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in the last month or two when in reality it was 6 months ago or more! I mean time flies right? When you are in mom mode time flies even faster.
One of my favorite #momlife quotes is “The days are long but the years are short.”
Some days do seem long but before we know it weeks, months and years have flown by with kids birthdays, sports, school, church, dance recitals, dinners cooked, bath times and good night kisses. All the important things.
Understandably, remembering to change the A/C filter gets pushed to the back burner. Remembering what coffee tastes like from a freshly cleaned pot is something you don't even try to think about. Trust me, when you clean your coffee pot, you’ll thank me.
All of these things, from overseeing bath time to taking care of the appliances fall under home management skills. Moms - we do a lot. Managing a home comes with the territory.
Is home management even a real thing?
According to dictionary.com
"Home management is the process of effectively running a household."
I also like this explanation of home management from Jessica on Life As A Mom:
"Simply put, home management is taking care of all the things that need doing and helping the people in the home do the things that need doing. While it may sometimes be looked at simply as bill paying, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning, it’s so much more than that, at least when it’s a family home, because a family lives there."
No matter how you define it, home manager is one of the many hats we wear as women and moms.
If you have a full nest or if you are an empty nester - you manage your home and you need a home management plan.
It’s safe to say how we manage our homes will look different for everyone. Our homes are different sizes in every way from the number of sweet souls living under our roofs to the size of the physical dwelling we call home.
With all our differences there are some common threads that run through home life.
Things I am very grateful for and do not take for granted (well I try not to!). Such as major appliances, small appliances, HVAC systems, grocery shopping and meal planning - just to name a few.
The First Week Five list I am sharing here deals with some monthly to-do’s and are important home management tips for housewives and working moms alike. Even if we delegate tasks (and we should!) usually we are the ones creating the home management system for the family.
This list was born out of my love of lists and bullet journaling!
As a constant list maker and note taker I started using a bullet journal about 5 years ago. At the time I was a lot busier, with younger kiddos, lots of dance classes, homeschooling and managing the household.
Now, as a mom of high school teens, I am not doing as much running around but these 5 monthly items still need doing. I still need a way to remember them as part of my home management program!
Each month, during the first week of the month I do the following five things:
1. Clean the coffee pot. (deep clean)
This is different from rinsing out the old coffee and dumping out the coffee grounds every day. Once a month and at the very least every 3 months you should deep clean your coffee pot. If you don’t you could be drinking lots of germs, yeast and even mold!
Public health and safety organization, NSF International found the following:
"In its 2011 swab-down (PDF) of 22 homes, it found that yeast and mold had settled into half of all coffee machine water reservoirs tested, making them the fifth germiest item in kitchens and bathrooms—less than the pet bowl but more than (yikes) the bathroom faucet handle. In addition, water leaves mineral deposits inside the machine over time, said Jaime Levy, senior product manager on OXO’s coffee and tea team. This buildup can slow brewing and heating."
Also, your coffee will taste so much better.
Even if you have a single serve coffee maker cleaning once a month is essential.
Here are some simple instructions for cleaning coffee makers:
Automatic Drip & Single Serve Pod Brew Stations (like Keurig)
Using equal parts white vinegar and water, fill the coffee pot or reservoir then brew. If cleaning a single serve you will have to brew large cup by large cup in order to run the vinegar / water mixture all the way through.
After the vinegar / water solution is brewed and the reservoir is empty, fill it again with clean water and brew all the way through at least once, I usually do this twice with clean water to make sure all the vinegar is washed out.
If you have coffee stains built up in your coffee pot use baking soda and a soft sponge to scrub those out. They should come up (or at least lighten up alot) fairly easily after you clean with the vinegar.
2. Clean the washing machine.
Yes! Your washing machine needs cleaning.
Something often overlooked, after all, our clean clothes come out of there every day right !?! Yes but our washing machines are also breeding grounds for bacteria. Especially if you have a high efficiency washer that uses lower temperatures and less water.
An ABC News report, Dirty Laundry, How Nasty Germs Survive in Your Washer reports:
“Your dirty laundry may actually be even dirtier after you wash it. That's because experts say washing machines are teeming with bacteria that find their way onto your clothes -- and then onto you.
Gross right!?! I'm sorry to be the bearer of this news but it makes sense if you think about it.
That same article goes on to explain (in more detail) exactly how these germs survive and get passed around. Another reason to wash your hands all.the.time. I’ll leave it at that.
