My bathroom

Okay – I understand that bathrooms are not the most exciting place in the home but I wanted to share anyway.  There are three full bathrooms in the new house that get regular use.  The first floor bathroom gets heavy traffic with all of our respite guests, the kids all share the second floor bathroom and we have our own bathroom off our suite.  This is our first floor bathroom.  Not minimalist but not cluttered either.  I have found time and time again that it’s easier to clean when you have less stuff.  This is especially important in the bathroom.  I’ve never known my husband to clean a bathroom and I hate to clean so here is how I make it work.  I keep a stack of washclothes on the back of the toilet and encourage their use.  When a kid uses the washcloth they drop it on the floor by the door.  I swoop them up when I do our laundry.  I also use the washclothes when there are any signs of dirt – toilet seats, sink, mirrors, baseboards, light switch.  The washcloth gets dropped onto the pile on the floor and then gets washed in hot water.  Occasionally some hand soap is added for the messier tasks.

First signs of dirt or mess are easier to clean then set in dirt.  A quick swipe and we are good – there’s rarely need for a lengthy scrubbing session.  I spray down the shower after use with an all purpose cleaner and clean the toilet (several times a week) by squirting in lysol toilet bowl cleaner and let it hang out in there while the kids are at school.

bathroom 6 bathroom 2 bathroom 1

Not too much frills or extras but a definate owl theme.

bathroom 3 bathroom 4 bathroom 5

  • Framed flower picture
  • 2 white hand towels with pink stripes and 1 green hand towel with owl
  • Fabric Owl print shower curtain with owl shower curtain hooks and a shower curtain liner
  • carpet cleaner because you know everyone keeps this in their bathroom.
  • Blind for window
  • behind the vanity mirror with tampons and pads (always keep a few handy for those too embarassed to ask), toothpaste, outlet safety plugs, peroxide, dixie cups, handsoap (in a ghost bottle), body wash, shampoo/conditioner
  • Owl wastebasket, toilet brush
  • green hand towel, stack of wash clothes
  • Under the sink with 2 burgandy bath towels, 1 blue bath towel, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, baby shampoo, toddler toilet seat.
  • hand soap, glade plug in with lemonade scent
  • owl rug

I do not keep cleaners in the bathroom due to the ages of children we get.  I would hate for a child to get under the sink and get hurt from cleaners.  My husband sweeps and mops so I do not worry about doing this.

My small bathroom

So my bathroom can be relaxing or stressful depending on the cleanliness of it.  We have two full bathrooms but only really use the small one.  Trying to convince my family that not everything has to go in the small bathroom was hard at first but has gotten easier as we’ve all learned that it functions better when only what we use on a regular basis is left in this room.

Here is what you see when you are walking towards my bathroom.  It used to have a really dark, thick shower curtain.  I thought it over powered the room so I switched it out for a thinner lighter curtain.  I really love the colors in this curtain.

We have two rugs – the dark brown rug is super soft and foamy.  it was by the shower but i found that it stayed wet forever and when the bottom got wet it became a slippery death trap so I just switched them and crisis was averted.  I love the stripes and the green and brown one.  there is a towel bar with two towels on the right.  There is a partial towel bar above it that needs to be taken down and gotten rid of.

The shelf is a new addition but not a new purchase.  Our towel shelf was in the big bathroom but we don’t use that bathroom.  this bathroom is right next to our bedrooms.  It was a real pain to get a clean wash cloth or towel and it didn’t make sense to carry the clean towels all the way to the big bathroom just to have to carry them to the small bathroom.  I’m quite happy with the shelf in the smaller room – my mom was surprised that it fit as the bathroom looked too small to fit anything let alone a shelf.  to me the bathroom looks cozier now the shelf is in there and i actually put the towels away now instead of leaving them on my dresser.

On the toilet is my new favorite lotion – Suave Advanced Therapy.  It feels great and doesn’t overpower with scent.  It’s been saving my hands this winter and I’ve been applying it after washing my hands.  This lotion is fantastic!

I have Suave conditioner and shampoo on top of the shelf – apple scented, and my shaving cream.  My daughter has two Avon bath paint roll ons.

Now I don’t typically use Suave but am really loving on it right now.  It smells good, works good and is way more affordable.

