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

3 DIY Cleaners You Should be Making + Get a Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for FREE!

3 DIY Cleaners You Should Be Making - Clean Mama

I love making my own cleaners for a number of reasons – it’s cheaper, I know exactly what I’m cleaning with (no unknown chemicals to worry about), and surprisingly, natural ingredients just work as well or better than conventional cleaning products.  If you’re on the fence about making your own cleaners, or afraid to start, or maybe you think it’ll take too long, start with one or all three of these cleaners.  I always use glass spray bottles to put my cleaners in because it keeps the ingredients stable longer, they look cute, and they just give a nicer feel to the cleaning process.  Keep reading for how you can get a Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit for free (with a glass spray bottle) or if you can’t wait, go here.

Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray Ingredients - Clean Mama

Window + Mirror Cleaning Spray – this one is a favorite of mine – truly, it works better than the blue stuff and it costs pennies to make.  The rubbing alcohol helps the water evaporate a little more quickly and

WINDOW + MIRROR CLEANING SPRAY

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil

Ingredients for Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray – if you have quartz, marble, or granite counters you CANNOT use vinegar on them.  And if you’ve been purchasing marble or granite cleaner it can be as expensive as $6-7 a bottle.  Here’s another one that costs pennies and works better than anything I’ve used.

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray

  • 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon castile or dish soap (if you want your spray to smell like your dish soap, use that)

Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner - Clean Mama

All-Purpose Cleaning + Disinfecting Spray – You know you need to clean and disinfect the bathrooms but HOW can you do it and be confident that a DIY recipe is actually working?  This recipe combines vodka (or feel free to use rubbing alcohol) and vinegar with essential oils to do a one-two punch on germs.  It’s effective, kills germs, and you don’t have to wear a mask in the process.  Simply spray, let sit for 10 minutes and wipe clean.

All-Purpose Cleaning + Disinfecting Spray

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vodka (excellent germ-killing properties)
  • 15 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender + lemon and peppermint + lemon are my favorite combos)
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Vinegar is not safe on natural stone – marble, granite, etc.  If you have that in your bathroom(s), use the marble + granite cleaning spray.

Don’t miss the FREE CLEAN MAMA HOME Essentials Kit from Grove – you’ll receive three Clean Mama Home items from this post – a glass spray bottle, the 3 cleaning recipe labels, a microfiber cleaning cloth, Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap AND free shipping!  That’s over $31 in products – yay!  Go to this post to see more about it or go here to order – while supplies last!

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FREE Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit!

I hope you know that I LOVE cleaning, helping you clean, and figuring out the best ways to naturally clean just about anything.  Today I get to let you in on a two-fold little secret – where I find natural cleaning supplies and products AND that you can now find Clean Mama Home Products at the same place!  Keep reading to find out how you can get a Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit  for FREE ($31.27 value)!  (THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL 8/28/16 OR UNTIL SUPPLIES LAST – DON’T MISS IT!)
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Have you heard of Grove Collaborative (formerly ePantry)?  Grove Collaborative is an online marketplace that delivers natural household and personal care products right to your door. Most of the products that I use and love are on their shelves and now you can also purchase Clean Mama Home products as well!  Hooray!
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My kids go back to school this week and I’m putting everything I possibly can on autopilot.  If you’re feeling like you need to simplify and automate something, start with your homekeeping goods and personal care products.  Grove makes it so simple and easy, and it’s actually cheaper than online retailers AND the big box stores.

Why you should put your homekeeping shopping list on auto-pilot:

  1. Less leaving the house for shopping = more money in the checking account.
  2. I save time and energy by keeping a list in my Grove Collaborative shopping cart – I reorder what I need, when I need it.
  3. The Grove Collaborative prices are LOWER than just about anywhere else for natural cleaning, homekeeping, and personal care products.
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I am so excited to finally be able to share this collaboration and partnership with you!  To kick it off, Grove Collaborative is giving my readers and followers this exclusive bundle to say thank you for trying out their service!  (Sorry, this offer is only open to new Grove customers BUT if you are an existing customer you’ll see Clean Mama Home products available – yay!)
free cleaning essentials kit
Here’s how you can get 3 Clean Mama Home products + Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap for FREE (with free shipping too!) while checking off items on your shopping list at the same time.

