Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Household Tips

Rachael Ray had a “tip” themed show today with great tips ranging from how to start your own business to how to make a memory chair out of stuffed animals.  I love love LOVE learning all about things like this and I love it even more when I can actually implement them to better my own life.

So, I decided to compile my own "household tip" list.  I'm no pro with years of experience under my belt, but I do have two kids and am crazy about cleaning and organization.  Most of these might seem completely lame or make you say, “….DUH!  You think that’s a ‘brilliant’ idea??”  Well, to me it is.  And some of these I only know about because I believe I thought of it myself (meaning, I didn’t see it on the Internet or hear about it from someone else) or because my mom did it.  I just want to share and hey, how am I suppose to know if you already know about it or not?

  • Secure a cleaning rag to a specific cleaner with a rubber band to avoid “cross clean-tamination” J
  • To help with stuck or baked on food on a cookie sheet (or something similar that you can’t easily soak), lay a wash cloth with hot soapy water on it on top of the cookie sheet and let it set for several minutes.  I love the special cleaners that you spray on, let sit, then simply wipe away, but they aren’t advised for nonstick surfaces.
  • Keep a small basket with baby diapering essentials in every major room of your house so you don’t have to trudge up (or down) stairs to the changing table every time baby needs a change.  I also keep Q-tips, travel sized lotions and baby powder and disinfecting hand wipes there too.
  • Hang a small (locker sized) marker board on the door of your pantry or a cabinet in your kitchen to keep a shopping list.
  • This isn’t uniquely my idea, but I’m always buying storage containers to hold all sorts of things that aren’t easily organized.  I always had piles of things on my closet shelves that don’t stack nicely and fall all over the place (like light bulb packages, battery packages, cleaning supplies, medicines, bathroom supplies, etc.)  I’m not sure why it took me so long to automatically buy storage containers that I can shove all those things into and STACK on the shelves.  Seems like a no-brainer, but I guess I needed several reminders, so count this as another one for you!
  • Keep a “family binder” with sections for recipes/weekly menus/takeout menus, your budget, event invitations and each family member to keep specific information like health records, school information, activity information, etc.  If you go out and have a babysitter often, you can have a section for them too with emergency phone numbers, kids’ schedules, important Do’s and Don’ts and any other information you need them to have.  I actually got this idea from another great blogger (Sister’s Stuff).
  • These are essential items that I always keep packed in my suitcase.  Items that you seem to always need, yet regularly forget when traveling!  Plus, I don’t have to run around the house rounding up everything during those stressful packing times!  It helps to shorten the “To-Do” & “DON’T FORGET!” lists so much when leaving for a weekend.  Also, it cuts down on crazy unpacking moments when everyone gets home tired and cranky.  Everything has come in handy at least once!
      • an extra (cheap!) baby monitor set
      • a night light
      • an extra phone charger
      • extra bath/toiletry items (I just have a bunch of travel-sized containers that I always refill.  Then, I don’t have to pack my originals or dry them off after showering that morning!  I also put my old, but still working, hair straightener in there so I don’t have to wait for mine to cool before I pack it.)
      • a lint roller
      • plastic grocery sacks
      • diapers or Pull-ups (I did this with Pull-ups when I stopped using a diaper bag with my son.)
  • Put snacks (like crackers or fruit and cereal bars) in a small Tupperware container in the diaper bag so you never forget to leave the house with a snack AND you aren’t trying to feed your toddler animal cracker crumbs because they got smashed at the bottom of the bag.  Another snack tip, for variety to help keep your child happy while waiting: have a “trail mix” snack in a Tupperware container.  Trail mix ideas: marshmallows, Cheerios or other cereal, raisins, peanuts, Rainbow Goldfish, pretzels, fruit snacks.
  • Another diaper bag tip: Have lots of small items falling to the bottom of your diaper bag?  Go to the cosmetics section of your favorite drug store and buy a small makeup bag to hold all those items.  Things I keep in my bag: pen, travel size diaper rash cream, Orajel, chapstick, hand sanitizer, fingernail clippers, tweezers, Tide pen, Infant Tylenol, Infant laxative drops, small tube of Aquaphor, all those extra alcohol wipes you never used on your infant’s umbilical cord.
  • My children’s doctor’s office has great little books that they record your child’s stats and shots at each doctor’s visit.  My friend commented that she wished her daughter’s doctor’s office did that.  So, it’s not technically my idea, but it’s a good one!  So get a little Memo notebook to record this information and keep it in that handy dandy bag I suggested in tip #10. J
  • Have a lot of your children’s precious artwork, but out of fridge space?  Take pictures of the “best” and at your child’s birthday, make a photo book (like one from Kodak.com) with all the pictures of their artwork from that year.  I also keep some of Cade’s most special drawings or crafts and store them in a storage tub in his closet.
  • Okay, another weird one, but it took me 4 years to think of it, so maybe I can shed a few years off for you if it applies.  My kids sleep with fans on to create white noise (blame my husband for starting this habit because now WE sleep with a fan too.)  When Cade was a baby, we always had the problem of the fan circulating too much air in his room, making it chilly.  It hit me when we had Brynlee, to put the fan in the doorway (we have a plug-in behind the door) so it blows right out of the room.  Then, when we’re not using it, we store it behind the door.  We have tower fans so they fit back there nicely.
  • For those of you who love to have you kids help you cook (or don’t love it because of the mess) this tip is from a cook book from my husband’s grandma.  Putting salt on a raw egg that’s been spilled on the floor and you can sweep it up with a broom.


Jennifer said...

Gosh I wish we lived closer. We are freakishly alike!!
Psycho organizers! :)

Anonymous said...

I shared this on Twitter. Working on the family binder this week!

Breanna said...

Jen, I know I wish we were closer too!!

And thanks MamaMash! I wondered if anything would actually be useful to anyone other than me :)

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