Organizing and Cleaning for Back to School
It’s that time of the year again. It’s time to put away the swimsuits and pool passes and to start buying school supplies and back to school outfits. Not only is it important to have everything your kids need for that first day back at school, but you will want to make sure your home is ready for backpacks and school supplies to take over. Here are some ideas for organizing and cleaning for back to school.
The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time for your kids, and for you as well. The last thing you want to do is be stressed over messes in your home. These tips are just a few ways to help keep things calm when you are busy, and will allow you to come home to a clean house at the end of the day. Welcome back to school!
Seven Organizational Cleaning Hacks
We all know that the key to a clean and tidy home is regular cleaning, but life gets busy, and many of us find ourselves in time crunches where we need tips and tricks to clean up quickly. These easy organizational hacks will help decrease the amount of time it takes you to tidy up, and you will easily be able to maintain a state of tidiness in your home.
Drawer dividers can be used for any room in the house that needs extra organizational help. Whether you use them in the kitchen, bedroom, or even in the bathroom, drawer dividers help to keep items separate so they are much easier to find when you need them. No more jumbled drawers or time lost digging for missing items. Many stores have options for dividing your drawers, but if you are looking to save some money, you can use cardboard to create your own dividers.
If you want an easy way to label things now while allowing yourself to re-label later, chalkboard paint is an easy and fun way to stay organized. It can be used for many rooms in your home, but the most common use is in the kitchen. If you have a pantry or a wall in the kitchen that is free, you can use chalkboard spray or paint to make a chalkboard wall for your use. If you decide on your pantry, the backside of the door is a great place for your chalkboard wall, as it is easy to access and can be hidden as well if needed. One great way to use the chalkboard wall is to make your weekly grocery list. This allows you to have one location where all of your grocery needs can be found, and you are able to easily erase them when you are ready to make a new list. Using a grocery list helps to minimize random shopping and also makes sure you are getting everything that you need at the store.
If you do not want to use chalkboard paint in your home, you can use stickers or paper to label. The important thing is just that you are indeed making sure that items are labeled around your home. You can buy large or small labels to put on clear containers in your pantry, laundry room, bathroom, or anywhere else you want to be more organized. Not only will this look neater, but it can save you space.
While command hooks are most commonly known to hang pictures, they can also be used to help you stay organized. For example, you can place them inside cabinet doors in your kitchen to hang potholders, trash bags or even to hang pots and their lids. If you use them in your bedroom or bathroom, you can hang jewelry or headbands on them to prevent tangles and save space in your drawers.
Another great kitchen organizational hack is to use a Lazy Susan in your cabinets. If you do not know, a Lazy Susan is a turntable that is found in many kitchens or dining rooms. Their easy rotation is their most useful feature. Cabinets are commonly too tall, too deep or just not easy to access. This causes us to lose great cabinet space, or to overcrowd the fronts of our easy to reach pantries. When you put a Lazy Susan inside your cabinets, you are able to maximize the space by filling them up, while still being able to rotate and access everything you need in the back.
While using a shoe organizer for its intended purpose will already help you stay organized and keep your house clean, you can also use them for more than just that. You can place one over your pantry door and keep snacks and spices in them for easy reach. Likewise, you can put one in your bathroom to hold hair products, shampoo, conditioner and any other bathroom essentials you may have. The possibilities are endless. Look around the different rooms in your home and brainstorm where extra organization would be most helpful for you.
Last, but certainly not least, are magazine racks. Although they are wildly underused, magazine racks can be very helpful for many things other than simply holding your magazines. One use is found in the kitchen. If you turn them on their side, you can use magazine racks to hold soup cans, vegetables or kitchen utensils. Place one in your laundry room to hold all of your cleaning supplies. You can even use them in the foyer to hold your flip flops or other shoes all in one place.
The key to organization is to be innovative. There are all sorts of creative ways to stay organized and keep your home clean. If you try some of these hacks listed above, they may just inspire you to come up with some other hacks on your own. By staying organized, you are one step closer to a consistently clean home.
Cleaning Room by Room
Cleaning our entire home at once can be overwhelming and unrealistic. It is difficult to adequately clean that large of a space without becoming overworked and exhausted. Instead of frantically trying to cram our cleaning all into one day, it is better to break things down. If you break your house into smaller increments, you can focus on one section at a time and more efficiently clean your home. Your house will be tidier, you will be less overwhelmed, and your goal of a clean home will be more obtainable!
