Posts — Page 8 of 12 — Stella Nadene | Health + Wellness for Busy Moms
4 Starter Tips for Better Quality Sleep

4 Starter Tips for Better Quality Sleep

4 ways to start out getting more and better quality sleep every night for better health.

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We could all do with a little more and better quality sleep, right? We all seem to be so busy with our working schedules these days that we need to get up before the dawn and end up leaving the office just before the sun starts to set again. That doesn’t leave us much free time to do the things we enjoy, such as taking part in hobbies and spending time with loved ones, so there is no wonder that our sleep takes a hit. As a result, more and more of us are getting a lot less sleep than we should. As we all know, this isn’t great for our overall health.

 

So, how do you get better quality sleep and start to get more of it? Well, for starters, you need to focus on the things that might be preventing you getting a good quality of sleep or making it harder for you to drop off at night. Once you have fixed these issues, then you will find you get more hours of zzzs each night.

 

4 starter tips to start now for better quality sleep

Cut Down On Caffeine

 

I’m sure that you love your first cup of coffee in the day, especially from somewhere like taylor-st.com. We all love the fact that it wakes us up and each following cup helps us keep going at work. However, all of that caffeine won’t be so welcome once you get home at night as it could keep you up for a few hours. Ideally, you shouldn’t drink coffee or any other caffeinated drinks after 4 PM. That gives your body time to get rid of it from its system. It’s also a good idea to stick to a maximum of three cups each day.

 

Don’t Nap

 

As well as trying to cut back on caffeinated drinks, you should also think about cutting back on any naps that you normally take during the day. In fact, it will be worth trying to cut out your naps completely. After all, any sleep that you have during the day is sleep that you won’t have in the evening. If you do need to nap then you should try and do so in the morning. That way, your body and mind have plenty of time to get tired again ready for bedtime.

 

Upgrade Your Bedroom

 

Maybe it’s your bedroom that is holding you back from getting better quality sleep? If you have had your mattress for over ten years, now is the time to head to montgomerys.com to see about getting a new one. Mattresses get lumpy over the years which can be a problem for sleep. Plus, it’s worth hanging blackout blinds to block out any excess light from outside that could be keeping you awake.

 

Eat For Better Quality Sleep

 

Did you know that there are also some foods that can help you fall asleep a lot easier? For instance, turkey and milk contain a hormone that can reduce your mind’s alertness and help you unwind. Honey, chamomile, and almonds are also really useful sleep foods.

Besides that, eating a healthy diet can reduce or eliminate heartburn that keeps us from also getting better quality sleep.

 

Sometimes just a single tweak can improve your sleep dramatically, so try these tips and see how you feel!

 

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Click the image below to get your FREE Sleep Log and start to get better quality sleep!

 

Better quality sleep is so important for our bodies-especially Moms that have wacked out sleep schedules anyway! Here's how to get better quality sleep + download the Sleep Log to track your sleep! #sleep #selfcare #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #momlife

 

Know someone that could use help with get a better night’s sleep? Please SHARE this post!

 

Better quality sleep is so important for our bodies-especially Moms that have wacked out sleep schedules anyway! Here's how to get better quality sleep + download the Sleep Log to track your sleep! #sleep #selfcare #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #momlife

4 Ways to Get Rid of the Most Common Bad Home Smells

4 Ways to Get Rid of the Most Common Bad Home Smells

4 different kinds of bad home smells and how to get rid of them so you can have a fresh-smelling home!

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Even though we’re always super busy Mamas, most of us want a perfect home. There are so many different factors that go into creating the ideal home, most of which involve the decor and interior design. But there is so much more to it than that! You also have to consider its organization as well as its cleanliness. For instance, if you have bad home smells, there’s no way it’s going to impress any friends or family who come to visit!

 

Do you find that you have problems getting rid of bad odors in your home? Here are some of the most common bad home smells and what you can do about them.

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Cooking Smells

 

You will find that there are a lot of different smells and fragrances in the kitchen because of all the meals that you prepare in it. Most of the time, these cooking smells will disappear without too many problems. However, there could be some food and ingredients that are quite pungent and seem to linger for a while, like bacon or onions.

The best way to remove any stubborn cooking odors is to install an extractor fan into the kitchen if it doesn’t already have one. Wiping down work surfaces with a water and white vinegar solution can also help them stay fresh without the use of any harsh chemicals.

If you’re regularly meal planning, you should already know the days when you’ll need to air out your home better to prevent bad home smells from the ingredients you’re cooking with.

 

Pet Odors

 

More often than not, home fragrance machines are enough to mask regular pet odors. However, if your dog gets quite dirty while you take him out for his daily walk, you might find that he brings back some bad smells with him. In this kind of situation, you should bathe him as soon as you are able to and spritz your soft furnishings with a deodorant spray, such as Febreeze.

Also keep pets off the furniture. If that’s not possible at this point, drape a throw blanket in the spot where you pet lays. Then you can periodically change it out and wash it.

 

 

Smelly Trash

 

You need to take your kitchen trash out regularly so that it doesn’t get too smelly and starts to bad home smell from your trash! You might find that you need to take it out a lot more often in the summer months as the hot weather will cause food waste to decompose a lot quicker than usual. To help you keep on top of bad trash smells, it’s worth washing the bin every time you empty it. Leaving some fabric softener sheets at the bottom of the bin will also help to absorb any bad smells.

 

A Stale Bathroom

 

Does your bathroom sometimes smell slightly stale? It’s not a pleasant fragrance and, thankfully, there is something you can do about it. For instance, you might just want to light a few scented candles and put them around the tub while you enjoy a relaxing bubble bath. Essential oils, such as lavender, lemon, and cinnamon will also add some refreshing scents to your bathroom. You can dip some cotton wool in the oils and then leave the cotton wool balls in the corners of the room to let the scent from the oil diffuse through the air.

 

Hopefully, all of these tips will help your home smell nice once again!

 

 

Know someone that could use help with ridding their home of common odors? Please SHARE this post!

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6 Thoughtful Strategies for Living in a Single Level Home with Kids

6 Thoughtful Strategies for Living in a Single Level Home with Kids

6 super thoughtful strategies for living in a single level home when you have kids, and even pets.

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For most of us, when we think about where we will live while we raise our children, we think of a house. It’s the classic setup, with a white picket fence and friendly neighbors we share our lives with— but it’s also a distant dream for many families. While raising children in a house might be the ideal, it’s far from the standard, and many people find themselves living in a single level home with kids–whether an apartment, duplex, or detached home.

 

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There are many forms of single-level homes, covering a wide range of prices. So whether you live in a penthouse, a bungalow, a studio apartment, or something in between, there’s a few things you should know about the challenges — and the benefits — of having a single level home with kids. Read on to find out more…

 

Take the noise issue seriously

 

When you live on a single level, by far the biggest issue you will face is noise control. This issue is particularly challenging in the evenings, when your kids will be trying to sleep while you remain awake. And obviously this is crazy magnified if you have a baby or toddler that takes several naps a day.

When children are able to sleep on the top floor of a house, parents can carry on as they normally would on the ground floor without having to worry about causing any disturbances to their sleeping children. This isn’t an option on the same level, as there just isn’t the same separation afforded.

It is therefore imperative that anyone living in a single level home with kids takes the challenge for noise reduction incredibly seriously.

There are a variety of soundproofing options that you might want to consider; depending on your budget, you can choose from DIY methods or hiring in specialists to make material changes to the structure of the building. Either way, the noise issue is one that you’re going to have to deal with, so it should be at the very top of your priority list.

With the right sound minimizing techniques, you should be able to achieve a way of living on one level without disturbing your sleeping children.

If you do find you’re struggling, a white noise machine in your child’s room might be beneficial. With a white noise machine, external noises are less obvious as there’s no absolute silence to disturb, so such a device is definitely worth considering.

 

Don’t opt for open plan

 

In a continuation of the noise focus, it’s worth noting that open-plan living is not suitable if you’re trying to live in a single level home with kids. As beautiful as open-plan living is, the fact that there are fewer walls in the space allows for sound to travel with far more ease. So any kind of open-plan living really isn’t the best idea for families living on single levels; instead, choose to separate off each room to allow for maximum sound reduction wherever possible.

 

While this may not be the best aesthetic choice, sometimes practicality has to come first. If you’re not keen on the idea of lots of individual walls, you can always consider flexible room dividers or even glass walls— these can help preserve the feel of open-plan living, but still offer the noise control that you’re going to need.

 

Organization, storage, and decluttering are vital in single-level homes

 

When you live in a single level home with kids, organization becomes even more important than it would be if you were living in a multi-story house. While the most palatial of penthouses may technically include as much space as a house, this is unusual. And you will usually find that a single level means that there are restrictions on the space available.

The only way to deal with restricted space is to ruthlessly organize your belongings, and then do all you can to ensure you regularly declutter.

In some ways, living on a single level and dealing with the space challenges this provides will teach you very good lessons; you’ll learn that you have to be incredibly choosy when it comes to the items you keep in your house. Decluttering and organization are the only way to cope with a smaller amount of space when raising kids, so opt for plenty of in-built storage and schedule decluttering sessions whenever you have the time.

And if your clutter–whether in the bedroom, kitchen, or rest of the house–is out of control, check out this course. It focuses on unburdening yourself by minimalizing. (Click the image to learn more!)

 

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Consider external storage units

 

Most parents can agree that kids need a lot of… stuff. From the moment you bring them home from the hospital, kids require a huge amount of equipment, clothes, and various associated items just to keep them healthy + happy. Most families can deal with this by storing items in a shed or the attic, but there’s no such option if you live on a single level.

Again, one of the biggest issues you may face when you’re living on a single level is the lack of space. And this is particularly concerning when it comes to child-related items. If you find that, even with the best will in the world, you just can’t make all of your kids’ belongings fit into your property, then your best option is likely to be an external storage unit.

Many people don’t like external storage units; they see them inconvenient, and worry about the safety of storing their own items out of sight. However, these units can make a huge difference to the space you have available in your home. Just ensure that you do the research and find a unit with adequate levels of security, and only use the unit for items of material value— it’s usually best to keep sentimental items close to hand, just in case.

 

Child-proofing is more difficult if you live at height

 

We all know the importance of child-proofing when your children reach an age to explore their surroundings, but child-proofing is particularly pertinent if you live at height.

For the most part, higher apartment blocks will have security features built-in to ensure that there is no risk to any resident who lives in the property— whatever their age. You will usually find that your windows will only open to a certain degree, but if your children are particularly small, they might still — with effort — be able to escape. If this is the case, then install child-proof locks on the windows to ensure maximum safety at all times.

When living at height, you’re also more likely to have a balcony. If this is the case, you will need extra child-proofing to ensure that the balcony is safe for your children. This starts with the basic access, which should include child-proof locks on the door to the balcony. However, don’t trust that this alone is sufficient; you may also want to install safety netting over the balcony, and consider implementing the other childproofing options available for balcony owners.

 

Take weather alerts seriously (and particularly flood warnings)

 

Weather alerts should always be taken seriously – but realistically, few people actually do so. The problem is mainly due to the fact that weather alerts are so constantly issued, but rarely do they result in any real damage. As a result, we all become rather blasé about weather alerts. But this is something you just can’t afford to do when you live in a single-level home.

