10 Inspiring Homemaking Books

Are you feeling hum drum about homemaking? Take a look at 10 inspiring homemaking books that will encourage you to enjoy making a home for your family.

10 inspiring homemaking books

Homemaking is something that has become really dear to my heart. As I have grown closer to Christ, I actually see how important home is to a family. Homemaking has been made into some drudgery to be avoided in exchange for a career outside the home. That is not a slight by any means to the working mom. Working moms work very hard and both provide for their families and lovingly provide a home for family.

What I mean is, the idea of homemaking (yes, even for the working mom) has been demeaned and reduced to some sort of lower-status job. As I’ve grown older, I realize, it is actually one of the most important. Our children won’t really remember or appreciate what we did for a career, but they will absolutely remember the home you made for them.

When I lived in Europe, I was surprised at how much slower life was than in the states. I think many women would like to slow down and actually enjoy homemaking. So today I thought I would share 10 inspiring homemaking books. They vary slightly. Some are secular. Some are Christian based. Others focus on organizing and some entertaining. I’ve tried to vary a little bit. I’m sure I’ll be sharing other similar homemaking books in the future. Let’s get started.

1. Little House Homemaking

This book entitled, Little House Homemaking: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life by Melissa A Alink is a great book about simple living. In this book, she shares how to make a lot of your own staples like food and even household items like sunscreen, furniture polish, homemade anti-bacterial wipes, etc. The book additionally focuses also on recipes and homestead living. There is a lot of practical advice when it comes to running your own. I think it’s a great little encyclopedia for must have formulas and recipes when it comes to self-sufficiency.

2. Simple Farmhouse Life

I’ve been following Lisa Bass on her blog, Farmhouse on Boone, for three years now. If you don’t follow her and you are inspired by farmhouse living, you definitely should. Lisa curates a beautiful home and always shares DIY projects and this boo, Simple Farmhouse Life, is no exception. She shares simple sewing projects, delicious recipes, and natural cleaning which includes tons of recipes for natural cleaning products. Her photos are beautiful and clean. She even shares simple decorating and basic, natural gardening.

green potted plant in minimalistic bathroom with body care tools
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

3. Introduction to Home Economics

I am old enough to remember a time when we were taught home economics in school. I will be teaching my sons a lot of life skills as a part of our homeschooling. In this book,Introduction to Home Economics, veteran homemaker Mrs. Sharon White, shares how she runs her New England household. Her blog, A Legacy From Home is simple but very informative when it comes to old fashioned homemaking. I found this book more pragmatic and encouraging than ainstructional. Mrs. White is lovely and gentle with her words of wisdom. I think this book is good if looking for encouragement and advice as opposed to a step by step playbook of homemaking. Mrs. White actually has a whole series of Christian homemaking books. I would say that Mrs. White book is not very flashy and may even be a little old-fashioned for some readers, but frankly, I like it. It was like having a talk with my grandmothers, both of who have passed.

4. Home Management: Plain and Simple

Kim Brenneman is the author of Home Management: Plain and Simple.This book is really designed to be a manual for the woman who wants to know how to run an organized home. She covers a number of topics including budgeting, cleaning, organizing, etc. The author is a homeschooling mom of nine! She shares how she manages to be productive.

The most important topic she covers is how to actually get things done with kids. I know that early in my mom journey, I found it really hard to get things done with the demands of children and constant interruptions. She offers a lot of practical advice as well as how to stay on top of never-ending chores like laundry, dishes, etc and how to delegate chores to family members. The author also focuses on the fact that homemaking should be a way to honor and glorify God so there is also special attention to having the right attitude.

happy woman with rolling pin cooking at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5. Gather At Home

Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs compiled a book, Gather at Home, full of her favorite recipes, DIY projects and interior design. I found her recipes to be delicious and simple. Hibbs shares a great deal of information on entertaining including how to dress a table, etc. One thing I loved was how to make everyday events special for your own family. For example, she has ideas for a mother’s day brunch at home, family game nights even an evening outdoor barbeque in the backyard. The book is largely about making memories for your family at home. My only caveat would be that the lifestyle represented here is maybe upper middle class. If you are simple homemaker, on a strained budget, or offput by Pinterest-perfect living, this book may not be relatable.

6. White Cozy Cottage: Seasons

In the book, White Cozy Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long author Liz Glavan shares how to make a home a fun place to be. She shares to how DIY and repurpose old furniture and how to decorate even on a budget. She shares how to incorporate vintage, antique or farmhouse pieces into a modern home and also combines fun activities like setting up a hot cocoa bar for the holidays and how to use houseplants in your kitchen and home for a natural organic feel in your house. I enjoyed this book and it is actually a fun coffee table book as well.

7. The Hidden Art of Homemaking

This book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, has been an extremely popular book since its original publication back in the 1980s. Edith Schaffer, writes about homemaking from a Christian perspective and I’d say that if you are struggling to find joy and contentment or even purpose at home, this is a great book for you. Before Pinterest, there was Edith and the book is not about making your home picture-perfect. Rather, it is about the calling and ministry of being a homemaker. In the book, she explains why https://amzn.to/3uAo2nBhomemaking is far more than just checking chores off a list, but rather how to bring elegance, creativity, peace and most of all, Jesus into your home. If you need reassurance that your contributions at home matter, read this book.

