Category Archives: Cleaning

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To the Mom Who Doesn’t Have Time

To the Mom who doesn’t have time:

​You know the days where it takes you until lunch time to clean up breakfast? The ones where you efficiently do 3 loads of laundry and then they stack up on the couch? Have you had one of those days where you try ALL day to get supper in the crock pot, the time slot passes you by for both high and low settings, so you decide to cook something on the stove instead… but then that time slot passes as well and you end up serving peanut butter and honey sandwiches for supper—again? And what about those days where your child wants to do a project with you, but you just can’t quite seem to get the house cleaned up enough to clear a spot so you can cut and glue together? Those are the heartbreaking moments. The ones where you want to imagespend time with this sweet child you are raising, but you just don’t seem to have time.

​To the Mom who doesn’t have time, I am right there with you! The days I described above have basically been my life the last few months. I have a baby who nurses hourly around the clock and through the night. I’m exhausted. Our family is in a constant state of the unknown and the emotional aspect of the situation is wearing me down hard. I can’t seem to keep up with anything. Then I wonder, “how am I supposed to spend time with my children?” How do I find time to read the 39 books they so excitedly chose from the library last week? How do I find time to complete the adorable craft projects and educational ideas I’ve been pinning on Pinterest during my many nursing sessions each day? How will my children learn important life skills if I don’t have time to teach them? Then it hit me…

​They will learn them from me and it’s okay if it is through everyday life.

​You see, my kids will learn more from how I handle life than they will sitting on the couch reading a book with me or sitting at the table gluing a perfectly prepared craft project. The difference is in how I choose to respond to the trials set before me.

​I can yell at them to go play in the other room so I can conquer the dishes, or I can choose to demonstrate a right attitude and even teach them how to conquer a daunting task as I systematically rinse off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher before I tackle those I hand wash.

​I can complain about peanut butter and honey sandwiches AGAIN, or I can explain to them the wonders of improvisation as supper approaches and I serve them a different option than planned.

​I can rant about not having enough time, or I can teach them time management as we figure out a way to sneak in a quick craft project.​

​Parenting isn’t about the external. It’s about including your kids on the internal. Transparently showing them the reasons for the things we do, including them on your struggles, openly teaching them through your own mistakes, and honestly relating the truth to them day in and day out. Parenting is about the teachable moments and those moments often come through unlikely circumstances.

​To the mom who doesn’t have time, it’s okay. Let’s make the most of what we do have: everyday life–and teach our children to the best of our abilities.

 

-Lydia

Hair Storage Pic

Easy Hair Accessory Storage

Looking for easy hair accessory storage?

Ponytail holders, clips, bows, headbands, brushes… it all adds up—to a lot of little items to work around and keep track of. I love my daughters immensely and I truly love doing fun, new hairstyles on them, but the amount of hair clutter reached a breaking point for me last summer. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest searching for some great way to organize their hair supplies and still keep them out of the way. You see, I have 3 children sharing a very small bedroom and counter space is limited. I never did find the right idea for us, but through a series of concepts, I’m EXTREMELY pleased with what I did scheme up.IMG_3405

I went to Dollar Tree and bought a 4 pack of these cute bins. They are small, but not too small. Notice it was a 4 pack. My grand total investment in this project was $1 plus tax!! ☺ I decided to use all 4 of them: 1 for brushes, 1 for ponytail holders, 1 for clips and barrettes, and 1 for headbands.

 

Next, well, I enlisted my husband to hang them, so I’m not a lot of help in the details, BUT what he did was easy! He simply put a screw through the center of each bin and lined them up on the wall. He used dry wall anchors to ensure they wouldn’t rip the drywall over time.

 

IMG_3404Start to finish: About 10 minutes.

Cost: $1 + tax + screws and drywall anchors = CHEAP!

Finished product: AMAZING!

 

Seriously. These make me SO happy every single day, I can’t even tell you! I love having plenty of space for other things on my changing table, and I love that I can see and quickly grab the exact item I need when I’m trying to do my daughters’ hair. I highly recommend this easy hair accessory storage concept. ☺ 

It is so nice and easy! Hair accessory storage right at my finger tips!

-Lydia

PS: Check out the organizing system in Verity’s kids’ room HERE

The Biggest Secret to a ‘Magically’ Clean House!!

My mother always seemed to have a magically clean house.

