Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tips and Tricks- July!

Its summer, so we can all use a few things to make life easier! So here we go...

1. A back to school tip from a pro, remember, I do go back to 9th grade every year. Backpacks with wheels are awesome- I get it, however, lockers are small and schools have steps so they are not always practical. Before school starts, get your child's schedule and email the teachers on it. Ask them if their textbook is available online, if they have a set of classroom textbooks or if your son/daughter will have to lug a big book back and forth each day. Then when you head out to buy that backpack you know if they need a bag they themselves could fit in, or just a few folders. I always end up with a few 'wheelies' stored in the back of my classroom those first few days because they won't fit in the 12 inches of locker space the kiddos are given. 
2. I saw this one floating around facebook and thought it was amazing.  Whenever your taking your kids out to a fair, amusement park or really any crazy crowded area whip out your cell phone and take a picture of each child individually.  That way if, God forbid, something bad happens and the child gets lost- you have an up to date photo with what the child looks like that day in the outfit they are wearing.  Makes it quick and easy and you don't have to worry about forgetting anything in a blind panic.

3. When working on all of those DIY projects, take this tip from my hubs.  Anytime he is doing something that makes alot of dust, he takes a simple box fan and sticks a cheap-o furnace filter on the back (the side that sucks in).  Then he cranks the fan on full blast and does his dirty work behind the fan.  It pulls all of the dust in, but the filter holds in all of the mess.  He's pretty smart sometimes, I must admit!

4. A friend of mine recently commented on how clean my window blinds are- every window has em, and they are all white. She asked me how I cleaned them and was amazed when I told her I put them in the bathtub.  I simply fill the tub up with some clorox and hot water then put the blinds in and pull them out a couple of times.  The bleach helps to whiten the cords and gets rid of all of the dirt and grime.  Then I hang them back up on the window to drip dry (with a white towel below them to catch drips).  Once dry I run over them with a dryer sheet to repel dust and thats pretty much all she wrote.  Ive only once had to use a brush to scrub them, and that was after we bought the house and they were already dirty.


5.  If you hate cleaning the plastic shower curtain in the bathtub- the clear one that lazy people like me just replace rather than scrubbing the heck out of it- but don't want to replace it every few months do what my aunt does; toss it in the washing machine. Every few weeks when she washes her bathroom linens (you know, the ones that are just for show and we all know were not allowed to touch) she simply tosses it in the wash on a quick wash cycle on delicate with some bleach.  Kills all the germs, gets rid of the soap scum and comes out fresh and clean.  Obviously, don't put it in the dryer, just hang it back up to dry completely!

6. To fill a room with fragrance without having those ugly air fresheners everywhere, put a few drops of your favorite perfume or essential oil on a cold light bulb.  Then, once the light is on and warms up it will spread the scent throughout the room. 

7. Now that Grayson is attached to his lovey like there is no tomorrow, it needs a good wash every now and then.  We all know there is no trauma like a kids favorite stuffed animal falling apart in the washer.  I have a bear that I have had since birth, and hes been washed a zillion times without a problem.  We simply toss him in a pillow case with a zipper before he goes in the wash to add a little protection.

8. Stainless steel silverware is pretty much a staple in every home, and after awhile it can become a little dull looking. You can shine it up by rubbing them with a micro-fiber cloth with some vinegar on it. They polish up and look good as new!

9. Another one from the hubs- to get stains off of concrete pour a can of Coke onto the stain and scrub with a brush.  The coke will break up the stain and allow it to come clean.  (As a girl who consumes Coke like its going out of style, my innards must hate me.)

10. If you have a squeak in your hardwood floor, sprinkle some baby powder onto the floor and use a broom to sweep it into the cracks. Then wipe up the excess on the surface and you wont hear a thing!

11.  When you need to chill drinks down in a hurry simply place them in a pot and cover with ice. Then toss 2 cups of salt on top of the ice and fill the rest of the pot with water. The salt causes a chemical reaction that basically makes the temp drop way down, resulting in some nice icy cold drinks in a matter of minutes. Thats why ice cream makers require salt, because it can drop the temperature down to -21 degrees Celsius.

12. If you have a large amount of condiments in your fridge, why not put a lazy susan in there so you have easy access to everything?  It takes up roughly the same space, but you have less chance of something stuck in the back going bad because with a quick spin you can see what you have.

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13. Via Pinterest- keep a sponge with the soap compartment attached in the shower filled with a mixture of half vinegar and half Dawn dish soap. Use it to wipe down the shower while you are in there and your shower will always be clean. Plus, you wont be spraying harsh chemicals in an in closed space- good for the lungs and eyes as well!
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14.  These two tips came from DPS Show, but they are probably sourced from somewhere else.  The first is how to store beer in a fridge to save space- but it could equally work in those pesky mini fridges that arent tall enough to let bottles stand up. Simply use a binder clip on the shelf to create a mini-beer pyramid. Take the beer from the top, and refill as needed!


15. Also on the DPS Show list was a simple solution for evenly coating food with hot sauce, or any similar thin sauce for that matter.  Simply attach a spray bottle top and you have instant ease of application. If you bottle cant attach to a spray top, just head on out to the dollar store and buy a spray bottle and fill the bottle up with your condiment of choice.


16. When traveling, arrange your clothes on hanging shelves and compress and place into suitcase. When you arrive at your hotel, pull them out and hang them up- each outfit is on its own shelf. This could be great for kids traveling with grandparents or dads alone- clothes will always match!
Shelves To Go eliminate unpacking in a hotel.