8. Home Comforts

Home Comforts has been a valuable encyclopedia of homemaking art and skills for years. The book is written by Cheryl Mendelson who is a both a Harvard graduate and lawyer in New York City takes great detail to explain why housework is not “beneath us,” how it is necessary to enjoying your home life and painstakingly explains how to do housework chores. What nice is she doesn’t just explain the how. She also explains the why behind methods. She is very practical, good-humored and also provides a number of preventative routines to cut down on time and chores later. This book is perfect to read in full or as a reference.

young woman rolling dough for baking in kitchen
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

9. Theology of the Home

This book really resonated with me. Recently, as I have spent more time in scripture, I feel more called to embrace the calling of being a wife, mother and homemaker. This book is unique because while it focuses on practical homemaking, it uses a biblical lens of how by serving our families we are also serving Christ. If you are a Christian wife and you feel like the monotony of homemaking is beneath you, unappreciated, or even just dead in the doldrums of chores, I highly recommend reading this book for inspiration. Oh how we forget how important it is to build a home that nurtures both the body and soul. The book provides a Christian mindset for everything from meal preparation, to planning joyful gatherings and how to open up your home to those around you. The book has a lot sequel, Theology of the Home II which I think it also very good. I’ll include the links to both.

10. Vintage Course in Homemaking

This book, Vintage Course in Homemaking, is actually a peak into 1930s homemaking. If you are inspired by vintage homemaking and want to know how women of the past ran productive households, I think you may really enjoy this little gem. is available for free in kindle format if you have kindle unlimited. I’m not much of a kindle person. This book contains some unique advice such as how to care for the sick, how to furnish a home, manners and etiquette, and more. The book is full of common sense and practical advice but there is something incredibly charming about the vintage homemaking aspect.

Thanks for letting me share 10 inspiring homemaking books. I hope they inspire you the way they inspired me. Do you have a favorite homemaking book? I am started to keep an eye out for vintage homemaking books because I think they contained more helpful information in them. If you have any favorite books on homemaking? Share your suggestions in the comments below. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later and I’d love it if you subscribed before you go.

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The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Living with less can actually help you enjoy your home more. Today, I’m providing the ultimate declutter checklist, a free printable to help you tackle clutter.

The ultimate declutter checklist

The Secret to A Clean House

Do you want to know the secret to a clean house? It isn’t having a maid that stops by every week. Nor is it spending all your free time cleaning. No, the secret lies in the amount of things you have. The more things you have, the more there is to put away. The more picking up you have to do, the more there is to make a mess.

The key to a tidy house is having a place for everything. If everything has it’s place, then there is order. It is impossible to be neat if you have clutter taking over every surface, every closet, every nook, every shelf, and every cupboard. You can’t put things away if there is no place to put it. We are always acquiring new things. Birthdays, anniversaries, well meaning family, trickle items one by one into our home and before you know it, closets are full. The less you have the more spacious and clean your house looks.

Decluttering your home is a something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Clutter is one of those things that makes your house look dirty when its not. What’s worse is that we kind of get used to our clutter but people who visit our home, notice it instantly. I try to do some amount of declutter every month.

Tips for Taming Clutter

There are lots of ways that you can tame the clutter that you decide to keep. One way is to contain small groups of objects in containers or in baskets. Decorative baskets mask the clutter making shelves or cupboards appear neat and tidy to the eyes.

I’ve also found that if you have a hard time taming items in drawers, draw organizers are a great help to guide you. Personally, I’ve grown really fond of folding towels and clothes up differently in order to maximize space. For instance, in my children’s drawers, I store clothes vertically in the drawers. You get far more clothes in the drawer and I find that we rotate all the clothes because they are all visible at once. It even helps my little pick out his clothes easier.

Time Method

I’ve also found that even spending fifteen minutes a day decluttering makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on top of clutter before it gets overwhelming. Focus on hot spots that attract clutter. Then if you have time pick a drawer or area to toss out things. Setting a timer and doing as much decluttering in that time can help you tackle clutter a little everyday.

Zone Decluttering

The printable I’ve created for you below is focused on zone decluttering. If you don’t have time to do a whole room, just pick one line item and work on that, working your way eventually around the house.

Some people swear by the trash bag method. Grab a trash bag and declutter until you fill it up. Once it is filled you are done. Some people do this once a week, every other week or even once a month. Other people have a 1 in 10 out rule, meaning for every new thing they buy, they throw ten things out. I tried this but don’t consistently remember to do this. So I do better with regular decluttering in other ways.

Take a look at my posts 8 Places to Cash in Clutter and 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now. If you need help decluttering books, my post 5 Steps to Decluttering Books might help you.

