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10 Home Ideas and Practices that I’ve Learned from my German Mother-in-Law

Homekeeping Living in Germany

10 Home Ideas and Practices that I’ve Learned from my German Mother-in-Law

Maintaining a household is something that we, women tend to gravitate towards to. It’s not something that we are born with, but rather, we learn them by experience and observations.

I am very much inexperienced in doing household chores; that’s why learning these practices fascinates me. Some practices may already be basic and familiar to you, especially if you live in Europe, but if not, let me know as I would love to hear what you have to say.

1. Grease and used oil in the bin, not in the sink

white wooden kitchen cabinet

At home, we don’t just dump even the slightest used cooking oils on the sink, as the accumulation of grease will eventually clog your drainage, especially during the winter season.

To prevent clogging your drainage, I’ve learned that one of the best practices is to use paper towels like this to absorb cooking oil from the pan before washing.

2. Looking after your non-stick-pans

I’ve learned that you don’t have to wash your non-stick-pan all the time because washing them will eventually break the pans’ coating. If you’ve only cooked- say.. a pancake, wipe off the oil and put it back in storage. 

If you’ve cooked something that has left a lot of grimes, you can wipe off the excess oil and immediately clean your pan with hot soapy water. Using hard sponges to clean will not help your non-stick-pan to last either, so what Mutti does is mix baking soda with water until it’s a paste consistency and remove the burnt grimes with those. It’s eco-friendly and cheap! Alternatively you can easily use this soft cleaning sponge online.

When storing or stacking pans on top of another, she adds a paper towel in between, this way, the non-stick coating will not be damaged and will be preserved. Alternatively you can get these pan protectors your pans while on storage.

3. Different types of Linens for different weather

young woman lying down on white bed

Basically dependent on the weather. If it is cold, we use a thicker fluffier material like fleece, soft flannel, or heavier-weight cotton (like this and this!) to keep us snuggly and cozy during the chilly nights, and when it’s summer or hot weather, its the linen or cotton bed linens for us. 

I didn’t know this until I’ve spent my autumn and winter months here in Germany; I thought there’s only one kind, and yes, I was wrong.

4. The use of Mattress Protector

People sweat at night, and having our normal bed covers to keep our mattress clean and fresh is not enough. Mattresses are expensive, especially if you have the high-quality ones that last, so to preserve the shelf life of our mattress, we use mattress protectors like this on the image above but you can easily find it online as well here.

Mattress protectors are common in hotels and holiday apartments but personally, I think this should be a staple in every bedroom because of the added benefits it gives us, especially when we have small kids.


5. Not Laundrying your clothings after every wear

Laundrying your tops and jeans often will immediately ruin their color and fabric. You’ll have to gauge when you actually need to laundry them. You do this first off when you are only at home about 90% of the time.

So depending on its cleanliness, clothing can be worn at least twice but on alternate occasions. I meant you don’t wear your clothes two days in a row; you give it space to be aired.

To keep the freshness of my going out clothing, such as jeans and lose tops, I would often steam them to keep them neat and bacteria free with the use of this little helpful gadget over here as well as this one! This is one of the wonderful little hacks that I have been enjoying here in Germany.

Jeans, I won’t even bother explaining; I wear my jeans for 14 days in total, but I will have 2 – 3 Jeans on rotation.

Keep your clothing hanged neatly, ready to be worn again. I also think this is only common here in Europe because of its cold climate, and of course, you save on electricity, water, and sewage cost with this practice.

Therefore when deciding the areas where furnitures are going to be placed, I’ve made it sure I’ve got space for hanging rail which you can also find online here! which I believe is one of the best hacks I’ve learned because it has kept our apartment tidy with clothings that are often left hanged on top of the chair. I have also made it sure I have a uniform color of metal and wooden hangers such as this for thick coats and jackets and this hangers for bottoms, tops and t-shirts, for different clothing pieces.

6. Not being in Pyjamas after 10 AM, the latest!

I love this because I definitely love to keep my grooming ( and sometimes even, as if I still go to work). I just feel great and become more productive throughout the day when I look presentable, plus it saves me time from dressing up when we suddenly felt like buying something from the supermarket or walk about the neighborhood after a meal. The children have followed this practice too and I’ve noticed that making them change their clothing from Pyjama to going out clothes changes their outlook as well from lazy – sleepy to ready to tackle the day mood.

Grooming for me consist of my skincare (Facialwash, Toner, Hyalouron serum, Moisturizer and Sunscreen), Light make up such as eyebrows (I’m alternatively using this from Anastasia Beverly Hills and this from Dior), under eye concealer (I’m alternatively using this from MAC and this from NARS), and of course powder so we’re not shiny! To which I’m alternatively using this from MAC and this from Chanel), tinted lip balm from Dior or MAC lipsticks, and a bit of blush to which I do alternatively use this from NARS or this from MAC.

