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

Reset Your Schedule and Organize Your Life (SALE + COUPON CODE)

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 (and there’s a great sale too – read all the way to the bottom for the COUPON CODE!).

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!

And if that isn’t enough, you can snag anything in the shop (all the calendars are updated through 2016 if you’ve been waiting) for 20% off with the coupon code 20AUGUST!  Hurry, ends 8/8/2015 at 10pm CST.August Sale - CMP

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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

1/2/3/4/5

 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!

300x300 CMP ad

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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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Are you following Clean Mama on Instagram? You Should be!

I love Instagram, it’s such a fun social media platform and I thought I’d quick pop in today to talk to you a little bit about why it’s so fun and how I use it differently than any other social media platform.  First things first, if you aren’t following me on Instagram, hop over for a quick follow:

Follow Clean Mama on InstagramI use Instagram as a way to communicate my daily cleaning routine tasks – this is such a GREAT way to stay on top of your daily tasks.  Every morning I post a visual image (they are different every week to keep you interested) with a quick tip or trick to motivate you to get that quick task out of the way for the day.  I hear from readers all the time how they love seeing this visual reminder in their Instagram feed every day.  If you have a question about products or how to clean something, I answer those questions right there on the posts.  I also tag any products in the post so you can give it a tap to see where it’s from.

I post quick tips and lots of ideas and ways to simplify your life – here are a couple from the #cleanmamaquicktips hashtag:

#cleanmamaquicktips

And I also have exclusive 50% off Insta-Sales for my Clean Mama Printables shop – and I have one coming up tonight too!  Another reason to follow along :)

#cleanmamaprintablesinstasale

I also give sneak peeks for new products and talk about current or upcoming blog posts, share fun products I find, and glimpes into my home.  Follow along!

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Homekeeping Society | August Essentials + coupon code

Main Image - August Homekeeping Society via Clean Mama

If you feel like you need a little help staying on top of the dailies, you will be thrilled with August’s HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY. Complete with seasonal touches, this month features a late summer farmer’s market motif.  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 25AUGUSTfor 25% off your FIRST month (offer ends July 31st).

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!

Intro, Focus, Cover - August 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 August– you’re going to LOVE it!

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

This month’s Quote for the Kitchen Sink is a sweet one – perfect for the end of summer.

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.

Main - August 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.

Weekly and Daily August 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 (July is the PANTRY) – 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
  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, 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 (August is a SPICE INVENTORY)
  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 SEASONAL TASKS 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!

Menu Planning - August Homekeeping Society 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 here to see all the posts and past months of Homekeeping Society!

 Close-Up - August 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 AUGUST 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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How to Organize Snacks and Lunches to Encourage Independence

How to Organize Snacks + Lunches via Clean Mama

We’re halfway through the summer and one of the best things I did at the start of the summer was to take a little time to organize some snack and lunch options for the kids to access.  Maybe it’s just my kids but it seems like they’re always hungry and this really helps because they can quickly choose a snack and aren’t standing in front of an open fridge looking for something to eat.  They don’t have open access to these areas any time of the day, but if they need an afternoon snack, they can choose one thing from the refrigerator or pantry.  Even the littlest member of house likes being able to choose a snack or put together a couple components of lunch too.

A couple purchased snacks and lunch items, zip top bags, and some storage bins are all you’ll need to give your kids some independence and healthy snack and lunch choices.  (I found the bins pictured here at Target and Amazon).

Snack and Lunch Ideas via Clean Mama

Snack and Lunch Ideas:

  • yogurt
  • yogurt tubes (in the freezer)
  • cheese and cheese sticks
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • crackers
  • nuts
  • cereal bars
  • fruit – oranges, apples, prepped seasonal fruit
  • apple sauce
  • guacamole – great for dipping veggies in
  • veggies – carrots, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas, small tomatoes
  • dried fruit

Measure Out Serving Sizes and Put in Zip Top Bags via Clean Mama

Use a measuring cup to portion sizes and put in a zip top bag.

Mix Up Different Crackers for Your Own Custom Mix via Clean Mama

Mix up a couple types of different crackers to make a snack mix.

Keep Snacks in Bins to Keep them Organized via Clean Mama

Once you’ve portioned out the snacks and lunch components, put them in an accessible place – I keep bins in the pantry and the refrigerator.

Keep Refrigerated Snacks Accessible via Clean Mama

What else would you add?  Do you think this would help your kids with snack and lunch choices?

