The Family Command Center – One Spot To Keep You Organized

I originally wrote this article for the February issue of the Homemaker’s Hutch digital magazine but wanted to share it with you here as well. 

As your family grows and the kids get older, it starts to get harder and harder to keep track of everything that’s going on. There are school functions, doctor’s appointments, play dates, after-school activities, PTA meetings, book clubs, library book due dates and business trips to keep track of. Then there are phone messages and the likes.

It can be hard to keep track of everything including the everyday stuff like meal plans, shopping lists, bills to pay, homework and the likes. The solution to tame the chaos? A Family Command Center.

The Family Command Center is simply a spot to keep you (and the rest of your family) organized. It’s where you want to keep all essential information to keep things running smoothly.

How Much Room Do You Need

Your command center can take as much or as little room as you can afford. It could be as simple as a drawer in the kitchen and a dry erase board on the fridge, or it can take over a corner of your living room or home office. Like many things it will grow to fill the space you allot to it. At the very least you want a binder or box to keep paperwork in and a notepad or dry erase board. A calendar will come in handy too.

Finding A Central Location

One of the first things you want to determine is where to put your command center. You want a central location that everyone in the household frequents already. This will ensure that important documents and messages are dropped off and that everyone sees any messages on your calendar or message board several times a day.

Our top spots for this are the kitchen and the living room. A small table or desk in the entry way may also work. In the end, the most crucial part is to pick a spot and get everyone into the habit of using it.

What To Keep In Your Family Command Center

We already touched on this but some of the things you want in your command center are as follows.

  • Calendar with any pertinent dates filled out.
  • School info and assignments.
  • Doctor, Hospital and general medical information.
  • Ongoing shopping list.
  • Weekly meal plan
  • Permission slips, report cards and other important school documents.
  • Emergency contact information.
  • Insurance information.
  • Cleaning schedule.
  • Daily and weekly chore schedule
  • Weekend plans

Of course you are going to want to customize this to your own family’s needs.

A Mobile Command Center

What do you do if you’re living in a very tight space, or you need to carry the most important information with you at all times (because you travel, are running around town with the kids all day etc). You make a mobile command center of course. This could be nothing more than your smart phone and a small organizer. Keep all important paperwork in the organizer and all other digital information on your phone. A Google Calendar can be very helpful and can be shared with everyone in the family. Create an email folder or label for family specific information and scan in (or photograph) important documents (like insurance cards, contact info etc.).

Set aside a little time this month to start setting up your own family command center. Take it for a test drive for a week or two and make tweaks to it as needed. Yes, it’s a little extra work up-front, but it will safe you so much time and headache in the long run when you no longer have to run around to hunt down important information or are trying to remember when that school field trip was.

The Kitchen Command Center

10 Easy Ways To Freshen Up Your Home Any Time

Spring is the perfect time to freshen up your home. It’s a time of change, renewal and warmer days. Once spring cleaning is done consider one of these ten easy ways to add a fresh touch to your home.

1. Open the windows

During the winter months the windows stay closed. Your indoor air becomes stale. In fact, indoor pollution is much worse during the winter months. Simply opening the windows can add a lot of energy to your home. Open the curtains to let the sunlight in too. It’ll refresh your home and your spirits.

10 Easy Ways To Freshen Up Your Home Any Time2. Use essential oils

Essential oils are great for aromatherapy and room fresheners. You can place a few drops of your favorite oil in a bowl of water. You can place a few drops on a basket of rocks. You can even use a diffuser or a room spray. Good spring scents include lavender, verbena, lemon, orange and grapefruit.

3. Burn a soy candle

If essential oils are too much effort, grab a soy candle. Soy burns without emitting toxins into the air. And they come in a wide variety of scents. You can purchase several candles and use them to accessorize too.

4. Steam the carpets

If steam cleaning your carpets wasn’t part of your spring cleaning efforts, then consider steam cleaning them. It gets rid of the stale smells left over from winter. They’re bright, soft and ready for spring. It’s a simple way to freshen up your home.

5. Flowers

Flowers lighten and brighten a whole room. And they don’t have to cost a fortune. You can grab a beautiful bouquet at your local supermarket for under ten dollars. Place them in a glass bowl, vase or pitcher for a simple touch of spring.

