A Cleaner Empire In Just Two Weeks....
November 7, 2018 4:41 AM   Subscribe

I have decided to spend a two-week period upping both my housecleaning and self-care grooming game. Help me plan my attack.

My roommate just announced he's going out of town for a full two weeks at the end of November (maybe even more, since he's probably going to also go home for Thanksgiving). I've decided that since we'll be getting into the holiday entertaining and party season, one thing I'm going to do with that two weeks alone is to indulge in a lot of frivolous body care and facial care stuff - face masks, scrubs, hair masks, the works - and to really give the house a good clean as well.

So I'm looking for things to do, but I'm also looking for timing advice - there is a strong possibility that in my zeal I could be like "DEEP-CLEANSING FACE MASK EVERY DAY WOOOO" but if that's something I'm only supposed to do once a week then that's bad.

So - for the house cleaning, if you have any recommendations for tools that really do a super-keen job, hit me. As for the self-care stuff - timing is my big question there ("face steams are good, but you really should NOT do that more than every three days"). I'll take product recommendations, but I'm on a severe budget, so DIY tips are better ("forget the sheet masks, just mix an egg with some honey and slather that on your face, it's perfect"). Help me plan out the two-week polish!

(Just in case: problem with clogged pores on the chin, tendency to oiliness in the t-zone. 48-year-old body, prone to sebaceous cysts on the back but they seem to be in check right now. I also tend to like really rough and scrubby exfoliants. Hair is fine, slight wave.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite homemade face exfoliator is ground up white rice (you can also use rice flour, but I don't have any). I use my Ninja to grind it up. Leaves my face feeling soft and smooth, not as abrasive as that commercial stuff with ground up apricots. Instructions here.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:12 AM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

For cleaning your house, get some Mr. Clean erasers and Barkeeper's Friend. Great for giving the house a whole scrub down.
posted by jraz at 5:15 AM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you're a coffee drinker, save the used grounds for exfoliating. They're gritty but not scratchy, so they won't damage your skin. Plus the caffeine apparently has some beneficial effect.

Maybe try this out before you scrub the bathroom!
posted by doornoise at 5:33 AM on November 7, 2018

Jesus Christ the skin advice in here is making my face die.

Do not rub abrasive exfoliants on your face. Don't rub food on your face. Get yourself a $2 box of stridex wipes, the kind with salicylic acid, and wipe your face and back down at night. Follow up with a good moisturizer. It will make so much difference.

Please don't rip your face apart with old food.
posted by phunniemee at 5:38 AM on November 7, 2018 [41 favorites]

Exfoliate after cleaning:
After any cleaning task when your hands have been wet for a while- or a bath when your feet have been wet for a while- take advantage of the softened skin to exfoliate:
Pour a glug of cooking oil into one palm + add a huge pinch of white sugar or table salt (not kosher salt. Small grains). Massage this concoction on hands / feet for a minute or two, concentrating on knuckles and rough spots. Do this over the sink or tub as the salt gets messy. Rinse.
Silky skin awaits!
(Squirt some dish soap into the tub and swish it around afterwards, to ensure tub isn't left slippery)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:41 AM on November 7, 2018

Wavy hair is usually hungry for moisture, so a deep conditioning treatment could be awesome about once per week. Target sells Shea Moisture hair masks in little packets that have just enough for 2-3 treatments (depending on your quantity of hair) so you don't have to invest in a huge container of something that doesn't end up working for you. While you're there, pick up some disposable plastic shower caps.

Wash and condition your hair as you normally would. Apply the deep conditioning treatment and comb through for even distribution. Cover your hair with the shower cap, then go about your business for the next 30-60 minutes. If you have a way to add heat to the process (e.g. a hair dryer bonnet, microwaving a small damp towel and wrapping it over the shower cap) that can speed it up and increase efficacy. When the time is up, rinse well and enjoy your moisturized hair.
posted by telegraph at 5:45 AM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

This cleansing method from Sali Hughes works great. Get a thing of cotton facecloths from Amazon and you’re good to go. It’s way way way way way better for your skin than a rough scrubby exfoliant.
While I’m at it, her video on layering product was very useful to me as well. I just really trust her! Rosehip oil is a very nice serum in the winter.
posted by cakelite at 5:52 AM on November 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have to echo phunniemee's concerns.

I would say Stridex pads except I'm not a fan of wiping the face with stuff - it pulls the skin.

