8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Get Your House Holiday Ready

Holiday cleaning checklist

Can you believe we’re one week away from Christmas day?  Wow!  Time sure flies when you’re having fun! (or being busy?)  Since we’re one week away from Christmas, this also means we’ve reached the last week of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  I sure hope you enjoyed it.  I also hope it helped you to have a more simple and manageable holiday season!

Christmas usually involves company and no one likes to show their guests a good time in a messy home.  So, today, I’ve got a printable Get Your House Holiday Ready Checklist!  It includes suggestions of cleaning tasks to do each day leading up to Christmas day.  There’s even plenty of room for you to add your own tasks.  I kept it fairly simple, because really, who has time for crazy cleaning this time of year?

Remember, these are suggestions only!  Click on the image below or here to print your holiday cleaning list.

Holiday Ready Cleaning List

What tasks are on your holiday cleaning list?  Are you ready for Christmas?

Here are the rest of the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

5 Quick Tricks to a Cleaner Home

Cleaning tips, Household hacks

So, your house is a bit of a mess.  Not only do you not have time to devote to a good cleaning, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of starting!  While looking around at all the mess, you may think that nothing will make a difference because the mess is too great.

There are 5 main items that get scattered throughout to create chaos in your home.  Learn to tackle these 5 cleaning tasks and you’ll find they can make a huge difference to the cleanliness level of your home!

Do the Dishes

Quick Cleaning trick #1 is to do the dishes!  Dirty dishes seem to multiply quickly and can even gather in places they shouldn’t!  It’s important to keep up with the dishes so the old food doesn’t attract fruit flies or mold.  So get going on those dirty dishes; I’m always amazed at the difference a clean counter can make in my home!

Dirty laundry and clothes

Quick Cleaning trick #2 is to pick up the dirty laundry and clothes piles.  If clothes strewn about have taken over your home, it’s time to take care of this task.  Getting all the clothes laundered and back into the closets and dressers will make your house look much cleaner.  First of all, go from room to room with a laundry basket or two and gather up all the dirty laundry.  Next of course, is to wash and dry all the laundry.  I find that if I don’t fold and put away the clean clothes right away, they’ll sit in the laundry basket, which quickly becomes a mess!

Gather the Garbage and Recycling

Quick Cleaning trick #3 is to gather the garbage and recycling!  I think this is the easiest task because all you have to do is wander around your house and put all the garbage and recycling items into  bags and then take them to the trash can or recycling box.  I find when I let recycling items pile up, our house can look messy very quickly.  So once a week or so, I’ll wander around and pick up old newspapers, junk mail and empty cardboard boxes and put them away in the blue bag.

Toys

Quick Cleaning trick #4 is to pick up the toys.  This is the battle I’m fighting with right now.  Toys seem to be strewn about all the time, making the floors seem very messy!  While Sienna (18 months) will put the toys away for fun, she’ll promptly take them out again to play.  If you have older children, make a game out of putting the toys away. Or, if you have the willpower or some time, why not purge some of the unused toys to create more space?

Paper

Quick Cleaning trick #5 is to take care of the paper.  Between my husband and I, we can create quite the mess with our individual paper piles.  Piles of paper drive me bananas, but I can’t seem to stay on top of the piles on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, here are a couple of  things that help me stay organized:

  • Stack all the papers together.  While filing papers can take a long time, stacking them all together does not.  It’s better to have one pile over several piles!
  • About once a month or so, I go though the pile I created to file, shred and organize each paper.  Takes a bit of time, but I love the results and knowing I can easily find an important document.

Any of these quick cleaning trick will give you relief from a messy house and help your house to appear cleaner, but don’t feel you have to do all 5 in the same day!  Why not attempt one trick a day?

I hope that these quick cleaning tricks will give you a starting point to help you keep thing mess-free and organized!

What are your tips to help you achieve a cleaner home? Let us know in the comments below.

