What to do with your teens this summer!

Kids can fall behind if they slack off in the summer. You can promote learning with these ideas.

If you start the season with good intentions, (chores! Books! Fresh air!) only to find kids camped out in front of you tube, read this wise advise.

Every June I have the best intentions: I’m going to keep kids on a schedule. They are going to do more chores, and read more books. We are going to take a family bike ride or walk. We’ll be closer then ever.

And… By the time the 4th of July rolls around, things have usually slid out of control. The are sleeping in way past breakfast, lounging in front of the TV and texting the day away. It usually starts with a soft hearted moment on my part. – (they need a break – after the busy school year – I’ll let them sleep in today) But it quickly turns into a pattern. And since I’m still busy – work – laundry – etc.- I side step my guilt and let them veg.

It’s a common problem. By the middle school years, kids are too old to play board games, or go to summer school all day, but not old enough to drive or have a real summer job. Though children may beg for “free time” Its not in the best interest to let them achieve total “slackerdom” Tweens and teens often believe they’d just love to have weeks of “doing nothing” says Annie Fox, M ED, author of the Middle School Confidential series. But the reality rarely matches the day dream. Kids get bored and, like puppies, bored kids often get into stuff they shouldn’t! They also fall behind academically (more on the latter) And to be honest, we parents often have unrealistic “Norman Rockwell” – like notions about bonding with our children: we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves and out kids to get closer then we were during the school year. Michale J Bradly, ED D says “parents who approach summer with too many plans for bonding usually wind up feeling like they’re in a Chevy Chase movie, where everything goes wrong. But there are realistic ways to sneak some structure, learning, and yes – family time into the summer with out feeling like a drill sergeant. Hear are the smart strategies.

Get on the same page:

Good intentions often fizzle out because kids have one set of summer goals, (making it to the next level of a video game) and parents have another goal for them (tackling a summer reading list) Many struggles can be avoided if parents and kids sit down before school get s out to discuss or brain storm acceptable ideas. Ask questions like what was the best day/week from ast summer, and the worst.

STEP UP THE CHORES

Having jobs around the house sets expectations and gives a sense of accomplishment. “Summer is ideal for learning responsibility”, because tweens and teens simply have more time. Of course not many kids volunteer to do chores, and sometimes we parents fall into the “it’s easier if I do it myself” trap.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, give kids a choice so they can feel a sense of ownership. Also give kids a choice about when they accomplish the chore. Imagine if someone told you to “take out the trash! NOW!” You may need to give a time frame though.

TIP Avoid chain gang chores – like moving a rock pile from one place to another – they never feel done. Anything that can be finished in an hour is perfect.

LAYER IN SOME LEARNING

Kids can fall behind if they slack in the summer. You don’t have to hire a tutor, but you can promote learning with these ideas.

  • Let kids pick their own books
  • Create a summer book club.
  • Use technology to your advantage.

ALSO, CONSIDER THESE IDEAS FOR TOGETHER TIME.

  • Take it outside – games, picnics, walks, ect.
  • Force the issue, because teens will resisit.
  • Go sight seeing.

LET BED TIME SLIDE A LITTLE

During the summer consider a slightly latter bed time. Just as long as they are awake before 9:30am. Or you will throw of their natural body clock.

And lastly…

MAKE PEACE WITH ELECTRONICS

Set screen time limits. Break up the day so its impossible to be glued to the TV or phones all day. And to help with that, her is a list of 10 things you can do.

10 things to do with your teen outside

  • get active. Teens tend to have alot of energy to get out, so out there and get active with them!
  • Movie marathon
  • hike, camp, and/or rock climb
  • go to an amusement park
  • community service
  • take a road trip
  • photo hunts
  • play games
  • bowling
  • let them decide

Now you know all the ins and outs of having a great summer with your teens and tweens. Best of luck to you all!

The ultimate guide to packing for a 5 day road trip.

Packing for a week long? Whether you are headed out on a road trip or on a plane, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed efficiently and haven’t forgot anything important. This checklist of thing to bring with will help you make sure you don;t leave anything behind.

