An organized kitchen like Mom’s

Mom and Ali making pretzels

That’s my mom and sister Ali in the photo above. They are making pretzels for our annual Alt Thanksgiving a few years back. They are probably going to hate me for featuring this photo, but I really love it so I am using it.

We spend a lot of time in my parents’ kitchen. It truly is the heart of their house. My mother is the most amazing cook. I was lucky enough to have a childhood full of adventurous meals that inspired my love of cooking.

We have a family joke that you can never find anything in her kitchen because she reorganizes the cabinets and drawers so often. Even though we joke about it, the truth is my mom is very smart. She’s constantly improving her work flow in the most used room of their house.

Now I don’t intend to reorganize quite as often, but with my small room updates I wanted to streamline my kitchen just like my Mum does.

1. Simplify the plates & bowls

White plates

The first thing to do was remove the fluff. I stored or gave away all our random plates and bowls so on a daily basis we just use a set of white plates and bowls. (We highly recommend the 365 series from IKEA if you are looking for a set.)

Nate likes these plates because the stack nicely and take up little room in our dishwasher. I like them because they are classic and if a plate breaks we can inexpensively replace it.

We also have a stack of blue melamine plates and pink floral plates that we use during the summer especially around the pool. I keep them on an upper shelf since we are not using them much now, but will move them down to the bottom shelf this summer.

2. Keep the essential tools and remove the dupes


I grouped all my kitchen tools together and removed all the duplicates. I kept only one bamboo and one plastic cutting board out. I threw out the worn ones and stored any others. All my small appliances were consolidated in two boxes on a shelf so I can easily access them when I need them, but they don’t have to take up valuable space on our counter.


Now I just have my two cutting boards, a few choice cookbooks and a small collection of utensils on the counter for easy access.

3. Store the seasonal


Seasonal and rarely used tools were put in a box and placed on the top shelf of my cabinet. This includes cookie cutters, popsicle molds and my hand mixer. Since they are all in one box, I know where to look when I need them.

3. Keep the pantry and drawers organized


Food storage is another issue. My cabinet shelves and drawers are deep so it’s hard to always see what I have. I’m okay being a little haphazard as long as it’s tidy.

I took a cue from my mom and labeled the top of all my spice jars so I can easily find what I want. I buy my favorite spices in the bulk section of the grocery store. I stored them in old glass jars so I know when they are running low and can resupply.


None of these things are major changes, but boy has it made a difference. The kitchen looks cleaner with less clutter. So thanks Mom for teaching me the way!

Kitchen Update Progress

  • Update & touch-up the cabinets
  • Paint the cabinet knobs
  • Add a blackboard wall
  • Deep clean the appliances
  • Organize the cabinets
  • Install a water filtration system

My final parts of this update are deep cleaning the appliances and installing our water filtration system. Stay tuned!

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcheroo

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

I’m a little behind at posting. Nate and I both have been battling horrible head colds which means we’ve spent a lot of time on the couch watching House of Cards.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Last Monday, we both felt it was necessary to get the sickness out of our house so we deep cleaned. Perhaps a little much for two cold suffers to undertake, but we did it anyway.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

First order of business was removing all the furniture in the great room. It was our first official sunny weekend so we took full advantage of putting all the furniture on the porch.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Nate subtly piled up all the clutter that I’ve been avoiding (holiday decor, goodwill items, glass jars) so I had to finally put it all away. Smart man as it forced me to take care of all of it before I could do anything else.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Then we swept up an embarrassing amount of dust bunnies and even an old Halloween candy wrapper off the floor.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

With a much-needed mopping, the great room was ready to put back together.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

But first, Nate tackled the windows and got rid of the grime and Pixel footprints so we could really enjoy the sunlight pouring in.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

My plan was to clean and then do a little rug switcheroo. The sisal rug in the dining area moved to the back of the great room. Then Nate’s old office rug was moving into the dining area and our two faux Persians were both moving in front of the couch.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

