Spring Cleaning: Kitchens & Bathrooms

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
May 28, 2015

There’s no doubt about it—cleaning a bathroom, kitchen or mud room can be one of the tougher housecleaning tasks, but also rewarding. Check out these tips to get the job done!

Step 1: Declutter

Kitchen counters can attract quite a few items that have nothing to do with preparing food. Take a few minutes to get everything back to its rightful place. Next, go through your drawers and cupboards, and pull out duplicate items, or items that you never use. Make a Goodwill donation box and add items as you clean. Gently wipe down the inside of drawers and cupboards.


Step 2: If needed, clean out your fridge

You may unearth some long-lost dishes or recyclable containers that you can add to your dishwasher. Does your fridge need a deep-clean? This helpful check-list from Real Simple helps you get it done in just 20 minutes, from cleaning your fridge coils to making the exterior shine.


Step 3: Clean your stove and/or oven

Check out Kitchn, a handy website full of tips on different types of stoves, including some of those areas we all avoid (the range hood filter!). If you have a self-cleaning oven, this could be a great time to switch it on for cleaning, but be prepared for a multi-hour process. If there have been any major spills in your oven, you’ll want to take care of those before you self-clean.


Step 4: Wipe down cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, sinks and appliances

Use a multi-purpose cleaner of your choice to wipe down your kitchen, working from top to bottom. For granite countertops, use a special granite-friendly cleaner or the technique described here. Buff your countertop with a second wipe-down, and it will shine beautifully. For cleaning stainless steel appliances, you’ve got a range of product options. The polishing phase is crucial here as well.


Step 5: Clean floors

Vacuum, then mop, using the appropriate type of cleaner for your floor.



Step 1: Declutter and take out trash, then disinfect your toilet bowl

For a green toilet bowl cleaner, mix a tablespoon of baking powder into a quart of 75/25 mix of white vinegar and water. Let it sit while you clean the rest of the bathroom.


Step 2: Clean surfaces

Spray cleaning product on tile walls, shower walls and the shower head. Let it rest for a few minutes. Use scrubbing pads or a tile brush to clean the tub/shower, then rinse.  Take your shower curtain down and wash it if needed, or clean a glass shower door with glass cleaner. If you’ve got a fiberglass door, clean with a non-abrasive cleaner (such as baking soda) and a soft cloth. 


Next, scrub your toilet bowl. For tips on cleaning your toilet, toilet brush, and even more bathroom deep-cleaning tips, visit this Real Simple site. Clean around the outside and base of the toilet with a dedicated sponge, paper towels, or washable cloths. Gently clean your bathroom countertop with fresh cloths, and an old toothbrush for the nooks and crannies around your faucets. Clean your mirror and give yourself a smile—you’re nearly done.


Step 3:  Vacuum and mop your bathroom floor

Use the recommended cleaning product for your flooring (vinyl, tile, etc.), using a damp mop. Work your way out the bathroom door as you mop. 


Feel better?  Now that you’ve finished your housecleaning, enjoy some time outside. 


(Bonus Mirror Cleaning Tip:  While glass cleaners are great for windows, they can errode the silver backing on mirrors leaving with you with unpleasant black edges on your mirror! Instead, use a 1:4 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water! Simple, effective, and cheap!)

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Spring Cleaning: Six Easy Steps

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
May 23, 2015

On a rainy spring day, why not get some indoor spring cleaning done? These smart cleaning strategies help you clean quickly and well – so you’ll have more free time on the next sunny day!

When it comes to cleaning, divide and conquer is a winning strategy. Clean living areas and bedrooms first, then kitchens and bathrooms (saving mopping for last).

Try these tips to tackle living rooms, bedrooms and more:

Step 1 – Prepare
Pre-treat carpet spots the night before with a commercial or home remedy. On cleaning day, set up some positive distractions to make the task more fun. Play a great radio station like KEXP – or listen to a podcast. Next, get two plastic bins ready, one for recycling and one for donation items. Put your cleaning supplies in a caddy for portability.

Step 2 - Declutter
“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” If that phrase represents your home, your cleaning process will be a snap. Otherwise, make de-cluttering your second step. Are there items that can be donated or recycled? Clear surfaces of clutter and put away items worth keeping.

Step 3 - Dust and clean surfaces
Blogger Chace, a professional housecleaner, recommends using a wooly duster to clear dust and cobwebs. Microfiber towels (instead of paper towels) are reusable, washable and ideal for dusting surfaces. (Rumor has it that you can get a better deal on these in the automotive section of your favorite store.) Wipe switch plates, doorknobs and doorjambs. 

Use a dampened microfiber towel or a melamine foam sponge (like Magic Eraser) to clean baseboards. Deep clean blinds and vacuum and clean upholstery and the inside of windows as needed.

Spot-clean your walls or give them a full washing. Use dish soap and warm water and a wrung-out sponge or cleaning cloth. Start at the base of the wall and move up gradually, drying with a soft cloth as you go.

Step 3 - Vacuum
Make sure that you’ve got the right kind of vacuum for your flooring (carpet vs. hardwood floors). A vacuum with a beater bar attachment can scratch hardwood floors. Change your vacuum bag first if that’s needed. Start vacuuming at the end of the room farthest from the door, working backwards from left to right, and going over each area several times. 

Step 4 - Swiffer or mop hardwoods
A quick, dry Swiffering can also be a substitute for vacuuming (but probably not if you’ve got furry pets). For deep-cleaning of hardwood floors, clean with a damp (not wet) mop and a diluted wood-cleaning product.

Step 5 - Bedroom cleaning
Besides the steps above, the following will make your bedroom feel clean and serene.