6. Rearrange

Moving your furniture around changes an entire room’s look and feel. It’s a simple process that takes less than thirty minutes and it can have a dramatic effect. IF you’re looking but a simple yet powerful change, this is the step to take.

7. Add new accessories

Rug, vases, pillow and throw blankets can all add a new look to your home. Look for spring colors and patterns. For example, a robin’s egg blue throw on a black couch with a few spring pillows lightens and brightens a room.

8. Buy a plant

Plants are an easy way to bring nature indoors. If you don’t have a green thumb consider silk plants. They offer the same look with less maintenance. However, a live plant does offer air cleaning benefits.

9. Change your art

If you have art on your walls you can freshen up your room by changing it. You can buy new items or you can simply move the art around.

10. Fresh paint

A simple coat of paint can change your home’s look and feel. If you’ve been considering painting, now is the time. You can paint an entire room. Or you might decide to paint a single wall for an accent.

Freshening up your home doesn’t have to involve a total redo. A few simple steps can wipe out the last remnants of winter and welcome spring with open arms. Paint, accessorize, and add the scents and look of spring to your home.

10 New Habits For A Clean House

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to spring clean don’t you wish your home would stay that clean? It can. With a few new habits you can keep your home sparkling clean.

1. Pick up after yourself

Much of the mess in your home is likely self inflicted. Do you set things down with a quiet promise that you’ll get to them later? Instead of adding extra work for yourself or letting the clutter accumulate, put things where they belong the first time.

2. Make your bed

It seems like such a simple thing but making your bed can set the standard for the day. And you don’t have to set hospital corners when you make your bed. You can simply straighten the covers and fluff the pillows.

10 New Habits For A Clean House3. Clean as you go

How many times do you set things down and leave them for later? For example, when you’re making something in the kitchen do you leave the mess to clean up later? Or do you clean as you go? Cleaning as you go helps you control mess. It also means you don’t have an overwhelming clean up job when you’re done.

4. Corral clutter

Many organization experts recommend a clutter coral. This is generally a box where items can be placed. Then, at the end of the day, you put those items where they belong. If you live with others or have a family this is a good job for them to tackle. Let your children and spouse put things away before they go to bed.

5. Go to bed clean

Generally there is a room in the house where clutter gathers. Spend ten minutes at the beginning or end of each day and pick up. Make it part of your day and you can wake up knowing your home is clean and clutter free.

6. Enlist help

Make your family responsible for tasks and rooms. They can spend ten minutes each night straightening a room. It’s a fast way to make sure your home stays clean and clutter free.

7. Assign a day

Give each room in your home a day for cleaning. While straightening is done every day, the deep cleaning shouldn’t need more than one time a week. And if you’re enlisting help from your family then they can each tackle a room.

8. Keep cleaning products handy

Find or buy a tote bag or bin for each room. Place the cleaners for that room in the tote. Then tuck the tote away. For example, your kitchen cleaners can be stored under your sink. Your bathroom cleaners can be stored in your linen closet and so on.

9. Make it part of the routine

Make cleaning and straightening part of your routine. Each night for example, load and run the dishwasher. Hand wash any dishes. Set the coffee pot to brew ten minutes before you wake and then go to bed. It’ll only take you ten to fifteen minutes each night and it can become part of your bedtime routine. You’ll have the joy of waking each day to a fresh pot of coffee and a clean kitchen.

10. Simplify

The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. Look around your home and see where you can simplify your life.

These ten habits can change the way you clean your home. They save you energy. They eliminate the stress of a messy home and they help you include the entire family in the household responsibilities. Most importantly, they help you spend less time cleaning and more time on life’s more important tasks and joys.

5 Ways To Tame The Clutter In Your Home

Clutter has a way of taking over a home. If you don’t address it and create systems to keep it controlled, it can become overwhelming. It’s why there are so many organization homes and experts. Well you don’t need to watch a television show to get control. Here are five tips and strategies for taming that clutter that seems to take over our homes: 1. Sort with a four container method The four container method helps you clean any room and eliminate clutter. Start with an easy task like a closet. Create four containers. Label them: “keep”, “toss,” “donate,” and “sell.” If you’re not interested in having a garage sale or consignment then use a three container system and eliminate “sell.” Make sure you have a place to put everything you keep. 5 Ways To Tame The Clutter In Your Home 2. Use a three tiered system A tiered system embraces the concept that the only thing that should be in sight are things you