This is particularly true if you live on the ground floor. If flooding occurs when predicted, then your home is going to be vulnerable. If there is a severe weather warning, it’s worth asking yourself what you will do if you notice signs of flooding.

For people living in a standard house, they tend to move their most important belongings to the top floor of their home— which is obviously not an option for you if you live on a single level. Having a backup plan of how you will cope if those weather warnings do actually turn out to be right is an essential aspect of living in a single-level home.

The above applies to anyone who lives on a single level, but if you’re a parent, the matter is more complicated. As discussed above, kids tend to need a lot of stuff, and you’re going to have to figure out how you will protect those items in the event of a flood.

You’ll also need to know where you can take your kids on short notice — for example, a friend who lives nearby or a reliable babysitter — if flooding occurs, so you can be free to try and deal with the issue as best as possible.

 

In conclusion

 

With all of the above said, there are substantial benefits to living on a single level with kids. It’s easier to keep an eye on your children while they play; it’s generally cheaper to maintain and power a single-level property. And the lack of indoor space can help to encourage outdoor play.

So while there are a few important aspects of single-level living to consider when you’re raising kids, these aspects shouldn’t be a barrier to living in a single level home with kids. Millions of people live in single-level homes and raise happy, healthy, wonderful kids, so there’s absolutely no requirement to be in a traditional multi-level house for people who wish to raise a family.

 

What strategies do you know of for living in a single level home or apartment? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Know someone that could use help with strategies for living in a single level with kids? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Get your Health + Fitness On By Joining the Summer Series 2018!

Get your Health + Fitness On By Joining the Summer Series 2018!

YOU’RE INVITED!!

Join this years’ Health + Fitness Summer Series!

This awesome series–which is totally free btw–is put together for busy Mamas like you by a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach, who have teamed up to bring you a rock star health and fitness series to get you bikini ready before summer!

 

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{Feel free to sign up for both or either of the series’, but keep in mind that the BEST results come from combining both!}

The series starts June 11th, so sign up now to get your workouts + nutrition plans delivered right to your inbox the minute it starts!? (Which is June 11, 2018!)

 

 FITNESS SERIES:

This is a 3 week compounding workout targeting one body part each week for that perfect summer fit body within the month.

  • Week 1 will focus on legs and glutes. This ’15 minute Brazilian Butt Lift Workout’ utilizing only your body weight will have your legs and thighs burning fast!
  • Week 2 we’ll begin to develop your abdominals to slim and tighten your core in an intense ’10 minute No Crunches 6 Pack Abs Workout’.
  • Week 3 will bring in the ’10 Minute Banish Flabby Arms Tricep Routine’ to tighten underarm flab within a week!

Join a group of likeminded individuals by jumping onboard with the Summer Series Fitness Workout Challenge! Sign up now to get a phenomenally effective and fast workout created by a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer sent straight to your e-mail each week!

 

To join the Fitness portion, sign up here!

 

Healthy Eating Series:

This is a 3 week series that focuses on challenges for warmer weather. But also getting in targeted food groups to help you THE MOST in your health and fitness challenge!

  • Week 1 will focus on Hydration + Protein. Get tips and tricks for upping your hydration game. Plus learn the crazy importance of protein when you’re toning that beautiful bod with strength workouts!
  • Week 2 will focus on Good vs Bad Carbs, recipes for super yummy snacks + sides using those delicious good carbs!
  • Week 3 will focus on Adding in More Veggies + tricks and tips to add a ton more into your daily nourishing meals!

Join other Mamas ready to change their diets for the good with the Summer Series Healthy Eating Challenge! Sign up now to get tips, tricks, and recipes delivered right to your inbox every week for 3 weeks!

 

To join the Healthy Eating Challenge sign up here!

 

And while you’re at it, grab your FREE Fabulously Fit Planner + Tracker when you sign up for the Newsletter! (click the image below!)

 

free fitness planner when you sign up for the newsletter

 

 

Know someone that would like to join the challenge? Please SHARE this post!

 

This awesome health + fitness summer series challenge--which is totally free btw--is put together for busy Mamas like you by a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach, who have teamed up to bring you a rock star health and fitness series to get you bikini ready before summer! #fitness #fitmom #healthylifestyle #healthyliving #cleaneating #summer

3 Keys to Living the Money Saving Mindset

3 Keys to Living the Money Saving Mindset

3 keys to creating a money saving mindset for yourself so you can quit struggling with finances once and for all.

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Being a parent, for some, means constantly being in the red. They don’t understand living with a money saving mindset. The continual outgoings on things like food, the car, as well as rent or the mortgage can mean you are constantly chasing your tail in a financial sense. What’s the solution? Is it about going without for the benefit of your kids? Or is it something else entirely?

In fact, most people struggle because they don’t have the appropriate mindset in which to save. So, how can you live this money saving mindset?

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Make It A Habit


Much like eating healthily, saving money needs to be a lifestyle choice, not a temporary measure. By making it a habit, you’ll see significant returns in your daily life. There are simple ways to make it a habit of living in a money saving mindset. There are infinite voucher websites you can explore, to give you some money off your daily purchases.

But also, when it comes to being extravagant, are there ways for you to trim certain costs? This doesn’t mean always looking for the cheapest item on the menu in a restaurant, but finding other ways to make your night out cheaper overall.

A website like www.ridester.com can you show you how to get vouchers for transportation using services like Uber or Lyft.

It’s not about going without, but more about planning ahead when you intend to spend a significant amount of money.

And once you know where to look for discounts on your favorite brands, a money saving mindset can become a habit, and form part of your lifestyle.



Focus On The Reason


Why do you want to save money? Is it because you’re struggling, or is it because you’re saving up for a vacation? If you keep going back to the reason why you’re saving money in the first place, this will give you the focus to keep at it.

We all lose track on occasion, or we hit a wall, especially when it comes to saving so much money. And this is why it’s important to go back to the original reason, and look at how much you have saved in a certain amount of time.

By focusing on that reason, whether it’s a personal one, such as for your kids, or a practical one, such as cutting back on unnecessary expenditure, you need this focus.



Always Look For Help


Help takes many forms, and there are infinite resources online. Websites like www.thebalance.com gives practical advice on how to trim unnecessary spending.

We need to have the know-how before we can make these necessary steps. Going into money saving blindly, without the resources, can mean that we are making life difficult for ourselves.

With something like credit card bills, for example, the debt snowball method is something that is very effective at cutting credit card debt out of your life. But this is a method not many people know about, which is why it’s always best to make the most of the help available, which, nowadays, is everywhere online.

Saving money isn’t just about penny-pinching, it’s about the attitude you have towards money. So, getting into the money saving mindset is one of the best ways to achieve it, but you need to live it too!

 

Click the image below to download your printable Home Budgeting Binder!

 

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How do you get into the money saving mindset? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with living with a money saving mindset? Please SHARE this post!

 

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How to Use Your Spare Room as a Side Hustle

How to Use Your Spare Room as a Side Hustle

Basic etiquette to be a stellar host when you use your spare room as a rental to make extra money on the side.

Collaborative post.

 

For most of us, our spare room is simply used for storage. Once you fill the extra bedroom in your house with various belongings and items that you don’t need on a regular basis, you might simply close the door and forget about it. Seems like such a waste, right?

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a bit of extra cash out of it? Well, you might be very happy to hear that you can! One of the easiest ways to do that is to list the spare room on Airbnb. This is a site that lets you rent out your spare room to people who need to stay in your local area. These might be individuals who are on holiday or are traveling to your town on business.

 

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Ready to make a bit of extra cash? Here’s how you can be a great Airbnb host.

 

Be Honest In The Advert

 

When you are writing your advert for the spare room, you need to make sure it is completely honest. That way, it manages your guest’s expectations and they won’t be disappointed if they arrive and the room isn’t exactly how it looked on the adverts. It’s also worth taking plenty of photos of the room to upload onto www.airbnb.com. Your guests can then see plenty of the room before they arrive, which is another way of managing their expectations.

 

Ask host Natacha how she ended up in Caraíva and she’ll tell you a story about her dream of growing old by the sea, eating fried shrimp, and drinking something cold within earshot of waves lapping off shore. When she first visited Caraíva, Brazil–– a remote fishing village on the southern end of Brazil’s Bahian coastline–– she saw that dream in real life. And in the decade since, she bought land, built her home, and then became a host. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Stay with her and she’ll recommend the best places to find those dreamy fried shrimp, and maybe some traditional Bahian cuisine like moqueca, fish stew served in a clay pot. For that, head to Boteco do Para where the owner has his own fishing boat (so you know that moqueca is fresh!) and boasts a renowned spot to watch sunset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Tap the link in our bio to learn more about Brazil’s best-kept secret beach in #Airbnbmag. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo: @piariverola

A post shared by Airbnb (@airbnb) on

 

Clean The Room Well

 

It is essential that the spare room is clean and tidy for all of your guests. No one wants to stay in a dirty room, and they would be well within their rights to leave you a negative review on the site if that turns out to be the case. So, be sure to clean it well after each guest. It’s also a good idea to check out the diffusers on www.aromatechsystems.com as these will be a nice addition to the room. They can help remove any bad odors and will replace them with fresh scents.

 

Be A Good Communicator

 

It’s also important to be a good communicator. In the run up to your guest’s stay with you, you will have a few things to do. Make sure to give guests instructions and directions to your home. You should also give them any necessary information about the house if you won’t be there to greet them and are leaving a key somewhere safe for them.

 

Leave Some Local Information In The Room

 

There’s a good chance that your guests won’t have been in the area before their visit. So, it’s a nice idea to leave some local information in their room for them. For instance, a couple of guidebooks will give them some nice ideas of what to do. It’s also worth leaving some recommendations of nice cafes, bars, and restaurants in the area.

 

These tips will help you improve your spare room and get it all ready for your very first Airbnb guest. You might be very surprised by how much money you can make by renting out your spare room!

 

Know someone that could use help with using their spare room as a rental? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Complete Healthy Pantry Makeover in a Fast Weekend

Complete Healthy Pantry Makeover in a Fast Weekend

Cleaning + Organizing + Healthifying Your Pantry all in One Fast Weekend to Totally Liberate Your Mama-Mind.

 

Hey, Mama…you know how you’re constantly trying to find a healthy snack in your pantry in a pinch, or add in a healthy substitution when cooking dinner and can’t find one in the pantry? Or is your pantry more of the ‘it appears crazy full but really is just full of boxes and chip bags that are either empty or have a few crumbs left’ type? In all honesty, mine is a combination of the two on the regular. Which is why I always fit into my Spring Cleaning and Fall Cleaning an entire weekend to do a complete healthy pantry makeover overhaul.

A ‘Healthy Pantry Makeover’ is basically a tool for you to trash the junk that’s not doing anybody any good + replace the bad with way better stuff + get it all organized so you can actually find it, all at the same time!

It really should be a part of your Self Care, since it implements part minimalizing, part clearing visual clutter and therefore stress, part organization, and part health (cuz healthy food.) All leading to a more liberated Mama-mind.

The ‘healthy’ portion of this clean-out project uses the minimum healthy Rule of 3-6-3 when having anything packaged in the pantry.

