Laundry Sucks

Friends, I just have to say it, “Laundry Sucks”!  To me, there is absolutely nothing fun or rewarding about doing laundry.  Now, for some reason, there was a short little time in my very young life, like around 8-10, where I loved to iron.  While now I don’t even consider ironing a part of laundry, back in the day, it was the most important part.   Yes, we even ironed sheets and pillowcases and that was my job.  There was something nice about the clean smell, the steam hissing and watching those wrinkles disappear.  But, like most people, life started getting busier for people and ironing just didn’t seem like a priority anymore.  I risk embarrassment by admitting that I can’t remember the last time I pulled my iron out of the cabinet.  Usually, a quick spray of water and a toss in the dryer does the trick as good as I feel it needs to be done!  Any wrinkles left, a friend of mine used to say when she got to work, could be attributed to “riding wrinkles”.

Unfortunately, the washing, drying, folding, putting up parts, are still pretty much a necessity. Even though it still sucks, I’m hoping these little tips that I’ve learned along the way will help you to at least make it a little easier to tolerate a very mundane chore!

  • Borax is the bomb!  You know that sour smell that your towels have even after they come out of the wash?  Well, wash your towels and washcloths separate from your other laundry,  add detergent then add a couple small scoops of Borax.  You won’t believe the difference this makes in the freshness.  I mean, if you have to do this tedious chore, you certainly want your towels to come out smelling better than they did before you washed them.

  • Lint removing may be an aggravating task, but it is totally, absolutely necessary after each load is removed from the dryer.  Now, I prefer not to use my hands because the lint sticks to my fingers and I always seem to leave some behind.  The most convenient way I have found to remove the lint is to grab the used dryer sheet from the load of clothes you just removed and use it to wipe the lint basket clean.  Double duty use of the dryer sheets.
  • Detergent dispensing to avoid lifting the giant Costco container and also elimating that blue sticky drip!  I have two suggestions and they both work equally well. It’s just according to your laundry room situation.  My favorite way to dispense liquid laundry detergent is to pour the detergent into a glass beverage server, or you just use the container, and place it on a shelf or just inside a cabinet right above the washer.  Using the measuring cup provided, start filling with detergent and counting the seconds until it gets to the amount you normally use.  Which brings me to the second suggestion right in the middle of this one.  Lol. To prevent the blue sticky drip from the measuring container, just throw it in with the load of wash. It comes out nice and clean.  Note that if you use the first suggestion, you won’t even have to deal with the measuring cup again!  Now back to suggestion #1. With your container positioned right above, open the spout and let the detergent flow into the washer as you count the seconds you determined above.  Perfect measurement without the messy cup and heavy lifting!

 

  • The Mystery of the Lost Sock!  This didn’t use to bother me too much.  I grew up with my grandfather owning a hosiery mill, then my dad, then eventually, my husband and I.  So, socks were always in abundance at our house. I’m sure we contributed a good many to the lost sock farm without hardly missing them. But eventually, times changed.  Production was lost to overseas manufacturers and we no longer had the sock mill to help keep our feet warm or keep food on the table, for that matter.  (I’ll save that story for another day).  We had two small children and I’ll tell you, when we had to start buying our own socks, we started paying alot more attention to keeping the pairs together!  Now, I will certainly not claim that I have figured out where all of these “onesie” socks are hiding out, but I have come up with a “sock buddy” system that has reduced the number of lost “soles” in my house.

IT’S ONE SIMPLE STEP!

Train your family that whenever or wherever they take off their socks, they ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, roll them together, fold them together or stick one inside the other. Whatever it takes so that when they get to the hamper (ok, maybe the floor, car, cracks of the couch), but wherever they are removed, they are together.  I know you are thinking that your socks aren’t going to get clean all stuffed together and you would be correct. But, here’s the good and bad news. The bad news first. Who does the wash?  If you are reading this, I’m betting YOU do it and I would also bet that nobody else in your house ever does it except you.  Now the good news. This means the “sock buddy” system should easily work at your house because you are in control.  Just pull the socks apart, throw in the washing machine at the same time and know that they are together and safe.  A lot of people think washing machines and dryers are monsters that eat socks, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.  My theory is that both socks don’t make it into the washing machine at the same time because they get shuffled around in a bag or hamper and although everything is eventually washed and dried, since they didn’t start out together, they may not come out together and they miss the match up. After this, anything can happen to a lost sock in a laundry room.  Or you may be right and the sock monster fills his belly.