I don’t remember her ever saying to us (the phrases that I’ve used umpteen times on my kids – )

“Okay guys! Let’s get this place cleaned up!!”

or

“Daddy’s coming home in 5 minutes and EVERYTHING is a mess. Ready…set…Go! Go! GO!”

or

(This one accompanied by aa threatening – every so slightly hysterical tone – ) DON’T MOVE the couch/ chest/ dresser! We don’t have time to clean out under it before our guests come!!

Growing up our house was just always clean.

Now that I ‘get’ cleaning and housekeeping a little more, random phrases she’d say every so often make a lot more sense and hold the key to my mother’s effortlessly clean house.

I thought I’d share today some of those magical phrases.

“Leave every room a little better then when you entered it”

 I’ve been trying hard to implement this. When I remember to do this, it is SO effective!

Our room

My childhood room – looking much more sophisticated. :-)

The living room can be a NIGHTMARE, but if I just straighten, toss or de-clutter two things each time I walk through – not even stopping in my steps – just straightening and grabbing as I go – it may only take a dozen walk-throughs, and it’s clean! (Well – cleanish anyway – this is my toddler-zoned house we’re talking about here!!)

“As you walk through a room, just glance around and see if you can take anything with you.”

Along those same lines, this works so well. When I remember to do this, my house is much more put together at the end of the day!

If I’m headed to the kids’ room by way of the spare room, I [should] scan for toys on the floor that belong in their room.

“Just do a little more each time you do something”

We never had sticky rings left on shelves in our frig. If Mom saw a little residue left on the refrigerator shelf, she’d grab a paper towel and wipe that spot – and around the other shelves too.

It took an extra 10 seconds tops.

It saved her from having to clean the refrigerator very often.

(I on the hand,  have to do a complete overhaul ever month or so.)

”Just keep your hands moving”

 Mom was just always moving – calm – very rarely stressed – but always moving.

Now that I’ve matured, I see tmy mothers’ secret.  SHE was the secret.

If there was chaos, she’d grab every 3 second window to calm it.

If there was mess, she’d take a 5 second walk-through to clean it.

Every task she did ‘a little’ more instead of ‘just enough.’

Her attitude and care came out in everything – even if it was as simple as walking through a room, listening to her two VERY TALKATIVE twin girls, or helping  us with a project.

She wasn’t looking to take ‘a break’ from housekeeping. Just because she cleaned yesterday, didn’t mean she would not wipe ‘a little extra’ today.

Making her home ‘a little’ nicer for us was her lifestyle and heart.

Thanks Mom! :-)

mom and I

Mom and I at Lyd’s wedding

- Verity

Our Minimalist Toddler Closet

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We are prime candidates for a minimalist toddler closet!

Soon we will have 4 children in a 10X10 room!

(I’m so excited, and so are they! They love the idea of the baby sleeping in their room with them!)

In preparation, I made some major changes into their closet.

Our old closet was really cute but impractical and definitely NOT a minimalist toddler closet.

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The new closet has 9 identical baskets.

- Each Child Has Their Own Toy Basket

- Each Child Has Their Own Clothes Basket

- A Joint Shoe Basket

(The 3 Drawer Dresser has a diaper/cream drawer, joint sock drawer, and joint pajama drawer. Sunday clothes are hung on the child-sized fuzzy hangers, each child has a hook on the left to hang 2 hoodies)

I’ve become very obsessed with hyacinth baskets. Their metal frames are durable, but the hyacinth weave is light-weight enough for the kids to lift easily. (Even though the five-year-old’s toy basket is kept above his head, he can lift it down multiple times a day.)

The kids helped put up the shelving, and they enjoyed filling up their new baskets.

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Each child has about 5 play outfits so there was plenty of space.

When we fold clothes I can bring them out to the living room where we are folding together, and the kids can help put their clothes into the baskets.

photo 5So that is our new system. It’s not really the classic system you see, but it is working perfectly for us, and I would say that it is minimalist! Toddler closets are a fun project too, and it was fun to have the kids help! :-)

-Verity

 

Letting Them Help – Part 2

House 1Well, 3 weeks ago, I glibly promised that I’d post the following week on how we do chores in our house.

Of course after promising that we had a couple messy days  (followed by a couple naughty days) which made me feel unsure of writing about something in which I’ve not yet arrived.

However, it’s been a helpful couple weeks for me – nothing like promising all my digital friends that I’d share about our chore systems, to help me reevaluate!

So I’m going to share what works for us, areas we are working on, and areas we need work – and then I’d love for my readers to share suggestions and thoughts!

What is Working for Us:

1. Having a Cleaning SYSTEM

My Mom is the best housekeeper ever. She is a natural, and she always made cleaning look SO EASY.