Here are some ideas for how to keep your house clean by breaking it down room by room:
1) Divide Your House into Sections
Before you begin, pick a general area to focus on. You can do this by room or by floor level, whatever you prefer. Make sure that your sections aren’t too large before you begin. Once you have your strategy, remember that you must stick to it! No cheating. You can also write out a plan for which days you will focus on each section. If you have 4 divisions, you could pick a week out of each month to tackle each section.
2) Write Tasks by Room
Once you have split your home into sections, write down the different tasks that you want to complete in each room. Find the best way that works for you to keep track of these individual tasks. You may want to write them on sticky notes to post in each room, keep a running master list on your phone, scribble them all down on a notepad or Whiteboard, or whatever else works best for you. The point is to make sure they are clearly in writing so that you do not forget any tasks, and also to hold yourself accountable as you work. No matter how minor, make sure to add every single item to your list. For example, if you are writing your kitchen list, it may include some of the following:
3) Once You Have Finished, Start Over
If you divide your house into areas and clean one section every week or so, by the time you finish, it will be time to start over again. By creating this continuous cycle of cleaning, you will consistently have a tidy home. In the meantime, the cleaning will be less taxing and stressful.
If you follow these general guidelines, you may even find that cleaning your house does not seem so tedious anymore. Instead of cramming cleaning in before company arrives, a quick pick-up will have your home ready for house-guests. Your new way of cleaning will become a normal part of your weekly schedule.
Here's a good one to add to your bookshelf:
"The Lost Art Of House Cleaning:
A Clean House Is A Happy Home"
Hostess Cleaning Techniques for the 4th!
The 4th of July is quickly approaching, and many of us will be celebrating with parties, barbecues and other fun summer festivities. While it is great to gather together to celebrate the nice weather and summer holidays, being the host or hostess of an event can be a bit overwhelming. It becomes tricky to juggle the event planning and deep cleaning, while still keeping things tidy throughout the preparations. Here are just a few things you can do before, during, and after a summer party that will help keep your house clean and limit the amount of work you do while hosting.
Before guests arrive:
We all know the pressure to deep clean our homes before company arrives. However, sometimes life gets in the way and there just isn’t enough time. If a deep clean is unrealistic, there are easier options available. Consider only organizing the main levels or rooms where your guests will primarily spend their time. Scrub the guest bathroom, vacuum the living room floor, wipe down the kitchen counters, and shut all of the other doors in the house. There is no need to waste time on rooms that will not be entered.
We LOVE this Martha Stewarts Appetizer Book to Prep!
Depending on how large the party is going to be, you may want to start prepping the food hours or even days ahead of time. Consider what dishes you are making and how much storage space you have before prepping the food early. Save foods that can spoil for the day-of, but throw together easy appetizers ahead of time. Depending on how much freezer space you have, you can go ahead and prep casseroles and other similar dishes so that on the day of the party they are ready to be tossed right into the oven. Clean up after yourself each day as you prepare, and you will skip the large mess entirely. Planning ahead will help you to avoid stress on party day.
While guests are there:
If you are hosting an outdoor barbecue, try and limit the activity to just a couple rooms inside. As we mentioned before, shutting doors will encourage guests to stay in central locations. This will help keep mess confined to certain sections of the house, and you avoid having guests track dirt all over your home. If the weather is nice, you can even make it an outdoor only party.
Another helpful tip is to use paper products for outdoor or informal events. This will make clean-up very easy at the end of the night. The less dirty dishes, the better. After all, you deserve to sit down and put your feet up after the party is over!
Even if you do not choose to use paper products, you can make clean-up easier by slowly tidying up as the party is going on. Clear plates between courses and make sure there are plenty of trash cans out for your guests. This also eliminates the problem of food sitting out too long or attracting bugs.
After guests leave:
Once your guests leave, the best thing you can do is immediately clean up the large messes. Hosting an event can be exhausting, and cleaning will probably be the least appealing thing to do afterwards. However, if you take only 15-20 minutes to tidy up, you can make a lot of progress. Gather up all of the leftover trash, cover and refrigerate any leftover food, and wipe up any spills. Once you are finished, you’ll be able to rest happily knowing that the party was a success and the mess is gone.
These tips and tricks will help you keep things clean while hosting a stress-free party. Most importantly, take time to turn the music up, make yourself a plate of food and enjoy the fun.
A little mess never hurt anyone!
It’s Vacation Time!
Summer is here, which means it is finally time for vacation!
Whether you are preparing to leave or coming home from a vacation, the process of packing and unpacking can leave your house in a mess. In order to prevent the stress of coming home to a messy house, there are a few important steps to making packing and unpacking a tidy process.
