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Category: Projects/Experiments/Crafts: DIY

Tips and Hacks for Spring Cleaning

How To Spring Clean: 24 Tips, Hacks, Reminders, and Plans

Spring has Sprung and it’s time Spring Clean. Who’s ready??!!! If you are not ready; don’t worry. We’ve got 24 go-to articles on the best spring cleaning checklists and plans, as well as, spring cleaning tips, hacks, and reminders to make your cleaning season a success.

 

Spring Cleaning Checklists / Where to Start

Chelsea at The Crazy Sahm has given us 10 spring cleaning tasks to start with. If you are new to concept of spring cleaning, don’t know where to start or want to start small, check out her article with easy actionable spring cleaning tasks that you can start with today.

Don’t know where to start? Paula from I’m Busy Being Awesome gives us a fabulous guide that breaks the home into sections and gives you a spring cleaning checklist for each section. If spring cleaning seems daunting to you. Check out this guide.

This is a great spring cleaning checklist and calendar from Kami at The Momma Diaries. It’s hard to think of and remember all the different things that need to be spring cleaned. This handy printable checklist will help ensure you don’t leave anything out.

In addition to giving us a checklist, Misty at Simple Organized Lifestyle gives us some fantastic ideas for saving time while tackling the list of spring cleaning tasks. She even gives us some pre-spring cleaning tips so that we can be ready to clean.

I always like cleaning tips from people who aren’t in that “love to clean” category. If the idea of spring cleaning doesn’t really appeal to you, Check out Stacey from Families with Grace article House Cleaning Tips from a Slob. These are awesome real-life tips to help you get into your cleaning groove.

How to Spring Clean

Spring Cleaning Decluttering and Organization

Does it seem to you that decluttering often creates a bigger mess than you started with? Check out Megan’s (Practically Perfect Meg) article on how to not make a mess while decluttering. She’s also has more links in her article for other wonderful cleaning hacks.

Jenaya from That Lady Living offers us a step by step guide to organizing your closet. Sometimes that seems like an insurmountable task, Jenaya shows us where to start.

Chhavi from Mrs Daaku Studio offers us this advice: Go room by room and declutter along with it. Make a plan of what you want to clean in a room and stick to it. For example, day 1 is to declutter the wardrobe, day 2 is to clean the fittings etc. Keep one week for each room in the house so you are not overwhelmed at any moment. This has helped me stick to the schedule and finish cleaning in about a month and a half. It really works, try it!

If you are new to decluttering Shawna from Stress Less, Be Healthy offers a wonderful beginners’ guide to decluttering. It’s a must read before you begin.

Incorporate the concept of giving into your spring cleaning routine with Jennifer’s (Why Give Online) tips for areas to start cleaning now and how to give to others at the same time.

Spring cleaning often involves getting rid of things that have been cluttering up our home. Sarah from I Heart Frugal gives us a plan for organizing those items and turning them into money while you clean your home.

laundry on clothesline

If you are drowning in laundry: Check out how my guide to going from a clothes hoarder to having a minimalist wardrobe/ capsule wardrobe.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Check out my privacy policy for more information.

Spring Cleaning: Don’t Forget

Rachel from Creators of Coffee offers us this great advice to keep your coffee tasting great: A clean coffee machine is essential for great tasting coffee. For espresso machine owners, remove and clean the shower screen. A back-flush chemical cleaner is also a good idea to clean the group head. If you own a coffee grinder, open and wipe clean the burr grinder. For coffee makers, run a mix of water and vinegar through the machine to remove unsightly stains. Finally, give all of your coffee accessories a thorough clean in hot soapy water and rinse well.

Amy at Daily Successful Living offers us this advice: Spring cleaning needs to be a family event. I’ve tried doing it on my own but I never sticks. It wasn’t until I got my kids and husband on board that things fell into place. I give everyone a big plastic bin and detailed instructions about what needs to be decluttered in their rooms and throughout the house. Getting junk out of the house has made a huge difference in keeping my whole house clean.