Questions to Help You Say Goodbye

I always ask a series of questions that help me say goodbye to unnecessary things. I think many times we hold on to things because we have good intentions of using them and I think we also feel guilty that we spent good money on it. Having spent money on it makes us feel obligated to keep it until we use it. However, chances are if you haven’t used it in a year or six months, you probably won’t ever use it. Sad but true.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I am purging:

  • Is it broken, damaged or missing pieces?
  • Is it very worn?
  • Do I have something else that serves the same purpose?
  • Am I holding on to it out of guilt?
  • If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it again?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it still in style?
  • Do I really love it?
  • Have I used it in the six months?
  • Do I really want to keep handling this item again?
  • Is keeping it worth the space it takes up?
Nate berkus quote

The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Be sure to download your free ultimate declutter checklist and get started today. I have organized your checklist by room and I’ve included a list of questions at the bottom of the page to help you make decisions. If you are really on the fence about giving something away, you can do a little trick I sometimes I do. I pack it in a box and label it, “throw out in six months” and I put the six month date. Anything I am uncertain about goes in that box. If six months pass and I have not gone into the box, I put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the nearest donation place without ever opening it up. If you open it up, you’ll be tempted to keep it. If you don’t open it up, you probably would never miss it.

Your decluttering checklist includes 7 pages. You can print out multiple copies of the bedroom and bathroom page for however many bedrooms and bathrooms you have. I’ve included some extra spaces for you to add your own items as well.

What are some of your own decluttering tips? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Also be sure to share this post with friends who need a decluttering checklist!

12 Reasons Your House Still Looks Dirty

There is nothing more deflating than to spend time cleaning your house and it still not look clean. Let’s discuss 12 reasons your house still looks dirty.

12 reasons your houses still look dirty

Hey there friends. Today we are talking about cleaning. But specifically, we are talking about the things that can make your house look dirty or messy even after you have cleaned or things that make your house look dirty even when it is fairly tidy. Here are 12 reasons your house still looks dirty.

Dirty Baseboards and Corners

I am going to share a big secret to making your house look cleaner. Get down on your hands and knees. Wait, don’t click away! I know the idea of getting down on your hands and knees to clean is really unappealing! But I am always amazed at all the dirt and grime that is missed when you don’t get down to floor level. When we vacuum, sweep, and mop, dust, and dirt gets pushed towards baseboards and corners where it accumulates and settles. I’m going to give you an embarrassing peek into my own home. I hadn’t done a deep clean in my Master Bath for about a month. I had wiped down the bath, toilet, shower, and sinks, but I hadn’t mopped or descaled the glass in four weeks for no reason that I was just being lazy. At first glance, it doesn’t look bad.

bathroom

But then I got down on my hands and knees to deep clean the floor and here is what you can see. Dirt and grime in the crevice of the tile wall and baseboards. I had to get down and zoom in so you can see it, but it’s there. I always get down on the floor and clean the perimeter of the room, baseboards and corners to make sure I pick up all the dirt.

dirty corners

Not Re-Caulking

Caulk is used to seal the seams of your house – like where wood and drywall meet. It prevents bugs, water, and air from entering your home. Silicone caulk is used to seal around your cooktop range, sinks, and often tubs. Over time, the materials in your house settle and flex. Temperature changes outside cause your house to expand and contract. After years of this, you may notice gaps in molding, baseboards, sinks, tubs, showers, etc. You may notice that the caulk flakes off or has shrunk over the years. The cracks can make your house look aged and dirty. Just take a look at an area in my bathroom. I put some fresh caulk on the molding in about five minutes, but it took years off the wall. If you have gauges in the wood, you can fill it in with a little wood filler then paint over it. Take a look at all these uses for caulk in your home.

wall caulking

Clutter

Clutter…everyone has it! My maternal grandmother was a master at handling clutter! Her house was small and simple, but beautiful. Not only was she always cleaning it, but she constantly purged. I remember her having garage sales multiple times a year in order to expel the clutter from her home.

Clutter is any collection of things that are disorganized. Clutter is the opposite of clean. It creates a frenzied, messy appearance in your home. It also creates more work for you. The more things you have, the more things you have to put away. If you want to spend less time picking up and clearing away surfaces, get rid of the clutter! The most important thing about keeping a clean house is having a place for everything. When you have too many things you will find you don’t have room for them. Surfaces, cupboards, and closets will be spilling over with things and will resort to stacking and unsightly piles. Even when decorating, remember less is more. Too many decorative things makes a house look messy too.

If you want to get started, take a look at my post, 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now. Not all of us are willing to do the Konmari method of decluttering. That’s fine. Start small if you must by setting decluttering goals every week. There are even apps for your phone that challenge you to do one decluttering activity a day in just a few minutes. If you are hesitant to throw things away because you spent good money on it, read my post 8 Places to Cash In Clutter. No matter how you decide to start, set some goals, and make decluttering a habit.

Dirty Walls

Walls get dirty. I’m always surprised at how dirty they can actually get. They are easy to scuff and scratch. In kitchens, you may find splatters and drips on them. Believe it or not, these unattractive marks can make your house look dirty when it really isn’t. That’s why spot cleaning walls should be on your seasonal deep clean checklist.

