How to Declutter Your House: Challenge Series

Moving into a new space is a pain. Honestly. Add in a toddler, a dog, two full-time jobs, anxiety, and just life in general and it makes it really hard to truly organize your house. 

We moved in to our new house last December right before Christmas, after a very stressful sale of our previous house. My husband and I both took off a couple days from work to move all of our stuff into the new house. I’ll be honest, we have a ton of crap. We truly didn’t have nearly enough time to arrange and organize everything. We just wanted to get moved in and live life. 

Now that we’ve been here for a little more than a year, we’re realizing how much clutter and crap we have! Plus, our stuff just isn’t functional and organized. You may feel the same way about your space!

For the next 7 weeks, join us on a Declutter Challenge! We’re going room by room to sort out the clutter, throw out the junk, donate or sell the excess, and organize the necessities. 


Are you ready!?

If you want exclusive access to our Declutter Challenge Facebook group and exclusive printables each week, register here now

 

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Keeping Your Sanity in Chaos

Keeping Your

Being a parent is TOUGH. Go ahead, you can admit it. There are days when you let your kiddo eat puffs and grapes for every meal (I promise I won’t tell…my little one does it at least once a week). There are days when you AND the kids don’t make it out of pajamas (guilty again)! There are days when you realize you’ve been wearing the same yoga pants for 3 days (I’ll admit I lose track when I resort to dry shampoo and think my hair is cleaner than it really is). There are days when you have an enormous “to-do” list and you’re lucky if you can get 1/2 of one task accomplished. There are days when you have the entire house to clean and your little one decides you will be her slave and nurse all day, forcing you to be stationary on the couch ALL.DAY.

I get it, because, I know those days all too well. And to top it off, that’s just a REGULAR, NORMAL day. 

Lately, our house has been ranking in the upper levels of chaos with no mercy.

When we suddenly decided to think about putting our house up for sale, we realized we had a hefty “to-do” list before that would be possible. We’re not talking painting a few rooms and cleaning the carpets. Nope. We’re talking full-on construction and renovation project over weeks and weeks. On top of that, we decided to do most of the work ourselves, thanks to the amazing handyman skills of my Dad. 

We were pretty prepared for the timeline and work that would be ahead of us. 

BIG SURPRISE when I ended up breaking my ankle and having to be in a cast for 4+ weeks and being unable to bear any weight AT ALL. I’m finally in a walking boot, but, this was a major setback since my Mom and Gramma had to help with our daughter EVERY DAY while I was in my cast. Without that help, we would have been in a pretty bad place all around! So, instead of being done with our renovation project at the end of August, we’re now looking at being done at the end of September. 

Even better is the undeniable lack of routine in our household right now. Nap times? Ha! If we’re lucky.  Our good eater enjoying a plethora of nutrient-dense foods? Popcorn, tortilla chips, and grapes count, right? Bedtime routine? Now you’re really being hilarious! Kiddo going to sleep in her own bed at night before snuggling up with us later on? You have to be delusional! 

If I thought our day-to-day was hectic already, a renovation and broken ankle made me laugh at my previous daily mom “struggles”. Compared to lately, my days of having a fully functional ankle were a dream world! 

So, when your daily routine gets COMPLETELY thrown off a cliff by a broken bone, illness, or other major event, how do you deal?

Sh*! happens. REAL life happens. Bad days happen. Illness happens. Broken bones happen. Day-to-day life with a family is never ideal. Never flawless. Real life is how you handle those things when you really don’t want to or hadn’t planned to.

ADAPT AND OVERCOME, MAMAS. 

1.) Ask for help. 

When I broke my ankle (at a workout in the park- thanks for throwing me off track on my first day, ankle!), I was so freaked out about how I was going to care for my child and household. I expressed this fear to one of my fellow MOPS moms and she immediately asked if we could use some meals. This amazing mama (you’re seriously an angel, Ashleigh!) organized a meal train for the first 2 weeks. I am eternally grateful to all of the mamas who jumped in, regardless of their OWN daily demands and struggles, to help us adjust to our new “normal” for the next 6+ weeks. We not only had meals, we got fruit, cookies, and sides to go along! Huge help when our fridge was bare.

2.) Accept the help.