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How to Make a S’mores Caddy

Make a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

This summer I’ve been doing a little prep work ahead of time in planning for some of our favorite summer activities.  One of the hands-down favorites around here?  S’mores in the firepit!  Gather a couple simple ingredients and keep them on hand for an impromptu summer (or fall) bonfire, over the grill, or if you’re desperate, in the microwave.  This s’mores caddy/kit would be great to bring as a little summer party hostess gift too.

 S'mores Caddy Supplies via Clean Mama

The ingredients (add or subtract your favorites) – you’ll need the basics (graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows) and if you really want to be prepared, add napkins and baby wipes so you can just grab your caddy and head outside for fun!

 Put Together a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

Put the ingredients in a bin or container – I keep the s’mores kit in the pantry and I’m using a bin that I can re-purpose in the pantry after s’mores season is over.

Quick Tip - Keep Grill and Firepit Supplies in a Drawer so They're Handy and Accessible via Clean Mama

 I also keep the skewers in a grill drawer by the back door/patio so they’re easy to grab on the way out the door.

What are your favorite s’mores ingredients?

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How to Clean Your Coffee Maker – Drip + Single Serve

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker - Drip and Single Serve via Clean Mama

Coffee makers are one of my favorite appliances that we own. The familiar hum of it brewing away first thing in the morning coupled with the scent of fresh coffee is a morning tradition. With all of the use that a coffee maker gets, it doesn’t take long for it to slow down a bit and make coffee that tastes a little more bitter.  Over time and use, a quick peek in to the inside of the machine will reveal the accumulation of hard water deposits. The carafe and exterior may be a little spotty as well.  With a simple cleaning job and just one ingredient, your coffee maker will return to all it’s out-of-the-box glory and back to brewing good coffee again. Love your single use coffee machine?  No worries, I’ve got that covered as well.

How to Clean a Drip Coffee Machine via Clean Mama

 

How to Clean a Drip Coffee Maker:

  1. Rinse out the carafe, basket holder and reusable filter (if you have one). You want all the grounds to be gone, but you don’t need to wash it thoroughly with soap and water. A good rinse will do until later.
  1. Fill your carafe halfway with plain white distilled vinegar and then the remainder with water. For example, if you have a standard 12 cup coffee maker, fill it to the 6 cup line with vinegar and then top it off to the 12 with cold water.
  1. Pour the vinegar and water mixture in to the water resevoir and begin brewing. Halfway through, turn off your coffee maker and let it sit for 45 minutes or so. The purpose of this step is to allow the vinegar to sit in the inner workings of your coffee maker and gently remove those hard water deposits that can slow your machine down.
  1. After your time is up, finish up the brewing cycle. See all that gunk and residue in your carafe? That’s what has been sitting inside your coffee maker slowing it down and brewing up a bitter cup of coffee. Pour out this solution and refill the water chamber with fresh, clean water.
  1. Run clean water through your coffee machine a minimum of three times, or until the water is clear and the vinegar scent has disipated.
  1. Use a damp microfiber cloth with a dot of soap in order to clean up the exterior of the coffee maker. If you have some hard water deposits on the outside, use a small amount of white vinegar on a cloth to remove. Wash the carafe and filter basket in hot, soapy water and allow it to dry. That’s it!

How to Clean a Single Serve Coffee Machine via Clean Mama

 

How to Clean Your Single Serve Coffee Maker:

There has been a lot of press these days over single use coffee makers and all the germs that have the potential to breed in their inner workings. A simple cleaning process will take care of that as well as remove those hard water deposits that build up and leave your coffee maker chugging a little more slowly.

  1. Begin by unplugging your machine and removing all removable pieces. This includes the water resevoir, K-cup holder and the tray where your mug sits. These pieces can all be washed in warm, soapy water and left to drip dry.
  1. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the entire exterior of your machine. Take care around the K-cup basket to get all those pesky little grounds that remain.
  1. Dry all those pieces that you just washed and reassemble the machine. Go ahead and plug it back in when you have finished this.
  1. Fill the water tank reservoir with one half white vinegar and one half cold water. Turn on the machine and run a cycle without inserting a K cup. Discard this solution and repeat this step until no water and vinegar remains in the water tank.
  1. Fill up the tank with fresh, cold water and run through the cycle with no K cup. Dump the water and repeat until no vinegar smell remains. If you have further issues with performance, I suggest looking at the manual or contacting the manufacturer of your machine for more in-depth help.

No need to have a slow coffee machine, take a couple minutes today to clean your coffee machine and get it working like new again!

