A day in the Life

August 7, 2020

I’ve heard from alot of you who have tackled paper clutter during these weird stuck at home days of 2020.

For the record, I’m no expert on paper clutter. there are actual experts out there, but I’m not one of them. It’s a forever frustration for me too.

But over the years, I’ve significantly reduced the amount of paper clutter we deal with in our home. Its annoying, but no longer overwhelming.

Here are my tips. https://uncommomspaces.com/how-to-reduce-paper-clutter/

August 4, 2020

Here’s a question I get: What do you do when the place where you need to put something away is its own de cluttering project?

Basically, it comes down to the fact that people like me don’t have ONE cluttered area. We have many cluttered areas.

So putting something in its home (where you’d look for it first) Often /usually.pretty much every time means you open a cabinet or drawer or walk into a room that also needs to be de cluttered.

Here’s my answer: https://uncommomspaces.com/how-to-not-get-distracted-from-a-decluttering-project/

August 1, 2020

Hi there friend!

If your feeling the strain of over whelm these days, know your not alone. Maybe like me, the demands on your time are quite high.

Here are some things you can do to over come the over whelm.

Down grade your to do list.

All those things that you think you have to do and all the things you think you need to do because someone else is doing them… it’s time to just throw some of them out. All those unrealistic expectations you put on your self, it’s time to throw them out to.

It’s time to take some of them to do’s and make them to don’ts!

Say yes to less.

You heard it right here. You can’t be all do all the time. There fore, do your best to say yes to less when you are feeling over whelmed.

Say no with less.

When you are saying yess to less, give a short, simple, and gracious no. Avoid feeling like you need to give a long winded explanation as to why you are saying no.

Most likely, that person doesn’t want to hear your long winded any more than you want to stress about coming up with it. Just a short and sweet “I’m sorry, I just don’t have any way to make it work right now”.

Take some short cuts when needed.

Maybe you need to buy a product or subscription service that will take something off our list. Maybe you need to work on a project, but not nearly as thoroughly as you have been planning to. Taking short cuts isn’t a cop out. It’s a way to get things done during busy seasons.

Get enough rest.

This is where I have been focusing this week because I have been doing a really crappy job with it, quite frankly. I have been burning the candle at both ends for the last month.

The results haven’t been pretty. I have been irritable, and I’m convinced that my lack of sleep was the culprit for me having been to cranky with my family.

When you feel overwhelmed than normal, it’s also very likely you’re not getting enough sleep.

I love what Valerie Bertineli has to say about this concept: Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in your life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.

July 23, 2020

Help keep your home and family safe!

With stores and doors opening nation wide, it’s important to remember that covid-19 has not gone away. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep up healthy habits and cleaning routines. If you are starting to interact more with people inside your home, make sure you clean and disinfect before and after your guest come over.

Keep up with your kitchen

Now a days, the kitchen has become a spot for virtual conference calls, frequent snack breaks, and even school lessons. With so much traffic, it’s important to make sure you (and your family) are frequently disinfecting surfaces and handles throughout the day. Get in the habit of cleaning and disinfecting by wiping down and rinsing counters, or tables when they’re done using them, especially when guests are around.

Throw in the towels, literally!

One of the biggest hot spots you may be over looking are your towels. Even when used just a few days in a row, bathroom and kitchen towels can become breeding grounds for bacteria. The rule of thumb is to switch towels every two to three days. Try setting a towel washing day once a week to make sure you have fresh towels for the family and when guests are using clean towels and sheets every time.

Cover your couches.

Soft surfaces that can’t be thrown into a washing machine need extra help against germs. Try protecting furniture like chairs and couches with a cover that can be easily removed and washed.

Wash your hands!

There’s not need for a clever saying here. Disinfecting your surfaces is moot if you and your family are not practicing healthy habits like washing your hands, especially when you start having guest over. Remember, it just takes a minimum of 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water to kill harmful germs on your hands. When it comes to toys that are being passed around, make sure to clean and disinfect them before and after they’re used.