It goes like this:

The item must contain MORE than 3 grams of PROTEIN, LESS than 6 grams of SUGAR, and MORE than 3 grams of FIBER. Using that rule will eliminate a lot of the excess sugars that you really don’t need while upping your fiber and protein intake.

 

get your pantry organization with a healthy pantry makeover + free printable

Here’s how you get it done:

 

1.Schedule it in

 

If your kids are gonna be more of a hindrance than a help, and are little enough to need constant supervision, make sure to enlist help from the hubby/partner or someone to basically babysit so you can be fully committed and not interrupted.

A healthy pantry makeover is not a ‘multi-tasking’ kinda thing.

 

2.Prep

 

You’re gonna need some heavy-duty trash bags, a cardboard box, pen and paper to make a list on, cleaners, paper towels or cleaning rags, printed labels and checklist (which you can grab below), and any snacks, breakfast, lunch, etc items that your family will need while you’re working on this project. You don’t want them scrounging around in the middle of your health-seeking masterpiece. So go ahead and set anything aside that they’ll need ahead of time.

 

3.Empty With Intention

 

First things first–you’re going to be emptying the pantry–but with intention. Your goal here is 3-fold.

1- Check expiration dates and toss anything that’s past it’s prime. (This is what the heavy duty trash bags are for.) Also check out any open boxes and if it’s stale or just looks gross, toss it. ALSO-if you find items you know you and the fam won’t eat, place these in the DONATE box (this is what the cardboard box is for-just make sure none of them are past expiration or opened.)

2- Use the 3-6-3 Rule to see if you should keep it or toss it: MORE than 3 grams of PROTEIN, LESS than 3 grams of SUGAR, and MORE than 3 grams of FIBER. (If you can’t bring yourself to throw out some of these, just put these things on your list to buy more of, and choose an option that falls into these guidelines when you’re shopping.)

3- While you’re emptying, you’ll be able to see things  you need more of right off the bat. Go ahead and get your list going for new things you need to stock your pantry with.

 

4. Clean Shelves

 

While everything’s out of the pantry, go ahead and get your cleaners and towels and wipe down all the shelves and baskets, etc inside the pantry. Probably not a bad idea to wipe down all door handles, the doors, and sweep/mop the floor in there. The floor tends to be pretty neglected in there, poor thing.

 

5.Designate Areas Per Use or Zone

 

If you don’t do this already, you’ll find it really helpful and time-saving to group things by use, and choose a ‘zone’ for it to occupy. For example, all the breakfast stuff on one shelf, all the baking stuff grouped together, canned fruit on one side of the canned foods, but beans and soups on the other side, etc. It just makes it way easier to find things.

I even use my label maker to label shelves where things go so there’s no confusion. At this point we only have one family member that can’t read, so almost nobody has an excuse to just throw things in there all willy-nilly and mess up my system. (This is the label maker I use and love!)

Another tip is to have bins for certain things you either buy lots of (like granola bars or fruit pouches.) I like to empty them out of boxes when putting up groceries so I can always tell if we need more before I shop.

We also have bins for school lunches and for snacks. That way kids know to just go grab a thing from those bins to finish packing their lunches in the morning, or to find a snack there after school. (We also use this method in the fridge.)

 

6. Replace Items

 

So at this point all you have to do is put everything back up all nice and orderly in its proper place. At this point you may find that you want to get more bins or new bins. Just put it on your list, and finish when you’ve got them in hand.

 

7. Donate

 

If there was anything in your cardboard box, go ahead and donate those items to the local food bank. You can find your nearest one by clicking through here and putting in your zip code.

 

8. Toss

 

Go ahead and get your toss bag in your trash can or dumpster and out of the house!

 

9. Restock

 

Go shop for the things you were out of, or need to replace with more healthy alternatives, and get them put in their new proper places. 😉

 

10. Explain Your System

 

We have friends whose husband always says while chuckling that he frequently throws his hands up when supposedly trying to help his wife with household stuff and yells, “I don’t know your system!” And then walks away. We always crack up at it, and then later I give my hubby the evil eye with a, “Nuh uh, don’t try to pull that BS with me.”

In all seriousness, your family should respect the hard work you put into cleaning, organizing, and making sure your pantry isn’t full of total junk. Show them where everything goes, and point out the labels if you added those. Don’t give them an excuse to just clutter up that gorgeous clean pantry again!

 

And if you didn’t get enough cleaning, organizing, and health-ifying your food situation, give the fridge a go in the SAME EXACT ORDER, my friend!

 

Don’t forget to grab your Healthy Pantry Makeover Organization Pack!

{Click the image below!}

 

health pantry makeover organization pack printable

 

And if your kitchen in general is a serious hot mess, and you’ve been thinking of purging and swaying toward a more simplistic lifestyle, I highly recommend you check out the Your Uncluttered Home course by the amazing Allie Casazza!

 

 

Know someone that could use help with a total Healthy Pantry Makeover? Please SHARE this post!

 

Drowning in your cluttered and un organized pantry? Can't find anything healthy to eat because of all the junk? My friend, you need a healthy pantry makover! Steps, tips, and hacks for getting your containers, cans, and categories with labels, all in a diy system and in a quick weekend! #pantry #organized #healthyliving #cleaneating #kitchen

 

The Sometimes Hidden and Shocking Costs of a Family Vehicle That You Should Consider

The Sometimes Hidden and Shocking Costs of a Family Vehicle That You Should Consider

The sometimes hidden costs of a family vehicle that you should be prepared for.

Collaborative post.

When you have a family, it’s fair to say a car is essential. The freedom of four wheels means you can take your kids on plenty of fun days out whenever the weather allows. What’s more, a vehicle is crucial from a safety standpoint. If one of your kids has an accident when you don’t drive, you’d have to waste valuable time waiting for an ambulance. With a car, you’ll be able to head out the moment anything happens. So in those respects, the costs of a family vehicle are totally worth it.

 

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But, living in suburban or rural areas are different from the standpoint of living in more metro areas in terms of owning a vehicle. If you are going to get a family vehicle, you also need to think about keeping a decent amount in the bank. While savings are always crucial, they become even more so when you bring a car into your lives. Fail to get on top and you could find yourself in a decent amount of debt overnight. To avoid that, it’s crucial you have enough money to afford the responsibility. And, to make sure, let’s look at the expected and unexpected costs of a family vehicle which come hand in hand with your new family member.



What you can expect



The chances are you already have an idea of the what to expect in terms of costs of a family vehicle. For one, you have all those new monthly expenses. You’ll need to pay road tax and insurance, either in one lump sum, or monthly installments. The cost is the same both ways. What’s more, you’ll always need money for gas. Otherwise, your vehicle may stay on your drive going to waste. Equally, you’ll need to pay out for regular checks and maintenance updates, such as new wiper blades every six months or so. Add these together, and you’re looking at a fair amount over the course of a year. This is definitely something to consider when figuring up your household budget.



What you didn’t expect, but may come up against anyway



And, that’s before we even get onto the costs which you don’t expect. The chances are that at least one or two of these will crop up along the way. On the extreme end of the scale, being involved in a car crash can be an expensive experience, even if you have insurance. You may have to pay out on repairs until you can prove blame. Lawyers who deal with auto accidents can help you do that, but proceedings may take a long time. What’s more, you might need to pay to cover time off work while you heal.


You may also find yourself facing various repair costs along the way. No matter how well you care for your vehicle, there’s a chance you’ll experience issues somewhere down the line. Breakdowns and mechanical faults can cost anywhere from $10-$10,000. That’s just the luck of the draw. Again, if you can’t afford these repairs, your vehicle will go to waste. Worse, you’ll still have to pay insurance and tax on the thing. Over time, that’ll waste money, too. So, you’ll need to make sure you have enough to cover costs like these, too. Otherwise, you can kiss goodbye to the benefits which tempted you into getting a car in the first place.

 

Know someone that could use help with deciding on buying a family vehicle? Please SHARE this post!

 

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My 7 Cheap + Favorite Home Workout Equipment Options

My 7 Cheap + Favorite Home Workout Equipment Options

My most favorite 7 pieces of low cost home workout equipment, how I use them, and why I love them.

 

7 most favorite + low cost home workout equipment

 

In all honesty, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t work out. I mean, from the time I was a teen until now, I’ve always known that keeping active was a really important way to stay toned and strong and healthy. But also to keep extra weight off.

Admittedly that’s way harder once you have kids. But the bottom line is to stay moving for your health, whether it’s walking, cardio, or strength training. That’s what True Self Care is about–keeping your health strong so you can run your household well. And be a great wife and mom. Which can be time consuming. That’s why I love these 7 pieces of low cost home workout equipment. They’re cheap, easy, and stay right here at home sweet home.

Which is where I tend to enjoy working out the most!

 

My 7 most favorite low cost home workout equipment

1.Kettlebell

 

Until about 8 months ago I was scared of these things. I seem to remember seeing cross-fitters slinging these things around with determined fury on their faces while they dripped with sweat. And all I could imagine was an impending head trauma if their sweaty palms caused it to go flying across the room.

They’re actually pretty awesome, though. Kettlebells give you the extra weight that you need when doing a ton of squats and other work on your legs and butt to help build muscle. Plus if you can keep a grip on them, the swinging exercises are actually kinda fun.

One other way I use them is adding extra weight if I’m doing bridges or anything else standing to help stabilize and work my core more.

There are options for these where you can add and subtract weights, but those can get pretty pricey. I actually went into the store and picked up the kettlebells to see what weight felt comfortable for me. But if you’d rather order online, Amazon has some fantastic options for kettlebells that come as a set of different weights.

 

Schedule in a trip to Walmart or Target or sporting goods store and see which weight you should start with. You want easy enough to lift (obviously) but with a bit of a challenge. Then check pricing and purchase! Heck, get the next heavier weight one if you’re feeling super ambitious!

 

2.Free Weights

 

Ok, yeah, these are teeny little free-weights. BUT–I use them for extra core stabilization, etc when doing standing arm work. I’m telling you, you don’t need a ton of weight for doing that kinda work! A friend of ours got a Pelaton bike and said it comes with tiny ones like that, and he scoffed at it. Until he used them and thought he was gonna die. And this is a big dude.

I originally used free weights back in the day when I did Cindy Crawford workouts at home. (Dear God, how old am I?) Anyway, even the smaller ones help with endurance when you’re doing a lot of reps, and are a really good place to start for low cost at home workout equipment.

 

Check out small free weights online or while you’re checking out kettlebells. See what feels comfortable and get yours! (And if your budget allows, maybe get the set that includes several weights and the stand, or even the option where you can add and subtract weights.)

 

3.Mini Foam Roller

 

TBH, I actually found this little gem at Target. In the dollar spot. So no doubt you’ll never be able to find one again so cheap. However, they do have mini foam rollers at Amazon as well.

These things are used for deep tissue massage. Many people are using at least one day a week now as their rest/recoop day, and this is one of the things recommended to do. Roll out your soreness. I’m not gonna lie–if you’re really sore, you may consider this thing Level 10 torture. But even when I’m not sore, I still roll my muscles on it because it feels sooooo good!

