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Start Here. FREE December 2014 FREE Cleaning + Organizing Calendar

start here logo

Happy (almost) December! If you’ve been working through the Start Here. calendar since January I hope you’ve met successes and made some oodles of progress in your home. If you’re new here, check out the first post in this series for a little more explanation.  Look for a BRAND NEW design for the 2015 FREE calendar and a new series!  Subscribe so you don’t miss a single post.

What’s behind the success of any clean and organized home?

Consistency and follow through.

This series Start Here. is a great place to start (and finish) because without starting something, you’ll never finish anything. Don’t get bogged down in the every day messiness that is life, you have to start somewhere to get anywhere and that’s what we’re doing today. If you are completely overwhelmed or just a little overwhelmed, start with a little bit every day – set your timer for 10-15 minutes and just do what you can on the list. It’ll get a little bit easier every day and every week – just keep at it and you’ll be making progress in no time!

Ready? We all have to start somewhere – let’s Start Here.

Here’s a little infographic that explains the cleaning and organizing schedule…

Start Here.  Cleaning + Organizing Calendar Infographic via Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for December (this is free in my shop– if you prefer Googledocs, you can go here to grab it) and give it a go. Follow along all month for motivational posts and tips to keep up with the daily and weekly tasks.

December 2014 Clean + Organized Calendar via Clean Mama

Need a little more explanation? Go to this post to see more information on my cleaning and homekeeping routine. I’ve covered a lot of cleaning and organizing ground – you can go here to see all the posts in this series.  Through December I’ll be recapping the year and giving you a little time to get your home clean and tidy in a hurry!

The Streamlined Life Complete Kit via Clean Mama Printables

(If you like this calendar style, you’ll love The Streamlined Life Series in my shop!)  Rumor has it that I’m going to have a HUGE Black Friday sale – another reason to subscribe!

Have you joined the HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY? It’s a monthly subscription you’ll love – check it out!

HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

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5 Pre-Holiday Tips to Make the Season More Enjoyable

5 Pre-Holiday Tips to Make the Season More Enjoyable via Clean Mama

Today’s post is sponsored by Bona, but my love for their hardwood floor mop is all my own!  I have the Bona Hardwood Floor Mop on my recommended cleaner page – you will love it!  You can read my full disclosure statement here – rest assured, as always, I never recommend a product that I don’t use and love. 

The holidays are upon us and if you’re anything like me you might feel a little anxious about getting everything done and ready in time.  During the busy holiday season I do a couple things before December is upon us to make our home sparkling and clean before all the festivities begin.  Starting with a clean house really helps me relax and enjoy the holidays.  Think about it – bringing out decorations and adding to what already is in the house can give your home a cluttered feeling.  Take a little time to get it sparkling and clean and then relax and enjoy the season with your family.

DECLUTTER: Go through the house and pick up anything that doesn’t belong.  Put it away, donate it, or toss it out.  Decluttering is especially helpful before the holidays start – make room decorations, gifts, and other effects of the season.  If you make this a family affair, chances are it will go a little more quickly.  Set a timer and see how quickly you can move through the house to get everything put away and decluttered in a hurry.  It’ll be more fun and you’ll definitely appreciate the effort later.

CLEAN APPLIANCES:  Depending on how much time you have, do a quick clean of your appliances.  You can be as thorough as cleaning each and every one inside and out or simply wipe the outsides down.  My must clean appliances are the refrigerator and the stove.  I start with those because the oven can always use a good cleaning and it’s nice to have a clean refrigerator before a big holiday dinner.  Empty the refrigerator and wipe down the shelves with a mixture of up 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or castile soap), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and  about 4-6 cups of warm water.  Wipe out drawers and bins and dry thoroughly.

Clean Appliances via Clean Mama

SPARKLING, CLEAN FLOORS:  Everyone loves a sparkling, clean floor.  I quickly vacuum corners and get any debris off the floor.  Then I use the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for a safe and residue-free sparkling clean floor.  I love how lightweight it is and how easy it is to get a great shine on my hardwood floors.  The spray nozzle has great reach and the microfiber pad ensures that it’s getting every last inch.  It’s so easy to use, the kids can even pitch in.  The Bona Hardwood Floor Mop is the perfect addition to your pre-holiday decorating routine.

