PROJECT CLEAN HOUSE – Part 1 Updates (Downstairs)

My first Project Clean House update – yay! I gave myself a deadline of until today, April 21, to tackle Part 1 of Project Clean House – that’s the command center, kitchen, school station, and dining area/under the stairs/living room/entry.  I started Part 1 on April 2, but I gave myself two weeks because I had to factor in our Holy Week holiday. As you can see, I haven’t finished even half of Part 1! 

Command Center

  1. File this year’s billing statements, and take out last year’s calendar from our household binder 02 April 2017
  2. Print this year’s calendars and grocery lists, and have them photocopied 05 and 06 April 2017
  3. File away new calendars and grocery lists in their respective binders (punch holes and washi tape included). – 07 and 08 April 2017
  4. Get boxes for the china I’ll be returning to my mother. 06 April 2017
  5. Organize that overhead china cabinet (check supplies there, return the birthday dishes).08 April 2017
  6. Note down supplies needed for command center. 08 April 2017
  7. Switch back the black frames for the white ones (for the print).
  8. Print new copies of cleaning schedule, then laminate 1 copy and put 1 copy in a clipboard for the help. 11 April 2017 
  9. Discuss laundry schedule with help, and revise if needed. 11 April 2017 
  10. Orient the new help on the household binder, grocery lists, laundry and cleaning schedules.
  11. Check and re-organize keys.
  12. Find a spot for Papa’s mail.


  1. Pack away the china I’ll be returning to my mom. (Boxes, tissue/brown paper).
  2. Go over each cabinet, take everything out, sort what we use or don’t use, take note of storage needs, have help clean the insides of each cabinet and wash container, reorganize cabinets, label when necessary.
  3. Throw away shelf liners and clear and clean the open shelves.
  4. Take note of broken hinges, locks, and all other kitchen hardware.
  5. Borrow a camera, bring out our new dinnerware, take photos for help’s reference, print photos, organize photos in small albums or corkboard or laminate for ease of reference.
  6. Take note of lunch box items that are broken or have missing parts, label per kid when necessary.
  7. Go over all our leftover containers, cut down on the volume, find matching lids, store properly, and eventually upgrade to more glass, less plastic containers.
  8. Organize sink, replace containers if needed, clean dish rack and bin
  9. Clean, reorganize and improve storage system for the fridge, post instructions and reorient help about storing leftovers.
  10. Prep Lunch Box menu board and complete our meal planning board.

School Station

  1. Put Laz’s important papers in an envelope, for filing later on.
  2. Throw out all other papers in our wheeled crate.
  3. Check supplies list, compare with this year’s list for the new grade, and take note of what we need to buy.
  4. Empty out Alo’s side, label his hanging file folders.
  5. Measure cabinets for matching bins and plastic drawers.

Dining Room/Under the Stairs/Living Room/Entry 

  1. Organize the white metal shelves in dining area.
  2. Transfer emergency supplies into backpack or other container that would be easier to grab.
  3. Note emergency supplies and expiration dates.
  4. Have carseat cleaned. 10 April 2017 
  5. Change and clean the diffuser.
  6. Check umbrellas in entry.
  7. Clear the work files from entry and under the stairs, figure out catch all for items from the car, instruct the driver and help.
  8. Have that fan repaired!
  9. Put the emergency light somewhere else.
  10. Post a schedule for watering my plants.


It’s been quiet here lately.  We’ve been away for one – Holy Week break in the Philippines! – and I’ve spent the rest of my free time tackling my Project Clean House tasks.  It hasn’t been easy!!!  I tweaked the calendar and grocery templates I did last year, and cutting everything, gluing the pages together, even punching lines of holes, has been quite tedious.  It has always been tedious – I still can’t figure out how to make the work easier, or quicker.

I also attempted not to buy anything new while I clean.  I’d take note of the items we needed, and promised myself to buy everything after I finish cleaning and organizing everything, but that didn’t work out too well.  For instance, I didn’t have any other letter holder for the mail my dad still gets.  And I didn’t have any extra clipboards lying around either, so I had to get a couple, too.  I needed large white art paper for backing the print in our Command Center (Item #7 for that area – switch back the white frame).  Then I decided I wanted a black and white print for the Command Center, instead of the wood print I got from Co/op.

I still love that Co/op print, by the way, but I left the Walloh Design print that I got for the kids on that spot for a few days aaaaaand I ended up really liking how all that black and white goes with the rest of the items on that little desk.

As you can see, the print is too wide 

So I ended up asking Walloh Design to make me a similar print – with a “home” quote and portrait orientation instead of landscape.

Then I kept getting distracted about other things like wanting to clear up the Command Center even more (it sometimes feels too busy and cluttered for me), and wanting to tackle the kids’ toy cabinet and that TV wall in the lanai-playroom…. FOCUUUUUUUS.  I need to focus.

The above distractions aside, I have been making headway on Phase 1 of Project Clean House. Almost done with the Command Center (except for where to put my dad’s mail), and this afternoon I move on to the kitchen – eeeeek.



If you’re in National Bookstore every week (like meeeeeee) then you’ve no doubt seen those fabric boxes they have, for Large Things, Medium Things, Small Things.  As it turns out, the Medium Things fabric box was perfect for storing and organizing all our warranties and instruction manuals.  I debated getting another Muji file box like the ones I’ve been using all over the house but I figured it might not have enough room.  At one point, I was storing extra antenna for our old TV set with our warranties!  I also used an expanding envelope before and it was bursting in the seams.  I knew I needed something with more space.

