Time Saving Tuesday – Clutter Control

 

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Welcome back to Time Saving Tuesday.  Each Tuesday you can stop by for another tip, and if you missed last week’s, you can find it here.

 

Is your desk piled up, or are those organizers you bought last month still in the package?  Did it take you you ten minutes to find the basil for your dinner last night?  Were you running late because you couldn’t find the match to those pair of shoes?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it’s time for an organization overhaul.

 

Have a Plan

You know where those spots in your house are that you struggle with.

Is it your desk?

1.  Have one master calendar with ALL your information on it, including appointments, sports practice, meetings, lessons, when bills are due, etc.  You can look in one place to see when and where you have to be each day.  It will tremendously help you stay organized, and save you a LOT of time.  Take all those little cards with appointments and little notes about field trips, add them to your master calendar, and then throw them out.

2.  Put all your bills in one pile, and sort through the other stuff.  If you haven’t used something in the last few months, ask yourself if you’ll really miss it or if you really need it.  If not, throw it out.  Less is more when it comes to your time.

3.  Set up a bill paying station or file, where you can put your pending bills, envelopes, stamps, and user names/passwords for online payments.  This will make your bill paying simple, and you won’t have to waste time looking for stamps and envelopes when a bill is due.

4.  Make sure you sort your mail everyday.  If you wait, you’ll end up with piles of junk mail that doesn’t need to be there, unpaid bills that are just waiting for late fees and interest, and appointment cards you may be missing.  Keep your piles to a minimum!

 

Is it your closet?

1. Take everything out.  Take all out of date items and donate them.

2. Next, look for things you haven’t worn in the last 6-12 months.  Donate those too.

3. Find those that you know you currently wear, and start placing back in your closet.  You can organize by color or type or a combination of the two.  Just find what works best for you.

4.  Try on what is left, and donate what doesn’t fit, or what doesn’t look so good on. (no matter what a great deal it was!)

5.  Do the same with coats and shoes.

 

Is it the first room that people enter (mudroom, breezeway, entryway)

1. Have a bench or chair for people to sit and remove their shoes.

2. Have a basket or shelf to organize your shoes.  It will save you time when you don’t have to run around looking for a match to your shoes.  Hang coats, and only keep out current season things, and store the rest in the attic or basement.  If you don’t, you’ll be tripping over winter boots and coats while you look for your flip flops!

3.  If you don’t have room to store, just keep the coat and shoe inventory to a minimum.  You really only can wear one pair at a time, and remember, black matches with everything.

4.  Have a basket or type of storage for miscellaneous items, like backpacks, umbrellas, etc..  This will keep floor clutter to a minimum.  Just make sure it doesn’t get overloaded.  Go through it once a week to week out those items you no longer need.

Remember to regularly purge these baskets, junk drawers, files, kids’ stuff, and areas that tend to get piled and cluttered.  You don’t have to have it perfect, just make it work.  If something doesn’t have a home, find one or throw it out.

 

Do a Little Every Day

Your plan will never work if you don’t work at it a little every day.  Your mail, dish, and laundry piles will get big again.  You’ll find you’re spending your time catching up again instead of controlling the clutter.  Make your entire family help with this so it’s not so overwhelming.  Once you start taking care of things as they happen instead of waiting, it will become a habit and you won’t think twice about it.  Your kids will automatically take care of their dishes, shoes, and laundry…well some may need a little reminding!  You won’t have any more overwhelming piles to try to get through.  “Mom, I don’t have any socks!” will not be something you’ll hear anymore.  Your life will run more smoothly, you will be less frustrated, and you will save many precious minutes of your day.  Put your laundry away or iron while watching TV or listening to the radio, and it won’t even seem like a chore.

 

Break it up into Parts

If you wait until the weekend to conquer all your clutter, it will become a daunting task.  If you plan to clean the whole garage in one day, you may never want to get started.  Instead, break it down.  Sort through the sports equipment on one day, tools on another.  In your closet sort through clothes one day and then shoes another.  Breaking tasks down will help you stay focused, and smaller goals are easier to accomplish, and keeps you motivated to keep going.

 

Everything Needs a Home Rule

Make this a rule in your house.  If something doesn’t have a home to return to everyday, it will just float from one place to another and add to the clutter.  Find the best place for things like your keys, purse, phone, checkbook, and kids backpacks.  Choose obvious locations, like keys and backpacks near the door.  When everything is in place it will save time spent looking for lost items.