Easy to Clean Floors via Clean Mama

Visit Bona to sign up for the Bonafide Fanatics mailing list and download a $3.00 off coupon! 

Sparkling Clean Floors from Bona via Clean Mama

CLEAN BATHROOMS:  Take a little time to clean up the bathrooms and stock with fresh towels, tissues, and toilet paper.  Clean the mirrors, wipe down counters and sinks, and clean the tubs and toilets.  Any expected or unexpected visitors will appreciate a clean bathroom and your family will too.  Add a seasonal towel or candle or add a couple ornaments in a pretty dish to give your bathroom a little festive touch.

Clean Bathrooms via Clean Mama

AMBIENCE:  Light a couple candles, turn on the twinkle lights, and let the magic of the season take over.  My favorite thing to do after decorating and getting ready for Christmas is to just sit back and relax and truly enjoy it with the family.  Watching holiday movies, baking cookies, and spending time together are some favorite moments of the year.

Ambience via Clean Mama

I find that taking a little time to spiff up the house and clean a couple key areas makes a huge difference in our home.  How about you?  Is there something you do BEFORE you launch into full holiday mode?

Visit Bona to sign up for the Bonafide Fanatics mailing list and download a $3.00 off coupon! 

After Bona via Clean Mama

A little bit about Bona Products:
-Bona Hardwood Floor cleaners are non-toxic and GREENGUARD certified.
-Won’t leave any residue behind.
-Third-party certified to be safe and effective.

 

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Make Ahead Baked Goods for the Holiday Table

Make Ahead Baked Goods for the Holiday Table via Clean Mama

I love to bake.  I also love to bake ahead and fill the freezer with yummy baked goods for the holidays.  It would most definitely be easier to purchase rolls from your local bakery or grocery store for Thanksgiving dinner, but if you made the rolls ahead of time and froze them that would fall under the ‘seasonal’ shortcut’ category.  So if you were going to bake something for the holiday table anyway, why not make it ahead and freeze it and take that shortcut.  Today I’m rounding up my favorite recipes perfect to bake ahead for holiday meals or just to make your kitchen smell like it should this time of year.  Enjoy!

Seasonal Shortcuts - Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Season via Clean Mama

This is part of a series all about seasonal shortcuts – go here to see all the posts in the series.

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3 Ways to Take the Stress Out of This Holiday Season

3 Ways to Take the Stress Out of This Holiday Season via Clean Mama

It’s that time of the year – holiday parties, family events and get-togethers, pageants and plays, and all sorts of holiday cheer.  So what’s the best way to keep it all together and make things a little easier when everything else seems to be ramping up at breaking speed?  Let’s take a little stress out of the holidays this year and find a couple ways to make life easier so we can actually enjoy this season!

PLAN AHEAD AND SAY NO:  Look for ways to cut out anything that isn’t necessary.  Plan out the the events and get-togethers and establish what is absolutely necessary and what isn’t.  Make sure your priorities are reflected in your choices – saying yes to every invitation isn’t necessary.

TAKE INVENTORY:  Need Christmas pajamas or holiday outfits?  Purchase now to avoid last minute and stressful shopping runs.  Get your shopping done as early as you can or your budget will allow so you can relax and enjoy the month.   Cut back on any unnecessary gifts, don’t try to make everything, and order or purchase holiday cards now to avoid last minute rushing.

MAKE A FAMILY LIST:  Let everyone choose an activity that’s special or important to them, put it on a list, and make sure it’s added to the calendar.  The list can be as simple as watching that favorite Christmas movie, making frosted sugar cookies, going to the tree lighting ceremony downtown, or driving around to see holiday lights.  Making these special memories a priority will ensure that December doesn’t fly by without slowing down to savor the season.

I am happy to have a cleaning routine when life gets busy – even when I can just do the basics, I know that someone can stop by and my house won’t be in shambles because I have a system in place that works in all seasons.  Best part?  Knowing that the laundry is caught up and put away – it definitely helps to keep the stress off.

What’s your best tip for simplifying the holiday season?

This post is sponsored OxiClean.  I am a 2014 ambassador for OxiClean™ Laundry Detergent .   I’ve been using the unscented, perfume and dye-free liquid laundry detergent.  I love that I can use it to pre-treat and to wash clothes with, but if I forget to pre-treat a stain, it’s probably going to come out anyway.  It’s safe on all fabrics, whites and colors and uses the power of OxiClean to get tough, dried on stains!