need often. For example, in your living room you might need to keep the television remotes handy. Other things like DVDs can be second tier items which can be in a cabinet. First tier items should be within arm’s reach. Second tier items can be in the same room but in organized cabinets or drawers. Third tier items are items you don’t need often, like the warranty on your television or the operating instructions. These items don’t have to be in your living room. You can store them in a file cabinet in your home office or basement closet. 3. Assign labels When organizing items, use labels. Label by category, date, or item. Use labels in your closet, refrigerator/freezer, pantry, and of course in your home office files. Make sure your family understands the labels and puts things where they belong. 4. Catch-all boxes Create boxes or baskets for each room. Use the baskets to collect items that don’t belong in that room. For example, if you find a pair of socks or a book in the living room they can go in the basket. Each night clean out the basket and put things where they belong. This prevents clutter from accumulating. 5. Cleaning rituals Consider creating cleaning rituals. For example, make your bed in the morning. Clean the kitchen before you go to bed. Put things away after you use them. And of course encourage others in your home to do the same. When everything has a place and that place is easily recognizable then it’s easy to make sure clutter doesn’t accumulate. Getting rid of the clutter is only the first step. Once it is gone, create systems to keep it clean. Label storage areas. Create storage systems that make sense. Don’t buy more unless you’re willing to get rid of more. Make sure that everyone in your home is on board with your clutter elimination plan. To your clutter free success!

Clutter Elimination With The Four Container Method

Has clutter taken over your home? If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by clutter it’s time to get rid of it. However, sometimes just looking at the clutter can make you feel anxious. It can feel like too much to tackle. Simplifying the process starts with simplifying your thoughts.

The Four Containers

The container clutter elimination method makes decluttering a manageable process. Regardless of how bad the clutter is, the container method can help you manage it.  Take a look at the four boxes you will need to get started:

  1. Clutter Elimination With The Four Container MethodKeep

The keep container will hold the items you want to keep, of course. These should be items that you use frequently. You might also keep items that have true sentimental value. An item shouldn’t be in the keep container unless you have a place to ‘keep’ it.

  1. Sell

The sell container will hold items that are in good shape and can be sold. You might host a garage sale or sell the items on eBay.

  1. Donate

The donate container holds items that are in good shape and can help others. These are the items that would take more time than they are worth to sell, but are definitely useable.

  1. Trash

The trash container is self explanatory. If you have a real problem with clutter, the trash container is often the fullest container. You might divide your trash pile into two other piles: recycle and garbage.


The Process

The best way to use the container clutter elimination method is to tackle one room or space at a time. For example, you might tackle a linen closet, or a bedroom. Choose the size of your container depending on the size of the job. For example, for a linen closet four laundry baskets might do the job. If you’re tackling a bedroom or family room you may need four tarps and some outdoor space.

Empty the space completely. Examine each item in the space and make an immediate decision. Keep it, toss it, donate it or sell it. Don’t linger on the decision. Trust your instincts. And don’t keep everything. That defeats the purpose.

Once you’ve gone through every item in the space you’re going to have four full containers. Hopefully, the keep container is the smallest. Take out the trash. Call the donation truck to come pick up your items. Take photos of the sell stuff or post an ad for a garage sale. And put everything away that you’re going to keep. Make sure each keep item has a good place to go. Consider labeling the spaces.

For example, if you’re cleaning out your linen closet and you keep cleaning supplies in the closet, consider getting a basket to keep your supplies in. Label it so everyone knows that’s where the cleaning supplies go.

Cleaning out clutter is easy when you use the container system. It helps you manage the clutter. It helps you get rid of the clutter. It helps you organize your home from top to bottom.

Easy Appliance Cleaning Step-by-Step

When spring cleaning you’ll want to pay special attention to your appliances. Properly cleaned and maintained appliances last longer. This saves you time, energy and money – buying new appliances can be a hassle.

However, cleaning your appliances is likely to consume most of your spring cleaning time. This is particularly true for the bigger appliances like your refrigerator and your oven. A few simple steps and tips can make the job easier.

Appliance Cleaning  in 5 Easy Steps

1. Instructions. Before you clean any appliance, find the instructions. If you don’t know where the instructions are, you can get them online. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download the instructions. Read them carefully. Most appliances have cleaning instructions. They’ll tell you what steps to take, or not to take. They’ll let you know what cleaning products are safe and how often you should clean the item.

