3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia

3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia - Clean Mama

For many, myself included, sorting through memorabilia is one of the most difficult organizing and decluttering tasks. It is hard to not attach memories and feelings to some of those special pieces. I am not going to tell you to sort through everything and take mental pictures of it all before you toss or donate it or to ask if it is really all that special. Memorabilia is personal and everyone has a different interpretation of what falls under keep worthy or not. Because of memorabilia’s nature, it doesn’t fall under my typical sorting pattern. I have a fairly simple method of keeping things that are special and important that I hope will help you as you begin this task. The goal is not to make it overly complicated or involved, but to create several containing systems or spots in which to save these special and important pieces and then file it accordingly.

You may wish to alter my rules and you are certainly welcome to do that. Chances are, you’re a little less or more sentimental, so tailor the rules as needed.

Three action steps:

Start with the really old items:
Begin with the really old things that you have been holding on to for years and years. These are the things that you know you really have no reason to keep and aren’t overly attached to. Spend a little time doing a quick purge of these items, moving quickly and efficiently without spending time to over-analyze. Label the things you are keeping by year or era. Examples of categories may be high school, college, wedding, grandma’s items, 1990-1995 etc.  Working chronologically backwards is helpful for me as those are the things that are harder to remember where they’re from and why I kept them in the first place.  If you find yourself not remembering or knowing why you kept something, it’s probably time to donate or toss.

Choose a bin for each child:
If you have children, use a bin or a box to store things that aren’t paper in nature and therefore can’t be filed or stored flat. These may be items such as special outfits or blankets. Keep it in their bedroom closest that you can easily access it and look through it with them. There is no sense in keeping these special items stored in the basement or tucked into a dark corner where no one will ever even look at them.  Having a bin for each child also limits the sheer amount of stuff that is kept as well.

Pick a method that works for you:
Establish a workable method from this point forward that works for you and your family. If you get all the old stuff sorted and don’t have a plan for implementing the deluge of papers and memorabilia that come in to the house, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed again.  I choose to keep our children’s special papers in a file drawer that has a file folder for each year. Artwork and larger pieces get stored in a large folder. You can also take pictures of artwork and special pieces and save them digitally as well. The file folder method can easily be used for other memorabilia as well. Scrapbooks, both digital or paper, are also a great method to keep the memorabilia out of the closer and in to a special, easily accessible place.

These three action steps have been invaluable for me as I decide how and what to keep. Only you can truly determine what is important enough to keep and what you can do without. If you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what you have to go through or it is emotionally difficult, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. With the implementation of these steps, memorabilia doesn’t have to overwhelm you or stay stashed in chaos in your closets, garage, basement, or storage.

Get Organized with Homekeeping Society | March Essentials

Homekeeping Society has some great changes that make it better, more interactive, AND easier to use!  March’s 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!

March Homekeeping Society - Clean Mama

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.  March’s Homekeeping Society is simple and fresh with teal, green, and gray.  My favorite thing about Homekeeping Society is that each month is different, yet it all looks good together, and has seasonal touches you’ll love!

Calendars and Menu Planning - March Homekeeping Society - Clean Mama

Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 25OFFMARCH for 25% off your FIRST month. Hurry!  Offer ends February 29, 2016.

Here’s what’s NEW this month:

  • I have a brand new Facebook Group – HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – join if you’re a member of the subscription or not, it’s a special place to discuss homekeeping struggles, tips, and tricks.  It’s a closed group, just ask to join and I’ll add you.
  • I am adding Homekeeping Society to my Etsy shop – you can only purchase one month at a time and you will NOT have access to the previous months.  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 200 printables that you can use!
  • I also send out an email to all members after the 20th of each month reminding them to log in and download the next month’s subscription and I also include a couple blog posts to help them navigate through the month’s tasks and to do’s – it’s so fun to know that other people are doing the same tasks every day, isn’t it?

March Homekeeping Society - Homekeeping - Clean Mama


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!

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 March – 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 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.

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.

March Homekeeping Society - Calendars - Clean Mama

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 (March is BATHROOMS) – 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. This month is a simple TO DO LIST.  Print one or two and put it front and center – you’ll love it!
  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 (March is a DECLUTTER Checklist – use now or save it for when you need to do some decluttering!)
  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 an important information page (2 color ways – gray and aqua) – 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 all previous months’ HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – over 200 documents!

March Homekeeping Society - Homekeeping - Clean Mama

This month’s Quote for the Kitchen Sink is one a sweet one – a great reminder appreciate the life you have.  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.

Quote for the Kitchen Sink - March Homekeeping Society - 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!

Not sure if Homekeeping Society is for you? Try it out this month and use the coupon code 25OFFMARCH for 25% off your FIRST month.  Hurry!  Offer ends February 29, 2015.

