FREE Printable Chore Chart for your kiddos-Perfect for summer

Now that school is almost over, I need to get organized with my kiddos, Here are 2 chore charts I made for my kiddos, I obviously only need the boy one but I made a girly one too.  This is what the chore chart looks like, click  the links for a printer friendly copy.

Girls printer friendly chore chart

boys printer friendly chore chart

boychore

chore chart1

30 Days to a cleaner house-Day 15

Today, I am scrubbing my floors.  I usually use a trusty steam mop (that I LOVE by the way), sometimes it leaves a little film on my floors, partially because I have hard water.  So today I am getting my soapy mop bucket out and mopping them on my hands and knees.  I used to do this before I bought a steam mop and I hated it, but I could really get my floors to shine.  I have wood floors in my kitchen, bathroom, and living room.  I have tried a few different cleaners.  First I tried this:

Pledge Finish wood floor-I have to say, this made wood floors look like they were new.  I mean it! They would sparkle because it literally put a gloss finish over your floor.  I loved it, and I really mean that, I absolutely loved how this made my floors look…BUT, of course there is always a downfall.  I had been using this for weeks and bragging to everyone about it. When this finish gets wet it turns white and leaves a white stain that I couldn’t get out.  My kids would wash their hands in the bathroom and walk from the sink over to the hand towel holder and drip water on the floor, there was a trail of white spots.  I couldn’t figure out what it was until I finally figured out it was from the floor finish. Also it would start to peel off, if you didn’t continue using the floor finish each week, it would start to peel off and look like……well, it would look like your floor finish was peeling off.  It looked awful.  This floor finish is almost like a sweet delicious dessert that you love while you’re eating it, but afterwards you see the results in your waistline.  Ok that was one of the worst metaphors I could have ever thought of but I am not someone who likes to use the delete button very much (probably because I’m Italian and I speak before I think, in this case I type before I think).

Let’s move on, next I tried the old Murphys Oil Soap

Some of you may like Murphys oil soap but I don’t! Here is why…after I mop my floors with it, it literally does leave an oily feeling on my floors.  So then when my kids walk across it with their socks on, it leaves streak marks from their socks.  All in all I really don’t like using this stuff.  I have a bottle of it in my cleaning cupboard that I will occasionally use to wipe down my baseboards and window sills, other than that, no thanks Murphy.

I finally just started using a bucket of warm soapy water, and it does the job perfectly.  No oily finish, and no weird water marks. Just plain soap.  So get your mop bucket out and start cleaning.  If you don’t have wood floors, clean your kitchen floor or any other floors in your house that are not carpet.

 

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

Day 8) Showers and tubs

Day 9) Drawers

Day 10) Tables and chairs, end tables, coffee tables

Day 11) Clean your mattresses

Day 12) Dust your bedrooms

Day 13) Porch, mudroom, or shoe closet

Day 14) Bathroom

Time Saving Tuesday: Not Enough Hours in the Day?

not enough hours

 

 

Welcome back to Time Saving Tuesday!  

 

Have you ever had those days where you could hear yourself say, “I wish there were more hours in the day, or I could get such and such done if I had just a little more time”?  I certainly have!  Actually, my to-do list for today is pretty long.  *sigh*

 

Well, I’ve found a few things that have helped in along the way.

 

1. Get up Early

It doesn’t sound like a whole lot of time, but just an extra 30 minutes can help you jump start your day, and give you a couple spare minutes to get out the door instead of rushing, and hurrying your kids.  It can make for a more peaceful morning for everyone, and can set the tone for the rest of the day.  Remember to keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish so you stay on task and don’t just lose that extra sleep.  If you are more of a night owl, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier.  That extra sleep can help you to be more productive.  Use your most productive time of day to get things done.  For me, I am a morning person, so I get my important tasks done then.  I save the other stuff for the afternoon.  Schedule your day for what works for you.

 

2. Stay Organized

Notice I didn’t say, “Get organized?”  That is key, but once you have yourself organized, figure out what works best for you to stay organized.  Remember, staying organized isn’t just about getting rid of old bills and receipts, it’s about knowing what to keep and how you are going to make it easy to find when you need it.  This will save you a lot of time everyday even just going through your daily mail.  You will know what needs to be kept and filed, and what can be immediately tossed.  Don’t let mail get stacked up to deal with later.  Don’t be afraid to toss something.  That goes for online mail as well.  Don’t let your inbox get bombarded with messages.  Unsubscribe, delete, and really pair down those messages.  With today’s technology, it’s generally pretty easy to replace something that you may need.  When was the last time you really needed something you threw away anyway?  If you are questioning something, put it in a pending file to check on in a week or month.  Decide then if you really need it.  Make sure you help your kids to stay organized as well.  This will save both of you time!

 

3. Multitask

Sometimes this is easier said than done.  Remember it’s only productive if the things you are working on together aren’t imperative.  Putting away laundry and listening to that saved bible study CD can be multitasked, where working on your budget and making dinner while helping kids with homework may be counterproductive.  You get the point.  Giving your full attention to one important task at a time is always more productive that trying to do it all at once, time saved.  Plus, you won’t have to go back to fix mistakes that you made along the way, time wasted.