OxiClean Laundry Detergent

 

Available in Fresh Scent and Perfume & Dye Free (my favorite and perfect for sensitive skin and those of us that don’t like added fragrance).  I really like that OxiClean Laundry Detergent’s stain fighting abilities are meant to help moms take a load off their day.

You can read my full disclosure statement here – rest assured, as always, I never recommend a product that I don’t use and love.

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How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

This week’s organizing task is COOKBOOKS (November’s cleaning and organizing calendar is here).  Take a little time this week to sort and organize your cookbooks ahead of the busy holiday season.

I am a cookbook collector and I love to cook and bake.  When we were house shopping, I knew our house was meant to be when I saw the bookshelves around the refrigerator.  A cookbook collector’s dream, right?!

Group like cookbooks together via Clean Mama

Did you know that having a little order in your cookbooks can help you with meal planning?  (If you don’t have cookbooks to sort this week, you could sort out your Pinterest meal boards to help with your menu planning or you could work on a recipe binder.)

Use a cookbook holder via Clean Mama

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COOKBOOKS FOR BETTER MENU PLANNING AND SO YOU’LL USE THEM:

  • Only have cookbooks that you use or will use – gift or donate cookbooks you know longer use.
  • Group like cookbooks with like cookbooks – baking, desserts, family meals, holidays, by author, by type of cooking (paleo, make ahead, healthy, etc.)
  • Haven’t used a cookbook for awhile?  Plan your meals for a week from ONE cookbook – this is a great way to test out a new cookbook or to get out of a cooking rut.
  • Mark your favorite recipes with flags or Post-Its – if you look hard enough you’ll see lots of flags sticking out of my cookbooks. Makes it easy to be reminded of those favorite recipes and it’s easier to find the recipes.
  • Make notes in your cookbooks – don’t be afraid to add your changes to recipes.
  • PLAN your meals – I take a little time on Fridays to map out the meals for the next week.  Having a plan for meal planning is so helpful – it saves time AND money.  (Here’s my favorite menu planning kit in my shop.)
  • Keep a basket or container with a couple cookbooks you want to use in the coming week to keep them accessible.

Keep a basket or container with a couple cookbooks you want to use  to keep them accessible via Clean Mama

 

 Have you joined the HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY?  It’s a monthly subscription you’ll love (with menu planning!) – check it out!HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

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ENDED: HUGE Essential Oils Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER – the winner is announced in the widget and has been notified.

I am so excited to share this giveaway with you all today!  I have been using doTERRA essential oils and products in my home for close to two years.  I started by using a ‘few’ oils (Lemon, Clove, Citrus Bliss, Melaleuca, OnGuard, Peppermint) that I added to my natural cleaning recipes and solutions and just kept going.  I recommend doTERRA essential oils in my book and LOVE to use them throughout my home, in everyday life and homekeeping (go here to see some posts where I use essential oils in my homekeeping).  Besides using the essential oils to make vinegar smell (and work) better in my cleaning products, I love diffusing natural, safe scents in my home and I love the Lifelong Vitality Pack supplements.

I have been a Wellness Advocate with doTERRA for a while and am really excited to formally introduce you to doTERRA.  There are A LOT of options for essential oils.  Why doTERRA?  I chose doTERRA because the oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG – which is actually better than organic).  They are created with the highest standards AND third party tested to make sure they are pure. The plants are grown throughout the world where they originated from to create the best oils.  All that said, they smell and work amazingly! 


I’m teaming up with my dear friends Toni at  A Bowl Full of Lemons, and Becky at  Organizing Made Fun, to bring you an AMAZING giveaway! We are giving away the Natural Solutions Essential Oils Kit from doTERRA.  It’s an amazing kit!

Why?  We wanted to share our love of essential oils with you, and what better way than with one of of the best doTERRA kits you can get!  It has everything you need to start your journey into essential oils!