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Here’s what you need to do to grab your Cleaning Essentials Kit for FREE ($31.27 value) and free shipping!

  1. Go to Grove Collaborative by clicking here.
  2. Take a simple 4-question quiz (this only takes seconds) to help them find your favorite products.
  3. They will create a custom cart of products for you to try (you can change scents, quantities, or delete entirely) and it will add 3 Clean Mama Home products + Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap for free – and bonus, you’ll get free shipping on top of all that!
  4. Change or delete any products you don’t want (just keep at least $20 in there to get the free products!)
  5. Check out, save money and free stuff shows up at your house!
  6. If you join their VIP program, you always get free shipping + 5 free gifts each year!

Why I use Grove Collaborative as my natural homekeeping resource:

  • Flexible delivery schedules — automatically receive monthly shipments or edit delivery dates to get products exactly when you need them
  • Custom baskets — They make suggestions, but you can always make changes or add/remove products – I love this for finding new products!  You can search by brand or by category – if you’re looking for more Clean Mama Home products just look on the brands dropdown and you’ll find it under Clean Mama.
  • No surprises — you’ll get two reminder e-mails (one week and one day before a scheduled shipment) so you can make any necessary changes.  You can cancel anytime, pause delivery,
  • Great customer service — they have an entire Community Happiness team ready to answer your questions and help you with your purchase.

Cleaning Essentials

  • Grove Collaborative makes creating a healthy, beautiful home easy with the best natural products – and now you can get select Clean Mama Home products too!  What better way to begin creating your healthy, beautiful home than with this incredible Cleaning Essentials kit?

You’ll get these products for FREE and you’ll get FREE shipping!

  • A beautiful, high quality, Clean Mama Home Glass Spray Bottle + 3 cleaning recipe labels : all-purpose disinfecting spray, window + glass spray, and granite + marble spray
  • An incredibly durable and effective Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cleaning Cloth that can be used on all surfaces
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap – you choose the scent!

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Go fill up a basket
– I think you’ll be surprised by just HOW MUCH you can save – I filled my basket with all these products for just over $25!  The suggested price of all these products is over $73 – that’s almost 75% off and you get FREE shipping!  Just make sure you keep $20 in your basket to get the free Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit.

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Here’s everything you’ll see in your basket – keep it or change it up for your needs – just keep at least $20 in your cart so you get the FREE Clean Mama Home Essentials Kit.

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Haven’t tried Grove? What are you waiting for? Click here to grab your free gift and free shipping now!

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Disclaimer: I worked with Grove to create this free offer for you, it is not a sponsored post. If you choose to grab these free products, I do receive a commission.  You can read my full disclaimer here.
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Summer to Fall Decorating – It’s a Thing

Fall is my favorite decorating season – I love the colors and the feel of adding a couple fresh layers around the house.  I’m one of those people that buys the mums when they first arrive at the greenhouse and kick myself because they’ve died before the end of October.  My timing isn’t that great on plants, but I decorate the rest of the house slowly and in stages to avoid fall burnout and enjoy the last waves of summer.  Every month I share a post on BHG.com as an @Home contributor.  This month I’m sharing six easy ways to transition your home from summer to fall.  My favorite tip is #1 – come see what it is!   You can see all my @Home posts here.

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Lists to Make in Your Planner + Free Notes Page

Lists to Make in Your Planner to Increase your Productivity plus a free printables notes page - Clean Mama

I love notebooks, planners, notepads, and just about any form of list-making you can throw at me.  I find that I am more productive when I keep a running to do list and from time to time I might have multiple to do lists going at the same time.  What’s most important to me is that I’m not just making lists to feel busy or to create something to do.  In just about any and every printable product I include a simple and seemingly blank list or notes page and if you notice, you’ll find that in just about any planner out there.

Notes - Clean Mama

Go here to download your FREE notes page!

So what in the world can you do with those notes and blank pages?  Create lists that remind you of things, track things, and keep you on task.  Here are some of my favorite lists to make on your notes pages and a FREE printable to do list for you too!

Ideas for those Notes pages in your planner - Clean Mama

How about you?  What do you keep track of in your planner or notebook?  Any ideas to add to this list?  Share them in the comments!  And if you’re a planner person – stay tuned for a special and different printed and bound planner coming soon!  If you like this free printable – check out my FREE PRINTABLE page and my shop!