But just think…If you start “sock buddy” training from birth, your kids will be ready to train their kids and so on & so on.  It is quite possible that we could irradicate lost onesie socks all together in our lifetime!

  • And last but not least. You are going to be tired after picking up clothes, reminding kids about the “sock buddy” system, washing, drying, folding, maybe ironing & putting up clothes.  So, my advice to you, as I’ve learned from starting on my chores with lots of energy and wearing down way too soon, is to wash your towels and washcloths last. (Don’t forget the Borax).  Saving these until last, leaves the easiest items to fold and put away. And, if by chance you don’t muster up the strength to fold and put them away until the next day, the wrinkles won’t give you away!

I believe that we need to start making things easier on ourselves so we can use that little bit of extra time and energy to do something we enjoy.  Life is short, my friends.  Don’t waste it away on mindless cleaning and chores when a few shortcuts won’t even be noticed!

If you have any laundry tips or shortcuts, I would love for you to share them with us in the comments below.

Happy Laundering!

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This post may contain affiliate links in which I could be compensated for or not.  There is never any charge to you and I will never post products that are not related to my blog or that I haven’t personally selected.  

 

 

 

 

Declutter Pre-K to 12 School Pictures

 


“Ugghy” Blue and Faux Rainbow Backdrops

Have you ever wondered what the heck to do with all of those Pre-K to 12th grade school pictures? Mundane and cheesy, yes, but it is YOUR child and it does serve as a fundraiser for the school, so let’s face it, you’re going to buy them. A bunch of them, most likely!

I don’t understand why you can’t buy just one picture instead of packages of 100’s and I can’t imagine who in the world decided that a bright blue background or a fake rainbow looks good hanging on anybody’s living room wall?  Yes, those are our precious babies and they are adorable even with a faux background, but that still doesn’t mean I want them hanging on my wall. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a bad mother, but honestly, I don’t think my kids really want them hanging on the wall either.

So, what do you do with all those pictures?

Well, for about 15 years, I kept them in a nice box. One for each kid, 15 to 100+/- pictures for each year, Pre-K thru 12. Until a couple of months ago, when I decided to clean out the “junk” closet (ok, you know me well enough now, one of the “junk” closets) to make room for my craft supplies that I would be moving to the downstairs closet whenever/if ever, I clean out the craft room upstairs, again! You might be able to relate, it’s a vicious cycle. I plan to write a post about how to clean out a really full closet and reorganize it soon, but I have to figure out how to do that first. Ha, ha!

ADHD moment: My little craft room used to be a craft room, then I cleaned it out to be my husband’s office, then I moved my craft supplies back in there to be a craft room again and somehow, they just took over the space. Craft supplies just seem to have a way of doing this to a room, a house, a barn or all of the above! Lol. Good luck with this, right? Another project for another day.

Craft Room Before

 

In Progress 10/23

Now back to the school photos. The first thing that I thought of when I found these boxes was that I couldn’t even remember how long it had been since I had opened them up. And secondly, after I opened them, why in the world did I think I needed to buy and keep all of these photos of the same child, same pose, same old blue background? I mean, you can only get away with giving so many of them as Christmas gifts. Lol.

So, this is what I decided to do. I took all the pictures out and sorted them into piles by each child, then by school year (x 2, twice a year). Oh my gosh, I had forgotten that they take school pictures twice a year. Really, how much does a kid change in six months once they are in kindergarten? But anyway, I then started the process of photo elimination.

Step by Step Easy to Follow Plan:
  • Pull one 8×10 picture from each photo session
  • Take a picture of the photo with your cell phone
  • Send to an album on your phone
  • Cut out 2-3 wallet pics in case they want to give to their kids one day
  • Cut a 2×3 or 5×7 for each of the other siblings. Nice to have if they ever want to blackmail their brothers or sisters
  • Place the 8×10 and wallets in a large envelope
  • Do this for each school year
  • Toss envelope of photos into a storage tote.  Stick a label on the side with their name and L👀k at that!  You have just created a Memory Tote for your children that they can take with them when they leave home.  