Instead I advocate a 2% salicylic acid wash that you rinse off with water. Lukewarm water, not hot or cold, as extreme temperatures will stress your skin. Garnier is the best, but be extra careful to get the one WITHOUT microbeads in it (I got that one and not only do microbeads ruin the environment, and your skin, but they got stuck in my EYE. MY EYE)

Fill the basin, splash on the water, slap on the Garnier gel, then brush your teeth. After that, rinse with 20 splashes of the lukewarm water and drain the basin.

Do this in the morning as your only face cleansing. Do this in the evening after 1 wash with Cetaphil to remove whatever you put on your face, 1 more Cetaphil wash to get your face actually clean, and 1 final rinse.

After all your cleansing and exfoliating is done, slap on Cetaphil moisturizer (the strongest version you can find) and leave it for 15 mins to sink in.

After that, given your oiliness, I would apply a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide topical remedy. THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO LEAVE IT UNTOUCHED FOR 30 MINUTES and no-one will tell you this. If your skin is bad enough, it's worth doing morning and evening. Keep it away from your hairline and eyebrows because you will bleach them.

At night, get some Differin gel and apply it to the areas you didn't use the benzoyl peroxide on (though the two are actually compatible so you could put it on top if you wanted, but only after 30 mins). Now leave the Differin for another 30 minutes.

You can put moisturizer on top if you want to, though I never do.
posted by tel3path at 6:01 AM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Cetaphil used to be my go to moisturizer, but they changed their forumula. This generic from Rite Aid is by far my favorite daytime moisturizer. Also very nice to use all over your body!
posted by cakelite at 6:17 AM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've actually had bad luck with salicylic acid in the past; it makes me break out even worse. I have also learned from experience that I do indeed need some exfoliation on my face.

Have not had a problem with turning "old food" into a scrub - on the contrary, I find that using something like ground oatmeal or rice is not only gentle enough if used on occasion, it is also ecologically sound (a lot of store-bought scrubs have plastic beads that eventually end up in the ocean and choke fish).

I also do not have the funds to spend on an entire new "cleansing method" that will require my purchasing three completely different bottles for $33 each, because I know myself well enough to know that I will not retain the patience to adopt a whole new routine that I need to keep up with; I'm looking more for either one-and-done things or on-occasion things. The generic moisturizer from Rite Aid and the single-treatment hair packs are more what I'm talking about.

Also - to go with the housecleaning for a minute - I'm looking for ideas for "hey, here's a small thing that is easy to overlook but it will make a big difference". I used to really get into polishing all the brass candlesticks in the house around Christmastime when I was a kid; polishing the brass was something that was easy to just let go and ignore and overlook, and we wouldn't have looked like we were dirty slobs if we didn't, but that one little task just was so satisfying because the brass candlesticks looked so much better. so stuff like "yeah, polish brass and metal" or "here's a tip for polishing glass" or stuff like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

On the topic of hair, my fine wavy hair is very easily weighed down by heavy deep conditioning treatments, but is very happy with protein treatments! (These are often followed by a deep conditioning, but the protein keeps my hair from turning into overconditioned mush.)

This homemade recipe (1st recipe at the link)--which I've used many times, not recc'ing blindly!--is based on Knox unflavored gelatin packets, hot water, and a few drops each of white vinegar and olive oil: http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/p/recipes-and-projects.html
posted by pinwheel spark at 6:45 AM on November 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

For cleaning that makes a big difference, I would definitely tackle rugs and floors because that can really reduce odors you may have gotten used to. If you have the budget, sending area rugs out for cleaning is amazing- they will smell so nice, look better, and feel softer. If you have wall to wall carpeting, either renting a carpet cleaner for DIY or hiring also makes a huge difference. (Plus, in my case, it makes me move furniture around and tidy up to make more carpet area available). If you have wood floors, good cleaning supplies of your preference can be pretty cheap. But really getting at nooks and crannies and floorboards is soo satisfying!
posted by Mouse Army at 6:47 AM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Wiping down baseboards and the tops of windows and door frames makes a subtle but significant difference. Also using a magic eraser to clean around doors and light switches. It's non-obvious dirt but once it's gone things really feel clean.

