Tag Archives: cleaning

How To Organize Your Pantry Part 3 – Dealing With Spice Packets

How To Organize Your Pantry Part 3 – Dealing With Spice Packets

So far we’ve addressed the spices and the bread items in your pantry. Now it’s time for those little packets of sauces, gravies, and seasoning mixes.

I’ve tried several ways to organize these little guys in the past – alphabetizing them by name in a little container, organizing them by type, and just simply throwing them in a little basket. Unfortunately when I went to grab one the other day I realized over half of them were expired. I always forget what I have and end up buying more than I need (I had 6 taco seasoning packets in there!).

Then I came up with this little idea. Why not use little binder clips just like I did for the magazines! Super simple! I nailed a few holes in the wall in my pantry (you can even use the 3m hooks if you want to attach them to the inside of your cabinet doors with out making any holes). Then I simply attached the binder clip to my little packets (keeping gravies together on one clip, taco packets on another, etc) and hung the clip on the nail. Ta-da! All done! It’s organized, out of the way (this is a good use of wasted space), and still right where I can see them!

Spice packets hung up with binder clips

How to Organize Your Pantry Part Two – Dealing with Bread

How to Organize Your Pantry Part Two – Dealing with Bread

Tension rod bread shelf

So far I’ve dealt with the snacks and spices and now it’s time to deal with the bread items.

Breads and buns and bagels, oh my! All of these items take up a lot of space in a pantry. If you’re not careful they can also be squished by other pantry items. As if the space issue AND the squishing aren’t enough, these items can also get moldy quickly. What’s a gal with a small pantry to do? Tension rods of course!

Scary "before" picture

Remember how we took care of the spices? We’re going to do the same thing with the bread – only this time we are going to use TWO tension rods.

Just like with the spices, I used the flat tension rods. The flat ones snap into place (so they won’t fall down) and things don’t fall off of it very easily.

Flat tension rods

Put your first tension rod under a shelf, just an inch or two from the pantry wall. Once it’s in place, put your second tension rod a few inches in front of that. Now you have a nice little shelf to put your bread on. Not only will they be out of the way, but the space between the tension rods allow for air flow so your bread won’t go moldy as fast!

Underneath picture

How to Organize Your Pantry Part One – Dealing with Spices

How to Organize Your Pantry Part One – Dealing with Spices

I have a very small pantry. No matter how much I try to keep it organized it always looks messy. There just isn’t enough room on shelves for everything I want to keep in there. I recently came up with the idea of making a snack bar to keep chips, snacks, and bottled water. To see my snack bar click here. With those big items out of the way it was time to focus on the spices. I don’t have a lot of room on the counter to keep spice racks. I also don’t have room in cabinets or drawers. I took some time to look in my pantry and found that there is a lot of wasted space under each shelf. I decided to put my spices there.

Spices Before

I bought a tension rod (I love those things!) at Target to fit the size of my pantry. Typically tension rods are round but I found one that was flat! These are my favorite. They have a latch that keeps them in place (no more falling down) and the flat surface means things wont fall off of it as easily.

Spices After - all nice and neat on tension rod

I put the tension rod in my pantry below a shelf and simply sat all of my spices on top of it. My new “spice rack” cost me $4. How awesome is that!

Decorating Popcorn Tins

Decorating Popcorn Tins

We love popcorn. We especially love the popcorn that comes in the tins at Christmas time. But what do you do with the tins when all the popcorn is gone? Usually we donate them (they’re just too cute to throw away) but, thanks to one of my friends on Facebook, I found this idea.

We took two of our empty popcorn tins and spray painted them with Valspar (paint and primer in one) spray paint. After they were dry we used stencils to decorate them. My daughter, Brianna, even helped. I love doing projects with her. This project was so simple and now we have two pretty and useful containers!

Stenciling letters on painted popcorn tins and lids

Stencilling the lid

Finished popcorn tins

How to Make a Grocery Bag Holder Out of a Soda Bottle

How to Make a Grocery Bag Holder Out of a Soda Bottle

I like to keep old grocery bags and use them as liners for my little garbage cans or to use when I clean out the rabbit’s cage. But how do I store all of the bags? Yes, I could run to Walmart and buy a bag holder, but why do that when I can make one for free?