March Homekeeping Society instructions - 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 MARCH 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!

Making Life Simple – Cleaning, Organizing, and Home Management Tips, Tools, and Resources

Making Life Simple - Cleaning, Organizing, and Home Management Tips, Tools, and Resources - Clean Mama

In an effort to round up some of the best posts from 2015 I decided to bring it to you indexed style.  Every single post I put on the blog I think about if it’s really making everyday life easier, simplified, and just a little bit more enjoyable. I hope you find this post helpful and encouraging!  Divided into categories, you’ll find content easy to locate.  Call it the motherload of cleaning and organizing tips or your new favorite reference post on Clean Mama. Read on to see what I have to say about routines, DIY cleaners, homekeeping, organizing, spring cleaning, kid stuff, menu planning and more!  Thanks for reading and homekeeping along with me!


Want to make a cleaning resolution that actually lasts past January?
Keep your home cleaner with these six daily tasks.
Wondering just why you should declutter?
Speed clean your home in 30 minutes. Perfect for busy days and unexpected guests.
Feeling overwhelmed? Do one of these simple tasks.
Practical cleaning tips no matter what your work schedule or lifestyle is.
This free daily routine printable is perfect for posting and helping keep yourself accountable.
One simple tip is all it takes for a clutter-free home.
Reset your home in just five days with this routine and printable.
Ready for some deeper fall cleaning? This routine and printable is perfect for getting home ready for autumn.
Clear these six surfaces when your home starts to feel cluttered.
Use a basket to help contain all those random items that need to find a home.
Wondering what the secret to a clean home is?
Ready for a restart and a cleaner home? Check out this Come Clean Challenge and free printable.

DIY Cleaners:

Fantastic resource for making all sorts of your own natural DIY cleaners.
Get rid of dirt, smudges and sticky fingerprints on your cupboards and woodwork with this DIY cleaner.
Clean your dish disposal naturally.
Sanitize your sponge and get rid of germs with these three different methods.
Make your home smell lovely with these natural stovetop simmers.
DIY cleaners perfect for the kitchen.
Cut the sharp vinegar smell with this citrus scented vinegar recipe.

Free Printables:

Assortment of all sorts of to-do lists perfect for any home and routine.
Looking to sell your home and want to be ready for showings? Use this printable checklist to help.
Make meal planning a breeze with this weekly printable.


How to get and keep your shower clean. Includes DIY cleaner recipes!
Get rid of the gunk and grime in your bathroom once and for all.
Clean your whirlpool tub and jets with this routine.
Speed clean ALL your bathrooms in just 15 minutes.
Make your bathroom cleaning and organizing a breeze with these tips.
Toilet care game changers to help with those annoying toilet related cleaning tasks.
Organize your toiletries logically with these organizational tips.
No chemicals necessary with these 8 DIY bathroom cleaners. Printable included.


Clean your kitchen sink, no matter what the surface, following these cleaning suggestions.
Four homekeeping skills you need in the kitchen.
Clean your drip or single serve coffeemaker with ease.
How to clean clean every nook and cranny of your gas cooktop.
Help maintain your cast iron cookware with these cleaning tips.
Speed clean your kitchen in 15 minutes! Printable included.


Some of my favorite tools and products that help me stay organized in my home.
Declutter and clean your entire home in just 30 days. Includes printable list to help you get started today.
How to speed organize any space in 15 minutes.
Create a simple yet efficient command center for your home.
Clean and organize your entryway for guests with these tips.
All sorts of great tools and products to help you clean and organize.
Use printables to help organize your schedule and life.
Make a thank you note caddy to make easier work of note writing.
Simplify the holiday season so you can enjoy it.

Recipes and Meal Planning:

Ready for an easy and delicious make ahead stir fry recipe?
Busy week? Check out this week long menu plan for help getting dinner on the table fast.
Seven time-saving meals perfect for crazy weeks ahead!
Organize your recipes for effective meal planning.
Make ahead mix and match grilling menu perfect for get-together and holidays.
Put together a s’mores caddy for the ideal summer treat.
Add structure to your meal planning routine to make meal prep time easier.
Have a batch of cookies ready anytime with this make ahead tip.
Make 6 to 8 meals in about an hour using ground turkey as the star ingredient.
Make ahead baking mixes are perfect for when you want baked goods ready in a hurry.
This Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip is perfect as an easy and yummy appetizer.


Wondering what the best tools, products and methods are for cleaning your hard surface floors?
Clean your hardwood floors using vinegar and one of these three methods.
Use one (or all!) of these DIY floor cleaning recipes to clean naturally and without chemicals.


Laundry Day vs. Laundry Every Day – find a laundry routine that works for your schedule and life.

