Looking for the perfect cleaning resource? Check out my book, The Organically Clean Home!

UPDATE : Everyday Cleaning Planner + COUPON Code

Everyday Cleaning Calendar Close-Up - Clean Mama

Just popping in to let you know that the oh-so-wonderful Everyday Cleaning Planner has been updated for 2016!  If you’ve been waiting for the 2016 pages, they are in the shop separately as just the calendar and if you haven’t grabbed the Everyday Cleaning Planner yet, you can get that with September 2015-December 2016 cleaning calendar pages ready for you!

Everyday Cleaning Planner Sept2015-Dec2016 - Clean Mama

EVERYDAY CLEANING PLANNER – over 50 pages + September 2015-December 2016 calendars (pre-filled AND editable/fillable)

If you already have the Everyday Cleaning Planner or just want the cleaning calendar, I made that available too.  This is very similar to what I provide free every month BUT you get the editable/fillable version as well so if you want to add your own daily and rotating tasks you can type those right in and print away.

Clean Mama's Everyday Cleaning Calendar - September 2015-December 2016 - Clean Mama

EVERYDAY CLEANING CALENDAR (no cleaning pages, JUST the calendar – pre-filled AND editable/fillable) – September 2015-December 2016

Editable-Fillable Fields - Create Your Own Cleaning Calendar - Clean Mama

And because I feel like getting all.the.things organized at this time of the year, maybe you do too?  How about a great coupon code to do just that?!

Use the code 25ORGANIZE for 25% off your entire order through September 5th at 10pm cst!

ORGANIZE SALE

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you should be!  I post daily cleaning reminders, post simple homekeeping tips, and hold great insta-sales (hint, hint).

Want more details on HOW to make a cleaning planner?  Check out this post!

How to Make a Cleaning Planner via Clean Mama

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How to Launder Kitchen + Cleaning Cloths

How to Launder Kitchen and Cleaning Cloths main via Clean Mama

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of using cloth when it comes to cleaning. I use microfiber for many cleaning tasks and prefer using cloth over paper whenever possible. I’m often asked how I care for microfiber cloths and how I launder kitchen towels and rags to keep them clean and performing their best. Today, I’m here to help!

Microfiber Cloth Care:

If you were to take a peek in to my laundry room, you would see a bucket with my microfiber cloths in it. After using them, I drape them over the side until they are completely dry to prevent mildew and/or or stinky odors. When they are dry, in the bucket they go. I wash them on a weekly basis or when the bucket is looking a bit full.

Keep a Bucket for Dirty Cleaning Cloths in the Laundry Room via Clean Mama

Microfiber is a real workhorse in the cleaning supply world. It’s durable, very efficient at cleaning all sorts of things and environmentally friendly. It also is very good at picking up the fibers of anything it is washed with. Here’s how I launder microfiber to keep it performing at its best:

  1. Wash microfiber all by itself. If you wash it with other rags or towels, the fibers from other cloths will transfer and stick to the microfiber.
  2. Wash on hot with detergent and no fabric softener. Fabric softener will coat the cloth and render it far less absorbent. Stick to detergent only.
  3. Dry on hot with no dryer sheets. Just like fabric softener, the chemicals in the dryer sheets will put a thin layer of on the fibers and make them less efficient.

Bar Mop Towels, Rags and Kitchen Towels:

As a general rule, I prefer using white towels and rags as much as possible. I love their clean, bright look, that they match with anything, are easy to clean and non-fading. I also love using cute patterned dish towels to add a little fancy to the kitchen.

Tips for Washing Kitchen Towels via Clean Mama

If you have followed me awhile, you’ve probably seen the glass canister on my kitchen counter with rolled up white bar mop towels in it. I love bar mop towels over rags in the kitchen for several reasons. They are larger in size than the typical kitchen rag and are more absorbent. I use them for cleaning up drips and spills, wiping down counters and general kitchen cleanup. I prefer using sponges for washing dishes as it is easier for me to just put it in the dishwasher nightly rather than having to launder another item.  I have a hook hanging in the interior under my kitchen sink that I hang damp items on until they are dry.  This method keeps any stink away.

Hang Kitchen Cloths on the Back of Cupboard Door to Dry via Clean Mama

As for laundering kitchen towels and rags, it doesn’t look too much different than how I care for microfiber. Unless it is a brand new colorful kitchen towel, I wash all my kitchen towels and rags together.

  1. Wash using just hot water and detergent. Using fabric softener might help add some scent, but it also leaves behind a residue that causes towels to get dingier, be less absorbent and have a shorter life span.
  2. Dry on hot or high with no dryer sheets.

Have stains or need some general brightening? I like to add a scoop of oxygen safe bleach. You can use Oxi-Clean or a similar product. For a powdered version, I especially like The Laundress All-Purpose Bleach Alternative or if you prefer liquid, Seventh Generation’s Bleach Alternative.

What’s your method for laundering your kitchen towels and cleaning cloths?