Debbie from The Flooring Girl tell us: Most people don’t realize that they need to seal the grout between their tiles…and that they need to do it annually. Grout is basically sand, so if you don’t do this annually, the grout absorbs all dirt, bacteria and liquids turning them darker. Thankfully, sealing your grout is an easy DIY project and spring is a great time to do it.

dust mop on wood floor

Spring Cleaning Hacks and Tips

Delia from Kids Chaos and Confusion shares with us her best spring cleaning hack plus her best spring cleaning tips! An important reminder to not forget the outside of our home during the cleaning process.

Kelsey from A Cup of Tea with Kelsey share tips for practical ideas and home decor choices that will help make cleaning your home easy from the start.

Lauren from Love Remodeled gives us some suggestions for great cleaning tools to use in your home. If you are looking to up your cleaning game, check this out.

Want to make sure that your cleaning adventure is not harming the environment and increasing waste. Kristen from Earth Friendly Tips, gives us some easy actionable steps to take so you can go green while cleaning.

Dana from Natural Earthy Mama offers us advice on how to clean a house with a newborn – some tips and tricks from a mama that has been there and done that a few times!

I am really into homemade cleaners right now. Lydia from Thrifty Frugal Mom gives us an easy recipe for a homemade bathroom cleaner that I can’t wait to try!

 


Spring Cleaning: Food, Body and Mind

Spring cleaning involves cleaning out pantries and freezers. Checkout Penny’s (Skill Trek: Field Guide for Life) tips on food safety when cleaning out the kitchen.

Don’t let cleaning out the pantry be a daunting task. Sarah from Our Daily Craft gives us an awesome step-by-step guide for spring cleaning the pantry.

Expiration date on peanut butter jar

While you are cleaning our the pantry, have you thought about spring cleaning your diet? Rachel from Radical Strength offers us some interesting tips for spring cleaning your diet.

Nadalie from It’s All You Boo, reminds us to not just spring clean our home, but spring clean our life. At the end of the post also check out her link to 12 ways to Spring Clean your mind.

What is your best spring cleaning hack or tip?  Do you have a killer cleaning plan of action that makes your spring cleaning a success?  Do you have a go-to cleaning checklist?  Drop a comment and let us know!

 

Don’t forget to share pin this article for future reference or share it on social media so others can get these great tips and plans.

 

While your spring cleaning: Don’t forget it’s not too late to fulfill your new year’s resolutions.

11 Ways to Use Oreos in Your Dessert Making

11 ways that you can use Oreos in your Dessert Making

If you love Oreos, you are going to love these tasty treats that feature one of our favorite cookies!

11 Ways to Use Oreos in Your Dessert Making  #oreos #dessert #oreodessert

Some of these are pretty quick and easy to make and should seamlessly ease their way into your repertoire of desserts, especially during the holiday season.

Be sure to pick up a pack or two of Oreos so you can impress your friends and family with a delicious twist on the ordinary Oreo.

Top of this list are Oreo truffles, also referred to as cookie balls.  I LOVE the filling for these truffles and could just eat it out of a bowl.  One of my co-worker made them last week for our department and I told her the same thing.  The best thing about these truffles is that there is only 3 ingredients in the basic recipe.   Oreo Truffles

I found this recipe by chance and I’m so glad I did.  I love cheesecake and these Oreo Cheesecake cupcakes are a tasty way to combine two delicious desserts into one awesome treat.  I plan to make these for our family’s holiday party this year.

The next two recipes are dessert dips.  I think these are great items to bring to an office party or lunch.  The second dip listed is a three ingredient recipe while the first has more ingredients and take a little longer to prepare.

Creamy Oreo dip dessert

Oreo cookies n creme dip

Muddy Buddies is the brand name for this treat.  It was called Trash when I made it in Home Ec in Middle School and I also heard people call it Puppy Chow.  I feel like making Muddy Buddies yourself creates a better tasty treat. Here’s the cookies n cream variety.  This is a fun family dessert to make.

My kids love mug cakes but buying the store bought individual mixes gets pricey.  This is a great way to get a mug cake without the cost of buying a ready made mix.  Try this Oreo Cookie Mug Cake.

mug

This decadent treat blends peanut butter and Oreos together for a rich dessert that is sure to please.

