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Category Archives: New Habits

{From the Archives} Make your bench and sink sparkle

I have been busy the past few day’s preparing for my scrapbooking weekend away, so please forgive me today I am reposting an oldie, but it is also a great reminder that something so simple can make a perfect start to the day…a clean kitchen first thing in the morning = Happy Organised Housewife!!  Enjoy […]

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  • Trace

    So you wash your sponges in the dishwasher each night? Now that is a new idea! I like it! :) ReplyCancel

  • julie

    I like this post – an oldie but a goodie!!
    I like to clean metallic things including my stovetop with bicarb – it actually cleans the burnt on oops BETTER THAN spray n wipe and orange spray and so many others i have tried
    Good old bicarb – great for cleaning the sinks and saucepans too just be careful not to spot rub too hard on the chrome or stainless steel shiny parts :-) and it deodorises too
    Great for sneaker-reekers!!

    I just wonder…the children clear the clutter basket of their own things…may i ask, what are the consequences if they do not?ReplyCancel

  • TMorc

    I was diagnosed a couple of months ago with borderline PND. I found your website by accident through Facebook and you have been awesome in helping me take one step at a time in dealing with the mess and clutter. I love this one in getting your kitchen sink and benches clean. It give me a fresh start to the day. I have even managed to get the hubby to unload the dishwasher in the morning as it lightens my load in dealing with the kids. Thank you KatrinaReplyCancel

    • Your welcome TMorc, I am so happy that it has helped you. This is such a great start and will make you feel so much better each morning you wake up to a clean kitchen :) Hope you continue enjoying the website and finding inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • I live by this rule, I love waking up to a clean kitchen! I do have a quick question though, I have heard if you put bi carb in the dishwasher that it cleans it out, is this true?? I would love to hear your thoughts :) ReplyCancel

    • Yes I sprinkle in the bicarb, splash of vinegar, sit for 5 min, then if stubborn dirt give a light scrub, otherwise pour in some hot water to wash away. ReplyCancel

  • Francesca

    I stumbled across your site through facebook. All I want to say is THANK YOU! Also, If you’re looking for a green solution to your cleaning products I highly recommend http://www.keen2kleen.com.au. They have the mixes made up for you and add fragranced oils of your choosing(I love the coconut one). They sell a variety of cleaning products to meet your needs and they also do skincare/eauty products. ReplyCancel

  • Mely

    Ok this sounds very easy, daily i spend maybe 4 hours cleaning my kitchen =( i don’t know whyyyy??? maybe cause i don’t have dishwasher but i think i will buy one for sure, but if i want to do what you are doing to maintain clean the kitchen i suppose need to buy also more plates, pots, glasses, forks, knifes, etc…im reaaaly tired to spend so much time in the kitchen =(… thanks.
    atte, desperate housewife at the kitchen =(ReplyCancel

  • Kari

    Gumption for everythingReplyCancel

Make your bench and sink sparkle

Pin It It’s that time of the evening when you have just finished dinner, ready to relax and then you walk into the kitchen and see all the dirty dishes, aah they need cleaning.  Do you do them at night, or the next day?  Each to their own preference, I prefer to do it in […]

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  • [...] Make your bench and sink sparkle each night [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] The Organised Housewife [...]ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for the tips, from your various posts you are really organised and these little steps more often keep things clean and less effort involved in cleaning each time. I'm making a comment because I'm concerned about Spray and Wipe being used so often in an area where food is ingested by your family, in the kitchen and the dining area. If not for the environment I would like to urge you, as a stranger, to make the change to vinegar, for the health of yourself and your kids. The residual chemicals left behind after wiping it on the bench, in your sink and around where you eat might build up, and still be present when your kids put food down when you are not looking. I randomly won a Bosistos box of goodies a number of years ago and noticed they are a sponsor for you to speak at the 2011 Bloggers Conference. Perhaps they could give you a few products to try and review too? I used they spray oil on lots of stuff. If you are delaying the change for a feeling that the vinegar won't do as good a job there is also a product called Orange Power which is a natural cleaning spray. Citrus oil is really good at breaking down dirt and I use it at home and feel sage knowing it isn't dangerous to us. It could be a good transition product? Sorry for the long comment, I am going to subscribe to your blog and watch our lives change with organisation however needed make the comment about the Spray and Wipe. ReplyCancel

    • Katrina

      Hi Ann, thankyou so I am so happy to read your comment doesn't matter how long it is. I completely agree with you and I soon hope to transition over to a green home using vinegar, I will do it soon I promise :) Bosistos have sent me a great pack of goodies which I will be blogging about soon, I am loving their laundry powder. I am so glad that you are enjoying the website. Love hearing comments, keep them coming :) ReplyCancel