This once a month habit that keeps your washer fresh and helps battle all the bacteria - clean your washer.
Here are a couple simple ways to do this:
Vinegar & Baking Soda Washing Machine Cleaner
If you have a front loader make sure you keep the door slightly ajar between uses to help dry it out. Don’t forget to clean the rubber gasket, it collects water and can grow mildew quickly.
Another easy way to clean your washing machine is with a pre-made cleaning product like Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner.
I have used both of these methods and am always satisfied with either one!
4. Clean the dishwasher.
Another appliance that we easily brush off as “always clean” because it is always cleaning our dishes. It’s easy to thinking this magical appliance is constantly cleaning itself too but much like the clothes washer (although not quite) the dishwasher becomes dirty use after use.
Good Housekeeping explains it like this:
“Over time, bits of food, grease, undissolved detergent, and water minerals build up on the dishwasher's filter and interior walls. Along with an unpleasant odor and look, this gunk can actually leave spots and film on your glassware, dinnerware, and flatware. In short, that means if you don't clean your dishwasher correctly, your appliance can't fully do its job. Plus, if you let the food and grime build up, it can seriously damage the dishwasher's filter and pump, ultimately resulting in costly repairs.” - How to Clean Your Dishwasher in 5 Easy Steps
We are focused on one of the steps today - a monthly deep clean!
Here are a few simple ways to do this:
I usually opt for dishwasher cleaning tabs like these:
This is another job that can be tackled with vinegar!
Vinegar & Water Dishwasher Cleaner
The advantage of using cleaning tabs such as Affresh or Finish is how they can help dissolve food bits and greasy build up.
The Vinegar will clean the inside of the dishwasher, including the racks and help with some build up too but the surfactants (surface active agents) actively reduce tension in the particles (food and grease) helping them dissolve and wash away.
4. Change the air filters.
This is a task that used to be forgotten way too often at our house. Until I added it to my First of the Month Five list!
Is it that important to change your air filter monthly?
Yes! The air quality in your home and the life of your hvac system will benefit from regularly changing the air filters.
“Air filters should be changed regularly in your home to keep your system running smoothly and to maintain optimal air quality. It can be easy to forget this small HVAC maintenance aspect, especially if you don’t know how often to change it.” - Home Depot
Home Depot has a guide online to help you decide how often to change your AC filters.
General rule of thumb for me is monthly.
5. New toothbrush and razor.
These are more personal care items but fall under “home management” because they involve store runs. I try to keep them stocked in the hall closet.
Why change your toothbrush monthly?
Professionals recommend switching out your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. I do this monthly “ish” because if I don’t I will forget and end up going way too many months.
“The average person should be swapping out for a new toothbrush every three to four months,” explains Dr. Sienna Palmer, DDS, dentist at Meridien Dental in Santa Monica, CA. “This is recommended to ensure that the bristles are still effective and bacteria accumulation on the toothbrush is minimal.”
I don’t use an expensive toothbrush so its easy for me to keep packs on hand and just switch them out. It feels super fresh too, you should try it!
I use a basic disposable razor. Regardless of the type of razor you use it is important to change it regularly.
This is yet another item that can breed bacteria!
"Razors are a breeding ground for bacteria — nearly 5 million bacteria to be exact (via Infection Control Today). Older cartridges can cause infections or "little red bumps that appear after a day or so," dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, MD told Oprah.com
The suggestions about when to change out your razor vary and are different based on how often you shave.
“The answer to when you should swap out your razor blade depends on who you ask. According to Gillette, if you shave daily, change out your razor every 1 to 2 weeks. If you shave every other day, wait 2 to 3 weeks. If you shave twice a week, change it every 4 to 6 weeks. Other places, like Grooming Lounge, say that the blade is ready to be tossed out after 3 to 4 shaves. These numbers, of course, also depend on how much of your body you shave as well. An easy and simple way to figure out if your blade needs to be changed is if the razor is pulling or tugging on the skin when using it. “
This is another item I keep on my once a month list. Even though I shave every day and should change my razor more often, at least doing it once a month keeps me consistently changing it!
These First Week Five habits keep my coffee tasting fresh, our appliances clean. They are not super time consuming and they just feel good!
Anything I do for our home I keep simple, affordable and practical. These steps included! Share your home management tips in the comments! I'd love to know your tips and tricks.
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