..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spring Cleaning, Part IV

Cleaning Dining Room
Before we start cleaning, let's take a good open look at the dining area. What we are looking for is clutter or anything which detracts from the appearance of a beautiful room. The only clutter allowed is that which falls into the "Faberge realm." If you happen to have 50 Faberge eggs, they can stay, but only if displayed in an organized way.

While we spring clean each room, our goal should be to look for ways to make our lives easier. We're searching for better ways to organize our possessions, and we're making decisions regarding each object we handle.

Part I
1. Windows
-Blinds -- take down and wash
-Shades -- remove, roll out, and clean
-Shutters, wash
-Remove screens and wash
-Wash window frames, moldings, sills, and latches
-Wash windows
-Be sure to clean curtain rods
-Drapes -- if only dusty, put into dryer on air for 10 minutes. If in need of cleaning, you will have to decide if it's a do-it-yourself project or if they need to go to the cleaner.

Get way down and look under the sill. Is there a crack there between the sill and the wall? If so, get out the old caulking gun and fill the space. Be real careful at the edges and you won't have to repaint or touch up the wall.

Isn't it nice to have all that light streaming in?

2. Vents
Time to remove ceiling, wall or floor vents and clean them and any ceiling fixtures. Vents can be put in dishwasher unless brass. Check for cobwebs. Vacuum the ceiling or wipe clean if required.

3. Table
Remove all the accessories in the room (but not those inside cabinets or hutches, that comes later). Take them to the kitchen and wash or clean them. Wash glass, polish silver, clean frames, clean centerpieces (silk flowers get dusty so they need to be simple where you can run them under the water sprayer in kitchen sink or they need to be replaced regularly), trim the candles, launder and iron table linens.

*Tip:* If you have the place, then roll your tableclothes on leftover gift wrap cardboard tubes. This way they won't have crease marks on them.

Now that your table is clear, clean and polish it. Be sure to get underneath. Check your table leaf latches: are they tight? Do they slide smoothly? Any cobwebs under there?

4. Chairs
Now, it's on to the chairs. Polish, vacuum, spot clean -- do whatever is necessary to make immaculate. If your chairs are on wheels, be sure the casters are clean and operating smoothly. This is a good time to recover those chair bottoms that you can recover. If you have hardwood floors make sure the chairs have plastic or felt pads on the bottoms to keep them from scarring the wood floor.

1. Hutches and Cabinets
Remove everything from inside these units. Everything! Clean the unit inside and out. Polish wood, vacuum, polish glass. If the unit has doors, clean the hinges. If the unit has a light fixture, clean that too, being sure the bulb is not dusty. If you can't reach behind the unit, wrap some cloth on a yard stick and swish up and down to remove any dust clinging to the unit's back. Clean underneath the unit. Have hubby pull out from the wall and use a swiffer swivel-headed mop with a large rag on it to clean the wall and baseboard behind the cabinet. Vacuum behind it and have dear husband push it back into place.

The following are some organizational hutch-hints I hope will be helpful to you:

Silverware: I sewed up flannel cases for each place setting of silver or, I bought silverware boxes with flannel linings at
yard sales. This prevents them from being scratched and it is so easy to grab the correct number of place settings when preparing a table. Don't sew? No problem. You can use old napkins or leftover fabric scraps. Just place your largest piece of silver on the cloth (about 18" square) on the diagonal, wrap till covered, then add your next piece. Continue wrapping until you have one place setting wrapped. Tie with a ribbon. No more searching for salad forks!

Dishes: if you have to store your formal dishes in stacks to fit into your cabinets then cut out circles of flannel with pinking shears to place between each dish. This prevents chipping and scratching. You can place each stack inside a plastic bag with the opening on the bottom of the stack. This prevents dust from getting on the dishes. Personally I like seeing my dishes so I don't put them in plastic bags. But this means that I have to wash them before using them for company. I try to use a different set of china each time I have company so it gets washed more than the once-a-year Spring Cleaning. I have seen quilted vinyl or fabric storage zip ups for china sets. I would love to have these for some of my sets. I have a lot of different sets of dishes and the ones that I have to store out of sight, Iuse these quilted vinyl zipups that I see in catalogues and at Linens & Things.