You’ll be glad to know cleaning walls isn’t hard. I will add that flat paint is harder to clean up than satin or eggshell finishes. All you need to clean painted walls is some warm water and mild detergent. If you need a little more scrubbing powder you can add baking soda and scrub gently.

Lastly, keep in mind that paint dulls over time. If walls are really dingy a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a room facelift.

Windows

For years I underestimated how much windows made a difference in your home. A while back we were touring some new homes and I couldn’t figure out why those houses were so bright and airy. It made the house feel so clean, fresh, and open. It was the windows. The windows were clean. Honestly, that’s why I don’t have blinds in my house. It kills so much natural light and when you kill the natural light it can make your home feel dark and dank. There is a reason why when you look at gorgeous homes on Pinterest none of them have blinds! I’m not throwing any shade at you if you have blinds. (No pun intended) Lots of people are in a position where they need extra privacy. I get that. I just think it is just important to know that there is a trade-off for it.

Lastly, dirty windows are also a mood killer. Dirty windows, including window screens, create a haze on your windows which again filter the natural light coming through your windows. It is amazing how clean windows can make the house feel cleaner and brighter. I find my first-floor windows are much dirtier than my second story. This is because they are closer to the dirt and soil in the ground. I recommend cleaning your windows seasonally or every six months. You can hire a service or use a pole washer like this below.

12 reasons your house still looks dirty
Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is the devil! I am a pen and paper girl. I prefer using a paper planner rather than a digital one. Honestly, I don’t like whiteboards and command stations. I prefer paper lists. And can I be honest? I forget about paperless bills! Out of sight out of mind. I prefer using paper to organize my life. Of course, that means that I also have to deal with the paper that accumulates from those things.

Paper clutter can make your house look messy and chaotic. Toss junk mail in the trash as soon as it comes in. Set a time every week to open and shred mail so it doesn’t pile up. It baffles me how quickly paper can stack up. No, you don’t have to save every drawing your kids do. It’s okay to throw them away. Make a folder for the bills you need to attend to and when you are done, shred them. Set seasonal goals to go through file cabinets and see what can be shredded or thrown away. Store coupons in a folder or envelope.

Unmade Beds

Why should I make my bed when I’m just going to sleep in it again in 12 hours? Isn’t this one of life’s greatest conundrums? Believe me, I ask myself this a lot. What’s the point? The point is that making beds makes bedrooms look so much cleaner! You can have a clean bedroom but having an unmade bed makes the entire room look messy! I think of my bedroom almost like a sanctuary. It’s a private space or maybe more specifically, a private retreat. Unlike the common areas of the house where toys and shoes are spread in frenzied disarray, my bedroom is a place that is just for me to retreat. So with that, I want it to be a quiet, calm place. Making your bed brings calm and order to your bedroom. I also feel satisfied slipping into a clean, neat bed with crisp, fresh linens at the end of a hard day. It’s soothing. So maybe consider doing it as a treat for yourself when you are tired later. I’ve learned it only takes five minutes to make my bed.

12 reasons your house still looks dirty
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Dirty Dishes

One of my least favorite chores is doing the dishes. It is tempting to put it off, but it is so overwhelming when they pile up. Even if the rest of your kitchen is clean, a sink full of dirty dishes makes your kitchen look dirty. Not only that but it makes your kitchen stinky which kills any clean vibe you had going. Frankly, I feel like a dirty stove also brings down the entire state of your kitchen. And personally I feel like when my kitchen is dirty, the whole house feels dirty. Maybe because the kitchen is the heart of the house.

I have found the best way to deal with dishes is to clean up after every meal. As a stay at home mom, I wash dishes three times a day! It’s a pain, but they’ll pile up otherwise, and letting dishes sit too long make the job harder. Food will get stuck on and you’ll have to resort to soaking dishes before you can wash them. I always try to remove all the food from dirty dishes before they go into my sink. I scrape the food out and rinse them really well. You may only decide to wash once a day. Whatever works for you! But the key to keeping a clean house is to make sure you are staying on top of chores.

Unstyled Shelves

Shelves are wonderful for collecting small objects or books in one place, but they can also make a house look messy if they aren’t organized. Also, having too many objects on your shelf can make it looked cluttered. The more things you have on a self, the less of a visual impact it makes.

Consider putting small or unsightly objects in baskets or boxes to hide them. Group books into small stacks and hold books straight and upright with bookends. You can place books vertically or horizontally, but make certain they are in neat stacks. Leave plenty of space between objects. Set large sculpture pieces or objects d’art by themselves. Showcase smaller items in pairs or threes. Lean artwork against the back wall of the shelf and keep an eye out for balance and symmetry.

Mounds of Laundry

Anyone who knows me knows one of my big pet peeves is piles of laundry! Whether it be dirty clothes on the floor or piles of clothes that need to be folded, I can’t stand to look at laundry. Laundry that isn’t tamed is a sure way to make your home look unkept. If you have a family, I’m sure you feel like laundry is one of those endless chores! Between linens, towels, and clothes, there is always laundry that needs to be washed, folded, ironed, or put away. That means that there are lots of opportunities for laundry to pile up and create a mess.