Cleaning your appliances in 5 easy steps2. Organize your cleaners. Once you know how to clean your appliance, organize your cleaners. For example, if you’re cleaning your refrigerator you’ll need: a vacuum, interior cleaner for the shelving and drawers. You’ll also want a surface cleaner to clean the outside of your refrigerator. Gathering your supplies in advance saves you time once you’re cleaning.

3. Plan around it. With many appliances you’ll need to let the cleaners set before you can return to the job. Oven cleaning is a classic example. If you have a self cleaning oven then it generally takes one to two hours.

If you’re defrosting the freezer that can take a few hours too. Use this time to your advantage. Plan for it. While your freezer is defrosting you can focus on cleaning the inside of your refrigerator. While your oven is cleaning you can clean out your pantry.

4. Clean inside and out. Remember that appliance cleaning isn’t just about how it looks on the outside. Clean the inside, back, front and bottom too. Pull your oven out from the wall if you can and vacuum underneath. Spring cleaning means leaving no crack or crevice untouched.

5. Create a checklist. Before you begin to clean your appliances consider making a checklist. The checklist can help you maximize your time. It’ll also help you make sure you take care of everything. You can create your own checklist or you can download them online.

Cleaning your appliances can be a big job. However, with a little preparation and a good plan you can minimize the time and effort it takes. Properly maintained appliances last longer and work better. It’s well worth your time to clean them well.

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

Kitchen spring cleaning can be an overwhelming job. Basics like cleaning the oven are pretty simple. However, when you add washing out the cabinets and vacuuming behind the refrigerator it can be an all day job.

This handy checklist will help you get started. The tips will help you take care of the job in less than two hours.

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist:

  • Spring cleaning tips and checklist for your kitchen.Dust ceiling fan
  • Dust tops of cabinets if they don’t reach the ceiling
  • Dust corners of walls
  • Dust top of refrigerator
  • Launder curtains or dust window treatments
  • Dust any knick knacks, counter top appliances and pictures on display
  • Wash walls and switch plates with mild detergent
  • Wash cabinet fronts
  • Clean oven. If using a self cleaning oven, spray and set.
  • Vacuum behind the appliances
  • Vacuum the area rugs or toss in washing machine
  • Mop floors
  • Wash windows and appliance fronts
  • Scour the top of the oven/stovetop
  • Clean the inside of your refrigerator (Toss any old food. Remove one shelf/drawer at a time and wash down with mild detergent)
  • Clean inside small appliances ex, toaster and microwave
  • Wipe down shelves and inside the cabinets
  • Drawer by drawer, remove items and wipe down. Replace items and organize as you go
  • Wash the counter tops, sink and faucets
  • Clean out and organize your pantry. Wipe down shelves as you go. Label to keep items organized and easily identified.


Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips:

  1. Group like tasks. For example, when you have your bucket of mild detergent and damp cloth, wash walls, outside of all cabinets and shelves.
  2. Gather all of your supplies before you begin cleaning. Make sure you have everything you need so you don’t have to stop.
  3. Get a label maker. It’s great for identifying areas in your cupboards or labeling jars of pantry items.
  4. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the windows and let in the fresh air. Use cleaners that you like and smell great.
  5. Use natural cleaners. Eco friendly cleaners won’t irritate your head, lungs and sinus cavities. You’ll feel better during and after your cleaning adventure. Additionally, they smell great. Choose a scent that makes you feel good.
  6. Reward yourself for a job well done. Go out to eat (so you don’t mess up your clean kitchen) or prepare your favorite meal.
  7. Pay attention to the clock. Consider giving yourself a specific amount of time to get the job done. This will help you work efficiently.

Spring cleaning your kitchen doesn’t have to overwhelm. Create a checklist and make sure you have everything you need before you start. Make it fun and spring cleaning can be something you look forward.


Bedroom Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

When you think about spring cleaning you probably imagine the big jobs. You think about cleaning the kitchen. Maybe you visualize the closets or your basement. Perhaps the garage is on your list.

Most people don’t think about their bedroom. However, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. A clean bedroom means better sleep. It means a cleaner home. And the good news is, it’s one of the easier rooms to spring clean.

Tips and A Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your BedroomHere’s a quick checklist and some expert tips to help you get started.