Budget Cleaning Tips For Busy Moms

These cleaning tips are meant to help you stay on budget easily no matter how busy you are. Moms who work outside the home, or even stay at home moms with multiple children may find themselves struggling with those regular daily chores. Instead of giving in to the desire to hire help, check these tips first to make the most of your budget and time.

Budget Cleaning Tips For Busy Moms

Budget cleaning tips for busy moms. Cleaning tips.

Create a chore chart for yourself that is divided by day and times.

When you’re busy, it’s hard to find enough time to get everything done. Your to-do list of chores can seem very overwhelming. When you take the time to create a list of all of your chores, you can easily create a chart that will break things down into small increments each day that make it more manageable.

Break down your chore list by daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Things like trash, dishes and general pickup can be done daily. Weekly chores might be vacuuming, dusting or cleaning bathrooms. Monthly tasks can include things like deep cleaning (baseboards and walls), ceiling fans, light fixtures and similar items.

Make your own homemade cleaning products.

There is a lot of savings in making your own homemade cleaning products. You also will always have what you need on hand and won’t have to worry about having to run out to grab more in the midst of a cleaning project. Laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dish soap, sanitizing spray, bleach spray and even shower and bathroom cleaner can all be made with basic ingredients like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, borax and essential oils.

Related: Here’s how I clean my whole house without harsh chemicals.

Stick to multi-purpose cleaning products.

Instead of buying a different product for each task, find cleaning agents that work on multiple surfaces. This saves you both time and money. Homemade cleaners are a great way to do this, but there are many quality multi-purpose cleaners on the market to choose from if making your own isn’t something you care to do.

Get the kids involved with some chores.

Children are often much better at chores than you initially think. Assign them a few simple daily chores and hold them responsible for basic things like cleaning their room, sorting their laundry and feeding their pets. They need to learn responsibility for their possessions and you need the help around the house. This is a win-win solution.

Recycle when at all possible.

There are tons of great ways to recycle (or upcycle) that are also excellent cleaning tips for around your home. Things like using old sheets and towels to create cleaning rags, or even using old laundry detergent containers to make your own homemade versions. Recycle when possible to keep your costs low. The bonus is that recycling like this is great for the environment and helps you teach your kids about responsibility in another area of their life.

These cleaning tips are ideal for busy moms on a budget. Think outside the box to get your family involved so keeping house isn’t as huge of a chore when you’re busy with other things in life. Grab supplies and make large batches of homemade cleaners and watch as your home stays clean and your budget in tact.

Brilliant Laundry Hacks to Make Laundry Easier

Laundry can be an especially time consuming task. Short of hiring someone to do the laundry for you, it’s difficult to keep caught up on the piles that never seem to get smaller.

Today, I have some brilliant laundry hacks that you’re sure to enjoy since they may make the task of laundry easier for you! You can even click on the image below and print out the PDF so you have it on hand:

laundry hacks

  1. Need something dried in a hurry? Throw a fluffy dry towel in the dryer with wet clothes to speed up the process.
  2. Reduce time spent doing laundry by ensuring that you are using a product that will leave your clothes clean and crisp the first time. Arm & Hammer™ Liquid Laundry Detergent removes dirt, odours and leaves clothes feeling refreshed.
  3. Solve the lost sock mystery by putting dirty socks in a mesh bag before they go in the wash. This will keep pairs together and ensure no sock goes MIA!
  4. Add a tennis ball or aluminum foil ball to your dryer when you run out of dryer sheets. This helps eliminate static and keeps your clothes fluffy.
  5. Tired of spills, sticky messes and hauling heavy bottles? Try using a unit dose laundry detergent such as ARM & HAMMER™ plus OxiClean™ Power Paks to help save you time and eliminate mess. Simply toss in a convenient unit dose pak and watch it dissolve quickly and start to work within seconds, leaving your clothes clean and fresh.
  6. Get the kids to help with folding. Have them fold while watching television or listening to music to make it more entertaining while taking one more thing off your plate!
  7. Keep a clipboard and pen near the washing machine to jot down tips and reminders. For instance, remind your family about a nasty stain that needs to be pre-treated before washed or call out delicates that should be hung to dry
  8. Save money on your energy bill by washing your clothes in cold water when possible and using a cold water-specific detergent, such as, ARM & HAMMER™ Cold Water Liquid Laundry Detergent. Cold water is not only more energy efficient, it can also be gentler on your clothes helping them last longer by reducing fading and shrinkage.
  9. Tired of sorting dirty clothes? Use dedicated baskets, one for whites and one for darks. Simply place your clothes in the correct basket as you go, instead of having to pick through the basket when you go to do a load.
  10. Speed up washing and drying time by selecting the correct settings for each load. Choose a lower water setting when possible and avoid a second rinse cycle.