How to Launder Kitchen and Cleaning Cloths via Clean Mama

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FREE Cleaning Calendar for September 2015

I don’t know about you but I feel like September is a great month for fresh starts – it’s almost like the new year.  I have some exciting things planned in the coming months sure to help you get your home clean and tidied up in a hurry.  It’s almost September and that means that it’s time for September’s FREE cleaning calendar!

If you’re feeling like you need some help with your cleaning and homekeeping and don’t know where to start, you’re going to love my cleaning routine and calendar. I keep daily homekeeping tasks to 15-30 minutes a day and this simple plan is how I do it! This is a solution for busy households – give it a go, I think you’ll be surprised how a little bit every day can make a huge difference in your home.

Fresh Start Clean+Organized 2015

If you’ve been following Clean Mama for even a week, you know that every day is a chance to start over and so is every week, month, etc. I hope that you find that my cleaning routine is SIMPLE, EASY TO IMPLEMENT, and full of GRACE.

Read on, grab the FREE calendar for August and get ready to see how doing a little bit everyday really is the secret to a clean house.

Cleaning Routine Infographic - Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for September and give it a go.  Follow along (subscribe in the sidebar) for motivational posts and tips to keep up with the daily and weekly tasks. I also post daily reminders on Instagram and Facebook!

September Fresh Start Cleaning Calendar courtesy of Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for September 2015! Prefer it in googledocs? Go here.

(Please note: You’ll need to put the calendar in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free calendar AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

Find Out More Homekeeping Society

If you like this FREE printable you’ll love my HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY and the organizing printables in my shop!

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

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3 Natural Odor Eliminators

3 Natural Odor Eliminators - DIY Recipes for Common Household Odors main via Clean Mama

Stinky shoes, smelly garbage cans, and stale air are common household odors.  If you’re looking for natural solutions to these odors, I have three easy to make and use odor busters.  With just a couple ingredients and a few minutes you can make these natural busters and put them to use today.

A couple notes:  You can find a lot of the products used in these recipes in my Amazon shop and I used 8 ounce spray bottles – if you have a larger size, simply double the recipe to make it fit in your spray bottle.

Lemon + Clove Air Freshener Spray via Clean Mama

Lemon + Clove Air Freshener Spray

My favorite scent combination – perfect for any time a room needs a little freshening up.  The lemon and clove is great warm scent for fall, but you can use your favorite essential oils too – get creative!

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vodka (or rubbing alcohol)  – I use vodka in this recipe because it’s odorless and evaporates quickly.
5 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil
spray bottle

Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to combine.  Spray 2-3 sprays in any room that needs a little freshening.

Lemon + Clove Air Freshener via Clean Mama

Lemon + Peppermint Garbage Can Freshening Tablets via Clean Mama

Lemon + Peppermint Garbage Can Freshening Tablets

This concoction works great in the bottom of garbage cans and diaper pails.  Place one or two anywhere a little odor absorption is necessary.  Toss when odors aren’t being absorbed any longer.

1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup epsom salts
about 1/4 cup water
10 drops of your favorite essential oils
ice cube tray(s)

Garbage Can Fresheners in Ice Cube Trays via Clean Mama

Combine the ingredients and make a dry paste and spoon a tablespoon at a time in each compartment.  Don’t fill to the top because the mixture will expand a bit.  Allow to dry out completely overnight and/or in the sun.  Once the tablets have hardened, carefully turn the tray over onto a clean surface.  Place 1-2 in a garbage can – it should last at least 2 weeks.  Store tablets in an airtight container for 3 months.

Fresheners in a Jar via Clean Mama

Citrus + Tea Tree Fabric Sanitizer via Clean Mama

Citrus + Tea Tree Fabric Sanitizer Spray

If you need to sanitize/freshen a pillow or a pair of shoes, this spray will become a new favorite.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
2 drops citrus essential oil
4 drops tea trea (melaleuca) oil

Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to combine.  Spray on shoes and fabric to freshen – let dry completely before using.  If you are concerned about water on fabric, test in an inconspicuous area first.

Fabric Sanitizer via Clean Mama

3 Natural Odor Eliminators - DIY Recipes for Common Household Odors via Clean Mama

These (and 150 more) recipes also appear in my book, The Organically Clean Home.  It’s the perfect cleaning resource!  Like DIY cleaning and recipes?  You’ll love these posts!

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FREE 2016 At-A-Glance Calendars

FREE Printable 2016 At-A-Glance Calendars - 4 Versions  courtesy of Clean Mama

If you’re planning ahead, putting together a homekeeping binder or planner, or trying to get dates on the calendar this fall, chances are you need to take a peek at the year ahead from time to time.  Today I have FOUR versions of 2016 At-A-Glance Calendars made to match different printables in my shop or you can use them by themselves or with your current calendar.

I put all 4 of the calendars in one zip file so you can grab the calendars in one simple download.  Go here to grab the zip file, download, save, and print!  (Not sure how to use printables, save zip files, resize for a different size planner?  Go here to see my Clean Mama Printables FAQ page.)

