It's after Thanksgiving and Christmas and before Easter. Now's a great time to deep clean our dining rooms. Here are some ideas for things we can do to make our dining rooms fresh and inviting. If you do not have a dining room, concentrate on your kitchen eat-in area or whatever space in your house serves as the family meal area.
1) If you have metals in your dining area or serving area that need polishing, now's a good time to do that. Think of silverware, metal cooking utensils, lamps, etc.
2) If you have furniture that needs a good polishing, polish that, too. Think of the exercise you're getting!
3) Why not take down curtains, wash and dry them, and rehang them or vacuum ones that cannot be taken down. Some curtains may need to be taken to the dry cleaners.
4) A good vacuuming can never hurt. Use your crevice tools to get down into the cracks. Move what furniture you can out of the way and vacuum behind them.
5) Are drawers in your hutch or other serving pieces of furniture clean?
6) What are the condition of your tablecloths and napkins, place mats and runners? Do any need to be washed and ironed? Are any past their usefulness? Do you have too few? Too many? This is an area where I am inclined to be sentimental and to keep too many old linens, so a good cleaning out will be a good thing for me.
7) Have you checked the ceilings and walls for cobwebs? Do your walls need a good dusting and/or a good cleaning?
8) Now's a good time to clean dining room light switches and doorknobs and the areas around them. Spot clean away any fingerprints. Rejoice in the fact that you are also cleaning away germs that can be easily transmitted when many different people use a light switch.
9) Dust behind pictures and other objects that hang on the wall. Take them down and clean behind them. When they are down, ask yourself if you want to put all of them back up. You may decide to put back only some of the pieces and live with a cleaner look for a while. This may be affected by your decorating style. The Victorian look can handle more things on the wall than a modern look, for example. However, with any look, it's good to evaluate from time to time. Placing fewer items on the wall can make the room look and feel more open.
10) Does your dining room end up being a catch all for other clutter? In the ideal situation, the dining room is for dining only. It is a place where your family (and guests) can enjoy a leisurely meal and good conversation. Meals together are such an important part of family life, and it's lovely to create a little space where the family can enjoy them fully. This should be a relaxing place. This should be a place where many lovely family memories are created. However, we don't all live in ideal situations. Some people may depend on the dining room as an area for children to do schoolwork or crafts. Others may use the dining room table as a place for their own sewing and hobbies, as well as a place to take care of paperwork. If this is your situation, that's OK. Train your children and yourself to put projects and materials away as soon as they are completed. Provide storage areas and containers in your home for these materials. If you store some in your dining room area, make sure that these things don't overwhelm the dining room, but present a neat picture. If you are in the middle of preparing taxes, and the dining room table is the only place where you can spread them, be sure to clean up after April 15th arrives. Also, don't let your dining room become an area where you stash things simply because you haven't organized suitable places for them.
11) Once you've deep cleaned your dining room, use it! Perhaps you have an eating nook in the kitchen as well as a dining room. If so, remember to use your dining room for several occasions. Don't make your family wait for a holiday or for special company to come over in order to enjoy a pretty meal served in the dining room. Also, don't be afraid to use your best china and your best linens from time to time. Yes, they will suffer wear and tear and may even be damaged. But, they are only things, and your family is more important than they are. Be creative. Serve Sunday dinners in your dining room. Or, once a week or once a month, treat the family to a candlelit dinner in the dining room. Or, start a tradition of serving Saturday brunch in the dining room once a week or once a month.
12) Even if your dining area is a corner of a one-room apartment, be sure to set a special meal now and again.
Dining room windows: In some parts of the country, now may not be the best time to clean the outside of your windows. You may have many more weeks of snow and rain to come. However, do clean the inside of your windows, if you can. Raise the windows and clean the ledge up to the screen.
Now that we've discussed coffee and tea and have cleaned our dining room, you're all set to give a tea or coffee if you like!
For the apron project: Hem the bottom of your apron skirt. Hem the sides of your skirt (narrow 1/4 to 1/2 inch hem). Do not hem the top yet.
For your home making book: Jot down your schedules: daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually. Keep tweaking them so that they work for you. By the end of our year together, we will have honed our routines so that they truly work for us in the stage of life we're in right now. Keep track of any deep cleaning that you do so that you won't repeat yourself too quickly on some things and neglect others.
For some inspiration, here are dining room decorating ideas from HGTV.
Do you do the family taxes or do you help your husband do the taxes? Do you have all the forms you need? Are your papers organized and where you can find them? Some of you may already be finished with your taxes, while others may just be getting started. Either way, keep track of what is or was frustrating for you this year and what went or is going smoothly. Do you need to change anything about your financial record keeping to make tax season more pleasant?
For your Book of Days: Look at Phil. 4:4-8. Jot down five things in each category it says to think about: 5 things that are true, five things that are pure; five things that are lovely, etc. Use a concordance like Strong's (It's online at Bible crosswalk) if you need clarification about what a word such as noble or lovely really means.