On top of these helpful hacks, Arm & Hammer has a brand new money-saving digital rewards program that they want you to know about! This reward program is simple to use, great for on-the-go families and allows users to redeem credits for an amazing selection of prizes. Here are the details you need to know:

Q: What is the rewards program?

A: Every time you purchase two or more ARM & HAMMER Laundry products on a single receipt and upload your receipt via text or online, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the exciting grand prize of $10,000 CDN. You’ll also be entered for a chance to win the monthly prize of $1,000 CDN and weekly giveaways of $100 CDN gift cards. Once uploaded, you’ll also receive credits that can be redeemed for digital rewards.

Q: Are purchases from any store valid for the program?

A: Yes, purchases from any store selling the products are valid for digital rewards.

Q: How and where do I upload my receipts?

A: To enter,

Text:

  • Text 16 SIMPLE or 16 NATURE or 16 MACHINE to 76477 and follow the instructions
  • Register for the program or login to track your records
  • Submit a photo of the receipt for verification to receive credits and be entered for a chance to win

– OR –

Web:

  • Go to, cleanupandwin.ca, and upload an image of your receipt
  • Register for the program or login to track your records
  • Once your receipt has been verified and the registration process is complete you will receive credits and be entered for a chance to win

Q: How many credits can I earn with my purchase?

A: Buy 2 Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent and get 1 credit
Buy 2 Arm & Hammer Plus Oxiclean unit dose and get 2 credits
Buy 2 AArm & Hammer Plus Oxiclean unit dose plus 1 Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent and get 3 credits

Q: What are the prizing options?

A: There is a wide selection of prizes and rewards. Credits are redeemable for music, movies, mobile apps, eBooks, and various other digital content. You’ll also be entered into random draws for a chance to win:

  • Weekly prizes of $100 CDN Visa Gift Cards
  • Monthly prizes of $1,000 CDN
  • A grand prize of $10,000 CDN

Q: When does the program begin and end?

A: The program begins on June 6, 2016 and ends on August 28, 2016

Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post brought to you by Arm & Hammer.  All opinions are 100% my own.

7 Tips For A Simple Cleaning Schedule For Kids

Kids need a good cleaning schedule to learn responsibility around the house. Most families with children assign at least a few chores to their kids, and this post is all about how to make that simpler. A cleaning schedule your kids can work around is great, but making it simple and easy for them is best. These tips can make cleaning and completing chores fun and easy for everyone in the family.

7 Tips For A Simple Cleaning Schedule For Kids

Create a chore chart. It’s pretty hard to have a simple cleaning schedule without a chore chart. For younger kids you can use pictures instead of words until they can learn to read the chore on a list. A chore chart can easily be divided by child, what time the chore will be completed by and what is needed to complete it.

Divide into 5 minute chores. Shorter and smaller chores are best for kids to do. Anything that takes much more than 5 minutes to complete will lose their attention span and only become a hassle for you and your kids. Divide things up into small chores like emptying the garbage, feeding the pets, setting the table or sorting their dirty laundry. You can add to the list as needed, but try to keep most chores to smaller time frames.

Divide between before and after school. To make it easier for your kids to complete all of their chores, divide them up between morning and afternoon. This means they can do some before and some after school each day. On the weekends it doesn’t tie up their entire morning with chores, and keeps them responsible.

