31 Days to Organize Your Home

31 days to organize your home

While most years I vow to get back on track and start eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight, I want to start this year different. I want to make the healthy eating, exercising and losing weight a way of life, not a resolution. So I’m resolving to organizing my home. And I’ll share with you my journey and the tips along the way.

Below is a list of what each day will tackle. Then as we complete each day I’ll link up to the post that gives helpful tips and solutions to completing the task. I’ll also delve in more to what else you can do in each room and on each day.

31 Days to Organize Your Home

Day 1 – 3: Start with the Kitchen

  • Organize the cupboards – throw out what you don’t use!
  • Re-arrange the items on the counter to reflect what you use and utilize
  • Organize and clean out the pantry – go through everything and throw out any expired foods or anything ripped or torn
  • Organize and clean out the fridge – same rules as the pantry.

[Read more…]

Staying Organized In The Kitchen: Meal Planning

Meal Planning Kitchen Organization

One of my biggest resolutions this year is to get organized. I plan to organize the house, my work schedule, and, of course, my road to a healthier life.

In order to save time and money as well as stay on plan with my healthy eating, I like to meal plan once a week. This helps me gauge how many calories I’ll need left over in the evening and helps the husband know what we’re having for dinner every night.

And because I’m already going through the trouble of writing out a meal plan, I also write out a grocery list and print the recipes I’m going to use in advance so that I can cut coupons and grocery shop right after I’m done.

My system is simple but very efficient and I’d love to share it!

[Read more…]

Tips and Tricks for Green Cleaning in Every Room

Looking to go green? These tips and tricks for green cleaning in every room can help you tackle your daily cleaning chores without worrying about nasty chemicals! 


Ever since the birth of my son I’ve been on the hunt for ways to go green and stay as organic as possible. So when I started looking under the sink and in the closet at all of the cleaners we had I knew we had to make some changes. Thinking of my little one crawling on a ground where harsh chemicals resided and putting his mouth all over surfaces where I cleaned with chemicals made me change quickly. I have received many tips from other mamas as well as other websites so I figured why not share them here too.

The most important part of my arsenal of tools for green cleaning is vinegar. I buy it in the huge gallon size and use it for just about anything from cleaning toilets to freshening up my laundry. I mix vinegar together a few other natural cleaners to create the perfect solution for different problem areas. I’m going to list my “must have” ingredients and then will go into detail by room on how I mix and use them.

Must Have Green Cleaners

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Oxy Clean
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cedar Hanger Rings
  • Wash Cloths or Cloth Rags
  • Sponges
  • Stiff Bristle Brush
  • Steam Mop

The Kitchen

Tile Floors
Any hard floor surface in my house is cleaned with the steam mop. The hot steam paired with the cloth, re-usable pad cleans my floors deeply. I have purchased extra pads so that I can clean more than one room at once. I’ve found that one pad gets dirty after cleaning 1/2 of my living room or all of my kitchen and I don’t want to have to wait to get the energy to start cleaning again. Side Note – I recently broke the handle off my steam mop because I am apparently a very deep cleaner 😉 I’m hoping to upgrade to the steam pocket mop soon!

Counters
My all purpose cleaner for any surface in my house consists of the following:

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

I place this solution in a spray bottle and use it to spray down the counters, stove top, oven door, microwave door and fridge. I wipe everything down with a sponge  

Cutting Boards
To clean my cutting boards I sprinkle them with salt and use 1/2 a lemon to scrub the salt into the wood. I then rinse with a wet wash cloth and let air dry. This also works great for the counter tops if there are bits and pieces to be scrubbed off.

Sink
When the sink needs shining (every morning ;)) I sprinkle baking soda all around and spray with the vinegar solution given above. I then scrub down with the abrasive side of my sponge and rinse down with water.

Microwave
The most favorite solution I have in my cleaning arsenal is the solution I have for my microwave. I not only love how well it works but also love how it leaves my kitchen smelling!

Take a microwave safe bowl and fill it with water. Then sprinkle in a few drops of either lemon or vanilla extract (based on my mood) and place a microwave safe wooden spoon into the water to reduce the chance of a boil over. Then set the microwave to heat for 3 minutes.

Let the bowl cool a bit before removing from the microwave and be careful! It’s hot. Take a wash cloth and wipe off the sides, top and bottom of the microwave. Any food bits and pieces should come off easily without the need to scrub.