Like the At-A-Glance Calendars?  Here are the product lines from my shop that correspond with each calendar:

2 Page Weekly Planner MAIN - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama
Everyday A Little Something Planner

Homekeeping Foundations MAIN via Clean mama
Homekeeping Foundations Kit and Calendar

Everyday Complete Kit small - Clean Mama Printables
Everyday Kits

Clean Mama Printables Streamlined Life Complete Kit - 2015
Streamlined Life Kits

(Please note: You’ll need to put the calendars in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free calendars AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

FREE Printable 2016 At-A-Glance Calendars - 4 Versions - courtesy of Clean Mama

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Homekeeping Society | September Essentials + coupon code

If you feel like you need a little help staying on top of the dailies, you will love September’s HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY. Complete with seasonal touches, this month features a sweet pie motif in jadeite green and coral tones. Homekeeping Society is intended to be just the gentle nudge you need to keep up with those daily tasks and to dos with a sweet and simple format.

Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 25SEPTEMBERfor 25% off your FIRST month (offer ends August 31st).

Main Image - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

You’ll love the EASY PRINT feature, simply open and print the pages in ONE step. This is set up exactly how the printed version is packaged with 4 pages of the weekly planners, etc. This change is designed to take the guesswork and any hassle out of the printing process. I have also included a just one of each EASY PRINT option as well. Of course, the individual pages are also included, but if you want to print everything in one easy step, you’ll be really excited about this. If you want to print back to back, just select that upon printing and print away – easy, peasy!

Homekeeping Focus and Pre-Filled Calendar - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

If you’re a member (log in here) and if you’d like to sign up today, it’s an instant download. The Homekeeping Society MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION is designed to create order out of your household chaos and help you keep your home tidy with ease and your mind less cluttered. Take a peek at what I’ve created for the month of September – I think you’ll LOVE it!

To Do List - September Homekeeping Society 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 energy and it can feel downright defeating many days. You’ll love the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine included in every month of Homekeeping Society – it truly takes the guesswork out of cleaning and sets it on auto-pilot. If you struggle during the summer with a different routine and more or less free time, Homekeeping Society will help you keep on top of the tasks and provide a little structure.

Menu Planning - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

I love to provide a ‘virtual’ hand to hold and guide you through the process of cleaning, homekeeping, and creating a home you feel proud of and welcome family, neighbors, and friends into without thinking twice about the mess behind that front door. The intent of Homekeeping Society is to give you that perfect monthly intervention that is purposefully designed to get your life and home in order with ease. Each month I add different and adorable seasonal touches to keep you motivated to do the daily tasks that get boring and monotonous.

Today and Weekly Planner - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

 

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 – an EASY PRINT option is also included to make printing just one step!
  2. COVER PAGE – with the month – great for putting in your binder or homekeeping notebook to keep each month separated if you choose to keep the pages from month to month.
  3. HOMEKEEPING FOCUS page – every month will focus on a room or area in the home (September is the FAMILY ROOM) – 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. Print one or two and put it front and center – set some realistic goals and make plans for some fun things to do this month
  5. DAILY PLANNER PAGE – great for those busy days (or every day!) includes schedule, to dos, notes, and a space for meals
  6. WEEKLY DOCKET– Use the weekly docket to see your whole week and schedule on a page (Sunday start and Monday start are both included)
  7. MENU PLAN FOR THE WEEK WITH A SHOPPING LIST- make a menu plan and take it with you to the grocery store to keep your shopping and planning in check.
  8. MENU PLAN FOR THE MONTH – always includes a list for recipe ideas or ingredients to pick up so you won’t forget to add it to your weekly shopping list.
  9. 2 MONTHLY CALENDARS (1 blank, 1 pre-filled) – suggested daily cleaning tasks, weekly cleaning tasks, rotating cleaning tasks, cleaning and organizing suggestions.
  10. SEASONAL PREPARATION PRINTABLE – a helpful seasonal prep printable is always included in the monthly subscription – perfect for placing in a binder (September is a WEEKNIGHT FAMILY FAVORITES meal sheet).
  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 a IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER printable – 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.)
  13. PLUS – access to previous months’ HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY!

Quote for the Kitchen Sink - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

This month’s Quote for the Kitchen Sink is a sweet one – the quote for the kitchen sink can go on your refrigerator, a bulletin board, or even your binder.  Put it somewhere that you’ll see it and be inspired by it.

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 here to see all the posts and past months of Homekeeping Society!

Main - September Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

 

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 SEPTEMBER 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!

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5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Fall

5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family For Fall via Clean Mama

With fall on the doorstep, it’s helpful to prepare the house for the new schedules and routines.  I’m working my way through this little list and know that the effort will pay off in time saved in the months to come!

3 Things Every Command Center Needs via Clean Mama

Organize or put together a Command Center – start with these 3 things every command center needs.  Having a command center is really helpful but only if you’re using it wisely.  Take the time to put one together and you’ll be glad you did!

How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama

Clean and Organize the Refrigerator – use a couple simple steps to get your refrigerator clean and organized for the busyness that fall brings.  Clean thoroughly, adjust shelves if necessary, and group like items together to keep your refrigerator tidy this fall.

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Put together a homework station to make homework an easier process.  I keep our supplies mobile with this simple homework caddy.  All you need is a caddy, some canning jars, and school supplies.  This is much cheaper to put together now that school supplies are so inexpensive!  Click through to see the completed caddy!