 

Take Note of What Works and What Doesn’t

If you have a lot of files with only 1 or 2 things in them you probably have too many files.  Having one file for utilities makes more sense than having a separate one for gas, electric, phone, and cable. You can get most of your bills online so you don’t need a huge file of years of bills.  If you spend too much time looking for something in an overstuffed file, you probably don’t have enough files.  You can break it down into more categories. Remember, files are supposed to help you save time.

 

Sort it Right

When you sort through your clutter have these 3 general piles; trash, file, act now.  Don’t keep the 3 piles going, put the trash in the trash, file what needs to be filed, and send out those bills that are due.  If you don’t take action, you’ll end up with 3 piles of clutter instead of 1.  Make a decision right away, don’t postpone it until later.  Indecisiveness = clutter.

 

Label It

Don’t worry about waiting for your label maker to come in the mail, or having the cutest labels for now.  Just get started, and you can change those things later.  You need to know what’s in those files or bins of kids toys and crafts.  Labels are great when sorting toys, crafts, tools, pantry items, files, decorations, and off season clothes and shoes.

 

Key things to remember:

1. Don’t worry about having the perfect system, just get started.

2.  If it’s too overwhelming, break it down, or enlist some help.

3. Be decisive.  Is it helping you or hindering you?

4. Keep your eye on the prize = saving your precious time (and all those things you can be doing instead of sifting though clutter) and being clutter free (or a whole lot less)

5. Don’t get discouraged if you have to go back and start again.  You’ll have areas that will get still get cluttered.  It’s normal.  Life gets busy, and it happens.  Just start again, and keep it going.  It’s good to go through stuff once or twice a year anyway to see what you still need and what you don’t.

 

If you have any clutter questions or tips please feel free to send us a message.  We’d love to help you out!!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Time-Saving Tuesday – Smart Cleaning

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Welcome to Time-Saving Tuesday.  Check back every Tuesday for a new time-saving tip.

Don’t get me wrong, I DO like to clean, and I LOVE a clean house, but I have found a few things along the way to make my cleaning easier and save me a lot of time.   I think everyone would agree that the less time needed to clean, the better.

 

Entryway

 

  • Place a mat on the inside and outside of your entry door. Use one that can be easily thrown in the washer.   This will cut down on dirt getting tracked in, and will give people a place to land their shoes.
  • Place a basket near the door to hold items that need to come or go, like library books, mismatch gloves, etc. Make sure to empty the basket daily.
  • Have your kids (and you too) put their shoes and coats away in the closet or on hooks so it’s not such a big chore later.
  • If your entry has carpet, put a protective coating on it (like Scotchgard).  This will help repel stains, and will be easier to clean when stains do show up.
  • Open mail near the garbage, and do it everyday.  Don’t let it pile up.  Most of it can be tossed anyway.  Have a good filing system so you don’t lose a bill or important document.

 

Kitchen

 

  • Use mats around your sink area, and make sure they can be easily washed too.
  • Clean as you cook.  If you wait until after you eat to do all the clean up it can become overwhelming, especially if you’ve used a lot of pots and pans to prepare the meal. Once you are done with something toss it in the dishwasher or wash by hand and put away while you wait for your yummy dinner to get done.
  • Clear the dishes and do right away.  Even if it means to leave in dishwasher to run later.  It will keep things neat, and a clean kitchen always seems to set the tone for the rest of the house.  It will also help when the next meal rolls around.  It’s much less of a job to conquer.
  • Put dishes away as soon as dishwasher is done.  That way you won’t be tempted to leave dirty dishes in the sink after the next meal.  No one likes to have to put clean dishes away first to only load it up again with dirty ones.  It usually takes less than 5 minutes to do anyway!  This is something that older children can help with.
  • Use your exhaust fan when cooking.  It will help with the smoke and grease buildup.
  • Use a rubber backed mat for pet dishes.  This will help catch all those drips, and can be easily tossed in the wash machine.

 

Living Room

 

  • Put blankets, toys, papers, books, etc. away before you turn in each night.  This is a good habit to teach your kids as well.  Waking up to a “picked up” house is refreshing and not overwhelming.
  • Always have carpet spot remover handy.  You never know what might end up there, but fresh stains are the easiest to clean up.
  • Use coasters.  This sounds crazy, but it helps save table tops, and doesn’t leave rings or spots that you will have to clean later.
  • Have a home for remotes, guides, books, etc..  If everything has a home, it can always end there, and not out floating from place to place.
  • If you have plants, make sure you have proper drainage to avoid spills on tables.
  • Buy furniture that can be easily cleaned, and carpet that will “hide” the dirt.  I know, you always want to have a clean carpet, but dirt will find it’s way in, and a carpet with pattern/colors that will hide it will look new longer, and save you from shampooing your carpet every other week.
  • Don’t decorate with too many accents.  Choose ones that have smooth or flat edges that are easier to clean.