Just as Chocolate and Peanut Butter can go hand-in-hand; chocolate and mint pair very well also.  What better way to join them together than with a Oreo Mint tart. These are sure to please.

I always think homemade fudge is better than store bought fudge.  This fudge brings out the cookie and cream flavor of the oreo and is great as a gift.

Ever had Oreos in your brownies?  You’re missing out! Give these fudgey goodies a try!

This is a great version of candy bark to try if you are not keen on peppermint bark.  This gives you the same consistency without the peppermint flavor. This another idea to use as a gift for coworkers or neighbors.    

If you love Oreos, you definitely want to give some of these recipes a try.  Have you used Oreos in your dessert making before? How did you incorporate them?  Drop a comment and let us know.


Great Free Trials

Great Free Trials

One of the tricky things with free trials is remembering to cancel them if you do not want to keep them.  What I have discovered is that you can set an alarm on your phone to go off to remind you to cancel the trial.  When you sign up for the free trial you will get the date when the trial will expire and you will be charged.  Create an alarm through the clock feature on your phone for the day before the date the trial expires and for a time when you will be able to pause and cancel your free trial if you want to.  With my android phone, I can name the alarm, so I can title it “Cancel amazon music trial.”  This way I’ll actually remember why the alarm is randomly going off.  If you use outlook or google calendar you can set a reminder up through those apps also.

Here are some free trials that are available.  (Some of these are affiliate links and I may earn a commission for free trials started)

 

$10 off your first Walmart Grocery Pick-Up Order

 

 

Netflix Free Month

Directv Now Streaming Service 1 week free

Sling TV 7 days free

Apple Music

 

Drowning in Laundry: transitioning from clothes hoarder to capsule wardrobe

Are You Drowning in Laundry?

Transitioning from clothes hoarder to capsule wardrobe

 

I was drowning in laundry. There were so many dirty clothes. So many clothes were staying in the dirty laundry piles instead of being washed and put away.   Often clothes would be washed that weren’t the right season or didn’t fit which made it a waste of time, energy and resources. I knew that I was a clothes hoarder, so it wasn’t just time to admit that; but it was time to actually time to do something about it. This clothes hoarding was the cause of an immense amount of clutter that was taking its toll on our ability to keep up on our home.

Drowning in Laundry: transitioning from clothes hoarder to capsule wardrobe

Assessing the Problem

I started hoarding clothes at age 18 when I was in college.  I had so many clothes that I could go for almost a month without doing my laundry.  (I lived at home). I once completed a survey for a classmate who was doing a statistics project.  The question: How many bras do you own. My answer: 38.

With two daughters and my husband in addition to my clothes hoarding; I had been drowning in laundry. The laundry was never caught up. But more importantly, I was teaching my kids to hoard clothes as well. Something needed to change.

I had seen articles about capsule wardrobes and had previously thought that it was not for me. However in my quest to remedy this situation and cease my clothes hoarding; I decided that I would give the capsule wardrobe method a try.  

 

Where to begin

The first thing we took care of were shoes; which lived in a Rubbermaid tub in the living room.  This actually turned out to be pretty easy. We decided which shoes we were going to keep AND donated that didn’t fit or ones that we no longer wore for various reasons.  We ended up getting rid of 24 total pairs of shoes. Personally, I went from 18 pairs of shoes down to 7.

Oftentimes in articles about creating capsule wardrobes, step one is emptying your closet.  We decided that our step one was not cleaning out the closet because the closets were empty.

One of my daughters and I made our step one sorting all of the laundry in the house by person (we kept the linens and socks separate). After all the clothes were sorted we started washing clothes by person. When all of one person’s clothes were washed we created the capsule wardrobe for that person. Everything was clean, so discarded items were ready to be donated, as well.

 

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The term capsule wardrobe was coined by Susie Faux in the 1970s.  Essentially a capsule wardrobe is collection a of items of clothing that are interchangeable so that it is easy to create many different outfits without needed a lot of articles of clothing.  Usually one would choose a color scheme so that the clothes would be easy to match. The clothes would be solid styles that would not go out of fashion.