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Do a quick clean of closets following this simple method for organizing and maintaining them.  I detail kids closets in the post but you can apply the techniques and steps to your own closets and drawers.

Toys Out - Toys Put Away via Clean Mama

Practice One Task to Keep Your Home Clutter Free – it’s so simple!  Take it out, and put it away.  Keep this in mind this fall and I bet you and your family will appreciate taking that little step to put things away.  It’s so simple but so hard to keep up with unless it’s a conscious decision.

What’s on your list?  What would you add to make your life a little easier into the transition to fall?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

 

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$500 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!

Guess What?!

WE’RE CELEBRATING

“BACK TO SCHOOL”

WITH A HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Summer is just flying by and those kiddos will be heading back to school before you know it (maybe you already started back?). I know that back to school shopping can be stressful and expensive. So…

I want to help YOU out with your back to school shopping!

To say THANK YOU to our fabulous Instagram followers I collaborated with some of my VERY FAVORITE peeps on Instagram and we’re going to help one family with ALL their back to school needs!

One LUCKY Family Will WIN……

 

A $500 VISA Gift Card!

 

Vertical
 

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?!

 

Just think of alllll the fun school supplies and cute clothes you can buy with that! {Or really… whatever you want!} The sky’s the limit!

 

What are you WAITING for?

HURRY AND ENTER…

 

Back to School Shopping Spree

Good Luck!

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How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

If you have children and they have a closet and/or a dresser and clothing, chances are there are some issues regarding clothes, organization, and laundry.  While teaching kids to be tidy might be important to you, it’s probably not on their radar.  Instead, doing a couple things to set them up for success is probably a better idea.  So today I’m going to share some ideas for quickly organizing kids’ closets and dressers in ways that make it easy for them to maintain themselves.  What better time than fall and back to school season to give a little thought to the organization in their closets and drawers.

How to Organize Kids Closets via Clean Mama

First things first, a couple ideas to keep in mind when organizing for and with children:

  • Keep things easily accessible – hang items at their level so they can take them out and put them away easily.
  • Group like items together – the key to keeping things organized works SO well for kids.  Group everything and it will be so much easier.  Label if needed with words or pictures, whatever works for your kids.
  • Keep often used items in plain sight so they are easy to find and put away.  Storage without lids is great so they can simply see where the item belongs and put it there.
  • Stay on top of outgrown clothing.  Have a system for storage of outgrown clothing is key.  I keep a bin in each child’s closet for anything that’s outgrown.  Once it’s filled up it’s either passed down to a younger sibling or cousin or it’s donated.  If you have younger children, keep only what you need and know your next child will use.  Put the clothing in storage bins and clearly label them so it’s easy to find the clothing when they are needed.  I find it really helpful to either have one large bin of clothing for a specific age OR to have one bin for fall/winter and one for spring/summer clothing.
  • Teach your kids to de-clutter clothing and toys together so they understand this process.  I find that it’s also especially helpful for kids to see how quickly they become disinterested with toys and clothing so they are more selective about new toys and clothing.

Step One:

Empty the closet and any drawers completely.  This is always my method when cleaning and organizing ANY space.  Once you have emptied the entire space clean and wipe down any shelves and drawers.  Vacuum if necessary.

Step Two:

Sort Quickly through Clothes via Clean Mama

Sort through clothing quickly – what fits, keep.  What doesn’t fit put in one of 3 categories: pack away, toss, donate/sell.  Use this simple method for all clothing sorting and organization – it works!  If there are outfits or clothing that your child no longer likes or never liked but it still fits, either pack it away or donate/sell it.  It isn’t worth taking up space if it isn’t an outfit or piece of clothing that will get worn.

Step Three:

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Group like items together – long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, pajamas, undies, socks, etc.  Keeping everything grouped together makes it SO much easier to put away and to find certain articles of clothing in a hurry.

Group Like Items Together via Clean Mama

Step Four:

Hang or fold (almost) everything.  Here’s the thing.  If you want to get your kids involved with doing their own laundry or some part of the folding and putting away process and you want to start at a young-ish age (like 3+), having everything hung, folded, and put away neatly may or may not work.  When I am doing little ones laundry and they aren’t helping, everything gets folded and put away standing up.

Folded Clothes in Drawers via Clean Mama

I’ve done this for years for my own clothes and for the kids and it works great for limited storage plus you can easily see everything at a glance.  My oldest can keep up with this but my younger two cannot and I don’t expect it from them.  I am just happy that one can fold his own clothes and put them away and the younger one can choose his own clothes and get dressed by himself.  Point being, don’t expect perfect and figure out ways to let the kids take some responsibility.  For example, kids’ socks and undies go in small bins in their dresser drawers unfolded.

Keep Socks and Undies in Containers in Drawers via Clean Mama

If needed, use the door for storage – I put an over-the-door storage hanger over the back of the door for my daughter’s doll clothes – it’s a great way to keep them accessible for her and they’re also easy to put away.