Clothes

For clothes, I’m a huge for having a capsule ward rope. By that I mean that you want things that are in the same color family or pair well together that have the ability to be layered and mixed and matched, or can be versatile for all different activities you might be a part of while on vacation. Think through your trip and activities you have planned. Do you need to dress up? Go hiking? Do you plan to get in work outs?

Then check the weather. Will it snow? Rain? Be sunny? You can check the weather about 10 days out, but you’ll want to check it again a few days before you go. So you can have a better idea of what it will be like.

  • 2 tank tops (optional)
  • 3-4 tops
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 bras
  • 7 pairs of underware
  • 7 pairs of socks

SHOES

Again this depends on what your activities are. If your hiking then pack a pair of hiking boots. If its wintery, pack some fleece lined boots.

  • 1 pair of sneakers or hiking shoes
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 dress shoe

TOILETRIES

I know this can be the most controversial of the “what to pack” bunch. I know lots of people prefer to depend on what ever the hotels will provide them, others prefer their own. So really, this depends on your own personal preferance. And (surprise) what you will be doing. It’s a place where you can save weight and space in your begs though.

Just remember, if you are flying you need to make sure your carry on fits the 3-1-1 rule.

  • shampoo/conditioner
  • soap
  • lotion
  • sunscreen
  • deodorant
  • razor
  • tooth paste/tooth brush
  • floss
  • tampons/pads

This is another one that gets controversial. Some travel experts will say to skip the make up and let your hair go natural. To lighten up the load a bit. And that’s ok. Depending on what your plans are. Like if your going to spending most of your time hiking. How ever, you may be dressing up for the night or sprucing up for some pictures. So here is a basic set of items to include. REMINDER- liquids need to go in plastic bags if you are flying.

MAKE UP

  • chapstick
  • foundation
  • powder
  • blush
  • eye shadow
  • eye liner
  • brow product
  • mascara
  • make up brush
  • make up wipes

HAIR

  • brush/comb
  • hair dryer
  • curler
  • straightener
  • styling products
  • hair spray

MEDICINE AND FIRST AID

This is an important one. If you take prescription medication, you need to take actual bottles. I will bring my weekly pill box to remind me of what I need to take. Especially if your in another time zone, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to remember if you’ve taken your pills or not.

I’d also recommend a small supply of tums and imodium just in case. I found it helpful to have some band aids, tweezers and neosporin for small bits, burns, or cuts. Also, benadryl , tylenol and wipes come in handy. You want to keep just enough with you to get through until you can find a pharmacy.

  • prescriptions
  • vitamins
  • weekly pill box
  • tums
  • tweezers
  • band aids
  • cold medicine
  • contact solution
  • kleenex

ELECTRONICS

How connected do you want to be?

That’s the first thing you’ll want to consider before you thing about what to bring. If you don’t plan to work on the road, then you probably do not need to bring your lap top. Usually you can get by with bring a tablet device. Its enough to check emails, read books, or play a few games. You can also use it to check any guild information you might need.

For photography, I have a good camera, but I don’t carry it everywhere I go. In most cases a phone will work just as well.

  • kindle/ipad
  • chargers
  • battery back up
  • pocket chargers
  • camera lenses
  • SD cards
  • tri pod
  • phone
  • ear buds-head phones

DOCUMENTS

  • (road trip) Copy of your vehicle insurance.
  • health insurance
  • reservations
  • (air) passports
  • visa
  • plane tickets

WALLET

  • cash
  • credit cards
  • ID

EXTRAS

  • travel towel
  • neck pillows
  • travel journal
  • pen
  • water bottle
  • deck of cards

LUGGAGE AND PACKING

Last but not least, your going to need to be able to pack everything up. For a long trip you should be able to get it all in a large carry on bag. Just remember weight limits when your flying, and the amount of available space when packing your trunk for a road trip.

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Building a storm emergency kit.

By: Debbie Pfluger www.uncommomspaces.com

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A DISASTER.