Here is what is inside the kit (see picture above):

Essential Oils:

5 ML BOTTLES:

• Serenity
• DigestZen
• Purify
• Melaleuca
• Oregano
• AromaTouch
• Frankincense
• Breathe
• Balance
10 ML BOTTLES:
• PastTense
• HD Clear
• Clary Calm
15 ML BOTTLES:
• Citrus Bliss
• Lavender
• Lemon
• Peppermint
• Slim & Sassy
• Lemongrass
ON GUARD COLLECTION:
• On Guard Protective Blend (15mL)
• On Guard Beadlets
• On Guard Toothpaste
• On Guard Hand Wash w/2 Dispensers
OTHER PRODUCTS:
• Life Long Vitality
• TerraZyme
• HD Clear Foaming Face Wash
• Deep Blue Rub
• Fractionated Coconut Oil (4 oz)
• Sample Vials
• Aroma Lite Diffuser
• Wooden Box
• Wellness Advocate Introductory Packet
*To see all doTERRA enrollment kits, visit here.

 

Not all items from the kit are in the picture, above.
Please refer to the list to see what you will win.

If you’ve been waiting to start using essential oils or even if you have lots of oils, you’re going to want to win this.  It’s full of my favorite products and essential oils!

Email me if you have additional questions, I’d love to get you started!

  • Retail:  Looking to purchase a one time order?  Retail is the way to go.  Order here.
  • Wholesale:  Looking to order a little at a time to build up your collection?  A wholesale membership is the way to go.  You will receive 25% off all orders.  Order here.  (Choose “join as a wellness advocate” and follow the directions).
  • Wellness Advocate:  Looking for extra income, shipping perks & free oils?  Join our team & become a wellness advocate.  Email me at clean dot mama @ yahoo.com with “wellness advocate” in the subject line. I will send you the information you need to sign up.  Don’t know anything about essential oils?  Don’t worry.  We will teach you everything you need to know!

Joining our Wellness Team?

If you decide you want to become a wellness advocate & join the team that I’m on (with Toni from ABFOL and Becky from OMF), you will receive a lot of support & gain access to…..

  • A private team Facebook group – where you can ask questions any time of the day.
  • Our fabulous team website – Full of training videos, downloads, etc.
  • Weekly & monthly team calls, webinars & training
  • 1 on 1 Mentoring
  • doTERRA University Training
  • and much more!

Now, go and enter the amazing giveaway!

DETAILS:

  • The Giveaway begins at 11:59 pm EST 11/15/14  and will end at 1 pm EST on 11/20/14.
  • One winner will be randomly chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • You must be a U.S. resident.
  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • Giveaway is not available to current wellness advocates.
  • You must complete all required Rafflecopter entries to win.
  • You have 24 hours to claim your prize.
  • Giveaway is sponsored by A Bowl Full of Lemons, Organizing Made Fun, and Clean Mama.

GOOD LUCK!

*Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Please understand that if you are using any of the information from Clean Mama, it’s at your own risk.  You can read my full disclaimer here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Homekeeping Society | December 2014 Essentials

Homekeeping Society - Monthly Essentials - December 2014

First of all, your response to Homekeeping Society has blown me away!  I am so excited to have so many of YOU keeping up with the everyday tasks with the help of the Homekeeping Society.  December’s monthly essentials are ready for downloading if you’re a member (log in here) and if you’d like to purchase today, it’s an instant (almost – it might a few minutes) download.  The Homekeeping Society MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION is designed to create order out of your household chaos and help you keep your home clean and your mind less cluttered.  Take a peek at what I’ve created for the busy month of December – you’re going to love it!

Daily Planner and Weekly Docket - Homekeeping Society - December 2014 via Clean Mama

Keeping a home clean can be both rewarding and frustrating. Sure, it’s possible to get your home clean, but to keep it that way can be the biggest challenge. Throw in the additions of busy schedules, jobs, kids, chaos and lack of time and it can feel downright defeating many days. Why bother cleaning when it’s only going to be a mess again the next day!

Go here to sign up for a digital subscription or go here to sign up for the printed for you subscription.

 Homekeeping Society - Details - December 2014 via Clean Mama

I understand just where you are coming from. Keeping your home clean while maintaining your sanity can be incredibly stressful. You may feel as though you can’t do anything right when it comes to maintaining a clean, organized, and welcoming home and even if you could find the time, you wouldn’t know where to start.