Use the Door for Storage via Clean Mama

Now for maintenance. Keeping a closet neat and tidy will need some supervision, but start with an accessible laundry hamper and making sure clothes are folded and put away where they belong is key.  If the location of the clothing makes sense to your child and it’s easy for them to access, then they will have success!  We do a big closet clean out in the spring and fall and this seems to be all that’s necessary.

What’s your best tip for organizing and maintaining kids closets?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama
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The Best Way to Clean + Organize the Refrigerator

The Best Way to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
I receive numerous emails, messages and questions daily asking about my recommendations for cleaning and organizing. Awhile back I asked my readers to share some of their biggest frustrations and issues in the home and we’ve worked through a lot of them. Today’s topic is perfect for this time of the year when school is looming and a little organization and cleaning can go a long way – the best way to clean and organize the inside of the refrigerator.  If you’ve been with me awhile, you know that I am a big fan of using natural cleaners whenever possible to cut back on exposure to chemicals, save money, and use safer ingredients. Cleaning and organizing your refrigerator is one of those tasks that can easily be forgotten about, but it doesn’t take long for drips and spills to accumulate. Now is the perfect time to give it a good cleaning and organizing!
I like to clean my fridge when it is almost or nearly empty. Pick a day when you have grocery shopping and stocking up to do or do it the day before a planned grocery shopping trip. Begin by emptying out the entire fridge and going through everything. Take a look at expiration dates and separate things that are past their prime or are virtually empty. Rinse and recycle containers that you can and toss or compost everything else.  When your fridge is empty, it’s time to wash down shelves and drawers. My favorite cleaner for the fridge is a natural one that uses just three ingredients.
 How to Clean Your Refrigerator - Clean Mama

DIY Refrigerator Cleaning Solution:

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or my favorite, Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange castile soap), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4-6 cups of warm water.
  • Wipe down the shelves with a well rung out microfiber cloth or dish cloth.  Repeat until all shelves and drawers have been wiped clean.  Dry if necessary.

Wipe shelves via Clean Mama

When your fridge is clean and dry, it’s time to organize!  Here are five easy steps:

  1. Group like items together. Keep your dairy items on one shelf, beverages together, snacks in one section etc.
    Organize Drawers via Clean Mama
  2. This is a big fridge clutter buster for many: limit and keep an eye on those condiments! Make sure you have just one jar of mayo or bottle of ketchup open at a time. Try to limit your condiments to what you can store on the inside of the door.
    Keep Condiments Simple via Clean Mama
  3. Height matters. Store your taller bottles and containers in the back and shorter in the front.
  4. Running short on storage? I love to use clear, stackable containers to group like items together that don’t fit in the drawers. Going vertical with storage also maximizes your space and can double your options.
    How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
  5. Think outside the box when it comes to your crisper drawers. Not all fruits and vegetables require the higher humidity in those drawers. Consider how you could use this space for easily accessible snacks or meal components for the kids or your family or for bottled or canned beverages.
Having a clean and organized refrigerator can make such a big difference for both efficiency and peace of mind. Take a half hour and you will be surprised at just what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.
Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama
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Kids Willingly Cleaning Their Rooms? It Can Happen for YOU!

Kids Cleaning

I’m so excited to have Amy McCready here today sharing her tips on kids cleaning their rooms.  I’ve collaborated with her to bring you free webinars on positive parenting topics like getting kids to listen and I just know how much you some of you have loved her webinars.  Keep reading for her amazing ideas AND to check out her brand new book!

Amy McCready

By Amy McCready, Founder of PositiveParentingSolutions.com and author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic.

Three simple steps can be the start of tidy rooms without bribes, nagging, or hand-outs.

Ever feel like you’re fighting for your child’s attention against a huge host of distractions (think Legos, binge TV or the latest Instagram updates) and not necessarily coming out on the winning side? Now, toss in an expectation that kids should actually CONTRIBUTE by way of helping at home – heaven forbid! If you’re like some parents, you may be tempted to throw in the towel – after all, isn’t is just easier to do it ourselves rather than face the complaining and negotiating? There is hope however and it doesn’t require magic – though it might feel like it when you see the results.

Getting your kids to clean their rooms and help around the house WILLINGLY doesn’t have to be – well, a chore. In fact, if your goal is to raise kids that DON’T feel like they are entitled to everything, including having you act as their personal wait staff, then it’s time to put some serious un-entitling parenting tools in place. What it takes is a little language fine-tuning, a powerful shift in attitude and behavior, and some practice.