Spring Cleaning:

Some of my favorite tools for spring cleaning.
Be armed and ready for spring cleaning with a little help here.
Spring clean your home in 30 days.
30 minute tasks to get your home cleaned in 30 days this spring.

Helpful Homekeeping and Cleaning Tips:

Keep your vacuum in tip top shape with a simple but effective cleaning.
Wondering what the best way to vacuum, wash your pillows, do laundry or clean your mattress is?
Clean your upholstered, leather or microfiber furniture to freshen, brighten and remove stains.


Put together a kid-safe cleaning caddy for some help around the home. Includes a safe DIY cleaner recipe too.
Enlist some help from kids with these age-appropriate tasks.
Preschool age-appropriate chores that are actually helpful! Includes free printable.
Encourage your school-aged child(ren) to pitch in with these chore ideas. Free printable included.
Be ready for a picnic anytime by packing the perfect picnic bag.
Encourage independence in your kids with these lunch and snack packing tips.

Making Life Simple - Clean Mama


Did you see the launch of Clean Mama HOME?

Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cloths

Clean Mama’s Favorite Things Gift Guides

I LOVE gift guides – sometimes I get my best gift ideas from looking at gift guides during holiday season.  I’m hoping you like them too!  I’ve rounded up a handful of my favorites in 3 categories – cleaning/homekeeping, organizing, and kids.  Each item is something that we use in our home and love and most importantly something that won’t turn into clutter in a couple weeks.

All of these links are on Amazon and I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you click on the link – rest assured, the link doesn’t cost you anything AND these are all products that I love and wholeheartedly recommend!

Favorite Things for Homekeeping

Clean Mama's Gift Guide for Homekeeping

  1. My book 😉 – The Organically Clean Home
  2. My favorite vacuum – Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy
  3. I love this refillable mop – Leifheit Spray Mop
  4. This is my favorite kitchen sink tool – OXO Steel Soap Dispensing Dish Brush
  5. My favorite duster – Full Circle Dust Whisperer
  6. Of course!  Martha’s Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook
  7. This is a must-have book for homekeeping – Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House
  8. This glass cleaner is great – perfect for those holiday parties – Full Circle Crystal Clear Glass Cleaner
  9. My favorite cordless vacuum – Dyson V6 Cordless Vacuum
  10. I’ve been using this white Fiesta Bread Tray for years on my kitchen counters for soap and counter spray – love it!

Favorite things for organizing

Clean Mama's Gift Guide for Organizing


  1. This is great for storing photos – IRIS Photo + Craft Keeper
  2. I love this tote for any mobile office-ing – Jamie Raquel File Tote
  3. My favorite clipboard!  Recycled Aluminum Clipboard
  4. Pre-order this book from my dear friend Toni for yourself for after Christmas 😉  – The Complete Book of Home Organization
  5. If you don’t have a label maker, this is a great one – Dymo LabelManager
  6. This is probably my favorite practical organizing book – What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?
  7. This is the printer I use – I love it!  Epson Workforce Wireless
  8. This is a great travel case – MKT Oxford Fabric Laptop Notebook Case
  9. My favorite planner and printable pens – Staedtler Triples Fineliner Pens
  10. I love this wall calendar – Paint Chip Wall Calendar

Favorite things for the kids

Clean Mama's Gift Guide for Kids

  1. These are probably one of my kids’ all-time favorite toys – Magformers Magnetic Building Construction Set
  2. Need fun family game that’s quick?  Qwixx is perfect!
  3. The National Geographic Kids Almanacs are always a favorite for the kids – 2016 Almanac
  4. Have you seen these?  So fun! – Snap Circuits
  5. All Natural Soaps Science Kit – super fun!
  6. Sequence is a family favorite game for all ages – it’s timeless!
  7. Play-Doh – while it may be messy it’s totally worth the mess (in my opinion)
  8. I love these coloring books for older kids – Secret Garden : An Inky Treasure and Coloring Book
  9. and of course the National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia is another favorite gift to give
  10. Mad Libs are always a fun choice – Happily Ever Mad Libs
  11. Ticket to Ride is another great family game – perfect for upper elementary – adult!
  12. I love these kits for girls –  Kiss Naturals DIY Lip Balm Making Kit
  13. Classics from Richard Scarry are always a hit – this one is great:  What Do People Do All Day?

I haven’t started Christmas shopping, but doing this post is getting me excited!  How about you?  Have you started shopping yet?


Quick Tip : On Your Way Up Basket

Quick Tip - Use An On Your Way Up Basket via Clean MamaYears ago I talked about this tip and today I’m bringing it back because it’s still working for us and I think it’s a great tip!

QUICK TIP : Use a basket (or a bag, bin, or tub) to corral items from one area to be returned later to another area.