I am not a natural – and even though I KNEW how to do everything (since she had taught me), I NEVER knew where to start. I wasted so much time the first couple years of marriage just standing in the middle of clutter-filled rooms staring blankly around and feeling defeated.

I finally realized that I needed a system – (I think it barely even matters what the system is – just to have one. It is a starting point, a map, and the oil that helps you move faster down the track to your day and sweet productivity.)

Here are our systems. If you ask my 3 or 5 year olds. They will (hopefully) be able to recite it to you.

It is my heartfelt goal that they not get overwhelmed but always know where to start. (On anything – but we’re talking about cleaning today.  

Our system when cleaning is always in this order:

(Left to Right)

(Top to Bottom)

1. Clear Big Items

2. Clear Garbage

3. Put Away In-Room Clutter

4. Put Away Out-of-Room Clutter

Example of Dining Room Table after Breakfast Using This System:

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I clear the big items (Crockpot or Gallon of Milk)image

Kids clear the garbage (Napkins)

I grab the in-room clutter (My husband’s iPad)

(I wasn’t fast enough – they cleared other stuff too for this pic)

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Kids Carry out-of-room clutter to the kitchen table to be put away. (Small food items and dirty dishes.)

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Wipe off High Chair on Left then Table then Bumbo Seat and Tray on Right (Left to Right)

Sweep Floor (Top to Bottom)

imageThis System works really well for us in any room. We use it daily in the living room and their bedroom as well. (So at least three times a day you’ll hear me say “what do we look for first?” and hear my son say “garbage!”)

 2. Having a Cleaning Routine

Again, it doesn’t matter the order, but it helps to do the same tasks in the same order.

Less decisions – more productivity!

As soon as my husband leaves in the morning we clear the table, straighten up the living room, get dressed, straighten the bedroom, clean the bathroom (If we have time), get the laundry and feed the dog.

A routine helps us start each day strong. (Of course things may be messy 10 minutes into the day… but oh well! LOL!

3. Each child has their own chores first thing in the morning – before we start our day.

If we are doing well, we are dressed and have everything cleaned up half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (About 8:30) But that can range. (9:00 is our average.) 9:30 is a bad day. 10:00 is a really bad day. :-/

I wrote about their chores here.

4. Each Child responsible for their own basket of toys

A year ago, I got rid of the big toy box and each child has their own basket of toys to take responsibility for.

(We also have a play room downstairs in the basement that I will eventually write an article about. )

I wrote about their separate upstairs toys here.

5. Children Allowed to Earn Money

imageSince my oldest was 3, I’ve allowed the kids to do extra jobs for money. They each save up for items.

This has helped them understand the value of a dollar, and they know that while I rarely buy them new toys, they always have the option of working for something themselves.

(The pic is ash. It’s messy, but I let him clear it because he LOVES to help clean the fireplace. It’s not smoke.)

Areas I’ve tweaked that last couple weeks:

1. We Clean Each Room TOGETHERimage

As mentioned in my previous chore article, the kids have picture chore lists.  This way they could refer to their lists and complete their chores themselves. Lately we’d had problems with them not staying on task so I’ve we now do our chores together.

- We ALL clear the table

- We ALL clean up the clutter in the living room

- We ALL sweep (they move chairs) and I do most of the sweeping while they help with their little brooms

- They ALL change at the same time. (Jedidiah sometimes takes to the bathroom. He has days when he’s suddenly obsessed with modesty and days when he’s …not.)

-  We ALL wipe down the bathroom,

- Jedidiah usually finishes getting the laundry and feeding the dog while I get school books.

This way I help stay on task

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

2. Toy Baskets that actually FIT on the Shelves in their room!!!

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

(Out of mind and out of sight!!)

Before they each had their own baskets, but I let them leave them on the floor or in their beds because they did not fit on the shelves.

Since we are moving the baby, (CHILD NUMBER 4 into their 10X10 room) in a couple weeks, we needed to rethink their closet system.

(I wrote about having the 3 kids in a 10X10 room here.)

(Thank you, sweet husband for the $125 worth of [super-cute, Container Store,  hyacinth, I promise this was an important purchase, complete life-saver] baskets.)

Old baskets were traded in, and now (Exciting music), they each have their own toy basket (and will soon have their own basket to put away their play clothes.)

(Pictures of their new closet system coming soon!)

Areas We Need Work: (Suggestions Welcome!)