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Clean + Organize with Homekeeping Society | September Essentials

If you’re looking for a simple way to stay on top daily, weekly and monthly tasks in just minutes a day, Homekeeping Society is perfect!

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Do you need some gentle homekeeping help as schedules shift from summer to fall?  September’s Homekeeping Society subscription is up – I hope it’s just what you need to feel successful in your homekeeping.    Make sure you read all the way through the post – there’s a great coupon code if you’d like to try it out!

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If you don’t know where to start or are feeling a little defeated, I think you’ll find encouragement in the support Homekeeping Society provides!  Homekeeping Society is intended to be just the gentle nudge you need making your tasks and to dos more enjoyable with a sweet and simple format.  September’s Homekeeping Society is done in a fall farmer’s market theme.  My favorite thing about Homekeeping Society is that each month is different, yet it all looks good together, and it’s complete with seasonal touches you’ll love!

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Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 30OFFSEPTEMBER for 30% off your FIRST month. Hurry!  Offer ends August 31st, 2016.

Homekeeping Society is simple to use:

  • 2  EASY PRINT packets are included – simply open and print the pages in ONE step. One version features one of each and the other is set up exactly how the printed version is packaged with 4 pages of the weekly planners, etc. You’ll love how easy this is to use!  Of course, the individual pages are also included, but if you want to print everything in one easy step, you’ll love this. If you want to print back to back, just select that upon printing and print away – easy, peasy!
  • I have a Facebook Group to help you with your homekeeping – HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – join if you’re a member of the subscription or not, it’s a special place to discuss homekeeping struggles, tips, tricks and ask questions to other members or myself.  It’s a closed group, just ask to join and I’ll add you.
  • I have Homekeeping Society available in my Etsy shop – you can only purchase one month at a time and you will NOT have access to the previous months.  Feeling non-committal? Don’t want to subscribe?  Want to use PayPal?  This is a great option but you’ll need to repurchase each month instead of it being an automatic payment and download.
  • Another great feature with Homekeeping Society is that you can also access/save/download ALL the previous month’s of HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY!  That’s over 300 printables that you can use!

 

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How to login:

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.  You can cancel ANYTIME right on your membership screen.  Take a peek at what I’ve created for the month of September – I think you’ll LOVE it!

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. 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 with routine and more or less free time, Homekeeping Society will help you keep on top of the tasks and provide a little structure.

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

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 want to welcome family, neighbors, and friends 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.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT EVERY MONTH (15+ printable documents):

  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 ENTRYWAYS) – this page lays out simple steps and gives you room for making your own adjustments and goals.
  4. TO DO LIST – every month features a new, and highly functional to do list.
  5. DAILY PLANNER PAGE – 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- (Sunday and Monday starts) 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 – this month includes an ENTRYWAY ORGANIZER in 2 versions – gray + aqua.
  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 is a KITCHEN INVENTORY page in 2 versions – gray + aqua.. Fill these pages 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 all previous months’ HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – almost 300 documents!
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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!

Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 30OFFAUGUST for 30% off your FIRST month.  Hurry!  Offer ends August 31st, 2016.

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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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Clean Mama Updates – 4 things

Clean Mama Updates - Clean Mama

Hello!  I just want to pop in and give you all a little update on a couple happenings around the Clean Mama HQ (also known as my home).  It’s been a busy and fun summer and the kids go back to school in less than 2 weeks – yikes! I’ve been working on something for over a year that I’ll be sharing with you oh-so-soon.  It’s been a big part of the last year and I can’t wait to tell you about it!  On to the updates….

  1. I’ve received more emails than I can count about 2017 calendars in Clean Mama Printables so I thought it might be a good time to update you on a couple things shop wise – historically speaking, I always introduce 2017 calendars in August or September.  They’re coming but those things going on behind the scenes here have trumped the calendars.  All that to say…. look for them in the next few weeks.
  2. But that’s not all!  I am also working on a small printed and bound planner – it’s different than any other planner out there and it’s for non-planner and planner people.  And the best part?  It’s affordable AND made in the USA.  Stay tuned!
  3. Clean Mama Home products will be available somewhere else besides here (what?!) – I’ll share that with you in a little over a week!
  4. Clean Mama Home shipping will be through a fulfillment center – soon!  That means that a.) I get my office/house/life back, and b.) shipping will be same day or next day.  Hip hip hooray!