Put Stuff In Here and Bring It Up 'On Your Way Up' via Clean Mama

We do a little clean up in the evenings before dinner – I either set a timer for the kids for 5 minutes or we’ll just have a contest to see who can pick up the most items from the lower level.  (With a preschooler that loves Duplos, this is pretty easy.)  The kids bring any items upstairs that need to be in their rooms and they check the basket on the steps to see what else needs to be returned to their proper places.

On Your Way Up Basket via Clean Mama

How do the items get in the basket?  It’s basically anything that we don’t want to bring upstairs right now.  So during the day it might be a couple socks left on the floor or a toy I find in the refrigerator and it can also be if the kids don’t want to bring it up right now.  This works well for us because sometimes you just don’t want to go all the way upstairs to put one sock away.  (Yes, this sounds lazy, but I bet you feel this way too :))  Everything gets returned to its proper place at the end of the day and that’s what matters.

So tell me – do you have an ‘on your way up basket’?

Clean Mama’s Home Reset – Day 4

Clean Mama's Home Reset Challenge - DAY FOUR

Welcome back to Clean Mama’s Home Reset – day 4! We’re over half-way done – keep going!  Ready for day 4? Are you ready to take back your home and feel great about it? This mini-challenge is designed for you (and me) to concentrate on those clutter collecting areas and spaces that tend to get neglected or put off. We’re completing the Home Reset tasks while continuing on with the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine – this will ensure forward progress and we’ll get ahead at the same time. Did you print off your FREE printable guide? If you didn’t, go here first.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Weekly Task for today:

Every Thursday is FLOOR WASHING DAY – first things first, wash the floors in your home. Work quickly, washing any hard surface floors in your home. Set your timer for 15-30 minutes and see if you can whip through your home in that amount of time. If you need to add a couple minutes, go ahead and do that if you have the time, but don’t spend much more than 30 minutes so you have time for the other tasks today.

Daily Tasks for Today:

Every day I complete these 4 simple tasks – complete them when it makes sense for you and your schedule – set a timer for 10-15 minutes if you need to, don’t get hung up on these tasks, they get easier as you follow my routine:

  • check floors
  • clean counters
  • clutter
  • laundry

Home Reset Task:


Once your home is quickly dusted and you’ve started a load of laundry or swept under the kitchen table, it’s time tackle today’s task to DECLUTTER UNDER THE KITCHEN OR BATHROOM SINK. Here are your simple steps:

Under the Kitchen Sink BEFORE via Clean Mama

  • Set a timer for 15-30 minutes (whatever you have) and choose your spot to declutter – choose whichever space is bothering you the most.  Consider the time you have and the space you want to tackle today.  Have extra time?  Declutter both!  I chose to declutter under the kitchen sink – I needed to do a quick tidy and replace the liner under the sink.  Decluttering and replacing the liner only took 20 minutes – yay!
  • Quickly clear the space.

Completely Clear Area via Clean Mama

  • Make 4 piles: keep, toss, relocate, donate.
  • Wipe down any surfaces and vacuum if necessary.
  • Put away any items that were in the keep pile, toss what can be tossed, relocate what can be relocated, and put the donate items in a bin or bag for a trip to your favorite local donation center.  Make sure you properly dispose of or recycle any toss items.
  • Arrange items in a way that makes sense for your family and admire your space!

Under the Kitchen Sink AFTER via Clean Mama

Clean Mama’s Home Reset – Introduction
Clean Mama’s Home Reset FREE Printable Guide
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Sign up so you don’t miss a post!

How to Easily Speed Organize Any Space

How to Speed Organize Any Space via Clean Mama

Speed organizing is most successful when you have a space that desperately needs a little organization and you only have a few minutes to get it in order.  All you need is fifteen to thirty minutes and motivation.  If you have an entire room or a closet to tackle, you can still follow these steps but you might need a little more than 15 minutes.

Here’s what you need to organize ANY space in minutes:

  • garbage bag (for things that you want to toss)
  • cleaning cloth
  • all-purpose cleaner
  • 3 containers to sort items in (keep, relocate, donate)

Grab your supplies and get started!  You can use laundry baskets or any other empty container to sort your items in.  The beauty of this process is that you are completely emptying out your disorganized area and starting from scratch.  For me, that’s the only way to completely organize a space.