17. Found on Pinterest- you can use a can opener to open sealed plastic packaging.  Where have you been my entire life?
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18. A great way to recycle and keep your sandwich from getting crushed- store a bagel sandwich in an empty cd case. Its silly, but it works perfectly!

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19. Store plastic bags in an empty tissue box thumb tacked to the inside of a cabinet. Keeps them handy but out of sight, sounds wonderful to me!


20. Use a soda pop tab to hang two hangers together. Great for hanging matching outfits together, or getting more closet space. However, a downside is you have to have thin hangers to fit through the holes of the tab.

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21. I found out that you can get professional tile and grout cleaning results at home using your own rug scrubber. My floor has never been so happy clean, I might even let my kid eat off of it. Just kidding.

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22. Heidi over at The Castro Family is my organizational role model. Just look at her trunk. How'd she do it? The shower caddies you can hang from your shower head that she purchased at Dollar Tree. Brilliance- since we ALWAYS forget stuff at home. Not anymore!! Check out her blog for tons of more great ideas!

Source: The Castro Family

23. Need to hide an ironing board? Hang up two robe hooks behind the door and it has a home.

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24. To free up a cabinet from cleaning supplies, get a shoe organizer and fill it up with cleaning products and hang on the back of a closet door. You can also cut these down and hang them inside of cabinet doors or fill them with things like snacks. 
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25.  A DIY heating pad that is fairly cheap is to take a sock and fill it with rice. Not instant or minute rice, but the real white stuff. Tie up the sock, and pop into the microwave for a minute.  You can add in dried rosemary or lavender for a nice scent if you like, otherwise it will just smell like cooked rice. If you sew, you can make a bag in any shape or size and you can reuse it over and over.

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26. Shari over at Turnstyle Vogue gives us a cheap garbage disposal cleaner/deodorizer. Slice lemons, put in ice cube trays and cover with vinegar. Pop them into the freezer, then once solid pop them out and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Pop one of these little cubes in the garbage disposal and grind away!

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27. If your paper punches are starting to get dull, simply punch a few sheets of aluminium foil a few times to sharpen and revive the punch.

28. To make your whole home smell delish take a tip from the super cute blog One More Moore. Fill  a stockpot 2/3 of the way with water. Slice up one lemon, add a few sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 tsp of vanilla and let simmer on the stove all day, adding water as needed. You can use it for up to two days before it starts getting stinky.

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29. You can add a pinch of salt to your laundry to keep colors vibrant for super cheap. Almost every laundry detergent on the market makes claims to keep colors bright for a long time, but the easiest trick is to add a tablespoon of salt to the load.  Science nerd moment- its the chloride in salt helps keeps clothes bright by sealing in the color across repeated washings.


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30. Use an empty wipes container to hold crayons. Doesn't take up tons of room, and you can even fold paper into the other side to keep kids busy anywhere. Plus, if you are a Momma, you have a few of these lying around everywhere.

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Make sure you check out the other editions of Tips and Tricks!

13 comments:

  1. OMG such great ideas thanks :-)

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  2. Sweet ideas! I am purging (except for those items I just found uses for..lol) my house and took a break, just to find your awesomeness ;) Thank you for your blog. I am also a follower on FB.

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  3. i have one for you. To make lifting floor tiles easier that have been secured with that black floor glue or to remove the glue itself from your floor pour some wd-40 on the area and start scrubbing with a new dryer sheet. A box from the dollar store works just fine. This liquefies the glue and it can easily be wiped up. It made redoing my basement floor go so much faster, no scraping involved.

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  4. Veramente idee grandiose! Grazie mille.
    Un caro saluto.
    Rita.

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  5. you could combine your number 4 and 5; when i need to clean our shower curtain, i fill the tub with water and bleach and let the shower curtain drop into the tub; i "stir" it with a wooden spoon if it needs it; other wise i just let it soak until i remember that it needs to be removed and hang it up to dry; then i use the bleach water to clean the tub and shower

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    Replies
    1. Now that's a time and money saver. I like it.

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    2. Why not do away with soap scum all together? Just use shower gel instead of soap. No soap scum on shower curtain, glass door, tub or walls! To do this cheaply, add water to baby shampoo in a squeeze bottle.

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  6. I use the shoe organizers for lots of things. In my daughters room it holds her Barbie’s and my SIL uses one for my nephews small trucks. I have one on the back of my laundry room door for bug spray, sun screen, work gloves, bubbles, batteries, winter gloves and scarves, things that are needed by all or needed as you run out the door. It’s easy access kid friendly and it opened up a lot of room in my cabinets above the W/D. Just be sure that if you have little ones to put anything harmful to them in the upper pockets. I have another in my guest bedroom closet for crafts supplies and one in my master closet for stockings, dress gloves, small clutch, and seasonal items. But my favorite is in my pantry. It holds everything from snacks to packs of instant grits to Jell-o to pudding packs and I now have almost a complete shelf free.

    I use the 3M command hangers instead of the metal over the door hangers so my doors don’t get damaged over time. I also use the 3M picture hanging strips that work like velcro on the back of the of the shoe organizer to held them against the door so they don’t swing out when the door is being closed. I put 3 across the bottom and on each side spacing at equal distance.

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  7. Number 21 got my attention. So that is what you’re using on your floor? It looks quite big and bulky. Is that user-friendly? I hope this machine could make your floor cleaning easy and fast. Anyway, these are great tools to make your home less cluttered and clean.

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    1. Its no bigger than my vaccum cleaner, so its really not bad!

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  8. Really interesting blog. I am already using some of your ideas, but now I know where they came from, thanks for sharing.

    Linda

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Hello! Thanks for taking the time to stop by! I LOVE your comments, so please keep them coming! I promise I do read each and every one :)