I found that I had gotten to the point that I had a core set of staples in my wardrobe that I would rely on and oftentimes some pieces of clothing would go unworn for long periods of time.  I was ready to go for the capsule method. There are a ton of articles and posts about capsule wardrobes. I did most of my exploring on Pinterest.

 

Making the Move

I counted the pieces of clothing that I owned.  Not counting undergarments, pajamas, and bathing suits; I had 249 articles of clothing. I decided I was going to make two capsules, a work capsule and an everyday capsule, because for me, those two categories of clothing were very divergent from each other.  

I pulled out each specialty items that I use for school spirit days (I’m a high school teacher) even though they may only be worn once or twice a year.  I like having them on hand so I don’t have to go out and buy new items or look for items at a thrift store in order to participate in school spirit days.  These were things like a camouflage t-shirt, flannel shirt, Sports Jersey, etc. I put those is a tucked away place in my closet that I created for specialty items.  Once completed, my work capsule contained 24 articles of clothing for all seasons. My everyday capsule wardrobe got down to 42 articles of clothing, again for all seasons.

I went from clothes hoarder to capsule wardrobe.  You can too!

And Now?

The capsule wardrobe is really working for me.  It is really easy to choose what to wear to work and because most things coordinate with everything else; there is a lot less decision making to make when standing in front of the closet choosing an outfit.

This has really cut down on the laundry because a lot of useless clothing or clothing that really isn’t necessary is gone.  Now we’re only worrying about laundry that matters. We are still doing laundry, but it is more purposeful.

One of the most important lessons out of this was for my children.  We went through the process with my two daughters (ages 9 and 10) and they were part of the decision making process about what would be kept and what would be donated.  We really emphasize now that if they don’t love the item, or it doesn’t fit the way that they like; then it doesn’t live in our house anymore. When we shop for clothing for new seasons, as they grow out of clothes, it’s very important we emphasized those points:  Does it fit the way you want it to? Do you love it? They have to choose clothing that they are actually going to wear; not just what someone else likes or thinks they should get.

We’re no longer drowning in laundry and even if someone doesn’t put their laundry away it’s condensed down to one hamper or laundry basket per person instead of three or four per person.  The general clutter caused by laundry (clean and dirty) isn’t there anymore.

 

What about you?

Capsule wardrobes are not something that is right for everyone but, if you’re drowning in laundry this could be a big solution for you.  By condensing down to a capsule wardrobe, you’re only using mix and match articles of clothing items that are very versatile; it’s really easy to stay on top of the clothing clutter.  This could be a solution for you to get rid of this huge source of clutter that could be clogging up your ability to keep up on your house work and to keep your home organized.

 

Steps to Take

If this is something that you want to do your first step is going to be to assess what clothing you have.  You can start this by emptying out your closet and laying everything out by category. If you were like us you needed to sort all of the laundry first (wash all of the dirty laundry, as well)  do this by person.

Categorize your clothing as you lay it out so that you can see what you have.  Make sure to pull out clothing items that don’t fit, things that are stained, things that are in need of repair that you probably won’t actually repair.  Create trash piles and donate piles.

Assess what kind of clothing you need in your life.  I needed a work capsule and then an everyday life capsule.  Maybe you need just one, because your styles mesh, you have uniforms for work, or you work from home or are a stay-at-home parent.  Decide which essentials you’re going to keep based on the capsule decisions you made. Focus on items that will match multiple pieces in your wardrobe; tops that will match a variety of bottoms, bottoms that would match a variety of tops.  This will be the key to making sure that you can condense the amount of clothing that you own.

Once you sort of your clothing then you can restock your closet.  You should have a lot more room now and it should be a lot easier to organize your items.   

Don’t forget to actually donate items that you pulled out and throw away the items that are trash.  I caution you against holding them to use for yard/garage sales unless you’re planning on holding it very soon.  It’s really easy for piles of items for donating/selling to just clutters up storage areas and for you to forget that you need to get rid of those items.  When I bagged up all of my donate clothes and shoes, I immediately put them in my car so they were ready to be dropped off at my local Goodwill. I was able to drop them off after work the next day.  Because they were taking up room in the car it made it a more pressing matter to get to the donation center.