Where I live, in Wisconsin, this begins the time when we are prone to storms. Including thunder storms, tornadoes, and wind storms. I’ve personally witnessed one tornado, and it wasn’t a fun time. Ever since then, I’ve learned to be more aware of the weather, and how to be more prepared for when bad weather strikes. There are several things you can do. Understand what disasters can affect your area, and know what to do to be safe. Another very important thing you can do is to build an emergency kit. I would like to take the time now, to help you be prepared and to build your own kit.

First of all, you want to make sure your storm kit is always stocked. Most items are inexpensive, and easy to find. Any one of them could save your life.

Once you have your basic items, then you can decide what other unique items your family may need. Like if you have pets, or an elderly person lives with you. Keep in mind, after an emergency you might have to survive on your own for up to 72 hours. That means you will need enough supplies, food, water, ect, for each member of your family to last that amount of time.

BUILDING YOUR BASIC SUPPLY KIT

You will want to store your items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire supply kit into 1 or 2 easy to carry plastic containers. Your kit should include the following items

  • Water – One gallon per person per day. For drinking and sanitation.
  • Food – At least a 3 day supply of non perishable food.
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio.
  • Flashlights
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air. And plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place.
  • Toilet paper or towelettes, garbage bags for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phones with chargers, and back ups.

ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES

These are the items unique to your family. That includes as follows.

  • prescription meds.
  • non prescription meds such as asprin, anti diarreah, antacids.
  • glasses and contact solution.
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers
  • Pet food
  • cash
  • important family documents
  • sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • extra clothing and shoes
  • matches in a water proof conatiner
  • personal hygiene items
  • plastic eatery, plates and napkins.
  • activities for children.

Once you have all these areas covered, you need to maintain your kit. So it will be ready when needed.

  • Keep any canned food in a cool dry place.
  • Store boxed food in a tightly closed plastic container.
  • Replace expired items.
  • Rethink your needs every year and update as your families needs change.

STORAGE FOR YOUR KITS

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Wal mart will also have many of the items as well.

Keys to making your 4th of July party classy and sophisticated.

This site contains affiliate link for which I may earn money from.

I love 4th of July parties! Because they are the lick off to summer. There’s finally decent weather, everyone’s dying to break out the BBQ’s and out door games are being unpacked. Plus, I just love outdoor parties. There is just something so fun about entertaining outside.

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Are you looking to throw a classy 4th of July party for your family and friends this year? Try a few of these ideas to add some sophisticated red, white and blue flair to your event. These decorating ideas show your patriotic respect while still keeping your party feeling fancy and fun.

One of my biggest struggles with holiday parties is how easy it is for the decor to get too over the top or gaudy… there’s so many ideas for how to decorate for a back yard 4th of July BBQ. But most of them are overwhelming patriotic. And as I’m sure you’ve seen in the parties I’ve shared here so far, I like things to stay classy. So I figured I’d share with you a few ways I would decorate for a 4th of July party while still keeping it sophisticated. Enjoy my friends!

Keys to making your 4th of July party classy

  • Keep it simple- don’t add too much.
  • Add some formality – go for high quality products like paper plates and silverware.
  • Be intentional – make your guest feel special

Classy decorating ideas for your 4th of July party.

1 Hang some bunting

Bunting is an easy way to add stylish patriotic flair to your party. But be sure to use it sparingly. I’d stick to just one banner or flag to keep it from getting to be too much. Try a garland over a food table, a casual drap on your fence or a few large flags on your porch railing.

2. Use your food!

A fun way to add some red, white and blue colors to your food table is with the food its self! Come up with creative ways to display your snacks like a flag fruit tray, angel food cake skewers and chocolate dipped strawberries with colored sprinkles.

3. Add some throw pillows.

Throw pillows are seriously my favorite way to add a pop of something – whether that’s color or a theme – to a space. Get some patriotic throw pillows and place them throughout your entertaining area for some classy vibrant 4th of July flair!

