Friday, February 8, 2013

I fell in love with a TARDIS and other adventures

SIXTEEN DAYS until moving day! This week's apartment adventures included the landlord refusing to believe our furnace needed maintenance (the inducer motor had to be replaced). After three maintenance visits and a long complaint email we are finally up and running again. I'm sure they will be glad when we move out too!

The weekend has just started and I feel a sense of accomplishment already. I am becoming a master packer and cleaner. By the end of the weekend I plan to have our boxes tidied up, labeled and have packed everything but the essentials we use on a daily basis. We have a lot of cleaning to do because our landlord has a super specific move out list.

Every time that I have moved, I have found a great TV show to accompany me on the journey. This time I am LOVING Doctor Who. I fell in love as soon as I saw that Captain Jack Harkness was in the cast. I love him! Maybe there's just something about any character named Captain Jack.

Now I'm in Season 3 and waiting for Jack to return. If you've ever watched the show(s) you know that Jack is bisexual and openly gay, so he has a special, fond place in my heart. The man is kind of a slut though so there's always part of me that is rooting for him to find a great love and settle down for a few years. Every now and then he does.

On to the cleaning...

Phase I
Oven cleaning
It doesn't help that I spilled a bunch of shredded cheese in the bottom of the oven, but I admit to not ever cleaning the thing after we moved in. It's pretty dirty. Today started phase one of the oven cleanup. I tried a baking soda paste which worked pretty well. I used this tutorial today and I will give this another go by adding a couple steps including: mixing a baking soda/dawn dish soap paste that is applied with a sponge, and if that doesn't leave things completely sparkling I will rub it down with a salted lemon to cut through anything that is left.

Our oven racks will sadly be left out of the clean up because I have no bathtub or washtub. Poor guys could use a good soak and scrub!
After the first cleaning a little grime and baking soda residue is all that is left.

Phase II
Carpet cleaning
We have a light tan type carpet that is probably 5+ years old. It's starting to show some signficant wear, but we are required to leave it sparkling. We have some weird stains that are not identifiable. They seem to have just appeared, but I blame the dog. :)

The last few months I have learned about the m.a.g.i.c of baking soda, vinegar and dawn dish soap. And when I saw this recipe for carpet cleaning perfection I got all excited. Later this weekend I'll show you before and after pictures and we'll see how well this technique works!

The dog likes to roll around in coffee grounds when we're not home.
You can see our carpet cleaning machine didn't actually get everything. :/

There is a leaf on that step, but we think the rest of the mess is from muddy, wet boots.

The furnace repair man was great! But he didn't wipe his boots off.

Phase III
Prepping the walls
Our landlord requires that all holes are spackled and that the paint is the original color from our move in date. They even provide you with the store and the name of the white paint that they want you to repaint the walls with. 

Other places I have lived only required they could get the walls back to the original color with one coat of paint that they applied after you moved out, so I think this is excessive, but we didn't paint so I only have to worry about scuff marks on the walls and spackling. I've already gotten started, but we still have a few things on the walls and a few holes to handle.

Phase IV
The Garage, also known as The Messy Pile of Crap We Have Nowhere To Store
We have very little storage in our apartment. We have a closet in the bedroom and one in the entry way for coats. That's all. So the garage has become a catch-all for a bunch of random crap. I've re-organized it three times and tidied things up, but the truth is that there just isn't enough room.

I am a big proponent of donating unwanted items or giving them away rather than just throwing out perfectly good stuff. I've already started doing this in preparation for the move by joining freecycle and posting a number of things that we didn't want anymore. Honestly, it's just easier to have someone come pick this stuff up off your porch when you're not even home. 

In Phase Four, the garage cleanup, I have a multi-step approach:
  1. Pack all items not currently in storage containers. Label and Stack for moving day. 
  2. Identifying all items that are usable but not needed. Post on Freecycle and let someone else use them! I usually do porch pickups so I don't have to worry about coordinating days/times as much.
  3. Discard the crap that isn't usable and is not needed. 
  4. Once everything has been moved out of the garage on moving day, sweep the floor and call it a day. It's February in Michigan so I don't think I'll be able to hook up the outside hose and scrub the floor down. 
Phase V
Major Appliance and Bathroom Cleanup
Each week I am working on a main area of our home to get ready for the move. After we move out, I'll do a final day of major appliance cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning of all windows and window jams and wall touch ups. 

Cleaning Techniques I Love
I have found some amazing homemade and/or natural cleaning techniques that not only leave things sparkling but usually require a lot less elbow grease to get the job done compared with the harsher store-bought cleaners.

  • Cleaning your top loading washing machine - I've done this and it's great!
  • Beautify those disgusting stove burners - This will be a new technique but hopefully well worth it
  • Hydrogen Peroxide as glass cleaner - A new experiment.
  • AMAZING spot treatment! - I have whitened disgusting yellow armpit stains, revived a 10 year old white sweatshirt and used this on different color t-shirts and sweaters that had sweat stains on them. This technique is so easy (no scrubbing!) and absolutely effective. The hardest part is letting the clothing item soak long enough. This one is a backup if the carpet cleaning technique isn't effective enough.
  • Great floor cleaner - Done and Done! Now I just need to do a spot test on our bamboo floors in the new house.
  • Dishwasher cleaning - Truthfully I'll wipe it down with vinegar and run an empty load with vinegar in the the rinse aid compartment. But if there are more significant problems I'll use these tips again too.
  • HANDS DOWN the best bathroom cleaner - While this cleaner is not nearly as toxic as regular store-bought cleaning solutions, it is vinegar and dish soap so it does have a very strong smell. The kicker is it works so damn well that you won't even care. Spray down your tub or shower stall, walk away for at least an hour, come back and just wipe it clean. I have a handled kitchen sponge that I keep in the shower for spot cleaning and I use that to wipe everything down. The mildly abrasive sponge is plenty to knock out any built up soap scum.
  • A little olive oil, a LOT of clean appliances - Clean the hood over your stove or anything else that has some greasy build up with a little olive oil. Super simple.
  • VINEGAR - Great for cleaning up around the sink. Soak a paper towel in vinegar and wrap it around any scummy parts of your faucet or sink. Come back after you've had a glass of wine and watched your favorite show and it will all wipe away. You can use it to clean the toilet, tile floors, the list goes on!
  • Delicious smelling all purpose cleaner - I use this every day in my kitchen. It smells great!
Let the cleaning begin!

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