 

Check out rollers online or in the store, and find your fave color and size. Then check out Youtube for instructions on using it! There are really a million different ways to roll the soreness or stiffness out!

 

 

4.Mini Loop Resistance Bands

 

These little cuties will usually come in an assortment of colors to help you tell which is which. Each color means a different thickness of the band. The thicker the band, the more resistance it’ll give you.

My favorite thing to use these for is doing lunges. You just put one around your thighs and do lunges–it’ll make you work twice as hard!

There are a lot of other workouts available online to show you how to use them for working all other muscle groups. But if we’re traveling, this is absolutely what I pack because they’re literally flat. They’re honestly the most travel-friendly of the low cost home workout equipment.

 

Make a list of exercises you can do using resistance bands, and order your set! Make sure to put a copy of the list inside the bands storage bag. Then when you travel, it’s right there! When you’re not traveling, keep these close to the TV–great way to get in strength while you binge your fave shows!

 

5.Ab Roller

 

I really don’t know any other exercise that’s so hard for me to do than use this working all other muscle groups. Basically you get on your knees and grab the handles, and slowly roll it forward to get as close as you can to your chest and stomach touching the floor. Without falling on your face, that is.

Then stop, and pull back up to the knee-sitting position.

Then repeat until your abs are gonna fall off.

 

This one I definitely recommend to try before you buy. Or buy on Amazon Prime w/the free returns option. That way you can send back if this is a ‘no-go’ for you. Before you give up, though, I want to give a gentle reminder that if it was easy everyone would do it! You have to start somewhere, and this thing is crazy good for rebuilding that core after babies have stretched it to kingdom come and back. *Check with your doc if you have diastis recti first, though!

 

6.Yoga Mat

 

I know this one looks obvious, and yes-I do actually do yoga with it. But I also do workouts on the Tone It Up app, and they use a yoga mat a lot of times as a thin cover to sit on if you’re outside. They also use it to sort of delineate a space to work in on certain exercises. So it serves several purposes.

I haven’t owned a lot of yoga mats, so I can’t recommend a certain brand based on quality. And anyway, I’d probably just choose whatever color I liked best anyhow. 🙂

 

This one’s easy: Just pick a color you love and just order the darn thing! 🙂

 

7. Extra-Thick Yoga Mat

 

This, my friends, is what will save your knees and elbows and wrists and ankles when you’re actually doing yoga. Normally yoga classes are done on a hard floor surface, and I don’t have padding on my knees. I’m always in pain. And it makes the class not worth it. And then I’m just frustrated because that was my designated ‘me-time’ and I didn’t fully enjoy it.

So I discovered there are super thick yoga mats. They range from 1/2″ thickness to 1″ thickness. And I’m telling ya, if you have pain on all those joints when trying to do poses on your knees, this is what you need!

I just put mine under my regular yoga mat and I’m good to go! (Also, when the 4 year old wants to do yoga with Mommy she takes the pretty pink one and I get the thick black one.)

 

Try out some poses on your hands and knees with your regular yoga mat on a hard surface floor. If you’re dying, go ahead and find one of these 1/2″ to 1″ super thick mats! They’re lifesavers!

 

A SUPER AWESOME way to get started with your home workouts, track them, and STAY MOTIVATED is with the Fabulously Fit Planner + Tracker! (It’s free when you sign up for the Newsletter, Girlfriend! Just click the image below!}

 

free fitness planner when you sign up for the newsletter

What’s your favorite low cost home workout equipment? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with finding low cost home workout equipment options? Please SHARE this post!

 

Think a home gym is too expensive? Think again--here are my favorite low cost home workout equipment that you must have for a diy home gym. They need very little storage space! See how these 7 pieces of weights + others are the best at helping build your abs, cardio, arms, and lower bodies into shape. Can even be used with HIIT workouts for fat burning! #fitness #fitnessgirl #fitnessmotivation #fitnessinspiration

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle You Don’t Want to Miss Out On!

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle You Don’t Want to Miss Out On!

So I totally understand that sometimes you just need some resources that are low-cost but laser-focused on your specific needs at that time. Which is why you probably Google specific topics or search on Pinterest for those specific things. I’m telling you right now–if you need a collection of resources that fits that bill for all things Homemaking–The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is IT!

 

 

When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, you’ll get access to:

  • 62 eBooks
  • 30 eCourses, videos & audio files
  • 34 printables & workbooks,
  • and 3 membership sites

… all curated to give you an insanely helpful collection of resources to touch every part of your homemaking journey – at a price that’s too good to miss.

 

 

Check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle right here:

 

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2018

 

Know someone that could use a library of resources valued at over $3500 for just $29.97? Please SHARE this post! But do it quick–it’s only for SIX DAYS per year!! (Ends April 16th, 2018!!)

 

Everything Newbies Need to Do on Their First Day at the Gym

Everything Newbies Need to Do on Their First Day at the Gym

4 Tips for newbies to make their first day at the gym a little less stressful.

Collaborative post.

 

A really great option for Moms to add to their Self Care routine is going to the gym. It gives us the chance to get fit in a safe environment while using some of the most contemporary and state-of-the-art fitness machines. Plus, there will be lots of personal trainers on hand to give you lots of tips and advice.

 

However, lots of newbies can be super nervous about going to the gym on their very first day. It can seriously feel a bit like the first day at school! But there’s no reason to be too anxious about it. Check out these ways to feel right at home plus get the most for your money!

 

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1.Dress The Part

 

It’s super important that you have some good sports clothes to wear. These types of clothes are specially made to help you move easily while working out. Plus, some are made from special materials that will lift the sweat off your body, making you a lot more comfortable during the session.

You also need good quality shoes as well. Ideally, find some sneakers that have lots of support in them as they will prevent you getting shin splints and other injuries from strain.

And last, you’ll need a good gym bag to keep your items in. It’s recommended that you designate this bag only for gym clothes so you can keep everything together, plus contain gym-smells.

 

Ask friends and family for some recommendations on good gym shoes. Especially if you have a specific foot shape or condition that someone else you knows shares. Or Google it! Shoes are super important for working out!

 

2. Take A Look At The Classes On Offer

 

When people think about joining the gym, they often only think about the different machines and equipment they can use. But there are so many more opportunities to help you get fit. Most gyms also offer fitness classes that include cardio options, strength training, a combination of those, and even yoga.

Some clubs, such as Club Fitness have their focus solely on classes. So, on your first day at the gym, it’s a good idea to find out about the different classes you can take to see if there are any that you really like.

 

Classes can be a fantastic way to stay motivated to get to the gym every week! Make a list of classes you’d like to do or try and once you start looking at or find a gym, match up your list to times you can make the classes.

 

3. Take A Tour

 

Most gyms will advise you to take a tour on your first day as a member. This gives you a chance to find your way around and see all of the cool features and amenities the gym offers. These kinds of tours are often taken by the gym’s personal trainers, so you will be able to ask them any questions that you might have.

Some gyms these days will also do specials where you get a free month of personal training. Take advantage of that on your first day at the gym, because they will usually map out a plan for you to reach your fitness goals. This can do wonders for your motivation! (And seriously, trainers usually charge a lot per hour, so this is an awesome deal!)

 

Make a list of questions to ask as you get the tour. Also think about what your fitness goals are so you can take full advantage and be prepared for your free sessions with the personal trainer if they offer that!

 

4. Don’t Overdo It

 

Be easy on yourself at your very first workout in the gym. It’s easy to get nasty (and inconvenient + totally preventable) injuries if you overdo it too soon. But also if you don’t know how to use the equipment correctly.

 

Make sure to stretch before your workout, and take it easy while you learn the proper way to use all the equipment. And don’t be afraid to ask someone that works at the gym for help! That’s what they’re paid to do–help you!

 

A fantastic way to keep you on track with your gym workouts is to plan them out and check them off when done with the Fabulously Fit Planner + Tracker! {Hey, it’s free when you sign up for the Newsletter! Just click the image below!}

 

free fitness planner when you sign up for the newsletter

 

Know someone that could use some tips for their first day at the gym? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Complete Closet Cleanout in a Fast Weekend

Complete Closet Cleanout in a Fast Weekend

A massive Closet Cleanout and Organization in a fast weekend with 9-ish steps that will totally liberate your Mama mind.

 

For many of us busy Mamas, our closet isn’t just the place we toss our dirty socks and undies, or hang our sweaters haphazardly at the end of the day. It’s a hiding place. It’s a crying place. And sometimes it’s our best safe haven from a major losing our shiznit-fest. And unfortunately, it’s usually an overstuffed menagerie of too small or big clothes, mismatched earrings, and shoes from the early 2000’s that we just can’t let go of. Because sometimes, a good closet cleanout–like our own Self Care–gets thrown to the wayside. Mom guilt’s just that way.

But. BUT. It’s spring, time for Spring Cleaning, and it’s time to get a grasp on our Self Care, and kick the guilt to the curb. Because part of Self Care is taking care of our stress levels, too. And that means taking the time to get our lovely belongings organized so we can find stuff when we need it. And have a pretty and clean place to hide, cry, or eat the rest of the Girl Scout cookies.

 

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Lately I’m so in love with the concept of minimalization. It’s in ridding ourselves of the extra ‘stuff’ that truly clears out our minds and spirits so we have room to breathe. And that includes our closets. Heck, that probably started with our closets! Women have a tendency to hang on to lots of things because they’re sentimental. So if that’s you, you may have a tough time with this one. But you’re gonna have to make like Elsa just long enough to get some space and sanity back.

 

Here’s your ultimate guide for Closet Organization, and your printable checklists + labels while cleaning and organizing.

 

**But FIRST things FIRST! Set aside a weekend (yes, a whole weekend!!) to accomplish this! You’re a mom, you’ll absolutely  have interruptions and tiny humans to feed and supervise. If your hubby/partner can keep the monkeys outta your hair these 2 days, maybe promise them something nice in return. 😉

Once you’ve confirmed your days, print out your labels and your checklist for your Closet Cleanout + Organization.

*Tips: Start early (like as soon as the coffee kicks in) and keep going as long as you can until your brain feels fried. Then take your first break. When you get a wind of motivation, keep ridin’ it, Sister!

 

1.Purge

 

Get ready for step one. Cause it’s a doozy. And you’re gonna shortly regret this journey probably. Because you need to EMPTY your closet! Seriously, you can’t see what you have, and determine what you haven’t seen in literally a year until you empty that whole entire thing.

Also, you’ll be being very selective with what goes BACK into your closet. So don’t allow anything to sneakily settle underneath your long-hanging clothes. Empty it ALL!!

WHILE you’re emptying, every item needs to be put into either 1-the trash, 2-the donate pile, 3-the ‘think about it’ pile, or 4-the keep pile. This is where those handy labels in your free printable come in.

 

2.Rules of ‘The Piles’

 

Unfortunately, you can’t keep everything and just rearrange it nicely. That’s not what a clean-out is. It’s minimizing the stuff that’s taking up brain-space and physical space. It’s reallocating things you don’t use or need to people who do need and will use it. And it’s getting rid of things that should honestly just be in the garbage anyway. (Like those eye shadow duo sets from 8 years ago that you keep because you *may* see a nightclub again on a girl’s night out that seems to never happen now for…ya know, 8 years.)

