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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tips for Closet Organizing

How to Organize Your Closets

Just about everyone needs to organize their closet at some time or another. If you are the one that has to take on this de-cluttering task in your home, there are plenty of ways to do it easily, without worry that it will consume your day. Just about everyone has a closet that is packed full.

Some may even be afraid to open the closet door in case the pile of clutter will collapse!

Your goal is to work through each one of these closets in your home, without looking back or getting discouraged, and thoroughly de-clutter them.

Sure, this is not an easy task but the benefits are numerous nonetheless- A clean and de-cluttered, organized closet!

Start With One Closet

Start with one closet, just one.Take a day for each closet so that you do not get overwhelmed with your organizing project.

The more that you have to do; the easier it is to get overwhelmed. So it's better to take one day at a time, and tackle the project one closet at a time.

You should plan a specific day to work on the closet. Dedicate at least a couple of hours to work on it.

Evaluate All Your Closet Space and Get the Supplies You Need

First, evaluate your entire home for closet space and any other storage space, keeping an eye out for any unused space, like under the beds, etc. Identify possible new areas to utilize.

On a notebook, make a list and designate what the main purpose is for each closet, for example, bathroom linens and supplies.

Make a list of items that you will need to purchase to help you get organized, and remember that you can get as creative as you like.
  • Hangars
  • 1 foot x 1 foot crates (they are perfect for kids toys, shoes and serve as a catch-all until you've collected all the like items)
  • Tie racks
  • Metal baskets
  • Hooks
  • Hanging racks
  • Shelf paper
  • Plastic containers with lids for storage

Once you've done that, the rest is standard for each closet, no matter what's inside.

Organize Your Closets Using the 5 Stack Method

Start with a closet that is less cluttered, one that you know you can handle on your first day out.

Then, start by taking everything out of the closet and organize it in the following stacks:
  1. Trash: broken or useless products go in the trash. No questions!
  2. 2 years rule: if you haven't used it in 2 years, toss it out. You can give away things that are in good repair or get rid of it through trash.
  3. Needs washing: clothing, blankets, anything that you would use if it was clean.
  4. Things that belong somewhere else: If you are cleaning out the linen closet and find a shoe, place it in a pile that you will put away later.
  5. Items that belong in the closet: This pile should be considerably less when you are done.

Start at the top and work your way down. Take everything out (except hanging clothes, those you will sort according to type - shirts, pants, stuff to donate etc.) and wipe down the shelves.

Put all of the items into the piles that match according to our list. One pile for each type of item in trash, giving away, cleaning, put someplace else and those that will go back into the closet.

Store Your Clutter

Now is the time to be thinking about how to regroup and store your closet clutter in a better way.

Hopefully you've gotten rid of the items you no longer use. Possibly by adding a hanging shelf, or hooks to the wall you can now display items you forgot you had. If you find a surplus of items that are rarely used, put them in plastic boxes that stack or slide it under the bed.

You may have all your spices and condiments on a shelf in the pantry, but by adding a spice rack to the door or wall, you've freed up that complete shelf. Be creative. Paint the shelves, or use contact paper if you like. Condense items and put them in baskets so they can be found easily.

When the closet has been re-filled, use large garbage bags for the trash and things to give away that you haven't used in two years. Put all miscellaneous items where it belongs. Now you can move on to the next until all your closets are de-cluttered and renovated.

Closet organizing will not only save you time, but it will save you a lot of stress and aggravation too. We hope these tips have helped!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winter Cleaning Checklist

Wintertime is just around the corner and it's time to prepare for those cold days and nights and winter snowfalls.

For many people winter is a time spent in the warmth of your home gathering with family and friends and enjoying the holiday season.

Winter cleaning is basically preparing for the cold weather and is holiday specific.

Here is a winter cleaning checklist you can follow to make this upcoming season clean and organized.

Cleaning the Chimney

This type of home upkeep is just too challenging to be done by yourself, plus the dangers are great if not done correctly. A chimney fire can destroy your home and its entire contents. So before you light your first fire in the hearth, get a professional chimney sweep to inspect your chimney.

An expert will check for such things as a buildup of dirt, grime, creosote, and other chemicals that can be a hazard. Don't rely on cleaning logs; they can't do the job a professional can do.

If you have a wood stove in your home this should also be inspected by a professional chimney sweep.

Inspect the Furnace

The furnace in our home works just as hard as the fireplace during the winter months. Have your furnace checked by a professional so it doesn't end up working harder than necessary.

They can tell you specific cleaning and/or maintenance steps to take for your make and model of furnace. A properly maintained furnace runs efficiently and doesn't break the bank.

Change or clean the filters monthly throughout the cold winter months. Vacuum vents and registers with an attachment every time you vacuum the floor.

Snow Blowers and Snowmobiles

If you live in an area that gets regular snowfall, you should clean snow blowers and snowmobiles. Hopefully you cleaned them at the end of winter last year but if not now's the time to get it done.

If they have salt build-up on them, go to a do-it-yourself car wash and use the power wash wand to get them clean. If any rust is on them, you can clean it off with fine steel wool.

If the climate you live in is a harsh winter environment, and you need a heavy duty snow blower change the oil, and check the air filter, and spark plugs following the manufacturer's instructions.

Sort the Pantry

This is a chore that is done at the beginning of summer and winter is another good time to sort through your pantry. Clear the shelves and throw old expired foods away and items that have gone bad or won't be used.

If items are missing labels or are dented, these should also go in the trash. This doesn't have to be a big job. Just drag the trash can over and get started.

After you've gone through the shelves and taken everything out, wipe down all surfaces with a clean damp cloth and wipe dry. When this is done, put all your pantry items back in an organized, easy to find manner.

Cleaning Mattresses

Twice a year during the summer and winter months, you should clean all of the mattresses in the house to keep dust mites under control.

Vacuum the top of the mattress, move the mattress and vacuum the box spring then flip the mattress and vacuum the other side.

For further protection from dust mites, add an allergenic mattress pad and wash your sheets in hot water.

Cleaning the Computers

With the colder weather coming, for some it may mean more time spent on the computer so take this opportunity to clean it.

Before cleaning turn off the computer, unplug it, and start with the keyboard and mouse. Turn the keyboard upside down and dump out any crumbs and dirt particles. Then carefully use of can of compressed air to get in between the keys.

Follow by wiping your keyboard and mouse with a damp cloth. Special electronic cleaners are not usually necessary for these items. Now open the actual computer unit; if you don't know anything about computers; don't touch anything inside.

Get your can of compressed air and spray away all of the dirt and dust. Hold the can at least four inches away from cards, chips, and cords so you don't unnecessarily damage anything.