4. Place a few flags.

Flags are obviously the key patriotic decorating element, but when used all over the place, they can become extremely busy. Don’t shy away from using a few. I’m mean not more than 5-6. Try staking some into the edge of your yard, placing a few in a glass vase or other decorative piece, or in your floral center piece.

5. Use your flowers

Fresh flowers are a one of my go-tos when it comes to decorating a party- especially one with a food table. If your going to be purchasing and putting out bouquets of flowers anyway, why not be purposeful with them. And make them an element of red, white and blue flair. Try red and white flowers in a blue vase, white flowers in a vase with colored ribbon, or simply red white and blue flowers in glass jars

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10 things to keep in your car for summer adventures.

After realizing things were getting pretty hectic around home. My wonderful man decided we would all load up in the Tahoe and take off for the day.

Part of his plan was stopping at a park for a picnic lunch. Which, bless his heart, he actually put together and packed it. Just so we could enjoy one of the first nice summer days.

After we ate, since it was getting hot, the kids decided to wade into the water a bit to cool off. But I soon realized they had waded up to they’re ankles in mud! And were trying to catch a frog!

THAT”S WHEN I REALIZED, SUMMER IS HERE, AND ITS TIME TO LOAD MY TRUCK WITH 10 THINGS FOR SUMMER ADVENTURES.

Hope you will enjoy with post!

  1. Sweatshirts- Here in Wisconsin, temps can drop once the sun goes over the horizon. So now our adventure does not have to end when the sun goes to bed.
  2. A change of clothes- Just because your kids may be out of diapers, does not mean you don’t need extras. I am accident prone myself. And you never know when that unexpected drip or splash may happen. Or one of your children goes swimming in their clothes. It could happen…
  3. Picnic supplies- I keep a bag with a plastic table cloth, plastic ware, napkins and paper plates. Just in case you decide to grab something to eat, and stay a while longer. You will not have to worry about getting bird poop on your food. Just saying
  4. Sunscreen – We do see the sun now and again here in Wisconsin. You never know when it will appear. So I carry some just in case.

5. Bug spray- The mosquitoes have been awful this year. Nothing like being out at a baseball game, and getting carried away by bugs!

6. Snacks- There is nothing worse than driving home from a fun activity, and finding your self hungry, or listening to the tune of IIIII”””””MMMMM HHHHUUUUNNNGGGRRRRRYYYYY!!!!!! Keep a box of granola bars, or other individually wrapped snacks handy to pass around.

7. Umbrella- When it rains, it pours! Nothing so miseralble as when it rains on your parade. Keep an umbrella handy, where its easy to grab, so you dont end up needing your extras as well!

8. A Sheet or blanket- I keep both. A sheet is great for unexpected stops at the beach. And the blanket is great for those roadside stops and fireworks, once the sun goes down.

9. Car activities- This depends on the age of your children. There are a ton of ideas on pintrest for this. I keep a couple note books, and boxes of pens, pencils, and markers. Because too many video games and movies, will rot the brain! Keep creativity alive.

10. Frisbee- Just for fun, and great for exercize at a rest stop in the midst of a long road trip. Just don’t toss in on the road, or at a near by person.

One other thing I like to keep with me is a first aid kit. This isn’t just for summer, although we tend to use it more in the summer. I keep one in the glove compartment, and now is a great time to check and restock if you already have one.

So, happy adventures to you. You have all the things you will ever need with you where ever you go.

Keeping up with the laundry. Its easier then you think!

I USED TO HATE DOING LAUNDRY.

Hated it so much that I would avoid it for as long as I could. When I did do laundry, it would be the bare minimum. After the clothes were washed and dried, (hopefully in the same day) they rarely made it into the drawers or closets. It would sit in piles or in baskets in each room.

I took it personally too. I thought to myself, “why can’t I get it together and just get it done.” What was holding me back?

But over the last few years. since committing myself to being a more organized person I have finally broken thru the obstacle and figured out that keeping up with the laundry isn’t really that big of a deal. In reality, its a really simple and surprisingly easy task. If your doing it right.