      • Jeanette Anderson

        great response from Ann..be careful with some of the ‘natural oils’…they are often highly fragranced (particularly citrus oil…dlimonene) and can trigger asthma; strong perfume/odours are a major trigger for asthma
        ReplyCancel

      • An alternative to store purchased ‘green’ cleaners is to get a large glass canning jar. Keep all your peelings from lemons/oranges/limes and keep in the fridge. Once the jar is full, fully cover contents with white vinegar. Let sit for 2-3 weeks before useing… and strain it before placing in your spray bottle. Natural cleaner at a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the chemicals!ReplyCancel

  • Tanya

    How LOVELY to read! I very very much love to see how other people keep their homes, i like to hear you dotn wash every cup and dish as it apears and that you do one big lot at night….and i agree less clutter makes it look MUCH better where ever in the house you are :) You are a fresh breath of air for me…i very much need the inspiration..Thank you xox TReplyCancel

  • Jodie

    OK I am starting from the beginning :) I have my work cut out for me :P ReplyCancel

  • Hi, I found you via Beyond the Baby. I wanted to comment on two things in particular.

    I don’t have a dishwasher and don’t like the clutter on my sink from all the little things used during the day. I place a large plastic basin under my sink and when a tea cup is used or such it is rinsed then placed in the basin under the sink. When the basin is full it is time to do a sink load.

    Another thought is that leaving your dishes to air dry may not be a good idea if there is a chance of any little puddles. I end up with cocky poo on my dishes if there any puddles for them to visit. Gross! Dishes get dried and put away straight away here. Guess it depends on your house and climate though. I am in a 100 year old house in northern NSW so it is warm enough to cockroaches to be prolific especially in summer.

    Best wishes
    JenReplyCancel

  • [...] 1.  Let your dishes air dry over night [...]ReplyCancel

  • Bronte

    You should try the Eureka Eucalyptus and citrus spray…smells so nice and doesn’t have any harsh chemicals, cleans up grease, helps with stubborn stains, disinfects surfaces…I love it.ReplyCancel

  • Emmatipper

    Hi Katrina. Save yourself even more time (and money) and use Enjo fibres instead.ReplyCancel

  • Jo

    Can I ask a dumb question? Did you say you put your sponges into the dishwasher? Do they not fall apart? And if not which ones do you use as I am sure mine would. Also I am interested in the vinegar alternative. Do you know what the ratio is?
    Thanks ReplyCancel

    • I use home brand sponges from woolworths and they don’t fall apart in the dishwasher. In the kitchen you can use pure vinegar in a spray bottle using a fine mist, or you can dilute if you would like 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanette Anderson

    hi there…try not to use sponges (they are highly unsustainable; meaning they disintegrate quickly…stock up on half a dozen good microfibre dishcloths..and you can wash and polish dry with your fibres)…and a green alternative is good because you don’t have to ‘spray, wipe and rinse off with warm water’ which is often in the fine print on the chemical spray and wipes…vinegar is a good alternative and of course my product; the Nature Direct Spray and Wipe…it’s one of our most popular concentrates! Happy cleaning!ReplyCancel

    • Microfibre clothes are a great idea Jeanette, yes since writing this post I have transitioned over to using vinegar, I need to write about it soon.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Toomey

    Hi Katrina, love reading your blog and all your tips – you really are an “organised housewife”!!! There are so many ideas and products around now for green cleaning but I’d like to share mine anyway. I have 2 spray bottles under the sink that I make up myself – one is equal parts water and metho (I buy the purple metho – it looks nice when made up in the spray bottle – with a teaspoon of water soluble lavender oil (approx 1 litre in total) for cleaning benches, stove top and sink, and glass table tops and the other is simply 1 litre of water with 1 teaspoon of water soluble lavender oil for my ironing spray. This is just magic. Lavender is well known as a calming and relaxing oil when used in oil burners but it also seems to relax fabric!! Just spray garments lightly prior to ironing for a beautiful finish. I recently surprised my niece when helping her with her housework with this little trick – she hadn’t had time to iron her doona cover so I said just put in on the bed, spray it with the lavender and water mixture and then smooth it out with your hands. She was amazed as all the wrinkles just disappeared – no ironing necessary. And everything smells so lovely. Some garments I just spray with the lavender and water and give a good shake and hang them and they don’t even need ironing. You do need a spray bottle that sprays a nice fine mist though so fabric is evenly moistened without becoming too wet. Cost wise it is extremely economical. Anyhoo, just wanted to share my tips for a change as I am always reading yours. Denise xx (PS The credit for this must be acknowledged as it is one of Shannon Lush’s – another cleaning guru)ReplyCancel