Vacuum Furniture

Vacuum your upholstered furniture. Using the proper attachment, clean all areas of the furniture not forgetting to get under the seat cushions. It's amazing how much you find under the cushions and if you have pets then you know how much pet hair is left behind.

If you have leather furniture, use the appropriate cleaning method to revitalize your couch or chair for the holiday gatherings.

Prepare For the Holidays

There will be gifts to wrap, cards to sign, decorations to put up, and cookies to make. A good workspace will be needed for these activities.

Whatever space you choose, make it a rule to keep this area clean until the holidays are over.

Holiday Cleanup

When it's time to take down the holiday decorations make sure to organize them logically. Dust off the ornaments and decorations before storing them, this way you don't need to do when you're unpacking for next year's holiday season.

If you use and artificial tree and it's dusty, give it a shower. Stand it in the tub and turn the shower on and give it a light shower. Let it dry in the tub then store it away.

All those fancy table cloths you used - don't put them away dirty, send them to the dry cleaner before storing, same goes for the special holiday outfits.

Below are more cleaning tips that may come in handy and enjoy this beautiful time of year!
Dishwasher Cleaning Tips 
Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall House Cleaning Tips

Up to now, once-a-year cleaning chores had been carried out in the spring. Through the years, I have gradually shifted many of these to the fall. It simply makes more sense.

For those who have family or friends over for Thanksgiving or winter holidays, fall is the ideal time to perform these things.

It's going to ensure you have a cleaner home and don't wind up putting things off until the last minute. It makes all the holiday seasons a lot less nerve-racking!

The Three Big Fall Jobs

Clean The Carpets

According to carpet industry experts, you should have the carpets professionally cleaned every 6-18 months depending on the traffic in your home.
If you do it once a year, fall is the ideal time. Your carpets are going to be beautiful for holiday family get togethers and parties.

The majority of carpet cleaning businesses offer a special deal in which they will come back and deal with any stain within so many months of cleaning.

If you clean in the fall and one of the kids splatters cranberry sauce on the carpet at Thanksgiving, you are covered.

You should also allow them to professionally vacuum the carpet prior to cleaning. They are able to eliminate much more dirt than your vacuum can.

Clean The Attic

As soon as the weather cools down, it's actually the best time to get up in the attic and get rid of the dust and mildew!

All you need to do is take a vacuum up to the attic, begin with the ceilings, and work your way down.

If you have never been in the attic or simply don't want to do this project yourself (some attics involve some unsafe maneuvering), it is possible to hire someone to do it for you. 

The advantage is you will increase the quality of air inside the entire house. In addition, you will also have a thoroughly clean place for storage.

Make sure to use a dust mask and protective eyeglasses, especially if you have never cleaned your attic. You will produce a lot of particle clouds floating around up there!

Look for damp places caused by roof leaks.

Clean The Chandeliers And Light Fixtures

The beginning of fall is the best time to clean up chandeliers, light globes, and light diffusers. Maybe you are going to have people over for the holidays, and let's face it - that is the one time you see exactly how filthy your lights are!

The easiest method to clean a chandelier is to leave it where it is. Taking apart the chandelier creates a much bigger job, and you may not know how to put it all back together again!

Get yourself a step stool or a ladder and clean using a damp cloth. An additional method is by using two cotton gloves - one sprayed with window cleaner and one dry.

After that you should tackle the light globes on ceiling fans along with other fixtures. You should do a room at a time. Detach the globes carefully and allow them to soak while you're cleaning the room.

Rinse and wipe them clean and replace them after. It isn't hard, but most of us have a lot of light fixtures.

You are going to notice a change in lighting immediately. Don't forget the porch lights!

Additional Fall Cleaning Jobs


Read the labeling on your drapes. If they're machine washable, wash them on gentle cycle with Woolite or any other gentle detergent and let them hang dry.

If they are dry clean only, don't take any chances, bring them in to be cleaned.

Oven and Range

You most likely do this when needed, however this is an excellent time for you to do a thorough oven cleaning, particularly if you cook and bake a lot through the holidays.

Use a spray cleaner and let it sit overnight. Wipe clean in the morning. Starting with a clean oven will make it much easier to wipe the oven clean the day after Thanksgiving.

Remember to take off the range and oven knobs and dials and let them soak in soapy dishwater.

Refrigerator and Freezer

This is the time to do a thorough job where you take everything out and clean the shelves and drawers.

It won't take long enough to worry about any food spoiling if you just get in there and do it!

Use an antibacterial household cleaner and wipe down the shelves. Take the drawers out and wash them in the kitchen sink.

When you're done with these two tasks, take everything out of the freezer and put to one side of the sink. Use the same antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.

If you have ice cube trays, wash them in the top shelf of the dishwasher or let them soak in the sink.

Polish Silver

Many people just use their good silver around the holiday seasons, so this will be the ideal time to polish and shine silver serving pieces and tarnished silver flatware.

Furniture and Rugs

Move large furnishings and mop or vacuum underneath them. This particular task only has to be done once a year, so don't break your back doing this more frequently.

Turn over area rugs and vacuum the backside. This will help get any dirt and grime that is hiding at the base of the rug fibers.

Never beat an area rug to clean it. This can break down the rug backing and fibers.


Of course, fall is the time of year your gutters get packed with leaves. Clean them with a special hose attachment that has a hooked end to get down into the gutters.

Better yet, look into attaching "hoods" or "helmets" to the gutters so you won't have to worry as much about leaves in the future!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to Clean and Remove Stains From Upholstery

Upholstered furniture can be very expensive. If you have a couch, chair, loveseat, or other furnishings that is in good condition but just a little dirty, these upholstery cleaning tips will save you time and money.

Instead of going out looking for new furniture, you can clean an existing piece of furniture and be absolutely amazed at how incredible it looks. Even aged furniture can benefit from a good cleaning.

The main thing with upholstered furniture is choosing the appropriate type of cleaning method. For example, if you have an antique that has hand embroidered upholstery then it would require a different cleaning method than a sofa that was purchased from a store.

Here are a number of cleaning tips to make your job easy and get the dirt and stains out.

Get the Upholstery Stains Out.

Maintaining your furniture is just one aspect of having a clean and happy home. More families are moving away from the dinner table and eating on the sofa dropping bits of food and drinks that leave stains.

Then you have dirty feet and clothes that can leave the upholstery looking dirty and drab. As you will soon see, getting those stains out doesn't have to be a pain.

When cleaning upholstery, it's important to take into consideration the fabric. Check the manufacturer's information if you are unsure. It is also important and we recommend you first try an inconspicuous area to make sure there is no discoloration or damage to the fabric.

Below are some of the more common stains that can be found on upholstery and the methods to clean them.

Butter Stains.