Presto, magico!   They have photos from every school year (x 2) and you have eliminated your school picture clutter!

For both kids, this took me about an hour. It was quick, super decluttering and so refreshing to accomplish! Easy access. No more digging through photo albums or boxes.  And, I don’t think there is a better way to embarrass your children than by sharing their school photos with your grandchildren. Lol.

 

Now, my long-range plan is to upload the photos that I saved on my phone to Chatbooks and create one book with all of their pictures together. I think it’ll be so cool to flip thru the book and see the changes from year to year, all in one place! Don’t hold your breath, but I’ll keep you posted on this progress.

I guess if I was really serious about decluttering, I’d just make a Chatbook for each child and they wouldn’t have any photo clutter either. You could snap the photos, eliminate all the steps above, toss all the pictures and just create the books. Truth is, I’m not sure I could throw away ALL of the cute little stinker’s school pictures.  However, I CAN put them in THEIR boxes so that one day they will be the ones dealing with their own clutter and I won’t have a guilty conscience about tossing all of their school pictures in the trash. Lol

Remember: Snap a quick photo, save a couple for the Memory Tote and toss the rest!!!  No guilt!

If you declutter your kid’s school pictures, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

This post may contain affiliate links in which I could be compensated for or not.  There is never any charge to you and I will never post products that are not related to my blog or that I haven’t personally selected.  

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Unique & Quick Ideas for Christmas Decoration Storage

Christmas, Christmas time is here…I just realized this morning when I was singing that old chipmunks song, that I didn’t hear those cute little chipmunks singing on the radio one time this year. My second thought was, “I bet my kids don’t even know who the chipmunks are.” They didn’t know what JibJab was when I suggested we do a JibJab dance on Christmas Eve either. I guess I’m really telling my age. Ugh!

Anyway, back to Christmas, Christmas time is here…and gone. Some of you really efficient people may have already packed up the tree, ornaments, lights and other decorations, but I’m not one of those people. I usually de-decorate my tree on the 26th and re-decorate it for my daughters birthday on Jan. 2nd. However, she has her own house now and wasn’t even going to be here that day, so I packed up those ornaments and took it down the 27th.

As I was taking the ornaments off the tree, I started thinking that one day, those kids of mine would probably take the ornaments they had received every year and use them on their own family tree. So, as I took each one down, my intentions were to sort by child, in order of the year they received them and photograph them as a keepsake. It didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t have the patience for all that organization. So, I just sorted them by child and took pics! Better than nothing, right?

So, now it was time to take down the rest of the decorations. I won’t bore you with those details, I’m sure you have boring details of your own about doing this. But, I will tell you about a few new things I did this year to help protect my fragile decorations and to make finding those precious ornament boxes easier next year.


First, I have rediscovered shrink wrap!

I wrapped many pallets loaded with cartons of diecast cars using this stuff back in the 90’s, but had not thought about it for years until I saw this idea on Pinterest about shrink wrapping your Christmas tree for storage. Check out this cool tutorial at www.Epbot.com. I bought shrink wrap for the tree, but haven’t gotten that far yet. However, I have used it for several other storage solutions.

  • Wrap up fragile decorations in tissue paper and then shrink wrap for extra protection

  • If you use cardboard boxes and put them in plastic storage totes, fill the cardboard box, then shrink wrap to protect from bugs and dust. We all know those storage totes are not completely airtight.

  • Wrap your Christmas frames in tissue paper and shrink wrap to protect and keep secure. Note to young parents from old parent: Always date the frames if the year is not shown as part of the design. I PROMISE, after 10-15 years, you will not remember which pictures came from which years unless you do this. Alas, the reason I photographed all of my yearly pics before packing this year is to give me time to determine the correct date before unpacking them next year. You better believe, I will add that date as soon as they come out of the box. Lol.