Any products you’d like to see?  I’m working on a couple new products for fall and winter – drop me an email if there’s something you think I’m missing!

Personally I am not a fan of teasing when it comes to blog and product announcements – I hope you see this post as a stay tuned and I’m listening type of post rather than a tease 🙂  Sign up below so you don’t miss anything!

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Simplify Homework : Put Supplies in a Caddy

Simplify + Organize Homework - Put Supplies in a Caddy - Clean Mama

One of my favorite kids’ organizing projects ever has been our homework caddy.  It’s a take on the caddies I had at each of my student tables when I was an art teacher.  I loved having everything accessible for my students – it kept them at their spots and engaged in the activities at hand.  Using this same idea, I put together this little caddy with my oldest kiddos a few years ago and every year right around school supply time we assess it, refill it, and get it ready for the next school year.  I posted about it 2 years ago – you can see that post here –  I thought I’d re-visit it this week as part of the Fall Organization Mini Challenge.

back to school

The great thing about a homework or crafting caddy is that it can work for kids of all ages – toddler-high school and beyond that if you are an adult that likes to craft, it can work for you too.  Think of what your kids use daily for crafting and homework and gather those things into one place.  I use a divided cutlery caddy – you can use a bin, a box, a basket, or any other type of container you can think of.  I added mason jars so the kids can grab just one thing from the caddy at a time.  We put the caddy on the middle of the kitchen table for homework time and one kid will grab the markers and the other will grab colored pencils and another will grab a pencil.  For some reason that one step of extra containment works better for keeping it neat and tidy, easy to clean up and put away.  If you don’t want to use glass, use plastic cups for the same idea.

Gather your supplies:

  • caddy/box/basket/bin
  • jars to hold the supplies
  • markers, pens, pencils, crayons
  • rulers, scissors, glue, sticky notes

Homework Caddy - Supplies - Clean Mama

Put your caddy together:

While you’re picking up all the school supplies your kiddos need for the school year, pick up a couple extra boxes of pencils and markers and make a little homework caddy.  I’ve found that keeping homework supplies in a caddy makes  homework time a little easier to start and finish.  My kids come home from school, have a snack, and start in on the homework.  We try to get everything done right away while we’re already at the kitchen table and having a tote-able homework caddy helps us stay organized and efficient.  This year I tweaked the caddy and system and thought you might want to see what I put together.

Caddy - Clean Mama

Then I just loaded it up with the supplies that my kids seem to use on a nightly or weekly basis for homework and crafting – markers, pencils, erasers, glue, Post-Its, and scissors.  I don’t think we’re ready for back to school quite yet, but at least we have our homework caddy ready!

Homework Caddy - Clean Mama

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Fall Organizing Mini Challenge

I’m challenging myself (and you!) to a little fall/back to school organization this next week!  Follow along on Instagram for each daily challenge.  Every fall I tackle a couple areas that need to get whipped into shape and this year I’m making it public 🙂  I’ll be showing you my completed challenge in our home ‘live’ as it’s completed each day and sharing a couple posts throughout the week as well.

back to school

The premise is that with about 15 minutes each day, we can put a couple simple systems in place that will carry us through the busy months ahead.  Most of these topics I’ve talked about on the blog before and they’re systems that WORK! I’m linking up some posts here that will be helpful if you’d like to check out what I’ve said before on the topic.  I’ll be posting all of my live progress on Instagram so follow along or peek over there each day.  If you don’t have kids heading back to school, the ideas are still applicable, just adjust it to fit your needs.  For instance, instead of putting together a homework caddy or area, organize your desk or get your planner ready.  Instead of working on kids clothes you can do a little purge of your own clothes.  I’ll be doing more of these mini challenges – I hope you enjoy it!

Make sure you sign up for my posts too!