It's movie night and the family is sitting on the couch eating hot, buttered popcorn. No matter how careful you are, pieces of popcorn can fall and leave a greasy stain.

For butter, the best solution is a dry cleaning solvent. This can be found at a grocery or retail store.

On a clean white cloth, apply a little solvent and blot the stain, don't rub just blot. Next, mix one tablespoon of a mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water, blot the stain. Using another clean cloth, wipe the solvent and detergent off with clean, warm water and allow the spot to dry.

Oily Cheese Stains.

Cheese is another food product that is frequently spilled on upholstery. Nachos are a favorite snack food but they leave stains.

For these oily cheese stains, mix one teaspoon of mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. With a clean, white cloth or towel, blot at the stain. Then mix one tablespoon of regular ammonia with one-half cup of water, blot the stain. Finally, with another clean cloth blot the stain with clean water to remove any detergent and ammonia and let area dry.

Ink Stains.

Coming home from school and doing homework on the couch or simply sitting on the couch with a pen in your pocket can leave behind an ink stain.

Ballpoint pens, especially blue, are very common stain makers but with this upholstery cleaning tip, they too will come out. However, the key here is to be patient and persistent. Ink stains can be stubborn. Make sure you only blot and don't rub. Rubbing can cause the ink stain to worsen.

Here are the options available for ink stains:
  • Spray hairspray on a clean, white cloth and dab at the stain. Follow this by blotting with a clean, dry towel.
  • On a clean white cloth, apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Again, blot the ink stain, followed by a clean, dry towel.
  • Again, using a clean, white cloth or towel, apply nail polish remover or acetone. Blot the ink stain from the outside edges toward the center.
  • Using a clean, white towel, apply spirits of turpentine. Blot as with the other treatment options.

 Coffee Stains.

For some of us, sipping coffee on an upholstered chair or sofa is everyday occurrence. To get rid of a coffee stain, mix one teaspoon of mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. Blot from the outside edge in toward the center.

Follow this with a mixture of one-third cup white vinegar and two-thirds cup water and blot the stain. When finished, use a clean, white towel to absorb any excess, allow the stained area to dry.

Because dust settles on fabric more than hard surfaces, keeping your upholstery clean is important. Regular cleanings will keep it looking and smelling fresh and clean.

As a general rule, we recommend you clean your upholstery furniture once every two months. Using the appropriate attachment from your vacuum makes this an easy chore.

By vacuuming regularly, this helps keep the dust off and will help your furniture last longer. When necessary, use the tips above for removing stains.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Moving – Packing Your Home

Moving is stressful and it’s a crazy time in your life. When you’ve lived in your home for many years you accumulate a lot of things that are personal to you, your grandchildren and children.

I have a friend who has been in their home for 13 years and they’re moving to a new state. Thankfully she started packing early because she had collections of cookware, china, stuff for the grandkids, a store worth of furniture, stored items in the shed, and so on.

When you move to a new state and you’re starting somewhere fresh, do you really want to bring all that stuff with you? No. You want to go through it first and see what goes, what gets donated, and what goes to family members.

Packing Tips

The problem is – you really do accumulate too much and because of this you don’t want to start packing a week before you move, start early, and give yourself at least a month so you can work on a little here and a little there.

Before you start packing and putting things in boxes ask yourself:
  • What do I need to take?
  • What can I give to others?
  •  What can I donate?
  •  How many of these do I really need?
Pack your things carefully and don’t worry about being excessive with the wrappings you use to protect your things. Be excessive I say!

What Will You Need?

Being prepared takes much of the stress off the packing process. If you have your boxes, paper towels, bins, tape, labels, pens, and wrapping materials ready to go – you’re half way there.

We used mostly medium sized moving boxes for everyday items and plastic containers for fragile items, cookware, and dishes and glasses. The plastics a bit more sturdy and you don’t have to worry about the bottom busting open and your breakables falling to pieces.

Large moving boxes were used for things that were tall like decorative shelves, hanging racks, curtain rods, etc. They were left light so the boxes were easy to carry.

Small moving boxes were used for books, movies and games, silverware, craft supplies and so on.

You can buy boxes or get them used. I would just suggest you stick to a few sizes so they pack nice and neatly in the truck. No willy nilly boxes to worry about falling and damaging the goods.

Going through all that Stuff!

As I mentioned above, there was stuff stored in the shed. This was one of the first things we did. It was fun looking in the boxes but we didn’t linger too long, we had a life to pack away after all.

Packing up the Shed

There were things of the kids; old school work, their artwork, mementoes, etc, clothes, old car parts, home d├ęcor stuff, and so much more. So what did we do?

  1. The memorabilia from the kids was packed into separate boxes and given to each of her kids. Her kids had homes of their own and were now saving papers from their kids. It seemed the most logical thing to do.
  2. Mechanical items that were no longer needed, nobody could use, or were just bad to start with, went to the scrap yard. As a matter of fact there is free pickup service if you don’t have the right transportation to get your junk to the scrap yard.
  3. Old wearable and in good shape clothing went to the thrift stores and some things were tossed.
  4. There were a lot of things dispersed amongst the kids like camping equipment, yard games that were bought with the grandkids in mind, chairs (OMG! Were there chairs, I didn’t know she had a fixation for chairs.)
When we were done, there really wasn’t much left to repack in boxes. Good thing, one thing done. Oh, and when you repack the boxes, tape them good and label them on the top and side.

Cleaning the Shed

Once the shed was empty we knocked down spider webs, used brooms to clean the walls and rafters and swept the floors.

The shed was large and had a lot of things in it but it ain’t as big as the house. And that is where we’re going next – oh boy!

Inside the House

Time to go through closets, look under beds and go through all the rooms.

Now keep in mind, all her packing was done over the course of at least a month. There is stress enough with leaving your home and family without having to rush and get the packing and cleaning done.

We went room by room, things that weren’t used, hardly used, or duplicates were set aside in piles of thrift store, give away, and items that weren’t in good condition were just tossed in the garbage.

Cleaning supplies, craft supplies, clothing, personal care supplies, all like items should be packed together. Try not to mix rooms together when packing; this will make it so much easier when you unpack. Label boxes clearly so when they get unpacked, you know just where they go and what room to put the boxes in.

If you have dressers, you don’t really need to unpack them and box them up. When you put a dresser in the moving truck, pull the drawers out, move the dresser to the truck, put the drawers back in and cover with a blanket, pad, or whatever protective covering you have.

For mirrors, curio cabinets, computer monitors, printers, etc. we used bubble wrap, then wrapped it in stretch plastic wrap.
For small, light dressers, we just used the stretch plastic wrap to keep the drawers closed. Tall lamps were wrapped in sheets and then the plastic wrap.