Oven
Confession… I’ve never cleaned my oven. And I use it. Like a lot. But if I were to clean my oven I’d use the simple tips from The Daily Green and would make a paste out of baking soda and water. I’d then spread the paste all over the inside of my oven and would leave it overnight. Then I’d use an abrasive sponge and would scrub the inside down (with gloves on, of course). After I scrubbed like crazy I’d use a wet wash cloth to wipe down one last time.

The Living Room

Laminate Wood Floors
I use the steam mop on my laminate wood floors as well. I make sure to wipe them down with a towel after if the water doesn’t evaporate right away just in case. I don’t want them to warp on me 🙂 My husband has also used a dry cloth mop before with Bona wood floor cleaner if he thinks my steam mop isn’t doing a good enough job.

Tables
When we had our table resurfaced when we got married we were told by the wood worker to only use water and a wash cloth to wipe down the table. So we’ve stuck with this. I make sure to wipe it down soon after we eat our meals so nothing sticks.

Couches and Chairs
I’m not sure about you but I just vacuum my couch and chairs off. I also wipe down my leather chairs and wooden dining room chairs with water. Sometimes, if needed, I use the vinegar solution but I try to stay away from any cleaners for fear of discoloring them

Windows
I clean my windows the same way I clean my mirrors. I spray them with my vinegar solution and use newspaper to wipe it up. No streaks and no dirt! Although I do confess that I clean the windows maybe


The Bathroom 

Laminate Floors
Due the the small space in the bathroom we usually just sweep it every day and mop with a regular mop and a solution of water, Dr. Bronners, vinegar and tea tree oil. I then dry with a towel (usually a bath towel that needs to be washed). I could also use this solution with my kitchen floors if I’m too lazy to get the steam mop out. 

Sink/Mirror/Toilet Surfaces
I use my vinegar/water/tea tree oil solution to clean the sink. That way I can spray everything in the bathroom down at the same time. I then wipe the sink and toilet (in that order) off with a clean towel or wash cloth and dry the mirror with newspaper so no streaks or particles are left behind.

If there is something stuck to the sink or surface and I need a deeper clean I just sprinkle with baking soda then I spray with the vinegar solution and scrub with a sponge or stiff brush.

Tub
My disinfectant solution for the bathroom is a simple solution of:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons of Dr. Bronners 
  • 15-20 drops of tea tree oil

I put this solution into a spray bottle and keep it under the sink. When my children are done bathing I squirt down the tub and take a wash cloth to wipe everything away. I then spray the surfaces with the shower head and let air dry.

Once a month (or more frequently if needed) I take all of the toys out and soak them in the disinfectant solution given above while I deep clean the tub. I sprinkle the tub with baking soda and spray the vinegar solution over the baking soda. I then use a scrub brush to scrub the tub down. I then rinse off with water.

Clogged Drains
Now most of the time if my tub is clogged I use this nifty little tool my husband picked up at the hardware store. Seriously. This thing stays in our bathroom and is used once a week. It always gives us results. No matter how gross they may be (and being 7 months postpartum I’m still shedding like crazy). I highly suggest keeping one of these in your bathroom. You can even buy it on Amazon if you don’t find it at Pro-Build!

But if your drain gets really bad and the Zip It can’t fix it just pour some baking soda (about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup) and boiling water into the drain and wait a few minutes. Then rinse with water from the tub spout. You can also use this for your toilet as well.

Trash Cans
The trash cans in each of our bathrooms are lined with plastic bags that we receive at the grocery store when we fail to remember our reusable bags. If we don’t have any plastic bags we use paper bags in their place. We try to clean the trash cans with the disinfectant solution once a week to get the funk out of them and allow them to air dry before placing a bag in them. 

The Bedroom

Carpet/Rugs
The best natural deodorizer and stain remover out there is baking soda. You can sprinkle a little bit of baking soda directly on your carpet or rug and just vacuum it right up. Or if you have a spot to remove, mix a little water into the baking soda to create a paste and spread it on the stain. Scrub it into the spot with a terry cloth towel and let dry. Once it’s dried just vacuum the remnants up.

We also get our carpets professionally cleaned every 6 months. We have a fabulous carpet cleaner who has been helping us keep our carpets beautiful since my son was a newborn. And all of his cleaners are safe for my children. He even has a heavy duty cleaner that takes care of any doggy or kid problems you may have.

