How To Keep a Clean House in 20-30 Minutes a Day

I’m generally an all or nothing type person. When I start a project I like to finish it as soon as I can. I don’t like starting something new until I’ve finished up what I started earlier. This personality trait has, for all of my adult years, carried over into how I clean my house. For years my cleaning schedule has gone like this: 1.) wait until the house gets dirty enough that I can’t stand it anymore (which isn’t long…I’m a neat freak) 2.) spend the whole day cleaning the entire house from top to bottom 3.) crawl into bed at night exhausted with dry hands and a sore back.

That schedule worked ok for a while and I’ll admit there is something so soothing about having your whole house clean at once. But, let’s face it… with kids the whole house stays clean for a total of about 5 minutes before something’s messy again. Plus, it was getting harder and harder for me to find a day where I could devote 5+ hours just to cleaning my house. I pay (too much) attention to detail when I clean and also end up sorting, rearranging, putting things away while I clean. That, coupled with lots of interruptions from the children, made for very long days of cleaning (yes, they do help me with cleaning but their “help” often creates more clean up for me!).

But everything has changed! You guys…. I have found a solution! I have changed my cleaning habits from a project into a practice. I’ve implemented THE TWO WEEK CLEANING SCHEDULE! It totally goes against my grain but I have gotten into the routine of it and I am loving it! All it takes is about 20 -30 minutes of cleaning a day. And the good thing is…my house always feels clean!

Ok so you may have seen people post before about how they clean one area of their house each day of the week and then they always have a clean house. Yea, well, that sounds good in theory… but cleaning each part of my house every week is just too much for me (honest truth). And, while some areas of the house could use a cleaning once a week, there are many areas that I think do just fine with a cleaning every two weeks. So that’s what I do. I choose one area of the house to clean each day and complete the whole house over a two week period. Here’s my sample schedule:

Week One:

Monday: Vacuum
Tuesday: Deep clean kitchen
Wednesday: Master bathroom
Thursday: Guest bathroom

Week Two:

Monday: Empty trash throughout house, clean windows (not all my windows but things like the slider and back door which the kids touch)
Tuesday: Dust
Wednesday: Sweep
Thursday: Mop

I have chosen not to clean on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because I like to have the weekends free and I also like to have some extra days in case one day I just can’t fit in the time to clean. I also do laundry on the weekends and meal prep. But if you have a larger house or more areas to clean you can always add some or all of those days to spread out the work. Also once a month on a Friday or Saturday I do something that only needs to be done once every couple of months like windows, blinds, ceiling fans, and baseboards. As a side note, this schedule does not include things like dishes, picking up toys, putting away clothes, vacuuming or sweeping up spills and messes, etc. These are things that I do on a daily basis and don’t need to add to my cleaning schedule. I will also swipe the toilet or wipe down the bathroom sink real quick if need be in between cleaning days. This list is just for the more scheduled deep cleanings, not the quick things I do daily.

The beauty of a schedule like this is you can customize it however you like! You can do a little something every day of the week or cut it down to just 3 days a week. You can clean the bathrooms once a week instead of once every two weeks if yours get dirty quicker (I’ll admit they probably do need it but I just hate cleaning bathrooms so I figure once every 2 weeks is enough!). If your dog sheds and you need to vacuum every day then add vacuuming along with something else to your schedule. The only carpet we have is in our bedrooms so I don’t need to vacuum as often. The key is, don’t overload the schedule! If your cleaning is going to take more than 20-30 minutes you probably aren’t going to get to it each and every day because it’s too time consuming. You want short, quick jobs that you can accomplish quickly and that you won’t be able to talk yourself out of.

I’ve been loving my two week cleaning schedule so far and it’s taken alot of stress off of me as I know that at any given time most areas of my house are clean. What about you? What methods of cleaning work for you? What household chore do you absolutely hate to do? I’d love to hear!

 

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Before and After: The Transformation of our House

On Thanksgiving Day we celebrated one year of owning our home! On November 26th, 2014 (the day before Thanksgiving last year) we signed on the dotted line and received the keys to our very first house!