 

Do what is right for you

Make sure whatever you do is right for you.  If you research capsule wardrobes you will see that there are some advocates of a more extreme approach and some that are more lenient in their philosophy.  Ultimately, you have to do what is comfortable for you. If you’re a clothes hoarder, like I was/am; if you’re drowning in laundry, then your biggest priority is to downsize.  Even if you have to downsize little by little; that’s better than not downsizing at all.

 

Is your closet filled to the brim, just right, or are you going for a minimalist approach?  Would you be able to work with one of these extremes? Add to the discussion and let us know.  

 

 

Does a picture of a beaker with 2 fluids labeled hexane and water make anybody out there laugh?  I know one person that laughs. So when my friend scanned a mystery QR Code and that picture popped up it caused immense laughter; because of the inside joke that it relates to.  I turned a lot of inside jokes into the perfect gift.

 

So how did I turn several inside jokes into a great gift for my best friend?

It all started leading up to Christmas.  I was looking online around Christmas for ideas for low-cost/no-cost gift ideas for others and I ended up creating this idea for my best friend based on a list I saw (I’ll link that list at the bottom of this post).  This idea was going to be perfect.

The final product was 20 envelopes that each had 2 QR codes in them.  These QR codes corresponded to links online for memes, pictures, funny videos, and songs.  A lot of these represented inside jokes between us. The songs reflected things that we liked, were popular, or that we thought were funny when we were in college.  There were a lot of memes that were about friendship and YouTube videos I thought she would like.

This was fun for me to create and it has been fun for my friend to discover what has been included.  She sends me a text of something that made her crack up or that she thought was sweet or “so true” and we get more laughs out of it.  She’s opens them at her own pace and the fun has lasted well past Christmas.

This would be great for a birthday, anniversary or as a “pick me up”.

Steps I took to create this gift 

Step 1

Finding your online treasures.  You will need links to create your QR codes.  This is pretty easy for YouTube videos. You will just need to copy the link for sharing.  For images that I found on a Google search, I right clicked on the image, and selected “copy image address”.  This makes sure that the QR code links back to the original image destination and retains appropriate credit for the site/creator/poster of the image.  

screenshot how to link a meme

Step 2

Creating the QR codes.  This is actually pretty easy to do.  I use The QRCode Generator   You have options of what you are creating the QR code for.  Make sure you select URL at the top. Once you enter the link, the QR code will generate on the right.  Just make sure that you save it so that you can print it out later. The generator will also let you input text that can be recalled with the QR code.  Please note: your gift recipient will need to download a QR reader onto their device if they do not have one already. They can be found for free in the app store for the device.

screen shot of qr code generator 

Step 3

Printing your QR codes.  Once you have all of your codes saved, you can loaded them into a word processing document and print them out.  I used Word for this but you can use whatever you like to you the most. I used the “insert picture from file” option and highlighted all the QR code files at once.  Word pasted them all in the one document, one-right-after the other. I then just printed this document out.

Step 4

Cut out your QR codes and place them into envelopes.  I put 2 to 3 in each envelope with a total of 20 envelopes. It’s up to you how many you want to create, make, put into an envelope, etc.  You can use regular white envelopes or colored ones; leave them plain or decorated. It’s up to you.

Step 5

Presentation.  How will you display the envelopes for giving?  I found some colored jumbo craft sticks that had a little adhesive square on the end at a craft store.  I adhered one envelope to each craft stick. Next, I filled a deep glass decorative dish (you can find some at the dollar store) and filled it with colorful gravel.  I stuck the craft sticks in the bowl to create an almost bouquet-like presentation.

colored craft sticks

 

Cost

Minimal.  The main money cost is in the presentation method.  The biggest investment was time.  It took me a while to find all of my visual treasures that I wanted to include.  However, it was time spend having because I spent it reliving old memories, laughing to myself, and picturing what my friend would do when she saw these things.