  •  Clean ceiling fan.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner extension, vacuum corners of the room from the ceiling down.
  •  Dust all furniture.
  • Dust lamps and bulbs. Be careful to not get cleaner on light bulbs. It’ll make them burn out more quickly.
  • Use a soft cloth and furniture polish on all bedroom furniture.
  • Remove curtains and wash according to instructions. If you have blinds or shutters, dust/wash with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum floor. If you have a steam cleaner, steam clean the carpets.
  • If you have hardwood or tile flooring, sweep then mop the floors.
  • Change your linens. Spring is the perfect time to put on lighter linens. Replace the flannel with a light weight cotton. Change the bedspread to a lighter, more spring like color or texture.
  • Flip your mattress. Vacuum your mattress.
  • Clean under your bed. Move it and vacuum underneath it too.
  • Clean your windows and mirrors.
  • Open your windows and clean the tracks.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner attachment, vacuum heating vents/radiators.
  • With a clean damp cloth and a bucket of soapy water, wash any marks off of your walls.
  • Clean out your drawers/closet. Using the four container method clean out your closet. This is a quick process if you do it twice a year. The four container method is as follows: Keep, sell, donate, trash. If you haven’t worn something in a year or more it needs to go.
  • Dust your shoes if they’re not tucked away in storage containers.

Spring Cleaning Tips for the Bedroom

  1. 1. Group like tasks. For example, when you’re dusting, dust everything. When vacuuming, vacuum everything from ceiling to floor.
  2. 2. Clean your closet last.
  3. 3. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the curtains and/or windows to let the light and fresh air in. Reward yourself for a job well done.
  4. 4. Set a time limit. Give yourself an hour to accomplish your bedroom spring cleaning.
  5. 5. Gather your tools and cleaners in advance. This saves you time.

Your bedroom is a great place to start your spring cleaning. It doesn’t take long. It’s fairly easy and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. It’ll help you get in the cleaning mood and ready to tackle the rest of your home.

Spring Cleaning Tips And Checklist – Bathroom

There’s so much to clean in a bathroom, most of it being rather heavy-duty.  Spring cleaning might seem like a bigger job than you can handle. It’s true that there is a lot to clean for such a small space, but with a few tips and a handy checklist, you can spring clean your bathroom in less time than you might think.

Let start with some expert tips that will help you clean your bathroom quickly and easily:

Tip 1 – Use green cleaners

Because bathrooms are enclosed spaces you’re more vulnerable to the fumes from traditional cleaners. Using green cleaners, and turning on the ventilation fan, will help reduce irritation. It’s also better for the environment.

It's time for spring cleaningTip 2 – Make cleaning fun by playing music

Music helps pass the time and the acoustics in your bathroom will make you sound great if you choose to sing along. Choose upbeat music that gets you moving.

Tip 3 – Group similar tasks and similar cleansers

For example, if you have the mirror cleaner out clean the glass shower door and windows at the same time. If you’re cleaning the sink then clean the tub, too. They use the same cleanser and cleaning tools.

Tip 4 – Gather your supplies before you start cleaning

It just makes sense to keep all your supplies and equipment handy and within reach.  Plan ahead so you won’t have to take a break to hunt for what you need.

Tip 5 – Use a toothbrush

Bigger isn’t always better. There are times and places in the bathroom that require a small brush. An old toothbrush works perfectly for cleaning the grout in your shower and around your bathroom sink and faucet.

Tip 6 – Sort the items from cabinets last

You may want to sort after you’ve sprayed or sprinkled your bathtub/shower cleanser on. Letting the cleanser sit for a few minutes often makes the soap residue easier to scrub off. It’s a good time to sort your medicines and other bathroom clutter from the cabinets.

Tip 7 – Work toward the toilet

If you’re going to be using the same sponge, brush, or cloth to clean your shower, sink, and toilet, save the toilet for last. This way you won’t cross contaminate, nor will you have to stop and rinse so often.

Here is a checklist to keep you on track when you clean your bathroom:

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

□ Dust the ceiling corners, then any knickknacks and artwork

□ Dust or vacuum heating and exhaust vents

□ Remove shower curtains, towels, bath mats, and draperies. Launder according to directions

□ Scrub the shower, tub, sinks, and toilet, and sinks. Don’t forget to wash the outside of the toilet

□ Clean the shower door if you have one

□ Clean the mirrors and windows

□ Empty the medicine cabinets and under sink cabinets. Wipe down the inside.