 Checklists - Homekeeping Society - December 2014 via Clean Mama

Need some serious help, a virtual hand to hold and guide you through the process of cleaning, homekeeping, and creating a home you feel proud of? That’s exactly why I created the Homekeeping Society, the perfect monthly intervention that is purposely designed to get your life and home in order with ease and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated.

Menu Planning - Homekeeping Society - December 2014 via Clean Mama

I’ve created a monthly essentials subscription designed to help you get your home and life in order – HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY.  This monthly subscription is made for YOU to get your life in order – with ease and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated to do the daily tasks that get boring and monotonous.

Menu Planning Close-Up - Homekeeping Society - December 2014 via Clean Mama

 

Homekeeping Society Overview - Monthly Essentials - December 2014

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT EVERY MONTH:

  1. INSTRUCTIONS – tells you how many pages to print out of each page and suggestions for implementing and making the pages work for you
  2. COVER PAGE – with the month and the inspirational quote for the month – great for putting in your binder or homekeeping notebook
  3. HOMEKEEPING FOCUS page – every month will focus on a room or area in the home (December is living areas) – this page lays it out and gives you room for making your own adjustments and goals
  4. TO DO LIST – every month features a new, and highly functional to do list
  5. DAILY PLANNER PAGE  (2 this month – Sunday start and Monday start)– great for those busy days (or every day!) includes schedule, to dos, notes, meal
  6. WEEKLY DOCKET– Use the weekly docket to see your whole week and schedule on a page
  7. MENU PLAN FOR THE WEEK WITH A SHOPPING LIST- make a menu plan and take it with you
  8. MENU PLAN FOR THE MONTH – always includes a list for recipe ideas or ingredients to pick up
  9. 2 MONTHLY CALENDARS (1 blank, 1 pre-filled) – suggested daily cleaning tasks, weekly cleaning tasks, rotating cleaning tasks, organizing suggestions
  10. SEASONAL PREPARATION PRINTABLE – a helpful seasonal prep printable is always included in the monthly subscription – perfect for placing in a binder (December is a holiday checklist)
  11. KITCHEN SINK QUOTE– the quote for the month – 5×7 – frame and put at your kitchen sink or tape to your fridge to give you a little motivation and inspiration for the month
  12. INFORMATION PAGE – this month includes 2 – one insurance information page and one medical information page – fill them out and save in a family info section of your homekeeping binder or notebook and you’ll have a complete information section (insurance, 401K, etc.)

Homekeeping Society December 2014 Digital and Printed for You via Clean Mama

Want to see more and get on the list?  I can’t wait for you to join me!  Go here to learn more and sign up for a digital subscription or go here for the printed for you subscription.  Want to see some ideas and more information on how to implement Homekeeping Society?  Go to this post.

Please note:  As a member, you will be able to download your digital subscription every month by going to your account page, click on the link for December and it will allow you to download the monthly essentials zip file.  If you are a member, your essentials are already in your account – yay!

SOURCES – in case you’re curious:

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Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker – Free Printable

Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker FREE PRINTABLE  via Clean Mama

The catalogs and coupons are filling the mailbox and I needed to figure out a way to keep track of them so I don’t miss out on a deal or coupon this season.  Could you use one too?  I thought so!  Use it in a way that will make your holiday planning and shopping a little easier and it’s just in time for Black Friday!

Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker via Clean Mama

Print it out and use it as-is or fold it in half the long way and keep your coupons in the fold.

Print and Tape Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker on an Envelope via Clean Mama

Or print it out and washi-tape to a large envelope and keep your coupons in the envelope.

Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker via Clean Mama2

Happy Holiday Planning!  (Big hint – if you like this color scheme, you’re going to LOVE December’s HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – released at the end of the week!)

Holiday Coupon + Deal Tracker Courtesy of Clean Mama

Grab the FREE Holiday Coupon and Deal Tracker in my shop HERE or in Googledocs HERE.

 

Seasonal Shortcuts - Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Season via Clean Mama

This is part of a series all about seasonal shortcuts – go here to see all the posts in the series.

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3 Steps to a Clean and Organized Entryway or Mudroom

3 Steps to a Clean and Organized Entryway via Clean Mama

This week’s organizing task is the ENTRYWAY (November’s cleaning and organizing calendar is here). Take a little time this week to spiff up your entryway.   Before all the winter gear comes out, or use this as the perfect time to start with a few preemptive organizing systems and get that entryway ready for the busy season ahead.