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The Perfect Picnic Bag

The Perfect Picnic Bag via Clean Mama

I like to plan things out and being spontaneous isn’t one of my best qualities.  But I’ve found that I can embrace spontaneity with a little planning ahead.  And guess what?  No one needs to know that the surprise picnic was easy to pull together.  In the summer it’s fun to grab sandwiches for lunch or dinner and head to a park for a little impromptu picnic.  This perfect picnic bag is how I pull it off with ease.  It’s super easy to pull together – you might even have the necessities already!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a bag large enough to hold your supplies
  • plastic bags to tote away any garbage
  • disposable plates
  • wipes for hand and face wiping
  • silverware and napkins
  • plastic straws (if necessary)
  • bath towel to wipe down any tables or equipment
  • tablecloth for sitting on or covering a picnic table
  • large rocks (in a plastic bag) to hold down the picnic tablecloth or blanket

Picnic Bag Supplies via Clean Mama

I love having silverware ready to go – this works great for get-togethers and for this picnic tote.  If I’m doing this for a get together I’ll put the wrapped silverware in a basket at the start of the buffet line or in the middle of the table.  Easy peasy!  All you need is silverware (disposable or not), napkins, and washi tape.  Simply roll the silverware into the napkin and adhere a little washi tape to keep it together and that’s it!

Pre-Wrap Silverware via Clean Mama

Ready to make a little spontaneity in your meal planning?  My favorite part of picnic-ing (next to the quality family time, of course!)?  No kitchen mess!

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Chores and Responsibilities for the School-Aged Child + FREE Printables

Chores and Responsibilities for the School-Aged Child via Clean Mama

As a mom to three children, two elementary age and one preschool, I can firsthand testify that our home runs more smoothly when everyone pitches in. As children grow older, their ability to contribute to household tasks and chores increases as well.  If you haven’t included your children in tasks around the home or if you’re struggling to come up with age-appropriate tasks, you’ll love this post!

I recently featured a post full of all sorts of age appropriate, helpful tasks that the preschool age child can help with. Today I am featuring tasks and chores that are geared toward the elementary and up aged child. You will notice that quite a few of the tasks are similar to the preschool tasks with a twist, like not just matching socks and folding hand towels, but folding an entire load of laundry.

As you go through these tasks and determine what work for your child and household, keep in mind that there is a developmental difference between a young elementary aged child and an older child in middle school. While you may not expect your first grader to roll the garbage and recycling to the curb, it is certainly an appropriate task for a sixth grader. Pick and choose what is appropriate for your child or children and watch your home run that much more smoothly when you delegate tasks and chores.

Household Chores

  • wipe baseboards/cupboards
  • help sort laundry into whites and brights/darks
  • help start and switch laundry loads
  • help fold laundry
  • help put away clean clothes
  • clean windows with damp microfiber cloth
  • pick up toys and activities, put books in bookshelf
  • help unload groceries
  • water plants
  • take care of pets
  • gather garbage
  • take garbage and recycling to the curb
  • get mail
  • dust surfaces
  • sweep floors
  • vacuum corners and edges along baseboards
  • vacuum floors using a lightweight upright
  • clean clutter from bathroom counter
  • wipe bathroom counter with dampened microfiber cloth
  • wipe doorknobs and switch plates

Morning/Evening Chores

  • brush teeth
  • brush hair
  • wipe face with a warm, wet washcloth after eating
  • make bed- pull up comforter/duvet and flat sheet up and put pillow at the top
  • put dirty clothes and pajamas in clothes basket
  • get dressed in the morning and pajamas in the evening

Mealtime Chores

  • simple mealtime prep help
  • pour beverages
  • set table with plates, glasses, napkins and appropriate silverware
  • bring dirty dishes to sink when done eating
  • put away leftovers
  • rinse dishes before loading in to dishwasher
  • load dishwasher (remove knives and sharp utensils until age appropriate)
  • dry and put away dishes
  • wipe down table
  • sweep up crumbs using a small dustpan and broom or handheld vacuum

How about some FREE printables to make implementing responsibilities for school-aged children a little easier?  I made 2 different simple chore charts and I also put the chores and responsibilities that I listed on a free printable.  Grab the zip file with all 3 free printables here and save and print what you will use and get your child(ren) started with some simple and do-able responsibilities.

Free Chore Printables for School Aged Children via Clean Mama

Here are a  few more ideas to encourage cleaning up – click on the images to go straight to the posts.