 

4. Enlist Help

As much as we like to think we can do it all, and no one does it as well as we can, this super-mom mentality is not productive or effective.  We can’t do it all efficiently all the time, and it doesn’t help our kids when we don’t teach them responsibility and let them do their part around the house.  So when you look at the dusting job your 6 year old just did, just remember it may not be as good as you would’ve done, but it’s a little extra time for you to get other things done (as long as you don’t go back to re-dust!!)  😉

 

5.  Slow and steady wins the race

This is the same idea as with multitasking.  When you are working on an important task, slow and steady wins the race.  It’s not efficient to rush through something only to find out you missed something along the way or made a mistake that will cost you even more time to fix.  You can work fast when cleaning your house or making dinner, but when it comes to paying bills, making out your will, or doing something else that is of utmost importance, taking your time is key.

 

6.  Limit your electronics time

Have you ever researched something online, read through Facebook, or checked those tweets?  A few minutes can easily lead to an hour or more if you’re not careful.  Keep yourself in check, limit your time on electronics, and you’ll find you have more time for other things.

 

7.  Master to-do list

I love lists.  They help me get things done, and I can look back at it to see all the things I accomplished.  The key is having a realistic list.  Having too much on your daily to-do list can seem daunting and overwhelming.  It will bog you down.  Instead, have a master to-do list that can be a mile long with everything that needs to be done.  Then, have a daily to-do list that only has 3-4 items on it.  Conquer those, and then you can hit up the master list.  This way, the most important things get done first instead of the easiest things done first.  Make sure you schedule your day to fit in those 3-4 items, or you will find yourself running around in circles figuring out what to do next.

 

8.  Break it down

If you are avoiding that huge, daunting project, just break it down.  Instead of “Clean out garage,”  break it down into, “organize sports equipment and wash cars” one day, and “put holiday stuff away, organize tools, and sweep garage” another day.  It will help you stay focused and will save you from going from one thing to the next, and not completing a thing.  Also, work on these projects early so the rest of your day will go smoother.  Getting those hard tasks done first makes every thing else seem easy!

 

9. Schedule, schedule

Once you have your master list and daily to-do lists, schedule the times for each project.  This will give you a general idea of when you’ll be done with each project or task.  This will help you schedule your day, and you’ll have an easier time saying “no” to something else that comes up when you know you won’t have time.

 

10. Give yourself grace

If you have done everything you could to gain a little more time in the day, and  it still doesn’t happen, give yourself grace.  You got a lot done no matter what, and there is always tomorrow.  Don’t use this as an excuse to get lazy though, just a reminder that life happens and it’s ok to have days that it doesn’t all get done.

 

 

You can check out more time saving tips here!!  I would love to hear how you gain more hours in your day!!  I can use all the help I can get!  🙂

 

 

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30 Days to a Cleaner house- Day 11

Today, since its Saturday and I always try to get all of my laundry finished today (so that I don’t have to do any tomorrow), I am going to wash all of my bedding, sheets, pillow cases and pillows as well as clean my mattresses. Here is how I clean my mattresses:

1) Sprinkle baking soda on my mattress:

I sprinkle baking soda on my mattress and then vacuum the entire mattress off, this not only takes care of any spores, but it also makes your mattress smell great!

2)Spray your mattress with disinfectant

Then I spray the mattress with disinfectant spray. I read this gross article about how your mattress is full of dead skin, oil, and sweat. Agh!! Gross! I’m sure Lysol doesn’t solve that problem but I definitely feel better when I spray it on my mattress.

 

I also want to add that I still use mattress protectors on my mattresses, and I wash them but then throw them away once a year, I still think its important to clean your mattress even if you are using a mattress protector.  I would lose sleep thinking that I am sleeping on sweat and dead skin! Get your disinfectant out and clean that mattress!! While this task wont make your house look cleaner, i

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

Day 8) Showers and tubs

Day 9) Drawers

Day 10) Tables and chairs, end tables, coffee tables

Day 11) Clean your mattresses

t sure is satisfying to know you’re sleeping on a clean mattress!

 

30 Days to a cleaner house-Day 8

This is another one of my unfavorite things to clean.  My spell check is telling me that unfavorite is not a word, but I’m using it anyway because every one knows the meaning of what I’m saying. My next UNFAVORITE thing to clean is my shower and bathtub.  Unfortunately it’s one of those things that you have to clean even if you dislike it because otherwise it gets gross.  I guess that pretty much goes for anything in your house but dirty showers and toilets tend to gross me out a little more than a dirty window, or ceiling fan.  So today your task is to clean that shower and bathtub…thoroughly.  You can use my shower cleaner recipe here, its super easy to make and works great, spray on and let it sit for a few minutes, your soap scum will be gone and you’re on your way to a cleaner house!

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

Day 8)Showers and tubs

30 days to a cleaner house, Day 7

tvDid you tackle your refrigerator yesterday? Mine was quite the task!

Today, I noticed all of my electronic screens needs a major cleaning as well as my mirrors.  So get out that windex, or your homemade cleaner 🙂 and wash your tv screens, computer screens, and all of the mirrors in your house. Then smile at yourself in that mirror because you are on your way to a cleaner house!!

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days to a cleaner house, day 6

Day 6 is the worst one!!! The refrigerator!!! Mine is awful.  My husband just let me know about all of the stuff that spilled in the back.  I checked to see what it was, JELLY! stuck to the bottom of the fridge. Agh! So…today get that fridge cleaned out.  Take every single thing out and clean it.  I use warm soapy water to clean mine.

 

Day 1) ceiling fan and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) walls and molding

Day 4) windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

 

Time Saving Tuesday – Clutter Control

 

cluttercontrol

 

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