For body care these Korean bath mitts are AMAZING. Take a warm shower or bath and let your skin get nice and soft, and then go to town with one of these (drain bath first.) Use them wet without soap or body wash or anything. The dead skin just rolls off of you. It's amazing. (TMI: The dead skin under my boobs is unreal.) I do this once a week. I wouldn't use them on my face, and be careful in places like your neck and chest.

For exfoliating your face washing with a fresh washcloth every night will do wonders. I do a double cleanse with an oil cleanser and then a creamy cleanser (I use Clinique Take the Day Off and La Roche Posay Toleriane Gentle Cleanser, which is like $15 at Target for a huge bottle), both removed with a warm washcloth. It's a nice gentle daily exfoliation. You can buy huge packs of white ones on Amazon or at Target for not very much money. I could go on and on about skincare, but it sounds like that's not what you want! The washcloths and that La Roche Posay cleanser are a bargain, though, and easy to manage. The cleanser says its for dry skin but don't believe it, and in any case my skin has gotten less oily and clogged since I stopped drying it out with harsh scrubs and cleansers.
posted by apricot at 6:51 AM on November 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

One tiny housecleaning task that I find immensely satisfying is to get a toothpick or wooden skewer and really clean out the little crannies around the bathroom and kitchen, like at the edge of the stove or at the base of the faucet or whatever. It takes very little time and has an outsized impact on how clean the room looks.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 6:53 AM on November 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

Oh, and this technique really works for clogged pores. I used to do it regularly. I used Stridex because it's cheap, and other inexpensive drugstore products for the rest. I think the salicylic acid would be OK because you are washing it off.
posted by apricot at 6:54 AM on November 7, 2018 [8 favorites]

2nding the 50 Shades of Snail pore-cleaning method apricot linked. (I also can't use Stridex, so I use a cheap bottle of CosRx AHA.) Along those lines, I started a skin routine I cobbled together via the Asian skincare Reddit sub, and it changed my life. Those products are so cheap and so effective and non-irritating, and I learned a lot about all the counterproductive things I'd been doing to myself before, ha.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:21 AM on November 7, 2018

Oatmeal works as a milk for irriated skin. Wrap it in a cloth and squeeze it in water the milk is excellent for irritation. I'm of the OMG don't exfoliate with food camp, I"m old enough to see the damage that's been left from being the generation that embraced apricot face scrubs. . so much scaring. If salycilic didn't work for you that's fine there are a huge range of others & I'd encourage you to start with lactic acid as it's the mildest one. The ordinary have a good range at great prices, start low strength & work up. Use it with a good moisturiser, I highly recommend pretty much anything from Cerave. Good price good and solid science behind the ingredients they use.

As for house cleaning, get the most bang for your buck by decluttering first. It's amazing how much easier a space is to clean if there is less actual stuff to clean in it. Also micro fibre clothes are the jam, don't worry about getting expensive ones, get a bunch of cheap ones from the dollar store or something. Hot soapy water & a microfibre cloth will clean most anything (except electronic screens it will scratch the crap out of them) you can get slightly different ones for glass & electronics I recommend them too.
posted by wwax at 7:29 AM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you have a TJMaxx or something like that nearby, they always have beauty products marked waaaay down and it can be fun to pick some up to try.

For housecleaning - clean! all! the! trash! cans! I like to put one in the shower and let it fill up with the water that runs when I'm waiting for the hot water. If it's really nasty, I put some cleaner in it and let it soak until I get home that night. Then a quick rinse and turn it upside down to drain.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:44 AM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Marked dawkins_7 as a "best answer" because HOW DID YOU GET INSIDE MY HEAD, I've been thinking I need to clean trash cans!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on November 7, 2018

Dusting is one of those tasks we think of housewives with nothing to do used to do, and it's true it doesn't need to be done constantly, but I bet if you look around you'll see some places where a lot of dust has settled. It's an easy fix (unless the surface is out of normal reach) and it does brighten up the room.

I agree with the people who suggest a mild chemical exfoliant--there are drugstore versions which are basically very mild, and then if you find you like them, you can upgrade. Alternatively, you can try the Drunk Elephant Night Bright bundle, which are minis of their glycolic acid serum and an oil (the oil is less important than the serum). That way you can see if you like a relatively high-quality product without totally breaking the bank (the kit is $28).

