Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

I don’t know about you, but cleaning is a struggle at my house. My house isn’t all that big but it is time consuming to give it the attention it needs. With two children and a full time job, it is even more difficult sometimes to get the house clean.

Before I share the things I have learned, I want to make it clear that I have not completely figured it out yet. These are just a few tips that are helping me work toward finding a balance, even though I have far from found that balance.

1. Develop a routine and stick to it

Developing a routine and sticking to it as much as possible is a great way to have a cleaner house. We have tried to assign small duties to each night, allowing for flex time on the weekends to catch up on any tasks we have missed. We try to perform the same specific duties each day, but perform a different task each night. Here is our weekly checklist:

You will notice that starting the washing machine each morning is on the list. We have a washer with a delayed start and I use it daily. I throw laundry in the washer before going to bed and set it to finish as I’m getting up. This way, I wash and dry a load of laundry before leaving the house, and have one more load to complete when I get home. I still have to fold them and put them away, but the waiting game is over.

2. Delegate!

You don’t have to do everything, and you can’t. Assign chores to the other members of your household. My oldest daughter is eager to earn a small allowance for her own money, and she doesn’t mind helping me around the house. Pay your children to help you, convince your significant other to help you, but stop trying to be solely responsible for all the cleaning.

3. Set aside time for extra attention

I try to have a deep cleaning day one Saturday a month where I tackle cleaning tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done weekly, but still need a little extra love. These are areas like baseboards or dusting the door and window moldings. You could even break these deep cleaning tasks up and do one each Saturday. It’s all about your schedule and making things work for you.

4. Be reasonable

Sometimes, you won’t have time to clean because you’ve had a busy day. Or maybe you did clean, but something happened and your room is no longer clean. These are the moments when you must have grace with yourself. Your house can’t be perfectly clean all the time but neither can anyone else’s house.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for simplifying cleaning. As I said before, I am still working to simplify cleaning at my own home, so if you have any tips for me, I’d welcome them 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

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The 21-Day Challenge: Organize Your Whole Life in 3 Weeks!

The 21-Day Challenge: Organize Your Whole Life in 3 Weeks!

Every January for the past three years, we gear up for a little “routine refresh,” if you will. We tackle all regularly used areas of our home and perform a purge and an organization tune up.

While the 21-day challenge may seem intimidating, consider this: make it work for you. Don’t do an entire room at a time. Do one small section, or drawer, or closet. Or start with the worst part of that room. You can do as much of this challenge or as little of it as you’d like. It doesn’t have to be major and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. And you can also repeat it as many times as you need 🙂

Organizing doesn’t have to be stressful and it doesn’t have to be time consuming- it does have to be helpful. Here are the challenges list, if you’d like to play along. If you do take the challenge, I’d appreciate it if you’d post a pic on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #ons21daychallenge.

Happy organizing! For the next three Saturdays, I’ll share my progress with you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

An Organized Holiday:Christmas planning binder

An Organized Holiday:Christmas planning binder

christmasplanningbinder

Have you ever made lists for Christmas? Making lists is something most of us already do without even really thinking about it. But did you know you can create a binder to help you organize and simplify your Christmas season?

I keep a binder with a December calendar, shopping lists, recipes, grocery lists, address lists, and holiday to-do lists. I also include any pictures or magazine features I want to utilize. I use tab dividers to keep the binder organized and easier to use.

tabbed dividers
$4 at Staples

I used this cute, green polka dot binder to store my Christmas printables and goodies.

green_polka_dot_3_ring_binder-rb393dfe319b74603871c0775810254c8_xz8my_8byvr_540.jpg
$25 on Zazzle.com

I decided I’d share my handy printables with you all today. Below you will find recipe cards, holiday planning checklists, contact lists, and more. All are available to you for free, but you may not use them for commercial use.

Christmas checklist - Copy

Christmas checklist- BLANK

christmas party planning

Blank Christmas party planning template

Christmas Party Planner Sheet

Christmas party planner

Travel checklist

Traveling checklist

Christmas contacts - Copy

Christmas contacts

recipe card

recipe card

I hope your holiday season is off to a great start! Check back Friday and Saturday for some wonderful Christmas-related goodies!

 

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.

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

I blinked in June and suddenly, it was August. I’m not sure where summer went, but wherever it went, it left quickly. My oldest daughter starts school next week. The school supplies have been purchased and the school clothes have already been washed and put away. But what else can we busy Mamas do to ensure we are all better organized for the coming school year?

1. Plan ahead

Plan out outfits, meals, and even lunches. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Make lists of everything you need to do and buy in the coming week and review it often. The better prepared you are, the better you will handle those unforeseen circumstances that pop up and stress us out.

2. Write everything down

You can’t remember everything and you don’t have to try. The minute you hear about a meeting or event, write it down. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget it. The other step is to refer back to your calendar at least weekly to see what’s coming up.

