21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!

21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!
21-day challenge: an easy approach to organizing your whole home

Last week, I shared with you how I reorganized our entry way, an out of control pantry, the area underneath our sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen, our linen closet, and our playroom. Today, I’m going to share with you how we handle extraneous clutter. Later on this week I’ll share tips for organizing our closets, and on Saturday, I’ll share numbers 6-10 with you.

But for now, extraneous clutter- as the mother of two small children who are both still in single digits, I have seen some clutter. A lot of it. On a daily basis. Don’t be fooled- the adult members of my household are pretty good at creating clutter as well. We just blame it all on the kids 🙂

Don’t let that sweet face fool you- she’s got a Master’s degree in mess making.

We have a number of habits we practice for managing clutter, but just like everyone else, we are not perfect and we definitely slip sometimes, too.

1. Create a daily declutter routine

We take an ordinary laundry basket, and we go room to room each night, putting away anything that was left out. When the basket is empty and everything is put away, we have a decluttered house, and a clean slate for the next day.

2. Manage that paper clutter!

Invest in some file folders and a good paper shredder. File your important papers, like bill stubs, school papers, etc, and shred the rest. No need to let paper pile up on your desk or your kitchen counter! Put it away or get rid of it.

3. Sort and purge anything you no longer need or use at least twice a year

At least twice a year, we have something we call a purge around here. No, we don’t go on a killing spree, like the horror movie. We simply go through closets, dressers, drawers, and cabinets and we get rid of things. We take what we no longer need or use and we either throw it away, repurpose or recycle it, or we donate it. At times, if the items were in good shape, I chose to consign them using a brick and mortar consignment store, or online services such as Poshmark or Thredup.

Yet another rule of thumb is to search or shop your own home for anything you can use prior to buying something new.

How do you and your family manage clutter?

Advertisements

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!

Our cleaning routines

Our cleaning routines

How to have a cleaner house

 

As the busy, working mother of an active rising second grader and a toddler, I often don’t have the time to clean that I need. Sometimes I look around at my house and worry about when I’m going to get everything done. In the past, I have cleaned my home on Saturdays, but then I realized my entire Saturday was being lost to cleaning! Then, we had no time to spend together as a family.

The solution? Create a cleaning routine that enabled me to do a little cleaning each night. I found a neat cleaning schedule on Little Green Notebook.

9e7565a01f0df8c01fd5243c1c893010

 

While this routine would work pretty well for us, there is no way that we could only do laundry on Saturdays. I had to tweak this a little to make it fit our needs. I came up with this:

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 9.29.14 AM

Our only solution was to wash and dry clothes every day, using the timer. I wake up, throw a loud of “ironables” in the washer, and they wash while we are getting ready. We then hang these clothes up to dry before we leave the house. I then throw our “dryables” into the washer and set the timer so that the washer will start shortly before I get home. I then don’t have to worry about the dryer running with no one at home.

Washing and drying clothes every night also makes for smaller laundry loads, therefore, less to fold and iron.

This cleaning schedule also means that we can do a little cleaning each day and have a house that both feels and looks a lot cleaner. The best advice I can give you is to find an idea you like and tweak it to make it work for you.

Cleaning our house a little each night was the only way that would work for us. Plus, we have a lot more time to spend together on the weekends.

 

Clothing Consignment Using Thred Up

Clothing Consignment Using Thred Up

I really enjoy shopping for clothing for myself and my daughters, but I don’t always love how expensive it is. I have always loved thrift and antique stores, as you can usually find some great deals.

I have noticed there aren’t that many good consignment shops in my area anymore, and that I often struggle to find time to visit the ones we do have. I have recently discovered Thred Up. Thred up has an app, a great, user friendly website and great quality clothing. You simply order a clean out kit, which comes with a large, postage paid bag you can fill with the things you wish to sell. Then, simply drop it off at the post office, free of charge.

You can also shop with them and purchase things. They come in a cute polka dot box or bag and are very well packaged. Check out this video of my oldest daughter opening her bag.

https://youtu.be/jy5RIXGJ08g

They’ve recently added a new service as well. Thred Up is now offering a box service similar to Stitch Fix. Simply fill out a survey about your sizes, favorite colors and favorite brands, and you’ll receive a box of goodies.

You pay a deposit to receive your box, which is then applied to your purchase total. You have seven days to return your unwanted items.

