How To Get Your Home Clean For The Holidays — Before The Christmas Rush


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Nothing feels better than sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family in a clean and cozy home. It just starts the holiday season off right.

For me, however, the clean part is always so much harder than the cozy part–although it is totally worth the effort.

This post contains two plans to help you get your home clean for the holidays -- before the Christmas season even begins.

Summer into early fall around our home is a flurry of activity, which often leaves our home looking a bit neglected.

As much as I like to enjoy the downtime between the end of summer and early fall activities before the start of the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) I know if I use this time to give the home a top to bottom fall cleaning I will thank myself for it during the hustle and bustle of late November and all of December.

How To Create Your Own Plan Of Attack To Clean Your Entire Home Before Thanksgiving

In years past I blogged my way through my Christmas cleaning plan.

However, this year I am going to lay out for you exactly how I create my plan of action to give the house a good top to bottom cleaning before a single Christmas decoration is brought out.

The Little At A Time Christmas Cleaning Plan: 6 to 7 weeks

In years past I have started the first full week of October and ended the week of Thanksgiving, giving me roughly 6 to 7 weeks  each year to execute my plan.

This year the division of weeks would look as follows:

Week One—October 3rd through October 9th

Week Two—October 10th through October 16th

Week Three—October 17th through October 23rd

Week Four—October 24th through October 30th

Week Five—October 31 through November 6th

Week Six—November 7th through November 13th

Week Seven—November 14th through November 20th

I would then divide up my home into areas so that each one was hit by the time the week of Thanksgiving rolled around so I could then turn my attention to decorating our home for Christmas.

Week One—Family Room

Week Two—Dinning Room

Week Three—Living Room

Week Four—Kitchen

Week Five—Back and Front door entrance ways

Week Six—Bathrooms

Week Seven—Bedrooms

You will notice I haven’t included storage areas like basements, attics, hall closets, etc. These areas generally get a good go-over at other times of the year, but during my Christmas cleaning I hit just those areas guests frequent.

After I know when and what I work on the how.

Some years this means I work 15 to 30 minutes each day on the area of the week. Other times this means I devote an entire day of the week to cleaning that area. It all depends what works better for me that week.

The Christmas Cleaning Bee Plan: 2 to 3 Saturdays

Now that the children are older the annual Christmas Cleaning routine is getting a overhaul!

Saturday One: November 5th–The attic

Saturday Two: November 12th–Bedrooms

Saturday Three: November 19th–Main floor rooms (kitchen/family room/dining room/living room)

Now don’t freak out–I know that looks like a huge amount of work for one person and it is. I am not going to be doing these areas myself, instead I am throwing three Family cleaning bees.

We will start at 10:00 and end at 4:00 and there will be takeout pizza at the end of the day. Everyone will have an assigned area to clean from top to bottom.

Now you might notice I added in the attic in this plan, which is a storage area. As I said, normally these are done at a different time of year but this year we have a big trip planned that starts right after Christmas and I want the whole home ready for the house sitter to enjoy. Should she need to go into the attic to take care of a household issue I don’t want her to have to step around boxes that were not properly put away.

The Cleaning Tools

I like to make sure we are well stocked with all the cleaners we need for a family cleaning bee at least a few days in advance.

Here is the list of cleaning tools we use at our house:

I like to make sure that we have at least two of each item so that more than one person can be using it at once. Of course, if you are working alone then you only need one of each.

A Few Ways To Make Cleaning More Fun

Audio books

I LOVE audio books for passing the time when I am cleaning. My kids love them too. We use the Hoopla app. We are able to get a free membership to it through our local library. Libraries also offer One Digital and Overdrive. It depends on your library as to how many of these apps they might offer or if they offer any at all.

If you library doesn’t offer these apps with audio book selections, you could try Audible. They offer a free 2 month trial that allows you one free title per month for two months.

Christmas tunes

Even though I am cleaning for Christmas way before Christmas, I often like to indulge in some Christmas tunes using Pandora while I do my pre-Christmas cleaning. It helps me stay motivated since a reminder of my goal of a clean home for Christmas is literally being piped into my ears the entire time I clean.

Special Rewards for Hitting Goals

You might have noticed above that I said our family Christmas cleaning days will end with takeout pizza. This isn’t just because we are all tired and don’t want to dirty the kitchen they just cleaned–it is also a reward.

We don’t get takeout pizza that often and usually for special nights like this we skip the cheaper pizza joint for the gourmet one –provided everyone has cleaned hard and had great attitudes about it.

The goal that motivates you might be different–spend a bit of time brainstorming and I am sure you will come up with something.

I would love to hear if you do a similar pre-Christmas cleaning and if so, how? Tell me in the comment section.

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This post contains two plans to help you get your home clean for the holidays--before the Christmas season even begins.

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How To Get The Stink Out Of Workout Clothes


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I am going to start this post with a confession: I don’t glisten when I work out–I sweat buckets. After three miles of running my clothes are as wet as if they just came out of the washing machine.

Second confession: my sweat smells–and it isn’t a pretty smell. I read somewhere that this means my body is good at releasing toxins. However, those smelly toxins leave an odor on my workout clothes that regular detergents just don’t seem to get rid of.

How to get the stink out of your workout clothes. This is so simple!

Up until recently this meant I purchased workout clothing for as inexpensively as possible and then tossed them every four to six months.

Even though I rarely pay more than $5 a workout shirt and $10 for workout Capris, this tossing habit seemed less than thrifty and, well…I am a thrifty person.