Keep tools accessible. A cleaning schedule won’t work if you don’t have the right tools for the job. Since kids may not be using cleaning agents, you won’t have to worry too much about this. You do however, want to make sure you have what they need on hand and easy for them to reach. Things like the pet food, broom or extra trash bags for when they take out the garbage. Use good parental judgment and keep cabinets locked as needed for their safety. Having tools accessible may only mean that you set them out before they get started and not letting them have complete access to the cleaning supplies.

Swap chores regularly so kids don’t tire easily. Kids get bored, and a cleaning schedule works best when you mix and match things. Routine is great, but kids may get tired of the same chores day in and day out. With multiple children in a family it is easy to swap chores so everyone has a turn and gets variety. For single children you may want to swap out chores with them yourself.

Make it a game. Cleaning as a game is a great way to get younger kids excited and involved. Whether you turn on the music, set timers and race or make it a puzzle, doesn’t matter. As long as they are having fun and learning to enjoy parts of the cleaning schedule it will work great.

Reward quality work. Giving kids rewards is a great way to keep them motivated. A simple cleaning schedule is easy to reward with things like stickers, a small toy, book or a special treat. Keeping kids on track with rewards is a great way to motivate them to stick to the schedule.

Kids love structure and routine, and you can easily keep a great cleaning schedule that allows them to help you throughout the home on a regular basis.

7 Housekeeping Hacks to Make Cleaning Easier

7 Housekeeping Hacks to Make Cleaning Easier

Do you ever wish you could make the task of cleaning your home a little easier? If so, housekeeping hacks are the way to go. As you probably know, a “hack” is a little tip or trick that is often unexpected, and can help make your job at hand a little simpler. Take a look below at 7 housekeeping hacks that you can try, so the next time you need to do a quick clean you can get the job done faster and with less stress.

1. Use denture cleaner for a sparkling toilet.

Hate scrubbing the toilet? You aren’t alone! Drop a few denture tablets into the bowl and let them sit for the time indicated on the package. Then just flush and enjoy a sparkling clean toilet. The tabs work hard to dissolve stains and whiten the bowl.

2. Use dryer sheets to repel dust.

Everyone hates dusting, especially if they have allergies. Use dryer sheets as the cloth when you dust. They will not only remove the dust that is present but will help repel dust that wants to settle on hard surfaces in the future. They are especially helpful when used along base boards where dust tends to settle often.

3. Olive oil can make furniture shine.

A few drops of olive oil on a soft cloth is the perfect way to make furniture shine. Use it on your hard surfaces such as dining room tables, side tables, and other accent furniture pieces. You can even use it on leather to help condition it and make it shine, or swab some on plant leaves to make them rich and dust free.

4. Use lemons to clean the drain.

Cut up lemons into chunks and drop a few down the drain, then run the disposal for a few seconds. Lemon oil found in lemons not only cuts through grease and grime, but helps make the drain smell a whole lot better too.

5. Save those toothbrushes.

Never toss out old and used up toothbrushes. Instead save them, and make a paste of baking soda and water. Use the toothbrush and the paste to scrub grout and tiles that are in need of a good scrubbing. They do a great job when paired together.

6. Save those old socks.

Old socks placed over your hands can make great dusting tools. Just swipe them over your surfaces for a great clean. When done, just toss them in the wash and use them again and again. They are sure to save you some cash.

7. Keep vinegar on hand.

Vinegar makes a wonderful cleaner for when you are in a bind and don’t have any on hand. It can be used to make glass shine, and can clean sinks, tiles, and floors as well. Don’t like the scent? Try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Citrus oils will boost its cleaning power and make the mixture smell fantastic.

The next time you need to clean in a hurry, give these housekeeping hacks a try. They are sure to make the job a little bit easier, and maybe even a little fun. Good luck!

Do you have any tried and true housekeeping hacks that you can share in the comments?

15 Days to a Spring Clean Home

Spring Cleaning on your mind? Sign up for the 15 Days to a Spring Clean Home Challenge! You'll receive an email once a day for 15 days with tasks included.