1. Breastfeeding Baby

We have a 10 month old, and (though neither Lyd nor I have written about it) breastfeeding is not a 10 minute thing for us. On growth-spurt days, everything else falls apart because Mama is attached to baby.

Such is life. :-I

2. Getting up Before Them

My husband is a night owl, and I choose to stay up with him. I used to rise before the house. Now I grudgingly roll out when I hear the first child’s steps in the hall.

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I even set my alarm early a few times a week thinking I’ll get things pulled together before the house wakes, but I rarely do. (Except Sundays – no choice)

3. Just Being with Them

Digital friend Jeanne commented last week that “What helped me a lot to enjoy it is when I decided I would just not care about the mess WHILE doing activities together and just deal with it later on. Then, I could relax and enjoy.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot the last weeks.

This is probably the biggest area that needs work – MY ATTITUDE! I need to enjoy the time with them even when our ‘morning routine’ fell apart or when the clutter takes over. Pray for me here friends!

There is what is working, is a work in progress, and what needs work!

Any thoughts? What works in your routines?

-Verity

How to Clean Lampshades in 1 Minute

           I’ve been on a bit of cleaning kick lately. I’m not sure if it’s the fact my baby is slowly exiting the newborn stage, because my husband recently completed 6 years of seminary, because moving is on our horizon, or simply because it’s “that time of year.” Regardless, I’m exciting to share many fun cleaning tips and ideas with you over the next few (or several?) weeks!

            You know that feeling when you clean and dust your home, yet not EVERYTHING is clean? I decided to tackle an area that’s been bugging for me years. Ridiculous I know! It’s the lampshades in our living room. I had tried wiping them down at different times, but it didn’t work very well. I actually found myself getting stressed about it because they couldn’t just collect dust forever—eventually we’d have to get rid of them and I love our lamps. I knew that would be impractical. I finally looked up how to do it. I read lots of ideas, but one article made the most sense and was also the fastest, easiest and cheapest. How’s that for a win, win, win?! PLUS, it worked GREAT!

Here it is…

            All you do is grab a lint brush and rub it down your lampshade! TADA!!! I did 3 lamps in about 1 minute!

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            Disclaimer: We just have normal lampshades—they feel pretty fabric like. This may not work perfectly for all types of lampshades, but it should work well for most.

            So, what are you waiting for? Go grab your lint brush (the sticky paper kind) and wipe down your lampshades. I bet you even have 1 minute to do it! Then sit back and enjoy the clean look it will bring to your home!

-Lydia

Toddler Chore Chart

photo 2Several months ago we implemented simple chores into the kids’ morning routine.

The issue I immediately ran into was that toddlers need a way to keep track of what chores to do, but they can’t READ a list.

(And I REALLY don’t like nagging … er …having to be their verbal reminder)

All the charts I found online had the chore list written out and then a picture next to each item, but I decided to simplify the chart down to the bare bones, and this has worked wonderfully.

I also tacked each of the charts on their favorite color of card stock, put the first letter of their names on the top (because they can recognize ‘their’ name letter), and stuck it in protective sleeves.

As soon as we finish breakfast each morning, I put the charts in a central location, and they check their charts.

They usually race each other to finish, and I recently started rewarding the winner of the race with a nickel.

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On smooth mornings, we are dressed, with a clean house, and ready to start school half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (Not every morning is smooth, but even on rougher mornings the charts help the kids take responsibility, give us a stronger start and take pressure off.) I also made a chart for before supper. (The times I remember to use it, it works great, but we don’t usually get to it before my husband gets home.)

So these are the toddler chore charts that have worked for us. :-)

-Verity

Prepping for Baby When You Already have Toddlers

Yesterday Lyd and Matthew welcomed baby #3!! She’s super cute.

The birth helped motivate me to get moving on a post I’ve been meaning to write about our last birth.

Having a four-year-old, two-year-old, and one-year-old, I gave the birth of baby number four a lot of thought. Here are some of the things I did, and my feedback in retrospect.

Freezer Meals.

PictureI had collected about 20 freezer meals ahead of time from my freezer meal swap and had also bought about 12 frozen entrées. The bought items were for the week after the birth because my husband does not like to make my premade freezer meals.

In retrospect. The freezer meals were great though neither my mom nor my husband liked using my them. For some reason they found them too confusing. They liked the store-bought items or making their own things, or buying fast food better. It probably depends on your husband or helper.

However, after I lost my helpers and needed to forge on my own, I was very thankful to have those freezer meals!!


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Pantry Prep.