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT HELPED ME GET MY LAUNDRY ACT TOGETHER

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1 Sort your clothes…or don’t

If you sort your laundry, get multiple hampers so you can sort as you go. I suggest four, one for cold water, warm water whites, warm water colors, and towels. This way, when you do laundry you just grab a basket and go.

But before I changed my game on laundry, it was my short cut to just wash it all in cold water. No sorting necessary. FYI – the laundry police have not showed up yet!

All laundry is safe in cold water. Its the warm water that makes things shrink or causes colors to run. Plus cold water is more energy efficient. Hello savings!!!

Yes, warm water is better on stains or really dirty clothes, but if your looking for a corner to cut, this one most likely wont cause you any trouble.

So, sort your clothes as you go… or don’t sort them at all. Either way, you’ve eased some of the pain of doing laundry. High five!

2 WASH AND DRY IN 2 MINUTES FLAT

The amount of time spent on this part of the process is incredibly small. It takes like 60 seconds, maybe, to turn on your washer and let it fill while you pour in detergent (and fabric softener) and add the clothes. It seriously is so easy.

Once you are done with that, then comes the hard part, for me…remembering to move it to the dryer. Figure out a way to remind yourself… leave the light on as a reminder, set a timer on your phone, or figure out when in your schedule you will come back and take less then 60 seconds to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. Just don’t forget!

So far, we have done 2 minutes of laundry. Why do we avoid this exactly?

3 FOLD< HANG< AND PUT AWAY FASTER!

Now this is the part I would dread about laundry. I would procrastinate this step for so long that my clothing situation was a night mare. Here is how I made it easier.

De wrinkle your clothes before you start.

Forget ironing. If your clothes have been sitting for a while after drying and gained a bunch of wrinkles, then toss them back into the dryer to get the wrinkles out. 5 minutes in there (on any setting that involves heat) goes a long way!

Take your clothes straight from the dryer to your closet.

Because I hate this part of laundry, when ever I do it I try to make it fun. By doing it while I watched tv. I love to multi task, si if I can watch a favorite show or you tube video I know it will be more enjoyable.

But… It took me a while to realize that this made the process take longer. It only takes 5 minutes to fold one load … not a whole episode! Also, if you do it in the living room, or even the laundry room, its a whole extra step to collect all the piles and carry them to the correct rooms. So cut out the middle man and fold or hang the laundry right by the closet or dresser it belongs in.

Stop sorting socks!

It takes so much time to match them up and secure them together. I’m usually about variety, but I’m happy to sacrifice unique socks to make life easier all my socks are the same, and they get stacked not bundled. I use a lingerie bag in the washer to keep all the socks together.

4 LESS CLOTHES = LESS LAUNDRY

If you’ve got a bad habit of waiting until you’re out of clothes to ware before doing laundry… then maybe its time to get rid of some clothes so you run out faster. I’m kidding – kind of lol!

If you have to many then you will end up with too much laundry to do. If you only have what you need, then your house wont be busting at the seams with piles of clean and dirty clothes.

Its just logical. If you can manage to go 3 weeks with out doing laundry, then don’t be surprised when you have 3 weeks of laundry to do at one time. If you limit the amount of clothes that you own, you also limit how far behind you get.

5. MORE LAUNDRY = LESS LAUNDRY

Say what?!?!

Forget “laundry day” Please don’t make your self spend hours doing laundry every other Saturday. Its the worst! Do some laundry every day.

Doing laundry more often will allow it to take less of a toll on your life. Find your rhythm, figure out how much needs to be done on a daily basis to stay on top of it.

I would rather spend 10 minutes a day keeping up with laundry then skip it all together and end up needing to spend hours on it. Laundry is a never ending chore. But it doesn’t have to be miserable. keep it simple, and keep it moving.

Spread the word!

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How to easily clean and maintain your vacuum cleaner.

A clean vacuum is an efficient vacuum! Here how to keep it in top condition.

With out maintenance a vacuum cleaner is only good for moving around dust and dirt. It is one of the most hard working pieces in the whole house. So don’t forget to give it some regular TLC to keep it in top condition.

