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Posts Tagged ‘Cleaning up’

This Easy Elf-on-the-Shelf Hack is a Dream If You Need to Declutter

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It also teaches your kids an important lesson.

Elf on the Shelf has become a polarizing holiday tradition for many working moms. Yes, it’s cute and gets kids excited for Christmas, but it’s also a pain to change the elf’s position every day. That’s why we love this popular elf idea that keeps things simple for parents and even helps cut down on clutter around the house.

A photo of the genius hack went viral after it was shared on Facebook last week. The picture shows the famous elf perched on a Christmas tree holding a sign with the message, “You got to give to get.”

The sign continues to explain to the kids that their elf “Trixie” is going to be collecting toys to take to the North Pole this year, and they will be given to other kids in need. The parents also put a basket under the tree for the kids to fill up with old toys they don’t use or want anymore.

The hack is perfect for parents who are desperate to get rid of rarely-used toys that take up space—especially since the holidays are sure to add more to the collection. While some kids may normally be reluctant to part with them, they are unlikely to say no to the elf who is delivering a message from North Pole. You can encourage your kids to get rid of clutter without dogging their footsteps up or doing the work yourself.

In addition to clearing up some room in your home, it also helps teach your kids a lesson about giving and helping others. It may even inspire them to volunteer toys to be donated to needy children all year round.

Since it was posted on Facebook last week, the photo has been shared over 158,000 times and has received thousands of comments from parents who are in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the person who first shared the photo doesn’t know where it originated, so we can’t extend our thanks to the savvy mom who came up with this novel hack.

It’s also worth mentioning you can use this trick to avoid coming up with creative ideas for rearranging the elf every evening. Just set a deadline for donations and keep him posted all season long. Now that’s what we call a win for everyone involved.

 

This article was written by Joseph Barberio from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

My top 5 school stain removal hacks

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Marker pen, gravy and glue. If I had $1 for every time the oldest comes home from school wearing one or all three of those items I would be significantly richer than I am now.

The question is: how best to remove them?


stain removal hacks

If you’ve got one or more kids at school like me you’ll know stains go with the territory – ranging from the innocent to the best-not-think-about-it downright suspicious. My attitude to these stains ranges from the ‘must remove said stain immediately’ to the ‘it can wait until the weekend’ sort of a stain, depending on where we are in the working week, and indeed the school year.


stain removal hacks

I’ve acquired quite an armoury of products to deal with these stains, and I’m a sucker for new ones to help in the constant battle too. So, what’s in my armoury at the moment? A month into the new school year and with half term rapidly approaching I thought now would be a good time to share my top 5 school stain removal hacks.

My top 5 school stain removal hacks

1. Whiteboard marker

Now blackboards have been superseded by whiteboards there’s a new stain in town: the dreaded whiteboard marker. They come in every colour of the rainbow and in our school the kids are allowed and even encouraged to use them. Who in their right mind lets a child loose with a marker pen? Sadly, they don’t simply wipe off their school uniform like they do the whiteboard, either.

The solution:

Hairspray. Put kitchen roll under the item of clothing and area of the stain, then spray it within an inch of its life. Blot the stain and repeat the process until the stain is gone, then wash as normal.


stain removal hacks

2. Code brown

Yes, I am talking number twos (not whole ones, but marks left by them). I don’t know what it is about school compared with home (I’m pretty sure tracing paper loo roll was outlawed years ago) but I regularly find tyre marks in undercrackers (don’t worry, I’ll spare you a picture).

The solution:

ACE for Colours. I love a new find and ACE is one of my latest – if you haven’t heard of ACE for Colours before it’s a liquid stain remover (£2) with an ‘8+ system’ designed to tackle stubborn stains including ‘body soils’, which is a polite way of saying code brown. Just fill the dosing cap with ACE, stick it in the machine on top of the offending item and bingo: tyre marks have vanished.


stain removal hacks

3. Gravy

What do they put in school gravy? My goodness the stuff sticks! Roast dinner is on Thursdays where we are, and you can put money on the oldest coming home with a splattered front and dipped cuffs. Owing to the fact it’s Thursday you could just leave it (no-one’s spotlessly clean on a Friday, right?) but if you really can’t stand it or gravy is served up earlier in the week there is an answer.

The solution:

ACE Stain Remover, which I discovered alongside ACE for Colours. There’s no need for a full wash and dry for this one, a simple sponge down will do: just spray some ACE stain remover directly onto a sponge or cloth and apply it to the gravy stain. As well as taking away the stain it also takes away the smell – leaving a fresh one in its place!


stain removal hacks

4. Grass

If they play on a field grass stains are inevitable, the question is what’s the best way to tackle them? Forget washing uniform over and over again in the vain hope the stains will eventually fade – there’s a far easier solution.