As moms, it’s hard to put your pride aside sometimes and admit that, yes- you, supermom, need some help. It’s okay, and believe me, no one will think less of you for it. I not only have my Mom and Gramma helping with my day-to-day stuff, they’re also helping with packing our belongings, scheduling appointments, cleaning our house, doing our laundry, cooking us meals, staging our house for moving, and the list goes on. I would have never been able to do even a fraction of that stuff with this broken ankle. Just graciously accept the help when someone offers, and when you’re feeling better, pay it forward!

3.) Try to get organized.

One of our biggest struggles with me being down right now is our household, well, EVERYTHING. I’m always the one in charge of our household binder including bills, checking account register, grocery lists, food prep/meal prep, cleaning (for the most part), and miscellaneous things here and there. With our routine being so out of whack, our household binder went downhill, FAST. We were forgetting due dates for bills because our routine was simply gone and my typical routine of seeing our calendar on the fridge with the bills written down (on a daily basis) was long gone. Grocery trips were done by my husband (with baby in tow) or by my mom. We were constantly forgetting things because I wasn’t able to make a quick notes throughout the week like usual. So, if something catastrophic happens to your day-to-day routine, carve out some time to get organized. Designate duties to your husband, kids, whoever. Make notes on how you usually do things so people can just take charge. Ask for help!

4.) Let it go.

Whatever it is that has forced its way into your normal daily life, accept it. It’s happened, and as frustrating as it can be, it can’t be changed (in most cases at least). We all have our way of doing things and it’s hard to forfeit that and let others take control of our usual daily tasks. I like to fold laundry completely different than my mom does, but, she’s doing me a GINORMOUS favor by doing MY laundry so I deal with it, thank her, and just tell her where things belong! The alternative is me trying to hobble down a flight of stairs to our construction zone of a lower level while trying to figure out how to get the laundry baskets down there on crutches…not a good idea and a recipe for more broken bones. Don’t dwell on the fact that some things may not be done the way you’d normally do them. Just let it go and know that eventually, you’ll be back to doing those things YOUR way!

5.) ENJOY IT.

Yep. I said it. And no, I’m not being delusional or facetious! This will obviously not apply to all derailed routines, but, you can try it regardless.
As I’ve been stuck on the couch for the last 4+ weeks with minimal movement besides the necessities, I’ve come to realize that this happened for a reason. I know, I know- overly cliche, right? Bare with me.
As a mama who has struggled (and still is struggling) with PPD and postpartum induced anxiety, this broken ankle has allowed me to take a break. It has allowed me to open up to some of the closest people to me and allow them to see my daily struggles as a mom. It’s allowed me to focus on my blog, freelance work, networking, and in some ways, myself. I was so stressed out by so many things, and then, I break my ankle. Am I glad it happened? Not one bit. It added to my stress at that moment. However, it happened and I know it happened for a reason. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it was nice to not have to clean the house, cook meals, and change diapers. I was essentially good for boobs to nurse my daughter, and, arms to snuggle her. It wasn’t an ideal “vacation”, but, it was a little break and I know things will return to normal, eventually. You’re not less of a mom for wanting a break once in a while.

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Your kids will survive a not-so-perfect bedtime routine. Your spouse will manage to figure out your side of this parenting thing. Your family will realize how insane your kids can be on a daily basis when they’re seeing them for more than an hour or two at a time. Your spouse and kids will realize how much you do for them and see that they’d be screwed without you :) Your family will understand why you’re exhausted half the time when they see you. Your kids will realize that they can’t and don’t want to survive on popcorn for the rest of their lives.

We forget how specific our routines are and how they impact our daily life. We stress out at the first sign of change and think about all the negatives. We overwhelm ourselves with schedules and routines. We rarely stop and think about the positives in our daily life and why the craziness makes it worth it.

We all want a break, and when we get it, we want our craziness back. We must be INSANE, right!? Yes. Yes we are. And that, is what makes us moms. 

DIY Natural, Disinfecting Cleaning Solutions

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Image courtesy of The Sans Serif
Image courtesy of The Sans Serif

 

As a semi-crunchy mama, some of my favorite things to find are “recipes” for more natural cleaning supplies. Plus, with our current renovation, we’re trying to save money when we can. Making your own cleaning products has two HUGE perks! One, you know exactly what ingredients are in your cleaning products. Two, they’re cheaper and you can make big batches!