    • I love this tip, ooh the Lavender would definitely make the home smell beautiful. May I ask, where do you find the water soluble lavender oil? ReplyCancel

      • Cakebaker

        Eureka make a water soluble lavender oil…..I presume Chemist or health food shops would stock it.ReplyCancel

      • If you mix the oil with a little metho first, that acts as an emulsifier so it mixes in with the water when you add it :) ReplyCancel

    • Cakebaker

      Oooh this is the tip I was talking about on another comment…Shannan Lush’s ‘no ironing’ tip…from memory she talked a out buying the cheapest Lavender oil is that right?….
      ReplyCancel

  • Narelle

    Thanks for the great tips. My kids dry the dishes as part of their weekly chores, and depending on the constituants of the wash up my oldest will often do the washing up also, minus any sharp objects. Vinegar is great for cleaning, I use it all the time. I like the tip about the basket for the kids things. I think I will use that, and not just for the kitchen. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • That’s great to get the kids involved, would be such a great help to you!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn

    Thank you for this post. For some reason it has given me an “I’m doing okay” feeling as this is exactly what I do. Why waste time wiping up when the dishes can drip dry!? It would be even better if hubby did them though! hahaha
    I read all your posts and find time to do some but not others, and I’m okay with that. Maybe when the kids are at school, I will find more time to do all the tasks etc. Love your work. ReplyCancel

    • That’s right, just find the tasks that suit you and that’s a great start Kathryn. Also tea towels harbour germs, so it’s much better for our dishes to drip dry. ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    I wash my dishes at night and leave in dish rack overnight then put away in morning and start all over again.as i dont have a dishwasher ,would like one but that would mean im one cupboard down.ReplyCancel

    • I have a dishwasher, but find that I still wash every night, yes it would be hard to give up one cupboard. I am wanting a larger oven and would have to give up one, which is why I am putting it off.ReplyCancel

  • Josie Brady

    I just want to point out that vinegar is an acid, and could be damaging to bench tops. It is excellent for removing soap scum, a tip I learned from my builder brother.ReplyCancel

  • Whoolp

    I did go through a phase of using vinegar but it has destroyed the surface of my kitchen table. the table is wood with some sort of varnish or something on top. it’s basically eating away at the varnish. it’s fine for bench tops though. Now i use the most environmentally friendly one i can find in the supermarket but they seem to keep changing them. i actually stumble across your blog when i was goggling Nature direct spray and wipe. i am yet to try it.
    hope this is helpful. 
    Cheers,
    JReplyCancel

    • Maria Wells

      You need to use vinegar mixed with OLIVE OIL when cleaning wood to protect it. I do not remember the proportions, but I am sure you can figure it out. We have used this for years and our wood looks fine.ReplyCancel

  • Snip

    Hi. I put a couple of drops (no more than about 2ml) of bleach in my dishwashing water. Keeps my washcloth white and disinfects everything… Also helps to keep the sponges disinfected and I replase them as soon as they start to discolour. So I don’t use anything else on my benchtops, just rinse the cloth in the dishwasing water. I also have 2 cloths, one for washing and one for wiping down. We do the kitchen as a family at night after dinner and put the dishwasher on. I just unpack an re-pack it in the morning. We only do dishes at night as I don’t put plastics or pots and pans in the dishwasher.ReplyCancel

  • If you **really** want it to shine & sparkle, or if you have grungy stained bits, tip a bit of Cream of Tartar on your stainless steel (works to cut grease on things like toasters ^ cannisters, too) & then rub at it with a damp cloth. I have never seen ANYTHING work better than that!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Kavanaugh

    What are benches? Is that what we refer to in the US as countertops?ReplyCancel

  • Roz

    A friend once told me that he would never have a dishwasher as “people who have dishwashers always have used items on the sink making it look untidy”. I love my dishwasher and have solved the problem of items that need to be hand washed by buying a cheap plastic washing dish that I keep in the bottom of my dishwasher during the day and all hand wash items hide in it until the evening wash up. It then hides on top of the bin in the under sink cupboard while the dishwasher runs and then is unpacked in the morning. Tidy kitchen – no mess on the sink and no excess washing up sessions!ReplyCancel

  • JennyCB

    I use a homemade ‘green’ spray on everything now. You just fill a spray bottle with water and add 10 drops of eucalyptus oil, 10 drops lavender oil & 10 drops of lemon oil. Make sure they are essential oils not just the fragrance because lavender & lemon oils have antibacterial properties to kill germs and eucalyptus oil will cut thru any grease. I use this spray in bathroom, kitchen, on floors, as a air freshener. Great value & I know it doesn’t have any chemicals which could harm the kiddies.ReplyCancel