Ready for a mini challenge?  Here are the tasks for each day:

MONDAY – Homework caddy

A Simple Homework Caddy via Clean Mama

TUESDAY – Snack and Lunch Prep

How to Organize Snacks + Lunches via Clean Mama

WEDNESDAY – Kids’ Clothes

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

THURSDAY – Command Center

3 Things Every Command Center Needs - Clean Mama

FRIDAY – Clean/Organize the Refrigerator

The Best Way to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama

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Paper Organization : How Long Should I Keep It + Free Printable

 

HOW LONG TO KEEP IT - Clean Mama

If you are anything like the average person you might struggle with paper organization and you probably have a stash somewhere in your home of random papers, receipts and forms. Flipping through them is a bit like an archeological dig as it provides a snapshot of your life in the form of a pile. Plenty of people live in fear that they will accidentally toss or shred something important so the stash, piles and files get bigger and thicker with time.

I am here to help you go through your papers once and for all and to help you designate just what you need to file and what you can shred or recycle. If you are looking for a method to keep all those papers organized once you have gone through them, I recommend looking here for the process I used when I set up our grown up filing system.

If you are starting this process with no filing system to speak of, I recommend investing in some file folders so that you have somewhere to put the papers when you are done with them. Begin by deciding just what you need for categories and individual files. This may vary from person to person depending upon your family structure, finances and other variables. You can choose to color code the files- red for medical, green for finance etc.- or  you can use file folders you may already have. These categories are intended to be idea starters and are by no means conclusive, so feel free to adjust or retitle so that it fits your needs.

Important Documents:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • social security card
  • passports
  • power of attorney

Finance:

  • retirement and 410K
  • checking
  • savings
  • loans
  • tax documents
  • insurance
  • credit card information

Medical:

  • insurance
  • bills/receipts
  • coverage documents
  • HSA/FSA

Vehicles:

  • title, loan, or lease documents
  • insurance
  • maintenance

Education:

  • transcripts
  • individual child education folders
  • diplomas

Lifestyle:

  • childcare
  • clubs
  • travel
  • family history

Print out this free printable and keep it handy with your filing system as you go through your piles and files. Enjoy the satisfaction that an organized filing system brings.

Go here to download your FREE How Long Should I Keep It Printable!

How Long Should I Keep It? Infographic via Clean Mama

 

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Quick Cleaning Tips for the Summer + Free Printable Checklist

Quick Cleaning Tips for the Summer + Free Quick Clean Checklist - Clean Mama

I am a compensated 3M-sponsored blogger. Opinions are my own and additional products used in the project were selected by me.

It’s summer – no one wants to be inside cleaning.  If you feel like your home needs a little (or a lot) of cleaning and you don’t want to spend much time doing it, try this quick clean checklist.  This checklist streamlines your cleaning and concentrates on getting the dirtiest places in your home quickly cleaned. By putting a couple quick cleaning products and systems in place, you’ll be back outside in no time.

Grab your tools and supplies

1- Scotch-Brite Tools

GATHER YOUR TOOLS

Keep your favorite tools in a cleaning caddy so you can clean any time.  My must haves?  Microfiber cleaning cloths, lint roller, Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths, Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber, Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, your favorite all-purpose spray cleaner.

SET A TIMER

Stay on task by setting a time limit to get your cleaning done.  Thirty minutes should be plenty of time to do a little summer quick cleaning.  Put away any distractions and focus on cleaning for the time you have to clean.

PICK UP CLUTTER

Grab a garbage bag or laundry basket and quickly move through your spaces picking up anything that doesn’t belong.  Set the clutter aside and deal with it after you’ve cleaned.

WIPE SURFACES IN THE KITCHEN

4 - Wiping Counters

Use a Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloth to quickly wash dishes, wipe down counters, appliances, just about any and every surface.

2 - Washing Dishes with the Scrubbing Dish Cloth

The scrubbing side is perfect for anything that’s stuck on and the soft side wipes surfaces with ease.  I love that the dish cloth can be machine washed and dried, making it an eco-friendly option.

8 - Clean Kitchen

QUICKLY CLEAN THE BATHROOMS

5 - Toilet Cleaner Set-Up

Spray and wipe the mirrors.  Spray and wipe down the counters.  Use a Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber to quickly scrub the toilets.

6 - Toilet ScrubberThe new Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber is the perfect tool for getting in and out of the bathroom, cleaning in a hurry.  Once you’ve done a little quick clean, put out fresh towels and make sure there’s toilet paper stocked.

7 - Clean Toilet

A quick clean routine is a great way to clean the house in a hurry and make time for summer fun.  Use this FREE printable checklist (download it here) to guide you through a quick cleaning routine whenever you need a little jump start.  Happy cleaning!