Remember the Essentials

Don’t forget you still need to eat and change your clothes, shower, etc. When we cleaned and packed the kitchen we left enough dishes, cooking essentials, silverware, etc. to tide my friend over until they moved. We moved them to a couple of shelves so the rest of the kitchen could be scrubbed and cleaned.

Most clothes were packed but enough left out for work, play, etc. Personal care products were left out and enough towels and bedding to get them through.

It will be easy enough to quickly pack these up and put them in the truck on moving day. If you pack these things last (if possible) they can be the first out and ready to use when you get to your new home.

Cleaning as You Go

So when a room was emptied, walls, closets, shelves, windows and window tracks, baseboards, fixtures and light switches were all washed and wiped down. Doors to bedrooms were closed to keep them cleaned.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Have a good sense of humor.
  • Wear a good pair of shoes. No walking around in socks, bare feet or slippers. I’m telling you, you will be banging into things.
  • It’s a good idea to wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt to avoid cuts and scratches.
  • If you have kids that have small kids in diapers, make sure you nab them before they go in the trash.
  • If you have small children, get a babysitter so you can work efficiently.
  • Keep like items together when you pack.
  • Keep room specific items together when you pack.
  • Clean before you pack.
  • Don’t forget to take a lunch break and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Reserve the moving truck at least three weeks in advance. You’d be surprised how many people use the large moving trucks (even in fall and winter months) and how few may be on site when you need one.
  • When you pack the truck, put the heavier boxes on the bottom.
  • Have plenty of blankets, packing pads, or sheets to protect your things.
  • Don’t forget to do a change of address.
  • Let friends, family, and co-workers know what your new address will be.
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    Friday, September 6, 2013

    15 Easy Ways To Motivate You to Start Cleaning

    Kids Playing with Water and DogWhat makes it easier for you to clean?

    What are some of the reasons why you clean? Here’s why I and others in my circle of friends and family clean.
    1. This one’s pretty obvious, it just looks better.
    2. Dirty dishes piled in the sink look bad and make me tired.
    3. Giving the bedroom a quick clean before bed eliminates tripping on the way to the bathroom
    4. It’s esthetically pleasing.
    5. A clean home smells fresh.
    6. I feel more efficient when the house is clean.
    7. If friends stop by unexpectedly. I don’t want them knowing my dirty little secrets.
    8. If I clean a little every day, and keep on top of it, I don’t have to do a major cleaning very often. (maybe until the holidays roll around.)
    9. I don’t like coming home to a messy house.
    10. If it’s clean and put away, I can’t break it. Therefore I don’t have to buy it again!
    11. I sleep better on clean sheets.
    12. I don’t feel stressed out.
    13. Company is coming.
    14. I've got energy or I'm bored and I don’t want to watch TV.
    15. I don't wear shoes in the house. I like knowing the floors are clean.

    What Inspires You to Clean?

    Now that we know why you clean, what inspires you to clean?
    1. The kids can play on the floor and I know it’s clean and no lurking dirt or grime getting on them or the toys.
    2. It’s therapeutic.
    3. Some of the reality TV shows I watch like Hoarders.
    4. A good cocktail!
    5. It’s a good excuse to turn the music up and listen to old time rock n roll.
    6. Out with the old, In with the new!
    7. Cleanings a good workout, the exercise of it.
    8. Money. We’re selling the house.
    9. My kids and being able to spend quality time with them, watching them have fun.
    10. I have pets and love them but I don’t like the smell.
    11. I’m inspired to get more furniture.
    12. My best friend’s house. It always looks and smells so clean and fresh.
    13. I know where things are. Yeah!
    14. It’s an inspiration to me when I get help cleaning.
    15. I’m inspired to deep clean and purge. Then go on a shopping trip.

    What are your reasons for cleaning and what inspires you?

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Summer Fun Kids & Germs

    Boy playing outside

    I have a few grandkids, but with the birth of the last one – cutest granddaughter ever by the way, but then aren’t they all? – it really hit me how important it is I help teach her about cleanliness. Especially now that she’s two, going to daycare, and coming home sick.

    I’m not a germaphobe but I am more cautious and I do notice how much I’ve stopped putting my hands on my face. I’m one of those when absorbed in working, I lean on an elbow and my face rests in my hand(s), near my mouth (Ick!).

    When you think about it, who knows what germs are on the surface of the computers keyboard, your cell phone, the loofah you shower with, the razor you shave with, etcetera and so on.

    Now that its summer (and where I’m at the temperatures have been soaring); I’m sure there are plenty of kids pleading for some pool time, outdoor activities, and other fun stuff. And who are we to spoil their fun and disappoint them?

    Spoiling the fun or not, here are some things you should be aware of. Its good information to have locked away in the deep, recesses of your mind.

    Public Pools, Hot Tubs, Recreational Water Parks

    When I was younger and my kids were little, hey, I had no problem taking a dip in the pool, jumping in with them and the hordes of others in the pool. I didn’t think much of the germs. Today, I’m picky about the pools I use. Why?

    Even though public pools are treated daily, chlorine doesn’t instantly kill the germs. According to the CDC:

    “There are germs today that are very tolerant to chlorine that were not known to cause human disease until recently. Once these germs get in the pool, it can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.

    The illnesses are called Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI).

    RWIs include a wide variety of infections, such as gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most common RWI is diarrhea.”

    Swimming is a healthy and fun way of getting exercise which is important for people of all ages. It’s also important we teach our kids how to swim, as drowning ranks fifth among the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

    Staying out of a pool is not always easy to do or even practical, especially when you’re trying to stay ahead of the heat.

    What Can You Do to Help Reduce the Risk of Public Pool Germs?

    Below is a list of the things you can do – and pass on to others – to help reduce the risk of germs your kids can get from swimming in public areas.

    •     No poo and pee. It doesn’t need to be in the water. Make sure you frequently take your younger children in for potty breaks.
    •     Make sure you (adults) frequently take bathroom breaks often. The CDC says every 60 minutes.
    •     Don’t swim if you’re sick or have diarrhea.
    •     Make sure you rinse before getting in the water – each time. The outdoor shower area is provided and is there for a reason.
    •     Wash your hands after potty breaks and after changing diapers.
    •     Don’t swallow the water.

    For more healthy swimming tips, take a look at the link below the CDC shares on “How We Can Prevent Recreational Water Illnesses.

    Playground Germs

    Playgrounds are another place we take our kids for summertime fun. Have you thought of the amount of germs these places have?