I’m always looking for ways to turn unwanted items into something useful. After scanning the kitchen to see what I could use as a bag holder, my eyes came across an empty 2 liter bottle of Pepsi. Perfect!

I start by removing the bottom of the bottle.

Then I remove the wrapper from the bottle and cover the bottle in card stock. I use double sided tape to attach it.

Once the bottle is ready, it’s time to attach it to where ever you want to store your bags. I decided to put mine on the inside cabinet door under my sink. This way it’s out of the way but still handy. To attach the bottle to the cabinet door I used 3M Command Strips. They make strips that are like Velcro. One side attaches to the door, and one side attaches to the bottle. They are super easy to use and can be removed when you need to remove them.

That’s all there is to it! You can even use 20 ounce bottles and put them in your bathroom to keep bags handy for small bathroom trash cans!

Cleaning Grout on Floors

Cleaning Grout on Floors

I love cleaning the grout on my kitchen floors. I know that probably sounds crazy but it’s true. It’s such a quiet job and it requires no thought what so ever. I just wish I would’ve started cleaning it sooner.

When I first moved into this house a year ago I thought the grout was supposed to be that dark (this is my first house with a tile floor and I just didn’t know any better). Imagine my surprise, then, when I spilled a little bit of paint on the grout two weeks ago and cleaned it up with a toothbrush and some baking soda and the dark grout turned white! Gross! All this time I was mopping my floors and thinking they were clean when there was probably years of dirt build-up in the grout.

I have a fairly large kitchen and eating area and it has taken me a while to clean them but I’m almost finished. I had thought about cleaning the grout with a steam cleaner, but after asking others who have tried using one to clean their grout, I decided not to (others complained that it didn’t do a deep down cleaning like they wanted and they ended up doing it by hand). So I decided to use a little bit of baking soda (with some spearmint essential oils to liven things up – including my mood), a toothbrush and some elbow grease. It turns out it’s not a lot of hard work, it just takes some time. I almost find it relaxing. I just do a small section at a time especially if I’m stressed out or just need to get away from a project I’m working on. It has the same effect on me as doing a word search, only when I’m finished I can walk in the kitchen and say “Dang! That looks good!”

What you need to clean your grout:
*Baking soda (I pour mine in a glass and mix with a few drops of my favorite essential oils but you can just pour it straight from the box).
*A hard bristled toothbrush
*A cup of water to rinse out the toothbrush
*A wet rag to wipe up your mess

Just sprinkle a little bit of baking soda onto the grout and scrub with the toothbrush. Rinse your brush out every few minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag to remove the dirty water and baking soda. Wipe up the area frequently so the dirty water doesn’t settle back into the grout. For extra tough stains, put vinegar in spray bottle and spray it onto the baking soda that you’ve sprinkled onto the grout. After it bubbles, use the toothbrush to loosen the dirt and grime.

Happy Scrubbing!

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Dirty pans

Thanks to all of the cooking I’ve done this holiday season, my stainless steel pots and pans are a mess! I’ve tried soaking them in Dawn dish soap, soaking them over night, boiling soapy water in them, but nothing would remove the maple cherry sauce I made for our Christmas Chicken (oh my, that was a wonderful meal. See below for the recipe.).

This afternoon I decided to try something else – I boiled equal parts water and vinegar with a teaspoon of baking soda in each pan. For the larger pan I used 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup vinegar and I only used 1/2 cup for the smaller pan. Every few minutes I would scrub the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. And WOW! It worked! Check out my before and after pictures below.

If you want the recipe for the maple glaze chicken check out the “Favorites” section of my website or click here http://www.borderhoarder.com/delicious-maple-cherry-glaze-recipe/. Not only will you know how to make this delicious recipe, you’ll know how to clean your pans afterwards 🙂

Clean pans

How Many Never Used Items Are In Your Home?

How Many Never Used Items Are In Your Home?