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If you like these quick tips, hop on over and follow me on Instagram – this week I’m taking over the Scotch-Brite Instagram page and sharing lots of great cleaning tips.

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4 Ways to Naturally Soften and Freshen Your Laundry

4 Ways to Naturally Soften and Freshen Your Laundry - Clean Mama copy

Most conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not only toxic (read more here from the Environmental Working Group or EWG.com), but they also coat fibers making clothes and towels harder to clean because they build up with the fabric softener.  If you love your fabric softener and dryer sheets and love that scent that’s associated with clean laundry, you probably don’t want to make the switch to something natural if it’s unscented.  I have 4 natural alternatives that are not only inexpensive, they’re natural, non-toxic AND they work.  Combine them to suit your needs or just use one – you’ll be a natural fabric softener user in no time!

VINEGAR (soften) – Simply add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or one of those fabric softener balls.  I love this for sheets and towels – it will make your towels unexpectedly soft and fluffy.  If you need a little scent, feel free to add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to about 16 ounces of vinegar.  Shake before each use because the oils will separate from the vinegar and you don’t want any oil on your laundry.  I keep my white vinegar in a glass bottle (this is the same bottle that comes with my spray bottles if you’re interested.)

White Vinegar Fabric Softener - Clean Mama

WOOL DRYER BALLS (reduces static and can lightly scent if you use essential oils on the balls) – Wool is naturally antibacterial making it awesome for using in the laundry.  Place  3-4  wool dryer balls in with each load of laundry.  Most wool dryer balls will last 300-400 uses making this an inexpensive dryer sheet alternative.  Put a couple drops of essential oil on each ball if you’d like a little scent.

Wool Dryer Balls - Clean Mama

DIY LAUNDRY SCENT BOOSTER (adds scent) – if you love those commercial scent boosters this is the recipe for you!  It’s definitely more subtle but I’ll take subtle and safe any day.  (You can see more instructions on this post.)

Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

Add 1 tablespoon of the Laundry Scent Booster directly to the washer and wash as usual.

Add Laundry Booster to Washing Machine - Clean Mama

DIY FLANNEL MINI DRYER SHEETS (adds scent to the dryer) – If you need to use a dryer sheet, this is the perfect alternative.

Flannel Dryer Sheets - Clean Mama

  • 20 or so small pieces of flannel or cotton (I used these bamboo cotton ones – they are fabulous!)
  • 20-30 drops essential oil
  • mason jar (available in Clean Mama Home)

Add the ‘dryer sheets’ to a container and add essential oils.  Keep the lid off until the ‘sheets’ have completely dried – at least a day or two.   Add a sheet or two to each dryer cycle – wash and refill when the scent has dissipated.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 7.03.19 AM

I purchased the chalkboard sticker label and pen set from Amazon here if you’re interested.

FAVORITE LAUNDRY SCENT COMBINATIONS

If you love essential oils or are just getting started, here are a couple of my favorite combos – try one for your laundry, you’ll love it!  (I typically use doTERRA essential oils but I also recommend Plant Therapy and Now brand as well.

Essential Oils for Laundry - Clean Mama

What do you think?  Ready to hop on the DIY fabric softener train?  I bet you’ll never look back!

More posts in this series – just click on the image to go to the post and check out my book, The Organically Clean Home:

One Ingredient Odor Absorbers - Clean Mama

Nightly Sink Scrub - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Soft Cleaning Paste - the perfect scrub - Clean Mama

All-Purpose Spray - Clean Just About Anywhere Spary - Clean Mama

The Perfect DIY Glass Cleaner - Clean Mama

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage - Clean Mama

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Working From Home : Increase Productivity with Block Scheduling

Working From Home - Increase Productivity with Block Scheduling - Clean Mama

The concept of block scheduling isn’t new, but it’s how I get just about anything and everything business-y done.  If you work from home or outside the home, today’s post has applications you can use anywhere.  It’s even the premise of my cleaning routine – focus on the same thing every day and get more done.  Instead of trying to get a lot of things done at the same time, concentrate on a batch or block of the same thing.  If you haven’t tried it, it’s revolutionary and potentially life and business changing.  If I’m starting to feel overwhelmed I check to see how many things I’m trying to accomplish simultaneously and chances are it’s more than one.  I go back to my one thing at a time and all is well.