All bunged up: The most common cause of loss of suction is blockages. This makes the machine slow to pick up, and quick to over heat. To keep this at a minimum, never reuse the bag, as this is often part of the filter system. If it gets clogged with dust it will reduce the efficiency of the machine.

With a bagless machine, empty the canister after each use. For bagged machines, replace the bag when it is 1/3 full. Yes, you read that right, just 1/3.

To unblock a vacuum cleaner always switch it off and unplug as well as pulling out any blockages in the tube. Undo the hose and check the entrance to the top of the bag for further debris.

TIP If the blockage is unmoveable, soak the tube in warm soapy water.

Look after the filters: Many vacuums have at least one filter that is washable. Check where your vacuums filters are located, then remove and tap against a hard surface to remove any clumps of dust – do this outside or you’ll end up surrounded by a dust cloud.

If its washable, run the filter under luke warm water and allow to air dry thoroughly – for at 24 hrs – before returning it to your vacuum cleaner. Additional filters in your vacuum may not be washable, so be sure to check the instruction manual. If they’re not washable, just tap them against a surface to remove clumps of dust then return them to the vacuum.

Brush heads: Make sure the brush on the head is free from hair and threads. If it becomes jammed, cut (don’t pull) any threads that prevent it from rotating. Be careful to avoid cutting the bristles.

Nasty smells: Smelly vacuums are usually the result of not emptying your vacuum regularly enough or possibly sucking up something. Check these first, then give the outside a wipe over with an antibacterial wipe or warm soapy water and a cloth to keep it smelling and looking fresh.

For bagless vacuums, wash the cannister in warm soapy water after emptying and leave it to completely air dry before putting it back in the vacuum.

If your vacuum still isn’t running to the best of its will, then its time to buy a new one.

And here are a few tips to remember when vacuuming. This should help reduce the amount of times you vacuum.

  • 1. Use the vacuums crevice tool to clean around the edges of your room.
  • 2. Use the vacuums crevice tool or flat universal piece to clean under furniture.
  • 3. Start at the corner furthest from the door. Vacuum left to right and then front to back.
  • 4. vacuum your way to the door.

10 things we don’t clean enough, or often enough.

Think your home is clean? Some obvious, (and not so obvious) spots could be collecting epic amounts of gunk, grime, and bacteria. Here are 10 of the biggest dirt and germ magnets in your home and the best way to clean them.

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Dryer lint trap :

Do you use dryer sheets? If so, simply pulling the lint out of the trap every couple of loads isn’t enough. Dryer sheets are covered with a silicone based film that can build up on the lint trap filter and create an invisible barrier. WASH it every six months to improve performance of your dryer and increase its life span. Just use warm soapy water and a cleaning tooth brush, let it dry over night. Vacuuming the lint trap is also important to remove any lint stuck in the trap which could be a fire hazard.

Inside the dish washer:

Why would something that gets washed out with soap and hot water need to be cleaned? Well, tiny bits of food, grease and soap scum can cling together and get deposited in the corners of the dish washer. As time passes, they can make your dish washer look and smell bad, while also decreasing its working order. You can deodorize and santitize the entire appliance by sprinkling a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the empty dishwasher and let it sit over night. The next morning add a cup of vinegar to the dishwasher and run it on the hottest cycle possible. It will be clean and odor free.

Refrigerator coils:

Spending just 15 minutes every 6 months cleaning your refrigerator coils can eliminate 70% of refrigerator malfunction, extend the life span, and keep it running at maximum efficiency. When dirt and dust clog the coils they cant release heat properly, causing it to work harder then it should. Take a vacuum cleaner brush attachment, run it long the coils to remove dust. Remember to unplug the fridge first before doing this.

kitchen sink:

Studies show there is more e coli in a kitchen sink then in the toilet after you flush it. Not so appetizing, right? Bacteria love its wet atmosphere and feeding on food particles left on dirty dishes and put down the drain. Clean the sink basin daily with a disinfectant made for the kitchen to kill all the bad stuff.

