Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thrifty at Home: Spring Cleaning

While the mercury here in the Northeast may protest that it's quite nearly Spring (this weekend, anyway- ~shiver~!), it's just about that time of year to start switching out your cold-weather wardrobe (if you're lucky enough to have decent storage) and to tackle some of the long-neglected projects you've been meaning to get to.

For me, this weekend is all about the kitchen. First of all I'd like to figure out what is making that absolutely god-awful smell in the refrigerator. Yeah, um... It was cleaned pretty recently but evidently since something has died. Here's my recipe for the ultimate fridge-scourer that costs about 41 cents and won't kill your birds, poison your children or pour horrid chemicals down the drain:

1 lemon, cut in half (visible seeds removed but not squeezed yet)
baking soda (you'll probably end up using 1/8th to 1/4 cup)

That's it. Sprinkle your baking soda over stuck-on food, mystery glops of ancient condiments, and anything that's not sparkling to your standards. Then start scrubbin' with that lemon half. The acid will react with the baking soda and do pretty much all of the work for you. A little elbow grease never hurts, though. Wipe your mess up with a dry rag or recycled paper towel (not to be preachy but really, try to buy non-virgin paper products and do your part change the demand in this country!) and then once more with a warm, wet rag to get up any leftover grit from the baking soda (or weird chunks of stuff you really don't want to think about).

This also works tremendously well in tubs for soap scum and that other weird crud in there. No more caustic, horrible-smelling spray bottles that shouldn't be around kids or pets and need ventilation to use (creeeepy, am I right?) ...and as an added bonus when you rinse your concoction down the drain you probably give your pipes a little flush with the remaining fizziness.

In addition to the fridge-scouring, I am tackling the tops of the cabinets. Last weekend was the fronts (amazing how much brighter the white doors were after a good scrubbing- who knew they had really turned greyish?) with the same general cleaning recipe- white vinegar can be used in the place of the lemon if you find it gets too expensive or wasteful to always use lemon halves.

So, apparently. if your cabinets don't reach the ceiling, and you never dust around the decorative platters and picnic baskets atop them , a certain sticky film overtakes them and every surrounding surface. A scrub brush, hot water and dishwashing liquid are really all it took to remedy this unappealing mess (and something along the lines of greased elbow lightning, I suppose, but think of the calories burned and teacher arm averted).

Next will be shelf liner and an actual decorating scheme including some of my collection of amethyst and cobalt glass and sterling silver (centered around the glass bowl found at Goodwill (discussed here):

...and then I swear I will dust regularly so as to never, ever have to go through this kind of intense scrubbing again.

Sadly I didn't have the foresight for before pictures, but I'll be sure to post some "after," if only so you can gawk at the astounding microscopic-ness of the kitchen itself.

I transferred a big chunk of money from my regular savings bucket at ING into my home improvement bucket, and I'm having visions of ocean-colored mosaic backsplashes and recycled-glass-flecked Silestone counters... sigh... Someday.

Happy productive weekend!

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