How to use block scheduling to increase productivity:

Simply block off any amount of time and focus on one task or group of similar tasks.  Instead of just sitting down to work, have specific goals and tasks in mind that you can accomplish.  Take this one step further by separating tasks into blocks of time.  If you have a 9-5 sort of job, have specific things that you do at certain times of the day.  By eliminating the ‘what should I do next’ you’ve already become more productive.  Plan according to when certain things work best in your day.  If you are groggy in the morning it might be best to drink a cup of coffee and answer emails for a block of time.  Then after you’re warmed up, work on something that requires a little more creativity.  Use block scheduling for days, hours, or minutes – whatever works for your work at home schedule.

Why it works:

When you focus on one thing at a time and don’t multi-task your efficiency increases and can accomplish more because you are concentrating all your effort on that one thing.  For instance, instead of answering emails on and off all day long, schedule them in a specific period of time.  It could be 2-3 times a day or it could be 2-3 times a week.  Focus on answering emails and only answering emails for a specified block of time and all that time opening and closing the email program is never wasted.

Here are a couple ways that I use block scheduling when I work from home:

  • SET UP AND PLAN A CALENDAR – taking a couple minutes to plan ahead a work schedule or a blog schedule, etc. is helpful.  Set up a time to draft out the calendar and then work only on filling in that calendar.
  • WRITE BLOG POSTS – I try to have a couple months of blog posts planned on my calendar and set up in WordPress.  This really helps to keep me focused on the writing process and keeps things moving on the content side of things.
  • TAKE PICTURES FOR BLOG POSTS – I find it much easier to batch-shoot pictures for multiple projects or posts at the same time.  Setting up camera and shoots once versus multiple times is a huge timesaver.
  • ANSWER EMAILS – I try to answer 2-3 times a day so it’s not a huge time commitment at once.  I’ll answer for 5-10 minutes early morning and around lunch.  If there’s something pressing or urgent that I’m waiting on or expecting I’ll peek again in the evening.
  • SHIPPING – I ship products out on Tuesdays and Fridays.  This way I’m not shipping every day all week long.  Sometimes I will add an extra shipping day if I’m especially busy.  I’m planning on not doing shipping for that much longer though 😉
  • HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – I set aside a day or two a month to only work on Homekeeping Society.  I could stretch it out for a week, but I’ve found that I can get much more done if I only focus on that for a day or two.
  • ODD WORK HOURS – I don’t work 9-5, I work in segments during the day so block scheduling is especially helpful for me because I can concentrate on one thing for 30 minutes to an hour and then move on to something else.  If you’re working from home during odd hours and working around nap times or bedtime, using block scheduling could be extremely beneficial for you.

Block Schedule - Clean Mama

Share your top block scheduling tip in the comments or how you’ve used it to work for you or if you have a topic you’d like me to cover in this series, let me know!

This post is part of a Working from Home Series:

Working From Home - Flexibility is Essential - Clean Mama

 

Psst…my Everyday Work @ Home Kit is perfect for working at home!

everyday work @ home kit - clean mama

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Clean Mama Printables 50% OFF FLASH SALE

JULY FLASH SALE - Clean Mama

It’s July 25th – isn’t that like Christmas in July?  How about a flash sale?  Come see what you need and stock up – I rarely do a 50% off sale – like I think I’ve had two or three in the last couple years.  2017 calendars will be on their way soon and on sale then too, but not this price – don’t miss it!   Clean Mama Printables is all stocked up – use the coupon code 50FLASHSALE for 50% off your ENTIRE ORDER!

Clean Mama's Productivity Planner

Productivity Planner – undated and full of productive goodness

Everyday Complete Kit - main - Clean Mama

Everyday Complete Kit

Homekeeping Foundations Kit - main - Clean Mama

Homekeeping Foundations Kit 

Schedule Reset main via Clean Mama

The Schedule Reset – perfect for a re-boot!

Streamlined Life Complete Kit - main - Clean Mam

Streamlined Life Complete Kit

Clean Mama Printables Flash Sale - Clean Mama

Don’t miss the Flash Sale – it ends 7/26/16 at 10pm cst!