  1. COMPLETELY EMPTY THE SPACE.  If it’s a drawer or a cupboard empty it all out onto the floor or a table nearby.  Don’t get distracted with what you just unearthed from your disorganized space.  Stay on task and move on to the next step.
  2. SPRAY AND WIPE THE AREA CLEAN.  If you’re going to take the time to organize a space it’s worthwhile to clean the surfaces off at the same time.
  3. SORT.  Quickly sort all the items into four piles – toss, keep, relocate, donate.  Use your garbage bag for the toss items, keep is for the items that will stay in your soon-to-be organized space, relocate is for anything that you still want but doesn’t belong here, and donate is for items that you don’t want but someone else can use.  Keeping a donate basket or bag in your house is a great organizing tip – when the basket is filled up, take a drive to your local donation store.
  4. PUT AWAY THE KEEP PILE.  Now that you have sorted through your disorganized space, it’s time to put the keep pile back into the space.  Before you start putting everything back, take a minute to re-sort the items and put them into groups.  The number one rule to an organized home (in my opinion) is putting like items with like items.  Pencils go in the pencil box, magazines go in the magazine basket, books go on the bookshelf, forks go with forks, etc.  Keeping your items grouped together eliminates searching which saves time and money when you’re running a household.
  5. CONTAIN.  Once you’ve organized your space, you might need a container or two to corral your formerly disorganized items.  If that’s the case, search your house for something you can use to organize your space.  If you come up empty handed, put it on your list for the next time you’re out and about.

Interested in other speedy posts?  Just click on the images to go to the posts.

How to Speed Clean ALL Your Bathrooms in 15 Minutes via Clean Mama

How to Speed Clean Your House in Less than 30 Minutes via Clean Mama 1

What’s the Best….

What's the Best - Clean Mama

I’m starting a little series here on the blog and on Instagram and it’s all about what YOU want to know.  Most questions I get asked start with, “What’s the best…”

and they go on to ask questions such as:

  • way to clean floors
  • way to wash pillows
  • bathroom cleaner
  • natural disinfectant
  • way to organize paperwork
  • cleaner for mold
  • vacuum for hardwood floors
  • steam cleaner

Some of my favorite posts are ones where I’m answering your questions.  So tell me – what do you want to know?  Got a cleaning or organizing conundrum?  I’ll do the research and let you know what I find out.  Leave your questions on the ‘What’s the Best’ post on Instagram or here in the comments.  I’ll be dual-posting the answers over the next few months (and hopefully beyond) on the blog and on Instagram.  Follow me over on Instagram and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a single post!

5 Reasons to Declutter

5 Reasons to Declutter via Clean Mama

If you are following me on Instagram, medicine you know that I”m doing #declutter30 this month.  Decluttering, cleaning, and organizing are all HUGE in January.  Everyone is ready to start the year off with less stuff, make resolutions, and changes in their homes.  We start out all excited and then it”s hard to make those changes and the changes fall by the wayside and it”s back to our old habits.

Make this year different.  Make small changes.  Give yourself grace.  Keep going.

In case you”re already feeling defeated, I thought I”d share 5 reasons to declutter if you”re losing steam and not sure you want to keep decluttering.  And just in case you”re wondering, decluttering IS NOT organizing.  Decluttering comes first!  If you have been following my cleaning routine, you know that CLUTTER is on the calendar every.single.day.  I have to deal with it daily so it doesn”t take over.  That to me is the secret to keeping clutter away and at bay.  Declutter spaces like crazy and then maintain the clutter on a daily basis.  It makes a huge difference!

In case you need a couple reasons to get started and to motivate…..

  1. SAVE TIME – No looking for things that you can”t find because everything has a place and a home.
  2. SAVE MONEY – No more re-purchasing items that you have and cannot find.  Use what you have in your home before purchasing.  Get creative, you might be surprised at some treasures you forgot about.
  3. LESS STRESS – I feel crabby and stressed when there”s clutter and visual noise in our home.  Decluttering makes it less stressful and more relaxing to be in our home.
  4. FEEL MORE ORGANIZED – That organized feeling you are looking for?  Decluttering will get you there.  You”ll know where things are, you won”t be searching aimlessly anymore and you”ll enjoy opening up cupboards and drawers instead of feeling fearful of what might fall out on you.
  5. WELCOME OTHERS – If you”ve felt uncertain, anxious, or nervous about welcoming others into your home, decluttering will help to get you beyond that place of fear.

What”s your reason to declutter this year?

How to Set Up a Filing and Budget System that Really Works

How to Set Up a Filing and Budget System that Really Works via Clean Mama

I’ve had so many requests for an update of my budget system and I finally have one for you today, just in time for the new year!  I have implemented a number of budget systems over the past few years and have lots of ideas for what works and what doesn’t.  There are a couple musts to make a budget system work and lots of ways to get to it to work for you.

Here are the MUSTS:

  • PLACE to keep, pay, and file bills – this can be in an office, a portable file cabinet, or a basket.  The location doesn’t have to be in the same place, but it can be, make it work for you.
  • TRACK your bills and payments – this can be as simple as a check register or as in-depth as a whole budget notebook.
  • ROUTINE – put budget and bill paying into your routine so it isn’t overwhelming.  I find that opening and filing bills daily and paying/tracking bills on Fridays is really helpful.

