Simplify Saturday: Prioritizing Projects

Simplify Saturday: Prioritizing Projects

We’ve been blogging here for a good five years now, and in that time, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers. One question we’re often asked is this: “You all seem to always be doing something to your house. How do you do so much?” Today I’d like to share how we prioritize our projects.

1. Do projects a little at a time

We just did a small remodel of our master bathroom. We replaced mirrors, hardware and light fixtures. We eventually plan to replace the bathtub and surround and flooring as well, but it simply isn’t in the budget right now. So we started with the cheapest, easiest items on our “master bath to-do list” and we completed those.

2. Find cheaper options for the things you want to do

We love carriage house garage doors, but we neither need nor want to buy a $2,000 garage door at the moment… so we took to Amazon and ordered faux Coach house door hardware and a faux window kit for $50. We spent far less money something that looks like the real deal.

3. If you can DIY it, do it.

Custom closets are expensive, but my dad and I built this closet organizer ourselves for $100. It only took one day and it was a fairly simple project. We saved a lot of money by doing it ourselves AND it was a lot of fun.

4. Before you do any part of the project, ask yourself these questions:

1. Who will it benefit?

If it’s something that will benefit everyone in the home, bump the project up higher on your to do list.

2. Can I do the project in phases, or must I do it all at once?

If a project must be done all at once, but it’s small, it’s probably OK to raise it on your list. If it’s a big project and you can’t do it in phases, it’s probably expensive and should be lower on your priority list.

3. Do I need to do it, or just want to?

Projects that you want to do, no matter how much you want to do them, are never as important as the projects you need to do.

5. Save money for the things you can’t afford right now

Even if you can’t afford the things you want at the moment, save money until you have what you need.

How do you all prioritize projects?

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Managing paper clutter

Managing paper clutter

School has now started back for both my oldest daughter AND me. If you glance around our kitchen and living room right now, it’s evident we’ve gone back to school. How? The piles of paper.

Paper, paper everywhere and none of it spendable. In all seriousness, the paper piles were getting on my nerves and I knew I had to get rid of them.

1. Start with your existing paper piles

The first step to managing those paper piles is to sort through them.

Go through those papers and get rid of any that aren’t needed, and put away what you need to keep. We utilize several folders in our house: one for school papers, one for bills, and one for work related items. Anything else is shredded or thrown away.

2. File your bills

We have two places in which we file bills: one for bills to pay and one for bills that have been paid. We keep our paid bill stubs in a binder for a year and then we shred them.

3. Go paperless, when possible

Manage other paper clutter by stopping it at the source. Switch to paperless billing when possible, and remove yourself from junk mailing lists.

4. Dispose of junk as soon as possible

Don’t keep unwanted junk paper around…just shred or throw away that unwanted paper as soon as it shows up.

How do you handle paper clutter?

Have a wonderful weekend.

5 sneaky tricks to a visibly cleaner home

5 sneaky tricks to a visibly cleaner home

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My house is NOT perfectly clean. Bloggers strive to present their best foot forward so often that we sometimes forget to show our readers real-life. The truth is, we are real people who are far from perfect…and so is my house.

As a mother of two little girls and a mother of two fur-babies, our house is definitely messy at times, and even dirty at times. Chances are, if you were to drop by unannounced, you’d likely see our house in an imperfect state. While I do try to clean weekly, there are some weeks that I cannot give our home the attention I’d like to give it.

Today I’d like to share how to make your home appear cleaner than it really is.

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1. Prioritize your high-traffic areas

If you don’t have time to clean your whole house, make sure the high-traffic, or “public” areas of your home get all the attention. Vacuum or sweep the floors in these areas, and wipe down furniture and surfaces with a microfiber cloth to catch any dust or debris. Straighten any rugs or furniture, and fluff your throw pillows.

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2. Give your kitchen some attention

Wipe down those counters, sweep those floors, but most importantly, empty your sink and wash out your sink. Sinks are often the culprit of nasty smells, and it’s true that nothing makes your house look and feel messy like a sink full of dishes.

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3. A pleasant smell goes a long way

A clean smelling house will not only make your home seem cozy and inviting, it will also make your home feel clean and refreshing. No one wants to smell trash, or worse- diapers or a litter box. Light a few candles, or use some wax burners to make your house smell amazing. My favorite candles are Capri Blue Volcano or Eden Spring candles (pictured above).

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4. Make your bed

Having your bed made instantly makes your room feel clean and organized. If you want your room to instantly feel put together and tidy, take a few minutes to make your bed. It truly makes a big difference.

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5. Declutter room-by-room

Walk through your home and declutter it, room by room. Pick up and put away any visible clutter that is sitting out, in the floor, or just otherwise not put away. Clutter makes your home seem dirty and messy, but when you take a few minutes to put it away, it makes your space seem so much cleaner and organized.

I hope you all have enjoyed these tips for making your home feel clean, even when you don’t have time to deep clean it. Next time you’re stressing out because company’s coming and your house is not in perfect, company-ready condition, remember these five tips. Not only will your house feel clean, but you’ll be less stressed and able to enjoy those visitors.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Simplify Saturdays: Simplifying Your Laundry Routine

Simplify Saturdays: Simplifying Your Laundry Routine

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When you have kids, you often have mountains of laundry and full laundry hampers. Our house is certainly no exception. We also both work outside of our home full time, so there is often little time for large loads of laundry (how’s that for alliteration?)

To combat this, we have begun to use the following routine when dealing with our dirty duds.

1. Do a little laundry every day.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is start a load of laundry. Since it takes me about an hour to get myself and two kids ready, I have time to wash one small load. I usually do the “non-dryables,” so I can just hang them up and I don’t have to worry about leaving a dryer running after I’ve left the house. Then, when I get home, I start the second load, which does need to be dried in the dryer. This eliminates the worry of leaving home with the dryer running. Then, I just fold the clothes when they come out of the dryer.

2. Get a washer with a timer.

You can put a load of clothes in your washer, load the detergent, and set the timer. This way, when you get home the washer has already started, and all you have to do is take the clothes out when they’ve finished washing, and pop them into the dryer.

3. Fold one load of clothes each night

If you wash a small load of clothes each day, then you’ll only have a small load of clothes to fold each evening. A smaller load of clothes to fold makes for a smaller load of clothes to put away.

4. Invest in a steam dryer

Did you know you can use a steam cycle on some items of clothing and then they don’t need to be ironed? This saves a lot of time in my house.

5. Iron on Saturday morning

Whenever possible, I like to wake up before anyone else and knock out the ironing. I don’t have to worry about the kids knocking over the ironing board, and I get a few moments of peace to listen to podcasts, watch the news, or just enjoy the quiet while I iron. It’s kind of like me-time that also happens to be productive 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for keeping up with the laundry. Have a wonderful weekend.