Let’s take a look at three steps that can make a difference in YOUR home:

  1. Watch your LANGUAGE. No, I’m not talking about THAT language; we all know to be mindful there already, right? I’m talking about removing the word chore from your household commentary and to-do lists and replacing it with the word contribution, or more specifically, family contribution. The difference? How it makes your kids feel. Think about it. The word chore conjures up the idea of burden, work, and the exact opposite of fun. The word contribution, on the other hand, is empowering (something kids need anyway) and makes them feel like they have influence, they make a difference and they’re part of the larger team. As a team, when everyone contributes and pitches in – the house runs more smoothly, things get done faster and there’s more time, energy, and resources to have FUN together.
  2. Let them know you NOTICE. Let your kids know the impact of their contributions and what it means to you. The truth is no one likes unloading the dishwasher, sweeping a floor, or cleaning out a toy chest – but when your kids notice that you NOTICE it changes everything. Let them know their efforts make a difference, such as, “Hey, you really helped out the family tonight. Now we have extra time to play a game, go for a bike ride, bake some cookies, etc.” It helps kids connect the dots – and feel significant. It also means you’ll have fewer power struggles and better cooperation and that’s a win-win you can count on.
  3. Let routines RULE. Let me share one of my favorite tools from the “Un-Entitler Toolbox” of my new book, The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic – A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World. The tool is called Let When-Then Routines be the Boss and it is amazingly simple yet effective for young kids through teens. This tool puts the ROUTINE in the role of negotiator. Here’s how it works: Structure your child’s less desirable tasks to occur before those things that are very desirable. At the same time, let kiddos know you’re not there to wait on them hand and foot and with privileges (those things they want and want to do) come responsibilities (family contributions). For example, “When you finish your daily family contributions, then you can have phone time.” Or, “When you finish folding and putting away your laundry, then you can enjoy your 30 minutes of TV time.” Now, after clearly communicating your When-Then, (and here’s the key) – leave the room or do whatever you need to do to block out the protests or negotiating that’s sure to follow. Then, stick to it. Eventually, your kids will not only get with the program, they’ll get a boost of significance when they finish the task and can access the privilege.

Like any shift in mindset and behaviors, putting these tools in place takes time, practice and patience. When you feel that shift take root in your home, it will not only be rewarding in the NOW, but you’ll set the stage for your kids to grow into hard working, contributing adults. And here’s a bonus – they’ll learn valuable life skills they’ll need to take care of themselves and their OWN family down the road. (Seriously, no one wants a 30-year-old who doesn’t know how to do the laundry or make a sandwich—or worse, feels like they are ENTITLED to have someone else do those things for them—right?) That’s great news – well beyond tidy beds, sorted socks, and swept floors, wouldn’t you say? Good luck and happy parenting!

Amy McCready is the author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World. Available August 11, 2015 wherever books are sold.

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BONUS: Get FREE COACHING with Amy McCready when you PRE-ORDER The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic. Learn more at www.AmyMcCready.com.

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Everyone who pre-orders the book can participate in 3 free coaching webinars with Amy on the following topics:

  • Allowance & Chores: Tuesday, August 18 at 1 PM EDT
  • The No-Rescue Policy for Consequences: Tuesday, August 25 at 1 PM EDT
  • Raising Grateful & Compassionate Kids:   Tuesday, September 1 at 1 PM EDT
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Reset Your Schedule and Organize Your Life

Have you ever felt like you needed to change up your day but felt paralyzed as to HOW to actually make any changes?  If you feel stuck in a holding pattern and feel like you don’t know how or when to get started, I have a couple new products in the shop sure to help you get started!

After going through seasons with so many variables and ever changing schedules, I’ve figured out the perfect way to simplify the process of planning the day.

Schedule Reset main via Clean Mama

First of all I’ve developed THE SCHEDULE RESET GUIDE.  This simple instructional guide is the way to make real changes that will positively impact your days.  Follow along, implement the simple steps and you’ll have a brand new workable schedule that actually works for YOU!

The Schedule Reset main via Clean Mama

The guide includes 11 pages – instructions, brainstorming, goal setting, and daily and weekly planner pages.

Habit page - The Schedule Reset via Clean Mama

If you need to work on a new habit, you’ll love the habit page – perfect for starting and completing a new habit.

Time Tracker and Goals - The Schedule Reset via Clean Mama

Sometimes getting started is difficult, use the time tracker and goals to examine where you’re spending your time.

Simple Steps + Brainstorming - The Schedule Reset via Clean Mama

Just follow the simple steps + do a little brainstorming and you’ll be well on your way to a better day.

Daily Planner - The Schedule Reset via Clean Mama

I love this simple daily planner page – use it in a binder or put it on a clipboard to keep your day at a glance.

Weekly Planner Close-Up - The Schedule Reset via Clean Mama

Of course, a simple and easy to use weekly planner is included to get you started on your planning.  You can use what’s included in the guide to keep your schedule in check or you can move on to the EVERYDAY A LITTLE SOMETHING PLANNER…..

2 Page Weekly Planner MAIN - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

Once you’ve come up with the perfect schedule and reset how you manage your day and week, you need the perfect printable planner to get started.  That’s where THE EVERYDAY A LITTLE SOMETHING PLANNER comes in at just the right time.  It’s dated from September 2015-December 2016, so you can start whenever you want to and plan ahead.  If you’re still in vacation mode this month, take your time and you’ll still be making real, lasting changes that will impact your days going forward.

Endless Printing Options main - The Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

You can configure this planner any way you’d like – it comes with instructions and tips and tricks for printing and easy assembly – it’s perfect for 3 hole punching, discbound punching, coil binding (at your local copy shop) and printing half-sized (included in your purchase).