    Again, you can’t always avoid these places if you want your kids to have fun, but there are tons of germs you really should be aware of. Some are:

    •     Salmonella (bacterial disease of the intestinal tract)
    •     Shingella (bacteria that can infect the digestive tract and cause a wide range of symptoms, from diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, and nausea)
    •     Hepatitis Virus (Hep A)
    •     Norovirus (These viruses are transmitted through fecally contaminated food or water; personal contact; and contamination of surfaces)
    •     E.coli
    •     Staph
    •     And human feces (there’s that dreaded word again) on many surfaces.

    Kids and adults can ingest bacteria by putting hands in the mouth. Even though adults know better, you don’t think twice about kissing owies.

    What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Germs When Playing at the Park?

    Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of your kids picking up many of the germs hanging around parks.

    •     Teach your children good hygiene.
    •     Encourage them to wash their hands.
    •     Teach them to Not put their hands in their mouth.
    •     Sanitize their little hands often.
    •     Take them potty regularly.

    I have read where some people have said the sunlight and heat will kill germs but I don’t think I believe it. I mean if it was true, wouldn’t it kill all germs that come in contact with the heat and sunlight? And I don’t think that happens.

    Enjoy your summer, take these things into consider. Your kids should enjoy their youth but we can help keep them as healthy as we can.

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    A Bedroom Made Bright and Cheery

    This post isn’t about cleaning or organizing; it’s more about how I’ve been spending some of my time over the past weekends. Something different to write about but none-the-less – it was fun and enjoyable!

    Over the past couple of weekends I have been spending some time with a friend making over her daughter’s (I’ll call her Dee) bedroom.

    The three of us have been putting our heads together to make this a special room, we want it to be something that can grow with her yet easily be changed as she gets older.

    There were some requests Dee made. She wanted her favorite colors incorporated into the room - a light aqua blue, grey, and pink. She also wants a bright and cheery bedroom to match her personality.

    Our Plan for Brightening up the Bedroom

    After much discussion, we decided we would paint the walls, trim, and window sill white. White is a color that will brighten up a room bright.

    The majority of the color used would be the light blue.

    • We bought blue curtains for the windows that had a very subtle floral pattern.
    • We also repurposed the old toy box by painting the outside blue and the interior light grey. This will be used at the end of the bed for storage.
    • We also painted the bedframe blue and topped it with a beautiful quilted white coverlet that has a scalloped edge.
    • We bought matching blue pillows (one with soft pink flowers on it) and sheets – we also made a couple of burlap pillows that looked really good with the blue. We also found a set of lamps that have a light blue glass base and white shades.

    Another color used was light grey. We had a dresser and nightstand we painted then bought some larger grey pillows that could be thrown on the floor for getting comfy when Dee has her friends over.

    We accessorized with fresh pink flowers that will hopefully be changed on a regular basis.

    We bought most of our things at Pier 1 Imports and online from Amazon. My camera died so below are some of the things we bought. Life is busy, I'll try and remember to get pictures posted later.

    I think we gave Dee a good start with a palette that can easily be updated and mixed with other colors as her style changes.

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    How to Get Rid of Smells in the House

    We’ve talked quite a bit about getting rid of smells around the house. I have a touchy nose – it picks up the slightest of smells.

    If you have a nose like mine, you know what I’m talking about and if you’re like me, you keep a clean house so where do those disturbing little smells come from?

    Below are some common and not-so-common things around the house that cause bad smells and natural ways to send them to the bye bye world.

    Bring in the Fresh Air!

    This is one of the first things I do when weather permits. I open the windows and doors (with screens so my cats don’t get out) and let the fresh air in while I’m cleaning.

    Keep the Vacuum Cleaner Clean!

    OK, we all know the importance of vacuuming on a regular basis and changing the bag regularly (if you have one) but some things a lot of us don’t think about doing are:

    • Keep the bag compartment or dirt container (for bagless machines) clean.
    • Clean the filter on occasion how the manufacturer recommends.
    • Keep the beater bar and the area it sits in clean.
    • Occasionally wash the hoses and accessories you use. I use a baby bottle cleaner that I attach to a wooden dowel for cleaning out long hoses. Don’t wet the parts of the vacuum with wiring or that are permanently attached.
    • Take a cotton ball and soak it in essential oil to freshen as you vacuum. My vacuum has a bag so I place it in the bottom of the compartment were the bag is.

    Do not have the vacuum plugged in while cleaning. I clean my parts with warm soapy water. Make sure they are completely dry before using.

    Keep Vent Covers Clean

    How many of you keep the vent covers clean? How many of you really think about it? It’s something I’d easily forget about myself. Have you paid much attention to the vent cover in the bathroom? It can get caked with hairspray, dust, stray hairs, pet hair, etc.

    Other vent covers throughout the house can get caked with dust and give off a musty smell when not cleaned. Some vent covers will need to be unscrewed while others can be lifted from the floor.

    Washing Vent Covers

    • Fill enough of the bathtub with warm soapy water to cover the vent covers. I usually do three or four of the smaller vent covers at a time.
    • Let them soak for about a half hour then come back and give them a good scrubbing with the scrub brush or a sponge.
    • Rinse and dry then replace when completely dry.

    If necessary, empty then fill the tub again for the remaining vent covers.

    Wash Your Kitchen Sponge

    It’s amazing how quickly a sponge can start to smell. You only use it a few times and the smell begins and bacteria starts to thrive.

    I don’t use a kitchen sponge anymore, I use a chamois or dish clothes where I can toss them in the laundry and wash them regularly.

    If you still use a sponge they can be washed when you do a load of whites with a little bleach added or washed in the dishwasher.

    When I did use a sponge I washed them once a week and tossed them out every month or two and replaced with a new one.

    Clean Light Bulbs and Lamp Shades

    Another little something we tend to forget about is light bulbs and lamp shades. When dust cakes on a light bulb it gives off a burning dusty smell and lamp shades smell dirty.

    I have some old glass lamp shades that can also get a burning dusty smell from the heat of the light bulb so these need to be dusted regularly and I wash them once a month.

    Dirty, Dusty Light Bulbs

    • Turn the light off and let the light bulb cool down.
    • Remove light bulb and wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth.
    • After cleaning, dry with a dry microfiber cloth.

    Dusting Light Bulbs

    When I dust rooms I always dust off light bulbs, it’s so easy to do – why not?

    Cloth or Paper Lamp Shades

    Dusting regularly with a whisk broom, swiffer - or if the lamp shade can withstand it – using the upholstery attachment and vacuuming weekly, is the best way to keep the dust down.

    Plastic Lamp Shades

    Dust regularly or remove to wash in warm, soapy water with a mild soap. Dry completely before replacing.

    Clean the Dishwasher

    Even though we use the dishwasher multiple times throughout the week with dishwashing detergent does not mean that it keeps your dishwasher fresh and clean. Any environment that is regularly warm, moist, and dark is a place for bacteria to form and cause odors to happen, so what do you do?

