Category / Projects

spring cleaning!

spring cleaning recipes |

I don’t know who let this lady into our house, or where she came from, but she’s into cleaning lately.

I know. Whaaa??

I chalk it up to a mixture of Spring fever and wanting to get the house feeling fresh for the changing seasons. Plus, having it on the market makes me look at it with new eyes and clean with just a little more vigor. At a moment’s notice, the house has to be sparkling from floor to ceiling for a showing!

I got on a Pinterest kick one night and started researching homemade cleaners using natural products that were cheap to whip up. (Since we seem to be cleaning daily lately, I was not opposed to something with a lower price tag.) I also like the idea of getting away from the chemical stuff, and using something greener.

To start, I stocked up on some microfiber rags, (way cheap at TJ Maxx if you’re looking for some) – rather than going through rolls of paper towels, I like that these have a little more durability to scrub with and I can use them over and over.

spring cleaning recipes |

Then I made a batch of two kinds of cleaners, using the following “ingredients”:

spring cleaning recipes |

Lemon essential oil and Dr. Brommer’s lavender castile soap (I found these at Whole Foods)…

spring cleaning recipes |

…and a jug of distilled water and one of white vinegar.

Then I made my two cleaners. First, an all-purpose cleaner:

spring cleaning recipes |

Fill a spray bottle with distilled water and add a teaspoon of castile soap. Add a few drops of essential oil if you like for added scent oomph! Shake before using. This is great for wiping down cabinets and baseboards, and I used it to clean the inside of our fridge and microwave. It smells SO good!

Then, I made a water and vinegar mix for cleaning our stainless sink and appliances as well as glass surfaces:

spring cleaning recipes |

Half distilled water and half vinegar. And LOTS of essential oil to combat the whiffs of vinegar.

I’m loving the way my house smells (and glistens) lately 🙂 Happy spring (cleaning)!

laundry room…check!

updated laundry |

Don’t get the wrong impression…just because this project has taken two years to complete does NOT mean you will be overwhelmed with the results. But, it’s a definite improvement over what we had, and I actually enjoy opening the laundry room door now!

laundry before

To begin, we started with this laundry room. Standard wire shelving, organized enough, functional.

Next, the game plan hit some bumps. First, the rug I ordered (and was basing my whole idea to stylize this space) didn’t fit quite right and had to be sent back. This translated into an entirely different wall color pick for the room. I think this worked out for the best, though, as “Soft Mint” by Glidden made this room feel SO much lighter/brighter (and dare I say, bigger).

Next, we built and painted a pedestal to go under the washer/dryer and house three laundry baskets. Cue the forehead slap…we literally couldn’t angle the room-width creation enough to get them INTO PLACE! So we took them apart and kept one section as a sort of riser to line up with our baseboards. I do feel the difference in bending over a few less inches to get clothes in and out, so the project wasn’t a total waste.

laundry in progress

Since that debacle, we focused time and energy on the basement, and the laundry room was “good enough” – meaning there were a couple improvements checked off, but all of the laundry/cleaning supplies collected in here, and without a storage system for keeping it all organized, making it not too easy on the eyes.

updated laundry |

Finally, I feel like this is a space we can mark off as done. I’m glad to see the cheapo 12″ wire shelving gone. In its place, we added a 16-inch deep piece of pine, primed and painted to match our trim, for a bit more custom/built-in look. We had a plethora of leftover trim in the same finish from our basement, so we re-purposed a piece of that along the edge to take it up one more notch. The two white bins keep supplies sorted into one of two categories…

WASH: detergent, softener, bleach, OxyClean, stain stick, Color Catchers, etc

DRY: starch, lint roller, dryer balls, defuzzing comb, etc

updated laundry |

…and a roll of paper towels is close on hand, in the corner where we stash a small waste basket for lint, and our mop. I like that this corner is out of sight, when looking in from the hallway.

updated laundry |

We finally have a place to store our laundry baskets that is NOT on the floor, blocking the machines, or on top of the machines to vibrate noisily while they’re running.

updated laundry |

This was a big check off the list of house projects, and gets us one step closer to being ready to list the house! Stay tuned for details on THAT story in the coming weeks!


‘january’ is synonymous with ‘purging’ and ‘organization’

…at least for me it is!