Have you got Spring Cleaning on your mind? Sign up for my 15 Days to a Spring Clean Home Challenge!

You’ll receive an email once a day for 15 days with the tasks included!  Get your home sparkling clean and smelling fresh in just 15 days!  There’s no sense in stressing out to get everything done in a matter of days when you can complete a simple task each day over a 15 day period.

It starts whenever you’re ready to sign up:

(click here if you can’t see the form below)

15 Days to a Spring Clean Home
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7 Must Haves for Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies

7 Must Haves for Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies

7 Must Haves for Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies.

Do you want to clean your home more naturally and for less money? Then making your own cleaning supplies may be the answer for you! When you make your own cleaning supplies, you know exactly what is going into the product, while saving money at the very same time. If you want to start experimenting with making your own cleaning supplies, but don’t know where to begin, take a peek below at these 7 must haves for making your own cleaning supplies. You will find that with these supplies on hand, making your own products can be quite easy.

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is the perfect product for cleaning glass and hard surfaces such as countertops and sinks. You can use vinegar in a spray bottle undiluted for cleaning glass, or mix in a little baking soda to create a fizzy concoction perfect for scrubbing tile, grout lines, and sinks. White vinegar and even cider vinegar both work well, although white vinegar is often preferred due to the cost.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda adds a scrubbing affect to your cleaner, so it’s perfect for using when scrubbing sinks, tiles, floors, or other areas that are especially built up with dirt and grime. You can make a baking soda paste out of baking soda and water, and use it especially on bathroom surfaces. (I like this recipe.) You can also sprinkle baking soda into the garbage disposal or onto carpet (be sure to vacuum after a few minutes) if it is especially stinky, since it will help absorb odors.

3. Lemons

Lemons are perfect for cleaning your home! They smell great and they can help cut through grease and grime like a champ. Cut a lemon in half and use the half directly on surfaces to scrub down sinks and faucets to a shine. You can also add lemon juice to your baking soda/water paste to give it a boost and make the space smell great. I also really like this Super Citrus cleaner. If you don’t have fresh lemons, lemon oil works great too.

4. Fels Naptha Soap

Fels Naptha is a bar soap from days gone by that is a staple in many homemade cleaners today. (Dr. Bronner’s bar soap is a good replacement in Canada.) You can shave or grate the bar into a fine powder and use it in your stain fighting mixtures and laundry detergent recipes. It works wonders at removing stains from fabric and can bring many clothing items and linens back to life.

5. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is an essential oil that pairs well with many homemade cleaning product recipes. It offers a wonderful scent that will leave your home smelling great, and can also be used for its aromatherapy purposes. Lavender also has antiseptic properties, so it can help kill germs in commonly used areas such as bathrooms.

6. Peppermint Oil

If pests are a problem in your home, add peppermint oil to your homemade cleaning products. A few drops can help keep moths, spiders, and mice away. When you finish your basic cleaning routine, you can even dab some of the peppermint oil onto a cotton ball or two and leave them in or around areas where pests tend to be a problem.

7. Assorted containers.

Head to the dollar store for spray bottles, glass jars with lids, and plenty of peel and stick labels. All of these will come in handy when making your own cleaning supplies. You also want to be sure you always label supplies so you know what they are and what ingredients are in them. Your dollar store should have everything you need!

See how easy and fun it can be to make your own cleaning products? Give this list of must haves your consideration and see what a difference they can make in your home.

7 Ways to Use Lemon Oil

7 Ways to Use Lemon Oil

If you have been curious about what lemon oil can do for you, take a look at these 7 ways to use lemon oil and make your life just a little bit easier!
Lemon oil is perfect for so many household tasks. It’s also a budget friendly oil, which makes it even easier to use and love. (I love this Lemon Oil from Well.ca!) If you have been curious about what lemon oil can do for you, take a look below at 7 ways to use lemon oil and make your life just a little bit easier! You might find that lemon oil is the perfect solution to many common household issues. Take a look!