    • Clean the food trap out and check drains.
    • Clean around the rubber seal and hinges with an old toothbrush.
    • Occasionally place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Use the hottest water available and run the dishwasher through a cycle.
    • You can also sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot cycle.

    Even if the manufacturer states you don’t need to rinse food from plates, I still do. No dishwasher is perfect and if I don’t run a cycle for a couple of days then I have no hard stuck on food to wash off after I have washed the dishes!

    Make Your Own Air Freshener

    Making your own air fresheners is fun and there are so many combinations. Here is a couple for you to try:

    Doo Doo Odors

    This is a recipe for Doo Doo Drops I found on the internet some time ago that I’ll share with you as it was shared with me and many others. I keep one by every toilet in the house.

    Here’s what you’ll need to add to a small spray bottle:

    • 1 cup water
    • 10 drops Bergamot essential oil
    • 10 drops Grapefruit essential oil
    • 10 drops Lemongrass essential oil

    Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake to thoroughly mix together. Shake prior to use as well.

    To use, simply spray about three times in the toilet before you doo what nature is calling for. Viola!

    Essential Oil Room Freshener

    This is a quick and easy way to get the rooms in your home smelling just the way you want.

    For this recipe all you will need is a small jar with a lid (like a baby food container or small mason jar), cotton balls, and your favorite essential oils.

    • All you have to do is take a couple of cotton balls and mix them in the jar with one teaspoon of your essential oil.
    • Poke holes in the lid of the jar to release the scent.

    Some essential oils are: lavender, sandalwood, pine, patchouli, a citrus scent, etc.

    Essential Oil Spray Room Freshener

    You can go to a craft store and buy a spray bottle or you can save and wash out one of your old body spray bottles.

    • Fill your spray bottle with one cup distilled water.
    • Add in 20 drops essential oil and shake well to mix. (you can add more if needed)
    • Shake bottle prior to each use.

    More essential oil choices are: lavender, orange, lemon, cinnamon, grapefruit, rosemary, coconut oil, etc.

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Cleaning Dirty Paint Brushes

    There are many different types of paints and paint brushes that are made to use with the different types of paints that may require a certain kind of brush fiber to be used.

    Because of this, when cleaning your brush, there is more than one way that is required to remove the paint from the brush.

    Let’s look at the different types of paints, brushes, and bristles used.


    Acrylic, Acoustic, Gloss, Latex, Matte, Oil Based, Primer, Resin, Rubber-based, Semi-Gloss, Textured, and Water Based


    Angular, Angle Flat, Bright, Chinese Bristle Brush, Chisel Blender, Filbert, Flat, Flathead, Oval Wash, Pointed Round, and Round


    Natural hair bristles from animals: badgers, camel, hogs, and sable.

    Synthetic hair bristles are made from polyester and nylon.

    Flagged synthetic bristles are typically made from nylon with split bristle ends. This helps to hold paint on the brush. These types of brushes are usually used with a Latex based paint.

    Now let’s take a look at some of the cleaning solutions.

    Cleaning a Paint Brush

    Keep this in mind before you soak your paint brush - use only enough cleaning solution to cover the bristles. You don’t want to soak the ferrule (the metal band).

    Oil and Latex Paints

    Brushes can be cleaned with the use of mineral spirits, acetone or turpentine.

    Water Based Paint

    Clean brushes with warm water and soap.

    If there is any paint that is hard to remove from the bristles, use a paint brush comb.

    How to Clean a Wet Paint Brush

    Remember, you can always check the back and the paint can for instructions and the suggested cleaning method for the paint you use.

    Here is a list of things you should remember as well:

    • Before cleaning, wipe off as much of the excess paint as you can. You can do this on newspaper, a paint cloth, etc.
    • Unless you’ve had a large painting party, only a small container is necessary to hold the cleaning solution you’ll be using. I use an old coffee can I’ve had for years.
    • Wear protective eye-wear and gloves when using solvents.
    • Clean brushes in a well-ventilated place. I typically clean mine outside.

    Let’s get to cleaning those brushes!

      1.   Put the brush in the cleaning solution until the bristles are covered and swish the brush around.
      2.   Occasionally stop and squeeze the paint from the bristles either by squeezing from top to bottom with your hands or by swiping on the side of the container.
      3.   Use the paint brush comb to get out any bits of paint that are stuck on the bristles.
      4.   Continue with the steps above until the brush is clean.
      5.   When finished, lay brush flat on paper towels and let air dry.
      Here’s an easy tip for storing your brush at the end of the day when you’re not finished painting and will be picking up where you left off the next day.

      I have done this many times and it’s saved me from having to clean the paint brush every night.

        1.  Wrap the brush in a saran wrap and make sure it’s sealed so no air seeps in.
        2.  Wrap it in aluminum foil over the plastic wrap and again, seal well.
        3.  Store in freezer.
        Before you’re ready to paint the next day, take your brush out of the freezer to thaw and paint as usual.

        Storing Your Clean Paint Brush

        Store the paint brush either by hanging it on a peg, laying it flat so the bristles don’t bend, and store them in the jacket they came in if you still have it to keep the bristles close together.

        You can also put a touch of Vaseline on the bristles after cleaning and storing. If you do this, remember to rinse the bristles with paint thinner before you paint.

        Thursday, April 25, 2013

        The Delights of Warm Weather

        I was sitting down getting ready to write a post for you all about cleaning tips but the sun is beckoning and felt I had to say a little something about how the warm weather makes me feel.

        It’s the end of April in my neck of the woods and we have been having some wonderfully warm sunny days. It won’t be the end of the rainy days but Oh! How we Are loving it!

        Some of my flowers are blooming, leaves are green, the butterflies are out, windows are open; the fresh, warm air is like being wrapped in a blanket.

        Isn’t it amazing how a beautiful day can do so much to lift your spirits and help you see things in a whole new light?

        The sun feels so good; I’ve started wearing my shorts and tank tops, even if only for a short time I know summer will be here soon and it will be part of my daily attire.

        I love the simplicity of summer, the slower pace in which my life moves and that I have the time to “stop and smell the roses”.

        Being outdoors more often, tending my gardens, and walking with my camera around my neck snapping pictures are just some of the things I enjoy about warm weather.

        Tuesday, April 16, 2013

        Benefits of Hiring a Professional Cleaning Company

        There are many reasons why you should consider hiring a professional cleaning company to come in and clean your home.

        Your home is being cleaned by a professional company. That’s right. A professionally trained team of typically two or three will come in and clean your home. Instead of you spending the day making your home spotless, you’re letting the pro’s do it for you while you get to relax.