3. Do a “back to school” dry run

Wake up early one morning before school starts and drive to the school at regular time. This will help you become familiar with the traffic patterns, the route, and will help you anticipate any hazards or obstacles that may make you late. Of course, there will still be unforeseen things from time to time, but having driven the route once before helps put your mind at ease.

4. Set up a logical routine and stick to it

Does homework come with tears and tantrums in your house? Having a set “after school routine” can take some of the fuss away. Set the expectation early in the school year that homework is done as soon as you walk in the door and stick to it. I always tell my daughter that it I better to get homework out of the way first thing and then you no longer have to worry about it. Having set morning routines can also eliminate some of the morning rush as well.

5. Wake up earlier than you think you need to

Who likes being in a hurry? Not I. When I’m hurried, I get stressed and I end up forgetting things. Which stresses me out even more. Waking up earlier allows you more time but also allows you time to eat breakfast. Studies have shown eating breakfast improves brain function and helps sharpen your focus. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when your stomach is growling!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous first day of school.

An organized craft cabinet

An organized craft cabinet

I bet you’re thinking, “Well, that picture doesn’t look very organized.” You’re right. That is the before picture. Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you how a sheet of pegboard, some bins and baskets, some lumber, and some spice racks totally changed my creative space.

I keep my craft supplies in a tall TV cabinet that I bought on Craigslist for $100. I have for a long time wanted a Workbox, but at almost $2,000 a pop, I just can’t justify the expense.

wb3_WRP.jpg

Source

So I make do with my $100 Craigslist special. I love this cabinet, as it just looks like a piece of furniture in my office…but I didn’t love how chaotic and disorganized it was.

I really didn’t love it the night I opened the cabinet and a can of stain fell on my foot. 😡

And the cabinets on the bottom?

They weren’t too bad, but not too great, either.

Just like a lot of things in our house, the craft cabinet started off great but then fell into disorder. Boo.

I decided even if I can’t have a Workbox, I can borrow some of the ideas I like from it. One of those was storage in the door. I’d already attempted this, but not too well.

I immediately decided pegboard would be a cheap and easy way to do this. I bought pegboard, a set of pegboard baskets, a set of plastic pegboard bins, and some plastic pegboard hooks.

I knew I’d have to mount the pegboard on 1x4s to keep the screws from going through the outside of the cabinet. Luckily, I had some left over from a recent project.

I added pegboard to both cabinet doors and painted it white.

I then added our bins, baskets and hooks. I hung up washi tape and ribbon using dowel rods. I repurposed those spice racks I had used before.

I also added a shelf inside the actual cabinet.

I already had the boxes and bins.

Let’s take a look at that before and after once more, shall we?

Before:

After:

It’s not perfect and it could still improve, but at least my toes are safe from wayward cans of wood stain.

Comment below and show me your creative spaces!! And have a great weekend.

Organize your fridge: a stress-free approach to simplifying your kitchen

Organize your fridge: a stress-free approach to simplifying your kitchen

Our fridge was pretty well organized, but like most organized spaces in our home, it was starting to get a little out of hand. This happens to the best of us, but I have good news. With these tips, you can get your fridge organized quickly and easily.

1. Group like items together

I grouped these dairy items together in an acrylic container because not only are similar, but because their containers are also similar.

Our bottom drawer is used to store sandwich items, such as cheeses and lunch meats.

Kid snacks are all stashed together.

As are salad items

And dairy/ condiments.

2. Put items in clear containers so you can see them.

How many times have you forgotten about perishable food items and only rediscovered them when they were expired? Clear containers help you see what’s in your fridge. I am the world’s worst for forgetting about fruit and veggies in the crisper drawer, so having these things on eye level helps as well.

3. An unused crisper drawer is a space-saving place to stash canned drinks.

They still roll around a bit, but not as much than if they were loose in the fridge. Plus, you have more room in the fridge for other things.

4. Stash things you use the most in the front, and things you use the least in the back.

No one likes knocking over everything when they’re trying to reach something else.

5. Use place mats or Fridge Coasters to catch spills or stickiness

See those handy dandy flowered mats in my fridge? They’re cheap shelf liner. It grips the fridge and doesn’t slide around, and it wipes clean with a wet cloth. Plus, it’s cute. Win, win, win.

6. Take a moment each time you grocery shop to clean out any expired items.

When you are restocking your fridge with fresh groceries, this is the perfect time to do a quick check for any expired or spoiled items. I also like to take this time to wipe down the inside of the fridge with a wet, soapy cloth.

These tips help us keep our fridge clean, functional and organized, which makes cooking a lot easier. Plus, you spend less money on grocery day, because you aren’t spending on items you already have.

How do you keep your fridge organized and clean?

Have a wonderful weekend.