I’ve been trying to think of a fun post to do to honor our one year anniversary. You have all seen the house tour that I posted here on the blog earlier in the year so I didn’t want to post similar pictures again. Then, the idea hit me!

The previous owners of our house foreclosed on it. An investor bought it, flipped it, and then put it back on the market. When we bought it, it had already been completely remodeled so we never saw the house in the condition it was in before. BUT on the Zillow listing, there were old pictures of the house from when the previous owners tried to sell it. Over a year ago I downloaded and saved those pictures to my computer because the transformation was so shocking to me!

So today I thought it would be fun to post the before and after pictures of our house. Remember, we didn’t do this transformation! We bought the house already completely updated. And thank goodness, because if I would have stepped foot in this house when it looked like the previous pictures I would have taken one peek in the door and said no thank you! I’m amazed that the investor saw the potential in this house and gave it some much needed love and updating. I absolutely love our house and feel so at home here. I’m so grateful it’s ours!

So… here we go! (You can click on the pictures to make them larger)

The outside before:

The outside after:

The living room before:
The living room after:
The kitchen before:
The kitchen after:
The dining room before:
The dining room after:
The master bedroom before:
The master bedroom after:
The master bathroom before:
The Master bathroom after:
Isaiah’s room before:

 Isaiah’s room after:

The fan in Isaiah’s room was the only fixture in the whole house the investor didn’t update! We can’t figure out why. =) But it didn’t matter because we put bunkbeds in his room and replaced the fan with a light anyways. We just thought it was funny!
The girls’ room before:

The girls’ room after:
The guest bathroom before:

The guest bathoom after:

 The playroom before:

The playroom after:
The garage before:
The garage after:

House Tour – Our Home When We Lived In Uganda!

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on July 18, 2012 just after we had moved to Uganda and into our new apartment! You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

And, if you’d like to compare our house in Uganda to our house now you can see the house tour of our current house in Florida here.   =)


We are finally moved into our new house and boy does it feel good! After 2 months of living out of a suitcase, it feels incredibly wonderful to unpack and put things in their proper place! I don’t think we realized how ready we were to settle until we were actually able to!

The Lord really blessed us in giving us the place that He did! It’s a beautiful 4 bedroom home with lots of space for Isaiah. We are the first occupants so everything feels new and clean. It is in a great location- 5 minutes from the grocery store (with traffic), less than 10 minutes to Drew’s work, and close by to many other amenities and places we go often. Another bonus is that it is up and away from the main road a bit so we don’t get much “African dirt” in through the windows (a problem that many houses here have).

We still have a long way to go as far as “setting up” goes. We only have the bare bones in the furniture department and haven’t even begun to think about decorating yet! =) But, little by little we know we’ll be able to buy the things we need and begin to make this place feel like “home.” For now, we’re just thankful to have some place to call our own!

Here are some photos so you can get a visual picture of where we are living. 

Our bedroom.
Different angle of our bedroom.
Our bed (We had our bed frame made so that we could get an “American” size queen bed instead of a “Ugandan” size! Hoping to get it next week).
Master bathroom off of our room.
Guest bathroom
Guest bathroom.
Bedroom for our new baby!
New baby’s bedroom.
Isaiah’s room. We’re waiting for his bunk bed/trundle bed to be finished being made and then all these mattresses will be up off the floor (and ready for guests to come sleep in)!)
Isaiah’s room.
Zai’s room.
Hallway
Hallway
Front porch (and Isaiah playing with our house girl, Suzy). He loves Suzy!!!
Living room.
Living room.
Dining room/ living room.
Kitchen.
Kitchen.
Kitchen.

Pantry
Our washing machine!!! Yay!!
Another bathroom.
Our fourth bedroom which is now being used as a spot to put our deep freezer and a laundry room.
Back porch.

Well that’s it for now, folks! I’ll post more pictures once we get more furniture and things decorated a bit. =)

House Tour!!

I am finally getting a house tour up on the blog! Though it’s still a work in progress, I’m grateful that the Lord has given us this beautiful home. I still have lots of decorating ideas swirling around in my head but I’m not going to let a lack of decorations or missing furniture hinder my joy at His wonderful provision for us!! Living overseas for much of my life and seeing how much of the world lives, I never want to take for granted the house we have. Our home is a constant reminder to daily praise the Lord for what He has given us and to be good stewards of it.