So how do you determine what to keep and what to get rid of?

Here are the rules:

Toss bin-Anything that is too raggedy to donate (holes or stains or falling apart or pieces missing or basically any makeup or toiletry item.) Use common sense.

Donate bin- If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it as long as it’s still in good shape.

Keep bin- Obviously all the things you want to hang on to because you WEAR them, THEY FIT, and THEY LOOK GOOD ON YOU. If it doesn’t fit all of these criteria, DONATE IT. (The only single caveat here would be like one or two ratty shirts and pants if you do DIY work, crafts, or dye your own hair, etc, and need clothes that it’s ok to get messy.)

Think about it bin- This is for stuff you feel like you can’t part with and need to think about. The rule for this bin is that you have 24 hours. You must be ruthless on this. Otherwise you’ll just hang on until you’ve convinced yourself you need to keep it, and the cycle of too much stuff starts over. BE RUTHLESS IN YOUR PURGE!!

 

Grab your FREE Closet Organization packet HERE–click the image below!

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3.Designate Areas

 

So not everything will go back onto a hanging rod, obviously. In that respect, you need to designate a place for different categories of stuff. You know the adage, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” That little phrase helps keep us organized so that when we need something, we can find it IMMEDIATELY! (I can’t tell you how much that helps my sanity levels–especially when I’m in a hurry!)

It may help to take a piece of paper and map out where everything should go. And don’t be influenced by these glossy magazines showing perfectly organized and put up closets. Nobody actually lives in those things. You have to organize based on what makes the most sense for you. For example, even though I have a crap-ton of joggers, I actually sleep in some, so I put them in my ‘pj drawer’. That keeps them separate because when I need sleep clothes, I automatically go to that drawer and don’t have to think about it. If they’re not in that drawer, it means they’re all dirty. Check out this guide for how to create your own ‘zones.

 

4.Label Containers

Containers for things you don’t use every day are a really great idea to keep your closet organization on track and looking nice and neat where you can. If you’re a shoe collector and actually store your shoes, get some really great shoe boxes and label them.

I have baskets for different things like toiletry stock-up items, kids’ tooth fairy and Santa letters, and travel items. Each basket is the same size and color, but has a label on the front so I know what’s what. It eliminates the visual clutter of a million things in a container. (Plus hides that kid stuff from nosy little monkeys diggin’ around where they shouldn’t be.)

A label-maker is awesome for this, but also is great to have around the house in general! I use this labelmaker, and have had it for probably 8 or 9 years and it’s never broken. And I think I’ve only changed the batteries ONCE!

 

5.Replace your keepers

Once you’ve gotten everything sorted, stored, and labeled, you can start putting things back into your closet per your drawing. Put ‘everything in it’s place’. Make sure sweaters are properly folded, and if you have drawers, decide if you want to stack clothing vertically (file-system style) or horizontally.

Hang clothes according to season, and then switch out once you’ve purged for that season. (Yep, you gotta keep this purge thing going!)

Place all boxes and containers according to what you need to reach on a more frequent basis.

 

6.Give yourself 24

After the 24 hours is up, go through that ‘Think about it bin’ and either put it in the ‘donate’ bin, or put back in your closet. (It usually belongs in donate!) I really love this infographic from the Dr. Oz site that shows what to keep, toss, or donate:

 

7.Toss

 

Whatever is trash, go ahead and get rid of. There’s no need to keep it hanging around. If you have specific trash days and your cans are full already, I recommend putting everything into a black trash bag, double tying it, and keeping in the garage or somewhere the kids can’t find it. (Am I the only one whose kids can find ANYTHING I’m trying to get rid of and hoard it back into their rooms to make a giant mess with later…?)

 

8.Donate

And lastly, go ahead on Sunday and donate the piles you eliminated from your closet. Don’t forget to grab a receipt for taxes!

 

9. Admire

Step back and admire the hard work you did! It’s really hard to make closet cleanout + organization a priority with everything else in life going on! And make sure to make good on the ‘thank you promise’ you made to your lovey for keeping the rugrats occupied! <3

 

 

**Tips for staying in the Minimized Mama Zone**

>>> Use the “1 in: 1 out” rule–if you go shopping, any time you put any one thing in your closet, you have to purge one item as well. Some Mamas find that if they put ONLY the exact number of hangers they need, it helps them remember this and enforce it with themselves.

>>> Consider a ‘capsule wardrobe’. This helps minimize feeling like you need to buy every little trendy piece you see. It gives your mind more freedom without worry of putting together outfits because nearly everything matches and goes together.

 

Hey, Friend…do you need some serious help with minimizing the clutter around your house?

Check out this absolutely amazing course called Your Uncluttered Home!

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Know someone that could use help with closet cleanout and organization? Please SHARE this post!

 

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How to Find the Perfect Rental Home

How to Find the Perfect Rental Home

5 questions to ask to prevent stress down the road when trying to find the perfect rental home.

Collaborative post.

 

When you are renting a property, rather than buying, the criteria during your search are slightly different. Instead of thinking long term, you need to be thinking about the immediate future and, as you won’t be able to make substantial changes, the finish is important. Some planning and education on your part will make this financial decision easier to handle. And using these 5 questions will alleviate a ton of the stress that can potentially come up afterwards when you’re trying to find the perfect rental.

 

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Before you do anything, you will need to make sure that the property is sound and you get on with either the landlord or the leasing agent. This is vital because once you’re in, these are the main things that you will not be able to change. And, since you are relying upon the landlord or letting agent to deal with problems like faulty boilers or damage, you’ll need to know that someone will be with you as soon as possible. When a problem needs to be remedied asap, you need to know it will happen.

 

You should also look at the interior of the property and decide whether it is to your taste or not. Some landlords are quite flexible about you making changes but others aren’t. How long you are planning to stay may also factor into this. If you are just looking for a quick month rental, you can be much more forgiving about a property interior than if you plan to stay for several years.

 

Is the Property Sound?

 

The first question you should really ask about any property is whether it is sound or not. A sound property won’t have any damp, will be well constructed with no leaks or gaps, and doesn’t have any glaring structural problems. If the property does have any of these issues you should walk away immediately. It will not be worth your time or hassle to deal with.

 

There a few other things you should think about as well. A sound property will be clean and bright and, importantly, shouldn’t smell at all. If there is an overpowering scent of air freshener or potpourri, be wary. You should pay a little more attention while you walk around as it may be covering something nasty. Feel free to run your hands along the walls to check for damp if you suspect it may be there but can’t see it.

 

Is the Landlord or Leasing Agent Easy to Talk to?

 

If you are happy with the quality of the building, the next question is whether you can talk to the landlord or leasing agent easily. This is important because this is who will be solving any issues that arise while you live there. An attentive landlord or agent will be keen to keep you happy while trying to find the perfect rental, especially if you are on a rolling monthly contract, so make sure you get on with them on the viewing.

 

Having a leasing agent is sometimes a slightly easier route as they may be more on the ball than a private landlord. However, this isn’t always true so do take the time to get to know who you are dealing with when trying to find the perfect rental. Do a bit of research on the leasing agency to find out what sort of reputation they have before you go and look at the property. Obviously, you should avoid any leasing agency with a poor reputation but do take reviews with a pinch of salt.

 

Is the Interior to Your Taste?

 

Once you have established the most basic things, you should turn your attention to the interior. Many rented properties, particularly in city centres can be quite small. So it is important that the flow of the property is logical. In houses that have been split into apartments, this might take a little imagination, but as long as there aren’t any really weird things, keep an open mind.

 

Modern buildings tend to be decorated quite sparingly and are often quite easy to move straight into. However, older buildings do have their charm and can be quite forgiving if they are done nicely. If you already have your furniture, measure the interiors to make sure that it will fit. And will fit through the door! Taking these measurements now will make it much simpler later on.

 

The vast majority of properties for rent are done in fairly neutral colors so that you can put your own personal stamp on the place with accessories. However, some properties are not neutral colors. You may need to think carefully about whether you can live with the colors that are there. Some landlords are happy for their tenants to make some changes. But you will need to ask first and always get their terms in writing.

 

Will You Be Allowed to Make Any Changes?

 

When signing a long term contract, always ask whether you will be able to make any changes. Simple changes like repainting the interior will probably not be a problem. Most landlords are fine with neutral colors as long as you agree to repaint before you leave.

 

Sometimes a house for rent comes with a garden, you may wish to make some changes here. Whether you are allowed to or not is a decision your landlord will have to make. Plus, it may be that you’ll have a gardener who comes to the property to maintain it anyway. The best thing to do here is to make a plan of what you would like to do. Then present it to the landlord so they decide whether to let you go ahead or not.

 

It’s very unlikely that you will be allowed to make any structural changes. And, since you are only going to be living here on a short term basis, it may not be worth you spending the money on someone else’s property. However, if you are planning to stay a long time, it might be worth making some suggestions to your landlord and even splitting the cost. This way you get to live in the property you really want for a long time. And they benefit from a much more logical layout.

 

Also keep in mind storage for things and closet space. Organizing a closet later can get challenging if you’re not allowed to add any shelving needed. Some landlords are perfectly find adding things like this into the contract, but make sure all agreements are in writing.

 

Is the Furniture Included?

 

Many rentals are shown with furniture, or staged. It’s important that you clarify what is included and what isn’t. Sometimes the furniture is just there to give you an idea of what your rental could look like. It’s a bit like a showroom.

 

If the furniture is included, you should definitely try it out. Open cupboards, sit on sofas and try the bed – all assuming there isn’t a current tenant living there! If the furniture isn’t to your taste, do say so. And ask whether the landlord would be willing to rent the property without the furniture. This might be a problem, especially if the landlord is looking for a quick rent. But it could be a good move for everyone.

 

Using the current furniture is a good idea if you don’t own your own or you’re only looking for a short rent. There’s no point spending a lot of money getting all new stuff just to move out again soon. Instead, wait until you are in your ‘forever home’ and save the money while you can.

 

Rental properties are great for short and long term stays. But are also perfect for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of a mortgage or is saving up to get on the property ladder. Getting the most for your money is key to ensure that you can still save while you rent. So think carefully about where you compromise and where you dig your heels in when trying to find the perfect rental.

 

Know someone that could use help with find the perfect rental? Please SHARE this post!

 

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7 Ways to Hydrate the Heck Out of Your Self Care

7 Ways to Hydrate the Heck Out of Your Self Care

Hydrate the Heck Outta Your Self Care: 7 Tricks to Help You Add Even More Water to Your Daily Intake to Boost Your Health and Eliminate Some Unwanted Health Issues.

 

Waaaay back when I was in high school and college, water intake wasn’t on the forefront of health news. And they certainly hadn’t started bashing added sugars, nor started scolding us for drinking sodas. So back in those days, my beverages consisted of mainly straight juice, sweet tea (I am from the South), and sodas. All full of sugar. Like, LOADED with sugar!

I couldn’t understand why certain weird and undesirable things were going on as a teenager and young adult in my body. Things like terrible skin, horrible mood swings, and what I now know was the beginning of my panic attacks.