I recently read a statistic that blew my mind – the average person has $7000 worth of never used items in their home! $7000! My first thought was, surely, that can’t be right. I’m sure I don’t have that much. But then I started thinking (and looking around). In just 10 minutes I realized that I had 3 shirts in my closet with the tags still on them, one pair of sandals I bought this summer but didn’t get around to wearing, a set of dessert plates that are still in the box, and I don’t even want to look through all of my craft stuff! I probably don’t have $7000 worth of never used items in my home, but if I looked hard enough, I might come close to finding $1000.

How many of us could use that kind of cash right now? I know I could, especially with Christmas sneaking up on us like it is. This has motivated me to dig a little deeper and let go of things that I’ve never used. Of course the first task at hand is to LOOK through boxes and drawers and find those things. I could wear those sandals next year…or I could sell those ugly things (what was I thinking??) on ebay for some extra cash in my pocket right now.

What’s in your closet that you’ve never used?

Question From a Reader – What to do with Baby Clothes and Toys

Question From a Reader – What to do with Baby Clothes and Toys

We have clothes everywhere! I can clear one room in our 3br house-but it seems like the things just “shift”. Most of our items are clothes we are saving for our son-ranging from 2T-5T, my husband’s clothes (mostly never wears), stuffed toys out the wazoo, toys out the wazoo, and now some big ticket baby items our son has outgrown that we can’t find a good home for yet. Then there are the sentimental items-about 6-8 large boxes of those. Suggestions?

The above question was sent from a reader and I think it’s a problem we’ve either all had or are still struggling with. Here are my suggestions:

*The clothes – The first step is to look over each item of clothing and see what ones you would actually use again. If you see an item covered in stains and you don’t think you will put your next little one in it, toss it. Both the baby clothes and your husbands clothes that he doesn’t wear could go into Space Bags. These bags hold an unbelievable amount of clothing! I like the flat ones for clothing (as opposed to the cube ones which are great for blankets and stuffed animals). The flat ones can be stored under beds, under the couch, any where you have narrow spaces. Just make sure to label them so you know what sizes are in each bag.

*Stuffed toys – Go through the toys and see if there are any you can donate. The ones you decide to keep can go in the cube Space Bags. We keep most of my daughter’s stuffed animals in these amazing bags. Because they are clear, you can see what’s inside and if your child wants a particular stuffed animal you can open it up, take out the toy and then suck out the air again.

*Toys – this may have to be something you put up with for the next few years. As with everything else, go through and see what you actually need and what your kids really play with. If you come across any toy that is broken, either fix it or toss it.

*Big ticket baby items – if you don’t need it anymore, get those space suckers out of there! Sell them on Craig’s list or, if you don’t want to mess with that, donate them. Many pregnancy help line places will gladly take the donation.

*Sentimental items – Oh man, that one gets all of us. Here is what I do – I keep a box for EACH person in my family. I don’t throw everyone’s keepsake items in together. If you do this, you’ll never know who you’re keeping things for…or why you’re even keeping it.

Before anything goes in a box I ask myself this question – why am I keeping it? Do I hope my daughter will pass on this item of clothing to her own daughter one day? If that answer is yes, I make sure it’s stain free and in perfect shape. If it’s not, I try to get the stains out and make it look like new. If I can’t do it, I take a picture of it (for myself) and toss it. When my kids grow up and have their own children they will not want to put their children in old, stained clothing – just like the rest of us wouldn’t do to our own children.

If it’s a toy I’m tempted to put in the box, I ask myself the same question. Am I keeping it because it was one of their favorite toys and I think their own children would play with it one day? If it’s not a favorite toy, if it’s broken or doesn’t work anymore, then either toss it or donate it.

I try to keep this in mind with my keepsakes – will it live on and actually be useful to my children one day? If the answer is no, I don’t keep it. When my child is an adult it will not be helpful to give him/her 10 Rubbermaid containers full of “stuff” that is broken, stained, or torn. No one wants that! My mom kept very few things for me, and I treasure everything that I have in that little box. If she would’ve given me 10 of them, I would’ve been overwhelmed.

When it comes to keeping papers or art work, I keep a flat Rubbermaid container under my bed. I don’t have one for each kid, I just have a “Family” box. Every other time I add to it, I look to see if there is something similar they’ve done that I can get rid of.