The solution:

White vinegar and baking soda – and a bit of old-fashioned elbow grease. Pour the vinegar into a bowl, soak the stain (or stains – there’s never just one, is there) for 10 minutes, then remove from the bowl. Dip an old toothbrush in the vinegar, and then dip it in the baking soda. Using a circular motion scrub the stain with the toothbrush until it’s gone, then wash as normal. It really works, I promise!


stain removal hacks

5. Glue

Remember that glue we used to have when we were at school that peeled off when it dried? Well they don’t appear to use that anymore. I don’t know what type of glue it is but what I do know is that they use it a lot and it doesn’t come off easily. Even worse, it sometimes contains glitter (and I hate glitter).

The solution:

Cold water and liquid laundry detergent. Make sure the glue is completely dry, then scrape off as much as you can. Soak the item of clothing in cold water overnight, then massage liquid laundry detergent into the stain. Wash as normal at your usual temperature, et voila!


stain removal hacks

Do you have any school stain removal hacks? I’d love to know what they are – the weirder the better!

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 Quick & Easy Playroom Organization Tips

 

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Is your playroom the one room in the house you skip when giving your friends “the tour”? Do you have a closet you haven’t opened in literal years for fear of the inevitable avalanche of headless Barbies and puzzles with one piece missing? Are you used to finding infant teething toys in your 6-year-old’s playroom? Have you accidentally taught your kids some curse words because you stepped on yet another pile of Legos barefoot? Fear not! It is possible to have a clean, organized playroom that you *gasp* actually enjoy spending time in with your kids. Wait, does that mean the kids will play happily while you… get an actual break? I think it does. We’ve got 10 quick and easy tips for creating an inviting, creative and tidy playroom that will guarantee it becomes the favorite room in the house. Now, if only this worked for the bathroom…

1. Keep it off the floor

Playrooms are a space for playing, learning and creating — none of which can be accomplished if there’s only a little bit of floor space available. Instead of subtracting space by covering the floor with bins and bookshelves, try wall-mounted storage, like these shelves with bins from Ikea.

Trofast wall shelves

Trofast shelves, $51.99 at Ikea

2. Bookshelves are pointless

Most playrooms have a traditional bookshelf with all the books crammed onto the shelf. But in that, all the child can see is the spine of the book, which unsurprisingly doesn’t inspire them to read. In a survey conducted by Scholastic, 91 percent of children say their favorite books are the ones they’ve picked out themselves, and 90 percent say they are more likely to finish reading a book they have picked out themselves. 

So use cheap picture ledges like these to display books on. Voilà! A library wall where you can actually see the books covers, therefore making it more likely your child will actually want to read them.

Picture ledge

White book ledge, $25 at Crate & Barrel

3. Create a designated spacer for each activity

Instead of having your playroom be a room where organization comes to die, try to create a specific designated space for each activity that together make a cohesive play area. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint for an art corner. Keep a stack of comfy pillows or beanbags by a wall-mounted bookshelf for a fun reading nook. By designating areas for each activity, it also makes it easier for your child to recognize each area, so when you say, “Let’s clean up the art corner!” you won’t get a blank stare as they try to figure out if the sticker covered couch or the jar of lidless markers under the stairs is the “art corner.”

4. Rotate toys

At the beginning of every month, or every couple of months, look around the playroom and see what toys just haven’t been played with very much recently. Take a bin, put those toys in it, and put it away. At the end of the month, bring those toys out again and put the un-played-with toys from that month in the bin. Repeat. You’ll be shocked at how excited your kids get when you pull out their old toys they haven’t seen in a while — it’s like they’re brand-new toys! If you bring them out of storage and your kids aren’t that excited, it’s time for those toys to be donated. This might seem a little tricky (who can remember to take a vitamin every day, let alone swap out bins of toys), but have no fear — set an alarm on your phone to remind you.

5. Double duty

Nothing in a playroom should serve only one function. There are countless ways to double up on an item’s functionality. Use storage boxes that double as seating, use a hanging pocket organizer to house both art supplies and small items that would get lost in bigger bins. Lastly, use picture-hanging wire and some clothespins to display your child’s handiwork (which conveniently doubles as a means of drying their painted works of art without taking up table space or floor space with a drying rack.)

6. Keep it open

It’s tempting to keep everything in bins out of sight, but “out of sight, out of mind” is a saying for a reason. If you keep everything hidden away, it’s not very inviting for your child, and isn’t the point of a playroom to, well, play? On storing all those markers, crayons and pencils, interior design guru Emily Henderson tells SheKnows, “…the original packaging tends to get damaged pretty quickly and can make it tricky for little fingers to pull out pencils and crayons. Storing art supplies out in the open can create a more inviting creative space, but the containers will help keep the space organized yet fun.” 

7. Stick ’em up

Is your child one of those kids who leaves toys strewn all over the floor for weeks because they’re “not through playing with them?” Well, now your carpet won’t be covered in cars. Make a part of one playroom wall magnetic with a magnetic board like this one from Amazon. It doubles as a dry-erase board, so you can draw roads, maps, etc., on it for your child’s cars to traverse. And if they insist you don’t move a thing, the cars will stick to the board for the maximum play with minimum cleanup.

