the best cleaner to use on granite countertops. Our countertops are brand new and I wouldn’t trust any other product on them besides Basic H.


To clean my sink, I use Basic G and Scour Off together with my trusted Microfiber Sponge. Basic G is a disinfectant made from natural surfactants and kills 99.9% of germs on contact and the clean lasts up to three days {bleach only lasts for up to one day} and is registered with the EPA to be used as an effective formula to kill germs, bacteria, and viruses.  Scour off scrubs any hard water spots or caked on gunk and leaves my sink sparkling clean {plus it smells like cherry bubble gum}. All of the Get Clean line products are safe to use on surfaces, will not dull, stain, discolor or harm finishes.



I also use these two products to clean my toilets and showers. The combination is powerful yet safe for my family and I. I love that I can clean my entire house with the Get Clean line without having to use gloves, open windows {unless I want to} or turn on fans like I used to have to when using bleach, Comet, Windex, etc. And my house is the cleanest it’s ever been! Don’t you want a clean and safe house too?!!


I also use 1 oz. of Basic H and 1/2 oz. of Basic G mixed with 1 gallon of hot water to mop my bathroom floors. I am telling you, NOTHING cleans my floors better! They look brand new every time I use this stuff!!


So, there you have it, a look into how I clean and disinfect my bathroom. It feels so good to have a clean bathroom and the best part is, I love knowing that I’ve used products that are natural, powerful, and safe.

Here is a little more information about each product I used today:

Basic g Banner

The safest disinfectant on the market! Nonflammable, Biodegradable & Non-toxic. Cleans, Disinfects & Deodorizes in 1 Easy Step! (Once mixed, use in 30 days)

Mix 3/8 teaspoon to 16 oz spray bottle.
Mix 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water.

Because it is so concentrated, a little goes a long way and saves you $$$!
Basic-G has a 3 year shelf life. Its residual effectiveness lasts up to three days after application. Chlorine (bleach) used as a disinfectant is effective no more than one hour. Great wherever disinfectants are used! Kills up to 99% of bacteria.

Great to use for: Toilet, showers, sinks, countertops, door knobs, garbage cans, diaper pails, pet areas, cutting boards {but not around food}, and it can also be used as a weed killer which you can read in my post here.

Basic H

Basic H is not only the best selling cleaning product on the market, it is the CHEAPEST and the SAFEST!!

It is cheaper than using vinegar and it is organic! It is a concentrate so you add your own water.  This helps save you money and cut back on your cleaning bottle wastes and product packaging waste.

1 bottle of Basic H2equals the cleaning uses of 5,824 bottles of 26 oz. Windex!!
Basic H2 is all you need for thousands of household jobs
  • Ultra concentrated – 16 ounces makes up to 48 gallons of super powerful cleaner when mixed with water.
  • Versatile and powerful cleaner – removes dirt, grease, and grime from any washable surface, inside and out. Dilute according to directions.
  • No rinse, no residue, streak-free formula.
Use on any washable surface – indoors or out
  • Walls, Windows and Mirrors, Countertops, Floors, Appliances, Stoves, Sealed Woodwork, Pots and Pans, Furniture
Clean Credentials
  • Nontoxic
  • Natural
  • Doubly concentrated
  • Biodegradable Surfactants

Scour Off
  • Natural ingredients remove the toughest dried-on splatters and spills, burned-on grease, baked-on food, and sticky messes without hazardous chemicals or toxic fumes.
  • Scour Off is made from natural mineral abrasives and biodegradable cleaning agents. It does not contain chlorine, bleach, or dye.
  • Scour Off gently removes stains other cleansers can't and is great for cleaning tubs, ovens, sinks, and tiles.
  • It will even remove rust, and is great for cleaning these surfaces: copper, grout, cement, ceramic, and imitation marble.
  • Wide-mouth jar makes it easy to use.
Clean Credentials
  • Nontoxic
  • Natural abrasives
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Biodegradable surfactants
  • No phosphates

THIS IS THE BEST CLEANING PRODUCT FOR YOUR STOVES, SINKS, SHOWERS, TOILETS, ETC. It will remove hard water, baked on oven grease and food, soap scum, and it also cleans grout like no other product! You will be replacing a ton of your current toxic household cleaners by switching to Scour Off!!

Cleaning Cloths

Use these super absorbent, microfiber cloths and sponges for all purpose cleaning with Basic H2™. Leaves surfaces clean and lint free.
Cleans Virtually Everything:
  • Ridiculously absorbent
  • Lures dirt and dust and devours it
  • Safe on all your precious surfaces
  • Washable, Reusable, Remarkable
These are the BEST cleaning cloths and sponges I have EVER used! They can be washed nearly 400 times before they need to be replaced and make cleaning a breeze!

Happy Cleaning!