Being dehydrated, or even almost dehydrated can cause some really crummy things to go on in your body. And as a busy Mama, these crummy things are just some of the little things that stress us out, and put us on edge when we’re already being pushed to our limits in day to day life. Being hydrated is part of our True Self Care.

 

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When you get enough water during the day, it can help with:

>Improving your skin, hair, and nails

>Relieving headaches

>Reducing muscle cramps

>Helping to flush out your body

>Improving weight loss efforts

>Giving you more energy

>Helping wounds heal faster

>Improving concentration levels and mood

 

ALL of those things make it uber worth it to me to drink more!! 

Here’s how I get as much water as possible on the daily:

1.Drink It Before Every Meal

 

The first tip for drinking more water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass before each meal and snack you consume, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more of the good stuff, without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.

This provides multiple benefits. First, it reminds you to drink another glass. It’ll also going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it prevents you from overeating since it helps to fill you up a little. It’s not uncommon to think you’re hungry, when you’re actually thirsty. (Especially if you’ve eaten a super salty meal earlier in the day!) If you’re not hungry after a full glass, wait a bit before eating.

You should also try to drink a glass of water before or after every other beverage you drink. Force yourself to drink the same amount of it as the other beverage you’ve consumed.

 

2.Infuse or Flavor It

 

A common problem people have with drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not interested in it. This is totally true for me, and was a big issue when I was pregnant. I finally found one brand that I sort of craved. (Yeah, that had to do with hormones, those darn things!) The good news is, you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor and make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method

If you are short on time and just want a super quick way to add flavor, go with lemon water. All you need to do is add a few lemon wedges, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other juicy fruits like grapefruit. (Just one tip is to not let it sit for a long time, even in the fridge. The rinds have a tendency to leech out super bitter/sour taste if left too long. Trust me. It’s mouth-puckering.)

Fruit or Vegetable Infused

This is one of my absolute favorites! And when I make this ahead of time and store it in a beautiful pitcher in the fridge, I find that I crave it all day! When you can spend more time on it, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor your water. This is called infused water, since it’s a longer infusing process. You aren’t just flavoring it with these ingredients, but adding more nutrients from the produce and herbs.

To make infused water, you should have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release the oils and flavors.

Add the ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows those flavors and nutrients to come through. And oh goodness, are they delicious!

 

3.Choose a Cup You Love to Use

 

Do you want to encourage yourself to hydrate more? It’s all in the cup! Seriously, I’m so guilty of this, and it drives my husband nuts! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then you probably won’t drink as much as you should. A good way to have fun with it and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a bottle or cup that works best for you.

This might mean the overall look and color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many small details that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding.

Try out a few different cups until you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.

 

4.Limit Other Drinks You Consume

 

Another little trick for drinking more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time. But, it does help to reduce the ‘bad’ beverages, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you’re going for water when you feel thirsty, and not other beverages.

 

5. Track Your Intake

 

This isn’t something you need to do every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine how much water to drink, and if you’ve even reached your goal for the day. Start by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your computer. {Or just download the one below!}

Start by tracking your water for a few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how much you’re currently drinking on an average day. If it’s less than 8-10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more throughout the day.

 

6.Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content

 

If you find that you simply can’t drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high water content, therefore helping to hydrate you. (Read: This does NOT mean drinking these as a juice–this means eating the fruit or veggie, thereby getting the fiber to offset the sugars you’ll be ingesting.) These include:

Cucumbers
Grapefruit
Apples
Pineapple
Lettuce
Celery
Radishes
Watermelon

 

 

7.Try These Reminders

 

If you enjoy water, but you often forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.

  1. Drink water before every meal, snack, and other beverage
  2. Have a glass first thing when you wake up
  3. Hydrate before or after your workouts
  4. Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
  5. Have a glass or bottle every time you enter your office or your home

 

As long as you keep these reminders in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on your way to dramatically increasing your water intake and reaping the awesome benefits from it! I promise your body will thank you!!

 

Grab your Hydration Tracker here–click the image below!

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What tricks do you use to get more hydrated? Let me know in the comments!

Know someone that could use help with increasing their hydration? Please SHARE this post!

 

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5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better as a Mom and Get More Done

5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better as a Mom and Get More Done

5 Time Saving Mom Hacks to Manage Your Time Better by Finding More Time to Get More Done.

Collaborative post.

 

Time is an often overlooked and under appreciated gift.  We are each given 24 hours a day, yet we don’t always make the best use of our time. We get distracted with the busyness of life which pulls us in all sorts of directions. If you don’t manage your time it’s easy to spread ourselves too thin to be truly effective within our roles at work and with our family.

 

The most precious resource in the world is time, as while it can be tempting to go on sites like status money to compare how we stack up against our peers, time is way more important than money or status.

 

Time is the most scarce resource we have as it’s comparatively much more difficult to make more time than it is to make more money.  For that reason, we’re going to take a look at some time saving tips and ways to manage your time better as a busy working moms.

 

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1.ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE

 

Think of how much time you could save if you were to simply order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door.  The drive to the store, the time in the store, packing bags, driving back, not to mention the potential for traffic.  Setting essential items to repeat on a weekly or monthly basis is a great way to keep on top of things without having to exert much mental energy.

If they can’t be delivered, nearly every major grocery chain is now doing curbside pickup. So you can just find your stuff online, set a time for pickup, and have them bring the groceries to your car. They even load them into the car for you.

{Read here about how to put 8 household chores on autopilot and save 14+ hours a week!}

 

2.GET A CLEANER

 

It’s true that not everyone can afford a cleaner. But this can be such a time (and sanity) saver, particularly for busy moms. I made the decision to forego other ‘luxuries’ during the month. Instead, I use that money to pay someone to clean our house every two weeks.

 In the alternative, you can always turn cleaning into a fun game where the kids get involved with cleaning as a playtime activity. Or set yourself a timer and see how much you can get done in just thirty minutes making cleaning a slightly more engaging and manageable task.

 

3.WORK REMOTELY

 

If possible, see if you can work remotely, from home, in a way that enables you to work flexible hours; as this way you are fitting your business around your life rather than the other way around.

 

 4.USE LISTS

 

The world’s most successful people have lists for everything, and these tasks get ticked off each and every day.  There are a number of apps such as Wunderlist and Trello to keep track of your lists. And the great thing with an app like this, is that you can create a number of categories in addition to a curated priority list.

 

There’s power in progress.  Indeed, each time you tick something off your list, you physically receive an endorphin rush. As you build more and more momentum, your productivity increases exponentially. This creates a positive snowball effect.

 

5.THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

 

Known more commonly as the 80/20 rule, and it suggests that 20% of our activities account for 80% of the outcome; therefore, you want to focus on what tasks are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first.  

 

The best way to go about this is to write a list of all your tasks for the day, week, or month. Then determine which tasks are going to create the greatest impact; and focus on getting those tasks done above all else.

 

Want to go EVEN DEEPER into time management? Sign up for the FREE Master Course: What Good Mothers Do! (Click the image to sign up!)

 

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What time saving tips and hacks do you use to manage your time better? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with finding more time and getting more done in their day? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Easy Ways to Make Money During Naptime

Easy Ways to Make Money During Naptime

5 Easy Ways to Make Money With a Side Hustle While Your Kids Nap

Collaborative post.

 

When the kids are really young, many of us dream of long naps and a chance to catch up on our own sleep. The sleepless nights can mean that when they are asleep, we’ve got very little energy or will to do anything. But, then as they start to get older things change a little. Nights get easier, and naps less frequent but for most children, they still come up until the age of three or four. Then, we can feel lost. It seems like the perfect time to catch up with housework but after a morning running around after a toddler that’s the last thing that you feel like doing. You’re not tired enough to nap, but you don’t want to spend this precious quiet time cleaning the house. So, why not use it for making money while the kids nap?

 

Sure, that hour or two isn’t going to be enough to work a shift. But, it can give you the perfect bit of quiet time to sit down with your computer and earn some extra cash. Whether it’s just a little bit of pocket money or some cash for a treat, or extra to help get a debt paid off faster, it’s more than you’d have made doing nothing!

 

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So whether you call them part time side jobs, side hustle jobs, or side income from home, here are 5 easy ways to get started and make money during naptime.

 

Get on the Stock Market

 

Most of us that have never traded in stocks and shares are terrified of it. But, investing small amounts of money (certainly no more than you can afford to lose or do without) can give you a fantastic chance to help it to grow. Tools like a stock ratings checker make it easier for even the most clueless person to make the right investments and moves, and you only need a little bit of time each day to check the markets.

 

Take Some Surveys

 

There are plenty of online survey sites out there that will pay you to complete a set of questions. Often about products you buy or your experiences. They don’t pay huge amounts, but if you sign up for enough sites, there will always be opportunities. And, you can do it while watching TV or when the kids are asleep.

 

Browse the Internet

 

Website and app developers are always on the lookout for testers. They need to know that their products work well before launch. Some of these will pay you for testing them out and reporting your findings back.

 

Sell Stock Photos

 

There are countless stock photo sites out there, always on the lookout for quality photos to add to their ranks. If you’ve got a good DSLR and an interest in photography, start taking your camera out on walks with the kids or take photos of things around your house. Perhaps meals and toys. Or even random stuff while you’re doing activities in different seasons like Bucket List activities. Then, while the kids are sleeping, sort through your photos, do any necessary editing,  and list them for sale online.

 

Start a Blog

 

Blogging might not make money during naptime in the short term, but once you are established, it can make a regular income. Mummy blogs are incredibly popular as women look for advice and shared experiences online, they’re keen to know that they are not alone.

 

Need help budgeting those finances? Grab the Household Budgeting Binder by clicking the image below!

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Know someone that could use help with finding an easy starter side hustle while the kids nap? Please SHARE this post!

 

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How to Create the Ultimate Spring Bucket List Adventure

How to Create the Ultimate Spring Bucket List Adventure

The Steps to Create an Organized but Amazing Spring Bucket List Adventure For Your Whole Family Using Everyone’s Input.

 

Spring is one of my most favorite times of the year! For me it’s time for setting new annual goals, doing my annual review, doing Spring Cleaning AND– starting our Spring Bucket List!

I’m giving a list of epic ideas PLUS a spring-themed printable for you and the kiddos to create a whole new bucket list! Woo-hoo!

 

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So…let’s answer the biggest question here–especially if you’ve never heard of a ‘bucket list’.

Q: What the heck is a ____ Bucket List?

A: It’s a list of things you’d love to do or accomplish during a specified time period. It’s also a super creative way to gather the family and have some crazy memorable fun time that your kids won’t soon forget!

How to Make an Epic Bucket List That’ll Make Everyone Happy:

 

1. Start with categories like ‘places to go’, ‘things to see’, ‘ways to give or serve’, ‘festivals’, ‘trips to take’…you get the idea.

2.Then we let each kid make their own wish list (sometimes with the help of Pinterest).

3.Then we eliminate duplicates, and make one Master List.

4.And then–we POST IT!

(Don’t worry–the kids will nag you to death to schedule each and every one of the things you have listed!)

 

 

 

Fave Spring Bucket List Adventure Items:

 

Plant flowers

Start your veggie garden

Go camping

Donate cold-weather clothing

Make the house smell like Spring

Find an epic lemonade recipe

Paint Rocks

Make a suncatcher

Host a Spring or Easter party

Make plans for the best Spring Break ever!