I purchased all the pantry goods we would need for the next month after the baby was born. This included snack items for my husband work lunches and extra items the kids could be handed during the month to make things easier. Many of the kids’ items were not items I would normally buy, but I was willing to make the extra investment to help the transition!!

In retrospect. I think I might do my shopping for snacks a month ahead of time from now on. Having all the snacks sitting there ready and not needing to worry about them on the weekly shopping trip was wonderful. However, we did tend to go through more snacks because we had so many!


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Communication.

Because my husband was taking a week off work and then my mom was coming for a week, I wanted to help them know what food was available, what chores the kids were used to doing, and the schedule the kids were used to. I posted a couple of papers on the fridge so they would have that information.

In retrospect. I’m not sure if they even looked at the papers. However, prepping the papers a month before the baby was due was a huge help to me. I was able to make sure the kids knew their chores ahead of time, and worked to make their chores and schedule more like clockwork. (At least as much like clockwork as you can have when you’re working with a preschooler, toddler, and a mini toddler…)


Cleaning Prep.

My best effort was to get a new slipcover for the couch. Our old one was falling apart, and I realized that that would be a location I would be spending a lot of time with the new baby.

Second best project was cleaning out the fridge and freezers. This helped a lot with keeping food organized, communication going with whoever was working in the kitchen, and helping me get back on my feet.

Third best thing was that I was able to be caught up on laundry. Then after the baby was born I simply needed to have my husband throw in one load each day, and then I folded and put it away. This helped everybody stay in clean clothes even in a huge transition time.


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Older Kid Prep.

Three little ones 4 and under required some thought. I saved some new toy sets in the top of my closet for them for during the time I’d be breastfeeding.

In retrospect. This worked great though adding 5 toy sets along with a new baby was frustrating. I might try disposable items like coloring pads or glow sticks next time – things to occupy them for the first initial few days – then throw away.

Prep I Wish I had Done.

Funny how things feel different when your hands are full!

WAY more decluttering. If I could have two baby free days now – I’d get rid of half our stuff!! (sigh…). I wish I’d gone crazy pre-baby.

More toys and school supplies inaccessible to kids. We had a school drawer that was working great, but now the kids kept getting into it (while I was off with baby. :-P )

Breaking down on older kids’ character issuesBEFORE baby. Having a child who gets too wild is annoying when you have 2 hands to separate and protect smaller siblings, but it’s dangerous when you are tied up with a baby.

So, that’s the summary! I hope it helps if you have a baby on the way!

-Verity

Clean Up Meals Fast

supper fast

For years after dinner clean-up took me longer then I’d like to admit. I’d either take an embarrassingly long time cleaning every night or quick pile the food covered dishes by the sink and

face the crusted over chaos the next day…or 3 days later.

After watching more experienced mothers, reading blogs, and figuring out a couple things on my own, meal clean up has gotten a lot faster – and much more consistent.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Make 3 piles before you leave the table.

  • Refrigerated

I put this pile away first in case I get called away. That way at least the food is safely being refrigerated if I don’t make it back to my clean-up for a while.

If you have a hard time organizing, don’t organize the food twice!!!

To keep food from having to be relocated to the kitchen, organized, and then loaded into containers, I dispose of the relocation and organizations steps and put the food into containers right at the table. The majority of my bakeware is multi-purpose. It has glass lids for baking as well as plastic lids for storing. If I cooked with a stove-top pan, I grab a  container from the kitchen and scoop the food in at the table.

  • Throw-Away 

Again, don’t relocate garbage to the kitchen. Position a trash can between the dining room and kitchen and get rid of it right away.

  • To Be Washed

Pile up dishes with silverware all on top and drop them all into the sink. Even if you don’t have time to wash the food off right away, getting water on them will stop time consuming crusting.


2. Cut Down on Condiment Clean-up

  • Keep them in an easy-to transport tray

Consider an easy-to-wipe box or tray in your frig or with common condiments. Grab the box before meals. Put it back when you’re done. 6 items moved in the time it takes to move one.

  • Keep them at the table

Salt and Pepper, Butter, and many other condiments could be kept in a tray in the center of the table.

  • Make sure you only bring what you need

My kids love ketchup. They also love ranch dressing. (IE: They are normal kids). I am also one of those soft parents who will give them 1/4 cup of a condiment on top of their 6 green beans to help them eat the food they don’t like.

I only get those condiments if one of them is struggling to eat the food, and then I only bring one. Why make more mess then necessary?