Check out my bathroom redo here

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It’s been cloudy for the last few days with a steady on-and-off drizzle that have kept things watered down, and the garden is already looking wonderful. Rose bushes are starting to put forth their first leaves—green and supple, reminding me that soon my little world will be perfumed by lovely roses. What else can one ask for?

I am content; like the trees rooted in this garden I so love; and I have been busy painting all my garden statues and fountains. The sound of tickling water has started to serenade my mornings again and the Western Tanager has returned home. Soon I will be discovering cups of twigs and grasses at the end of tree branches and, hopefully, some eggs of glossy blue marked with brown spots too.

I’m excited—delighting in the thought of warm sunny mornings and enchanting late evenings in the garden. Are you this crazy in love with your surroundings? I’m easy to please and don’t require much more than a few rose bushes and a good dose of sunshine to be content. I have worked long and hard preparing this little plot of land for a wonderful show off, and it will! I know it will real soon!

It seems to me that each year the garden grows and looks differently. I mean, there's always something new growing there, a new surprise waiting to be discovered, a new perfume wafting in the air; it's a living, changing thing and a classroom of eternal lessons to be learned for sure.

It's almost also impossible to write about my love for my garden without sounding really sappy or boring. But that's how it is… this is the place where I can always keep my eyes on the stars while my feet are still on the ground and thus, I love this little urban garden that it really is not much larger than any of the rooms in my house; with no view other than the large two-story houses surrounding it. Still...

The secret to happiness? It relies in making the best out of what you have…

How to Stay Organized with a Bill Binder!

Monday, March 26, 2012
I recently posted about how I {attempt to} stay organized. I thought it might be beneficial for some of you if I went into detail about my Bills Binder.
Let me say this again… this was NOT my idea. I found it somewhere online. I have NO idea where. If you are reading this and this is your idea PLEASE let me know so I can give you credit! ;)

For the longest time I had no real system for keeping up with the bills. It was chaotic. I did have a filing system for paid bills but I ended up creating piles of paid bills that needed to be filed instead of actually filing them.

This is my Bills Binder. :)


Here is what I used for this organizational tool…

2 inch binder

2 pkgs of dividers with write on tabs

1-5 clear sheet protectors

1 fine point Sharpie marker

1 -3 hole punch

1 monthly calendar page


The Bills Binder is such a simple method…it’s quick and efficient!

Now you don’t have to be as specific as I am with the dividers but it works for me. I don’t look for the word electricity…I look for the name of the company because it’s what is in my hand at the moment. :)

When bills arrive, I open them up and stick them in the front pocket of the binder labeled “Need to pay”.


As each bill is paid, I sometimes write paid or the conformation number and sometimes I don’t. It just depends on my mood. hahaha.Then I punch the bill with the hole punch and put it in the right section. I then cross the bill off of the calendar so I know it’s paid!

And then I put the binder away.

That's it.

No filing. None. Nada.

During tax time,  I clean out the binder and keep a years worth of paid bills in a filing box. Just to be safe. I have that fear that a company will turn around and say I never paid something. I’m a dork.

Beyond the dividers I keep a few clear sheet protectors and I put random things in there that I need to keep up with. Classroom purchase receipts. Large item purchase receipts. Voters registration card. Etc.

In the very back pocket of the binder I keep our personal property tax documents and assessing documents. That honestly helps me to remember to assess and pay those darn taxes!

And I like the simplicity of the calendar pages in the front for tracking. It seriously makes it all super easy. I love to have a monthly lay out view. 


I said in a previous post that I just make a copy of the calendar that I keep on my fridge. (I found our “family” calendar that it on the fridge at Wal Mart!) I recently created a monthly printable for YOU! I actually updated my Bills Binder with my cute printable BUT did not give you an updated picture but here is a picture of the printable.


Guess what? If you sign up to follow my blog you can receive my free monthly printable at the first of each month! Sign up here.

I hope if you hate filing, like me, you find this method a little more helpful in rounding up those pesky bills. Also, if you have a personality like mine then this binder will make you happy. If you don’t have a personality like mine…then this binder might help you get organized and you may hate it but I really hope that it’s beneficial for you like it is for me!

**Also, just in case you thought I wasn’t aware…YES, I realized that I did not blur my company bill names. I know maybe that’s too much info out there but honestly, they are mainly student loan companies and BLESS YOU if you don’t owe them any money. Just don’t try to stalk me. ;)**

How do you organize your bills? Is it working? Do you have any questions about my system? Do you have any suggestions for my system?? I love to get feedback!

Thanks so much Katie!!!  Awesome ideas!!! :)
Please go follow Katie's blog Building a House of Love for more tips!!

Have a great day!

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Have you been doing anything fun this week… anything crafty? My new endless love affair with Mod Podge has kept me real busy this week. I am obsessed with decoupage! Why did it take me so long to discover this amazing tool? Decoupage has opened a whole new world of craftiness for me! I was so inspired with the transfer technique on my clay pot and purple bottles last week that I decided to try the same method on some other things…

An old mason jar I had; decoupage and wrapped with some burlap… love the transformation.