If you have an entryway or a mudroom without designated places to put coats, shoes, purses, and other gear, go into that space and remove everything that you can.  Set it aside into 4 specific piles – keep, toss, donate, re-locate.  Looking at your space, determine the best way to help your family utilize this space.  Do you need to add hooks for coats?  A basket for backpacks?  A cute dish or hook for keys?  Recently I moved all our ‘sometimes’ shoes to our bedroom closet.  This was a simple game changer in the clutter department and our mudroom has so much more space.  I’d like to encourage you to find a game changing solution in your entryway or mudroom.  Once you’ve decided on how you’re going to arrange this space to minimize your clutter, put everything back where it belongs.  If you are changing up or adding a system (like a basket or bin), make sure you explain to other family members what your expectations are for the space.

  1. CLEAN –  empty and clean the space.  Wipe down any shelves, doors, handles, baseboards, etc.  Vacuum and wash the floors.
  2. ORGANIZE – group like items with like items, keep only what you need and use, and make sure that the clutter is gone.
  3. NEW SYSTEM – if something isn’t working, change it.  Put a new system in place – it can be as simple as a stick-on hook for a backpack.  Determine what isn’t working in your entryway or mudroom and change it.

With a little time and effort this week, you can make some big changes in your entryway or mudroom.  Short on time?  Choose the biggest issue and tackle it.  Maybe you need to get the winter gear out of storage and put it in a basket or bin for easy use.  Or maybe you’ve been neglecting the floor in your mudroom – vacuum and wash it this week.

What’s your biggest struggle in keeping your entryway or mudroom organized?  Have a great tip or solution to share?

 

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Brightnest : 9 Surprising Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

9 Surprising Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide via Clean Mama

Today I have a great guest post from BrightNest.  I love using hydrogen peroxide to clean and I know you’ll find at least one tip you can use today!  BrightNest is devoted to inspiring and empowering you to take great care of your home. From basic maintenance tasks to fun cleaning tricks, we deliver everything you need to shape up your home and simplify your life.brightnest_logo

Let’s play a word association game. When you hear “hydrogen peroxide,” what do you picture?

If it’s a first aid kit, you’re not alone. The vast majority of us keep hydrogen peroxide in the wings for scrape and bruise duty and kinda forget it exists 99% of the time. Tragedy! Hydrogen peroxide’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties make it one of the most valuable $2.00 purchases you can make at the drug store.

Here are 9 of our favorite uses:

1. Remove Wine Stains

Or blood stains or pit stains or pretty much any other stains! It may not whiten as quickly as bleach, but unlike bleach, there’s very little risk of damaging fabric. To do this, combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and mild detergent in a bowl. Sponge the mixture onto the stain and let it sit for one minute. Then, blot the solution into the stain until it’s completely absorbed, and then wash the garment as you normally would.

2. Keep Kitchen Surfaces Clean

Hydrogen peroxide comes in a brown bottle because it’s extremely light sensitive. So leave it in the original bottle! Instead of transferring the liquid to another spray bottle, simply put a nozzle on the brown bottle from the store. Hold your hydrogen peroxide bottle in one hand and bottle of vinegar bottle in the other. Mist the surface you’d like to disinfect with the hydrogen peroxide and then follow up with a mist of the vinegar. Important: Don’t combine the two liquids into one bottle – they will form a new chemical if they’re combine that doesn’t work as well.

3. Refresh Sponges

You’ve done the dishes and everything is clean – except for the nasty sponge. Steep it in a cup of hydrogen peroxide to kill any lingering bacteria. Tip: Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly afterwards.

4. Clean Your Septic Tank

One in five American homes has a septic system. If you’re one of the special few, flush an ounce of hydrogen peroxide through your system every six months to keep it in working order.

5. Remove Mold From Plants

To remove mold from houseplants, mix a pint of water with five tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide or food grade peroxide. Spray your plants with the solution to remove any mildew or mold on the leaves.

6. Clean Your Toothbrush

Once a week, soak your toothbrush in a cup of hydrogen peroxide to kill germs. If you’re feeling especially icky, clean it this way after every use.