Planner with Coil Binding - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

I printed my planner at home and brought it to Office Max and had it coil bound for $3.49 (see above pic) and added these stickers for monthly tabs.

Planner Close-up - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

You’ll love the simple and fun color scheme and touches throughout the planner – it’s just the right amount of fun and function.

2 Page Calendar - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

2 page monthly calendars are included with mini month before and after calendars – I love this feature!

Blank and Pre-Filled - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

BOTH blank and pre-filled planner pages are included – you’ll see my daily tasks and time slots for each day are on the pre-filled planner version and it’s blank on the ‘blank’ version.  Perfect for those of you that use my daily tasks and those of you that don’t.  Or if you change your mind and want to switch, you can do that too because BOTH are included in your single purchase.

Covers + Instructions - Everyday a Little Something Planner via Clean Mama

2 planner cover versions and an instructional page with print release is also included.

Important Contacts - Everyday A Little Something Planner - Clean Mama

Add your important contacts in to your planner if you want to keep those contacts close at hand, or leave them out if you don’t think you’ll use this feature.

Important Dates - Everyday A Little Something Planner - Clean Mama

Important dates –  I love having all those important dates on one page!  Never forget a birthday or anniversary again!

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

If you want to grab BOTH kits, I have a great special on them – if you purchase them as a bundle, you get 25% off and can get them both for $19 $14

GET THE BUNDLE!

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3 Things Every Command Center Needs

3 Things Every Command Center Needs - Clean Mama

If you’ve ever set up a command center (or wanted to), chances are you took a peek around Pinterest or your favorite shop or online retailer and were either overwhelmed by all the choices and options or not sure how to translate that into what might work for your family.  Today I’d like to share the 3 things every command center needs – hopefully this simple approach will help get your own simple command center started.

First of all, let me preface this by saying there are many different types of command centers, but the one that I’m talking about is a simple counter top version perfect for appointments, events, and family schedules.  Keep reading for some inspiration as well!

If you’ve tried to implement a command center and it hasn’t worked, I would argue that you most likely added too many components and made it more about how it looks/looked than how it would actually function.  Keeping a command center SIMPLE is more important and will keep it working for your family.  Start with these three things and you’ll be on your way to a more organized and efficient command center.

3 Things Every Command Center Needs:

  • calendar
  • organizer
  • 3 folders

Detailed Command Center Musts via Clean Mama

I put a small calendar on the wall, you’ll also see that our home phone is on this counter so if I need to make an appointment or schedule change, the calendar is accessible.  This calendar is just a simple one from Target.

An organizer is a component that every command center needs – there are many different types of organizers available in all sorts of designs and price ranges.  Find something that you love that matches your decor and budget and use it.  The one I used (and love) is from HomeGoods – discount stores like TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Marshalls are great places to find one of a kind, high end organizers at discounted prices.

Once you have an organizer and calendar, you need 3 folders to keep your most important information in and accessible.  Yes, you might be able to come up with other categories for more folders, but I think that keeping your categories simple and broad will keep your command center running more smoothly.  Come up with 3 categories that you think will cover the majority of anything that needs to be accessible and stored in your command center.

3 Categories for Command Center Folders:

  • IN PROCESS – paper that you know you need be able to access in the next month – memberships, coupons, etc.
  • INVITATIONS – birthday parties, weddings, dedications, etc.
  • SCHOOL (or work) – calendars, forms, phone book

Need some organizer inspiration?  Here are a few different options in a variety of finishes, styles, and price ranges.

Command Center Organizer Inspiration via Clean Mama

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 How about you?  Would a command center help get your family info in a central location and make things a little easier?

Stay tuned for some exciting shop updates and the new Everyday Planner next week!  Sign up for emails on the sidebar so you don’t miss a thing!

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FREE Cleaning Calendar for August 2015

It’s almost August and that means that it’s time for August’s FREE cleaning calendar! If you’re feeling like you need some help with your cleaning and homekeeping and don’t know where to start, you’re going to love my cleaning routine and calendar. I keep daily homekeeping tasks to 15-30 minutes a day and this simple plan is how I do it!  This is a solution for busy households – give it a go, I think you’ll be surprised how a little bit every day can make a huge difference in your home.

Fresh Start Clean+Organized 2015

If you’ve been following Clean Mama for even a week, I hope you know that everyday is a chance to start over and so is every week, month, etc. I hope that you find that my cleaning routine is SIMPLE, EASY TO IMPLEMENT, and full of GRACE.

Read on, grab the FREE calendar for August and get ready to see how doing a little bit everyday really is the secret to a clean house.

Cleaning Routine Infographic - Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for August and give it a go.  Follow along for motivational posts and tips to keep up with the daily and weekly tasks. I also post daily reminders on Instagram and Facebook!

Fresh Start Calendar for August 2015

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for August 2015!  Prefer it in googledocs? Go here.

(Please note: You’ll need to put the calendar in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free calendar AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

 Find Out More Homekeeping Society

If you like this FREE printable you’ll love my HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY and the organizing printables in my shop!