Saying you have oiliness in your t-zone at 48 makes me wonder if perhaps you might have a touch of seborrheic dermatitis. Does it also get a little flaky and red? If so, that is not "traditional" oiliness and you need to treat it with an antifungal or a topical immune suppressor (the problem is that your skin is overreacting to an overgrowth of a particular (normal) yeast for reasons no one really understands). Your dermatologist can tell you about it, but if you want to do a quick test on your own, try using an OTC hydrocortisone on the affected area twice a day for TWO WEEKS ONLY and see if it helps. (You don't want to use steroids on your face long term, this is just to see if the condition improves, in which case there's a good chance that SD is the problem and you should see the derm.)
posted by praemunire at 8:36 AM on November 7, 2018

"I have also learned from experience that I do indeed need some exfoliation on my face."

Hey man, we all do! Especially in the winter. I would be a flaky disaster if I didn't exfoliate. I used to use that St Ives apricot scrub when I was younger, and it didn't ruin my face or anything, but I'm definitely seeing better results now that I use gentler methods. I'm not saying you are approaching it this way, but I think sometimes people with oiliness issues hold onto some of the ideas we had as teenagers about obliterating our skin with harsh exfoliation and cleansing methods. As our skin ages, it really does benefit from a gentler approach. There's really nothing in your description that suggests you need to use Strydex pads, you're wise to stay away from them. The washcloth method really does gently exfoliate, or maybe you could try picking up something like this?

Finally, a roommate going away for awhile is a perfect excuse to take a shitload of hot baths. There's nothing like taking a nice bath after a long day, these bath salts are my favorite. If you need an easy product for cleaning your tub beforehand, Dr. Bronner's is less harmful to the environment than heavy duty stuff and works just as well!
posted by cakelite at 9:00 AM on November 7, 2018

Empty and clean your closets and cabinets! Especially the under sink cabinets that tend to get grimy and full of random old cleaning products, even more so if you also store trash cans there. And clean out your fridge from top to bottom.

I wiped down my (painted) walls in the bathroom and kitchen with a clean sponge and warm water with a tiny bit of dish soap and it felt so good and got rid of some minor food stains I had really barely noticed.

Really clean your entire toilet area, top to bottom and behind the toilet and the walls around the toilet (especially if you share said toilet with a male roommate).

Make a survey of any loose screws, caulk that needs redoing, loose hinges, etc. and make a hardware store run to get what you need to fix them.

Wash your shower curtain, clean the rings and rod or whatever you use to hang it, replace the plastic liner if you have one.
posted by MadamM at 9:17 AM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Two cleaning suggestions that are a LOT of work:

- Do you have tiled floor anywhere in your place? If so, and if the grout looks grey, scrub that baby down. Sometimes you can scrub it back to its original colour! Lots of work but very satisfying.
- A good Murphy's Oil Soap scrub of any hardwood floors is also pretty rewarding; more for the grey wash water than any change in floor colour, but you do get a nice shiny floor out of it.

(Disclaimer: these are both things I only do when moving into a new apartment... I am not down on my knees scrubbing stuff on a regular basis! I guess the occasional-ness may be part of what makes it feel good rather than terrible.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:28 AM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I swear I'm trying not to threadsit but I've just spotted a suggestion that reminded me I may need to add an important data point:

Make a survey of any loose screws, caulk that needs redoing, loose hinges, etc. and make a hardware store run to get what you need to fix them.

I should probably mention that I rent, so there may be a limit on the type of home-improvement stuff I can do....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 AM on November 7, 2018

I find unfuck your habitat's "unfuck your weekend" challenge to work really well. I usually spread it out and do one or two modules on a weeknight after work and just go in order. Their challenges are great, too - stuff like "clean out the black hole that is your purse" and "really deep clean all your floors" but with more detail. What I like about the Unfuck methods is that they are brief yet specific, and they do a good job of breaking down tasks into manageable steps.
posted by sockermom at 10:03 AM on November 7, 2018 [10 favorites]

House: I also recommend a thorough dusting, working from top to bottom. Swiffer dusters are fun and pick up a lot of dust. Or a microfiber cloth, one that resembles terry cloth. Microfiber is also great for wiping any spots, hand grime on door knobs and door edges, hand rails, etc. Often plain water is enough but if it isn't, you can make a solution of water and a little dish soap. Magic erasers are very good for scuffs and marks on walls; make sure to keep the sponge wet and rub very gently. You might want to clean inside the kitchen drawers -- a vacuum is really helpful for this.