Chores + Responsibilities for the Preschool Child via Clean Mama

Tools for Cleaning With Kids via Clean Mama

Simple Chore Chart and Reward System Your Kids Will Love via Clean Mama

30 plus things your kids can help clean - a room by room guide for the home via Clean Mama

 

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

This post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean Mama

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FREE Cleaning Calendar for July 2015

It’s almost July and that means that it’s time for July’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 July 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 July 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 Calendary for July 2015 via Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for July 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!)

 

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

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30% OFF FLASH Summer Sale!

Happy SUMMER!  I’m just popping in to let you know I’m having a FLASH Summer Sale in the shop – Clean Mama Printables – through Monday.  Use the coupon code 30SUMMER for 30% off your ENTIRE order!

Summer Flash Sale - Clean Mama Printables

 Hurry!  Ends 6/29/15 at 6PM CST pm

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Chores and Responsibilities for the Preschool Child + FREE Printables

Chores + Responsibilities for the Preschool Child via Clean Mama

It is a question that I receive often – how do I get my kids involved in cleaning? Just what chores are appropriate for their age?  With three kids of my own, two elementary aged and one preschooler, I feel as though I have honed in on just what to expect for a variety of ages. Today I am covering the preschool age group while the older kids will be covered next week.

Preschoolers are eager helpers and it’s hard to figure out just how to best harness their enthusiasm while giving them tasks that are actually useful. Depending upon the age and maturity of your child, there is a large variety of tasks that can be expected and accomplished by this age group. With this age group, modeling is especially important. For example, show them just how to dampen a washcloth and wring it out to wipe their face and hands or how to set the table appropriately with plates in the center and silverware on the left or right side. It will probably take more than one time for them to have it up to your expectations, so have patience as they learn the proper technique.

While not every child or age can be expected to complete every task in the list below, pick ones that fit your child or children’s age and maturity as well as your needs. After deciding ones that are good fits, use the blank list included in today’s download in order to make a checklist of sorts for your family.

With a little teaching and modeling, you will be surprised at just what your child is capable of.  Every little bit of help counts!

Household Chores

• wipe baseboards/cupboards with baby wipes
• help fold laundry- match socks, fold dishcloths and hand towels
• help sort laundry into whites and brights/darks
• help put away clean clothes
• clean windows with damp microfiber cloth
• pick up toys, put books in bookshelf
• help unload groceries
• water plants
• gather garbage
• vacuum corners and edges along baseboards
• wipe bathroom counter with dampened microfiber cloth
• dust lower shelves and items
• wipe doorknobs and switch plates

Morning/Evening Chores

• brush teeth
• brush hair
• wipe face with a warm, wet washcloth after eating
• make bed- pull up comforter/duvet and put pillow at the top
• put dirty clothes and pajamas in clothes basket
• get dressed in the morning and pajamas in the evening

Mealtime Chores

• set table with plates, napkins and appropriate silverware
• bring dirty dishes to sink when done eating
• wipe down table
• sweep up crumbs using a small dustpan and broom or handheld vacuum

How about some FREE printables to make implementing responsibilities for preschoolers a little easier?  I made 3 different colors of a simple chore chart and I also put the chores and responsibilities that I listed on a free printable.  Grab the zip file with all 4 free printables here and save and print what you will use and get your preschooler started with some simple and do-able responsibilities.

Free Chore Printables for the Preschool Child via Clean Mama

Here are a  couple more ideas to encourage cleaning up – click on the images to go straight to the posts.

Tools for Cleaning With Kids via Clean Mama

Simple Chore Chart and Reward System Your Kids Will Love via Clean Mama

30 plus things your kids can help clean - a room by room guide for the home via Clean Mama

 

300x300 CMP ad

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

This post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean Mama

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Sign Up For The Clean Mama Newsletter!

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Just popping in to tell you that The Clean Mama Newsletter is starting up this week.   If you already get my posts in your inbox, you’re all set and ready to receive the newsletter.  If you don’t get them, make sure you sign up in the sidebar where it says Get Updates and Subscribe or you can just pop your name and email address into this web form:

What will the newsletter be about?  I’ll feature a handful of my favorite posts from the month, newsletter-only content and free printables, exclusive cleaning tips and tricks, and first notice of new products and coupon codes.  You won’t want to miss it!  Thanks for following along – I truly appreciate you!

Here’s an example of a fun exclusive that will be included in the first newsletter – I did a video interview with Jackie from Teal & Lime and School of Decorating and  – you can check it out here!

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