My box included all of these things:

Three business causal skirts

Three dressy shirts

Two casual shirts and one boho type shirt

Then, there were three pairs of dress pants and one pair of casual pants

One casual dress and two formal dresses

This necklace was in there too.

Everything was of name brand, great quality and some even had the tags still on. I tried on everything and this is what I chose to keep:

These are things I chose to return:

I already have two skirts that are almost identical to these. They fit well and I liked them; I just didn’t need them.

I didn’t really like how any of these shirts looked on me, so I sent them back.

The khaki pants weren’t my style and I just purchased a pair of black pants a few weeks ago.

These dresses are lovely but nothing I need. I don’t really do a lot of formal events so I don’t use formal dresses.

This necklace was pretty, but not my thing.

I came away with two pretty pairs of dress pants, three shirts, a dress and a skirt for less than $60. They are all things I can wear to work and church, and with multiple outfits. I am very satisfied and will likely order another box in the future.

Have you ordered from ThredUP? Comment below and tell us what you think!

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Some of us have been elbow deep in our spring cleaning routine. Because I am a teacher, spring cleaning takes me a lot longer than most. I don’t enjoy losing my whole spring break to cleaning, so I have to stretch my spring cleaning out across several Saturdays and evenings. This means my projects are on a smaller scale than most, and the bigger things get saved until summer vacation.

I came up with a 21-day challenge for those of us who work a lot, raise kids, and don’t have a ton of time to devote to spring cleaning.

This 21-day challenge breaks your spring cleaning into smaller pieces, and enables you to go through your home room by room instead of tackling your whole house all at once.

Even though it doesn’t say it on the graphic, I dust blinds, baseboards and clean behind and under furniture in each room as I cross it off the list.

Another option is to organize only a small part of each room on the list, and then repeat the challenge for 21 more days and finish the rooms. You have a lot of flexibility.

I would love for you to participate along with us and share your before and after pictures on social media. Please use the hashtag #21dayorganizingchallenge.

Happy organizing! Have a wonderful weekend.

Simplify Saturday: Simplify your cleaning routine

Simplify your cleaning
Routine

Today, I want to talk about how to simplify your cleaning routines. We used to try to clean our entire house on Saturdays, but then we quickly realized we were losing our entire day to cleaning the house, leaving us no time to do anything else. The solution? Designate certain cleaning tasks to certain days, and deep clean different parts of the house on a monthly basis.

1. Create a cleaning schedule that works for your family

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 3.06.50 PM

We created this cleaning schedule to help us stay on top of the cleaning duties, but also to break up each task so that it doesn’t require such a large chunk of time to complete. We simply check off each task as we complete it and do whatever is left over Friday evening before bed. We created two other cleaning schedules before we made this one, but those other schedules simply didn’t work for our needs. Don’t be afraid to adapt it as needed. If it doesn’t work for you, you won’t do it.

cleaning-washing-cleanup-the-ilo-48889.jpeg

3. Create cleaning zones and keep your cleaners there for easy access

We also created cleaning zones, and we keep whatever supplies are required to clean that zone in close proximity. For example, we keep a cleaning kit under the sink in both bathrooms- this kit contains a toilet brush and cleaner, antibacterial bath cleaner, daily shower cleaner, magic sponges, a small hand broom for small messes, and mirror cleaner. We have one in each bathroom. Under the kitchen sink, we have stainless steel cleaner, antibacterial cleaner, window cleaner, magic sponges, and dish detergent. Our multipurpose cleaners that serve multiple rooms (like furniture polish and floor cleaners) are in the laundry room.

img_4036

3. DELEGATE!

Don’t try to do everything yourself- even small children can do chores. Give every member of your house one chore that is their responsibility. You can even create a chore chart if your kids like having a visual.

smartphone-vintage-technology-music.jpg

4. Do whatever you need to to make cleaning more enjoyable

Do whatever you can to make cleaning enjoyable for you. I do, for the most part, enjoy cleaning, but listening to music always makes it a much more enjoyable task. If music’s your thing, crank it up. If playing air guitar on your broom makes you smile, go for it. If using cleaners with a pleasant, calming scent speaks to you, make it happen. Do what works for you and don’t feel bad about it.

How do you simplify cleaning in your home?

Have a wonderful weekend.

5 sneaky tricks to a visibly cleaner home

5 sneaky tricks to a visibly cleaner home

5

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.

engaged!

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.

organized&

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.

IMG_1389

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).

bedroom

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.

simplified

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.