Here’s how I set up my filing and budget system – I hope it helps you get started!

Budget System via Clean Mama

I keep budget and bill paying supplies and records in my office.  I have a couple pieces of furniture and accessories that I love and I believe function really well for me, but you can choose different solutions or use what you have to accomplish the same thing.  (If you’re trying to get your budget in order the last thing you want to do is spend more money, right?)

FILING SYSTEM – here’s how I set mine up.  Depending on what you have that needs to be filed this can take minutes or days.  NOW is the time to get moving on this, it’s so much easier to start with the new year.

File Folders via Clean Mama

WALL SYSTEM – I purchased this wall system from Pottery Barn and I love it.  I have tried a couple other systems and found that this works the best for my office.  The components can be arranged to meet your needs and they get those papers that need to be dealt with in plain view.  I have 4 pockets with 4 different categories:

Wall Pocket Categories via Clean Mama

  • TO PAY – this is where I put bills that need to get paid during the CURRENT month.  I use a clothes pin to keep them all together and so I can quickly grab them when I sit down to pay bills.
  • TO FILE – these are bills and papers that need to find a home in the filing system.  I gather these for a month and then shred what can be shredded and file the rest.
  • IN PROCESS – these are bills that I might need at a moment’s notice – something for my business, important financial papers, things that are currently going on.  For instance, if you are re-financing your home you would keep all those pay stubs and other papers in this pocket until the deal is done.  Then file or shred.
  • CLEAN MAMA (BUSINESS) – I keep current contracts and other important papers here.  When I don’t need to access them anymore, they get filed.

BUDGET + BILL PAYING TRACKERS and PRINTABLES – This is my SECRET to staying on top of the bills, getting the bills paid on time, and getting rid of debt.  Having all the information handy in my homekeeping notebook is the key – I can take a peek and see if I paid the electric bill or what the balance is on an account.

Budget Worksheet and Bill and Payment Checklist via Clean Mama

Yes, I do online bill pay, but this system works in tandem with online bill paying.  I love it and my hubby does too – it’s great for accountability and all the bills, payments, and balances can be seen at a glance.  I have a few different budget kits in my shop, but I am currently using the Everyday Budget + Bill Pay Kit.  You can see all my printables in my shop here.

DESK – bill get paid and filed here.  I can do both from my chair and having everything at an arm’s reach make bill paying and filing easy and as enjoyable as possible.  This is the desk and file cabinet I have – I love the proportions and size.

Desk for Bill Paying via Clean Mama

With a PLACE to organize and pay bills, a system to TRACK bills paid, and a ROUTINE in place, you can definitely get your budget in order for 2015!  If you need some help getting your paper piles under control, you’ll appreciate this post: 8 Ways to Get a Handle on Paper Clutter.  What’s your biggest budget dilemma?

Organized Kitchen Home Tour – Kitchen Drawers

Top Organizing Bloggers Kitchen Tour

The Top Organizing Bloggers are doing a kitchen tour today!  I’m so excited to be showing you a little glimpse of my kitchen – the kitchen drawers.  If you’re new here (welcome!) and I hope you find some simple ideas for organizing your kitchen.  (At the bottom of the post you’ll find links to the Top Organizing Bloggers Kitchen Tour that you won’t want to miss!)  Want to know more about me? Go through the tour and then go to my cleaning routine page.

In my opinion, organizing the kitchen drawers are critical to a kitchen running smoothly.  Regardless of the size or your kitchen or the number of drawers you have, you can follow these simple steps and ideas and get your drawers tidied up in a hurry.

Top Organizing Bloggers Organized Kitchen Home Tour - Kitchen Drawers via Clean Mama

Why would you want to organize and label your kitchen drawers?  It makes finding things a little easier and better yet, it makes things easier to return to their proper spots.  When we re-did our kitchen, the contractor did make fun of me a little bit for having everything labeled, but anyone can locate anything in the kitchen and put things away easily.

Labelmaker and Clear Tape for Drawers via Clean Mama

I use this label maker with clear tape and black ink to label each drawer and just place the label on the interior of each drawer.

Organized Kitchen Drawers via Clean Mama

I divided our kitchen up into zones or work spaces and then organized the drawers from there.  (You can see how I created zones in the pantry here and zones in the kitchen here.)  And here’s how to organize a kitchen drawer in 15 minutes.  I made a list of all the drawers and what went in each drawer – this was really helpful to keep everything together and contained.