 

Practicality fails  

I didn’t pick a deep enough dish so the sticks would not stay upright very well.  My dish was also not big enough length and width size for the amount I wanted to use.  I could have used smaller envelopes and smaller sticks for better results.

 

Other presentation ideas

You could skip the envelopes all together and adhere the codes themselves to the sticks.

You could create a poster of the envelopes.  

I thought about arranging them in a wreath like formation; maybe hot gluing painted/colored clothespins onto a circular form and clipping the envelopes with the clothespins.  

 

Here is the original blog post I was looking at the helped inspire this idea:  Click Here

There are a lot of great ideas in that post as well.

 

Let me know what you think and if you try this idea.  Share a picture of your presentation method that you use.

What is something you have given to your good friend that is low-cost but has that special personal touch to it?

Leave a comment to let us know.

 

I love thrift stores.  I love the hunt for a great find.  I like finding great clothes that are not retail price.  I like discovering interesting treasures. I rarely like to spend a lot of money on clothes and love that I can revamp my wardrobe periodically without breaking the bank.

If you’ve never been to a thrift shop but wanted to try it out and don’t where to start, this article is for you.  If you are new to thrift shopping; this post will give you some tips to enhance your experience.

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

General Tips

My first suggestion is that you visit multiple thrift shops, especially if you’ve tried thrift shopping before and didn’t like the store you went to.  Each shop is run differently; even stores that seem to be part of a “chain” are run individually. I love my local Goodwill stores but these are run regionally so yours may be different.  You’ll have to check out what is in your area to see which ones are the best. I don’t just check out the Goodwill in my town; there are some in the neighboring towns that are great that I explore often.  You might not have to travel huge distances, but consider the thrift shops available in nearby towns.

My next tip is explore how the store are laid out.  Sometimes you will see similarities is the general layout of a thrift shop, but there can be some minor differences.  It helps increase your comfort level and efficiency when you know where you can find items in the shop. One thing that you want to check for is how they arrange their clothing.  Some stores display the clothing by type and color. Some display clothing by type and size (those are my favorites and I have tended to stick with those stores over others). If you are looking for other treasures, it’s helpful to know where you can find those items in the store.  Take the time to get to know the layout of the shop and you will be able to uncover some great finds.

Clothing Tips

When it comes to clothing shopping; in addition to knowing how the clothes are displayed, I also think it’s important for you to try on all clothing items.  Most thrift store have a fitting room, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Varied brands of clothing fit differently, so you might check out a range of sizes and try the items on just in case.  Be choosy when making your selections.

clothing aisle at a thrift store

 

One example of where that comes into play for me is with jeans. If I’m shopping at a thrift store for jeans I only buy name brand jeans that I like; I don’t just buy any pair in my size.  Only buy things that you love, that fit. Don’t buy things that don’t fit hoping that you will fit into them one day, because you may not and those items will sit on in your closet waiting to be worn. I have one of those collections myself.  My most recent trip yielded to pairs of dressy Dress Barn brand capris for work for $3.99 each. I also saw my first LuLaRoe item at a thrift shop. It was an XL Cassie skirt (too bad Cassie’s don’t look good on me, it was $3.99).  LuLaRoe skirt at a thrift store

Oftentimes shops will have certain types of items on sale.  It might be a particular color of tag, or a category of item, but be sure to check out what items might be on sale at your stores.  A lot of times this might be posted near the entrance or register.

Books

My last tip is to not forget to look check out the books if you or your family members are interested in reading.  I keep a list of books I want to check out or authors that I might be interested in. Sometimes I get lucky. My daughter recently mentioned wanting her own copy of a book that she was reading from her school library.  I got really lucky and found it on one of my more recent trips; it was a virtually new copy. I recommend keeping a list of books you own by an author/series, etc. that you follow so that you don’t buy duplicate copies of books you already own.

If you haven’t been to a thrift shop, give it a try.  You tried and you still aren’t sure, use my tips and see if you find any treasures this time around.

Do you have any tips for prime thrift store shopping?  What’s been the best thing you have found at a thrift store?  Are you going to try it out or are you a seasoned pro? Let us know by leaving a comment.