1. Polish wood furniture.

Bring a natural shine to your wood furniture when you polish it with a little lemon oil. Just dab some on a soft cloth and massage it into the wood. It will condition the wood and bring out a rich shine that anyone can appreciate.

2. Give your water some flavor.

Add a drop or two of lemon oil to your ice water for a nice boost of flavor. You can add more or less depending on your tastes. The oil will take the place of a fresh lemon if you don’t have one on hand and even add nutrients. (Make sure you purchase a lemon oil that can be ingested.)

3. Rev up your energy.

A few dabs of lemon oil in the palm of your hand and inhaled can give you an instant boost of energy. The scent of lemon can help rev up your senses and make you feel more alert and revitalized in no time.

4. Boost your immune system.

Lemon oil can boost your immune system when inhaled, added to your beverages, or even diffused. During cold and flu season, give lemon oil a try to help your body stay strong and healthy.

5. Clean your dishwasher.

Add a few drops of lemon oil to your dishwasher before starting a cycle. When you run it, it will help clean and deodorize the dishwasher and keeps it (and your dishes) looking their best.

6. Keep your disposal fresh.

Add a few drops of lemon oil to your garbage disposal before running it. This will help fight grease, banish odor, and keep your sink smelling fresh and clean.

7. Give cleaning products a hand.

A few drops of lemon oil added to your cleaning products can help give them a boost. They will smell great, work harder, and cut through grease like crazy. Check out this post to see how homemade cleaning products can save you money.

See how simple lemon oil can be to use? As you can see, it helps with so many things! So grab a bottle of lemon oil and give these ideas a try. It just may become a staple in your house. 🙂

How do you like to use Lemon Oil?

7 Ways to Use Citrus Peels

7 Ways to Use Citrus Peels

7 Ways to Use Citrus Peels - Citrus peels can be quite practical so don’t toss them, give one of these uses a try instead!
Do you find yourself tossing out citrus peels often? If you enjoy an orange for breakfast or lemons in your beverages, you might find yourself with citrus peels on hand. The good news is, citrus peels don’t have to end up in the garbage, and can in fact have practical uses long after the fruit is gone. Take a look below at 7 ways to use citrus peels that you can try. You will be amazed at how practical citrus peels can be!

1. Give homemade cleaners a boost.

Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and add the citrus peels in. Let sit so the oils in the peels have time to distribute. After a few days, you will have a powerful and fresh smelling homemade cleaner that can’t be beat!

2. Add to marinades.

Save citrus peels and add them into your marinades to give meats and fish a citrus kick. The oils in the peels will add flavor to your food easily and inexpensively.

3. Use them to attract garden friends.

Toss citrus peels into the garden to attract bees and butterflies which can aid your plants and offer some beauty as well. Just place the peels in a shallow dish and set near ground cover or low laying plants. In no time the butterflies and bees will come. You may even get a few hummingbirds!

4. Add them to compost.

Add your citrus peels to your compost piles or bins to help enrich your soil and make your plants grow. They will add some acidity to the soil as well as other nutrients that your plants will love.  If you save the entire half of an orange peel, you can even use it as a seed starter.

5. Candy them.

Candied citrus peels are an old fashioned treat that are just as good today as they were years ago. To make candied citrus peels remove as much of the white rind as possible leaving just the peel. Boil the peels in a sauce pan for about 20 minutes, remove, then roll in sugar.

6. Make citrus zest.

Citrus zest can be used in marinades, salad dressings, and dessert recipes. Make your own citrus zest by rubbing the peel on a grater, and then store the shavings in a cool place until needed. Some people even freeze their zest until they can use it.

7. Make faucets shine.

Take the citrus peel and rub it (the white side) against the metal of your faucets. The oil will cut through grease and grime and bring the metal to a shine.

As you can see, citrus peels can be quite practical. So don’t toss them, give one of these uses a try instead!

Do you know of any other way to use citrus peels?  Share in the comments!