Make sure you have a hamper in rooms were clothes accumulate. Hang and fold clothes immediately after drying. Not only does this reduce wrinkles, it stops piles of washed, but unfolded clothes from accumulating. I set a timer every day for folding and putting away clothes. Keep a stain stick in your hamper for quick stain treatments. This also reduces the need to layout clothes for treating stains in your washroom. Consider a laundry schedule. For instance, maybe you wash all the bedding on Saturdays, towels on Sundays, and members of the household have a specific laundry day. You can also invest in a laundry sorter to make washing easier.

A few years back, I discovered how much better it is to store clothing vertically in drawers. You can get way more items into a drawer and it helps to ensure you don’t forget about clothes you own. Seeing it vertically helps you to put more of your clothes into your rotation.

Unused Products

Let me first say, I am totally guilty of this one. All one has to do is take a look in my pantry and you will see I have a bad habit of letting unused products pile up. This also includes products like toiletries and cosmetics. This problem is almost always created first while shopping. You see a bargain or perhaps you think you might need it, so you buy it and it goes unused once you get it home. Before you know it, you have shelves full of canned goods and toiletries that are just taking up precious space and making your house feel cluttered. I think that this is rooted in shopping impulses, but I also think that we need to be real with ourselves about whether or not we will actually use these items. It is hard to pitch unused things in the trash when you spent good money on them, so consider giving them to someone else or donating them.

Soiled, Dirty or Dusty Fabrics

The last reason that makes your house look dirty is soiled fabrics and dirty fabrics. Look at how much dust accumulates on wood furniture. That is how much is accumulating on your fabrics. It’s really important to vacuum and spot clean the fabrics in your home. Fabrics wear a lot faster than woods and as you already probably know, they seem to be a magnet for stains. Soiled, dusty fabrics can make your house look dirty even when it’s clean. That’s why it is so important to vacuum them regularly and spot clean. I talked to a few who maids that I know and they stated fabrics should be vacuumed twice weekly. Drapes can be done less often. However, they suggested that houses with indoor pets like cats and dogs should be vacuumed even more.

That’s it. I hope you are inspired to get cleaning. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what your most dreaded chore is. Confession, mine is descaling the shower!

How to Care For Cast Iron

Afraid of using cast iron? Here is a simple way to wash, season and care for your cast iron at home.

How to care for cast iron
Courtesy of Unsplash

I was always intimidated to use cast iron even though it is probably the least sophisticated of all cookware. When I was about twenty, I bought a cast iron skillet and rusted it out after just a few weeks of cooking. I had no idea how to care for it. So I shrieked back from every using it. That is until about eight years later when I discovered that scratch cooking on cast iron is amazing!

Cast Iron is the work horse of all kitchen tools. It never breaks down. It can take a beating and it can cook everything. Iron is an amazing conductor of heat and evenly distributes it around the pan.

Tried and Tested

It is the first of it’s kind when it comes to non-stick cookware. In fact, England has been using cast iron cookware since the late 600’s and it predates that time in Asia, particularly in the Orient.

Cast iron cookery comes in just about every vessel you can think of. Waffle makers, panini presses, Dutch ovens, woks, deep fryers, skillets, and grills. It’s extremely versatile. I love my Dutch oven. You can use it for soups and stews and even go from stovetop to oven (be careful, it’s heavy and hot) and it can double as an oven and slow cooker. I’ve even made bread, cake, and cobblers in my Dutch oven. Going camping? Use your cast iron cookware by putting it strait on the hot coals.

Teflon came into use in the 1940’s and over the next couple of decades cast iron slowly lost it’s appeal because of the convenience of Teflon. There is a lot of question as to how safe Teflon is, but most agree that it is non-toxic under 500 degrees F. That means that Teflon is potentially toxic for certain oils like avocado oil and safflower oil.

How To Care For Cast Iron

How to Wash Cast Iron

Cast iron should never be washed like other dishes. First, lets start with the basics. Iron can actually rust naturally in the air without ever applying water. That’s why it’s necessary to protect it carefully.

Wash your pan using warm water and rough scrubber. Add kosher salt to help with stuck on food.

cast iron
Courtesy of Unsplash

How to Season Cast Iron

You may have heard the term “seasoning” before when it comes to cast iron. No this doesn’t mean spices. Haha. It refers to the process in which you protect your iron from rust and create a non-stick surface.

How To Season Cast Iron

  1. Wash Your Cast Iron

    Use steel wool and warm water (not hot) and wash the oil excess oils away.

  2. Dry your pan

    Wipe your iron dry and put on the stove to remove and remaining water. Once done, let your pan cool down.

  3. Oven

    Place an oven liner or tin foil on the lower rack to catch drips. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

  4. Oil Your Pan

    Apply a thin coat of oil to your pan. Rub excess off with a soft cloth.