  • Change sheets.
  • Wash your mattress cover and comforter cover
  • Flip your mattress every season
  • Tidy up your nightstand and all surfaces

Step 6 – Take a break and enjoy your clean house! 


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Goodwill Juanita: Coming to you May 21st!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
May 20, 2015

What are YOU doing this Thursday? We’re opening a new store—and you’re invited to the Grand Opening!

The Goodwill Juanita Grand Opening event will begin just before 9:00 am on Thursday, May 21, 2015 with a ribbon cutting ceremony; and the doors will open to shoppers at 9 am. The first 300 shoppers will be given a free gift—and all shoppers are invited to enter to win hourly drawings for Seattle Goodwill gift cards! You don’t need to be present to win, but you need to be present to enter! Grand Opening shoppers, as well as all shoppers through Sunday, May 24th will be able to enter to win a drawing for a Samsung Galaxy Tab4, too!

The newest addition to the Seattle Goodwill family of stores is located at 9826 NE 132nd Street, and will be open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 10:00 am – 8:00 pm on Sundays—just like most of the rest of our retail locations. You can drop off any of your donations (just in time for spring cleaning!) from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm every day. Keep in mind, those hours will expand once the store opens!

Goodwill Juanita, our 25th store, is 28,000 square feet, and is bringing approximately 75 new jobs to the Juanita neighborhood. We’re still looking to fill a number of Sales Associate positions, if you or someone you know is looking for work!

Just like every Goodwill store, when you donate and shop, you’re supporting individuals and families in our community through job training and education opportunities.

We hope to see you on Thursday!  

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Spring Cleaning: Getting the kiddos to help

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
May 17, 2015

We’re well into spring now with weather waning toward summer warmth, the sun setting later, all of the open-toed shoes coming out, and… the rest of spring cleaning waiting to be done.

If you’re a parent, you know it can be hard to get spring cleaning done with the kiddos running around—and equally as difficult to motivate the older kids to get involved. There’s the age old adage “many hands makes light work”—so what are some ways to engage those (slightly smaller) hands in age-appropriate cleaning tasks? Here are a few ideas:

While you may not be quite the magician that Mary Poppins was to pull the old “spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down” trick, turning cleaning time into game time can be helpful. When it comes to tidying up toys, deciding which ones will stay or go can be turned into a game by placing “stay”, “garbage” and “donate”. Place boxes in the middle of the room, and attempt to safely toss items into the correct box. You can also use mini-competitions to get tasks done—for example, before mowing the lawn, send the kids out for five minutes and say “whoever picks up the most sticks and rocks wins!”

If you’ve got more than one kid, you’ve got a great opportunity to teach about teamwork and project management. Invite one of the older children to “manage” a project. Explain the tasks within the “project” that need to be accomplished, and have them make and execute a plan to get it done. A good example might be cleaning up toys in the back yard—all of the kids can help find/put away toys, but the “Project Coordinator” could be the one establishing where they go, which ones need to be donated, and which ones should be disposed of.

There are a lot of tasks that are low to the ground that adults cringe at doing because they are quite literally painful to do. This can include the pick-up-the-sticks-before-mowing task, wipe down floor-level cabinets, and dust baseboards, coffee tables, and other low-to-the-ground furniture pieces. Don’t forget to crank the tunes to get the dance party effect!

As a parent, you probably already know all about incentivizing tasks—and you probably know what works best for your kids to get them motivated. One idea that we liked was to hide (wrapped!) treats in areas that your child might be cleaning—kind of like an Easter egg hunt! It can also be as simple as “once we get the back yard cleaned up, you guys can play in it!”

Many tasks don’t require harsh and toxic chemicals to get them done well. Take a look at these recipes for all-natural cleaners from Keeper of the Home—many of these mixtures will turn tasks that were once off-the-list for kiddos to do because of abrasive, harmful chemicals, into can-do tasks with supervision!

Do you have any tips for getting kids engaged with spring cleaning? Let us know!

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It’s National Volunteer Week!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 12, 2015

THANK YOU to every volunteer that donated their time to Seattle Goodwill. We could not have served as many students without the volunteers who joined us in our mission to provide quality and effective job training and education opportunities in our communities. So—from the Seattle Goodwill staff—THANK YOU.

“We are so lucky to have such a hardworking crew of volunteers at Seattle Goodwill. From Burien to Bellingham, they are making a difference in and out of the classroom every single day. This week, and every other week, I am grateful for the service and dedication of our volunteers!” said Ingrid Hartsock, our Volunteer Resource Coordinator.

In 2014, 500 volunteers gave their time, valued at over $300,000, in a vast variety of positions—ranging from fashion models at our Glitter Gala, to helping us restock the Glitter Sale shelves, to serving our students through tutoring, to working with our Vintage Fashion Collection, administrative tasks, and much more. Volunteers are an essential part of our organization!

“I grew to better understand the struggles that a lot of people have as new arrivals to this country – including learning a new language, finding jobs, and providing for their families,” Shirley, a long-time volunteer, said of her experience. “Goodwill is amazing in what they offer, including opportunities to learn job skills and job training. They truly help people find their way, including immigrants and people escaping homelessness or domestic violence.” Because of her belief in the mission of Goodwill, she’s been volunteering with us for almost twenty-five years!

There are many ways to volunteer with Seattle Goodwill. Whether you can offer a few hours a year—or a few hours a week—we can help you find a volunteering opportunity that is meaningful and valuable to you. There are opportunities for individuals, groups, and even corporations (check out our partnership with Bank of America!).  For more information on how to get connected, and opportunities available, visit our Volunteer Page!

And once again—THANK YOU to all of you who have given your time and talents at Seattle Goodwill!

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