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

It’s not easy to furnish an entire house quickly and cheaply. We moved to Florida with just a few pieces of furniture and have had to buy the rest. Thus, we are finishing up the house little by little, but each month it feels a more like home!!

Today I’m just showing you our main living areas and not the bedrooms. So…. here it goes!

I’ll start with the outside of our house. This first picture was taken shortly after we closed on the house and before we had even moved in. Despite the brown, dead grass we were just so happy to finally be home owners! We live in a quiet little neighborhood and have great neighbors!

We had went to a party that day and the kids had some face painting done which is why they look a bit freaky. =) 
The front door.
This is the view you see when you first enter the house. Our entry way is still pretty much a blank slate. I have plans for an entryway table and large fun mirror on one side and a bench and hooks on the other side. I’ll be excited one we get some stuff in this space!

This is our living room. We use half as a spot for our desks and half as a cozy sitting area. I ordered a large mirror for above the fireplace a few weeks ago but it arrived shattered and I had to return it. I also found out that the mirror is out of stock so I’m on the lookout for another mirror to go there! I am also contemplating painting the stone fireplace an off white to update it.

The Africa was handmade by this sweet woman I found on Etsy. She lives locally in Jacksonville and so I didn’t even have to wait for it to be shipped to me, I was able to pick it up from her house. She can make any state/country/continent and put the heart over whatever state/country/continent you’d like. She can also do whatever color wood, string, and paint you want! Our heart is over Uganda, of course. Such a special country in our hearts! 

Just off of our living room sits our playroom. Probably my favorite room in the house because it keeps the kids happy and contained!! =) One thing I love about this room is the huge closet that we use for puzzles, games, and movies. I also love that this room has a door to the backyard which allows the kids to either play in the play room or play outside and go in and out as they please.

Next up is our dining room. Probably my second favorite room in the house. =) Mostly because of the pictures that are hanging on the wall. Not only were they a PAIN IN THE BUTT to hang (because, I mean…. 6 pictures all straight and evenly spaced with each other? It’s harder than it looks!) but because each of those picture frames contains fabric from Uganda and I love having those pieces from Eloise’s home country in our home!

We had our farm table custom made. We knew we wanted a big table so we could have lots of room for guests!!! The white shelf in there is an heirloom from Drew’s Aunt Mae. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to paint it or leave it in it’s current “naturally shabby chic” condition. I also haven’t yet decided on what I’m going to decorate it with and right now it just has a bunch of knick knacks on it. Probably one more thing will go on a wall in this room- a wine rack- but I haven’t yet decided what style I want or exactly where I want to put it.

Next to the dining room is the kitchen. I love having a little breakfast nook in there! It’s so handy for feeding the kids at!! And those little white chairs that match our dining room chairs but are sized perfectly for kids with a higher/smaller seat? They kinda make me smile whenever I look at them! =) And they are so perfect for the kids to sit on! Two things I love about this kitchen – the pot drawers to the left of the stove (like seriously, I never knew how much I could love pot drawers!) and I love that all the drawers and doors are soft-close (no slamming doors or drawers that don’t get shut!).

We have two bathrooms, a master bathroom and a guest bathroom. The guest bathroom has a shower curtain that I really need to iron. Who really ever likes to iron anyways….? Especially a shower curtain!? =)

 
 

And finally, here is the backyard. Drew’s dad found the playset for free on the side of the road and fixed it up for us! The kids love it and swing out there most every day! The backyard is big and has plenty of room for the kids to run and play. We’ve cornered off a section of the yard where the kids are allowed to dig and they (especially Isaiah) love trying to dig the deepest holes they can! After living in an apartment for several months with three kids I must say that I LOVE having a backyard!!