JULY FLASH SALE - Clean Mama

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Come Clean – Free Cleaning Calendar for August 2016

It’s almost August and that means that it’s time for August’s FREE cleaning calendar!

Come Clean (main) August 2016 - Free Cleaning Calendar - Clean Mama

Every year I choose a new theme for the cleaning calendar and blog and this year it’s COME CLEAN.  2016 is the year to get your cleaning routine in order, find some new and workable solutions for organizing, hold yourself accountable, and get your home in a routine that works for you and your family.

Don’t miss the FREE Summer Calendar here (June-August) – it’s a great way to see the whole summer at a glance!  I use it to sketch out classes and activities to ensure we aren’t over-scheduled.  If you’re looking for a little more in-depth cleaning this summer I also have a FREE Summer Cleaning Checklist here.

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.

Come Clean 2016 - Clean Mama

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 2016 and get ready to see how doing a little bit everyday really is the secret to a clean house.

Here’s an infographic that explains my cleaning routine:

Weekly and daily tasks are detailed at the top, rotating cleaning tasks are on the bottom of the calendar with a little checklist.  How you use the calendar is up to you – put it on a clipboard, in your planner, on your refrigerator.  Use checkmarks, draw lines through tasks or simply keep it up as a reminder.

Come Clean Infographic - Clean Mama

Want to join in on the fun? Grab a FREE cleaning and organizing calendar for August and join me!  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 and have a private Facebook group too called Homekeeping Society (just ask to join and I’ll add you) – it’s great for support and to meet others that are following along with my cleaning routine.

Come Clean August 2016 - Free Cleaning Calendar - Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE calendar for August 2016!

(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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Want to up the cute factor in your cleaning?  Check out Clean Mama HOME!  Come see the new stickers 🙂  I’ve put together the BEST homekeeping tools just for you (and me).

Cleaning Routine Sticker - Clean Mama

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Laundry Made Easier

Laundry Made Easier - Tips to Help you Simplify your Laundry Routine - Clean Mama

You may be hard pressed to find more than a handful of people in life who love to do laundry. While fresh sheets or clean clothes certainly can be rewarding, the actual process of washing, folding and putting away can easily become mundane. Over the years, I have found a handful of tricks that help make the process a bit easier and dare I say more enjoyable. Implement one or all of these suggestions in to your own routine and see how much something seemingly simple can revolutionize the routine.

  1. Cold water is your friend when it comes to washing. I mix lights, brights and darks together. This tip is especially helpful for washing the kids’ clothes – everything goes in together!  Make sure to wash and dry new bright or dark garments at least three times with like colors to prevent color bleeding and transfer.
    Laundry Basket - Clean Mama
  2. Use the minimum amount of detergent suggested on the container. Adding more than suggested to get your clothes cleaner will only result in a buildup of detergent which will cause the fibers to actually become dirtier.  Save money and make your detergent last a little longer with this simple tip.
  3. Love soft and fluffy towels? Skip the commercial fabric softener and add vinegar to the rinse cycle instead. The chemicals in fabric softener actually coat the towel fibers and create a buildup. This buildup causes the towels to become less absorbent as well as attract dirt and residue – yuck! You can also use wool dryer balls or a laundry booster  to add more fluff as well as a little natural scent.
    White Towels - Clean Mama
  4. Don’t overload your washer in an effort to get the job done quickly or finish that load sooner. While you may save some time, your clothes won’t be as clean and your washer will have to work harder and it’ll probably take longer to dry the load as well.
  5. One laundry routine method may not work for everyone. My preferred method is to do a load of laundry daily with sheets and towels on Saturday. Other people prefer to do a laundry blitz one day a week. Do what works for you and your schedule and stick to it. The key is to find and implement a routine that doesn’t leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
    Laundry Supplies - Clean Mama

What laundry tips have you found to be helpful in your home? Do you have a system that has worked wonders in your laundry routine?  Share it with us in the comments!

Looking for more laundry and cleaning routine posts?  I have some great posts in the archives, here are a few you might enjoy…

Keeping Your Whites White - Tips + Tricks that Work - Clean Mama

Keeping Your Whites White

How to De-Stink Active Wear - Clean Mama

How to De-Stink Active Wear

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean Mama

6 Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean

Clean Mama's Cleaning Routine - everyday a little something

All about the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine

 

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