Clean and Organized

The heart of housekeeping

Natural Cleaning Alternatives

Lovely ads on television trumpet: "Bring a spring breeze into your home! Spray a little air freshener and wildflowers magically bloom!" In reality, many of the readily available household cleaning products and chemicals have nothing to do with spring breezes and wildflowers; they're not only unnecessary, but can be dangerous as well. Fortunately, less-harmful alternatives, plus elbow grease (the ultimate green cleaner) work just as well.

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Managing Paper Flow


I have them, more than likely you have them too: piles of papers at various points around the house.
While we haven't completely tamed the paper beast, we're moving in that direction, thanks to a few habits that help.

A place for everything, and everything in its place
First, we don't let paper coming into the house sit. Every item has a place. That may be a filing drawer, a recycle bin, or the front of the refrigerator. These storage areas get culled at least once a year.

Read on for more tips!

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Know Your Tools: The Washer and Dryer

[washer graphic]Washers and dryers are designed to be fairly simple to maintain. There are a few tips however, that will prolong the use of the machines and reduce service calls. After interviewing several service centers, and talking to Maytag's Customer Service hotline, I have developed a list of tips that will help you maintain your washer and dryer properly.

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An Excerpt from 'Time Management from the Inside Out'

So what makes time management so difficult? It is my observation that the single most common obstacle people face in managing their days lies in the way they view time. Therefore, the very first step in taking control of time is to challenge your very perception of it.

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Interview with Julie Morgenstern

Julie Morgenstern
The alarms rings. Once again you struggle sleepily out of bed to another day filled with possibilities. You're going to get so much done today--you're a stay-at-home mom! You've got all this time!

At the end of the day you drop wearily into bed and mentally review the day. You didn't get a dang thing done; the day just flew by, like yesterday and the day before that, and probably tomorrow, you admit. What happened? You got so much done during your working days, why can't you get anything done now?

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I'll Procrastinate Later

Having trouble getting motivated to organize your home? Tired of people saying "Just do it?" You're not alone. Many of us become chronic clutterbugs because of our lack of motivation. It doesn't matter why we avoid organizing our home because at some point we realize we can no longer maintain both our sanity and the disorganization.

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Dry Cleaning at Home


The commercials for Dryel--"the at-home dry clean only system" from Proctor and Gamble--immediately caught my eye! Do my own dry cleaning, on my own time, at home??? It seemed to good to be true!
To my delight, it's only partially too good to be true. Dryel does in fact work for most of my dry cleaning needs, though not all of them. There are some items--leather, irreplaceable wedding gowns, furs, etc--that aren't meant to be cleaned with Dryel. Velvets are also in the "don't do" category, but the items I tested worked fine.

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Cutting Down Kids' Clutter


Spring is here, and with it comes the urge to clean, declutter, and toss out--until the next year, when we start all over again. For some reason, after the holidays and again in the springtime, I find myself drawn to minimalistic decorating. You know the style: no knick-knacks, a few things hung on the walls, throw out all the kids' toys...OK, that is a bit drastic.

But with a preschooler's Hot Wheels taking over my living room, I'm getting ready to regroup. Perhaps a few of these organizing tips will help you in your quest to conquer clutter in kids' rooms.

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Conquering the Homeschool Invasion

It begins to creep in slowly and then seems to overtake you--stacks of books, math manipulatives in the bathtub, colored pencils in the silverware drawer. And the papers...ALL of the papers. Your kitchen begins to look like a mad scientist invaded it and you can't find the door to the fridge because of the layers of Art Projects and A+++ reports on "Birds of Prey." (Thank heavens they outgrew that topic!)

If you are realizing it's time for all out warfare on the Homeschool House Invasion, you may be looking for some ideas on where to begin and how to reclaim your house.

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Conquering the Closet

Another morning, another adventure--to find something to wear, that is. As I stand half dressed, I dig through my closet searching for, well, ANYTHING that at least matches and is somewhat in season. I attempt to see what exactly is behind the dry cleaner bags. Knocking down a few metal hangers, one falls dangerously close to my toddler son's head, who is currently pulling the insoles out of my dress shoes. It's going to be one of those days.

Well, I've had enough of digging and have decided to conquer my bedroom closet. Here is how you can also successfully reorganize your bedroom closet.

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27 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda

There are many non-poisonous products that can be used for basic household cleaning. Next to vinegar, the most useful of these is baking soda.

Like vinegar, baking soda has three major things going for it as a cleanser:

  • It's non-toxic. Sure, eaten in large amounts it might make you feel unpleasant, but it's not poisonous.
  • It's multi-purposed. The suggestions in this article are only a few of the many ways that baking soda can be used as a household cleanser.
  • Best of all, it's CHEAP! The cost of baking soda (especially when purchased in several pound large boxes) is far less than that of any other, specialized cleaning agent.
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Carry Your Brain in Your Pocket

I am a work-at-home mother with a toddler and a lot to keep track of. So when a friend told me about the Sidetracked Home Executives books and 3 by 5 card system, I decided to give it a try.

I found that it worked great, except for one problem: I hated all the 3 by 5 cards. Over time I have developed a way to use an inexpensive pocket planner to duplicate the card system. It fits in my pocket, it beeps to remind me of things to do, and it's just way cool. Here's how I do it.

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10 Minute Tricks to Help You Get Organized


What can you get done in 10 minutes? More than you think!

Here are four simple ideas.

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