This week, we’re sharing some awesome “recipes” for natural DIY cleaning products that disinfect- SUPER important when you have kiddos around who love to make big messes with things they shouldn’t be touching ;)

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Try them out and let me know what you think! Thanks to our wonderful guest blogger for giving us these awesome “recipes”!


DIY Natural, Disinfecting Cleaning Solutions

It sometimes seems impossible to maintain every room of your home and always keep it clean without store-bought cleaning supplies. A lot of people think this way, but, the truth is that there are many other options. The cleaning supplies you purchase regularly from the store may work, but, they also leave unpleasant residue and contain various dangerous chemicals that could endanger your health and the health of your family. Switching to natural cleaning supplies is a good alternative. This way you will save yourself money and time because you will prepare the special products yourself, using cheap ingredients that are very easy to find.

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t rely on toxic store-bought cleaning supplies and test the effectiveness of the natural homemade cleaners. After the first cleaning you will immediately notice a big difference. The eco-friendly products will not only eliminate the microbes and the grime faster, but, they will also leave a nice smell that will freshen up the air in the premises of your home. The disinfection of all surfaces and fabrics will be easier than ever, when you don’t have to worry about the effect of the chemicals or how much product you use. We are happy to help by presenting several recipes for effective natural cleaning solutions.

cleaning
Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner
This is a simple but very effective recipe that will allow you to keep every area of your home always thoroughly disinfected.
You will need:
(1) Clean jar with a lid
(1) Orange
(1) Bottle of white vinegar
Remove the peels of the citrus fruit and put them in the jar. Then fill almost the entire jar with white vinegar. Leave the jar in a dark place for about 10 days and then use the liquid to disinfect the counters in the kitchen, the bathroom tiles, bathroom counters, and anything else you like.

Baking Soda Cleaner
The baking soda will miraculously remove all unpleasant stains and grime from your bathroom and kitchen.
You can mix a little water with baking soda in a bottle or in some other container and apply the solution on the tiles in the bathroom, on the tub, on the sink, and other similar areas. Rinse with clean water and a clean rag. Before you know it, you will have a sparkling clean home. If you want to make the product smell better, you can add several drops of your favorite essential oil, too.

Disinfecting with Essential Oils
Essential Oils can be very effective when it comes to disinfection. You can count on them for the removing of pimples and other skin problems, as well as for the elimination of dangerous microbes and stubborn grime. Each essential oil has its own special qualities.

For greasy stains, for instance, you can prepare a solution of 12 drops of lemon oil and water.

You can combine several essential oils too and use the product for the effective disinfection of the toilet. Just mix together 5 drops of lavender, lemon and peppermint.

The results will surprise you for sure.

Thanks to those special natural cleaning solutions, you and your family will be always protected. As you can see, they are not only easy to prepare, but, also require simple ingredients that you will be able to find without any problems. That is enough reason to give up the expensive detergents and various other cleaning supplies and start making your own products. This is a great way not only to save some money, but, also guarantee your safety and the safety of the other members of your family. There is no need to hesitate any more, so start making your own cleaning products right now.

The article is kindly contributed by N17 CarpetCleaning


What are YOUR favorite essential oils and homemade cleaning products?
Tell us here or on our Facebook page!

“Renovation on the Cheap” Series- Post #3

We have been BUSY BEES, everyone. Some days, it seems we are TOO busy. Ha, typical right? I don’t think we ever have enough time in the day to do everything we want and need to do!

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My husband ran into some car trouble and was without his car for a little over a week and a half. He was taking my car to work so I was home and getting stir crazy with our little one! Tonight, he FINALLY got the problem fixed and we are back to having two running cars- WOO HOO!

The car was definitely interfering with our renovation progress. However, we are truckin’ along on the downstairs and making some great progress! This week, my dad and husband picked up the drywall and insulation and unloaded it. My dad finished up some wiring, plumbing work, and insulation on Saturday while my husband battled his car all morning and afternoon. Today, my husband took a break and the drywall hanging started this morning! The guys made some great progress while my mama played maid and cleaned up drywall dust after them :) If you don’t have a shop vac for your home reno projects, GET ONE. Rent one. Borrow one. Buy one. You won’t regret it.