        An established company provides stability, has the necessary insurance and bonds in place, and will send out qualified, trusted and background checked employees.

        It’s important you hire a cleaning service that complies with all state and federal laws.

        It’s your Choice, What do you Want?

        When you hire a professional cleaning company, you have the freedom to pick the time that works best for you and the day. You also choose the type of service you would like to have done; one that fits your budget.

        You can get on a regular cleaning schedule, a one-time only cleaning, or just have a cleaning done occasionally – one that fits your budget. It’s your choice to have it your way.

        Different types of Cleaning Services

        Most cleaning companies have a number of cleaning services available.

        •     Office Cleaning
        •     Condo Cleaning
        •     Spring Cleaning
        •     Deep Cleaning
        •     Move in Cleaning
        •     Move out Cleaning

        Hiring a cleaning company will get you out of the house. And while you’re out getting pampered or having lunch with a friend, a cleaning company will do the work for you and you get to come home and relax.

        Professional cleaning companies are also up-to-date on the latest cleaning methods and products.

        A Professional company brings all the Supplies and Equipment

        Most companies provide the cleaning products and equipment to save the client's time and expense. Employees are specifically trained on how to use all products effectively.

        A variety of cleaning agents are used: Commercial cleaners, earth-friendly products and well-known brands. If requested, a client can leave a product out for a company to use, most are flexible.

        These are some of the reasons why you might want to hire a professional cleaning company. Take a break - you deserve it.

        Wednesday, April 3, 2013

        Keeping a Clean, Organized House using Dump Baskets

        I like a clean and tidy house and I like coming home to a clean house, not a whirlwind of disorganized stuff.

        It wasn't always like that though, I mean I kept a clean house but there were days that would get away from us. We'd get busy with kids, school, work and Wham! the mess was there.

        I'd come home and there'd be stuff covering the counters or the desk was messy and I didn't want to sit and pay bills. My thoughts felt as scattered as the contents in my home.

        That's about the time we incorporated "Dump Baskets".

        What is a Dump Basket?

        A dump basket is a tool to help keep the house clean and organized. You place them in areas of the house where things tend to get dumped. Then one day (or days) you put the contents from the dump basket where they belong.

        This saves you time and energy during the week to relax and not worry so much about picking up after everyone.

        A dump basket can be of any size, rectangular, square, circular, and design to fit in with your decor.

        Where do you put a Dump Basket?

        Before you buy, take some time to figure out all the areas of the house where your baskets need to be placed.

        For example:

        In the living area to catch toys, magazines, clothing items, etc.
        One in the kitchen for mail, newspaper, pens, etc.
        One in the front hall for keys, wallets, phones, etc.

        In the living and bedroom areas it makes more sense to have larger baskets, maybe a medium sized basket somewhere in the kitchen, and so on.

        Give this idea a try and you might be surprised how efficiently dump baskets can work!

        Friday, March 8, 2013

        Mrs Cleans Favorite Laundry Products

        I have a daughter that has extremely sensitive skin. She would break out with random skin rashes, hives, and other breakouts. We weren’t really sure what the cause was.

        We did the usual:
        • went to the dermatologist
        • tried specialty skin care products
        • eliminating foods and fabrics
        • changing our laundry products and on and on
        When we went to the dermatologist, he prescribed a high strength corto steroid cream. It actually breaks down collagen and can only be used for 10 days at a time. Why would you want to put that on your skin?

        It finally struck me (as I was folding laundry) and noticed a heavy fabric softener residue on the towels that my daughter was adding excessive amounts to the laundry.

        Because fabric softeners are loaded with chemicals, we wondered if that couldn’t be the problem she was having with her skin. I mean its common sense that using these chemical ridden products; they can leave a residue on your skin and cause a reaction!

        This is especially true for those who already have sensitive skin and are more susceptible to problems.

        What did we Do?

        We decided to eliminate anything that left a chemical residue on our washed items and resolved to use safe and natural products that would clean just as well and leave our clothing and linens soft and clean without using the chemicals.

        What do we use Now?

        Here’s a current laundry list of products we use to wash and dry our clothes.

        • Baking soda
        • Borax
        • Washing soda
        • Vinegar
        • Woolzie or tennis ball
        • Regular laundry detergent

        How to make your own Laundry Detergent

        My daughter decided she was going to make her own laundry detergent, when she went to the store, she actually found these items side by side on the store shelf.

        • 1 bar Fels Naptha (shaved)
        • 2 cups washing soda
        • 2 cups of borax

        It’s a good idea to wear safety glasses while mixing ingredients. If you don’t have enough of the washing soda, you can use 1 cup washing soda and 2 cups baking soda.

        When you’re ready to wash, all you need is one tablespoon of your homemade laundry detergent per regular load of wash. And – this is safe for use in high efficiency washing machines.

        This can take time and for those of you that don’t have the time to make a product at home, we have been using a Costco premium brand laundry detergent that contains no dyes and perfumes.

        White Vinegar

        I can’t sing enough praises about white vinegar and its many uses. We also use white vinegar in the wash for stain removal, and to naturally remove static cling and soften laundry

        • To use for static cling and as a fabric softener, add 1/ 2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

        When you add vinegar to the rinse cycle you also get the added benefit of it breaking down and dissolving any alkalis that can be present in your detergent.

        If you have hard water, vinegar can help prevent hard water build up in the washer. 

        Washing Soda

        Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is similar to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) only more powerful (twice the power).

        When added to laundry with your regular detergent, washing soda (alkaline) is a great booster for getting clothes cleaner, softening the water, and cutting through grease.

        • All it takes is 1/ 2 cup for a regular load of laundry to super charge your detergent.
        • For grease and food stains (common in our house), mix 4 tablespoons washing soda into a thin paste with water. Dampen the stained area and rub the paste into the stain.

        Washing soda is caustic and gloves should be worn while mixing. Don’t use on delicate fabrics or wool. When used repeated over time, washing soda could fade clothing.

        Baking Soda

        As we mention above, baking soda (alkaline) and washing soda are similar. Baking soda is an excellent natural deodorizer stopping odors caused by bacteria.

        It will also stabilize the waters pH levels and soften the water. This helps make your laundry detergent more effective. Just add (again) 1/ 2 cup to your regular detergent.


        The 20 Mule kind. Borax (alkaline) is a natural mineral, like the other items we mention above, and a great way to add extra cleaning power (add 1/ 2 cup) to your laundry detergent and condition and soften the water.

        Borax can help whiten whites, remove soapy residue from clothing and disinfect. But, not only can it help boost the detergents effectiveness, it can help get rid of greasy oily stains as well.