Well, that is our house! Hope you’ve enjoyed the little tour! We are so grateful that the Lord provided the perfect house for us. Buying a home was a stressful process and then there’s always the risk that when you finally move in, the house won’t fit your family like you thought it would. We have felt nothing but at home here since we moved in and feel like this house is a great fit for our family right now. I hope we never leave! But, let’s be honest, we’re the Hutchesons….. we never stay any place for too long! =)

How to Paint Stripes on a Wall

When we first started the process of buying our house we had decided that we weren’t going to paint the walls before we moved in. Since our house had been newly remodeled before we bought it, the walls had no nail holes and were all painted a nice neutral color. Not only is paint (and all the supplies) expensive, but it’s also time consuming to paint (and Drew had final exams two days before we moved in so we didn’t have a whole lot of extra time to spare!).
But… then we (and in we I mean “I”) started getting a little sentimental (and practical) and realized that 1.) it’s a tooooooon easier to paint bedroom walls {before} you move in, especially when you have three young children you’d have to bounce around if you wanted to paint at a later date, and 2.) this is the first time we’ve ever owned a home and had the ability to do WHATEVER we want with it! We’d never been able to choose paint colors and this was our chance!
So, with an awesome deal on paint at Lowes and some borrowed paint supplies we decided to go ahead and paint the bedrooms and play room before our move! We left the main living areas as is for now but those will be easier to paint at a later date if we decide we want to, and they are a neutral beige/grey color now which I really don’t mind at all.
We got a good deal on the paint and borrowed supplies but that still left us with the problem of time. Drew still didn’t have a whole lot of time to spare and although he and his dad did end up doing a good amount of painting, I spent many days over at the new house painting by myself (and by myself I mean alone WITH ALL THE KIDS). But, what can I say? I’m pretty determined when I get my mind set on something and I had my mind set on STRIPES in Isaiah’s room. So, stripes it was! It took three days, numerous numerous interruptions, and (I admit) a little bit of yelling, but I did indeed accomplish the task of painting stripes on a wall with three children 4 and under in a house with no internet, no cable, no beds for naps, few toys, and barely any food. Shouldn’t I get a medal for that or something!?!? =)
Anyways, without further ado, here is how to paint stripes on a wall! 
1.) Paint the wall one of the colors of your stripes (preferably the lighter color). We painted Isaiah’s whole room grey first and then added the navy blue stripes to one wall.
2.) Decide if you want horizontal or vertical stripes and measure the height or width of your wall. I wanted horizontal stripes so I measured the height of Isaiah’s wall from top to bottom. (Make sure you don’t count the baseboard!) Divide that number by the number of stripes you want. I wanted an odd number of stripes because I wanted the blue stripes to be on the top and bottom of the wall sort of “framing” the wall. I chose 7 because I wanted fairly thick stripes.
EXAMPLE: Our walls are 93.4 inches tall, divided by 7 = 13.3 inches. That meant that each of my stripes was going to be 13.3 inches.
3.) Draw the lines for your stripes! I googled lots of different ways to draw the lines for your stripes and did what I thought sounded the easiest and most practical (and I was really happy with how it turned out!). I started at the left hand side of the wall and used a large level/ruler to mark increments of 13.3. inches all the way down the wall. Then I used the level/ruler to rule horizontal lines straight across the wall from one end to the other.
                             3a.) Make sure you have a pencil with you to mark the lines!!!! I marked each and every line on Isaiah’s wall with THIS tiny piece of led:
And, before you judge =) I just have to say that I DID grab a mechanical pencil before I left our apartment in preparation for drawing these lines at the new house. And I even shook it to make sure that it had extra led in it! But when I went to use it at the new house I discovered that it was broken. And in my attempts to fix it I broke all the extra pieces of led and was left with this tiny little remnant! I searched the whole house, diaper bag, and car for another pencil…. would you believe it, not even one anywhere!!!!! When I called Drew to tell him of my dilemma he suggested I just go to the store and buy one. Such a man response! But, ummm, all THREE children were napping and I was just fixin to get 1-2 hours of uninterrupted painting time! No way was I waking the kids up from that! So I made due with what I had…. and, by God’s grace, it turned out in the end (my fingers were sore though… it hurts to write with a tiny piece of led!).

 

Wa-la! Can’t really see them, but perfectly straight lines across the wall.