We’ll be working on the drywall the rest of the week and we’re hoping to be done with that step by this weekend. Then comes taping, plastering, texturing, and painting! Ahhh…painting, the funnest thing of all…*enter sarcasm*. :)

We’ve also got a lot of painting to do in the rest of the house (touch-ups, painting another layer in the bathroom upstairs, etc.). We’re enlisting the expert painting skills of my Gram during that phase! Thanks, Gram!

If you want to check out the photos so far, see the slideshow below! I’ve been trying REALLY hard to keep up with the photo taking, but, some days our insanely busy toddler distracts me from my photo taking duties.

Keep checking back for more updates and photos! We’re so excited that you’re following our journey!

 

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DIY Bathroom Cleaning Wipes

We all like clean bathrooms, right!? As a parent with a toddler and a husband who is a mechanic, I feel like my bathroom is CONSTANTLY dirty, but, I don’t have the time to deep clean every other day to fight the grime and dirt!

If you want an incredibly easy way to keep your bathroom clean on a daily basis without forking over a ton of money on pricey, chemical- laden cleaning wipes, this is it. Minimal ingredients, minimal time, and easy? I’ll take it! Plus, they’re so easy, you really can’t mess them up. No Pinterest fails here :)

Try them out and let us know what you think! Thanks to our wonderful guest blogger from House Cleaners London, for giving us this awesome recipe!


DIY Reusable Bathroom Cleaning Wipes
Edna J. Thomson

Buying cleaning wipes all the time will cost you a fortune. You possibly think that purchasing one pack every other day is nothing, but, once you calculate how much you spend for this product every month, you will be surprised for sure! There is another problem with the cleaning wipes offered in the stores, and, that’s the dangerous ingredients they contain. It’s enough to look at the label to see just how harmful they actually are. There is no need to endanger your health and the health of the other members of your family any more. Instead, we can offer you a safer and cheaper alternative.

DIY reusable cleaning wipes are easy to make and also more effective than the regular ones. There is no need to spend a lot of money every month for packs of dangerous cleaning wipes when you can simply prepare your own special product for general house cleaning. You will need a couple of simple and cheap ingredients, as well as a little free time. We can promise you, however, that once you try this amazing homemade product, you will permanently stop using store-bought wipes.

Below you will find a useful recipe for bathroom cleaning wipes that will make the disinfection of this part of your home much easier.

Courtesy of Wikimedia
Courtesy of Wikimedia

Ingredients
The first thing you have to do is to gather all ingredients you will need for the preparation of your homemade bathroom cleaning wipes. You can make a list in advance, so that you don’t have to go to the shop again.

What you’ll need is:

White vinegar

Essential oil of your choosing

Water

Large container or big jar with lid

Pieces of cloth (the best part is that you can use some of your old t-shirts, sheets or other things to make the cloths- just make sure that all pieces have the same size)

Preparing the special blend
The next step is to mix together the ingredients, so that you can make a special cleaning solution. You can mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with several drops of essential oil and water in some kind of vessel. If you are using a jar, you will have to arrange the pieces of cloth in the jar first and then add the special blend until the jar is almost full.

Placing the wipes in the clean container
In case you have a container instead of jar, you will have to soak each piece of cloth in the solution and then place it in the empty container until it becomes full. You can arrange your new bathroom cleaning wipes any way you like. You also have to make sure that the lid of the container closes well.

Cleaning and Maintenance
You can use your homemade wipes for the disinfection of pretty much everything. Whenever you want to remove old stains from toothpaste, shampoo or something else from the mirror or another part of your bathroom, you will have a reliable and effective cleaning product. When you finish with the cleaning, all you have to do is wash the pieces cloth and you can use them again.

Maintaining and cleaning your home, and more precisely your bathroom, can be a challenge sometimes. With the right cleaning supplies, however, this task will be easier than ever. The DIY bathroom cleaning wipes will remove any grime, especially different kinds of stains. If you want to make sure that this part of your property is also free from mold, you can add a couple drops of tea tree oil to the special blend for the wipes. Then, you can clean the area around the toilet, as well as all corners in your bathroom.

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