Steelmaster magnetic board with dry-erase pad, pen and magnets, $29.19 at Amazon

8. Give everything a place

This is a simple enough tip that you (more so than your child) will find hard to follow. Take everything off a shelf. See how much stuff you’ve shoved into such a small storage space? Things stacked on top of each other, bins on top of bins — each shelf is most likely packed. Put three things back, and only three. By limiting the number of items on each shelf, you’re allowing each item to have its own space with plenty of space between each toy, which allows your child to really focus on what’s available. 

9. Get down

The thing about a playroom is that it’s meant for tiny people. You might not realize it, but we’re willing to bet there are a few bins you’ve unknowingly placed out of your child’s reach. Or a chair that’s just a little too daunting for your little one to climb up in comfortably. Sit down on the floor and look around the playroom from your child’s perspective. Make sure things are accessible to them and they are comfortable in the space. Foster independence — if they don’t like getting messy, keep a container of baby wipes next to the paints so they can clean themselves up without your help. If they insist on reading the books on the shelf that is just out of their reach, keep a stool nearby. Get down on their level and see what changes you can make.

10. Don’t expect perfection 

It’s not going to happen. The caps aren’t going back on the right color marker every time, there will be days that, despite your best efforts, it looks like an artistic, tower-building hurricane ripped through the playroom. You have too much going on in your life to stress out about one room in your house. These tips may be helpful, but might also seem overwhelming. Don’t panic. Choose what works for you and your family. Start small. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish.

 

This article was written by Lilian Burns from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The Only Cleaning Trick You Need to Know If You Have Children

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There’s a Magnatile between your couch cushions, a rubber ducky under your pillow, a SpaghettiO stained rash guard on your bathroom floor. You definitely have kids (or a really, really messy spouse). Here’s a nifty trick for getting everything back to its rightful home stat.

What you need: A colored tote bag for every room in your house.

What you do: Walk around with all the bags on your arm, picking up items and dropping them into their relevant tote. Magatile? Playroom bag. Rubber ducky? Bathroom bag. Rash guard? Jason’s room bag. Then, once you’ve got everything picked up and sorted, bring the bag to its room and put everything away.

Bonus points: If you can get your kids to actually do this all for you.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Can You Have the Kids at Home AND a Clean House? My Summer Experiment

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I’ll be honest – while I’m super organized in my work life, my home shows a vastly different side of my personality. I am a piler by nature, and while I do work to keep things clean and sanitary, I’m never going to qualify as a minimalist or even as particularly neat. That being said, I love the feeling I get from a completely clean kitchen counter, or a fresh-smelling and laundry-free bathroom. 

It’s a constant struggle, though, between my desire to have a beautifully clean home and the fact that there are five people actually living here, with work and school and activities and all that those things entail. I love having the house where the kids can spontaneously invite friends for lunch, but they also like to build massive forts and pull out all of the dress-up costumes. The reality of this problem I have is that I’ve seen other people do it and I know it is possible. So my challenge for this summer is to strike a balance between allowing for all the fun that the time off of school can bring while still keeping a house that doesn’t make me cringe every time the doorbell rings out of worry that someone will see my mess. So I’m working on a plan. Tell me what you think. 

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Wake up fresh every morning. 

This one is all about perspective. If I want a fresh start every morning – and I totally do – then I need to plan for that the night before. That means dishes done, counters cleared, and even a spray of some air freshener to ensure a sweet start in the morning. 

Work together as a team

Everyone in our home has chores to do. When we all do them it helps to manage the daily mess and keep things in order. It’s easy with the flexibility of the summer schedule to let things slide, so I’m going to make an effort to keep things on the schedule in order to keep things in line. 

One thing at a time

When my kids were younger I was somewhat good about the idea of introducing one toy or activity at a time. We’re going back to that this summer. So if they want to make slime – my least favorite project ever – fine. But they’re going to clean up every single thing before they go swimming or start reading or whatever else is next in the endless string of summer activities. 

Have the tools in place

One of the keys to getting things done is having the right tools available. That’s why I love the delivery options available through Grove Collaborative. I can choose the cleaning and household products that I need and have them delivered to me each month so that I’m always prepared. Right now new customers can get a free kit with your first order of $20:

  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand lotion
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap
  • Grove Collaborative replaceable head dish brush 
  • Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial

I have to say, the Mrs. Meyers soaps are quickly becoming a favorite and their tub and tile cleaner is amazing! 

Set realistic expectations

I know that I can’t expect every day to begin or end perfectly. Some days I might have to do more work so that other days I can deal with the other things that life throws my way. But I’m trying to approach this challenge with a positive outlook and recognizing the benefits that keeping a clean house will have for me and for my family. 

So – all you readers out there who are better at this than I am – I’d love to hear your best tips for maintaining a clean home! 

 

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Combat Toy Clutter!

Boy with TruckTo combat toy clutter, Goddard School mom Kristi T. uses a great idea from an older, popular television show. The tip is called “The 10-Second Tidy!” When Kristi announces a 10-second tidy, the children grab as many toys as they can and count to 10 together as they put the toys away.

How do you encourage your children to help with household chores?