□ Sweep and mop the bathroom floor. Vacuum if it is carpeted

□ Clean the trash can inside and out.

□ Wash the walls.

□ Sort all stuff removed from cabinets, throw out expired medicine, and return what you keep.

The Benefits And Advantages Of Using Green Cleaners

This year, instead of Spring cleaning with conventional cleaners, consider using all natural green cleaners instead. They’re safer for your health, they’re better for the environment, and they are often less expensive. Let’s take a look at what green cleaners are all about:

What Are Green Cleaners?

Green cleaners are simply cleaners that use all natural elements. This means they don’t pollute the water supply. Their fumes don’t contaminate the air you breathe. And there are fewer topical reactions.

Have you ever gotten a rash or a stinging sensation from a household cleaner? What about stinging, watering eyes? Have you ever succumbed to a coughing fit while using a bathroom cleaner? These are common reactions. Your body is having an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the cleaner.

While natural cleaners can still pose a risk if you’re allergic to an element, they don’t contain the same harmful toxins. They break down naturally. And quite often natural cleaners are packaged in recycled or compostable materials. They’re good for your health and they’re good for the planet.

Benefits of using green and homemade cleanersWhat to Avoid In Cleaning Products

  • Phosphates
  • Bleach
  • Petroleum
  • Surfactants
  • Ammonia
  • Lye
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Phenols

These chemicals don’t break down naturally in the soil or your water supply. They kill plant and animal life. They harm and disrupt the environment. Additionally, the manufacturing process for many of these chemicals involves petroleum. The off gasses produce green house emissions and contribute to global warming.

What to Choose In Cleaning Products

  • Essential oils
  • Citrus
  • Glycerin
  • Lauramine
  • Sulfates
  • Water
  • And other natural and recognizable elements

Ingredients that you recognize in nature are typically a good choice. It is getting less difficult to find these ingredients as green cleaning supplies are becoming more popular.  You can usually find many brands at your local big box store or supermarket now. The cost for green cleaning products is coming down also, and is now often less expensive than conventional products.

Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Many products you have around the home can be used to make your own cleaning supplies. The most common ingredients are:

  • Distilled white vinegar – commonly used to cut grease and sanitize.
  • Lemon – the acids are great for grease cutting, breaking down stains and of course the lemony scent makes everything smell clean.
  • Baking soda – a good abrasive that works for scrubbing countertops, bath tubs and sinks.

You’d be surprised what you can make yourself. You just need a recipe, a bucket or mixing container and a spray bottle for storage.

If you find that standard cleaning products affect your health or you simply want to embrace a greener lifestyle then consider switching to green cleaning products. Many green companies offer free samples. Check them out. You’ll see they work just as well, if not better. They also don’t have the same harmful side effects.

Organizing Your Cleaning Products for Quick and Easy Cleaning

The more organized your cleaning products are, the faster you clean. This means you have more time for work and play. It can save you money too! These three simple steps will help you organize your cleaners and keep them organized.

Step One: Baskets in each room.

Buy or find a cleaning basket for each room. Depending on the room you might consider a plastic tote with handles, a cardboard box, a basket or a tote bag. Consider also labeling the basket so it is always returned to the correct room. Keep the totes nearby.

For example, you might keep your kitchen cleaning supplies tote under your kitchen sink. You might keep you bathroom tote in your linen closet. Old buckets and milk crates work well for cleaning supplies too. You don’t have to buy new.

Keep the cleaning products and the tools together. In your kitchen that might include a dry rag, a scrubber, and a toothbrush for the tile grout. When everything is kept together it’s easy to clean a room quickly.

Organizing Your Cleaning SuppliesStep Two: Simplify

You don’t need to buy a different product for each task. For example, your kitchen surface cleaner can clean your bathroom surfaces too. Instead of buying ten different surface cleaners, you can buy in bulk. Buy extra storage containers or spray bottles. You can then use the same cleaner in different rooms without spending a fortune on packaging. Additionally, by using reusable bottles and buying in bulk, you’re reducing the amount of packaging that goes into landfills.