 

Bathroom

 

  • Always use your exhaust fan that vents outside.  It will help deter mildew, which can become hazardous to your health and extremely hard to  remove.
  • Keep paper towels or a cloth handy to wipe down the sink after you are done each morning.
  • If you have a glass shower door, invest in a squeegee.  Make sure you squeegee after every shower to avoid water spots that can be nasty to get off later, not to mention they look terrible.  It may sound like a pain, but usually takes less than 1 minute, and looks perfectly clean all day.  You will still need to clean once or twice a week with glass cleaner.
  • Use liquid soap that has a pump.  Not only will it help kids determine how much to use, it will help you avoid having to clean bar-soap buildup in a soap dish.
  • Use bath mats to help catch hair spray build up on the floor.  It’s much easier to throw a bath mat in the washer than it is to scrub sticky hairspray off a floor.   Yes, I do use quite a bit to keep my naturally curly hair tamed.
  • If you have hard water stains in the toilet, add 1 cup of white vinegar overnight, and clean in the morning.  No harsh scrubbing necessary.  It should break it up through the night.

 

Bedrooms

 

  • Make your bed every morning as soon as you get up.  That goes for your kids too.  Having a bed made makes the whole room look clean, and it only takes a few minutes.
  • Put clothes in the hamper right away.  That way it’s not a chore to go back to later, just a good habit.  This is also a great habit to teach kids and hubby too!
  • That rule goes for clean clothes too.  Make sure you put clean clothes away right away to avoid clothes piles hanging around.  It’s not fun to live out of laundry baskets.

 

Laundry Room

 

  • Try to do one or more load(s) of laundry  per day, as needed.  Having a room full of laundry can become an overwhelming task.  Mixing whites with colors?  Just add some white vinegar to your load and your whites will stay white.  If it’s not something you want to chance, just save it for a “white” load.
  • Do ironing once a week.  This will help to not have to drag ironing equipment out all week long.

 

Chores

 

Make sure you share the cleaning duties.  Everyone living at your home should share in the cleaning duties.  Not only does it teach responsibility, but it helps lighten your load.

 

I hope some of these tips can help you save some time in your cleaning schedule.  Let me know if you have any others that can be helpful in saving time!!  I would love to hear what works for you!

 

 

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  Colossians 3:23

10 Uses for rotisserie chicken

 

Welcome to Time-saver Tuesdays!   Every Tuesday you can stop back for a time-saving tip to help you make things run a little smoother in your household.

 

Rotisserie chicken can be a life saver when you can’t think of something for dinner, are running late, or just need a change in your meal plan.  You can buy these already seasoned and cooked at your local grocery store.  They come in many flavors, like original, lemon pepper, cajon, italian seasoned, garlic, bbq, or rustic seasoned.  Not are these only easy, convenient, and super tender and juicy, but they are also very affordable.  They are usually the same or just a few pennies more than buying a whole uncooked chicken.

 

Here are 10 meal ideas that use rotisserie chicken.

 

1.  Eat as is, just slice it up and serve with potatoes or rice and a vegetable.

2.  Shred up and add your favorite BBQ sauce.  Serve on rolls, and add salt potatoes, a vegetable,  and applesauce.

3.  Shred up and add some taco or fajita seasoning for the perfect chicken taco or fajita.  Serve with spanish rice and your favorite vege.

4.  Pick your favorite flavor and add to the top of a salad – Chicken Cesar Salad, Italian Chicken Salad, Greek Chicken Salad, Pittsburg Chicken Salad, Asian Chicken Salad, Fiesta Chicken Salad, etc.

5.  Cut up and add to a soup – Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Creamy Chicken Soup, White Chicken Chili, etc.

6.  Cut up and mix with veggies for a Chicken Pot Pie.

7.  Shred up and mix with Mayo for some Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

8.  Cut up, mix with some veggies and pasta for a fun Chicken Casserole or Lasagna.

9.  Shred up and mix with hot sauce, and add to the top of a Chicken Wing Pizza.

10.  Cut up and use with your favorite toppings in a Chicken Panini.

 

There are so many more uses for a rotisserie chicken, but I hope these will get you started and save you some time this week.  I would love to hear your favorite rotisserie chicken recipe.