Now, I had been told that vinegar in the rinse would do the trick. As an all-natural loving gal, I gave this super green and thrifty tip a try–it did nothing.

How To Get The Stink Out Of Workout Clothes

I tried a few more DIY ideas which all flopped and decided I would just have to live with frequently tossing my workout clothes-that is, until I stumbled upon this product. I honestly didn’t think it would get rid of the odor either since it had such mixed reviews in the review section, but it wasn’t that expensive and I knew if it worked it would certainly save me some money in the long run.

Because I was so apprehensive I will admit that I used double the recommended amount of product.

When the product arrived I gathered up all my workout gear–both dirty and clean–and did two loads worth with it.

How to get the stink out of workout clothes. This is so simple!

I hung all my workout gear to drive like I usually do–I read somewhere that this helps dri-wick materials stay more effective and hey, I sweat a lot so I need them to be as effective as possible.

Oh and it was storming the day I did this so I set up my drying rack (similar to this one) in the upstairs hallway.

I then did the smell test and all but three items from those two loads of laundry were free of the smell of my stinky sweat. And those three items were the oldest in the two loads.

So what is this product? Molly’s Suds Sport Wash. It is non-toxic, all ingredients are FDA’s GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). Probably not 100% green, but as green of a solution as I have currently found that works to get rid of sweat smell in workout clothing.

Now that I have figured out that it works, my plan is to do my workout clothes this way at least once a month. Next month I will try using just one cap full like the instructions state–if that doesn’t work as well I will go back to two caps full per load. Still, even if I have to use 2 caps full instead of one, Molly’s Suds Sport Wash will be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than what I have been doing and that makes this green and thrifty gal very happy.

More posts for fitness buffs:







The BIG Decluttering Question: Resell it or Toss it? A How To Decide Guide


You have finally done it–you have decluttered either a room or the whole house, but now you are staring at the pile of things that didn’t make the “I love it and use it and therefore I am keeping it” pile.

Your family could always do with a bit of extra cash and the items in the pile sure could create some if you resell it–but should you?

How to decide whether you are better off tossing an item--or if it is worth the time and effort to sell it.


How To Decide Whether To Resell it or Toss it?

Be 100% percent honest with yourself when pondering each of the points below–if you are you will be happy with the outcome whether you tossed the clutter or decided to resell it.

When to toss

Toss it if  you simply do not have the time to take on the task of re-selling your items.

Toss it if  you can’t come up with a small financial goal you can reach with the sale of the items.

Toss it if  you are the type who steals from the throw out pile if it sits in your home too long.

Toss it if  you have no place to store the items until they are resold that isn’t a part of your main living space.

Toss it if  you have a history of saying, “I am going to resell these,” and then never do.

Toss it if  the amount of money you would earn from selling an item divided by the amount of hours it takes you to list it and sell it is less than your target per hour rate of return.

(For example, I set mine at $10 per hour. Any less and I just don’t feel it is worth the effort since it takes me at least an hour to clean, list and then deal with buyers. If I can’t sell the item for $10 or more it goes straight into the giveaway box)

Toss it if  the items are causing you emotional or relational stress.

Where to toss it

Obviously the type of items I am referring to in this article have plenty of value left in them–otherwise you would not be considering reselling them.

That said, your choices of places to toss your items are:

Give them to friends

Giving items to friends can be an opportunity to pass on a blessing or a chance to pass on a curse. Make sure you are doing the former and not the latter. You don’t want to get rid of your clutter by making it your friends’ clutter.

(Marie Kundo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing talks about this problem extensively. Although I found some things in the book quirky, I do recommend reading it if you struggle with clutter)

Ask yourself –-Has my friend asked for an item like this in the past? Have I seen her/him using an item like this? Have I seen her/him admiring this? If the answer to these questions is no, give the item to charity instead.

Donate them to a thrift store

There are so many thrift stores to donate to. My favorite ones are local thrift stores that support local needs in my area. Of course there are other things to consider, such as ease of drop off.

If you are the type of person who has been known to take things out of donation boxes before you get them to the drop off center, then perhaps the best choice for you is the closest drop off center.

If you are the type of person who puts the items near the front door to donate but they never seem to make it to the drop off center, then the best thrift store choice for you is one that does pick up.

Get creative

There are many more ways of donating items beyond friends and thrift stores.

When my sister was a college student she observed a homeless person digging through a dumpster near her home. She decided to put a bag of clothes she no longer needed on top of that dumpster that next week. Sure enough, she saw the homeless lady the following week wearing some of the clothes she had left for her.

I get numerous free, and almost free,  paperbacks through Tyndale Rewards and Paperback swap. It gives my thrifty bookworm heart a thrill to leave these books in Little Library boxes whenever I see them. I keep a bag in the back of my SUV at all times and place books in it as I read them so I am ready whenever I see a Little Library with room for donations.

When to resell

Resell it if  you can find either a day in the next month to have a yard sale or a three to four hour block of time each week you can devote to selling the items through other avenues until they are all gone.

Resell it if  you can come up with a financial goal that you know you could reach with the sale of the items.

Resell it if  you are not at all inclined to take things out of the sale pile and keep them.

Resell it if  you can find a place to store the items until they are sold that isn’t in your main living areas.

Resell it if  you are truly willing to put in the effort to clean up the item, research what it is worth, list it, and go through all the steps of getting it sold.

Resell it if  the hourly wage you will get from the sale of item is worth it to you.

Resell it if  having it in your home while you sell it isn’t bothering you or someone else in any way.

Places To Resell It