I deep cleaned our rugs with the help of my trusty SpotBot. I’ve had this little machine for over a year now and I still love it. This was my largest cleaning project to date with it. I cleaned all four rugs on 1/2 a bottle so the machine is pretty economical.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Of course the smaller machine meant adding cleaner and changing out the dirty water about five times per rug. So if that seems like a pain, you may prefer using a larger machine for a job like this.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Each rug took about a half hour to clean. The SpotBot vacuum does a good job removing most of the liquid so the rugs were dry to touch within 15 minutes.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

We decided to double our two 5×7 rugs in front of the couch to define the space better. Plus more rug means less of the old linoleum which is an added bonus.

Tuscan Terali Moroccan Trellis Navy Rug

I like this bigger sized rug so much, that I am added this 8×10 Tuscan Terali Moroccan Trellis Rug to my wish list. I think a big shock of navy would look great in the room with the purple walls.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

When the rugs were in, we set up rest of the furniture. I am so happy with the sisal rug in the back.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Here’s a close up of the sisal under the white table. I am now thinking I want to get some new dining chairs. The old country chairs are classic and all, but takes away from the modern vibe of my refinished table.

I love the look and durability of the Emeco Navy Chair, but don’t think I am shelling out $470 a chair anytime soon. So we will keep looking for a replacement on our budget.

Early Spring Clean and Rug Switcharoo

Nate and I were both so happy to have the room clean I vowed to do a weekly floor cleaning to keep the look up. I have no idea how often you should deep clean rugs, but I think moving forward I am going to try to do it a couple of times a year. It’s inexpensive since we have the SpotBot and seeing the amount of gunk that was cleaned out of the rug, I think it is well worth the time and effort.

I’d love to hear from others about their rug cleaning habits. Do you deep clean your rugs or do feel vacuuming is enough?

Disclaimer: I bought the SpotBot with my own hard-earned money and have not been compensated for my opinion of it. This post includes an affiliate link to Amazon if you are interested in purchasing one for your very own.

Brushing my Flokati

Flokati Rug Cleaning

In our bedroom, we have a 8×10 foot Flokati rug I bought after our bathroom remodel to warm up the concrete floors. I had read great reviews about the style including that they are extremely durable and can last a lifetime with proper care.

I love how the rug looks and feels but was a little concerned how exactly to keep it clean. The instructions that came with it said to take it outside and shake it periodically to remove dust. I have also read you can wash them with mild wool soap in your washing machine.

Both sound like great options, but our rug is way to big to stuff in our washing machine and I can only manage to take the rug outside once or twice a year tops. I tried vacuuming but stupidly realized that the rug fiber get stuck in the rotating pieces. Duh. So I was really at a loss of what to do besides shaking it out.

Recently I was watching the High/Low Project on HGTV and Sabrina Soto gave a quick tip about cleaning Flokati rugs. She said to use a plastic rake to clean off debris and keep the rug fluffy.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

So on a recent Target trip, I came across toy rakes in the summer clearance section.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

At a $1 each, I thought these would be perfect to try out on the rug because of the spokes were really wide apart.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

To start, I did a light vacuum with the suction head attachment to pick up any big debris particles.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

Brushing the rug was a super simple process. Just brush with the fibers across the length of the rug. Our rug is under our bed so I just worked from the mattress out.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

I used the larger rake for most of the rug and the smaller one around the bed and in the corners. I found that the rake picked up more of the debris than the vacuum did.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

You will find that some of the wool will get caught in the rake. This is absolutely normal, and is not harmful to your Flokati Rug. Once I was done brushing, I went back and sucked up all the debris with my vacuum.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

It may be overkill, but after I brushed the rug I went back a second time with the vacuum to pick up in straggling fluffs. The second vacuuming also fluffed the rug up a little more as well.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

Of course by now, the cats wanted to know what the %^&* I was doing. They hate that vacuum.

Flokati Rug Cleaning

Here’s the final result one fluffy and clean Flokati rug. The full rug brushing took about 20 minutes plus I got a nice arm workout. I am excited to see how long the fluffy look lasts before it needs another brushing. I’ll write an update when I find out.

