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4 Weeks to a More Organized Home {Simplified}: Day 4 Update

If you missed this morning’s assignment, you can find it here.

Today’s To Do List. Yes, it’s very similar to yesterday’s list. It seems like my weekdays often are very similar at this point in my life, especially now that I’m homeschooling all three children — which takes up a good chunk of each day.

I love the rhythm and hum of my life right now. Each day is filled with the people and things I love the most… my family, homeschooling, writing, running, reading with my children, learning together as a family in the evenings (we do some of our homeschooling in the evenings when Jesse is home as he loves to be apart of it!), and getting to share things I’m passionate about online and via radio.

Bathroom, pre-cleaning.

By the way, don’t get white hand towels in the bathroom — even if it’s the master bathroom. Just trust me on this. It’s not a smart idea.

{By the way, if you have any brilliant ideas for keeping white hand towels looking fresh and white without resorting to bleaching them every time they are washed, I’m all ears!}

Mommy’s little helper.

Bathroom, post-cleaning. I love me a shiny sink… actually, make that two shiny sinks! 🙂

I dug under all the couches and beds and this is my loot. It’s actually nothing near as bad as last time.

But after last time’s shriveled up carrot and this time’s apple and a very shriveled up pear, I need to investigate who is hiding the remnants of their lunch underneath the couch when I’m not looking. 🙂

How you do on Day 4? I’d love to have you share your progress and success with us so we can be inspired. Either post a link to your blog post below or leave a comment with your update.

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  • Donna says:

    Hmm, let’s see…is that a dehydrated apple core? …Well, at least you found one still edible 😉

    • Crystal says:

      I think it’s a pear… though in the shape it was in, it was hard to tell. 😉

      • Sarah says:

        At least your pear was under your couch. My squishy, beginning-to-molder pear present from one of my kids was inside one of my furry-lined boots. Now THAT was an unpleasant sensation. 🙂

  • sarah says:

    I was just trying to decide if I should buy white towels for the bathroom. Thanks for the heads up!!

    • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

      Yep…and it is so weird because in my house they are in the girls bathroom and are only used to wipe their hands and faces after brushing their teeth (with white toothpaste)! Why do the towels gets so greyed? I need to get some pink ones it will go cute with the green in their bathroom….

      Silas is getting so big…he’s starting to get that little boy look instead of the baby boy face! So adorable!

  • Amanda says:

    I’m not sure if this is easy or worth it, but could you maybe just dye your white hand towels a different color so you don’t have to worry about keeping them so white?

  • Only one crayon? Lucky you!

    I have white towels in the master bath and I love them. I use oxi-clean in my loads.

    • Kristi says:

      I have some white towels, too, and I’m with you on the oxi-clean. Also, I wash them in hot water.

    • Emily says:

      Oxi-clean is one of my all-time favorite laundry products! It makes me more excited to know you use it, too, as I trust your judgment so much, and although it works so well, I wasn’t too sure how good it was for clothes. 🙂

  • deborah says:

    Haha! The food you found is funny! Life with kiddos!

    And what a cute helper you have!

    I have been loosely following along and have enjoyed seeing what the assignments are each morning.

  • Lana says:

    We have all white towels in our master bath. I keep them white by washing them separately in warm or hot water and using non chlorine bleach in every load. It also helps to double rinse whites to make sure all of the detergent is removed as that seems to cause graying. I double rinse white clothing too.

  • I am so glad I don’t find food under my couches! 🙂 (Yet!)

  • Karen says:

    I am so enjoying that this challenge is doable! Even if I skip something one day I can still catch up:)

  • J says:

    Crystal, since we moved we have hard water and white towels. We wash in cold but sometimes (depending on what is lurking on the towels) use a dry powdered bleach. I have found it much easier to keep our towels all the same color. Saves less time sorting and any issues with fading. I did the same while raising our kids and it worked for us.

    Keep up the postings on getting organized I am catching up! lol

  • Marcelaine says:

    All of my white or light-colored washcloths quickly became peppered with mildew stains, even though I did my best to hang them up if I could’t wash them right away. They are now in the rag pile. As much as I enjoy having plenty of washcloths for cleaning, I have decided that I will always buy dark colors so the grey spots won’t show.