Here is the same old jar with some dried roses in it. I love dried roses probably more than fresh roses. They posses such romantic aura to them. Roses, when dried, can look just as exquisite in an arrangement as when fresh from the garden...

I got carried away and kept covering things up with graphics… I decided I should pretty up some old books I had!

These are just ordinary books decoupaged in old letters paper from Michael's ($0.59) and ephemera from the Graphic Fairy.

This is it for now… I am working on some other fun projects and will share with you soon. So, if you haven't got a pot of Mod Podge in your stash of supplies - run out and get one!!! A huge THANK YOU for participating in our linky party and taking us to your cottage! Can't wait to see what you've been doing this week! Last week was another fantastic party! I am enjoying seeing all the creative ideas and projects you are sharing!

Etiquette for linky parties

1) Link to a recent project post, and not a link to the front page of your blog, your Etsy store or a giveaway.

2) Link back to the host’s blog via a button or text link. This is a common courtesy, and it is usually appreciated if you link back in the same blog post that you are linking up.

The night garden...

Friday, March 23, 2012
Does it happen to you sometimes? I mean, sleep would not come easily, and you turn and turn in your bed—your mind full of ideas and projects you want to see accomplished; all the while knowing that outside stars are twinkling and a cresting silvery moon is smiling down at the garden…

Then all of a sudden you feel all alive inside you; a surge of enthusiasm rushing through your veins as you light the candles and know exactly what you need to do...

Outside the quiet garden waits bathed in moon dust. Guided by the light of the solar-powered footpath lamps I walk by the sleeping roses and the night bloomers—the moon vine and and the lady of the night and night jasmine. They’re not really there—but I know they are. They will!

They have been put under a slumbering spell by Father Winter, and thus they remain in their underground crypt; silently waiting for the first kiss of the sun to wake them up with the unconquerable force of life.

If this was summer, I would be gardening by the light of the moon, weeding and trimming the roses, as I so often do. I want to hear a rustling of wings and the deep hooting of a Great Horned Owl, and I want to detect a puff of perfume lingering in the night air, but the winter garden is nothing like the summer garden is, and thus I must return empty-handed back to my bed…

Oh but wait! I see something—over there! Do you see it too?

The Iris Reticulata—little gifts from my Father scattered all around the garden!

Suddenly, the flowerless garden has turned into a magical place. Delight fastened to the edge of my nightgown, and I’m setting tiny fires with my fingertips.

Everything comes to life in a mysterious and enchanting way.

Earliest of the northern flowering bulbs, the Iris Raniculata is forever associated with spring in my mind. Just looking at these amazingly blue little flowers makes my heart aglow. Suddenly my thoughts take a cheerful turn. One of these days, the cold northern winds will go back to their ancient place and snow will disappear completely, and like happy Irises, I will dwell outside amidst the rose bushes; rooted, contented and part of this amazing flowering little world of mine…

Ah yes, I’m not going back to bed empty-handed after all. My cup has been filled.

Welcome, Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
They say it has begun—spring. And thus, this first day of spring is for dark clouds and snow showers. Does this sounds right to you? Well, yes… we had another snowy day today, and the day before yesterday—snow melted with rain, and it is cold and cloudy, which means the few perennials I have already sitting outside waiting to be planted will have to wait yet another day until our little parcel of earth gets soaked in sunshine.

Nevertheless, I’m always encouraged with the first day of spring. It’s like the beginning of something new; a promising future, and certainly the time to put away my winter boots and bring in the pretty sandals. Right? Well... maybe not yet.

One thing surely helps—as cold as it has been, I’ve already done quite a lot of spring cleaning in the garden. All debris and dead leaves have been picked up—ten or so large trash bags of them; shrubs and roses have been pruned and soil fertilized. And yes, ‘every’ dead leave were removed from every one of the rose bushes!

I know I know, crazy stuff, right? But that’s just how I am. An unkempt garden is like an unkempt house to me. And I can’t stand it! ;) So I don’t mind the hard work if it pays off at the end.

Plant debris is organic matter—I know. Debris will help with water retention in the summer months, and yes, I would love to think that I should leave debris and leaves as hiding places for frogs and toads too. But there are no frogs around here—no spring peepers to delight my spirit on warm spring evenings. Don’t you just love those little "tinkletoes”? Their songs are magical and I wish I lived close to the marshes and wait for their choruses under a canopy of Mangrove trees.

Tulips are already popping up everywhere—a meager beginning; yet, the garden is already looking so much lovelier under my eyes…

The Iris Reticulata are always the first rays of hope to burst—is a welcome shot of brilliant blue in the garden. They bring so much joy! I can’t imagine a world without flowers—the life-death-and-regeneration cycle, the circle of life and the hope of life after death. Nature truly amazes me.

Oh yes, I’m ready for some sunshine and lovely spring days. You?