The trash can:

Traces of food and liquids can escape the trash bag and contaminate the can itself. The inside of the cans lid is an especially likely culprit for bacteria, mold, and mildew. Use disinfecting wipes on the lid every time you take out the trash. And deep clean once a month. You can sprinkle baking soda on the bottom, let sit for 10 minutes, to deodorize the can.

Bed pillows:

Did you know an accumulation of dust mites and their waste can make a pillow double its weight in 2 years? (mattresses can double in 10 years) We may never sleep well again lol! In addition to the dead skin that rubs off, and the occasional drool stain, bed pillows no longer sound like a nice place to lay your head. The good news is that most are washable! And should be washed twice a year. To wash them, place 2 at a time in the wash. Use a gentle detergent and run through the heavy cycle. Dry on low heat heat with tennis or dryer balls until there is no moisture left to avoid mold.

Door knobs and light switches:

EVERYONE touches these almost every time they enter or exit a room. Making them one of the dirtiest places in your home. Start wiping them down with a disinfectant during your regular cleaning to stop the spread of germs. It will also help remove marks from dirt and grime.

Computer keyboard:

Dust, crumbs, grease and stickiness from who knows what can add up to one grimy keyboard. And do your kids use your computer? Imagine where those grubby little hands have been. Some studies show the keyboard has more bacteria then a toilet seat. To clean, start with compressed air which will dislodge the crumbs and hairs from inbetween the keys. Follow with electronic spray, tech wipe or good old rubbing alcohol.

The cell phone:

Each square inch of your cell phone has about 25,000 germs making it dirtier then your pets food dish, a shoes sole, and of course, a toilet seat. To clean your smart phone with out damaging it, all you need is some antiseptic wipes which can be found at any drug store and are individually packaged, making it easy to toss one in a purse or laptop bag.

The remote control:

You may have heard that the remote control in a typical hotel room is disgusting, but the one in your home isn’t any better. People are constantly handling it – often while coughing and sneezing – making it one of the germiest house hold surfaces. The most efficient way to clean the remote is to use the same wipes as for the cell phones.

So there you have it! 10 things we seldom clean, or clean enough. BUT…. you now have the know how and the what to – to get it done.

As usual, HAPPY CLEANING!

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8 things you can do right now to reduce dust in your home.

Dust is an annoying, but almost unavoidable, fact of life. No matter how many times a week we clean our homes top to bottom, we can never seem to curb the amount of those tiny particles in the air and all over our things. Dust isn’t just unsightly though. It can cause allergies, and make it harder for you to breathe. But don’t give up on your battle with dust just yet. While you cant get rid of it completely, these cleaning tools and tricks can help you to prevent it from taking over.

Wash your bed sheets.

Few of us actually wash our bed sheets as often as we should. But washing your sheets regularly can help you limit the amount of dust in our home. Dust is made partly of dead skin cells which unfortunately your bed sheets are probably full of. Try to was your sheets once a week.

Use a vacuum with a Hepa Filter

The type of vacuum you use can really make a difference in how clean your home is. Other wise you could be cleaning ever day and still have a dusty home. Vacuums with hepa filters are the best option. If you really want to limits your homes dust, vacuum carpets and rugs twice a week, or more if you have pets.

Mop floors and wipe down surfaces.

Some dusters just don’t trap dust, instead they move it around and send it flying into the air. For hard floors even a dampened mop will help eliminate more dust then some dusters. And make sure you are wiping down surfaces like table tops and counters with micro fiber cloths. They are designed to attract and trap dust and dirt.

Vacuum the upholstery

The furniture in your home are not just magnets for dust! They PRODUCE it! Upholstery fibers can be sent into the air every time you sit down. Vacuuming your upholstery regularly can help keep loose fibers out of the air.

Get an air purifier.

On a bright sunny day, you might notice the air in your home is full of floating dust particles, especially if you live in an older home. Consider getting a purifier, it will help prevent dust from settling on surfaces limiting the amount you clean. A good one will also prevent chemicals, bacteria, mold, and even pet hair.

Change furnace filters

If your home has a furnace you already have a powerful air purifier. If you change the filters regularly they can stop dust before it enters your home. But they can become clogged after a few months use. So check those furnace filters regularly. Even if you have to set reminders.

Limit your clutter.

One of the best ways to attract dust is to fill your home with clutter. Whether its knick knacks, piles of books, or papers. Its harder to clean. Trapping more dust in your home. Throw pillows and blankets can produce dust as well. So you should consider limiting the amount of decor also.

Keep windows and doors closed.

When the weather is nice, there’s nothing like opening a door or window to let in fresh air, or so you thought! But keeping them open can cause and increase by allowing dust and dirt from outside to filter in.

Bathe your pets often.

There are alot of reasons to bathe pets regularly, from keeping them healthy to keeping your home clean. Pets can be the cause of alot of dust, thanks to their fur.

But, now that your have a few ideas of where the dust comes from, and how to prevent it. Your home should have much less dust. And you and your family will be ever so much happier.

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10 laundry hacks that can save your clothes.

For most of us, doing laundry is a task we do not have to put much thought into. It doesn’t take much brain power to see a pile of laundry and move it from the floor to the washing machine. But perhaps its time we take a second to think about the simple ways we can extend the life of our favorite clothes, while saving money and the environment as well.

Follow along for the top 10 laundry hacks that can save your clothes!

10. Try to minimize dry cleaning

Did you know that constantly taking your clothes to the dry cleaners isn’t in the best interest? Often the treatment can damage your clothes over time. When ever possible, try spot cleaning or recycle your outfits.

9 Make your loads smaller.

Even though it may make things move along more quickly, by stuffing the machine, you will end up with clothes that are not as clean. Clothing needs room to move around in the water and detergent. So take the TIME and wash it right!

8 Figure out the correct way to sort.

Though most people know to keep darks separate from lights. There is more important criteria. In addition, you should sort by level of dirtiness and fabric type. Fabrics that need longer to dry should be separate from more delicate type fabrics with less drying time. On the same note, extra soiled items that need more deep cleaning washing cycle should be kept from those that do not.

All my cleaning supplies come from Grove Collaborative. I have included a link for them below.

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7 Dryer balls

Dryer balls offer the same results as dryer sheets and are reusable. By adding the small plastic balls to your loads you will reduce static and soften fabric. For and even more frugal option, try balling up aluminum foil. These little balls can also shorten your dryer time!

6 Close the zipper.

If you leave zippers open, the sharp teeth can catch on other items and quickly begin to fray your clothes. So double check your zippers are safely closed to save your favorite sweater. Its also important to leave items with buttons open. This will minimize the stress on the tread holding the buttons on.

5 DIY stain removal

There are a million tips out there for everyday house hold items that double as stain removers. Hydrogen peroxide works best on grass. Baby powder or chalk works great on grease based stains. Club soda for wine stains. So do a quick internet search- the answer may be in your kitchen cabinet.

4 Pay special attention to your dark items.

Make sure you are keeping your dark jeans or sweaters the same color as you purchased them. Wash them inside out in cold water. Its also best to hang dry these items to save them from harsh dryer heats. By keeping an eye on items likely to bleed you are saving your lighter clothes also.

3 Hang dry

When in doubt, hang dry. If you are afraid of an item shrinking, hang dry. Once an item has these flaws its impossible to fix. Dryers, though convenient, can be the place most dangerous.

2 The power of vinegar

Adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash load can be a great alternative to dryer sheets. Your clothes will be static free, lint free, and much softer. And your clothes will not smell gross if added at the begining of the cycle.

1 Dewrinkle with ice cubes

Did you finally finish you laundry only to find your favorite top still has wrinkles? Pop it back in the dryer with a few ice cubes. Steam from the melting cubes will help de wrinkle and in 15 minutes your top is wareable.

Its sad to think of the money we have wasted and the clothes we could have saved had we known these tips. There are many laundry mistakes to avoid if you know what to look for. So follow these 10 tips and you’ll know that you are treating your clothes with the best care possible.

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