Along with a fresh start (and a renewed sense of energy to get to the gym!) I love to use the cold post-holiday month of January to take a pass through our house and eliminate STUFF we don’t need and make SENSE of what we do and where to keep it. There’s nothing like the reward of zen that comes from not having more stuff that you can keep track of! Less stuff means less time spent to keep it all straight – and it’s easier to appreciate the things you LOVE when they aren’t overshadowed by a bunch of stuff you just don’t really need or use. I think this just about sums it up:

too much stuff -- resolution 2014

January inevitably sends me into OCD mode, cleaning out and organizing every pocket in our house — closets, junk drawers, shelving – anywhere stuff accumulates, and also getting some rhyme and reason to collections of things – like gift wrap supplies, baking stuff, etc. I know there is more storage space in this house — it’s just a matter of creating it!

The goal is to tackle a space or two each week – some small, some large. Judging from my list this could go on for many weeks…

Purge/organize the following spots around the house: 

  • Gift wrap (simplify – too many odds and ends)
  • Baking/cake decorating supplies (I only use about 10% of what I own – an abandoned hobby)
  • Kitchen cabinets (in general just clear out dishes/tools we don’t need or use, including the TEN-plus water bottles for two people)
  • Pantry (decently organized, just needs a once-through for expired stuff and to regroup on what needs to be restocked)
  • Junk drawer (this can barely open/close!)
  • End table drawers in living room
  • Coat closet (out of control)
  • Bookcase cabinets (not even sure what it’s there anymore…)
  • Cubbies/baskets in front entry bench (same)
  • Bathroom cabinets upstairs (a whole mess of bath products, some being used, some not)
  • Nightstands in our room
  • Jewelry (I’ll always keep a TON of fun costume jewelry, but there are some pieces that have seen better days and need to go…and free up space for new ones!)
  • Makeup (pitch stuff I tried and hated, but felt guilty about the money spent, check expirations)
  • Nail polish (pitch colors I didn’t love on, anything over a couple years old)
  • Our closet (this deserves about ten bullets in the list – pull it all out and seriously evaluate what stays and goes — bribe Page to do the same)
  • Linen closet (not using space well in there)
  • Laundry room (get shelving built/room finished, organize the basics that need to go in there)
  • Guest room closet and under-bed (random storage, not sure what all’s there?)
  • My office (clear out books not needed, paperwork for our taxes/ClickSmith documents in order, get a system for organizing camera equipment)
  • Page’s office (add some shelving to max space in his closet, clear out paperwork, books, magazines, organize Page Smith Design documents)
  • Basement under-stairs closet (random stuff in an odd-shaped space – clean out and figure a better way to use this precious storage square footage
  • Utility closet (turn into seasonal decoration storage room! – get rid of xmas decs no longer needed and organize what’s left in there)
  • Basement bookcases (I have empty baskets/totes as “decoration” in them – need to figure out what to store there and fill them up!)
  • Garage (last as we’ll wait til it warms up past 1 degree F! We started to re-org out there before the cold season – finish this up in the spring)

I’ll try to check in throughout the month with any good “before and after” photo opps! Anyone else bitten by the organization bug this time of year? 

Meal Planner Free Printable

Meal Planner Free Printable |
When it comes to meal planning in our house, I have the best of intentions.

Some nights, dinners are better thought out, and some consist of, “There’s a packet of ramen in the pantry, help yourself!” No matter the complexity of the meal, they all require ingredients, which requires the occasional trek to the grocery store. I am a HUGE fan of going to the store with a list…not so much because I stick to it, but because I can ensure I’m not making any more trips than I have to for forgotten items.

In the past, I’ve tried some super-organized grocery list pads. But for me, I don’t need my grocery list to just help me during my store visit, I want it to help me all week long so I can remember what I bought, and for which recipe, so I’m not at home three days later wondering what I bought the can of pineapple chunks for. (I finally remembered…it was for a stir fry.)

Meal Planner Free Printable |

It’s no rocket science, but if you plan your list like I do (by meals and not by store zones), it will hopefully make your life a teensy bit easier…

Meal Planning Printable | www.29thanddelight.comI print this out and use it to make my meal plan and lists, take it to the store, then I hang it in my pantry once I get home. Don’t throw it away like you would a normal list. This way, I have a list of “oh yeah, I was going to make that” meals across the top…or a menu of options for the week, if you will, that I know I have the stuff on hand to make.

I still have space at the bottom to list the random stuff we need that’s not necessarily an ingredient for a dish. And you’ll notice I don’t specify days of the week – we just make what we’re in the mood for each night. We do leftovers at least once a week, thus only four “days” shown. Want more than four? Print it double sided or print two to a page. Better yet, laminate it so you can re-use the wipe-off version time and again.

You can download the printable meal planner by clicking Meals

Happy meal planning in the new year!

Meal Planner Free Printable |