7. Disinfect Fruits and Veggies

To do away with pesticides, fill your sink with cold water and a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide and wash your fruits and veggies.

8. Accelerate Plant Growth

To help your houseplants grow faster, soak seeds in a solution of 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide before planting.

9. Brighten Your Hair

If your hair is already pretty light and and you’d like to make your hair blonder, fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, and spray your wet hair with it after a shower. Over time, your locks will lighten.

Go here to see the original post on BrightNest.

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Thanksgiving Table Ideas for the Kids

Thanksgiving Table Ideas for the Kids via Clean Mama
Ah, Thanksgiving.  One of my favorite holidays – there’s definitely expectation involved but Thanksgiving has always felt like a simpler holiday to me.  It’s all about being grateful and thankful for what we have and reflecting on the year. Gathering around the table is such a fun and fond memory for me.  But, if your kids are anything like mine, Thanksgiving dinner lasts about 15 minutes.  I like a more leisurely approach to the dinner with multiple helpings and an afternoon and evening around the table.  Today’s round-up is how I’m hoping to keep the kiddos entertained on Thanksgiving – I hope it sparks lots of ideas for you and your family.

  • Set the perfect Thanksgiving table for kids with these fantastic ideas from Sugar and Charm
  • Count your blessings by creating a Blessings Tree for your family. Includes free printable tags to get you started. Via Jones Design Co.
  • Print out these placemats for the ultimate entertainment and time filler at the Thanksgiving table. You could even have the placemats printed and laminated for years to come.  Via BHG
  • Using simple materials found at your favorite craft store, these napkin rings could easily be made up ahead of time or created at the table. Via Art Bar Blog
  • Put together a simple treat bag filled with crayons, stickers and little odds and ends to keep kiddos busy at the table. Via Katherine Marie
  • How sweet is this fall bunting made from materials easily found around your home? Via Simple As That
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Holiday Shortcuts : Make-Ahead (and Freeze) Squash

Make-Ahead (and Freeze) Squash via Clean Mama

One of my favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving is squash.  In my opinion, it’s the perfect side.  Adults and kids alike love the subtle flavor and texture.  Better yet, it can be made ahead and frozen until Thanksgiving.  The recipe is super easy to adapt to flavor palettes and diet restrictions as it can be prepared gluten and dairy free as well as paleo.  Make up a batch for dinner some night this month and reserve half to freeze for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Cut in half and scoop out seeds via Clean Mama

Cut in half and scoop out seeds.

Place flesh side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet via Clean Mama

Place flesh side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes via Clean Mama

Bake at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes – pierce through the skin with a fork to test for done-ness.  When the fork doesn’t meet any resistance the squash is done.

Place ingredients in heat proof bowl via Clean Mama

Place ingredients in heat proof bowl – choose either savory or sweet ingredients or make some of each:

  • SAVORY | salt and pepper to taste, a tablespoon or two of butter or olive oil, sage and thyme to taste
  • SWEET | salt; a tablespoon or two of butter or coconut oil; a tablespoon or two of brown sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar, pumpkin spice or cinnamon to taste

Make your squash sweet or savory via Clean Mama

 

Scoop out Squash via Clean Mama

Use a large spoon and scoop the squash out of the shell – I place the squash on a hot pad to scoop because it’s pretty hot.

 

Make Ahead (and Freeze) Squash via Clean Mama

Mix by hand or with a hand mixer or an immersion blender.  Serve immediately OR freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat in the microwave or stovetop before serving.  I used acorn squash for this recipe but you can use your favorite squash.

Seasonal Shortcuts - Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Season via Clean Mama

This is part of a series all about seasonal shortcuts – go here to see all the posts in the series.

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Seasonal Shortcuts : Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Season

Seasonal Shortcuts - Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Season via Clean Mama

Looking for some realistic ways to keep things simple around the holidays?  Today I’m starting a new series of ways that I make things a little easier as I prepare for the holidays.  Last year I did a series on Simplify the Season  – go here to see what was covered last year.   Subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss a single post!  I’ll be back tomorrow with one of my favorite Thanksgiving (and fall) sides that you can make now and freeze ahead.  Ready?  I still can’t get over the fact that it’s November, can you?