  • Shrink wrap the stack of Christmas cards you received this year so you can save them for that project you have planned to put all of them together from past years. Oh, “so many somedays”!

Second, take a picture of the inside of your storage tote before you seal it up!

Years ago this would have been a pain, but with cell phones and printers at our homes, BOOM! Snap, snap, snap, print, and there you go. I slip mine into a 3 ring plastic sleeve like we used in our “Lifesaving notebook” Time Saving, Life Saving Thanksgiving Notebook, back in November. Slip a piece of ribbon or string through the top hole and tie on your tote! Now, you can easily see what is in the bin without having to lift the lids and dig.

WOW! I wish I had done this in past years and how convenient would it be if we had done this with all of our storage bins, not just Christmas?


Last big idea I have for storing your Christmas treasures this year is to buy these plastic bags at IKEA.

This particular pack has two sizes, but you can also buy them individually. They are very inexpensive and an absolute necessity at my house. You can use these for so many different things like, packing cosmetics for a trip, storing sheets & pillow cases, (yes, they will fit), and packing away children’s clothing. They are sturdy, very large, double locking & inexpensive!

For Christmas, I used them to pack anything that wasn’t so fragile that it had to be shrink wrapped, anything with lots of pieces that need to stay together, books, cookie cutters and linens that need to stay clean and dry. The possibilities for storage are endless with these babies! If you were using regular clear zip bags, which you can if you don’t have an IKEA close by, you would probably go through a whole box and many of your things would not fit. I believe that I used about 5 bags and I had a lot of decorations scattered around the house.

Well, I’ve help you procrastinate long enough. Hopefully, I’ve also given you some inspiration to make your Christmas packing a little easier this year and finding those decorations and unpacking a little easier next year as well.

HAPPY PACKING AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Thanksgiving Prep

Create a Life Saving, Time Saving, Thanksgiving NoteBook

About ten years ago, I started my Halloween and Christmas notebooks, so I don’t know why I just thought about creating one for Thanksgiving. The only reason I can come up with is that maybe I was waiting on you so we could create it together! Sounds like a good excuse for my procrastinating anyway.

But seriously, you can create your Thanksgiving notebook right now and it will save you so much time and stress, not only this year, but in the years to come. You will be so proud and relieved next year when you open your notebook up and Thanksgiving is already planned and under control. Just follow your organized notes and recipes so you can relax and enjoy the preparation of food, the festivities and the extra time with your friends and family. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

This is actually a very simple project to accomplish and you only need a couple of items to get your holidays organized forever.

  • First, get a cheap three ring notebook. I prefer the notebooks with a clear pocket on the front where you can slide in a picture. When I pull out the notebook, it makes me happy to see the cover and brings me joy in knowing how easy this is going to make my holiday.

COVER IDEAS:

1. Let your children draw a picture each year and slide it in and the clear pocket, over the old one. So much fun to look back year after year at the different pieces of artwork they have created.

2. Print out a Thanksgiving family photo on 8.5 x 11 copy paper and change yearly.

3. Print a favorite blessing, quote or graphic on 8.5 x 11 copy paper and insert.

4. Use a piece of pretty scrapbook paper in the clear pocket.

5. Leave it empty if you choose, but that’s not fun or very pretty. Remember, pretty can be really quick and easy, just go for it!

  • Second, you will want a pack of Letter Sheet Protectors with 3 holes for the binder.  You can create your notebook without them, but I’m a really messy cook so sheet protectors are a must for me.  Good Tip: Go ahead and put several empty clear protectors in your notebook so you don’t have to try and find them or buy new ones if you want to add recipes.
  • Third, grab some 8.5 x 11 copy paper for printing, writing recipes or notes.

THAT’S IT! I know it’s hard to believe that with so little expense and with time and resources that you are already using to get ready for Thanksgiving, you can simplify your holiday season now and for years to come! Just trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Now it’s time to fill it up with great recipes and fun ideas

MENU:

Write out your menu then make a copy to file behind the current one so that if you share cooking duties you can add the person’s name beside the items they will prepare.  This way, if the people are different or want to bring other dishes next year, you will have a fresh, clean menu to start your planning.