        • Sprinkle Borax on the stained area then add some Dawn dish soap and gently mix into stain with an old toothbrush.
        • Let sit a few minutes and wash in the warmest water the clothing item can take. Refer to the label if you’re unsure.

        Drying and Softening your Laundry

        Woolzies are 100 percent pure handmade wool dryer balls. We buy ours in a box of 6 from Amazon. We are on the first set of 6 and have been using it for about 6 months now and I suspect we will be able to continue using them for many, many, more months.

        They are still working like day one, exceeding our expectations, and our laundry is so soft. Even though they are made from wool, they don’t shed, and the fact they are chemical free – well how perfect is that?

        Clean and Deodorizing a Bad Smell in your Washer

        To clean and deodorize the washing machine use a combination of white vinegar and baking soda.

        • First you need to set the washer to a hot setting and a large load. Let it run until the machine is full of water and just starts to agitate.
        • At this point, stop the machine and add 3 to 4 cups white vinegar. Turn the machine back on and let it go through the agitation process.
        • Stop the machine again and allow the vinegar to sit and penetrate any grimy buildup in the washing machine for at least an hour.
        • Restart the machine and let it complete the cycle. When it’s finished, wipe down with a towel.

        These are the laundry products that we use in the house of Mrs. Clean. They are all earth friendly and natural and my daughters skin issues are clearing up.

        Friday, March 1, 2013

        Cleaning Chore Lists for Kids

        Free Kids Chore List

        Here is a free and handy chore list for young children around the ages of 4 and 5.

        These are easy chores to help your kids get started with responsibilities. And at this age they are motivated and still think it's fun to help you out around the house.

        How the Chore Chart Works

        The chores are listed in rows and the days are in columns. Mark an X in the row under the day it should be finished or if you have more than one child, write their name in a square. All your kids have to do is look at the chart to know what they have to do and on what day.

        Many kids by the age of four are learning or know the days of the week so they may not need anymore help than you showing them how the chore should be done.

        When the chore is complete, your child can put a Sticker where chores have been completed.

        Your kids will feel a sense of accomplishment when they've done something without being told to do it!

        Clean Room: picking up and putting away toys, clothes, books, making the bed, dusting, putting clothes in the dirty clothes basket.
        Make dusting fun - use an old sock the kids can put on their hand and dust away.

        Put Toys Away: many kids have toys not only in the bedroom but the family room or living room. They should also put these away in the specified location for that room.

        Sorting Laundry: whites, darks, towels, etc.

        Get your Kids in on the Planning

        Here are some ways you can help your kids get more involved in the planning of their chores, these ideas can help make it more fun for them, make them feel responsible!

        1. Let your kids pick the chore
        2. and the day it should be completed by
        The days of the week are spelled out in the download version of this Chore List.

        Kids Chore List








        Clean Room

        Put Toys Away

        Feed Pets

        Sort Laundry

        Put the Dishes Away

        Take Out Trash

        Download Free Kids Chore List free.

        More Age Appropriate Chore Ideas:

        Here are a few more ideas kids in this age bracket can help you with:
        • Bringing in the groceries.
        • Putting the groceries away.
        • Set the table.
        • Help cleaning the floors.
         These can be added to the list or replace another item from the list after you have downloaded it.


        Thursday, February 7, 2013

        Organizing the Garage

        Do you have a garage that has so much stuff in it you can’t park your car there? Isn’t it amazing how quickly stuff can take over a space if not maintained on a regular basis?

        My daughter is going through this problem right now. They have so much stuff on one side of the garage; you can barely walk to the spare fridge.

        They have gone through and organized the inside of the house. They’ve packed up stuff for the thrift store, piled stuff that goes to the dump, and created more piles for the things they want to store in the shed – all this put (or dumped) into the garage.

        Part of the problem – they are piling on top of piles from the last time they cleaned out the house.

        Now my daughter isn’t a messy person, her home is clean, she’s compulsively clean. But now she is so overwhelmed she’s stressing out, having anxiety issues because of the mess, and she just hasn’t had the time (with work, two kids - one of them actively in sports – and hubby working all the time) to do much about it.

        They really need to organize and clean the one side of the garage. They need to be able to move around and get to things and for the car to be back in the garage.

        My daughter needs to have a stress free (or less than it is now anyway) life.

        I offered to come over and help my daughter get started. I’ve now helped a few times, the first time I could only stay a couple of hours and we barely put a dent in it. We did a lot better the other two times.

        Their garage has been cleaned up and organized in a way that should be easy to maintain. We were in for a lot of rain so we couldn’t take things outside, in the beginning we had to move around the clutter but it quickly got easier.

        So what did we do?

        Recycle, recycled Boxes

        To start we reused some of the boxes designated for the dump. We used these for garbage and for items that would end up at the thrift store or books to be brought to Half Price Books.

        Clear plastic containers for Storage

        Quite a bit of the stuff we were going through was also to keep and designated for the shed. As we were going through the boxes and bags of stuff in the garage – we had our recycled boxes for trash and donating.

        The things we kept went into clear storage containers so she could easily now where to go to find something.
        We also labeled each container with the contents.We bought these before we started in a few various sizes.

        What went in the containers we bought for storing?

        •    There was a container for each of the kid’s keepsakes.
        •    A container for books to be kept.
        •    Appropriate sized containers for photos.
        •    Baby clothes to be stored.
        •    Yard games and toys.
        •    Seasonal clothing items.
        •    Spare car parts, etc.

        Storing more Accessible Items

        My daughter’s house isn’t a large house so there are some things that needed to be stored in the garage that they could get to easily like movies, vases, things for cleaning, etc.

        There are also things for the garage that need to stay in the garage like stuff for working on cars, laundry items, sporting equipment and yard items that get used on a regular basis.

        What did we do for these items?

        We went out and purchased some shelving and we also used more of the storage containers. We also recycled a dresser and a hutch that was going to go to the thrift store.

        Recycled Furniture

        Their home is older and the garage is deep and wide, so we put the dresser and hutch together on the side and put DVDs, vases, yard tools, outside toys and sporting equipment that is used frequently, coveralls, exercise items, etc.


        The shelving we bought we put floor to within arm’s reach. We used some of the shelving space for blankets/sheets/comforters stored in the containers, shoes and boots, pantry items, games, seasonal decorations, car washing stuff, and pet supplies.


        The washer and dryer are out in the garage and they also have a utility sink. There are things like laundry soap on the dryer and pet supplies under the sink so we bought a couple of cabinets (where before there was an old shelf ready to fall off the wall) and put up a new shelf above the sink.

        Now the laundry supplies, cans of paint, are placed nicely in the cabinet and out-of-the-way and the Goop has a shelf to sit on.

        Their garage is now clean and accessible and they can park the car inside. We accomplished what we set out to do and you can too!

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