 Closets
A great and natural way to keep the moths away (and other bugs as well) are cedar disks or planks. Just line the closet with cedar or grab a few cedar disks to hang on your hangers and those pesky bugs will look elsewhere for things to eat. 

The Laundry Room

Washing
We don’t use anything special here. We wash our clothes with Kirkland brand eco friendly detergent. I used to pay more for a special eco friendly powder detergent on Etsy but after a few months I couldn’t justify the cost and switched over to the Costco stuff.

Rinse
Another room where vinegar is the star is the laundry room. Instead of using static dryer sheets and leaving a film on our clothes (and the dryer) we use a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of our wash. You can also buy a downy ball and fill that 1/2 way up with vinegar so you don’t have to wait for the rinse cycle to add the vinegar. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar afterwards! The scent washes off completely

Drying
Whenever possible we try to either line dry outside, hang dry in the garage or dry our clothes in the dryer on the lowest setting. Using either the natural power of the sun and heat outside or the lowest setting on the dryer saves energy and is also less harsh on your clothes (meaning you don’t have to buy new clothes as often). We also use dryer balls in the dryer to aid in the reduction of static in the dryer.

Stain Remover
The best stain remover for white clothes is the sun. When you set out wet clothes to dry the sun acts as a bleaching agent and will bleach out any stains (or color) from your clothes. This method works the best for removing stains out of cloth diapers as well.

We also use oxyclean in our wash to remove other stains in our darks and lights. If there’s a lot of stains on one piece of clothing or if there’s a stain that I don’t think the regular wash will handle I will create an oxyclean soak in a large 5 gallon bucket and add a concentrated amount of oxyclean to warm water to soak the clothes before the wash.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that throughout the post I haven’t mentioned bleach. I don’t like bleach. It scares me a bit to be honest. There’s lots of articles about the harmful effects of bleach so I won’t preach about it here 🙂 

Sources: The Daily Green, Natural Rug Cleaning Secrets

I know I have to be missing something so if you have a question on a particular room or spot in your house please let me know! And if you have any tips to add please feel free to share them 🙂 I’ll make sure to add them and give you a link back for credit.

Read more: 

Kids Cleaning Tips

Trading Clean Time for Screen Time

5 Tips for Cleaning the House Before a Party

Nursery is Complete: Jungle Animal Themed Nursery Ideas

 These Jungle Animal Themed Nursery Ideas are great for a gender neutral room for baby.

Our son has a finished room! But it’s not like he’s sleeping in it anytime soon 🙂 I quite like him right by me when we sleep. At least for these first few months… maybe longer. Let me know what you think.

We went with a jungle animal theme and didn’t go too crazy with furniture or design. My husband painted the stripes on the walls using a low VOC paint and alternated solid colors on the other walls. 

I found a cute line of nursery items at Babies R Us to complete the room with a few personal touches throughout. 

Furniture: Upcycling and Repurposing

We were given a crib from my husband’s brother to use for the nursery. The colors fit perfectly in with the jungle themed crib set. We fixed the drop side with a kit we received from the manufacturer. 

In an effort to save room, we purchased a full sized dresser and simply added a changing pad to the top of the dresser. The top of the dresser will be used as a book shelf after he outgrows the changing pad. We added a non-slip under mat to the underneath of the pad and strapped it to the dresser so there’d be no accidents. 

The only new item in the room is my new glider. We scored at Costco and found it as soon as we walked into the store. I had never seen gliders at Costco so it had to be fate. After our jaws dropped at the cost of the ones at Babies R Us, it was a great relief to find a budget friendly option. 

The Little Details: Utilizing Gifts and Memorabilia 

To decorate the room, we used items we had either received as baby shower gifts or memorabilia we had already. We had purchased a few prints from Disneyland that went perfectly with the jungle and kid theme so we framed them and added them ot the walls. There is still enough space on the walls to add some other fun items as he grows. 

With the crib set, we also got a matching mobile and diaper holder. Since we’re using cloth diapers, we’ve been using the diaper holder as a laundry hamper but I’m sure it won’t be able to hold all of his dirty clothes as he grows! 

We also got an adorable little chair at our shower that fits the theme perfectly. I just know he’s going to grow to love that chair. 

We were so grateful to receive such amazing hand-me-downs, gifts, and other items to complete this room. And I know that it will be the perfect place for our son to grow and learn. 

What’s in your nursery that you can’t live without? 

Like what you’ve read? Here’s more great suggestions! 

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