The first thing you should do while packing is make a list of what you will need for your trip. By having a detailed list, you are reducing the risk of randomly grabbing things from the closet to throw in your bag, or over-packing and having to take things out. The list is also helpful to ensure that you do not forget anything you may need for the vacation. Once you finish adding items from your list, go through it again and physically check off the things you have packed to avoid missing anything.
Once you have efficiently packed, you may want to ensure that the rest of your house is tidy as well. If you leave for vacation with a clean house, you will not have to worry about returning home to a mess. The end of vacation is already a bummer. The last thing you want to do when you return is more cleaning.
This does not mean that you have to deep clean your entire house, but there are some specific things you may want to tidy up. Put your clothes and dishes away, vacuum main areas, sweep the floors, wipe down your counters, and take care of any other regular cleaning chores. If you want to clean further and make sure everything is extra tidy, go for it. The cleaner your house is before your vacation, the less you have to do when you return.
While it is important to pack well, it is even more important to unpack productively in order to keep your house clean once you return. After a nice, relaxing vacation the last thing on your mind will be to immediately unpack and organize your things. However, if you do this, you will avoid the all too common habit of dropping your suitcase of dirty clothes at the door. Instead of leaving it there until you finally get sick of seeing it, go ahead and put everything away.
It will take less time than you think, because most of the clothes will go straight into the dirty clothes hamper. You won’t regret it tomorrow!
You should be able to enjoy your much-needed vacation, and by following these few steps you can avoid the stress of a messy home. Instead, you will be able to relax and make the best use of your time off.
Making Cleaning Fun for Kids
Let’s face it, kids are messy. Some of the most fun moments leave both the house and kids covered in dirt and food. However, things cannot be left dirty forever. What happens when it is time to clean the mess up? Encouraging your children to happily clean may seem a bit impossible. It has the potential to lead to temper tantrums, bad attitudes and a spoiled day. The key is to find ways to make cleaning more enjoyable for them so that it does not feel like such a chore.
Here are a few ideas to make cleaning more fun:
Turn Cleaning into a Game:
If you have a child that is a bit more competitive, challenge them to clean their room as fast as they can. You can even build on this idea and save scores. Write down their times on a dry erase board, and next time they are dragging their feet to clean up, challenge them to try and beat their fastest time.
Make a list of tasks that you want to get done and set a time for the entire family to complete them together. Your children will see that they are not the only one who has to clean, and they will feel included. When the family works together, the cleaning will also go by faster.
Be careful not to set lofty goals for your child. Make sure that their tasks are both reachable and manageable, and allow them to take breaks for a snack or a hug. Breaks are a healthy thing as long as they promise to finish cleaning afterwards.
Give Rewards: Here is my favorite "Prize Pack" I order every few months: PRIZE PACK
Whether it is stickers, candy or points that lead to a bigger prize, rewarding a child for cleaning up is one of the best tricks to make cleaning fun. Not only do the children get the job done, but they also receive a positive reward for achieving what was asked of them. You can even use a chart, as mentioned above, to track their progress to reach a larger reward. Smiles will replace tears as kids learn that hard work pays off.
Encouraging children to clean does not have to be a difficult and dangerous task. You can easily make chores fun for your children by using these tips and tricks. You may even find that your child comes to look forward to cleaning time.
Spring Cleaning Before Summer Arrives
With summer just around the corner, the end of spring is finally in sight. However, there is still plenty of time to finish up your spring cleaning.
It can be overwhelming to try to cram all of your deep “spring cleaning” into a single day, so give yourself a break and allow it to stretch out over a few days. Start by removing clutter around the house.
Go through the entire house and pack up everything that you no longer need. Clothes, toys, and random donation items can all go straight into your car for immediate drop-off at a nearby-by donation center. If you are planning on having a yard sale, make a neat pile in the garage, basement or empty closet. By getting rid of these items first, you eliminate the inevitable waste of time from cleaning and organizing things that you are not even keeping.
Next, make sure you are all caught up with your daily and weekly chores, such as washing the dishes, doing laundry and putting away toys. It will boost your motivation when you begin deep-cleaning if the house is already tidy.
Remember to work from top to bottom. As you clean, dust and dirt fall downward. Save yourself time, and prevent from having to repeat tasks. You don’t want to have to keep cleaning your floors repetitively. Start by ceiling fans and light fixtures, and then work your way to walls and windows. Go ahead and get those tough nooks and crannies behind furniture while you already have the couches moved away from the walls. If you are cleaning your cabinets, you can knock those out next. Wait to clean your floors at the very end.