Go bird watching (here’s the perfect journal!)

Have a movie marathon on the back patio

Make a gorgeous wreath for the front door

Play in the rain

Feed the ducks

Have a garage sale (after your Spring Cleaning!)

Decorate the driveway with sidewalk chalk

Go to the zoo

 

 

Inspired yet??! Here’s the download to get started with your OWN Spring Bucket List Adventure!

{Click the image below to download!}

 

And–if you’d like to document your Spring Break Bucket List in a paperback journal, and encourage your kiddos to write more–you’re in luck!

 

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More of the photobook type? Try Mixbook out here, or check out this post on why it’s our absolute go-to for photobooks!

 

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What’s on your Spring or Spring Break Bucket List?

 

Help a friend or family member create their own epic Spring Bucket List Adventure–SHARE this post or PIN it for later!

 

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Spring Cleaning Like a Mother Mega Guide and Checklist

Spring Cleaning Like a Mother Mega Guide and Checklist

The Mega Checklist to Spring Cleaning Like a Mother.

 

 

If you’ve read anything related to goal setting that I’ve written, you’ll know that I really hate doing any kind of annual planning or goal setting at the new year. I’m not motivated to get a fresh start planning when it’s cold and brown and crusty outside. What really gets me motivated is the start of spring. And Spring Cleaning is ALWAYS the catalyst to get my butt in gear!

Something about the new baby animals, the brilliant greens of new plant growth, and the fresh earthy smell first thing in the morning makes me want to get on shaking all the winter dust off everything and throw up bright colors! (Don’t get me started on Easter…)

But the planning involved admittedly gives me some heart palpitations. Even though I love me a good checklist from Martha Stewart, I’ve felt in the past like some of her checklists aren’t quite as practical or thorough as I tend to get on this type of stuff. (Ask my family–I LOVE a spreadsheet!)

 

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So I’ve put together a guide for your Spring Cleaning (inside and outside) to get ready for this beautiful weather ahead!

And just an FYI–this Spring Cleaning list is VERY similar to the Fall Cleaning checklist, but there are a few changes related to time of year, logistics, etc.

 

INSIDE SPRING CLEANING:

Kitchen

 

  • First things first–do a deep cleaning. You know–pull all items away from back edge of the counter top and wipe underneath everything, scrub out the sink, etc. (Unless you think you’ll make a big mess while doing everything else–then save this for last.)
  • Next (in no particular order) it’s time to clean out the fridge and pantries. While doing this part, it’s a good idea to think about creating a lunch and snack prep area for kids to make school lunches/snacks. I’ve found that just one of these bins in the fridge and a few others in the pantry corral lunch and snack stuff + cheese sticks, etc beautifully!
  • Next you’ll want to go through cabinets and purge items you don’t ever use and definitely that you don’t need (this is especially true for the tupperware cabinet, and the cabinet where you have kid cups/dinnerware, as well as things like popsicle molds, etc.)
  • Then it’s time to clean the microwave inside and out, run cleaner through dishwasher, then wipe down all cabinets. (Microwave and cabinets can easily be cleaned with a vinegar/water solution!)
  • The last thing I suggest is cleaning the oven–because normally you either have to use oven cleaner or do the self-cleaning option, which is best done when you can open some windows and leave the house for a few hours. (I really love this option for oven cleaners because it’s made with citrus oils to clean + creates a non-stick barrier to make future cleanup really easy!) Personally, I’ve grown tired of cleaning the oven (we cook pizzas right on the rack and it makes a huge mess!) So I’ve invested in these oven liners. Place it in the bottom under the coils, and when they’re dirty, just take em out and soak/scrub em! BAM! No oven cleaner or killing birds with the self cleaning oven fumes!

 

Living Areas

 

  • Pretty much every room is best cleaned from top to bottom (remember the movie Annie?) So I like to start with ceiling fans, then move to lamp shades and blinds. Lamp shades are easily vacuumed with the brush attachment on your vacuum. But for dusting– Swiffer does a decent job of this. If you really want to get serious cleaning done (especially if you have allergy sufferers [hand raised]) you’ll want to wet-dust. I’ve found that this handy invention makes it easy to do that–just spray your dusting solution onto the cloth part before you wipe the fan blades.
  • And while you’re up there, you’ll want to go ahead and dust/wipe down light fixtures and replace any bulbs that are out. **DON’T wet-wipe warm bulbs–they will shatter!
  • For blinds, I’ve tried these little things before using a dusting solution as well, but my hands cramp after a while. If you have that problem, too, these dusting gloves are pretty ingenious!
  • Moving to the middle-ish of the room, next would be cabinets for TV/games/movies, etc. You wouldn’t believe how dust accumulates inside here. What’s so bad is that the electronics will start to suck the dust into the cooling vents and cause a lot of wear on your electronics, so keep these areas clean!! Here’s a great organic option to clean your electronics that’s also safe for the screens. Also pay attention to toy areas (purge and clean out/clean any toys necessary.) Toys accumulate a lot of dust as well. If there are small plastic toys, these can actually be washed in the dishwasher, or even throw a bunch of toys into the clothes washer in one of these bags.
  • Also while you’ve got your cleaning cloths out, disinfect and wipe down light switches, remotes, and door frames. Remotes and light switches are some of the germiest places in the house (I’ve read. On the internet. So it must be true.) Ok, so even if it isn’t, think of all the food grime and oil from everybody’s hands that are always on these things. Ew.
  • Next is the upholstery–sofas, pillows, and chairs (ottomans, too?) Any upholstery needs to be vacuumed, and while you’re at it, remove the cushions and vacuum under them all. And if you notice any stains, either spot-clean or schedule a steam cleaning. (From experience, sofas–basically anywhere kids congregate–are disgusting!! The first time I steamed our sofa I was SHOCKED at how dirty it was. I’m talking brown water, folks. Dead serious.) This is the steamer we use. However, if you need a smaller option just for upholstery, this steamer is pretty darn highly rated!
  • Last will be the floor–the understory of the living room jungle. Pull out furniture and vacuum/mop underneath. Vacuum all rugs and carpets, and mop all hard floors. Schedule a carpet steaming if it’s needed.
  • Fireplace: If you’re totally done with the fireplace, all the ashes need to be emptied, tools cleaned and put away, and it may be time to have the fireplace inspected and/or cleaned. Shut the flue ONLY if you’re done with it for the year!

 

Bedrooms

 

  • Starting at the top again, dust ceiling fans, clean light fixtures, and replace bulbs. Go ahead and take down any drapery/curtains/valances that can be washed. If they can’t be washed, use the vacuum brush attachment to vacuum.
  • Clean blinds, and clean windows.
  • Wash or replace pillows (these things should be washed every 3-6 months to keep dust mites out!) Wash bedding/blankets and either store and switch out for spring/summer bedding, or replace once bedroom is all clean.
  • While all the bedding is off, use baking soda + vacuum mattresses/spray with vinegar solution. This will disinfect and pull out any smells. If your mattress has a cover on it, strip it off as well and wash in hot water.
  • If you have a down comforter, pull the down insert out, have it cleaned and store it.
  • Purge clutter and toys–toss any broken ones and donate what you can.
  • Purge magazines and paper (this might be a good time to take note of magazines you never have time to read. Are they just sitting around unread? Unsubscribe!) {Read Here about Conquering the Paper Monster!}
  • Purge arts/crafts (usually for kids’ bedrooms)
  • Purge/clean pet areas. Wash pet beds as well or replace if getting pretty ratty.
  • Clean out clothes and closets. Purge items not used and donate. (Including clothes. Use this crazy useful guide!)

 

Bathrooms

 

  • Again starting at the top, clean all light fixtures and replace any bulbs necessary.
  • Remove shower curtains and wash or replace. Ready for an easy alternative to the stinky (and dangerously fumy) PVC liners? Try this one! It’s antibacterial, waterproof, and fabric!
  • Once the curtains are down, go ahead and purge and clear out all shampoos/soaps/body washes, etc. Once those are cleared out, clean the shower surround. (You know you never clean this thing!) This stuff is great for keeping up with this tedious job! And don’t forget to clean out all the mildew!
  • Go ahead and fill a sandwich baggie with either vinegar or a mineral scale cleaner, wrap it around your shower head, and use a rubber band to secure it into place. This will clean out all the holes in the shower head.
  • If you have a jetted tub, you absolutely need to clean that system out!
  • While your cleaning rags are out, wipe down the light switches, doors, door knobs, cabinets and knobs, and door frames. These areas accumulate grime like nobody’s business!
  • Inventory  towels/washcloths/hand towels and make a list of things you need to replenish.
  • Purge/clean/organize under sink areas and medicine cabinets. Also the cabinet over the toilet if you have one. We try to make sure things like TP, washcloths, and towels are in easy reach for the kids. Make sure any place that has cleaners has childproof latches! These latches can be installed without even drilling!
  • Do your regular deep cleaning (bathtub, toilet–including disinfecting the outside of the bowl, counters, sinks.) Don’t forget to clean around the base of the toilet-especially if you have young kids or boys, lol!
  • Throw rugs in the wash (or replace if needed.)
  • Sweep (including behind the toilet–it gets dusty back there!) and mop.

 

Linen closets

 

  • Take inventory and organize if necessary. I’ve begun labeling shelves to make things easier on everyone. I can’t remember everything always forever. I use this label maker. It makes it a thousand times easier to put all of each size sheet set on different shelves/areas so they don’t get mixed up. Nobody likes having to refold sheets because they were the wrong size. *Spring cleaning tip: Target’s brand of sheets have a nifty tag inside sheets that tell which is the side and top/bottom of sheets so get those things on the bed right the first time!
  • If your shelves tend to put off an old-lady stench like ours do, add in a deodorizer (even just a box of baking soda) or some herb sachets like these.

 

Mudroom

 

  • If you’re lucky enough to have a full-on mudroom, I hate you. Just kidding. We don’t have one–our house (like so many, many others) has the garage door lead straight through the laundry room, which we friggin’ hate. My solution was to use the little closet that’s by the door (that HAS to open the wrong way, of course) as the mudroom ‘area’. I removed the bi-fold doors, painted some fun stripes on the back wall, and installed shelves. Sorry about the tangent.
  • Firstly, purge the area. Take all shoes, coats, backpacks, bags, etc out and figure out what needs to be washed/cleaned before putting back into closets. Throw away everything you can. This is a great time to donate too-small-for-next-year coats and boots!
  • Clean light fixtures and replace any bulbs necessary.
  • Reorganize landing stations. I found this awesome wooden tray  that’s divided AND expandable to place sunglasses lens-side up + put any extra keys or mail that needs to be dealt with on the way in or out the door.
  • Once everything is off shelves, dust everything, reorganize, and replace all keepers.
  • Wipe down light switches, doors, door knobs, and door frames.
  • Sweep and mop.
  • Wash rugs.