Summer prep for the chairs

Back beds cleaned up and mulched

We are hosting a Father’s Day + Birthday BBQ this weekend, so I have been working on spiffing up the outside.

Dirty and weathered Smith and Hawkin chair

First up, was cleaning our outdoor chairs. We leave these guys outside all year under our roof overhang so they stay dry, but besides that we don’t take any other special care of them.

Clean, Tighten & Condition

Close up of weathered chair before cleaning

After three years of outdoor use, I think they look really good, but I’d like them to last for years to come.

Washing the chairs with Murphy Oil soap and hot water

Every summer I like to spiff them up with a three-step process – clean, tighten and condition.

Washing the chair

With a bucket of hot water and soap (I used Murphy Oil Soap), I cleaned off all the grime and cobwebs.

Tightening all the screws with my hex-key

Them, I like to tightened up all the screws with my handy hex-key. The last thing I want is a wiggly chair. It can put unnecessary ware of the chair joints and it’s really not comfortable for my guests.


Finally, I applied a wood conditioner (like this) to the chair. This stuff soaks up in about 15 minutes and then you can go back and wipe away any excess. Our chairs were still pretty dry after the first conditioning, so the following day I lightly sanded any rough patches and applied a second coat of conditioner.

Now they are almost as good as new! Next step is to replace the cushions I started last year.

*I was not paid to use any of the above products. I bought them with my own money because I like them.

Challenging me.

Like a lot of people, I like to start the new year off with a clean slate. This includes a little detox of the diet, a little more emphasis on exercise and a deep clean of the house.

This year I decided to find a couple challenges to inspire me. Here’s the two I decided to run with.

1. Throw out fifty things

Throw out fifty things

The first challenge I found was the Throw out fifty things started by Gail Blanke. I heard about this through Jess and thought this would be a great way to break through the clutter.

Gail has a nifty worksheet that walks you through how to purge your home room by room.

I’ve been working through my house during my winter break and here’s the fifty things I came up with.

1-9) Books
10) Microwave Candle Wax Kit
11) Index Card Holder
12-13) Notebooks
14-18) According Files and Organizers
19-20) Tea Cup Set and Teapot
21) Shower Caddy
22) Reindeer Ears
23-27) Metal Canisters and Cup
28) Cutting Board
29) Orchid Pot
30) Christmas Mr. Potato Head
31) A box of Glade candles
32) Ten Nail Polishes
33-34) Two candle holders
35) Booties
36) Purple cardigan
37) Sunglasses
38) Cat toy*
39) Bunch of Skin Care Items*
40) Bunch of Makeup*
41) Mouth Wash*
42) Hair Protector*
43) Expired Medication*
44) Old phone charger
45-48) Three board games
49) Rug*
50) Glass Bowl

2. Project 10 Pan

Project 10 Pan

Maybe you are like me and have a full cabinet of skincare and makeup products. I bought a lot of stuff to try before our Bath Crasher’s appearance and I don’t use them on a regular basis. So to work through “my stash” my second challenge is Project 10 Pan. It is a commitment to finish up 10 beauty products before buying anything else that is unnecessary.

I couldn’t find the exact origin of this challenge, but it is very popular in the online beauty community. To see more about the variations of the challenge, just google “project 10 pan.”

Looking through my products, I actually came up with twelve I want to use up.

Here’ my products:
  1. Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in r.s.v.p.
  2. YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch
  3. Your Best Friend Automatic Eyebrow Pencil
  4. Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner
  5. Hard Candy Fox in the Box Blush in Smooth Talker
  6. Bare Minerals Spf 30 Natural Sunscreen Powder in Medium
  7. Jason Tea Tree Scalp Normalizing Shampoo
  8. Dr. Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream
  9. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
  10. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude
  11. Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Cream
  12. Make up for ever Mat Velvet+ Matifying Foundation

I’ll report back on how it goes.

*Not picture because already gave away or threw out