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How to Clean Upholstered Furniture

How to Clean Upholstered Furniture via Clean mama

One of my favorite parts of my job here at Clean Mama is helping my readers with their cleaning and organizing questions. Earlier this year I opened up my blog to my readers to submit their biggest cleaning issues, conundrums and questions. I’ve covered quite a few questions (see here) and this week I’m covering a new one: furniture cleaning and freshening.

Regardless of the rules you have in your home surrounding your furniture, it doesn’t take long for errant fingerprints, dirt, food remnants and pet stains to mar the surface. It sounds as though many of you are perplexed as to how to best care for your furniture so I’m here to help.

First Things First

Use a vacuum cleaner upholstery attachment to clean furniture via Clean Mama

Before we go through furniture care for different materials, let’s talk about what to do first. Regardless of what your furniture is made of, I like to start by removing those larger crumbs and odds and ends that tend to hide. Begin by removing all cushions and pillows. I like to use the crevice tool attachment on my vacuum under cushions and in the seams and cracks first. Next, follow up with the upholstery tool attachment. Make sure that it is clean before you begin so you don’t risk spreading old dust and dirt all over. Run this attachment over cushions, arms, back and sides of the furniture.

If you have pets and lots of pet hair on your upholstered furniture, I recommend keeping a lint roller handy.  A quick swipe over the furniture will keep the pet hair, oils, and dander from building up over time.  If you have kids and pets, this is a great job to hand over to the kids.

Use a lint roller to clean furniture via Clean Mama

Next, let’s take a look at just how to best freshen up and care for your furniture material by material. Before trying anything drastic, I always recommend checking with the manufacturer to see what they recommend for care. While none of the suggestions and recipes I am sharing are harsh, it’s always best to look at the directions or contact the manufacturer if you are unsure.

Note: all these recipes and many more can also be found in my book “The Organically Clean Home

Leather

Cleaning Leather Furniture via Clean Mama

Leather is really good at hiding dirt and grime, the darker the better. Even though it may not look dirty, trust me, it is! Leather is thankfully easy to wipe up and is durable, so it doesn’t take much effort to care for it. All that I use for cleaning my leather is a simple two ingredient cleaner.

Leather Cleaner:

  • 1 teaspoon Castile soap
  • 1 cup warm water

Use a barely damp  cloth with castile soap on leather furniture via Clean Mama

Combine the soap and water in a cap with a bottle and shake well to mix. Using a clean microfiber cloth, pour a small amount on the cloth and wipe on to the surface. You don’t want to use too much soap and water to avoid saturating. Work in small sections and dry immediately.

Microfiber

How to Clean Microfiber via Clean Mama

Microfiber is a popular furniture material due to its durability and wear and tear factor. It still seems to attract dirt, water stains and fingerprints. I highly recommend checking with the manufacturer to see if you can wash the slipcovers of your microfiber furniture before you spend the time cleaning the whole thing. Washing them does wonders for bringing back that almost new look and feel. Regardless of whether you can wash them or not, let’s talk about how to freshen up your microfiber with a three ingredient cleaner.

Microfiber Furniture Cleaning Kit:

  • 4-8 ounces rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle
  • White or light colored sponge that has a scrubbing surface
  • Bristled cleaning brush with white bristles

Working in small sections, spray the alcohol on the surface of the furniture. Using the textured side of the sponge, scrub the surface with enough effort to clean. Repeat this over the entire surface, concentrating especially on the arms, sides and back where dirt accumulates. Let the furniture dry completely before fluffing up the fibers. Using the scrubbing brush, scrub in a circular patters until no brush strokes remain. Continue until the piece is uniformly brushed and refreshed. That’s it!

Upholstered Fabric:

How to Clean Slip Covered Furniture via Clean MAma

Just like with microfiber, I recommend that you check with your manufacturer to see if you can wash the slipcovers of your upholstered furniture. It’s amazing what a good washing will do to brighten it up.

This recipe is perfect for those little drips, dots and spills.

Upholstered Fabric Cleaner:

  • 2 teaspoons Castile soap
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Mix the warm water and soap in a small cup or container. Using a white cotton cloth, dip the cloth in to the mixture and dab on to those stains. Once the stains are removed, use a clean, dry cloth to absorb any liquid that remains. Add a little water to remove any residual soap.  Alternatively, you can also use a cotton swab if the spot is itty bitty.

As long as you are freshening up your furniture, don’t forget about those throw pillows. Here’s a quick how-to:

How to Wash Throw Pillows

ALWAYS check the tag on your throw pillows before washing.
  • If a throw pillow has a cover, remove it and launder the cover separately from the pillow.
  • Even if the pillow insert cannot be laundered, it can be tossed in the dryer on high heat with some clean tennis balls to ‘fluff’ it up.  The heat from the dryer will help to remove dust and eliminate some germs and smells.
  • Wash pillow covers inside-out on cold and gentle if needed.
  • Dry pillow cases in the dryer on low or no heat to ensure no shrinking or line dry.
  • Can’t remove the cover?  and you cut off the tag?  try washing on gentle/cold – chances are it’ll be fine.
I wash my throw blankets with my throw pillows as long as they are the same color – lights with lights and darks with darks.  This is a great time saver and way to get both items spruced up at once.
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