    • that sounds like a great formula. I probably couldn’t use it as I have an allergy to anything with a strong scent.ReplyCancel

  • Yes, I don’t believe in horoscopes to tell me what to do in a day. But when I walk in a room and walk back out because I don’t know where to start I jump on your daily newsletter/blog. Thank you for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • verity

    theres a australian product called Safe4u vanilla fresh, which contains ethyl alcohol and vanilla, safe for use near food. I use it on all my kitchen surfaces. The vanilla fragrance lingers all day.ReplyCancel

  • Sheridan Ridley

    I love that you get the kids to help out and look after their own things. Some people look at me like I am mental when I say I get my kids to get their own snacks for little lunch, and make their own beds, and tidy their own toys!!
    I don’t dry my dishes either. Tea towels help spread bacteria. Just in case you want to justify it – which I do! lolReplyCancel

    • I’ve learnt that about the tea towels too Sheridan, perfect reason not to use them!ReplyCancel

  • Natasha

    Did you say you put your sponges in the dishwasher? Wow I’ve never heard of it, what a great idea! Thanks for all your ideas and inspiration, I love your blog :) ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui Russell

    You can save yourself even more time by giving the children the task of putting away all the clean dishes in the morning. In our house, our 9yo and just turned 7yo have to empty the dishwasher as part of their morning responsibility. This means I can get on with making lunches and putting the washing on while hubby makes breakfast and the children are taking responsibility for helping the morning run smoothly.ReplyCancel

  • Susan

    I just use microfiber and water for most things. I use a little Gumption or Enjo Marble Paste on harder to clean thing if I need to. We have a rule here “if it can’t go in the dishwasher, it can go in the bin”.ReplyCancel

  • Kerrie Fleming

    I do not own a dish washer so my dishes get done twice a day. First I soak them in very hot soapy water. I then disinfect all my benches and rubbish bin. Then I wipe the kitchen table ,and dust dinning room. Then it’s lounge Room and bedrooms. Beds are made rooms dusted then it’s back to the dishes wash and air dry. I then vacuum and mop my kitchen, bathroom , laundry and toilet floors. Using a spray bottle of disinfectant . When floors are dry almost immediately .i clean my mop dry my dishes an put them away. Whole house is cleaned in 45 Min. Unless interrupted . I do my washing every second day, to keep it up to date. So all in all I have the rest of the day to do ironing ewe, so my routine is not that different from yours. But I do like your extra tips ReplyCancel

Let’s make a start – Cleaning the fridge

Pin It This week and continuing next week, if needed, we are going to concentrate on organising the kitchen.  I thought that we start with the kitchen because it is the heart of the home.  If your kitchen is like mine, it is seen by everybody that visits the house, so you want it looking […]

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Get CHAOS out of your morning routine

Do you rush around in chaos the mornings getting the kids ready for school?  Your morning routine can set your mood for the day so we need to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips and a routine chart for the kids to help organise your mornings. It may be good idea […]

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  • Kelly

    Thankyou for sharing your morning routine and tips. We have a routine chart for school mornings which my children have used fromkindy age but have been needing to update it as my children get older, so thankyou for allowing us to use your chart!! My day goes a lot smoother when I can tell the kids to see what is next on the chart rather than constantly being at them to do the next thing!! They love ticking them off every morning and I have found they are completely organised within one hour of waking every morning. Thankyou again, I love keeping up with your blogs and facebook page :) x Kelly ReplyCancel

    • That's exactly right Kelly, it's easy for them to see what they should be doing next also giving them the opportunity for independance and allowing you time to get lunches, laundry or yourself ready. Glad you like the chart. I also have a after dinner routine, which I will share at a later date. Kat. ReplyCancel

  • Meli

    we don't put the TV on in the mornings, no distractions and everyhting just runs more smoothly ReplyCancel

    • We have only just started phasing out TV as well Meli, just in the last few weeks. However initially it did work really well as a reward for getting ready on time. Now my son is happy to have time to practice spelling words and chit chat (he's a talker). My girls like that if we have a few minutes spare that I do a more complicated hairdo, like a side braid or two ponytail braids….aah girls :) ReplyCancel