Many natural cleaning products are available in bulk. Taking this extra step means you eliminate harmful chemicals from your home’s air. You also help improve the environment by ensuring fewer toxins enter the air, water and soil.

Step Three: Consider Making your own Cleaning Supplies

You can absolutely buy natural cleaning products in bulk. However, you can also make your own cleaning products. You can prepare them in large batches and use them in most rooms in your home. For example, a home made all purpose cleaner can be made from vinegar, borax, water, dish detergent and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.


If you’re making your own cleaners or buying in bulk and using additional spray bottles be sure to label each bottle. You can use a simple sharpie marker or a label maker – the choice is yours.


Organizing your cleaners takes just a few minutes and it’ll save time each time you clean. It also helps family members take responsibility for some of the cleaning. And buying in bulk or making your own saves money too. Grab a few totes, buy in bulk, simplify and label. It’s that easy!

How To Tackle Spring Cleaning Without Feeling Overwhelmed

Spring cleaning can be one of the most time consuming and overwhelming seasonal tasks. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to just “hide under the covers” and skip doing anything when I get overwhelmed by a task that seems too daunting. Yet that means also missing out on the rewards of a thoroughly clean home. Much like New Year’s Resolutions, spring cleaning helps you get a clean slate. And just like with a big resolution like losing weight or getting out of debt, it helps to break it down into baby steps and use some other “tricks” to help you stay on task. Here are five strategies to help you tackle spring cleaning without overwhelm. Tackle Spring Cleaning Without Getting OverwhelmedGive It A Time Limit Make a list of all the rooms, closets and spaces you need to clean. Estimate how much time you think it’ll take to get each space clean. For example, your pantry might take 40 minutes. When cleaning the space make sure you stick to the time limit. When cleaning, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to let the job take much longer than it should. When you set a time limit you’ll stay focused on the job. Remember to take breaks in between each space too. This will help you stay energetic and motivated. Create A Checklist Checklists help you stay focused. They eliminate overwhelm. You can simply go down the list, check tasks off and finish your spring cleaning quickly and efficiently. Spread It Out Rather than tackle cleaning your entire home in a day or a weekend, spread it out. Tackle on big job each weekend. Tackle smaller jobs during the week. For example, spring cleaning your kitchen is a big job. Schedule it on the weekend. Cleaning your coat closet shouldn’t take more than an hour. It’s something you can do in an evening. Gather Supplies First Before you clean any space in your home, gather all the supplies you’ll need. Consider getting a tote box for cleaning supplies. Assign a tote box for each space. For example, your bathroom will have a designated cleaning supplies box. Your kitchen will have another. In addition to the cleaning products you will also need tools. For example, you might want a used toothbrush to clean the grout from your shower tile. Collecting the supplies before you clean means you won’t have to stop in the middle of a task to hunt down the necessary equipment.   5. Create a system. Systems ensure an efficient process. One efficient system to consider is grouping like tasks. For example, when you’re vacuuming the carpets, also vacuum the air vents, the corners of the ceiling and the blinds or window treatments. It saves time and energy.   Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job. With a few simple strategies you can enjoy the benefits of spring cleaning without the stress

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and anxiety. Find the strategies that work for you and create a workable plan.

How to Get Your Family to Help With the Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a big job. While it’s certainly something you can do on your own, you don’t have to. In fact, there is benefit to having your family help with the job. It alleviates some of the work you have to do. Children can learn the value of hard work. They can contribute to the care and keeping of your home. And perhaps they’ll learn a little bit more about what you do to keep your home nice.

Getting your family to help isn’t always easy. Here are seven tips and ideas to help you enlist their help.

1. Bribe them. Money talks. Or if your children are young then stickers, treats or even an afternoon at the movies can motivate people to help. Come up with a reward before you approach them with their jobs.

2. Make it fun with music. Music makes any job easier. Find family friendly, fun, and motivating music for the entire family to enjoy.

Mother and daughter cleaning in the kitchen3. Make it a game. Consider making the spring cleaning task a game. Everyone likes games, right? Consider timing each person. The person that gets their job done the fastest wins. Or the person that gets their job done the best wins. You might also make it a game of speed and skill. For example, finish a task and then run to a designated place in the room and take a token. The person who collects the most tokens wins. Of course their work needs to be checked. If they didn’t do a good job then they lose tokens.