  • Sarabell says:

    Oh goodness, you need a produce-loving dog to sniff all of these things out for you! =P

  • Marie says:

    I missed today but it was well worth it. I’ve spent the last three days doing extra cooking, straightening, and cleaning so that I could have an intentional morning with my youngest one and go to a fun outing and storytime at the library! My twins had a short day at school so my afternoon was spent playing legos with them. they were ecstatic that mommy was going to “just play” with them. I can get to the bathroom another day. Thanks though for the challenge. i am enjoying it and it is much simplier for my life now.

  • Shelly says:

    I didn’t have to clean under my furniture today as I had recently done that job. But I did clean under the beds and got rid of all of our dust bunnies. I think if my kids were putting food under the couch we would probably know right away as our dogs would be trying to get it to eat.

  • Nicole says:

    Glad you clarified that that is a pear! =)

  • JG says:

    Have you tried using bluing? I use Mrs. Stewart’s liquid bluing to brighten up white towels, sheets, and clothing. I don’t use it every time, just when the whites seem to be sort of dingy. Note: it can take some trial and error to get the right amount for different fabric weights. I’ve had to rewash sheets a few times when they came out of the washer as a pretty light blue.

  • Lori says:

    Try soaking towels in Oxy Clean ( I use the Sun generic version, works just fine), put vinegar in your pre was and rinse, use baking soda in the wash cycle.

  • Tracy says:

    I use white toweling square diapers (called nappies here in South Africa 🙂 and find that a hot soak & wash cycle with a bit more detergent than usual keeps them pure white. Don’t remember the last time I used bleach!

  • EstonianWife says:

    We have white towels and three little boys. On some days I change the towels three times. 🙂 I use oxi-clean and hot water, also I hang all white things out to dry in the sunshine whenever possible. My towels look bright white all summer long (it is too cold and wet to dry the washing outside in the winter). Sunshine is the best bleaching method I know, also, it is free. The only problem is that it “bleaches” the coloured clothes, too. Leaving things on clothesline too long on busy days can lead to interesting new designs – not frugal!

  • Sarah Marie says:

    I remember reading somewhere online that you can use hydrogen peroxide as a bleach alternative. Maybe give that a try? It’s definitely gentler and less noxious smelling!!

  • Lori says:

    oxy clean or distilled white vinegar will keep your whites pretty white when you don’t want to use bleach all of the time 🙂

  • Victoria says:

    LOL! You got to love kids. I am glad I am not the only one who finds food surprises when she cleans the couch. I cleaned under the cushions or ours Monday and called all three of my kids look at all the garbage I found then made sure they knew where the real garbage can was.

  • Jessica says:

    My daughter was hiding lunch and lying about it all summer. When my SIL and BIL stopped in for a visit, I was sitting in a living room chair I never sit in and I could see something underneath the dining room cabinet. I asked my BIL to move the cabinet and there was about 2 weeks worth of apple slices, parts of sandwiches, etc, etc, etc. It was DISGUSTING!

  • Elizabeth says:

    LOL I’m not sure on the towels you’ll have to make a big announcement if anyone comes up with the solution for now I go with greens, browns and other colors that have a tendency to discolor less.

  • Meredith says:

    I’ve also learned that white wash cloths are a bad idea too!

    I did well on my challenge today except I missed one of my personal goals which was to paint my nails. Oh well!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have a question. Your lists always look so short do you leave out the mundane so you don’t feel overwhelmed? I was about to sit down to write my list and I got lost on where even to start because after looking at yours I kept feeling like I was building more of a schedule for the day instead of a to do list.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I try to just stick with the big tasks for the day or the extra things that must be done for my daily goals or to do list. I’ll often write a very detailed list from the goals list as to what I plan to accomplish when. But keeping the Master To Do List short each day helps me to not get overwhelmed and paralyzed by a long list. And it usually means that I actually get some “big” tasks crossed off my list! 🙂

      • Elizabeth says:

        I need to learn to do that but it’s the little tasks I always get done that make me feel better because I can get more things checked off like laundry, vacuuming, dishes (which horray I stayed up and finished all up I was always 1 sink behind for the past week been driving me crazy). But it is overwhelming so I may need to try and change things up and attempt the simplified list. Thanks 🙂 I think I got in a habit of writing everything down when I was unemployed to prove to my husband I wasn’t sitting around eating bonbons. (Peggy Bundy should have so been my role-model hehe).

        • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

          Maybe it would help you to have a chore list for those items. You can still check them off a list, but then focus a to do list on the items that will relate to your goals instead.

  • BetsyD says:

    Crystal~ Thank your for keeping it real! A busy household does mean some “imperfect” things here and there and that’s alright as long as we keep Him the main thing! As far as the whites, I am going off some information I read awhile back and believe Martha Stewart has a post on soaking whites in water with lemons.

  • Anna says:

    My husband and I, along with our six children own a hotel. We use white towels in all our rooms. One way we keep our whites white is by using a detergent called Wind Fresh from Sam’s Club mixed with Oxy Clean. I use a scoop of each in our machine minus the fabric softner (all it does is clog up the machine) and 98% of the stains are removed. When it comes to removing blood stains, make-up, and other stains; we spray some bleach onto the stain right before it goes into the washer. If the stains don’t come out, the towels get put into the cleaning rag pile. Old face towels work in my Swiffer and we use them for all sorts of cleaning.

  • Susan says:

    I would love for my bathroom to look that way pre-cleaning! Your home always looks neat and tidy. I notice in the photos you have a lot less “stuff” than a lot of people. I never see toys, where do you hide them? With 3 boys we have action figures and Legos everywhere.

    • Crystal says:

      Having less stuff definitely keeps things a lot neater and easier to stay on top of. We don’t have a lot of toys, mostly because my kids like to create, play make believe, read, and play with Legos. We have a toy closet under the stairs that we keep toys that we bring out for guests and they sometimes play with them, too, but when not creating with Legos, they mostly enjoy doing stuff with paper, glue, scissors, paint, cardboard boxes, etc. 🙂

    • A.R says:

      I totally agree with Susan.. I’d love to know what you use to clean the sink and the bathtub.. in fact, I’d love to hear suggestions from you and all fellow readers 🙂 thank you!

  • Molly says:

    Try line drying your whites in the sun after you wash them. The sun is an all natural bleacher and will get them white again. It’s how i get my sons cloth diapers spot free. 🙂

  • Jean says:

    The apple looks like it is still in good shape! I love white towels and decor in general but I have found it doesn’t mix well with 2 boys.

  • Even if you bleach the white towels every time, they still get that grey, grubby look to them eventually. I’ve determined my family doesn’t wash their hands well enough.
    I’ve solved the problem by only purchasing dark hand towels 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Whenever I clean out our van, I usually find lots of dehydrated baby carrots. They are a handy, healthy, crumb-free travel snack. But once dehydrated they sure look wierd! It took me a while to figure out what they actually were!! 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    Hilarious about the bathroom towels, since I was thinking I would get all white towels so I could bleach them!

  • jlm says:

    Regarding the white towels – soak them with water and 1/2 – 1 cup borax overnight

  • mer galloway says:

    I live in a house with two young boys and a hairy husband. I got tired of finding snot and/or chest hair on my towels after a good shower. So bought really nice white towels and I keep them in my room so no one else uses them! My own little luxury. It’s the little things, isn’t it?

  • Laura Feniak says:

    I am enjoying your articles to an organized house. I love the idea of setting the timer to get the cleaning done, then it doesn’t feel like it is such a commitment. Thanks for the great posts.

  • I had to laugh as I read your to-do list and read “Run” not as exercise, but as “get outta here!”. That’s often how I feel when I survey my messy house, lol

  • Amber says:

    Love this series!

    Regarding white towels: I actually just switched to white towels in our main bathroom, and I love how it looks. I never swapped out hand towels and washcloths often enough before; the dirt was there, even if I couldn’t see it. Gross! So I have a bunch and swap them out regularly.

    I also use IKEA kids’ washcloths as hand towels that hang on cabinet knobs ( They’re $3.99 for a 10-pack. I can replace very frequently, and I don’t feel bad when they end up in the rag bag.

    As others have said: Oxi Clean in every load of white towels!

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