I also admit to owning too many wash cloths, hand towels and towels.  I don’t even have them all pictured because there are towels in the wash and in use.  Three shelves of bath towels, a shelf with hand towels and washcloths and one shelf for my daughter’s bath toys and some bubble bath.  So there are at least 5 towels per person in this house.  What I would really love is to donate most of these and get myself a matching set of luxurious towels instead of this mismatched bunch.  Aldi had a wonderful for about $20 but I would have needed 2 sets.  I couldn’t justify spending $40 on beautiful towels when I have plenty of good ones at home.  Eventually I will replace though.

Hidden is the toilet plunger and the toilet brush.  I converted a vase into a brush holder.  I keep the brush soaking in a vinegar solution with dawn dish soap and lavendar oil so it smells good and soap is always ready to clean.

Here is my sink.  My family loves to try to junk it up but it always gets removed.  hand towels, my bathroom cleaner (vinegar, water and essential oils), hand soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and my husband’s comb.  I like to store the toothbrushes and such in the pink bucket to make it easy to stash underneath when guests come over.  – yes I hide my toothbrush.  My daughter and my hairbrush are absent from the bathroom because we don’t brush our hair in there.  Also absent is any make up as I never wear the stuff.  My facial wash and moisterizer and contact solution is on a shelf just outside of the bathroom.  I find too much stuff on the sink makes it messier and harder to clean.

Just in case you thought I stashed everything under the sink – bubble bath, my husband’s face lotion, my daughter’s mouthwash, an extra bottle of shampoo, husband’s razer, two boxes of q-tips (i’m addicted), tampons, my daughter’s fish tank necessities, flea shampoo for both cat and dog (though we don’t use it in favor of blue dawn dish soap) and a scrub clean bathroom cleaner.

I could easily part with the cleaner (if favor of my homemade cleaner), the flea shampoos and the evolve shampoo but my husband said that it doesn’t make sense to get rid of it when we could use it.  So my plan is to use it and not replace it.  I’ve also decided that when my daughter’s fish eventually passes away we will not be replacing him or her.

In the shower itself a shower rack with Suave shampoo and conditioner (coconut), Suave body wash (apple), my husband’s bar soap and his shampoo.  I noticed that I have two razors – hmmm 1 to purge.

 

And finally – wall art mostly gone.  We bought bath crayons and I learned that if you don’t remove it right away that it almost becomes permanent.  My daughter fully decorated the walls one day and I loved the drawings so asked her to keep them.  Nothing worked on getting it off time i used baking soda and my vinegar cleaner.  I had the rest removed and almost had this one gone but then stopped myself.

It’s a picture of me smiling with my arms outstretched to give her a hug and I am holding flowers for us.  I love it and it makes me happy!

My cleaning supplies

I have made the switch to more natural cleaning products.  This is a huge step as my favorite section in the store is the cleaning supplies.  I could spent an hour in that section alone carefully reading each label to find what product would vanquish dirt and grime from my home and magically make it clean dream.  What I’ve learned is that there is no product that will magically make your home clean (unfortunately) and most cleaning supplies really bother either my respiratory system or my super sensitive skin.

I’ve started making my own all-purpose cleaner.  I use it to clean, disinfect and deodorize my home.  I’ve found it to work particularly well in the bathroom.  For whatever reason I’m still hesitant to use it in my kitchen.  It works incredibly well on soap scum, especially those bath crayons.  They are incredibly hard to remove from the walls if you don’t wipe off immediately.  The vinegar solution removed the drawings where the harsher chemicals did not.

  • 1 spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Water

It’s important to stick to a 1:1 ratio so in other words 1 cup of water to every 1 cup of vinegar.  Now I really hate the smell of vinegar so I bought Orange Essential Oil through amazon.com and I add a few drops to the spray bottle with the vinegar water solution and this really helps get rid of most of the unpleasant smell.

I’ve also stopped using the harsh chemical scrubs.  In its place I have a container full of baking soda.  This is particularly useful in the kitchen.  Our counter tops stain extremely easy so what I do is dump a small pile of baking soda on the stain and then add water slowly until I have a paste.  I then use my scrubber until the stain is removed.  You can even let the paste sit for a while on the stain and it’ll come up easier.

When our dryer was broken we added a cup of vinegar to every wash load to help soften up the clothes.