  • sandy

    Normally, our routine consists of screaming and yelling and banging on the bathroom door to get our 15 yr old out of the shower. We recently switched it (again) to a new routine where she gets up earlier, spends her allocated time in the shower, then we get up. Before that, we had to get up JUST to get her out of bed. I had to wake up at 5.30 every morning to make her breakfast and yea, she's 15!! So now, after telling them that YOUR lil' kiddies get up and make their own breakfast….she's now doing it too. 8 months into having a teenager living with us and we're slowly getting a routine in order. No more screaming in the mornings, never a good way to start the day :-( ReplyCancel

    • I'm so happy that my kidlets can inspire you. And yes, she was taking you for a ride at 15 I'm sure she can do plenty for herself! Hopefully you'll find tune your routine soon. ReplyCancel

  • [...] Sep Last month I talked about getting CHAOS out of your morning routine.  Many of you have been asking for my tips on an evening routine.  Today I’ll start with [...]ReplyCancel

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  • My dad has been writing a book precisely on point with this blog, I have emailed him the web address so perhaps he could pick up a couple pointers. Fantastic Job. ReplyCancel

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  • [...] have previously posted about our morning routine chart and afternoon routine chart.  Click links or pictures to take you to those posts. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Very informative and interesting to read. Thanks! ReplyCancel

  • [...] month I talked about getting CHAOS out of your morning routine.  Many of you have been asking for my tips on an evening routine.  Today I’ll start with [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] to watch TV in the mornings before school, this is to ensure they are not rushing their usual morning routine and that we leave for school on [...]ReplyCancel

  • Genevieve

    Im envious of your morning routine for many reasons lol.ReplyCancel

    • It’s all about keeping in routine and then it will all come naturally in time.ReplyCancel

      • Genevieve

        Im more jealous that you get to go to the gym before the kids wake up and you wear make up lolReplyCancel

        • My makeup is a 30 second (shame) task, is a bit of mascara and draw on some eye brows :) I have blonde lashes and can barely see my brows so I need to put a bit of colour on my face. ReplyCancel

  • [...] of the most beneficial tools that I have here at home have to be my kids routine charts, eliminating the constant, are you dressed yet, did you remember to brush your teeth?  The [...]ReplyCancel

  • Robbndonn

    Katrina I love your morning routine Chart! I Purchased one for my children several weeks ago and it has made all the difference in my 5 year old being ready for school not only on time but early so he has time to play. Thank you!!!!ReplyCancel

    • I am so pleased that they are helping and have taken the CHAOS from your mornings!! ReplyCancel

  • Stefanie

    I dusted before I read your daily task :-) ReplyCancel

  • [...] brush their teeth or put on their socks ready for when it was time to leave, so I made them a routine chart.  One of the mums from school saw their chart, she loved it and wanted one too, with that request, [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] has done and what he needs to do before heading off to school. Customize your own or print one off here. It took some reminders (naturally!) to get him on board with the chart, but it really has been a [...]ReplyCancel

  • Allison

    I don’t have kids yet, but I have early morning starts. I make my lunch (enough for my 12 hour shift) the night before and stick it in the fridge. My mom used to make our lunches the night before too, since mornings are busy! I could never make them that morning, I’m too slow and there’s too much prep!! We also had to pick out our clothes and pack our backpacks the night before. My wife is not a morning person *at all*, and she’ll be the ones home with our kids (her choice), so doing everything the night before will save forgotten homework/lunches/missing socks. :) I love love love your checklists, such a great idea!!ReplyCancel

    • Mornings can be chaotic, I love your routine, seems like you can wake up with out too much stress and worry to get the kids out the door.ReplyCancel

  • [...] have shared previously about how we get the chaos out of our morning routine and how having a evening routine keeps me sane.  I’d really like to share details with you [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] routine charts can be very helpful, especially for younger children. Here is a printable one from The Organised Housewife. Laminate it and hang near your children’s rooms, in their bathroom or in the kitchen. This will [...]ReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    Any tips for getting a toddler into a morning routine? I have a 2.5yr old who LOVES to help with things like putting washing on, making beds etc and I’m thinking that taking advantage of that to get her into good morning habits is only going to make life easier. I’m expecting another baby in about a month and have just stopped working for at least 14 months – longer if we can afford it. I struggled for a good 9 months after my daughter was born as I think many new mums do to plan and prepare meals, keep up with basic housework etc never mind getting out of the house before midday, and although I’m much better now and generally very well organised (largely due to your blog and Facebook posts!) I’m worried about it all coming unravelled again when bubs arrives especially if my toddler doesn’t know what to expect- she is less resistant when she knows the order of things. ReplyCancel

New Habit #1

Each week I’m going to list a new habit for you to try and start if you don’t already do. Habit #1 Every morning once you get out of bed, within the first 10 min of being up make sure you have made your bed and open the blinds/curtains.  It will help make your room look […]

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