  5. Bake Your Cast Iron

    Place your cast iron in the oven upside down so any excess oil drips off the pan. Cure your pan for an hour in the oven. Take care removing from the oven, remember, its heavy and hot! Let cool to room temperature and store.

Pro Tip: If your iron is sticky, it is from excess oil that did not finishing seasoning when it was heated.

Before You Go

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30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

The newness of Spring makes us all want a fresh, clean house. Today, I’m providing a 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge. You’ll do just one task every day for a month to get your house in shape.

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

If you’re anything like me your house gets out of shape during the holidays. Things like ceiling fans, windows and other things get neglected. Besides, just getting all the holiday stuff back in tubs and stored is already a huge chore! But after a few weeks, I begin to notice just how gross and filthy my house gets.

Did you ever notice how dusty ceiling fans get? Even windows and their screens get full of dead bugs, spider webs and other gross things. I’m always shocked how just washing windows can totally change the feel of your house from the inside!

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Therefore, today I’m providing a simple way to handle Spring Cleaning. I found that doing just one chore a day over a month works fairly well. Today, I’m providing a 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge with a FREE printable. Print it out and get started whenever you want. Let’s do this together!

  • Day 1: Wipe down all ceiling fans and chandeliers
  • Day 2: Dust all baseboards
  • Day 3: Wipe down doors and disinfect the doorknobs
  • Day 4: Vacuum drapery and/or blinds
  • Day 5: Clean grill / BBQ pit
  • Day 6: Purge unnecessary paperwork
  • Day 7: Shampoo Carpets
  • Day 8: Dust out all area rugs
  • Day 9: Reseal grout in bathrooms and kitchen
  • Day 10: Polish wood floors / Clean grout on tiles
  • Day 11: Clean porch / patio
  • Day 12: Clean outdoor furniture
  • Day 13: Wash windows
  • Day 14: Defrost Your Freezer
  • Day 15: Clean your garbage disposal
  • Day 16: Descale shower heads
  • Day 17: Clean oven
  • Day 18: Flip and rotate mattresses
  • Day 19: Disinfect children’s toys
  • Day 20: Change batteries in smoke detectors
  • Day 21: Clean dryer lint trap
  • Day 22: Wash indoor wastebaskets
  • Day 23: Wash bathroom rugs
  • Day 24: Clean refrigerator shelves and drawers
  • Day 25: Sweep out the fireplace
  • Day 26: Polish silver or other metals that tarnish
  • Day 27: Rotate seasonal wardrobe
  • Day 28: Vacuum stairs and wipe down spindles
  • Day 29: Reseal granite
  • Day 30: Clean scuffs and handprints off walls

That’s it! I sincerely hope that this 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge helps you enjoy your house more! For the most part, Spring cleaning can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it to have a clean, peaceful home.

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Before you dump your items off at a donation bin, try these 8 places to cash in clutter!

8 places to cash in clutter

It’s a never ending battle to declutter. I struggle with decluttering. I paid good money for something, thus I have a hard time just giving something away. Over this past year, I’ve been trying to sell things before I just dump it at Goodwill. I’ve been surprised at what people are willing to buy. Today I’m sharing 8 places to cash in clutter.

Just this month, I made over $100 selling things I would have otherwise donated. For example, I sold an old roaster ($10) and rice cooker ($20) that was taking up space in my kitchen cabinets. I sold a corn hole game ($40) I had made for my son’s first birthday. Then I let go of a car seat ($25) left at our house by a guest. Lastly, I sold some box fans ($10) that had been sitting in my guest room for 5 years!

I’m not bragging! My point is that just because you don’t find it valuable anymore, doesn’t mean no one does. If you’re like me, you’re tired of garage sales. You have to gather tons of items to make it worth while. As a rule, you need a city permit. Usually, you sit for days in the cold or heat only to argue with someone who wants to give you a quarter for your brand new Ralph Lauren blouse you wore once. It’s not worth it, right? That’s why today, I’m going to show you 8 places to cash in clutter – that’s actually worth it!

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Etsy

If you haven’t discovered Etsy, I’m sad for you. Just kidding…sort of. Seriously, Etsy is an absolute great find for people who love to buy and sell handmade things. If you have something unique, one-of-a-kind, or something that is antique or collectible, Etsy is a great market for you! By the way, check out my shop where I sell my handmade greeting cards and digital printables. You do need to set up a shop, but once you have it set up, it’s very easy to add items.

It’s free to create an Etsy store. However, Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for every item you list, making it one of the most affordable places that charges. Furthermore, Etsy allows multiple ways for customers to pay, including PayPal.

Ebay

Ebay has long been a trusted source of selling used items. Even though the big Ebay boom is over, it continues to have a strong marketplace. Last year, I made $200 back selling baby clothes. (Tip: the best way to sell baby clothes is in large lots.) Ebay has a wide array of categories and the selling fee structure is a little complicated.