One of my favorite cleaning combinations has to be vinegar with baking soda (baking soda volcano anyone?)  This is particularly useful for the toilet.  You dump about 1/4 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and then add 1 cup of vinegar.  you let it sit for at least 15 minutes then scrub and flush.  very easy.  This combination also works incredibly well as a drain cleaner.

I use the vinegar, water, essential oil combination to clean glass and mirrors.  The first time I cleaned the bathroom using nothing but the vinegar, baking soda, water and essential oil my husband commented that the bathroom never looked cleaner to him.

For the kitchen I have started cleaning with baking soda and have switched to Dawn dish soap as a gentle all-purpose cleaner.

I figure that if it is gentle enough to use on wildlife to remove oil then it’s gentle enough to use around my daughter.  I use this to clean counters, the stove, the hood, inside and outside of the refrigerator, the table and cabinets.  I also use this to make homemade bubbles for my daughter (and me) to play with

Homemade bubble solution – gently mix the ingredients to prevent foaming.  distilled water works best but any water will do.

  • 1 cup Dawn dish soap
  • 10 cups water
  • 10 drops glycerin (bought in the pharmacy department)

I also keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy but don’t use it often because it can stain.

While writing this I googled green cleaning and found this wonderful website – Apartment Therapy – 25 DIY Green Cleaning Recipes for the Whole House!  The only note of concern is their use of Borax.  I used Borax in my homemade laundry soap but this product isn’t necessarily safe to use frequently.  (classified as a poison – known to cause respiratory and acute eye problems.  also may be concern about reproductive problems) so use with caution and use gloves when using.  Here is 20 Mule Team’s MSDS.

For carpet cleaning I’ve also skipped using the carpet shampoos and just add vinegar to extremely hot water to the machine instead.  It works great.  Before I use the carpet cleaner I sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I then vacuum the carpet in several directions.  This makes the carpet cleaner work better as it’s not getting clogged on dirt that could have been avoided.

Cleaning Tools –

I love Fly Lady products.  I bought the purple rags and these work great.  They clean easy enough too as I just throw them into the laundry.  I’ve accidently dried these with fabric softener like a million times (on the flylady website it says detergent only).  I use them until they are dirty and then rewash them.  It hasn’t made a noticeable difference to me.  They are nice though because they are large, have two textures and are purple.  I use them for about everything.  I have cheaper rags as well that I bought at walmart.  The other set has a mesh scrubby side.

I also have the Rubba Scrubba. – I’ve used this on my blinds, the furniture, for dishes and more.  On my wish list are the Rubba Swisha for the bathroom and the dish brushes.  gotta admit I’m glad that I own this as it helps but it feels awkward in my hand.  I’ve also really gunked this up and then struggled to clean it (think long hair or grease – yuck).  It always comes clean though and I haven’t been able to break off any of the nubbies yet so it’s a quality product.

The Rubba Sweepa is my favorite Fly Lady product.  I LOVE THIS!  The handle feels flimsy but again – I have not broken it yet.  I manage to break everything.  This helped me tons when my daughter was going through her phase where she was hitting herself in the head because she couldn’t get the sound of the vacuum out.  I quickly bought this and it has helped.  She no longer has the vacuum problem but with my husband sleeping nights it helps me when my carpets need a quick clean up.   It also helps me clean up my bunny’s hay mess.  It was a life saver (and vacuum saver) when we had two dogs.  I would use this before I vacuumed and my vacuum stopped clogging up.

We bought the Fly Lady mop.

and extra mop refills.  I like the mop but love the clothes.  I will sometimes use the clothes without the mop because they are super soft, big and work.  I like the dry mop part as it really collects the dirt and dust.  I’ve even recommended this to others.  my husband helped me pick this item out from the fly lady store but he continues to use the swifter with disposable wet clothes.  He says certain things are too dirty for reusable clothes.  My OCD agrees but my logical self shakes my head with this statement.

Sounds Great so Now What?

Now the problem is – I can’t bring myself to get rid of the harsher cleaners that are under my kitchen sink and in the laundry room.  I also can’t seem to part with all my air fresheners.  I cling onto them because 1. I spent good money on them, 2. I might need them someday, and 3.  it feels wasteful to get rid of them.  I put a few out in our yard sale but there is quite a bit more that are stashed in my cabinets.