 

Office areas

 

  • From the top, clean light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs. Dust ceiling fans.
  • Take down and wash curtains.
  • Clean blinds and windows.
  • Get paperwork under control–here’s a great post on Conquering the Paper Monster if you need mega help with creating a system for staying on top of paperwork.
  • File everything needed/toss/purge. Organize all paperwork. File paperwork that is time-sensitive to the seven-year rule. Maybe do it twice a year to stay on top: spring and fall?
  • Purge office supplies. Organize them all. I use this great system to organize my supplies and keep them in reach. It’s versatile, durable, + requires zero drilling! Score!!

 

Laundry Room

 

  • Top: Clean light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs. Clean windows and blinds.
  • Empty cabinets and purge unneeded items. (Toss or donate.) Wipe out cabinets and replace items, organized. (Label-maker is helpful here.)
  • Clean off top of washer and dryer. Wipe these down completely to get rid of dust and lint. (Including the cords and vents in the back.)
  • Dust down/wipe the walls (you’d be shocked at how much this room accumulates dust + lint!)
  • Deep clean lint screen and slot (ours is so thin the only thing I can get into it is a wire clothes hanger that I bent to ‘hook’ blobs of lint.
  • Schedule dryer vent cleaning. (Seriously–if it’s never been done or it’s been a while, this could be a fire hazard. I usually find great deals for stuff like this on Groupon.)
  • Run cleaner through the washer. Clean the gasket around the door–if you have a front-loader. These things get super gross and harbor mildew and smell.
  • Deep clean the sink area.
  • Wash rugs.
  • Sweep/mop.
  • Wipe all doors, door knobs, light switches, and door frames.
  • {Read Here about 6 Hacks to Cut Laundry Time in Your House Dramatically!}

 

Hallways

 

  • Clean all light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs.
  • Dust all pictures.
  • Dust all shelves and knickknacks. Don’t forget to de-clutter what you can!
  • Wipe doors, door frames, door knobs, light switches.
  • Vacuum or sweep and mop.
  • Spot clean rugs/carpet or schedule carpet steaming.

 

Home Maintenance

 

  • A/C filters--check and change them
  • Check air seals for fridges and freezers. It’s time to get a new seal if you can pull a dollar bill through the seal when the door is closed.
  • Defrost freezers and clean if needed
  • Wet clean all baseboards and corners of rooms on floor (vacuum edge of baseboards + behind doors; wet clean edge of baseboards on tile/wood floors and corners/behind doors.)
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, this is a great time to revisit the settings and make any changes necessary.

 

And if you’re totes ready to actually purge and minimalize the modern way, check out The Uncluttered Home!

 

 

OUTSIDE SPRING CLEANING:

Garage

 

  • Clean out. Purge using bucket system: Keep, Donate, or Toss.
  • Organize. This is soooo hard, I know!! But do your best–using things like these peg boards, and awesome ideas like these on Pinterest will get you in the right direction!
  • Once everything’s in its place, sweep the entire garage–it’s easier using a giant push broom like this one.
  • Then either wash the floor out with a water hose and large squeegie, or even mop. *Spring cleaning tip: If you have a pet that resides in the garage, you probably want to wash the floor out with a good soap. If you don’t want to use a heavy-duty detergent, the blue-colored Dawn does wonders!! (I know this because our cat lives in there and brings dead animals for us in the night. Gag.)

 

Gardening Supplies

 

  • Purge if needed. You may have already done this at the end of summer/your fall cleaning.
  • Clean tools that are keepers with this stuff, or even just some linseed oil.
  • Take stock and list what else needed for your spring and summer gardening.
  • Reorganize area.

 

Patios

 

  • Furniture (clean, pull out of storage.) 
  • Purge and toss toys. Add toys needed to your list.
  • Pull outdoor cushions out of storage. Repair what can be, and anything damaged beyond that, go ahead and toss. (Don’t forget things like checking webbing on patio chairs and carabiner for hammocks, etc.)
  • If covered, clean fans and light fixtures. Replace necessary bulbs.
  • Clean grill with a non-toxic cleaner (is nobody else concerned about putting your food on heated toxic cleaner??)
  • Clean grilling tools and organize storage. Tools usually have a hole at the end to hang–we just keep ours outside on hooks similar to these so they’re ready for use after they get washed. If you don’t have anywhere to mount a bar like that, these magnetic hooks are perfect for mounting on the side of the grill.
  • Shake out and replace any rugs necessary.
  • Then sweep off entire patio, or use the blower to get dirt and leaves off.
  • Last, spray off patio or power wash. Or schedule a power washing if needed.

 

Pool

 

  • Clean out storage area.
  • Next, pull out all pool toys stored from last year. We use a giant storage bin like this one, and it’s awesome!!
  • Make sure chemicals needed are in stock and out of reach of kids.
  • Make list of chemicals needed (or salt.)
  • Clean skimmers.
  • Schedule any post-winter servicing.
  • Lastly, take note of other maintenance items needed, like that little foam-thing that’s constantly being eating up on the end of the shark tail.

 

Driveways

 

  • Weed.
  • Power wash.
  • Anything else POA requires.
  • Schedule any other repairs necessary.

 

Gutters

 

  • First, clean out or schedule cleaning.
  • Inspect for damage (gutter and board behind for rot.)
  • Schedule any repairs needed.

 

Windows

 

  • Remove screens.
  • Scrub and spray off screens.
  • Wash outside and inside (if not done already) of windows.
  • Finally, replace screens once dry.

 

Lawn Care

 

  • First add appropriate fertilizer.
  • Inspect lawn equipment.
  • Repair or clean lawn equipment, or schedule repair.
  • Schedule any spring and summer services and post-winter services.

LAST but NOT LEAST–Print off the PDF checklist for Spring Cleaning (grab it below), tear in half, and give one part to the hubby (or wife). Then get to Spring Cleaning!

Want this list as a PDF checklist? Click the image below!

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How is your spring cleaning going? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Know someone that could use help with Spring Cleaning? Please SHARE this post!

 

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3 Things to Boost Parental Involvement in Education for Your Kiddos

3 Things to Boost Parental Involvement in Education for Your Kiddos

3 Practical Ways to have more parental involvement in education for your kids, without becoming a ‘smother.’

Collaborative post.

 

Are you a parent that takes a back seat when it comes to your child’s education? Or are you one that is so proactive that they might be asking you to back of a little bit? (Or a lot, a la Beverly Goldberg.) Whatever category you fall under, there are always ways that you can get get more productive and have more parental involvement in education of your kids. You know, without being a substitute teacher. 

While it might not seemingly affect you in any way, it’ll massively affect your kids and the outcome of their future. Some children are simply crazy-uninterested in their own education, and that’s where taking initiative is going to come in handy. Here are 3 non-‘smother’-y, but still proactive, things that you can do.

 

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Encourage After-School Activities

 

We can all agree that a lot of children just find education incredibly boring. Sitting in a classroom for hours of the day being talked at for most of the day can be draining. And can you blame them?

So rather than focusing on what’s happening inside of school, try and focus on after-school activities that they might be interested in. It could be a school sports team, school trips that are provided by companies such as NST, or even things such as drama club.

These are all ways to get children motivated to actually keep coming into school, plus it’s an excellent way for them to make new friends that they might not have had.

A lot of the school trips they’ll go on will be educational, but a lot of them are purely fun based. Make sure you’re not denying them of any of the trips throughout their school life if you possibly can.

 

Watch For Signs Of Bullying

 

Bullying is one of the most horrible things that a child can go through. Some other children are horribly cruel, and they can say the most hurtful things to other kids. Sometimes it can even turn physical with things such as pushing in the corridors.

While schools claim to be doing all they can to manage things like bullying, most falls under the radar. Look for signs of upset when your child comes home from school. If they’re unusually quiet, don’t want to speak about their day, or look visibly upset, always question them about it.

So many children take their own life due to bullying. The more proactive you are with managing it, the better schooling life your child will have. Without feeling the need to resort to suicide. Try and make sure they’re always involved with their friendship group and having fun. And if you do suspect bullying, contact the school immediately.

 

Join The School Committee or Parent-Teacher Association

 

The school committee has the power to make big decisions that could affect your child’s life at school, so why not think about joining it? It’ll give you an inside view into how your school works, what can be done to make it better, and might even give you the chance to spy on your child.

Although it won’t pay, and will mean giving up some of your free time, but it can be really rewarding knowing you’re making decisions that could change your child’s education for the better.

 

What kinds of things do you do to be more involved with your kids’ educations? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with parental involvement with education of their kids? (Without becoming Beverly Goldberg, of course.) Please SHARE this post!

 

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Easy Ways to Declutter Your Mind

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Mind

4 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Mind as a Busy Mom

Collaborative post.

 

Your life changes in every way once you’ve had kids. It’s not just adding a child to your previous life. It’s changing absolutely everything. Your daily routine will be vastly different, your feelings and emotions will change, and you’ll suddenly find that you always put someone else’s needs before your own. It can come as quite a shock, and no longer having only yourself to think about can be strange. Your mind can feel cluttered and messy. You’ve still got all of your old thoughts, feelings and things to do, but you’ve got constant worries and concerns about your child. It can be stressful and overwhelming. It very often feels like you need to declutter your mind. Here’s how to do just that.

 

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Declutter Your Home

 

Have you ever been told that a messy home leads to a messy mind? Well, it’s true. When you’re surrounded by clutter and mess, you can quickly become stressed out. It can be hard to relax and unwind, even when the kids are in bed if you’re surrounded by stuff with nowhere to go.

 

Ideally, when the kids have gone to sleep, you should be able to spend 5 minutes having a quick tidy and putting everything in its home, before relaxing and getting a little bit of grown-up time for yourself.

 

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As a parent, a lot of the clutter in your home will belong to your children. So, the first thing that you should do is look at nursery furniture sets and bedroom storage. Keep their rooms tidy and well organized, and a lot of their clutter will be confined to these spaces. Then, have a really good clear out, recycling, donating or selling everything you no longer need or want, and making sure that everything that’s left has a home. Even if it means that you need to be smart with your storage.

 

Do Nothing

 

One of the biggest changes that many parents find is that they are always on the go. They never just sit and think, or lie in bed, awake, but doing nothing. Their eyes are opened to a morning cry; then they are on the go right up until they fall into bed and close them again. This isn’t good for you. Take some time to stop and breathe whenever you can. Take time to understand what ‘mindfulness’ is and apply it whenever possible.

 

Do Something for Yourself

 

Many moms suffer from guilt. They feel like they have to be with their children all of the time, and that everything that they do should be for them. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s important for your children that you take a little time for yourself occasionally. It’ll make you a much better parent and give them some quality time with other people. You might want to go shopping with friends, go for a meal with your partner, or just take a long hot bath with a good book and a glass of wine.

Whatever that ‘thing’ is that makes you happy and able to unwind and relax, you should do it!

 

Exercise

 

Exercise is a brilliant way to get some time away from the kids, boost your energy levels, increase your confidence and give you a chance to clear some of the clutter from your mind. Try some classes, some online exercise videos, and some gym sessions to find something that you enjoy.

If you love super bubbly and fun encouragement on the daily, I highly recommend Tone It Up! If you’re on a budget, they have daily moves for a different body area each day. And if you want to spend a little to get a ton more options, you can do that right through the app. Also-if you’re on the fence and want to try it out, you can do that with a monthly payment as well!

 

Know another Mama that could use help with unwinding through de-cluttering the mind?

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