The key here is to pay attention to what you are keeping, and think about why you are keeping it in the first place. We keep so much more than we really need. We end up using space for things in the past and have less room for the present.

I hope this helps! Happy organizing!

How To Clean Area Rugs

How To Clean Area Rugs

A woman walks into a shop that sells very expensive Persian rugs. She looks around and spots the perfect rug and walks over to inspect it. As she bends to feel the texture of the rug she farts loudly. Very embarrassed, she looks around nervously to see if anyone has noticed her little accident and hopes a sales person does not pop up at that moment. As she turns back, standing next to her is a salesman. “Good day, how may we help you today?” Very uncomfortably, she asks, “Sir, how much does this rug cost?” He answers, “Lady if you farted just touching it, you’re gonna poop in your pants when you hear what the price is.”

I know, I know, that’s a terrible joke. But the truth is, rugs are expensive! Many times we get them home, vacuum them every once in a while and call it good. But is it good? Is that all there is to taking care of rugs? Yes…and no.

So how do you take care of a rug?

1) Vacuum – don’t just vacuum the topside of the rug. Move the rug, sweep or vacuum all of the dust and dirt that is underneath it, then flip the rug upside down and vacuum the underside. I usually flip the rug back over and vacuum the rug on the topside once more. How often do you need to vacuum under your rug? It depends on if your rug is in a high traffic area. You might need to do this once a week (which I do for the smaller rugs in front of my doors) or once a month (which is what I do for the larger ones).

Do you know why you need to vacuum? The dirt and dust in your rugs acts like sandpaper and, over time, can damage the fibers. Plus, if enough accumulates, it can get packed into your rug, making it almost impossible to remove. Not to mention the fact that rugs catch mold spores in the air, dust, pollen, dander, and dust mites – all things that can cause allergies.

2) Clean with a carpet cleaner – if your rug is really dirty, smells funny, or someone spilled something on it, you may want to use a carpet cleaner to clean your rug. When you use a carpet cleaner, your rug will get fairly wet, and so will the floor underneath it. It’s best to clean your rugs in your garage, or even your drive way – somewhere it’s OK to get wet. If it’s a sunny day, lay it flat in your drive way to dry in the sun. Once the top feels dry, bring the rug in the house and flip it over so the underside is up and let it dry a little longer. If your rug is valuable, you may want to have a professional rug cleaner clean it for you. The best ones will pick up your rug and take it to their business to clean. Cleaning your rug this way insures that all of the soap is rinsed out, leaving no residue behind. At home carpet cleaners can leave some residue which could cause future dirt and dust to stick to the fibers. I haven’t had any problems with this, but if I had a valuable Oriental rug and it needed to be cleaned, I would have a professional do it.

3) Fringe – don’t forget about the fringe. If you need to wash the fringe, put a little bit of carpet cleaner in a bowl of warm water. Use a laundry brush or an old tooth brush to clean the fringe, starting up by the rug and working to the ends. Only do this if your fringe really needs it. Once the fringe is wet, it can pick up dust and dirt quickly. Make sure to let it dry completely before anyone walks on it. If you have a valuable Oriental rug, you can also have your fringe replaced.

What do I mean by a “valuable Oriental rug”? An actual Oriental rug is one that was handmade (hand knotted) in one of the traditional weaving areas in the Middle East or Far East. Most stores where rugs are sold (furniture stores, home improvement stores, and even actual rug stores) call any rug with a pattern an Oriental rug. These rugs are not made in the Far or Middle East and are made with a machine, instead of by hand. They are still pricey and still need to be taken care of, but you can do most of the cleaning on your own, unless you want to hire a professional.

Persian rugs should also be cleaned by professionals. In order for a rug to be “Persian” it must be made in Persia (modern day Iran). Usually the only cleaning a Persian rugs needs is a good vacuuming once or twice a week.

While regular vacuuming is usually all that is needed, make sure to flip that rug over every once in a while and clean up the dust and dirt that has accumulated underneath. This will keep your rug cleaner and your family breathing easier!