Spring cleaning gives you a great opportunity to rearrange, reorganize and redecorate. As you move objects out of the way for a good scrub and dusting, decide whether you’d like to try it in a new location. Sometimes changing around the layout of a room can make things feel brand-new! Moving around furniture also allows you to sweep and scrub the unseen and untouched spots around your house.
The easy thing about spring cleaning is that many of its time-consuming projects require minimal brain power. This makes multi-tasking a great option. For example, every oven could use a good cleaning. If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, you can work on other projects while the oven takes care of itself. If you don’t have a self-cleaning feature, you can still spray or apply your cleaning solution and allow it to soak throughout the day as you clean. While you’re at it, go ahead and run a cleaning cycle on the washing machine and dishwasher.
Although spring cleaning can be tedious, it has so many benefits around the home. It will give you a new pep to your step, allow you to redecorate and reorganize, and help your family to have a healthy and happy year. Take the time and put in the hard work before school is out and summer is here.
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"New Order: A Decluttering Handbook For Creative Folks (& Everyone Else) (affiliate link)
Tips for Decluttering
Decluttering the house can be overwhelming, stressful and a total Debbie-downer.
Here are some tips to keep it simple and sweet.
“I’m decluttering my life. If it brings you joy, you keep it; and if it doesn’t, out it goes.”
This is a big one, because for some reason we tend to naturally be hoarders. Get rid of those pants you hate, the rug with the big stain, and anything else that is just sitting around your house. Don’t keep non-essential things just because they are there. Pick up an item and think… Do you like it? Does it make you happy? If the answer is no, out it goes! http://amzn.to/2lGxdD9
Showing Your Love Around the House This Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is about celebrating and showing love to the special people in our lives. We often give flowers, candy, stuffed animals and jewelry to show that we care and to bring a smile to our significant other’s face. However, not everyone has the same love language. Gifts can be a great way to express that you care, but what if your significant other would prefer something a little less traditional this Valentine’s Day?
Many people speak the love language of “Acts of Service.” This means that they may feel more loved if you were to do something out of kindness for them, rather than picking up a gift at the store. Acts of service would include things around the house like doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or making dinner for them. If you decide to give this route a try, there are a few things to remember.
First of all, make sure that you are choosing something that is not usually your responsibility. If you already sweep the floors daily, it will not seem like such an exceptional act of kindness for this special occasion. Show your love around the house by doing things that you do not typically do.
If your wife habitually does the laundry, do a few loads for her and present her with all the folded piles, fresh out of the dryer. If your husband typically does the dishes after dinner, have him go sit by the television and relax; give him the night off while you clean and dry the plates.
The important thing to remember is that whatever you decide to do around the house should be done with love and kindness. Your attitude should be servant-like, and your actions will not go unnoticed. If you aren’t quite sure what your significant other would find helpful, you could create a few homemade coupons for them to cash in when they would appreciate some help around the house.
Think outside of the box this Valentine’s Day and your loved ones will see how much you care. Happy Valentine’s Day and may the world be filled with love!
10 Secret Cleaning Hacks:
Tired of wasting time cleaning, knowing that there is probably a better solution? Check out these Secret Cleaning Hacks to help solve those stubborn problems!
1. Deep clean your pots and pans with a mixture of baking soda, dish soap and vinegar. Let them soak for at least 15 minutes and then scrub the tough crud off. Good as new! Baking Soda - Buy Here!
2. Remove permanent marker from wood with rubbing alcohol, from clothes with hand sanitizer, and from carpet with white vinegar. Hand Sanitizer - Buy Here!
3. Rid bad smells from furniture with baking soda. Sprinkle it all over the wood and allow it to sit overnight. This can even help remove the smell of smoke.
4. Need to kill the germs on your sponges? Insure that they are damp and then heat them up in the microwave for a couple minutes. Good-bye germs!
5. Bring the baking soda back out to deep clean your sinks. Sprinkle it evenly and scrub off for a shine. Running low on baking soda? Use some salt and a lemon to scrub for that same flawless shine.
6. Get rid of bathtub rings by sprinkling salt and then rubbing the rings with half of a grapefruit.
7. Keep granite countertops clean with regular dish soap and warm water. Stay clear of vinegar, lemon, or other acidic mixtures when cleaning granite.
8. Wipe down furniture and baseboards with dryer sheets to prevent them from picking up as much dust in the future. Dryer Sheets - Buy Here!
9. Clean kitchen and bathroom floors with a mixture of hot water, ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap.
10. Clean your blender by filling it with warm water and a little soap. Press blend and save yourself the trouble of tough scrubbing.