4. Celebrate after. Have a post spring cleaning party. Order pizza take out and watch a movie together. Have a family game night. Go out to your favorite family restaurant. Or do something fun like go bowling, skating or to your local indoor amusement park.

5. Give them choices. Consider making a list of all of the jobs that need to be accomplished. Then ask your children or family members to each choose three tasks. This way they have some control over the process. And they have chosen tasks that best suit their preferences.

6. Provide guidance. Create a step by step procedure of how you want the task to be completed. For example, if one child is cleaning out a closet list everything that goes into the job. Consider creating a checklist for them. They can easily follow the list and you know everything will get done.

7. Make it age/skill appropriate. Make sure each family member has age appropriate tasks. You wouldn’t want to ask a five year old to clean out the refrigerator. You might find that they throw everything away! If you’re letting your children choose which cleaning jobs the take on, consider grouping them by age. That way your child can choose from a list of jobs you know they can complete.

When you enlist the help of your entire family, spring cleaning can be completed in no time. You’ll feel as if you’ve all accomplished something together. And you can celebrate your success when you’re done.

Organizing Your Computer

This is the last post in a 7 Day series on getting more organized. They come from the ebook “30 Days to an Organized Home” and Tracy Roberts (the author) is kindly letting me share them with you this week. I hope you enjoy them and put them to good use. Please consider getting the entire ebook here

Let’s wrap this week of organization up with some less strenuous work. Head over to that super clean home office or workspace. Today we are going to take the time to organize your computer. It’s one of those jobs that gets put off because we have so much more pressing matters to attend to in our lives. Well, no longer!
Today is the day.

First, head to your documents. Make virtual folders and sub-folders for everything. No more loose word docs floating around. No more lists to run through in an attempt to find something. Organize it by clients, subject matter, family member, whatever works for you, as long as it is neat and orderly.
Next, log on to the internet and do the same thing with your favorites and bookmarked sites. Make folders and organize them by subject matter. What is the point of saving 312 recipes, if you can never find them again?

Organizing The Files On Your Computer

Now, head over to your email; delete the ones that are read but just filling up your inbox. If there is some important tidbit, make a folder and save it.

The last organizing we need to do today is making a list of your profiles and passwords. If you use the same one everywhere, fine but if you have several different ones, take the time to type out a nice list.

Now you are even organized in the virtual world.


Tracy Roberts of is the author of 30 Days to an Organized Home, and she has a plan!

Work your way through organizing and decluttering every room in your house in 30 days with easy to follow daily tasks that keep you from getting overwhelmed with the task at hand.

You’ll also find helpful printable checklists that will keep you on task and allow you to track your progress.

Get your copy today at

Tame the Closet Chaos

This is the fifth post in a 7 Day series on getting more organized. They come from the ebook “30 Days to an Organized Home” and Tracy Roberts (the author) is kindly letting me share them with you this week. I hope you enjoy them and put them to good use. Please consider getting the entire ebook here

Today we are taking on the chaos that you call your closets.
We are going to go through all of your other non-clothes closets. Linen closets, storage closets, junk closets. Whatever name you have given them, we are cleaning them. Same routine. Take everything out. Everything. Do not leave anything in the closet. We want to give it a fresh start. Once the stuff is out we need to wipe down all the shelves and clean or vacuum the floor.

Sort through your things. Do you really need to save grandpa’s entire 112 piece lighter collection? Why not keep your five favorite and sell the rest online? It is not disrespectful. Your grandfather enjoyed his collection and would want to pass on that joy to another collector.

Tame the Closet Chaos

Other items that you want to save, like a Christening gown, wedding dress or antique photographs should be stored properly in acid-free containers in order to preserve then for generations. You can buy these containers at specialty storage shops or online.

Pay attention to “how” you store each item as well. Textiles (fabrics) should not be folded as it can cause undue stress on the fabric at the fold that will eventually result in a tear. The best method is to roll the items. If you can’t, many experts suggest re-folding in a different way every few months.

Replace the items that you are determined to keep in the proper containers, nicely labeled and neatly on the shelves.


Tracy Roberts of is the author of 30 Days to an Organized Home, and she has a plan!

Work your way through organizing and decluttering every room in your house in 30 days with easy to follow daily tasks that keep you from getting overwhelmed with the task at hand.

You’ll also find helpful printable checklists that will keep you on task and allow you to track your progress.

Get your copy today at