I once spotted Sterilite plastic file boxes in True Home in Magnolia (with lid and top handle and all), and to this day, I keep kicking myself for not buying several because True Home still hasn’t restocked.  I also considered getting a basket, so it’d be a bit prettier, but I knew I wanted something with a lid. This NBS fabric box fits A4 hanging holders, is roomy, light, and easy to transport.  I’ll only upgrade if I find something as functional and pretty!


My H and I came up with the categories and he helped me prepare the labels.  I used Eagle hanging file folders (size A4) from Office Warehouse – it came with the tabs.  I made the labels with my Brothers label maker (now a firm favorite).  Oh, notice the blank tab beside Alo’s name? That’s for Baby Boy No. 3.  My little boys each have their own folder because I hold on to some toy assembly instructions, and Laz has a lot of those 1-week warranties/replacement receipts for cables that we seem to buy non-stop for his iPad Mini.


I use resealable zipper storage bags (I had to Google that, because I know Ziploc is a brand and I didn’t want to spend on actual Ziplocs just for my warranties and manuals) by SM Bonus, available in any SM grocery, to coral the receipts, instruction manuals, etc.  I also slipped in a small colored index card for each bag, for easy identification of what appliance or gadget the documents pertain too, and to scribble down notes.  I plan to write down important information there, like maintenance or repair schedules, because I haven’t finished my home binder and I’m not sure I want to write down all the maintenance and repair schedules for all our stuff at home in that binder.

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Laz’s school didn’t have their own lunch boxes available when the school year started last June.  (The kids are free to use any lunch box; the “school” lunch box is the one the school makes and the one that bears their logo).  I  was able to finally get one last July when I picked up Laz from school and, with that, was at last able to complete everything he needed to pack his recess and lunch (i.e. his baon).

Part 1 – Laz’s Lunch Box and Accessories


The containers are from Lock&Lock, and I invested in them when Laz was still in kindergarten, only adding 1 or 2 pieces as needed.  They have served us well!  Naturally, I label everything – the waterproof labels are from Robee.  We don’t buy Laz a new set of school stuff every year – as long as it’s still in good condition, we use it again the following year.  (For instance, we’re still using the same school bag, pencil case, and polo shirts from last year, even though we had to have new pants made because the kid got taller).  We do however buy new drinking flasks each year.


The 2 blue drinking flasks are from Lock&Lock also.  (We’ve tried so many brands already!).  The steel flask is for his juice, and the plastic one is for water.  (I don’t kill myself about BPA-free bottles, sorry).    The white utensils are from SM Department Store (same as the red utensils in the first photo that I keep as back-up).   I got them for 1st grade and they are flimsy, so I was glad to be able to replace them with a stainless steel set this year.  Oh, and the blue clear case is actually a pencil box from National Bookstore.  I bought 2 of those because the utensil containers I found in the past were all made of cloth, or wouldn’t close properly.

Imagine my joy in finding that camo-print utensil set in Tickles, of all places (for only Php 100++).  It comes with a fork, spoon, and even a chopstick – in a neat compact tin container.  I got a 2nd set for back up, and now the driver can use the white and red utensils for when he packs his own baon.

Part 2 – Lunch Box Planner

A - schoolorganization1

I buy 2-weeks worth of Laz’s baon.  This includes breakfast (he sometimes eats in the car), recess, and lunch.  Recess is usually just cookies plus a sandwich (or cupcakes or cheese rolls or ensaymada).  Lunch is always a rice meal.  (Close up of our Lunch Box Planner here).

I write out Laz’s baon menu every week, taking into account half days or early dismissals when he has exams, or days when he’ll be going to his grandparents’.  Yaya cooks his baon in the mornings and sometimes, though rarely, at night.  Some nights I prepare his recess already, too.

Part 3 -School Lunch Drawer and Cupboard


I have a designated drawer that holds Laz’s lunch box, containers, and drinking flasks in our kitchen.  The big container on the right holds all his cookies and snacks for recess.

I use a separate drinking flask for when he goes to the tutor or when we’re out in the mall, because we’ve lost a school flask once and I had to rush out and buy a replacement after a long day at work.  Now in case Laz loses one of his drinking flasks for school (and I’ve seen this cage-like thing for lost and found Thermoses and Colemans in his school), we at least have the tutor flask and the going-out tumbler as back-ups.

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I updated Laz’s Lunch Box Planner because I ended up really disliking the turquoise washi tape I used.  I did away with my grand plan of doing something with magnets for now and decided to stick with plain old whiteboard markers, hihi.  We’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and when I skip days, yaya has been very diligent about noting down what she packed for Laz (because she knows I always check and want to know) – I’m so proud of her.

(My son eats mostly delata.  I know; I still get upset about it, but he so refuses to eat anything else.  I’d like to blame his former yaya but the truth is I’m responsible too because I’m still the mommy – when I was working full time, I discovered she’d feed him processed food in spite of the menu plans I painstakingly wrote out every week.  Now we can’t wean Laz off processed food).

Lunch Box Planner before (as seen here):

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