First, Ebay offers various ways to sell. You can sell it as an auction. You can sell it at a flat price (Buy It Now) which can also include “best offer” flexibility. The charges depend on the category, but as a rule Ebay charges about 10% of the amount you were paid (that includes shipping). Also, if they buyer is paying through PayPal (which is typical), you’ll incur an additional 2.9% fee for the transaction. So you’ll need to carefully choose what you sell. Ebay is known for shipping items and has a super easy, built in way to print labels once your item sells. However, they also have a local pickup option which is especially helpful for large items.

Facebook Marketplace

This is where I have had some of my best success. I am shocked to see how easy it is to sell things. Best of all – it’s completely 100% FREE to sell. You get every penny. No store setup. Just find Marketplace within Facebook and list your items by following the prompts. Customers can pay through Marketplace or they can give you cash. You can also accept PayPal or Venmo if you want to guide them that way.

It’s up to you, but people will ask you to hold things until a certain day. I caution you from doing that. I’ve been burned more than once. There are lots of flakey people out there! I’ve held something for someone who flaked out, meanwhile I turned down 5 other interested buyers. Now I specify in the description that it is “no holds.” This means that if they can’t come until Thursday and someone is willing to buy it and pick it up before then, I won’t hold it. You can choose whether you have the buyer pick up the item or whether you deliver it. You must specify in the description. People will always try to get you to deliver otherwise.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups is another one of the places I’ve had good success. Like Marketplace, you can post pictures and description of what you’re selling. There are lots of pages that are designed for your city, area of town, or neighborhood. Find some, follow the selling rules and make money.

Like Marketplace, you will need to specify whether the buyer need to pickup or if you’ll deliver. If they pay in advance like through PayPal or Venmo. Incidentally, I recommend posting directly in Marketplace. Facebook now has a feature where if you post in Marketplace, you’ll have the options of sharing in the Facebook selling groups of which you’re a member. There are no selling fees involved with Facebook groups.

Pro Tip #1: If you are posting on multiple sites, be sure to include the acronym “POMS” in your description.

LetGo

The LetGo mobile app has slowly been gaining popularity (30 million users have downloaded it) after Google listed it as the Best of 2016 apps. It still has a fairly good reputation. It’s most attractive feature is that there are absolutely no selling fees – you set your price and get every penny! You choose how the customer pays and the app has a review system (don’t worry – you can dispute negative reviews).

LetGo doesn’t have a way to make payment. You will need to work that out between the buyer. Also, you are restricted to selling within your geographical location. Similarly to Craigslist, you’ll need to meet up with buyers to exchange goods and money – and anyone can sign up for it without any kind of check into who they are. So always be careful when meeting up with strangers.

Just Between Friends

So as I started to get rid of baby things, I tried local consignment shops. I was surprised at how little they offered. Pennies on the dollar. It was honestly, a little insulting. What they offered, wasn’t even worth my time to drive down there! That’s when a friend introduced this awesome bi-annual sale to me. If you’re willing to live with the items for a few months, this can bring in some money for all your maternity, baby, child, and teen items.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment organization. Search their website to see if they have a sale in your area. They are in most major cities and have two sales per year – Spring and Fall. They will only accept seasonal appropriate items. Items are inspected to make sure they are not broken or stained. They will reject items that have a safety recall on them.

You will tag them using their online tagging system. As a rule, clothing must be on hangers. You have the option to put your items half off as a ditch effort to sell them. Additionally, they have an option to donate items that are unsold, so you never have to deal with them again. The day before the sale, you will need to check-in and put out all your merchandise on the sales floor. During the sale, you can see live results of your items selling. You set your own prices. You get 60% of the selling price. If you volunteer at the sale, you 70% of your sale, plus your $12 consignor fee is waived. Last year was my first year selling, I didn’t take a ton of stuff, but what I did netted be a couple hundred dollars – and I didn’t volunteer.

Amazon

Wait….you can sell old things on Amazon? Yes, you can. Amazon offers an individual seller account where you can sell gently used items. In my experience, books do well, but other things can be listed. However, it only permits forty items per month. After that, you’ll be directed to upgrade your account to a Professional selling plan. It is a monthly subscription of $39.99 and you have the awesome Amazon name and traffic behind your goods. So depending how much you plan to sell depends on how much it costs. The individual plan costs $0.99 per listing (some categories include additional fees).

Pro-tip #2: The acronym PPU stands for Porch Pick Up – a way of the buyer picking up without having to physically interact with them.

Offer up

Offer up is available on both online and a mobile app. It is fairly easy to use and even offers selling solutions for the private selling of vehicles.

It is free to use for buyers and sellers. However, just recently they included a shipping service so sellers could reach a wider audience. You decide wether you want to offer shipping or not. If you do offer shipping, they charge a 7.9% fee when the item sells. If you want to avoid seller fees, consider doing pickup only.

That’s it. In conclusion, yard sales are almost a thing of the past. Yes, it takes some time to list items individually. But, the return you get from these 8 places to cash in clutter, has proven to be worth it!

The post, 8 Places to Cash in Clutter, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Learn about other decluttering tips in the post 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Don’t fret. Here are 50 things to throw away right now.

Confession time: I’m a recovering hoarder. Okay, well maybe not that extreme, but I was definitely a clutter bug. I have a hard time letting go of things. What if I need it later? What if I finally get around to fixing it? After all, I paid good money for this! I totally get it.