July 16, 2020

Cleaning VS sanitiation VS disinfecting

Many of you have wondered what the difference is between these commonly used house hold cleaning terms. Its actually quite simple so I’m going to break it down to give you the knowledge you need to help keep your family protected and your home clean.

Clean the messes.

Cleaning is the act of getting rid of dirt and mess where germs can grow. This includes wiping up food that has spilled or sweeping up dirt from outside. Even though cleaning can involve using soap and water, it’s still a surface level clean. That means that cleaning can help lower the risk of spreading infection, but it doesn’t generally kill germs, including bacteria and viruses.

Sanitize the bacteria

Sanitization is the act of killing bacteria, but it doesn’t kill viruses. You’ll want to sanitize surfaces that come into contact with food. Sanitizing doesn’t always require chemicals. It can be done with steam or extreme heat of at least 170 degrees, making it easier to sanitize fabric, carpet amd upholstery.

Disinfect the germs

Disinfecting is the act of destroying germs, including viruses and bacteria. Disinfecting takes cleaning to the next level to help ensure harmful germs don’t spread. Always remember that just because something looks clean, doesn’t mean it’s disinfected. Knock out germs with a good one-two punch by getting in the habit of cleaning and disinfecting regularly.

Always wash your hands

Just as important as the things in your home, your hands deserve equal if not more attention as they are one of the main reasons for germs to travel. Make sure you’re thoroughly washing them for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Learn the difference between clean and disinfecting here https://uncommomspaces.com/getting-the-skinny-on-germs-and-the-difference-between-cleaning-and-disinfecting-your-home/

July 9, 2020

As you continue to do your part to stay home, we know that every couch, corner and room is being used more than ever before. This includes your bathroom. While everyone needs it, no one ever likes to clean it, so here are some simple tips to help you tackle your bathroom.

Stock up on a full range of bathroom cleaners.

Clean little, disinfect often.

Instead of waiting to do one big clean of your bathroom, do a little here and there when you have a few minutes to spare. After using the shower, give it a quick spray with a bathroom cleaner. You can give it a quick scrub and help cut down any gunk that would build up between deep cleans.

Don’t let the germs out.

We all know the basics of using a toilet, but it’s time for us to take it one step further to keep ourselves and our families healthy. Be sure to use an in the bowel cleaner to clean the bowl every time you flush. Get in the habit of always closing the lid of your toilet when you flush to stop germs from escaping because contaminated water particles can fly out of your toilet and on to tooth brushes, towels, and more.

Add these to your check list

  • shower
  • toilet

Now that your bathroom is getting more frequent use, be sure to pay extra attention to those areas that aren’t top of mind.

Tooth brush holder.

Before throwing out your old tooth brush, use it to scrub the inside of your tooth brush holder as well as many small areas that need cleaning.

Shower curtains

Use a bathroom cleaner to help prevent mold and mildew from growing for up to a week.

Floor mats

With frequent showers, your floor mats probably wont have time to properly dry out. Hang them after every shower and be sure to wash weekly to prevent build up of germs.

July 4, 2020

Hi there!!

Sometimes, it’s just time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. And for me, this will be happening this weekend.

When I want to devote a bit of time to some serious cleaning, these are the cleaning tips I use first.

Block out time. When do you plan on cleaning in your day? Block out that time on your daily schedule so the tasks in the challenge shouldn’t take anymore than 30 minutes, and most of them will take far less.

Gather your supplies. What will you be using to clean? Cleaners, rags, towels, vacuum, and attachments, what ever else, you might need. Gather all of these things together ahead of time so you’re not running all over to get them in the midst of cleaning.

Grab a timer. Things always go smoother and promote efficiency when you’re working against a timer. This is especially true if you are a competitive like I am.

Get something to listen to. Sometimes I like listening to music while other times I enjoy listening to books or a pod cast. Having something to listen to is a great motivator when cleaning.

Deal with possible interruptions ahead of time. If I want to get something done with out interruption, I have to make sure that my kids are entertained during that time. If this will be an interruption for you. Make sure you’ve covered that ahead of time as well. If you will face other possible interruptions, be pro active in over coming them as well.

Comfy clothes. Cleaning just requires comfy clothes, doesn’t it?

That’s it. If you’ve covered all these bases you should be good and ready to go.

June 25, 2020

Here’s what doesn’t work for me. Keeping a pile of stuff I don’t want because it feels like stuff in the pile is probably valuable.

That doesn’t work, but, it happens. There’s something about perceived monetary value that makes it hard to get rid of a thing, even if I don’t like that thing.

It’s a paralyzer for alot of struggling de clutterers.

So today I’m sharing a tip that will help you cure that paralysis in minutes. It is actually a post where I shared how I broke through my own dilemma about whether to save the boxes for some collector things I was using to decorate.

But it’s the same strategy I use to take “I bet this is worth something” from a vague thought to confident knowledge that help me know what to do with it.

https://uncommomspaces.com/how-to-easily-determine-value/

June 18, 2020

Hello Bees wax food wrap!!

I am loving the bees wrap! Wrapping food with bees wax cloth is an old fashioned idea that naturally fits today’s life style and it’s gentle to our planet. Unlike toxic plastic wrap and containers, it wont leak chemicals into your food. Or stick around for centuries after just one use. Bees wrap can last up to a year and is fully compostable at the end of its life. Organic cotton is infused with naturally antimicrobial bees wax, jojoba oil, and tree resin for a moisture resistant barrier that also works to preserve freshness and reduce food waste.

Use bees wax every day to seal and cover all sorts of food from fresh veggies and chunks of cheese, to salad bowels and appetizer plates. Check out mightynest.com.

Insider tip

Brand new bees wax starts out a bit stiff, so be patient… the wax gets softer and stickier with use. Try using a rubber band or string to help keep it closed in the refridgerator.

Use and care

Use the warmth of your hands to mold, fold and shape bees wrap around food.

Wash gently with cold water, a brush, and mild soap.

Air dry flat, then flod it flat for easy storage.

Not recommended for hot foods or raw meat.

June 11, 2020

Do you know the 10 minute tidy?

This cute little phrase is actually a little spin off from a show my older kids used to watch when they little, but the 10 minute tidy is something that helps keep me sane.

While there is a time and place for cleaning the house, the 10 minute tidy is a much different concept, and the only thing you need is a timer. Music, helpers and an incentive for a job well done all all optional.

Actually, there is one more thing I must tell you, and that is one thing you absolutely DON’T need. There is one thing that I don’t want you to bring to the 10 minute tidy… and that is a PLAN.

Are you ready to get started?

Let me make you familiar with the 10 minute tidy.

First, divide your home or where ever you live into two or three different zones.

For me, this is easy because I have three separate floors in my home. There fore, these floors comprise my zones.

The next step is to be ready to attack each zone.

Let me explain how to do this…

  • Bring your timer to your zone.
  • Set the timer for 10 minutes,
  • Start.

By start I mean work like a crazy person on what ever is in your way. If you are looking at towels thrown all over the bathroom, hang those up. If your stepping all over toys in the hallway, quickly stash them where they go, how ever, if they go some where that will take you out of that zone, simply make a pile of those things that go else where and keep going in the zone you are working in.

Do not leave until the timer goes off.

  • If while attacking something in your zone you come upon something that needs to be solved that will take more that a minute, save that for latter.
  • The idea here is to work and clean like a tornado, but in the opposite way. Your objective is to have a path of clean and organization in your wake.
  • When the timer goes off, quickly put the things away that have accumulated in your pile, spending no more than a couple of minutes doing this. If this task will take more than a couple of minutes, schedule a time to deal with that pile of clutter. You are in the middle of a 2 or 3 step 10 minute tidy, and this must remain your focus.
  • When you have completed that brief task (or set it aside for later), you are ready to move on.

Move to zone 2

  • Repeat the exact same steps you followed in zone 1 from setting your timer to working like a crazy person with out leaving zone 2.

If you have a zone 3, repeat again.

When your zones are completed, pause and take a moment to enjoy the beauty of all that you got done.

Isn’t it truly amazing what you can get done in only 10 minutes when you are working with out a plan and only on what’s most urgent, working quickly with out getting side tracked and working against the timer?

I may even go so far as to say that a 10 minute tidy can even be fun, wouldn’t you agree?

So, now that I have explained how to do the 10 minute tidy, let me challenge you to schedule not 1 but 2 10 minute tidy times into your day.

If you do, you will feel so productive at the end of the day, and you will truly accomplish so many of those little things that often fall victim to the bigger tasks that need to be done.

I find it helpful to do my 10 minute tidy at the same time every day – once in the morning and once at night.

Generally I find myself picking up the same sort of things with a slight variation here and there. Interestingly the often end up being the things that drive me crazy if they are not done.

I have found the 10 minute tidy twice a day to be such a huge asset in my life and an important way that I can stay on top of things, feel productive, and have something tangible to look at that I accomplished on any given day.

Try it. I think you will love the 10 minute tidy!

June 4, 2020

Brilliant puzzle storage!

Simple puzzle storage and organization idea (no more lost pieces)!

Are you looking for a storage system that actually works? Much like the games in my house, I was a bit fearful to jump into this system since it is so drastic, but it took me about two minutes after having it done to fall in love with the extra space that this system provides.

Puzzles are great, but they can become clutter very quickly… and take up tons of space in the mean time.

Having a small house means space is a precious commodity. Perhaps the most precious. If your looking for more space, organization, or an easier way to put away stray pieces, this is exactly what you need..

This is the most brilliant puzzle storage idea ever.

Just as with my game storage system, I needed to come up with an easier way to deal with puzzles, especially since they are great things to incorporate into the school day with younger kids. Not only did I need to come up with a more efficient use of space, but I needed to come up with how to keep track of pieces better. In my house there are often puzzle pieces floating around, and I am always having to track down a kid to find out what puzzle they go to.

Not only did I need to come up with a more efficient use of space, but I needed to come up with ow to keep track of the pieces.

The solution to the problem.

Ditch the puzzle boxes.

Just make sure that you have cut off the picture and number that tells you how many pieces are in the puzzle. We then keep them in gallon or sometimes larger, zip lock bags. With all the pieces and the picture cut from the box. Way less space than before. All the puzzles we own, which is close to 50, are in two storage bins.

Get the puzzles organized.

Nest we tackled the stray pieces issue by labeling all the pieces on the back with the same letter that corresponds to the letter we wrote on the back of the picture.

Then its time to put the puzzle storage system in place.

Once you’ve got everything ready and organized, it’s a matter of putting them in some sort of cantainer in which to store them.

That’s it! It’s really that easy.

May 28, 2020

Hi there friend!

I think one of the things that is becoming so common these days as we’re all tucked away into our homes is boredom. Not so much in the regular sense of the word but just a state of being bored in the mundaneness of every day life.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like the days all kind of run together, and this only magnifies the struggle with the repetitive nature of every day life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love many different aspects of this all, but I have to get creative in how to change things up.

I probably sound selfish to say that I really like having my kids all to myself, but there, I said it. I love my kids being home with me all the time.

Not that it’s always rainbows and sun shines, because it isn’t, but it’s been so amazing to say literally everyday. “what shall we do tonight”?

I even bought a cute basket to keep all of our new games in right on the sofa table in the living room. It’s certainly not worth keeping these games up in out game shelves everyday, and we get into them so often that isn’t not even worth keeping them inside the cabinet in the living room.

Any how, here’s a tip I’ve found to help with boredom.

It’s super simple, but it works.

Change what you are doing.

I know, too simple right?

But if your wandering when you’re supposed to do something, so something else.

For instance. Today I was supposed to be working on the weekly meal plan. I worked on some of it, and then my mind just started to wander off and I wasn’t really doing anything.

So, I got up and cleaned the bathroom (something else I needed to get done)

Then, I was ready to get to work on the meal plan again.

I apply this principal all day long, especially on these long days spent at home.

TRY IT!!

May 21, 2020

Sooo, have you recently realized that “not being home enough” wasn’t the reason your house was messy?

I’ve been there, and I’ve figured it out. And boiled it down.

In this new post I’m sharing the two daily tasks that will make the difference.

The good/bad news is that these are the same two things that will make the difference when outside life gets going again.

And the same two things that will make the difference for those of you (and thank you so much if this is you) who’ve only been wishing for time at home because your work schedule has been bananas during this quarentine time.

So here is the post you need to read! https://uncommomspaces.com/messy-house-do-these-two-things-every-day/

May 14, 2020

De cluttering when I’m confident HIS stuff is the problem!

You know what the worst kind of clutter is?

The piles in my house that actually other peoples stuff.

Not that I don’t have my own clutter. I do. I totally do!

But for some reason, my own clutter doesn’t get on my nerves.

First of all, I can usually recognize the reason/excuse for my own clutter. I know (or think I know) what it will take to finish my own unfinished project. I know why that particular collection of things landed in that particular spot.

I’ve learned the hard way over the years that the only way to actually make any progress in my house and also maintain the loving feeling in the family is to first focus on my own clutter piles instead of ignoring them while I focus on his.

But then there’s the matter of joint piles.

The ones that have stuff of both of ours, but I assume it’s mostly his stuff.

I’ve resented this spot for a very long time. Probably years. When we have people over to our house for anything official, I generally move the nearby breakfast table up against the wall and hide this shelf under it.

But lately, it has become extra embarrassing.

The piles were bigger and more teter-ey

And I was more annoyed.

This small shelf is where my boyfriend keeps all of his bills, medicines and obviously other stuff as well.

But he has more stuff. Like owners manuals for tools, receipts and such.

I was convinced that 99% or at least 95% of the stuff on this eye sore was his.

But then I remembered my own hard won by experience advice to focus on less. And to make spaces better even when they can’t be perfect.

And most of all, to focus on my own stuff and neutral stuff first, even when I really wish someone else would just take care of their junk already!

Just by working through my de cluttering steps and only purging my own stuff and neutral stuff.

And straightening, obviously.

I was pretty sure there was some stuff in there he’d surely get rid of if he went through it, but I knew it would stress him out to not get to go through it himself.

But even leaving that, with a little straightening and purging, I felt so much better about this space and about my home and honestly, about life overall.

And I felt bad for blaming him for the entire mess for so many months/years.

As soon as he saw it, he saw that the two items on top obviously needed to go. Which made it even better. Even if it wasn’t perfect.

Better is good.

April 30, 2020

How is it goin? That’s a loaded question these days.

My family is healthy, and I’m thankful for that. That’s my focus in those moments when I feel the crazy coming on, over how messy our house gets will all the people in it all the time.

So I think its appropriate to share from my first year of decluttering process. I started focusing on the dishes out of desperation because my house was such a disaster and I didn’t know where to start.

It turned out that doing the dishes was the key to getting my home under control.

After months of doing my dishes more consistently than I’d ever done them in my, I wanted to explain what I had figured out – why it was so important to do them every single night.

https://uncommomspaces.com/why-i-have-to-run-my-dishwasher-every-single-night/ This article has these answer to the question! Why I have to run the dishwasher every single night.