.

RECIPES:

After you have created your Cover (which I usually spend way too much time and thought on) and prepared your Menu, start collecting the recipes that you use every year. Print, copy or handwrite them and then slide into the clear sheet protectors.  BOOM!  All of your family’s favorite recipes are together and you won’t waste all that time hunting for them (especially since you haven’t cooked a real meal since last Thanksgiving, or maybe just since Christmas).  Oh, maybe that’s just me!  🤔

If you find new recipes or run across a really special one, like below, you have a three ring binder, just add them as you go.

Email & Recipe from Mom, 2000

GROCERIES:

Make your grocery list, make a clean copy for next year, and place in a clear pocket folder. This will save you hours of trying to recreate a list of things you basically need every Turkey Day! How many Thanksgiving Days have you not needed to buy pumpkin, turkey, whip cream or wine? You could probably leave wine off the list because I’m pretty certain you would never forget that anyway. But, just in case, put it on there…

That’s pretty much the scoop on how to make your Thanksgiving planning a breeze!

You can add some “WOW” factors, but this will get you started with the necessities. For my Halloween and Christmas notebooks, I usually print out a collage page of pictures, insert into a clear sheet, and add to the notebook, just because it’s fun. But, wIth or without the additions, you have basically just made yourself a “magical time saving, life saving, Thanksgiving” notebook to keep and add to as long as you have the awesome responsibility of directing this special day for your friends and family.

If you are like me, and I know many of you, so I know you are (lol), I feel like I spend most of my days looking for “things”. Let’s get it together this Thanksgiving so that next year’s Thanksgiving plans will be in one place, ready to execute with no stress.

Now, if only we can remember where we keep these magical notebooks…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your families!

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Are you a Someday Wanna-doer?

Someday, I’ll paint that old wooden chair. Someday, I’ll make a clock out of that big round piece of wood. Someday, I’ll “sell a million” of those…

Wanna-do Chairs

“So Many Somedays” I have spent collecting pieces and parts hoping to use them to make something grand. What I have finally realized, or was pointed out to me by my normally wonderful husband of almost 30 years, is that I was spending all my time collecting for someday and never getting around to creating any of those grand projects. Much less, if I continued collecting at the current pace, not only would I fill our barn, which I pretty much already have, but I would never get to that ever elusive “Someday”. Yes, I have enjoyed collecting these little treasures. No, I don’t regret any of the Flea Market trips, yard sales or donations from friends. That was all part of the fun for that time of my life.  But now, I am going to CLEAN HOUSE. Any pieces, parts or supplies that were gathered for a far-fetched “wanna-do” someday project or that I have lost interest in or forgotten what it was to be turned into in the first place, is going to be donated to a charity, another junker friend, or burned, since some of it really is junk! Now, I can’t say I will totally stop hunting for new finds but seriously, I am going to try and decrease this “treasure chest” of supplies drastically.

It’s going to be hard to part with some items, especially when many of them bring back such fun memories. Like the time we were in the pouring rain rummaging through the field at Crumpler’s Antiques. Or the time my sister and I spent the weekend in Hampstead at the Women’s Club Annual Christmas sale and coincidentally bought matching black dresses. Then we made a dance video to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” to proudly present to, or rather, embarrass, our families on Christmas Eve. Yes, we were in our early 50’s, and no, there was no wine involved (this time)!

We’ll have successes and failures, but isn’t that life? Just keep moving and organize a nice clean space to actually create something amazing on a “Someday” more realistically within reach.

I hope you will join me in this journey. Of course, it won’t be all about “cleaning out” because as we go along, we will surely get distracted with fun things we uncover like, favorite recipes, ideas, tips, craft projects, old photos, home décor, DIY ideas, etc. We have to remember that being a Someday “wanna-doer” is not limited to amazing craft projects. It spreads to all areas of our lives. By sharing my treasures, aka JUNK, with you, I can make my case that they were worth collecting and now move on with a clear conscious to “So Many Somedays” ahead…

(If you are a “Someday” Wanna-doer, shoot me a comment and let me know what you collect for your projects).