3. Limit items at table

  • Silverware

Not rocket science, but it only dawned on me this past year of marriage that if we’re just having soup – just give everyone spoons. No reason to deal with other utensils.

It gets back to priorities. There is a place and time to be proper and use perfect ettiquette, but for us, if we’re not having a formal dinner, less utensils means less stress, less mess, and more time.

  • Serving Dishes

I’ve gotten really into using one skillet or casserole dish if possible.

For Skillet: Cook meat first. Set aside. Cook the rest. Add meat back in. Mixed or in separate piles, you can then just bring one serving dish to the table.

For Casserole: Layer food in casserole dish. (Because I cook most of my meals one day a week, I like having one dish per meal to layer the meat and sides in.)

Mexican: Layers of beans, corn, cheese, made-ahead hamburger, and then topped with either cornbread (and then cooked for 30minutes), or after cooking – chips or lettuce.

Chinese: Layers of rice topped with any vegetables and meat.

Mashed potatoes topped with meat and gravy.

Noodles topped or mixed with anything.

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4. Consider Paper PlatesThis summer we are preparing to move and doing multiple house projects. I felt guilty, but I bought a massive pack of styrofoam plates, and it does seem to cut down the clean-up significantly!!

I keep a garbage can next to our dining room table, stack the plates and any throw-away food bits and napkins, and throw them away without ever having to carry them anywhere. :-)

I was so inspired that I bought a package of bowls to use for the plethora of cereals we’re using up before the move. Though breakfast still requires several dishes, breakfast clean-up is taking me about 2 minutes. :-)

5. Everybody takes just one dish into the kitchen

We have a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old, but if they are just responsible for taking their dish and cup into the kitchen, it does help cut down time.

So Those are the tips that have cut my meal clean-up down to about 10%. Do you have any other tips?

Linen 4

Organizing: Linen Closet Before and After

When life is getting more stressful for ‘no reason.’ I can often link it back to an area of disorganization that I’ve let slip.

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  • If the kids toys are suddenly spread all over the house, it’s usually time for a toy purge or re-organization.
  • If our clothes seem to be taking over, it probably means I’ve left out some of last seasons’ clothes making our closets too small to hold everything.
  • If the kitchen seems to never stay clean, it’s time to evaluate what is in the kitchen cupboards that I’m not using yet is taking up all the space of everything I am using – and then leaving on the counters because there is nowhere else to put it!

Similarly, it was time to deal with the linen closet.

As usual, I had to implemented SUD 

  1. Space: As you can see our space was limited. I had to think carefully about what was most important and pitch the rest.
  2. Usefulness: I also realized that clearing out some beauty products were emotional. I had to admit, that I didn’t have time to look as beautiful and put together as I used to, but clearing out the french manicure set would clear up room to find things that would help me stay as polished as possible – like mascara.
  3. Daily Decision Making Minimizing: Although jewelry is an area many minimalists go all-out on, I chose to keep only sentimental pieces and match-everything pieces.

In the end, all make-up went into the bathroom instead of the linen closet. (Except for ONE whole make-up set [mascara, foundation, eye shadow] that stays in the car at all times because I seem to do my make-up there a lot. It’s the only place I have 5 minutes with all 3 kids strapped down and quiet!)
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The kids ‘helped’ me by (ie: Pulled out streams of dental floss, broke jewelry and spilled supplies – giving me more to toss). This reminding me how stressful it is to have more stuff for them to get into…

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Almost Finished!! Cute Labels using free templates on avery.com and my ONE trusted book of $10 scrapbook paper have been BIG in making my organizing projects turn out cute!

The little jar is for guests with travel items they may have forgotten. It’s easy to keep stocked because I see it every time I open the door, and it’s small enough to set on a side table in whatever room I have set up for guests at the time.

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The bottom shelf now holds cleaning supplies for the living room and the kids’ bath toys. (My husband was thrilled that
wouldn’t be by the toilet anymore! I’d told him a year ago I simply had nowhere else to put them, but lo and behold, I just had to let go of all the make-up, bodywashes and shampoos I wasn’t using, and there it was.)

PictureThinking outside the Box: Clearing the space allowed me a place to put my husband’s carving tools in the closet. He’ll often hand carve when we watch a movie in the living room together which is right off the hallway with the linen closet. It also created a great spot to put my son’s confiscated toys when he is irresponsible with them.

Besides this, in accordance with my ‘prime real-estate’ organizing system, I have one tote in the basement with rarely used items like the stuff I need after a birth for tearing etc. 

- Verity