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Organized Family Room Home Tour – Toys

Top Organizing Bloggers Family Room Organization

The Top Organizing Bloggers are doing a family room tour today – we each took a space in our family or living rooms to show how we organized it in our homes.  You can see last month’s kitchen tour here.  I’m excited to be show you how I organize toys in our family room.  If you’re new here (welcome!) and I hope you find some simple ideas for organizing your toy storage in your living spaces.  (At the bottom of the post you’ll find links to the Top Organizing Bloggers Family Room Tour that you won’t want to miss!)  Want to know more about me? Go through the tour and then go to my cleaning routine page.

How to Organize Toys in a Family Room via Clean Mama

In my opinion, figuring out a system for containing the toys is crucial to keeping things simple and easy to put away.  Regardless of the size of your family room, you can follow these simple steps and ideas and figure out a system for storing toys in this much-used area of your home.  I have a couple ‘rules’ for toys in main living spaces and these rules seem to keep toys from taking over while still allowing for creative play and lots of fun.  I have three kids – the oldest is a girl and the younger two are boys.  Most of the toys in the family room are toys that my youngest plays with because he is home all day (not at school) and doesn’t get to play in his room unsupervised like the older two.  Teeny tiny toys stay in containers in the oldest kids’ bedrooms so they aren’t a choking hazard to the littlest one.  This system works well, hopefully it’ll give you some ideas for organizing and including toys in your living space without feeling like a toy store threw up all over your house.

Group like Toys Together to Make Clean Up Easy via Clean Mama

CONTAIN  – I use baskets to contain toys – I like the soft look they give and bonus, they conceal what’s inside the basket.  When everything’s picked up and put away the room as a whole has a neat and tidy appearance.  Look for baskets with handles to give them portability as well.

Use Baskets to Contain Toys via Clean Mama

EASY TO CLEAN UP – Separating toys into baskets or containers also makes it easy to take out one or two things at a time which in turn makes it easier to pick up and put away.  The basket can also be taken to another room or area of the house and easily picked up and put away.

Use a Bookcase to Create Your Toy Storage via Clean Mama

ADJUST AS NECESSARY – See that huge basket in the corner?  That’s full of Duplos – my youngest’s favorite toy.  Instead of having a basket of miscellaneous toys, I packed those up and put all the Duplos in one basket.  Sometimes you have to assess and re-assess the situation to determine what works for a specific stage or age or individual child.

Use Furniture to Hide the Toys via Clean Mama

HIDE FROM VIEW – I don’t know about you, but clutter makes me crabby.  Toys strewn from one corner of the house to the next is great while they’re being played with but when that time is over, I want them to be put away quickly and easily.  We use the bookcase to house most of the toys and some toys are in the TV console.  Use the storage that you have and get creative with how you store toys – it’s that simple.

Simple, Easy Tips on How to Organize Toys in a Family Room via Clean Mama

If you’re new here, I’d love for you to follow along on social media and subscribe to the blog on the sidebar.  I share lots of simple and easy to implement homekeeping methods and tips.

Next up?  Check out how the Top Organizing Bloggers are organizing their family rooms today!

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A Simplified Week : Kitchen Towels

a simplified week

As part of Start Here. I post a weekly recap with a couple ideas (mostly simple and easy to implement) for the week’s focus and a few ideas from the web that I’ve enjoyed over the week. Did you grab November’s FREE cleaning and organizing calendar? Go here to grab it!

Kitchen Towels:

  • All it takes is a couple minutes to sort through and organize the piles of kitchen towels when you follow these suggestions from Clean Mama
  • Utilize underused space for storing your kitchen towels with this IKEA system. Inexpensive and it has some serious farmhouse style. Via Red Farm House
  • Looking to cut back on your paper towel consumption? Try your hand at making these reusable paper towels with this tutorial from Cat Eyed Kp

Something to Eat:

  • Check out these tips for decorating frosted cookies that not only look pretty but don’t take forever and a day to make from The Kitchn.

Something to Make:

  • How fun is this tutorial on how to make your own gift bags? Use your favorite paper for the perfect and affordable touch. Via One She Two She

Something For the Kids:

Simplify:

  • It’s always a struggle to really clean the exterior of the toilet well where who-knows-what tends to lurk. Kim from A Real Life Housewife has some great suggestions on Ask Anna for making this task easier and successful.

HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

 

 

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