4.) Next comes taping the stripes. Remember, when you tape, that you are taping the OUTSIDE of each stripe. It will result in some stripes looking bigger and some looking smaller but don’t worry, this is how it’s supposed to be for now. Check and recheck that you have taped the outside of the stripe or you will end up with uneven stripe sizes once you paint. Mark an x on the stripes that you are going to paint to make sure you paint the right ones.

 

5.) Next is a very important step. {DO NOT SKIP!} It’s the secret to getting perfectly crisp lines! For each stripe that you plan to paint your accent color (which for us was blue), paint over the edges of the tape that mark that stripe with your base color (which for us was grey). This seals the edges of the tape and will minimize bleeding. Let this coat dry completely before you continue.

 

6.) Now you can paint your fun colored stripes! The blue color that we used needed 3 coats but depending on what color or brand you use, you may be able to get away with just one. I trimmed the edges with a brush and used a small roller for the middle sections. At this point, I sent Drew (who was at work) this picture below:

 

 
To which he responded:
 
Oh, I do love this man who undoubtedly has the gift of encouragement!!! But, seriously, if those stripes were my finished product…… Babe, you gotta let me know the hard, honest truth. =)
 

7.) Anyways, thankfully those stripes were not the end result. Step 7 leads us to the most fun (and nerve wracking) part: peeling off the tape. This is the part where you hold your, breath, say a prayer, and pull the tape! (I recommend doing this when your last coat of paint is still wet to minimize peeling some of your stripe off with the tape.) Honestly, I wasn’t sure how mine were going to turn out. I was seriously thinking that we were just going to have to paint the whole wall blue and call it a day. But to my surprise, they turned out!

There were a few spots that bled and, being the perfectionist that I am, I HAD to fix them. But it was an easy fix with just a little of the base coat paint and we were good to go!

 

This lighting makes Isaiah’s walls look cream and blue but they are definitely grey and blue! =)
DONE! Wahooo!!!!!
And here’s a little tour of Isaiah’s room now that we’ve moved in. There are still so many plans I have in my head for this room including redoing the dresser and adding a huge firetruck canvas on the wall….. but we’ve gotta work on furniture for the rest of the house before we work on decorating his room, I guess. =)
By the way, this bed sleeps 4 people (there’s a trundle underneath) so COME ON VISITORS!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it, folks… How to paint stripes on a wall. Until next time!

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a little different for us this year. We closed on our new house the day before Thanksgiving so things were a little crazy around here. =)

But, we still had time to get together with family, have a (semi) home-cooked Thanksgiving meal, and break our new house in with an attitude of {GRATEFULNESS}!! We spent most of the day painting but also took some time to eat and visit. We wore yucky paint clothes, ate on paper plates, and had no TV to watch a football game. It was a little non-traditional but we had fun!!!

Did you expect a table and fine china!?!? Sorry, none of that around here!
This is what a kitchen looks like when you host a Thanksgiving dinner the day after you close on a new house.
I’ll give you one guess who’s room this is. And (though I do like pink) it is NOT mine. Drew’s havin none of that.
This Thanksgiving we are thankful for our new home!
I am also thankful that the Lord gave me these four people who bring so much joy into my life:
My incredibly handsome hubby (he looks good even in paint clothes).
My adventurous Isaiah.
My adorable Eloise.
My sweet sweet Olive.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

The Hutchesons are Homeowners!

That’s right…. We just bought our VERY. FIRST. HOME! Wahooo!!!!

I’m so excited to take you on a picture tour of the house but I don’t have time right now! We’re busy painting and doing a few projects before we officially move in mid-December. I promise more pictures will come soon, though!

So excited… We have the keys!

We are so {grateful} to the Lord for his provision in our lives and so excited to get into a place that has more than 1 bedroom and 875 sq feet of space. While we’ve enjoyed our little apartment since we moved to Florida three months ago, the kids are anxious to have a little more space to run! =)

The kids have LOTS of room to run, both inside and outside, in our new house!

We were originally scheduled to close on the house in October (will tell you that story later) but our closing date got pushed to today… and what wonderful timing. With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, what a wonderful blessing we have to be thankful for!!

And, if you’re in the market for a Realtor in the Jacksonville area, Kimberly King is A-MAZING. Seriously, cannot say enough good about her!!
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 
Joshua 24:15