Saying goodbye to things can be difficult and it’s very easy to start justifying why you should keep something. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are 50 things to throw away right now.

There are definitely things of value you may very well try to sell. But today, we’re just going to focus us on what can go into a trash can right now. These are things that have lost their usefulness and can therefore be tossed strait into a trash can.

Once you get into the habit of decluttering, I’m sure you’ll find it liberating!

So grab a trash bag and let’s begin!

50 Things to Throw Away

  1. Old Magazines
  2. Stationery you no longer use
  3. Developed photos that are blurry, bad shots, or are duplicated
  4. Goopy nail polish
  5. Wrinkled / torn gift wrap
  6. Old party supplies
  7. Tattered gift bags
  8. Financial paperwork older than 5 years
  9. Instruction manuals & out-of-date warranties
  10. Old phone cases
  11. Pens that no longer write
  12. Coupons, mailers, etc.
  13. Glasses and contact lenses that are not your prescription anymore
  14. Old Checkbooks
  15. Broken jewelry
  16. Scratched sunglasses
  17. Stained or torn clothes
  18. Cosmetics older the 3 months
  19. Bath loofahs & sponges that are looking worn
  20. Newspapers
  21. Earrings that don’t have a pair
  22. Socks with holes or no partner
  23. Frayed device-charging cords
  24. Old sponges and dish wands
  25. Phone books
  26. Catalogs
  27. Expired food in your pantry
  28. Out-of-date batteries
  29. Puzzles and games that are missing pieces
  30. Warped food storage containers or ones that have no lids
  31. Toiletries with old or very little product left
  32. Expired medicine
  33. Worn out hair ties & accessories
  34. VHS tapes or Cassettes that you can’t play
  35. Old toothbrushes
  36. Stockings or nylons with runs
  37. Old underwear or bras
  38. Empty Bottles
  39. Expired vitamins and supplements
  40. Receipts
  41. Old invitations and greeting cards
  42. Planners and calendars from previous years
  43. Brochures
  44. Business cards
  45. Spent gift cards
  46. Dried up paint
  47. Free return address labels
  48. Notepads you don’t use
  49. Pet supplies you don’t use
  50. Gloves with no pair

Looking for other decluttering tips? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books

The post, 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent For Pennies

This post, Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this post, I may receive a small percentage at no cost you

Have you ever noticed how ridiculously expensive laundry detergent is? Making your own detergent is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about five years now. It is just as good as any commercially made detergent, but it is a fraction of the cost! Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own laundry detergent for pennies! I’ve figured out it costs about 5-10 cents per load based on where you buy your ingredients!

This 100 year-old recipe is tried and proven to clean clothes. You can make it in both liquid and powder form. Today, I will show you the easiest way to do it – powder form. I prefer powdered form because it is faster to make. The liquid form requires cooking and is a slower process. 

The greatest thing about this recipe is that you need very little for a load of laundry. Only two tablespoons for a large laundry load! I have found the cheapest place to get these supplies are at Wal-mart. Many grocery stores carry the ingredients, however they are often obscured on the bottom or top shelf since they aren’t as common. For your convenience, I’ve also included an Amazon link. 

About the Ingredients

Fels-Naptha can also be used on it’s own as a pre-wash stain treatment or to hand wash delicates and sweaters. In existence since 1893, Fels-Naptha is a home remedy for poison ivy, poison oak, and other skin irritants. As a result, it is suitable even for people with sensitive skin. Most importantly, it is a powerful stain remover, particularly for tough stains like oil and grass.

Borax is a natural, mild alkaline salt. It works as a gentle abrasive, therefore making it a great cleaning product outside of laundry. Firstly, it’s already in many cleaning products and cosmetics you may already use. In laundry, it has a wide variety of uses! For example, it stops dyes from transferring or bleeding. In addition, Borax softens water as well as enhances bleach and stain removing. Furthermore, it also works as an additional agitent. Lastly, Borax also works as a natural mildicide and fungicide, by retarding bacteria growth.

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda is also an amazing cleaning product! It has so many uses! For example, in laundry, it increases detergents cleaning power and it eliminates and neutralizes odors. In addition, you can also use it with warm water to clean tubs, sinks, cookware, even silver, copper and brass.

Now lets get started making laundry detergent!

Supplies

  • Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 20 Mule Team Borax
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Cheese Grater
  • Large container to store your soap
Borax, Fels Naptha and Washing Soda

Recipe

  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha. This takes some elbow grease!
  • Add one cup of washing soda, followed by 1 cup borax. 
  • Gently stir until evenly combined. Transfer into storage container.
  • Repeat as necessary for more laundry detergent.
Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
Make your own laundry soap for pennies

That’s it! Making your own laundry detergent for pennies is that easy! Save money and lower your grocery bill by making this quick, low-cost detergent. I’ve been pleased with the stain-removing power of this recipe and I know you will be too! I’d love to hear what you do to save money in your household. 

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other ways to be organized? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books