Skin: for the clogged pores, I use oil. My choice is johoba, and I massage the cloggy area with it and wipe with a warm damp wash cloth. If you do this every night, you'll most likely see a big improvement within a week. Mineral oil is also good.
posted by wryly at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I also recommend cleaning the baseboards and floors really well. Also, clean the gunk out of the air registers, if you have central air.

Besides the magic of the Magic Erase sponges, cleaning vinegar, and baking powder are cheap and can be mixed all sorts of ways to make safe cleaners.

Have fun!
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 12:01 PM on November 7, 2018

> for the house cleaning, if you have any recommendations for tools that really do a super-keen job, hit me

Amphetamines (if you have ADHD).
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Maybe you can do one area every day or every other day? Kitchen appliances one day, cupboards the next, etc. Not so overwhelming. Start at the top and finish at the bottom could be your MO. (By thinking this way you wouldnt overlook stuff like cleaning ledges or moulding) Whatever works for you.
posted by DixieBaby at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2018

Oh - snorkmaiden's comment reminded me. Do you have Oxyclean powder there? You can mix Oxyclean, put it on your tiled/ grout floors, let it soak for a while, and then scrub a bit, dry it off, and once it dries it will look really nice. Jolie Kerr link here - Handsies & Kneesies Scrub

She says in her podcast that it won't look like much until it has completely dried, and that is when you see the difference - and she was right, when we did it at our place.

Also, she recommends that when you clean the toilet with the toilet brush, spray the toilet brush with cleaner, and leave it between the toilet seat and the toilet to dry before putting it back in the toilet brush holder. This may be obvious to everyone else, but I was surprised by this and love it.
posted by needlegrrl at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Foot mask. I bought a Babyfoot knock off on Amazon - don't remember the brand - chose it based on reviews.
posted by she's not there at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Really go at little crevices in baseboards, molding and objects, and at the corners of things you dust. Use a Q-tip for them. Evan at a distance you will notice a big difference!

Pick up your knickknacks and clean them with whatever wet/damp treatment is appropriate, if any. It's surprising how grimy they can feel.

Clean under your tabletop and chair seats and similar places.

Dust and vacuum behind your books after emptying the shelves. It's surprising how much gets in back of them.

Then there are two perennial favorites: the space between the stove and the counter, and the top surfaces of your kitchen cabinets. I put aluminum foil on the latter, take it up at the next cleaning and scrunch it up to scrub with.

From bitter personal experience, I suggest only doing one Big Treatment on your face per week.
posted by jgirl at 6:15 PM on November 7, 2018

One Weird Trick to remedy that mysterious distasteful aroma wafting from the sink:

Pour down the sink 3 tablespoons of Dawn, Ivory or the like (any dish detergent is OK, as long as it's touted for its grease-cutting properties).

Meanwhile, boil a stockpot full of water. When it boils, pour the entire thing down the sink.

Then boil another stockpot full of water and pour that down the sink, w/o adding more Dawn/Ivory/whatever.

I learned this from some lovely person here on AskMe (whose name I wish I could remember so I could give credit where it is due).
posted by virago at 7:37 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

A few cleaning ideas:

Cleaning door handles, knobs and cupboard pulls (think about where your fingers touch on the backs of the knobs)

Washing off any soap dispensers

Polish windows/mirrors/stainless steel with a mix of 30% white vinegar & 70% water in a spray bottle

Vacuum any furnace/air vents

Empty out any utensil canisters or drawers and wipe them out

Put a movie on and one at a time, purge and organize your kitchen drawers, including the junk drawer

Inventory/organize gift wrapping supplies in advance of the holidays

Wash any special occasion glasses (champagne flutes, etc)

Polish silver/silverplate in bulk with aluminum foil, baking soda, and boiling water

While waiting for your face mask to dry, go online and find an easy DIY seasonal decoration or centerpiece
posted by jenquat at 9:32 PM on November 7, 2018

Clean all the glass! Windows, mirrors, glass on pictures. Since the holidays are coming up, it's nice to make everything that can sparkle sparkle.

Glass is on my mind because I found a formula for glass cleaning that really is amazing. A mirror that I thought was permanently clouded shined up like new. The cornstarch is essential.

1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 c. warm water

Combine everything in a spray bottle, and shake well. If you're cleaning outside windows, you can make the job easy by just sponging it on lavishly, since it's so cheap.
posted by Transl3y at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Call up a reliable local cleaning company and get them to come in and deep clean your kitchen, or your bathroom, whichever is more grody.