Measuring Cups and Spoons via Clean Mama

Going around the kitchen from left to right, here are the drawers in my kitchen:

  • grill
  • paper goods
  • silverware
  • cutting boards
  • dish towels
  • measuring cups and spoons (baking)
  • oven mitts and hot pads and wraps (foil, parchment, etc)
  • pots & pans
  • oversized pans
  • baking pans

Oven Mitts & Pot Holders and Wraps via Clean Mama

I also have six large drawers in the island (work station) – the top two drawers have large silverware organizers and they are labeled:

  • thermometers, scoops, grate & press, cakes, miscellaneous
  • knives, openers, cutters, bottle stoppers, miscellaneous

Labeled Tool Drawer via Clean Mama

Then the pull-out drawers under each one are labeled:

  • food storage
  • baking pans
  • food processing
  • roasting supplies

Food Storage and Baking Pans via Clean Mama


Pots and Pans and Oversized Pans via Clean Mama

Ready for more?  Go to the next link to see The Top Organizing Bloggers Kitchen Tour- click on the links below to see the rest of our organized kitchens (and make sure you’re following me on Instagram for a $100 CASH giveaway that starts at 8am EST 10/1/14):

IG full follow pic


And don’t forget to follow our Top Organizing Bloggers Pinterest Board to see what we’re pinning!


What Should I Keep? Sorting Through Memorabilia

What Should I Keep - Sorting Through Memorabilia via Clean Mama

This week’s organizing challenge is MEMORABILIA and I’m going to challenge you to make a little progress sorting through memorabilia. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to store memorabilia, because it varies according to the space you have, what you want to keep, and what’s precious enough to save indefinitely.  I have a pretty simple method for keeping special and important items – maybe my method will help you too.  Don’t make it too complicated or involved – simply create a couple specific spots/zones/boxes/bins to save memorabilia and then file it appropriately.

Establish ground rules for what you are keeping and what you are tossing – memorabilia doesn’t fall under the if I haven’t worn it in 6 months, or if it isn’t being used daily get rid of it, it’s different.  Everyone has a different interpretation of what they want to keep – that’s personal.  So, first things first, come up with your own rules and then follow my steps.

  1. Start with the really old stuff – if there are things that you have been holding on to for years and you know there’s no reason to save them anymore, spend a couple minutes this week doing a quick purge of those items.  Label the items that you are keeping by year (1993, 1995-1997) or by era (high school, college, grandma’s items, wedding, etc.)
  2. If you have kids, use a bin or a box to keep special items that can’t be stored flat like a special blanket or a special outfit.  Keep it in their bedroom closet so you can take it down and look through it with them – there’s no sense keeping items in a basement if no one’s ever going to look through them.
  3. Establish a method going forward that works for your family.  I keep the kids’ special papers in a large file drawer that has a file folder for each year and artwork goes in a large folder.  You can also take pictures of artwork and special pieces and save them digitally as well.  You can apply this method to any one in your home – file folders work great for keeping memorabilia.  Scrapbooks, digital or paper, are also a great way to keep the memorabilia out of the closet and in a special place.

That’s it – 3 simple action steps that you can take in a couple minutes this week – don’t get overwhelmed, just move forward and do a little work.  Only you know what is important enough to keep and what you can get rid of.  If this is too hard to determine for yourself, ask a friend or relative for a little help in the decision-making department.

Any tips to share when it comes to sorting through memorabilia?  Share them in the comments.


Start Here. FREE October 2014 FREE Cleaning + Organizing Calendar

start here logo

Happy (almost) October! If you’ve been working through the Start Here. calendar since January I hope you’ve met successes and made some oodles of progress in your home. If you’re new here, check out the first post in this series for a little more explanation.

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

Consistency and follow through.

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

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

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

Start Here.  Cleaning + Organizing Calendar Infographic via Clean Mama

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

October 2014 Cleaning and Organizing Calendar via Clean Mama

Need a little more explanation? Go to this post to see more information on my cleaning and homekeeping routine.  I’ve covered a lot of cleaning and organizing ground – you can go here to see all the posts in this series.

The Streamlined Life Complete Kit via Clean Mama Printables

(If you like this calendar style, you’ll love The Streamlined Life Series in my shop!)

If you aren’t already receiving posts via email, you’ll want to sign up– something very exciting is coming!


Modern Day Homekeeping – The Printable Kit

The Modern Day Homekeeping Kit via Clean Mama Printables

I am so excited to get started on this new series with all of you!  If you ever wonder if you”re the only one that struggles to keep up with it “all”, sick just go to the first post in this series and read through the comments.  Homekeeping is something that is learned and perfected and just when you think you have it mastered, viagra something will change and it”ll all be thrown out the window.  My hope is that this series helps you start enjoying the process of homekeeping.  I am so excited to share some simple ideas and lessons with you over the next few months.  I know you”ll love it!

My mind works in graphics and checklists so it only makes sense to create a new printable kit, buy The Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit, as a tool for you (and me) to simplify the process of homekeeping.  (You don”t need to purchase the kit to take full advantage of this series, it”s just a tool you might enjoy using.  I will also be giving away some additional free printables that coordinate with the kit as the series progresses.)

The Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit…..

The Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit via Clean Mama

If you’ve struggled with homekeeping or have it all together this simple kit and format is perfect to get your home and life in order.  The colors are dark charcoal and teal to coordinate seamlessly with a variety of planners, binders, and decor.  You”ll love the simple format and adorable homekeeping icons throughout the kit.

Simply print off the pages and get ready to tackle a little bit every day and move forward to a clean and organized home.  Homekeeping shouldn’t be difficult….all it takes is a little time, a lot of effort, and consistency.  Homekeeping consists of anything it takes to keep your home in order – cleaning, menu planning, shopping, scheduling….this kit will help you master those areas of your life.  Start with one area of your life or all areas – get ready to revolutionize your homekeeping!

The Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit 2 via Clean Mama

INTRODUCTION – simple start-up guide and instructions (1 page)
CLEANING ORGANIZING printables (5 pages):

  • 30 Days to a Clean House/30 Days to an Organized House (use these lists together to get your home in shape in a hurry or do cleaning the first month and organizing the next)
  • The Clean House Cleaning Routine (my daily weekly cleaning tasks)
  • The Clean House Checklist (arranged by room, create your own checklist)
  • The Organized House Checklist (arranged by room, create your own checklist)
  • Rotating Cleaning Schedule (pre-filled with suggested cleaning tasks)

MEAL PLANNING SHOPPING printables (5 pages):

  • Grocery Shopping List (blank list broken down into 14 store section categories)
  • Recipes to Try (write down recipes to try for easy meal planning)
  • All Over Everywhere List (4 sections for casino online multiple stores and stops)
  • On the List – (two columns – use it for work and home, projects, or shopping)
  • Shopping List Menu Plan (keep your weekly menu and shopping list on the page to simplify meal planning)

LIST MAKING printables (3 pages):

  • Important Contacts (space for 8 contacts – keep track of service providers, family and friends – space for address, phone, and email or website address)
  • Dates to Remember  (perpetual calendar to keep important dates like birthdays and anniversaries)
  • Today – Daily Planner (perfect for the busy days when you need to keep track of your day by the hour – space for schedule (6am-8pm), to do, notes, menu)

The Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit 2 via Clean Mama

My favorite thing about printables is that you can use them in a few different ways.  You might want to keep a shopping list in your car on a clipboard for the pick-up lane at school, but I might like it washi taped to my refrigerator.  Print them out, use them up, print them again!  Try using them in a binder or planner, on a clipboard, laminated with a dry erase marker…just use them!  You”ll LOVE the versatility of these printables – get creative and enjoy them.

Use the printable kit in a variety of ways and any place that will help your modern day homekeeping via Clean Mama

Grab your Clean Mama Modern Day Homekeeping Kit – I know you”ll love it!

Subscribe to the blog (just pop your email address in the box on the sidebar) and follow along socially!  I’ll be posting pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #moderndayhomekeeping


New Series : Modern Day Homekeeping

Modern Day Homekeeping - Keep Up With Your Home in the Midst of Everyday Life via Clean Mama

I’ve been working behind the scenes on a couple new (and exciting) products for my shop – doing a little re-focus, simplifying product lines and adding something completely different.  One of the new products is all about homekeeping.  For me, homekeeping is a favorite topic and activity for me.  I absolutely love the process of cleaning and organizing and managing a home.  I know that not everyone loves/likes it as much as I do (or at all) and so I’ve developed a series that will guide you through the process of homekeeping in the midst of everyday life.  Sounds like what you need?  I hear from so, so many of you about how much you struggle to get it ‘all’ done.  I never have it all done but there are some tricks and ideas that I use to simplify the process and I know that you’ll just love them!

If you’re a mom (or not), if you work in your home or outside your home, have one kid or twelve, I have real, practical ideas for keeping your home tidy, getting food on the table, and most importantly, having time to savor and enjoy your family and the things you really want to accomplish.  I’m so excited to experience this series with you as you discover how easy it can be to keep up with the everyday stuff in the midst of a busy life.  Stay tuned – the series will launch with the new product in the shop and we’ll go from there.  Excited?  Me too!  (Just so you know….I’m not a fan of teaser posts but I thought that this series needed a little preface so you could get your heart ready to do a little homekeeping.)  Wednesdays will be the day of this series on Clean Mama – I’m expecting it to last (at least) through the summer.

Have an area of homekeeping that you struggle with?  Leave a comment!  I’d love to be able to tailor this series to what you REALLY need!

Subscribe to the blog (just pop your email address in the box on the sidebar) and follow along socially!  I’ll be posting pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #moderndayhomekeeping


Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss