Daily Cleaning Tips

cinderellaWhile going through some paper work the other day, I came across a notebook where I used to jot down daily “to dos.”  Taped to the front was a list of daily chores that one could do that takes less than 30 minutes per day.

I’m at a place as a homemaker where I do not need to refer to a list like that anymore.  It is very much ingrained in me how to keep my home tidy with little to no effort.  I am not talking about a deep clean!  I’m sure you will find enough dust bunnies under my couch to fill your Easter basket, but simple cleaning techniques that make you feel good to be in your house!

I did not know where I cut out the list from, but leave it to the good old internet to find it for me. Actually, I could not find the original article on Real Simple (one of my favorite resources, btw!), but ended up finding it here:

How To Clean Your Home in 19 Minutes

From there, you’ll be able to click on links that will take you do an expanded article on the actual Real Simple site for each room.  They will also provide you with tasks you should do monthly and then seasonally.

I cannot stress enough how much of a good habit this is to form if you are not already doing it.  I rarely have to “deep clean” because by wiping everything down often, messes don’t build up.  It’s also to your benefit if an emergency comes up or someone happens to drop by–your own is always at the ready.  I love leaving my home knowing it’s not in disarray and coming home and not having to do any housework if I’m not up to it!  Everything is wiped and put away.

Have any housekeeping questions you’d like to ask me?  Feel free!  It’s not a glamorous topic, but it’s something I know I want to write about on the blog; how to keep a home without going crazy.  I’ve only been at this a little over a decade now, so I’m no expert (That’s my mom!) but I have definitely found things that worked–and did not work–along the way.

If you’re like me and to need to keep these types of task lists in front of you, I’ve created a Word document that you can print out and hang up somewhere .  Again though, there will come a point where it’s second nature and you’ll laugh that you ever even needed to refer to a list.

How To Clean Your Home in 19 Minutes
{printable}

Happy Cleaning!

{Funny e-card above via}

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Some helpful tips.

This post will consist of things that, yes, I have Googled.  Or Bing’ed.  Or Swagbuxed.  (Google totally got the monopoly on that verb.)  If I needed to look them up, I’m sure someone reading this might say, “Oh, that’s good to know!”

How to Dispose Cooking Oil
Place used oil in a sealable (non-recyclable) container and discard with regular garbage.  (In other words, DON’T put it down your drain or flush it down your toilet like your mother does!)

Be sure to wipe excess oil off of pots, pans, etc. with a paper towel before washing.

How to Dispose Medication
I know NYC has special collection days if you want to get rid of old medicine.  But if you must throw it in the trash, put it in a bag and throw it in the trash.  There are other methods (that I did not write down), just do not put medications down the drains!

How to Clean a Washing Machine
1) Fill your washer full with hot water to the largest load setting.  When it begins to agitate, add four cups of distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Let washer agitate until mixed well.  Turn machine off and let sit for 30-45 minutes.

2) Let the washer run through a whole wash cycle.  (If possible, turn the knob to spin cycle as the water drains.)

3) When the washer is empty, take a rag, a 1:1 part solution of hot water and vinegar and wipe down the inside.  Remove fabric softner dispenser if possible.

4) Allow machine to air dry before use.

***

I did not write down references in my notebook as I looked these questions up, but I can say I’ll look at a bunch of sites and pick which is the most thorough and gives (what seems to be) accurate information.

So let me know if you handle any of these questions differently!

Missions board.

What a blessing it is to be able to support missionaries or worthwhile organizations, whether it is by prayer or financially.

But how often do we receive a notice in the mail with our receipt or because we are on the organization’s mailing list, scan it over, and toss it aside or in the trash?

I want to be intentional with the organizations I support.  If I am investing my time, prayers, and sometimes money into them, I want to be sure the items they send me are important to me and not just cause for more recycling.  I also need to be reminded to keep them in my prayers because so often my own worries will cloud my mind.

For many years now, we’ve kept a Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Map (You can get one FREE if you contact the VOM office.) somewhere in our home.  I wanted to add to that, so for a couple of months I began taping letters or postcards we received from missionaries to a wall in our extra bedroom (as opposed to them getting lost in the clutter on the fridge or our kitchen corkboard where I keep reminders and invites) alongside the prayer map.  I knew I wanted to highlight these endeavors and make them a focal point in our home.  Well, of course, that unappealing visual could only last so long.

We purchased an Ikea magnetic board (in white) with some fun magnets {& other generic Staples magnets I already had on hand} to go with it.

And voilà:

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Our missions board was born.

Although the board is small, every month I change out old letters for new ones, when applicable.  Since the map takes up the bulk of the board, I lay other papers on top of it as needed.  I do hope one day we would be able to add greatly to this board, and when that day comes it will be easy peasy to simply purchase another board if the space is needed.  This board does not represent every single donation or commitment to pray we ever give.  These are organizations that send us something or that we support on an ongoing basis.

I do not want this board to simply be a visual decoration in our home.  But we’re not at a point yet where we gather as a family around it to lift these folks up in prayer.  I do hope we get there.  But the point for now is for the reminder to be there.  When we walk in and out of the room, I pray our eyes will look over the board and we will remember our brothers and sisters in the faith fighting the good fight.  I pray that it will serve as a reminder on rough days what others are doing and going through for the cause of Christ.

Before ending this post, I’d like to highlight a few of the missionaries we support.  I pray you would click on their links and if so moved, donate to these worthwhile causes or even simply sign up to learn more about them.

Boro Pregnancy Counseling Center – This is the organization nearest and dearest to my heart.  I volunteered for over one year before becoming a part-time employee.

Boro Pregnancy Counseling Center is a private, not-for-profit organization that helps women and their families cope with the concerns of a crisis pregnancy.

BPCC offers free pregnancy tests, non-medical pregnancy consultations, peer counseling, material assistance, education about options including abortion, post-abortion support, and other practical, emotional and spiritual help to empower women and men facing pregnancy-related concerns.

The link above will take you to the client website and the supporter website can be located here.  If you are interested in making a donation or signing up for our mailing list, do not hesitate to contact me personally by leaving a comment or messaging me on this blog’s Facebook page.

***

Student Venture NYC – Student Venture is the high school ministry under the Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) organization.  My former co-worker and now friend, Moses Sanchez and his wife, are part of this worthwhile ministry.

Born and raised in the New York Metro area, [Moses and Marilette are] excited to work together as a married couple to reach out to the young people and community in New York City, and pointing a lost generation to Christ.

This is an old video, but gives you an idea of the work that they do: Student Venture.

***

World Vision – It was somewhere around 2007 or 2008 that I was working at a Christian school and a representative from World Vision led a chapel service.  At the end, child sponsorship packets were distributed in the hopes that adults present would be compelled to sponsor a child.  The little boy that fell into my lap was from Brasil, and I knew it was no coincidence.  He was meant to be a part of a family.  I wish we did a better job of writing to him.  I read many blogs where families do a wonderful job of really making the child a part of the family–praying for them daily, etc.  We are not that good.  Nonetheless, I get excited every time an update about our little Eduardo comes in the mail or a piece of artwork he has drawn for us.  We’ve watched him grow for about five years now and I am amazed and what World Vision can do with the little we give.

This link specifies how sponsorship works and how your money is used to change the life of a child.  If you are led to sponsor a child today, click here.

***

Kevin and Sarah Cooney – Kevin and Sarah work with an organization called To Every Tribe.  To Every Tribe exists to extend the worship of Christ among all peoples by mobilizing the church, training disciple makers, and sending missionary teams to plant churches among the unreached.

As Kevin writes on the “About Us” page of his family’s blog:

Together, the 3 [referring to their precious daughter, Lia] of us are currently en route to the tropical jungles of  South East Asia, after having lived near the beautiful Gulf coast of South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley to be exact, since the Fall of 2011. We count it a privilege to be servants and vessels who may get to bring the Gospel to some of these last places on earth where it has never yet gone. May the Lamb who was slain receive all honor and glory! He alone is worthy.

I am excited to follow their journey and encourage you to subscribe to their blog to follow as well.

***

Soulfishing Ministries – My husband and I have been long-time friends and partners of this ministry led by Pastor Philip Sessa.

Soulfishing Ministries is a gospel-centered ministry that exists to equip God’s people to be “fishers of men” by following Christ and having a God-entrenched vision of all things pertaining to life and godliness.

Soulfishing Ministries ministers during many community events, offers training on evangelism to interested churches, and has a heart to disciple people in the faith.  It is such a blessing that an organization like this exists.  To sign up to be a prayer partner or to make a financial contribution, click here.

***

Destiny Church – Last but certainly not least, I want to give a shout of to one of my best friends who together with her husband followed a call by God to plant a church in the South Bronx.  They are ministering to the hearts of a population that is so very broken and meeting the needs of their community in practical and tangible ways.  Stay in the know about Destiny Church happenings by joining their group on Facebook.  One day my BFF is going to open up a counseling center, and I cannot wait to write about that! 😉

***

Again, this is just a small sampling of the organizations we currently support or have supported in the past–not all financially, but in prayer and time as well.

Sometimes we think that all we can give is money and if we don’t have that then we shouldn’t bother.  Not true at all!  We all have gifts and talents we can use, even if it’s a one-time project or simply a note of encouragement to the missionary.

If you have any worthwhile organizations or events that you’d like me to explore and possibly highlight on my blog, I’d love to know.

Have an awesome day!

Love,

e.

Missions Board

Our Family’s Missions Board

Disclosure: I was not asked to write about or compensated by the organizations highlighted in this blog post.  My heart is for these organizations, and I simply want to share about them with my readers.

How to Organize Your T-Shirts in a Drawer

Let me start off this post by saying I believe I should write it as tee shirts, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  Actually, a quick internet search just told me t-shirts is the way to go.  Phew.  Crisis averted.

Second, let me also address the fact that I could probably make this post two sentences and get the point across.  But I’m wordy, so that’s not going to happen.  We’re going to drag this baby out for all it’s worth.

Let’s begin!

Pinterest has been one of my best friends since its inception and you needed to have an invite code and wait weeks–weeks I tell ‘ya–to be accepted into that popular clique.

I have to say though I use it more as a visual and don’t actually click on any of the links I “re-pin” 98% of the time.  I’ll see something and store it in my internal memory bank and pull it out when the need arises.

Which is what happened when it was time to do our bi-annual clothing switch.  {Which is also the opportunity to evaluate how the spaces in our bedroom are working for my husband and me, move things around, and, of course, purge.}  It’s the time of the year I take everything out of our drawers and start fresh.  Nothing like neat drawers to maker me happy!

So I remembered seeing this idea on Pinterest and thinking, “Hey! I should try that.” Again, I never clicked on the link and went by memory.

So let me start of by saying that I only actually clicked through the link to the attached blog post because I sat down to write this post and thought I should see how I compared.  As I suspected, I’m not doing it the same way as in the various posts linked to in this “pin,” but I like my method and I’ll explain why later.

Okay, before I show pictures I’ll throw out the question–Why organize your t-shirts a certain way in a drawer?

I have found t-shirt drawers to be the ones that get disorganized the fastest.  Why?  Because you go looking for a particular shirt and have to comb through a whole stack to find the one you want.  It’s usually at the bottom of the pile and what do you do?  Pull it out causing the rest of the pile to kind of topple over.  Do this a couple of times and before you know it, your once neatly-ordered stacks are a big jumble of cotton mountain.

On the flip side, if you’re lazy a time saver like me, you’ll just grab whatever shirt is on top and never even touch the ones on the bottom.  Once laundry is done, you put the same shirts right back on top and they’ll remain your go-to shirts for everything.

It made so much sense to line the shirts back to back of one another instead of in piles (or as the blogs I linked to state, folding in horizontal rows as opposed to vertical ones).  The point is to be able to see the details of the front of the shirt, so let’s say you’re on your way to a NKOTB concert–you’ll be able to spot your Joey McIntyre shirt immediately.  Ahem.

Okay, on to pictures!

howtoorganizeyourtshirtsinadrawer

I used this cute shirt we gave my hubby one Father’s Day as a sample.

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I put the design face down and fold in the shirt in half.

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I fold just the sleeves in and then bring each half in to meet in the middle.

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Then I use a rolling technique to complete the process starting from the bottom up…

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and bam, that bad boy is ready to be plopped down into the drawer.

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So here’s where the my technique deferred from the “pin” I posted, and the pros and cons of that.  The blogs that posted about this idea do a different folding technique which leaves the t-shirt completely flat and more square like.  You for sure will get more space this way, if that’s what’s needed, but I’m wondering how their rows hold  up once you pull some shirts out?  With my shirts being more “round” they hold up in their place even as we remove shirts and they remain pliable enough for me to keep “flattening” them if I need to fit in more shirts.  {But, hello, if your shirts are overflowing from your drawers, perhaps you have too many.}

Even with my rolling technique, I garnered a whole lot of extra space!  There’s only so much room vertically the drawer has, but horizontally you can really squeeze the shirts in and get more space than you would think you have.  If we add to the t-shirt collection, I’ll definitely try the more “flat” approach.  For now, I’m happy with how this turned out.  It’s making it super easy for hubby to take out shirts and for me to put them back in when laundry is done.

Finally, for the sake of honesty, I asked my hubby how he liked this system.  He did mention the shirts get a little more wrinkly (but not terribly) this way when he unrolls them as opposed to when I just use to fold and stack them.  Whoops.  In the winter the shirts go under another shirt; in the summer he can toss it in the dryer for a quick few seconds so problem solved.  This would be another point for perhaps doing the flat method, which I’ll give some serious thought to later this year when we do the clothing switch.

I’m also thinking I could just fold the shirt in that last step instead of rolling and see how that works.  I’ll try that when I have a chance and keep you updated.  Ah, well, organizing will always be hit or miss, but that’s the beauty of it.  It’s a learning process and you can accommodate what works and what doesn’t as you go!

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I also go the extra step and color coordinate the shirts.  But that’s because I have issues.

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So there you have it!  How I keep our t-shirts organized and their corresponding drawers in control.

On another note, I made–made–my husband purge some t-shirts when I did the clothing switch.  It was a little ridiculous the amount of shirts he has.  I insisted that at least any with holes or stains had to depart from my presence.  Most made their way into the attic, but that’s a start.

Do you find it hard to part with t-shirts for sentimental reasons?

Have you ever tried this method of folding t-shirts before or keep your t-shirts organized another way?  Do share!

Oh, and to show proof in the pudding…

nkotb

always know where this shirt is. 😉

Until next time!,

Lis 🙂

I’m linking up with:

BetterMondaysLinkup

Keeping a Summer Schedule for Your Child

I get asked a lot how I keep little man busy during the summer.  Especially as an only child, people expect that I have to constantly keep him entertained.

Now let me start off by saying, a LOT {like seriously, LOT} of how Goob is is simply how God designed his little personality.  I don’t know why I have the type of child I do–one who can self-entertain easily and is content to be by himself–but I’m sure it has very little to do with anything his daddy or I did correctly.  He’s a quiet child who still happily builds train tracks and races cars around his room.  So it’s not even that he sits on a game system all day to keep himself busy {I’d never allow that}.  He’s imaginative and I’m grateful!

Of course, Goob is not perfect and has convinced himself that summer vacation means having to do absolutely no type of work.  Much to his dismay, his mother expects him to read and do math worksheets and this summer–horror of all horrors–to actually pitch in around the house.

Goob is 9 now, and while we’ve been lax in giving him chores or regulating his time during the school year or even in summers past, I really felt the need this year to give us some sort of parameters.

Enter our–very loose–schedule:

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Creating a schedule is good for so many reasons:

  • First, by writing out the schedule, it created a visual for Goob.  The first few days we used the schedule I was able to simply tell little man to go read what the expectations of him were.  After getting used to it, Goob could simply go to the board on his own to pick something he needed to do and I was free to not be on top of him about it.  And even when we went a period of time not following the schedule, i.e. when we were on vacation, it was easy to direct him back to the board to remind himself what his responsibilities are.