Linens: Formal napkins are white linen. You can cut two square pieces of foam board an inch larger than your napkins. Cover the foam board with fabric that coordinates with your dining room. Use fusible web to attach the cloth. Place the napkins flat on one of the squares -- with acid free tissue between each napkin and on the top and the bottom of the stacks to prevent the linen from coming into contact with the fabric-covered foam board -- and make a sandwich of foam board and napkins. Tie this together with ribbon and slip inside your cabinet. Do this with your formal napkins so they can be shaped into whatever form you need for any particular event. No creases! Personally, I just wash, iron with starch and store in my Lane cedar chest that I use for a buffet.

Now, look at the items you have removed from your hutch, china closet, buffet, cabinets. It's time for important decisions again. Ask yourself:
Do I like this?
Do I need this?
Do I use this?
Is this really worth keeping or would someone else enjoy it more?
If it's chipped, can it be used in a craft or gift project? Ex: Add your own candle in a piece of chipped crystal, a cracked tea cup used for a pin cushion with a fabric covered foamball glued in, etc.

Now wash or polish each item before it is replaced into the hutch.

Done? Be sure to get the top of the hutch, china cabinet, etc too! Some people store platters up on the tops. You know, things like the turkey platter, trays. Used maybe twice a year, but you can't be without one. If you can’t see them, then use plastic bags over them to keep the dust off. Remember it's spring cleaning, so go ahead and change its plastic bag, since it will be covered with house grime.

1. Walls
Personally I only use latex semi-gloss or latex gloss paint or wallpaper. Flat paint catches and holds dust and grime and it's hard to wipe down without it taking the paint off the walls. Check the walls. First check for cobwebs or dust ladders. Then check for fingerprints. Can your walls get away with just a brushing or vacuuming, or do they need to be washed? No cheating here. Be sure to clean the baseboards, doors, door frames, etc. Every surface needs to be cleaned. Be sure you keep your wash water clean. Once your wash water gets a little gray, then change it. Otherwise you are only smearing dirty water on your walls. For wood paneled walls I use Murphy's Oil Soap in water. For painted walls I use a LITTLE bit of cleaner like vinegar, a tad of Mean Green, general purpose cleaner and water. I use large sponges or a large rag wrapped around a swiffer swivel-headed mop. I get my husband to pull everything away from the walls and I clean the walls from the top down. Then he puts it all back. This is a good time to rearrange if you want to.

2. Floors
Lastly, the floors, Depending on your flooring, you will now mop, vacuum, steam clean carpets or whatever. Follow the procedure which matches your needs. If you have an area rug then it needs to be cleaned too. Depending on how expensive and how large the rug is you can take it outside and hose it down, spot clean and let it drip dry, or take it to the cleaners, or have it professionally done. Personally I wouldn't have an area rug because it's just harder to clean. If you have carpet then clean the carpets (either with a carpet cleaner or professionally).

3. Light Fixtures
When we first moved into our current house we had a nice crystal chandelier but it hadn't been cleaned in years. My dh started our married life as a Master Electrician so he was able to take it down. I laid a towel in the shower and he took it there. I used a very soft handled brush and dish detergent to gently clean it. You could also use cotton gloves to wash each crystal. Then I used the shower to rinse it. We let it drip dry and then he put it back up. Since then, I have bought a chandelier spray cleaner. I lay towels over my table to absorb drips and then I spray it down real well and use cotton socks on my hands to carefully wipe it down. It really doesn't take much time. Do this regularly and it doesn’t take 10 minutes.

4. Accessories
Be sure to wipe your pictures. I spray Windex on a lint free towel and wipe the glass. Don’t spray on the glass as the drips could reach the bottom of the picture and the matte or picture soaks it up and ruins. Then wipe the wooden frame with your dust clothe. Wash all accessories and dry. Polish the silver. Put everything back.

Now, wait for a quiet time in your home and light a candle and have a nice cup of coffee or tea and enjoy your work. Just think, every item in that room is clean. That was a tremendous accomplishment.

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