Do this at the beginning of the time period.

When they do this they will take everything out of the cupboards. Ask them not to put the stuff back.

Gradually put the stuff back over the rest of the time period, decluttering as you go along.

When you're done, see if your organization is really what you need it to be. If not, buy small items to tidy it up. For example, I bought two "shaker-style" narrow storage boxes that are just wide enough to stand on the counter space above the loo (which is the only place a storage cupboard could go). That takes up two-thirds of the space, leaving just enough room to stack clean folded towels. The clutter is off the windowsill, and anything not actually being used is abstracted away.
posted by tel3path at 1:14 PM on November 9, 2018

Charcoal is fun because it's such a dramatic black but it washes off easily without staining. A cheap way to try it is to get a small bottle of activated charcoal capsules for digestion from a drugstore. Break a capsule open and mix with water for a facial mask. You can also break open a capsule and spread on teeth for whitening. If you don't stick with it as a facial/dental routine, the capsules can be kept in the medicine cabinet and used like Pepto-Bismol.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 6:48 PM on November 9, 2018

Transl3y: since you are all about the glass I have a unique follow-up question; my apartment windows are old and beat-up (have consulted with the landlord about this, they are reluctant to replace them and I am reluctant to press the issue since rent is so low); they're double-paned windows, but over time condensation has seeped between the two panes, dried, and left mineral deposits. Any ideas how I would clean that?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 PM on November 9, 2018

Sorry Empress, I think getting rid of condensation between window panes is not only beyond the power of my magic glass cleaner, but any power. A quick google confirmed it. All the same, just in case you're mistaking cloudiness on the surface of the glass for cloudiness between the panes, it wouldn't hurt to try to clean the glass. It probably won't help, but I feel for you, because I had to live with condensation between double-paned windows for a long time, myself, and I hated it.
posted by Transl3y at 4:33 PM on November 10, 2018

Right: have a peek at the developing plan, which includes a third angle on the Two Week Adventure.

* My Amazon shopping list (which will be activated on payday this week) now includes a bulk pack of melamine sponges, a bulk pack of microfiber cloths, Scrubbing Bubbles, a bulk pack of white facecloths, and a new bottle of brass polish.

* All of the "how to create a home spa" and "beauty treatments from your kitchen" books I own are now pulled out front and center.

* And - my very first act, before I do anything, is going to be a serious decluttering/tidying before pulling out EVERY SINGLE LAST COTTON-PICKIN' DECORATIVE OBJECT I own, for some take-a-hard-look reflection as to what I want to display during the holidays.

Which brings us to the third angle - I'm also going to be starting the holiday prep during these two weeks now as well. Not that I go too nuts or make too big a change - maybe swap out a couple throw blankets in the living room, set out a few more candles, things like that. I never really had the whole "a Michaels' warehouse exploded in here" aesthetic, plus I'm not trying to shut out a Jewish roommate (we talked about this issue, he's cool with whatever, but having all creche scenes might be oogy, I think). I tend more towards a sort of rustic/winter-cabin aesthetic anyway, with lots of natural elements and recycled stuff and vintagey things. So ideas on that vein are also welcome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm a fan of natural decor stuff as well... Pomegranates (find little ones that are cheap) and acorns in a flat bowl or dish. The pomegranates will just naturally dry on their own and now you have them for next year.

If you drink and if your bottles are on an open shelf/bar/cart, tuck a short strand of fairy lights in amongst them - the lights bounce off all the glass and make a nice glow.

this is a fun and simple paper craft.
posted by jenquat at 4:44 PM on November 14, 2018

Updating after a week -

I did a massive uncluttering in the living room a week ago, in advance of then dragging every conceivable decor item out to start the decorating process. The decluttering was something I really needed to do anyway - and that alone was a huge help. I have also adopted the "use a different washcloth every day" plan. Have been a little too wiped out from work this past week to do anything more during the weeknights, but I have the tail end of the deep-cleaning stuff to do this weekend and then it's just maintenance from here on out.

In the process of decluttering the bathroom I also unearthed a lovely batch of bath salts I made last year that I can finish using over the course of the next week; and then make more. And the fafillion candles I have also unearthed can make for a pleasant bathing experience as well.

Yay! Thank you!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 AM on December 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was just thinking of you the other day and wondering how it went! Glad to hear it went well. :)
posted by apricot at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2018

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