7. We either cook lunch or dinner – not twice

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil

Now, this is particularly a shock for me because – we Filipinos love to eat. We cook fried rice, fried egg, fried sausage (all fried) for breakfast, cook rice and meat or vegetable dish for lunch, and cook rice and meat or vegetables for dinner. (So you can imagine my joy after we moved out from her apartment and had our own, haha)

But then, I realized it is better to just prepare one big meal a day, it saves me a lot of time and energy. Breakfast would usually be bread, butter, and Jams (and coffee!), and we would only have either: 

a. have Mutti’s home made-cake and coffee at 2PM and a big meal dinner at 5PM. 

b. or I will cook rice or pasta for Lunch, and if the kids want to eat the leftovers for dinner, they are free to do so, alternatively, it’s bread, butter, cold cuts, and sausages, for dinner. Sometimes White Sausage and Laugen Brötle when it’s available, but that’s it.

Mutti doesn’t like leftovers, well I can tell because not only that food is very expensive to go to the garbage, but it’s also because Leftover food + Garbage bin = very sticky spoiled garbage after a few hours. yuck. So with this, I’ve learned to cook just the right amount, if not then leftovers should be eaten, or recook again i.e. leftover rice to fried rice for dinner, why not?

Here in Germany we separate our waste mindfully, I have personally opted to put plastics, foils and waste that does not decompose on plastic garbage like this 50 Liter size garbage bags, which is bigger from 20 Liter size garbage bags that I use with the usual semi-compostable waste. I do maximize the bags but I’m also keeping them small since I don’t want them to be seating inside the house fo a long time, the easier it gets filled, the faster it will be on the garbage bins outside (that’s later collected by garbage collectors)

Plastic and glass bottles are kept separate since we can get refund from them by means of a voucher that can be used as additional funds for groceries.

8. Different Materials, Different Cleaning Solutions

My under-the-sink view consists of various kinds of solutions. I’ve learned from Mutti that the best way to maintain your furniture or table tops the easiest is to use the product that is specially formulated for them.

For example, in my household you will find:

  1. Poliboy Furniture Intensive care for lacquered wooden furniture like our dining table and coffee table, this also smells amazing and easy to use! 
  2. Poliboy Metal polish to clean and shine metals when needed, Poliboy has a variety of polish that I use, like the leather care that they have, they also have special polish for real silvers and gold. 
  3. Bref, it’s a solution to wipe off grease and stains after cooking; I often use this after I fry; it keeps the hot plate and backsplash squeaky clean. Although, I promised this would be the last one I will use as I  plan to use an orange+vinegar as a cleaning solution, as Raimund suggested.
  4. Pril – I use Pril sparingly, just with a bit of solution mixed with water when I need to wipe off the surface, like window frames.
  5. Alio Kokofrishe handgeschirrspülmittel – I only use this when I need to wash dishes by hand. As described, it is a hand dishwashing detergent so it’s gentle on the skin.
  6. Zekol Glass Reiniger – This solution is only meant for glasses and mirrors; it works perfectly on glass tables at doesn’t leave watermarks. I use this on the glass side table in the living room and the vanity mirror in the bathroom. There are plenty of glass cleaner online that you can try, like this and this.
  7. Klax Brennspiritus – (I don’t have a full-size bottle, I ask Mutti a small amount when I need it) We use this to clean the windows by adding a small amount, approximately 5ml with 1 liter of water in a bucket. Fast and easy, it works wonders and if you use to clean your faucets or metals around the house that always gets wet, it does act like a little coat that protects the metal from having water marks later on. I found a similar brand online that’s worth checking out as well.
  8. WC Intensive cleaner and Essig Bad Reiniger – are the products I use in cleaning the bathroom. The WC Intensive cleaner is for the toilet, and the Essig Bad Reiniger is for the rest of the bathroom. Essig is Vinegar in German, and it smells just like it! But it cleans and saves us from using clean water.
  9. Sagrotan Disinfection Cleaner – it kills 99.9% of germs; need I say more? I use this for all the touchpoints at home.
  10. Vinegar is an overall solution you can use as a cleaner. When I first bought this Essig (the one included in my cleaning products under the sink), Raimund asked me, “why am I using this vinegar when it is meant for cleaning?” I said, “well.. it has pictures of vegetables in it??”. As it turned out, they only use this as a natural cleaning agent when they need to.

9. Different cleaning cloth for different materials

Yes, you’ve read this right, but doesn’t it make sense only to use leather-like wiping cloth on mirrors and micro fiber cloth when wiping off the wooden surface, so it doesn’t get scratched?

To be honest, I don’t know what this is called anymore – an advance housekeeping it is!

10. Different washing powders, clothing sprays for different washing temperatures and stains.

You may think, “OMG! Really?” as I thought the same, don’t worry. I’ve never met someone super particular in looking after garments as well. But, it works and it’s really something to copy because when you think about it, they just make a lot of sense. Just like the simple practices in looking after our facilities and furniture, it’s the same with our clothing. We need to look after them.

Now there you have it, my 10 home ideas and practices that I’ve learned from Mutti. It may seem very tedious but they actually make homekeeping easy! It saves you a lot of time and most of these materials are eco-friendly too!

The key is to have everything organized so you know where to get what you need, it also helps you to keep track of your inventory so you don’t run out.

“Homekeeping,” as I call it, is an attitude towards our home. Homekeeping is a habit that we practice and strive to consistently preserve our home environment and make it pleasant and safe to live in. Forget about accepting visitors; we do this for our children, so they would have something to set as an example the moment that they are blessed to have their own.

I hope you found this post helpful. Until my next blog.


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