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  • Another way a written schedule is helpful is it easily shows my son when mommy is available to be with him.  The thing about summer is that just because your child is off from school does not mean that the chores you need to do stop.  Laundry still needs to be done, windows washed, and carpets vacuumed.  It’s hard for little minds to understand that.  Of course, not every single moment of every single day is accounted for in this schedule, but you’ll notice that next to Monday I included a little note letting my son know that Monday mornings belong to Mommy and the benefit of this is I’ve schedule in time where he can do what he wants.  When you give children this little bit of freedom and the chance to make their own choices, they are more apt to be compliant during structured times.  It also reminds me to better manage my time because other than Monday mornings, I need to remember that spending quality time with my son is more important than chores that needs to be done.  It forces me to prioritize and evaluate what I need to get done and when I need to do it over the week.
  • A schedule helps guide a child and gives healthy boundaries.  It truly teaches a child the old adage of there being a time to work and a time to play.  For a child like mine who isn’t in camp during the summer, it can be easy for time to escape and days to go by without doing anything of value.  This schedule helps little man to know what’s expected of him to be a well-rounded person.  With that said, we’re not big on a certain bed time during the summer and so his devotional time with daddy at night really fizzles out.  I had to make sure that being the parent who is most with Goob that I was taking on the responsibility of making sure we stayed in the Word daily.  I calculated that if we read two Psalms a day starting on the first day of summer {June 21} that we would finish by Labor Day.  How cool is that!
  • As I mentioned above, our schedule is pretty loose.  What this means is you’ll notice there’s no “time frame” associated with any task; Goob knows he has all day to complete them and as long as the task(s) get done, it doesn’t matter when he does them.  So if he’s smart enough, he’ll get them done quickly and know he has the rest of the day to himself or to play with mom or dad.

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  • The schedule helps to give YOU, the parent, time to yourself.  Whether you build it into the schedule like I did with Monday mornings or use the time your child is doing a chore to get something personal done, a schedule will be your friend in knowing when you get a chance to yourself.  It’s kind of like a bright light in a day that can feel very overwhelming when you’re just going on a whim.  Now because Good can choose whatever time to do a chore, I have to be flexible in letting him lead and taking advantage of whatever minutes I have when they become available.  Also, you can be a little selfish–the reason I included “exercise” as part of Goob’s daily routine is because I am the one who really needs to exercise.  This keeps me accountable, but also I have no excuse to not get it done.  Doing a physical activity with my son is not only fun but it motivates me!  Win-win.
  • Going back to the schedule being “loose”, it’s also loose in the since of knowing that I cannot be rigid and there has to be days when we just kind of go with the flow.  Sometimes we’ll be out all day; sometimes someone in the home just may not feel well and it’s important to remember that sometimes structure has to go out the window.

We are not tied down to this schedule by any means and there is no guilt if something or not one thing gets done.  Again, this has helped create healthy parameters for a young child who is home the majority of the time and for his momma to make sure I’m being proactive in keeping his little mind sharp and also guiding him to being a contributing family member to our household.

It was important that I gave Goob tasks that were reasonable and would not take him hours.  Personally I think I gave him things that are pretty fun and manageable.

One last final tip is to include your child in the making of the schedule.  Before I wrote it out on a random dry erase board we had around the house, I discussed with him things I wanted him to do.  We discussed what could easily be handled daily, weekly, etc.   It’s also imperative to discuss the why behind the schedule.  I’m not a mean mom who just wants to give him work to do; I’m a mom who cares about keeping his mind sharp and becoming a young man one day who could live on his own and know how to take care of a home.  It’s hard for him to understand that now, but I’m convinced he’ll look back one day, remember these days, and be appreciative.  By discussing the schedule, there were no surprises.  For example, Goob knows he will help me “as needed” with laundry–he knows not to complain if I ask him to come help me sort clothes because that is an expectation we discussed and is clear for him to see on his board.  I can’t tie myself to a particular day/time I can commit to do the laundry, so he knows he needs to be compliant and helpful when that job is ready to get done.

I’m sure I missed some things I wanted to write and will probably come back and edit this post to include other benefits to keeping a schedule with your child during summer months.

But tell me, what kind of schedule do you keep with your child(ren) during the summer?  Are you like me the last few summers where we just did whatever whenever?  Or have you found that keeping a pre-planned schedule has allowed you to keep your sanity? 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, I would love for you to Pin it or share it on Facebook.

Hope you’re having an amazing summer!

I’m linking up!

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